What is it?

Sleep related leg cramps are sudden and intense feelings of pain in the leg or foot. The pain is caused when a muscle contracts and tightens. The cramps occur without you being able to control them. They may happen while you are still awake or after you are asleep.
They normally begin very suddenly. Sometimes, they may begin slowly with less painful warning signs. The muscle cramps can last for a few seconds or several minutes. They end as suddenly as they began.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of sleep related leg cramps include:
- Painful feeling in your leg or foot as a muscle contracts and tightens
- This occurs around the time when you sleep
- The pain eases when you stretch the muscle that is causing you pain


Your healthcare provider will need to know your medical history, medications and a description of what you’re experiencing.
- When the leg cramps started happening.
- What your pain feels like.
- When the cramps happen (at night, for example, or after vigorous exercise).
- How long the cramps last.
- Any other symptoms you’re experiencing.

Your healthcare provider will need to tell the difference between your leg cramps from other conditions that may resemble them:
- Claudication.
- Peripheral neuropathy.
- Myositis.
- Restless legs syndrome.

To distinguish those differences, your healthcare provider may:
- Check the palpation of pulses.
- Evaluate physical sensations such as pinpricks.
- Test deep tendon reflexes.
- Test the strength of your leg.


Treatment is different for everyone. Most people have to try a few different things before they find a treatment that helps them.
Treatment options may include:
- Lifestyle changes – For example, exercising differently, doing stretching exercises, wearing shoes with good support, or drinking enough fluids
- Taking supplements – Supplements are pills, capsules, liquids, or tablets with minerals or vitamins your body needs.
- Stopping any medicines you take that may cause cramps. But do not stop taking any medicine unless your doctor or nurse says it is OK.
- Medicines – Taking prescription medicines that improve sleep, relax muscles, calm overactive nerves, or help in other ways.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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