Ask the Nurse

I am experiencing leg cramps at night. The cramps keep me awake at night. I do take potassium daily. Can you give me any advice to help minimize the nightly leg cramps?

It is important to see your physician to check the following:

  • Your kidney function
  • Your potassium
  • Your magnesium
  • Your blood sugar
  • Your thyroid blood tests
  • Exam your legs
  • Check your pulses

If you are having leg cramps you might want to try to stretch your calf muscles twice a day and put a foot board at the end of your bed. Also, if you have normal kidney function, you can take oral magnesium oxide 250-400mg daily. In addition, you can try throwing a bar of Ivory soap at the area of your feet in your bed as some report this can reduce leg cramps.

If you have ’restless legs’ where you feel the need to move your legs around, you need to have your doctor check your iron/ferritin level (goal around 50) and the 25 -OH vitamin D level (goal over 32). You can also try oral magnesium which boosts dopamine and reduces restless legs prior to going on prescription medicine. Also, check out Dr. Holly L. Thacker’s book: "The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause" Kaplan 2009 for additional tips.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

September 3, 2013 at 11:34am