Learn home remedies to treat nighttime leg cramps.

Join Over 55,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Agni M
    Reply

    Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes as well, and in most cases, has far less sugar, and rarely contains high fructose corn syrup. Excellent way to prevent muscle cramps.

  2. Ruth
    Reply

    To avoid leg/toe/thigh leg cramps, I must not take Tylenol, any acetaminophen products as well, and aspirin, even low-dose aspirin. I have found, too, that red wine at night will often given me a cramp and last night, I tried valerian to enhance sleep. It got me up 5 times with leg cramps. Any idea why?

  3. Wayne L.
    Reply

    This remedy for leg cramps was given to me by a saltwater fisherman in Quebec. He skippered a longliner boat in commercial fishing and worked long hours at sea. The remedy he used for leg cramps was to drink a small amount of saltwater. I tried it with table salt and it works- like right now!! About a teaspoonful of salt in a small glass of water and the cramp is gone. Then flush with an additional glass of water to dilute the saltiness.

  4. H.J.
    Reply

    Suggestion for RLS sufferers:
    Do not eat RAW onions past lunch time. The only time I get this sensation and sleepless nights is if I eat raw onions at dinner.
    As for the cramps, I’ll try anything that won’t kill me. I think the only suggestions here I haven’t tried, yet, are the soap and the yellow mustard.

  5. Gerry
    Reply

    I never thought men could have trouble in their legs to the point of getting cramps. Thanks for the information.

  6. JF
    Reply

    A miracle cure for me is V8 juice…. Just a small can once a day did the trick for me… Now, after a few years of this, I drink it sporadically—one small can each week or sometimes every two weeks… but it works….

  7. JW
    Reply

    For the cramps in my legs and toes, I hobble to the kitchen and put 2 T of VINEGAR (white, apple cider, etc. whatever I grab first) and put in a small 4-8oz glass of water and drink. Yuck! but it takes the cramps away within 60 secs. Perhaps the vinegar in the mustard is what works.
    I also now take Calcium and Vit D and have not had cramps.

  8. tom g
    Reply

    I have leg cramps occasionally at night… don’t want to read a lot of testimonials!! Need help now! Anybody listening????
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: TRY YELLOW MUSTARD OR A SWALLOW OF PICKLE JUICE.

  9. fh
    Reply

    I suffer from leg cramps and for a while the bar of soap helped but does no longer. I have also tried eating mustard with no good results. What else would you suggest to help me?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: TRY PICKLE JUICE.
    ALSO, THE SOAP NEEDS TO BE CHANGED FROM TIME TO TIME.

  10. Sandy
    Reply

    Had a chance to try the soap under the bottom sheet recently after walking the entire 4 mile strip at Las Vegas. It was a hot day, I had improper walking shoes and 3/4 of the way I had a severe leg cramp, which I was able to walk out. That night the small cake of soap did the trick, but probably the 2 bananas and OJ helped also to prevent legs cramps.

  11. SLK
    Reply

    I have had severe cramps in my legs since I was a teenager. I found that a can of V8 juice stopped my leg cramps. They juice irritated my stomach, so I started taking Vitamin C, Potassium, and vitamin A which are listed on the label. I’ve had no cramps since.

  12. noo
    Reply

    Instead of using a new bar of soap for RLS, I use old used ones. Works fine for me & it’s not big, lumpy, uncomfortable & it’s nice to “recycle.”

  13. CMH
    Reply

    I have RLS. I took Quinnine pills for years, untill they were banned!. I take Ropinole for the condition. I feel these pills make me sleepy and dizzy during the daytime but I need to sleep! I’m trying the soap under the sheet now, but don’t know if it does any good. I’m fine all day – legs only gets restless at night when I lay down.

  14. D. G.
    Reply

    I find it so weird that the minute I am in a prone position in my bed, the terrible foot/leg cramps start. Does it have something to do with the weight being off your feet? I used to think it had do with wearing heels, but I get the excruciating cramps in my feet, no matter what. They went away for awhile and are back… I can’t figure out what I’m doing differently. What is the science behind foot and leg cramps? Soap doesn’t work for me. Almost scalding water sometimes “breaks the cramp”; I’ve recently tried mustard… it did help; I plan on trying tonic water and Ben-Gay; Thanks for all your great info.

  15. Steve P
    Reply

    I passed the info about the bar of soap to my wife who suffered terribly with night time leg cramps. When she used the bar of soap the cramps miraculously abated. She also uses it for her hands etc.
    I asked if she had passed the information to her friends and got this response. “What do people do when they see a UFO? They typically hide the information because people would think they’re “nuts”.” This is a perfect example! REALITY WITHOUT REASON!

