Q. I have severe leg cramps at night. What is causing this?

Answered by
Dr. Senduran N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 09, 2014 and last reviewed on: Nov 01, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am a 55 year old female. I weigh 160 lbs. I have hypothyroidism and take medication daily. Generally, I have severe leg cramps at night in my calves, traveling stinging cramps to the bottom of my feet and toes. What is causing this?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

The causes for these kinds of muscular cramps are not quite clear. It is believed to be associated with chemical imbalance within the muscle cells.

Some of the conditions causing these cramps are:

  • Overstretching of muscles (like exercises without proper warmup).
  • Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances (particularly of calcium and potassium).
  • Certain drugs like statins, antihypertensives may cause this.
  • Common ailments like diabetes, hypothyroidism etc., are also associated with this.

No drug is specifically proven to cure these muscle cramps. Once the underlying condition gets corrected, nocturnal cramps usually subside.

I suggest you check your blood sugar, complete hemogram and serum electrolytes (calcium, potassium, magnesium). Also check your thyroid status with TSH to assess the effectiveness of your current thyroid medication.

We need to rule out a rare possibility named DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) with physical examination and if needed color doppler study of your lower limb blood vessels and then proceed with the necessary treatment.I would also suggest you follow the below suggestions to get relief in the meantime.

  • Stretch your legs whenever possible during the day and just before going to bed.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink plenty of clear liquids.
  • Avoid standing/sitting in one place for a long time.
  • Take multivitamin tablets (with vitamin B6 and vitamin B1 particularly) twice daily after food for two weeks.
  • Follow a healthy diet (with fruits and vegetables).

Revert back with the reports to a general practitioner online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/general-practitioner

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