What can I do to make nocturnal leg cramps go away if they happen?

Forcefully stretching the affected muscle is usually the most effective way to relieve the cramp (flex your foot upward). You might be able to relieve the cramp by walking around or jiggling or massaging your leg. Warm baths or showers may be helpful, and applying ice also works for some people. Keeping bed covers loose and not tucked in may help in preventing cramps.

Are there medications that will treat nocturnal leg cramps?

A trial of vitamin B12 complex or diltiazem may be helpful. Quinine was previously used for the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps. However, due to its potential for serious and life-threatening adverse effects (cardiac arrhythmias, thrombocytopenia, and hypersensitivity reactions), it is no longer recommended as a treatment option. In addition, some researchers say there is not enough evidence at this time to recommend the use of analgesics, anti-epileptic drugs, magnesium, verapamil or vitamin E to reduce nocturnal leg cramps.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/31/2019.

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