  16. jbe
    Reply

    Re: RLS mustard:
    How and how much yellow mustard do you use? One comment said they take 1 Tbsp. Eaten? On bread or what? JBE

  17. q.w.w
    Reply

    I get up and take 2 full teaspoons of yellow mustard, within a minute my toes uncurl and my muscles relax… my mother used that remedy too.

  18. Cindy B.
    Reply

    For the person who feels that might have gout – some have had relief from eating a tablespoon of celery seed. I read once WHY it works but have forgotten the science behind it.

  19. Jane C.
    Reply

    I sent for you pamphlet on leg cramps several years ago. My husband is woken up with leg cramps. He tried the soap… no good. Yellow mustard did the trick. When he gets them, a tablespoon of yellow mustard eases the cramp almost immediately. Told my sister-in-law and she was amazed how well it works. Since mustard contains turmeric, my husband tried turmeric to prevent the cramps… it did not work. I must add that both my husband and sister-in-law are very overweight.

  20. PG
    Reply

    I have been plagued with leg cramps for several years now. I have a bar of soap under my sheet and keep it there. I change it every 3-6 months and usually it does help a lot. Lately Ive had terrible pain around the front of my ankles, down my instep and into my great toe ( mostly in the left foot, rarely the right ). I’m beginning to think I have gout, as the pain is so severe, waking me up many times at night.
    Strangely I don’t get this pain during the day. I have gotten into the habit of bringing a bottle of Tonic water to bed with me as it does help the leg cramps (quinnine) but not the toe pain.
    I’ve spoken to a doctor regarding this and he mentioned several medications he can give me, but I need to have some lab work done first. Is there anything I can do to lesson this pain in the mean time? I’ve gotten where I don’t even want to go to bed at night anymore. Thanks so much. PG
    —————————————————————————-
    Also wanted to mention I had a terrible time with diarrhea many, many times a day for several years, tried the macaroons and though they worked, I HATE coconut. I started taking one (1) Probiotic a day in the morning, and it has been about 90-95% better. I asked 3 different doctors what I could do about this problem prior to taking the probiotics and got NOTHING from any of them. How sad that none of them thought of adding good bacteria to my flora, when it was so simple, rather cheap and a miracle for me. I love your column keep the great information coming. PG

  21. VMS
    Reply

    I have found that if I take calcium and magnesium it alleviates leg cramps.

  22. jerry n.
    Reply

    Here’s another vote for Yellow Mustard:
    Maybe 2 years ago I read in your newspaper article of a man advocating the use of yellow mustard. I have been using this remedy ever since. I have full leg cramps from my buttocks to my toes and in both legs at night.
    The label on the yellow mustard contains: distilled vinegar, water, #1 grade mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, and spices. This mustard is packed with interesting things notably the mustard seed, turmeric, paprika, spices so there is no wonder it has a therapeutic effect, I think mustard has gone under the medical radar.

  23. Helen
    Reply

    For years I suffered from painful “charlie horses” on the back of my legs. Don’t know how or when I discovered that Bengay works to remedy this symptom. It seems that the heat from the Bengay relaxes the muscle and the “charlie horse” disappears. I have used this remedy for years (27+) and it has never failed.

  24. FFS
    Reply

    I HAD RLS FOR YEARS. IVORY SOAP BETWEEN THE SHEETS ACTUALLY WORKS. MY WIFE PUT THE SOAP IN OUR BED WITHOUT TELLING ME, AND I HAVEN’T HAD A SLEEPLESS NIGHT SINCE. THIS RELIEF HAS GONE ON FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW.

  25. Gerry O'Malley
    Reply

    Leg cramps are enough of a problem for me that I tried to figure out something to do to deal with them when they occur. I have found that if I bend my toes as far up as I can, that this relieves the cramp almost instantly. I also gain relief by rubbing very firmly up my calf, from ankle to knee. The rubbing is effective, but stretching my toes is much quicker relief for me.
    My grandson also experienced leg cramps. When I pushed down on his toes, putting them as much to 90 degrees to his foot as possible, he too felt instant relief of the cramp pain.
    Perhaps the bar of soap might PREVENT the cramps–but if I can continue to get instant, non-pharmaceutical relief from stretching and pushing on my toes, I’ll continue to favor the lump-free sleep!
    Love your show!
    Keep up the good work!
    Best Regards,
    Gerry O’Malley

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.