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Leg Cramps - Diet?

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Hi all,

I woke up last night in EXCRUCIATING pain with cramp in my left leg to such a degree that I couldn't even get out of bed and 'walk it off' as is usually possible.  I just had to sit it out in agony.  This morning it feels as if I did a whole load of aerobics on just one leg without stretching!  I cycle to work daily and have plenty of stairs to climb at work, did no undue exercise during the evening so have come to the conclusion its not exercise related.  Could it be diet related?  Has anyone else suffered the same and how do I go about fixing it?  I've heard it might be low potassium but I'm not a big banana person so that remedy might be out....any suggestions?



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It could be diet related and yep I've been in that boat.  Literally would wake up from a sound sleep screaming because it felt like something was stabbing me or trying to tear my calf off.  Literally.  Trying to touch the leg it was in was a big mistake and only made it worse so I had to just sit there and wait it out.  

I started eating bananas every morning and drinking more OJ since the doc said that would help.  Other things like broccoli, cantaloupe, pears, lima beans, spinach and halibut were on the list of foods I was given so I had some variation.  Haven't had it happen in a really long time so hopefully that nightmare won't come back. 


It could be a lack of potassium, and there are other ways to get potassium than eating a banana. -foods-list-of-foods-high-in-potassium.html

I had always heard 1) potassium and 2) dehydration.

I'll offer two more potential causes:

3) magnesium - that's what it is for me - I now take a chelated cal-mag supplement.

4) exercise - even if you aren't doing anything crazy at night, working a weak muscle can cause it to cramp. Solution? Strengthen it by working it more.

Hey --

I had a huge cramp on my left leg this morning as well.  I was sleeping with my sister last night, because she has A/C, and I woke up hollering and pulling her hair by mistake! Ha ha ha -- not nice!

Anyways, yes I think it could be your potassium, last year I had low potassium levels for undereating.  I also became very dehydrated.  It could be that your not eating drinking enough water and/or your potassium levels are low.  Last year when this happened to me they recommended I eat 2 bananas a day and drink lots of gatorade to increase potassium, and drink lots of water.  But if I was you, I'd get my blood tested, to confirm.  You don't want too high amounts of potassium either.

As for my I have no Idea why I had my cramp.  I ate 2 bananas everyday last week (was on my feet everyday - no time really to eat) and I drank lots of water.  So I don't know.  But good luck! 


Try keeping a bottle of TUMs handy, they're frequently a good quick fix for cramps, also magnesium, potassium should be checked, Mylanta is a magnesium OTC.  Quinine (sp?) water also works for many people.

i agree with the above posters.   but have a quick fix for when it happens.  if it's your calf, grab your big toe.  sounds stupid, works for me every time.   I get them in the am if i went out drinking the night before (dehydration) and i just grab my big toe (from the front) and it stretches it out and kills the pain almost instantly in my case.


good luck! hope it doesn't happen again!!

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Ouch. had those before. Mine was in my calf, I woke up screaming (not a good thing when it's 2AM and your parents are sleeping in the room right next to yours)

For me, it was just a low-electrolyte thing- too much sweat, not enough hydration and electrolytes. Just make sure you keep hydrated!(potassium isn't the ONLY necessary electrolyte, by the way, you could have been deficient in something else).

I get those cramps in my calves every so often...sometimes in my toes.  My version of the cramp feels like the muscle is pulling in one direction (the painful one) and my remedy is to force the muscle in the opposite direction.  For example, if it is making me extend my foot, I force my leg to flex it.  The opposing force mkes it feel better and eventually go away.  Sometimes, like superbex said, you might need to grab a toe to help with that.  I can usually do it by sheer will power and strength.

I don't know what causes mine because I still get them now when I am drinking tons of water and getting plenty of potassium.  Usually they occur when I have been sleeping in one position for a while and then I stretch out...and the calf apparently gets stuck in stretch mode.

TEMPORARY CURE.   OK, this is your lucky day, because I found a way around the pain if you get a cramp. Hold your leg straight, grab your toes or front of foot and pull it towards you.  By the way, if possible, try to relax when you do this, it helps.  Keep holding it that way for some time, only letting go lightly to see if the cramp has subsided.

Hi all just joined the group and was surprised when it said I was low in pottasium, dont like bananas and dont drink a lot of water but I will be because I have had terrible cramp in my calf so I have started drinking lots of water, and am going to up my intake of potassium rich foods, if I hadnt have looked on this site I would have gone on in pain, have made an appointment to see the Doc as well. cheers all.x

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