Calf pain cramps at night can make you miserable. In the middle of night when you are sleeping and its not more than an hour or so that you fell asleep, you suddenly feel a severe cramp in your calf or calves. You realize that you are half awake and sometimes moaning in pain! These are the charlie horses cramps or the cramps in calf at night.
What are Nocturnal Calf Cramps?
What Causes Cramps in calf at Night?
While doctors are still not sure about the exact causes of leg cramps at night, there are many reasons stated by them on the basis of patients who sometimes have fluid imbalance or a vitamin deficiency in their bodies. Some studies, however, link nocturnal calf cramps with increased electrical activity in the affected leg muscles, but doctors still don’t know what causes nocturnal leg cramps. In some cases, calf cramps at night may be caused by a fluid imbalance or a vitamin deficiency. Apart from these main speculative causes of calves cramps, there are many other causes cited as responsible for these cramps at night.
Overused and strained calf muscle. You might have tried a new exercise or overdone some of the exercises that strain your calf muscles.
Injury to Achilles Tendonitis tendon. Pain due to some injury to Achilles tendon which joins the calf muscles with the heel might also intensify your calf cramps at night. This type of leg pain often will extend itself to the heels where the Achilles tendon is situated.
Remedies for Nocturnal Calf Cramps
Lay down on your back and extend both your legs.
Take a rolled up towel and wrap it around the ball of your foot.
Keeping your leg straight, pull your toes towards yourself. You will feel the stretch at the back of your legs.
Take your foot up and then down keeping your leg straight. Repeat this without stopping. You should not hold the stretch. Keep doing this for about 2 minutes.
Repeat the entire process with the other leg.
See this Calf Pain Rehab Video to get idea about how to stretch calf muscles to get relief from calf strain.
You can also do a simple calf stretching exercise daily for three times.
- You have to stand against a wall with your hands placed at wall infront of your chest.
- Keep one of your leg at a distance of one feet from the wall.
- Keep the other leg at a distance of two to three feet from the wall (see image below).
- Take it far from wall till you feel a stretch in your leg.
- Hold for 1-2 minutes in this position.
- Repeat with the other leg.
If you get calf cramps at night, almost every night, you should consult your physician to identify the cause. If its a badly pulled calf muscle, it would need treatment which include medicines and physical therapy with deep tissue massage and gentle stretching exercises. If its an injury involving severe rupture in your calf muscles, you might have to go for a surgery too. Varicose veins can be treated with compression bandage and crtain exercises.
Have optimum sleep.
Drink enough water.
If overweight, lose weight
If having medicines that cause your leg pain, see your doctor and resolve either by asking for alternative medicines or other ways suggested by your physician.
Quit smoking as it constricts the blood vessels giving you more cramps.
Follow a healthy lifestyle and have healthy foods rich in potassium. Bananas, grapes, beans, apricots, dates, raisins, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, potatoes, corn, saltwater fish like tuna, all are good sources of potassium and other required minerals. Diabetics should avoid bananas, they can have coconut water instead.
Do regular calf muscle exercises so that your calf muscles get strong and flexible.