Q. I suffer with severe cramps in my toes and legs when I am in bed. Soap under the sheet made no difference, but a friend suggested glycerin instead.
I found a bottle at Walmart, and it is the best $3.88 I’ve ever spent. I put a few drops on my toes at bedtime and sleep peacefully all night long.
A. Glycerin is a clear liquid used as a lubricating ingredient in soap or other personal care products. You are not the first reader to report that it helps prevent cramps. Here is another story:
I was troubled with severe leg cramps an hour or two after going to bed on the days when I’d exercised on the rowing machine. Then I read that people get relief by placing a bar of soap under the under the bed sheet near the legs. It worked, but the effectiveness of the soap seemed to diminish over time.
I wondered what might disappear from an ordinary soap bar. The one ingredient I could think of was glycerin. So I bought a bottle of it at the drugstore and tried rubbing some on the skin over my leg muscles, much like applying a moisturizing lotion. I found this eliminated cramping.
I even experimented by leaving one leg untreated; ouch, it cramped! Glycerin has been working for me about a year now. Perhaps others might find it as effective and more convenient than positioning soap bars in bed.
This experimental approach is interesting, even though it is an “n of 1.” Your anecdotal experience suggests that possibly others would also benefit from trying glycerin to prevent nighttime leg cramps. We suggest several other possibilities in our Guide to Leg Pain.