Nightly leg cramps are pains that happen during sleeping hours. They can wake you up and are usually happening due to prolonged hours of inactivity of your body. Leg cramps occur in the calf, but they can also cause a lot of pain in your thighs and your feet. You can never now how long they will last. Sometimes leg cramps last just a couple of seconds, but sometimes they can last a few minutes. After the cramps pass your muscle, soreness may stay the whole night or even until the next day. Leg cramps occur to both women and men and they are more likely to occur in adults over the age of 50.
During sleeping hours restless leg syndrome (RLS) can also occur to. There are a few differences between nocturnal night cramps and RLS like: RLS is more of a discomfort or crawling feeling in your legs, moving the leg in RLS offers relief – moving the leg in nocturnal leg cramps does not, RLS is more of a discomfort or crawling feeling in your legs, RLS does not cause pain or cramping, etc.
We do not know the exact cause of nocturnal leg cramps, but these are some potential causes, risk factors and medical conditions that can lead to them:
- Sitting improperly
- Diuretics, statins, beta agonists
- Parkinson’s disease
- Endocrine disorders like diabetes
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time
- Standing or working on concrete floors
- Over-exertion of the muscles in the leg
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Structural disorders like flat feet
When a cramp occurs it is uncomfortable and you are almost paralyzed, so you here are some tips how to properly handle an attack. Sit on the floor and extend both legs, then flex your feet at the ankles and point your toes toward your knees. Get up and walk around or gently massage the area.