When most people think of muscle cramps what comes to mind are leg cramps. That’s because a “Charlie horse” can be super painful. The muscles in your legs are long and strong and when those muscles contract, especially in the middle of the night, the pain can be excruciating.

But there’s another kind of muscle cramp that can also be incapacitating. Hand cramps can be incredibly painful. Here are just a few descriptors from visitors to our website:

“My fingers get distorted and close up to the point of me having to pry them loose. The muscle between my thumb and my forefinger hurts all the way up to my elbow.” Teresa


“I have the same problem my fingers distort and I have to pry them open and it hurts up to the elbow.  Any ideas please?” Andy


“I don’t know what to do. Most all the time I have cramps in my right hand and fingers, day and night. Please help me.”


A professional fisherman was the person who alerted us to a possible “cure” for hand cramps. He would put in long hours on the water reeling in big fish after big fish. The constant strain on his hands often left him in agony at the end of the day.

When the hand cramps became unbearable he remembered a remedy he heard about on The People’s Pharmacy radio show for leg cramps, ie, putting a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near the feet. He figured, if it can work for leg cramps, why not hand cramps. The rest is history! Read some stories below. The first is from the wife of another fisherman:

“I read your article about using soap in the bed for leg cramps. It really works. My husband had leg cramps for years since he is a fisherman and on his feet 18 hours a day. They brought tears to his eyes, although he is very stoic. He’s had no more leg cramps since we started putting soap under the bottom sheet.

“We were playing cards the other night and he got cramps in his hands, holding the cards, as he sometimes does. I got a bar of soap and put it in his hand. Within a minute the pain subsided. He held the bar for about 10 minutes and the cramp never came back. Now we keep a bar of soap near where we play cards.”


“My left hand was cramping badly, my fingers twisting and enduring a scarcely bearable pain. I googled ‘hand cramps’ and found your page and just now tried the bar of soap ‘cure.’ 
Amazing! It worked within 2 minutes and the cramp hasn’t yet returned (quarter of an hour ago)
. What an indispensable tip.
 Thanks to all contributors at PeoplesPharmacy.com.” R.W.


“Everyone is right about the soap. It really does work. I was really skeptical about that, until my mom was cramping in both her hands. She does dialysis three days a week and sometimes she cramps afterwards, so I was looking for something to help her with those hand and leg cramps and I couldn’t believe it when she said that the cramps stopped. Thank you for the home remedy.” I. Bll


“My hands cramp like a birds foot drawn by a string. The hands from a scoop shape sand the pain although bearable lasts a long time. I tried the soap, it seems to have done the trick.” JMD


“I don’t know why this works, but the cramps let up right away. I also popped a couple of tums with magnesium. I notice worse cramps when I don’t get my bananas in. This is a great emergency fix, as I couldn’t even move my fingers. Thanks!” Susan


“I always use any kind of bar soap for any cramps, hands, elbow, arms, legs and so does my daughter. It always works usually within a minute. I also eat bananas and calcium citrate.
But the soap always works. Soap is better.” Lala


Share your own soap story below, whether you hold soap in your hand for hand cramps, put soap in your bed for leg cramps or try soap chips in your socks for restless leg syndrome (RLS) we would like to learn about your experience. Speaking of soap chips, shaving soap is not always easy or fun. That’s why we “invented” People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap. Here’s just one story:

“A friend told me about the soap chip trick when I mentioned the debilitating thigh and calf cramps I had on my last plane ride and was afraid to fly again.
“I used Irish Spring soap under my sheets and my foot (broken foot bones with post arthritis), ankle, calf and hip bursitis pain is all gone. I am astonished!
“I ordered the The People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap from The People’s Pharmacy Store and put the small ones in my socks for a long plane flight. I experienced no cramping or discomfort.  Previously I used leg cramp pills and general pain medicine still with severe leg cramps on and after the plane trip.
“P.S. My internist is skeptical and although she says she has many patients with this problem, I doubt she will advise them of this ‘grandma’s remedy’…Too bad.” J.G.F.


Should you wish to try Leg Soap or Bed Soap, here is a link to our Body Care products, including Bed Soap, Leg Soap, Pomegranate Natural Lip Care, not to mention Aluminum-Free MoM (milk of magnesia) Roll-On Deodorant.

Please do let us know how any of these products work, especially soap for hand cramps, leg cramps or whatever hurts!

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  1. Pat
    Honolulu, HI
    Reply

    Wow! Whoda thunk soap and/or pickle juice would eliminate cramps? When my first hand cramp occurred, I was at movie theatre so I couldn’t run out and buy a bar of soap. Maybe I’ll need to carry a portable sized bar in my purse in case it happens again. Has everyone who’s tried this remedy only used regular bar soap, e.g. Ivory, Irish Spring, etc. or does soap from, say, the Body Shop work?
    Thank you, everyone, for opening my eyes to a new non-drug-related remedy to cramps.

  2. Freya
    Reply

    Absolutely fabulous. Thank you, thank you thank you. 3 minutes; problem with fingers solved.

  3. Harold Goodell
    Martinez Calif 9455
    Reply

    It’s working !!

  4. Gordon H.
    Dallas
    Reply

    I was skeptical about the soap and hand cramp remedy. But after suffering with finger and had cramps the past two days I thought, why not!
    I held a fresh bar of Irish Spring in each hand and 2 minutes later the cramps were gone!! Have not returned, so far so good, 18 minutes has gone by.

  5. William F.
    Drumheller Alberta
    Reply

    I get leg cramps and hand cramps which I take Quinine Capsules for but I tried the bar of soap on the hands and it worked and am going to try on the legs. I would like to ease up on the Quinine if possible. Here is hoping.

  6. Robetta
    Lad.Vegad, Nv
    Reply

    I don’t quite understand how putting the bar of soap at the bottom of your bed helps. I guess something in the soap, maybe the lye is beneficial. However being the soap is under the sheet, how is it it reaches your legs? Also, why not directly place the soap near your aching joints?

  7. Mandy
    Tn
    Reply

    Thanks! I started working at a factory where I use my hands a lot more than what I’m use to. I tried using a bar of soap on my hands and I couldn’t believe it worked!!!

  8. stanley
    Reply

    I would wake up in the morning with my fist in a tight fist and had to force my hand to open, I began to place my hand under my pillow while I slept keeping my fingers straight and this worked for me. On occasions while working with my tools my fingers cramp up, so I will try the soap idea and see if it will work for me, it is cheaper than maybe trying medication.

  9. j.w.
    Reply

    I must join the chorus of happy people who have tried the soap for cramping. We have been using a bar of soap at the foot of our bed for probably 5 years, since we saw it on People’s Pharmacy. My husband used to have to get out of bed he had such bad leg cramps. They went away with the soap solution and have never come back unless we are away from home and don’t have our bar of soap. I just got an idea! I have been having trouble with my feet hurting in most of my shoes. I am going to try putting chips of soap under the insole or in my sock and just see if it will help. I am excited to try it.

  10. spring542
    Reply

    I suffered foot & calf cramps until I started using soap at the foot of my bed. It works like a miracle. I too was having problems with a finger on each hand which was bent into a locked position. I could pry them back up which was painful to do, but they wouldn’t stay unlocked. After being off statins for a couple of months, they went back to normal. I haven’t had any problem since with my fingers.

  11. Donnie
    Reply

    I have a small flat piece from a bar of Grandma’s Lye Soap that I put in my sock when I get leg, foot or toe cramps. The cramps let up fairly soon.

  12. RJ
    Reply

    Thanks for the tip I do have leg and hand cramps, anxious to try the soap. Pickle juice also works well (couple of tea spoons).

  13. Marilynn M.
    Reply

    I believe the soap hold his hand in a position that keeps it relaxed enough to relieve the pain.
    I too have hand problems at night, but I have a different solution. I take a bunched up part of my blanket in my hand, just as you would the bar of soap. It relaxes my hand and the pain goes away. If I let go for some reason, the pain comes back, and I can feel the tension in my hand. Put it around the blanket bunch again, a voila! no more tension or pain. Try it. It works!

  14. JMH
    Reply

    I believe you wonderful folks brought this to our attention a few years ago and I don’t remember ever reading a listener/reader post a negative comment after trying the soap. Don’t you think there should be a huge study done to find out what other positive possibilities are awaiting recognition on the topic of “soap”? We don’t know what we don’t know. By the way, my husband and I are great fans of you two and we are quite faithful to hearing your radio show, “The People’s Pharmacy” on Public Radio each week. Seven o’clock (am) where we are on Saturday morning. Great to stay relaxed with your show and a cup of coffee or tea while listening and appreciating the wonderful guests/experts you invite from our own and many other countries. Jean and Zeke
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
    Jean and Zeke,
    Thank you so very much for your kind words and loyal support. We are so grateful to all our radio listeners. Many public radio stations do not carry The People’s Pharmacy, so we are hopeful that visitors who read your comments will contact their own NPR stations and request the show. It is free to all NPR stations!
    For those who would like to listen but may not have access to the live show, there is always the free podcast. Here is a link to subscribe:
    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/podcast/faq.php

  15. JR
    Reply

    My leg and hand cramps have ceased since I began taking Magneusium Phos. 30 C (a homeopathic medicine)every morning, letting a dose of small pellets dissolve under my tongue before I eat any food. I don’t know if we are allowed to mention the source, so I won’t. But I get it online.

  16. LW
    Reply

    I had my fingers lock up for years to the point I had to manually straighten them out bringing tears to my eyes. I’m a flower gardener and also a landscape painter so repeatedly used my hands. I learned to sleep with one under the edge of my pillow to keep it straightened out, take Magnesium supplements and put soap under my sheets/pillow. No more cramps.

  17. Rick
    Reply

    I concur 100% – my whole family including my father uses a bar of soap in bed. Since we started to do this about 3 to 4 years ago we no longer have cramps. Prior to the soap in bed trick we had tried everything.

  18. alxzba
    Reply

    will appreciate receiving comments on the soap. Thanks

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