The People's Perspective on Medicine

Leg Soap for Bursitis, Cramps, Knees & RLS

We have been collecting some amazing soap stories over the last few years, but the ones below are more impressive than most:

“For several years now I have been putting a bar of soap in my bed under the top sheet for leg cramps. This works almost immediately and the cramps are gone.
“You and your readers might find this hard to believe but it is true. For almost a year now, I have had severe pain in my left leg from my waist to my ankle and this is only at night (an MRI indicated bursitis). Most nights I would have to get up between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and get in my recliner because the pain kept me from sleeping.
“Late one night when the pain was so bad, I thought about the soap and wondered if it could possibly help with the pain. I put a bar of soap next to the hip/thigh area where the pain started and within minutes the pain stopped! I couldn’t believe it!
“For several months now, I have done this every night and can finally get a good night’s sleep with NO PAIN! I told a friend who has back and hip pain about this and he tried it and was surprised when it worked for him, too. It’s hard to believe this works but my husband is my witness.”
Thank you,
Lynda H.

“For some reason, for the last two years my knees have ached terribly when I lie down in bed. I have NO pain at all when standing, walking or sitting – just lying down. I figure it’s some kind of arthritis, but really don’t know what is causing it.
“Your soap remedy kept popping up in your newsletter, so six months ago I finally decided to try it for my knees. It was amazing! In one night, the pain was totally gone.
“On vacation, I spent a few nights in another bed with no soap & guess what – knees ached again. So I bring my soap with me now. I replace it every time I need a new bar in the shower.
“I won’t leave home or sleep without it! Thank you for all your wonderful tips!”


“I read your column about putting a bar of soap under sheet for leg cramps. I suffer from restless leg syndrome in one leg only, usually when I am very tired. Nothing helps. I have tried calcium, stretching, etc. I just have to wait it out.
“Recently during one episode, I remembered the soap and thought if it helped cramps, it might help RLS. I was sitting in my recliner, so I took a piece of bath soap, put it in a sock, and put it on my foot with the twitches. It worked! I now use my ‘soap sock’ regularly when I feel the least tingle of RLS.”

“A friend of my daughter’s suggested putting a bar of soap in my sock before going to bed at night. Needless to say I was VERY skeptical! I’ve been suffering from heel spurs to the point of barely being able to walk.
“My podiatrist prescribed Mobic and a shot which has had no effect. So….I tried the silly bar of soap. I woke up with a very slight amount of pain. Had I not tried it, I would have NEVER believed it!
“I’m going to be sleeping with soap from now on. What do I have to lose? Pain! Try it!”


“How do you keep a bar of soap in your socks and not have it become uncomfortable? How can you keep soap in along with your foot? I am asking because I have heel pain and am trying for heels (both feet) not to hurt.”

This is precisely why we created/designed “Leg Soap.” These small-sized soap chips fit comfortably inside socks. No smashing, shaving or crushing soap is necessary. Just pull a soap chip or two out of our box and away you go…to sleep, on a walk, during a car or airplane trip. You will also discover a “flat” bar of soap we call “Bed Soap” that is not uncomfortable in bed with you.
Here are links to “Leg Soap” and “Bed Soap.”
Have you experienced any relief from soap for your bursitis, leg cramps, arthritis pain or restless leg syndrome (RLS)? Has soap been an abysmal failure?
We would love to hear your story regardless. Share your comment below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Does anyone know if it helps for plantar fasciitis?

I started putting soap under my hip at night for bursitis after another reader wrote in about success with it. I too wake up during the night and can’t go back to sleep due to pain from hip to foot. Unbearable pain that pain meds don’t touch. The soap is a miracle! I sleep all night with no pain. My question is about your leg and bed soap. I am allergic to fragrance. Do you have a soap that is fragrance free or know of one-flat like yours-that is?

I am interested in trying the ivory soap cure for restless legs. Could you please tell me where you put it in the bed? At the bottom by your feet or at the top by your head? Thanks

We put the soap under the bottom sheet. Stays in place better and no danger of putting it in the washing machine.

My friend, a nurse, told me about this remedy with soap at the bottom of your bed about 6 years ago and said to use any soap except Dial or Dove. I have used Ivory ever since and the severe charley horses in my feet and legs subsided and I have not had any problems in 6 years. It may take a few weeks or months for the remedy to work completely. I recommend this for anyone experiencing muscle cramps!

cherries help with arthritis pain … hands and fingers also ginger, cinnamon and any anti inflammatory fruit, herb or supplement will work… some better than others. For me, the cherries work very well. ALSO TRY to eat and drink alkaline foods and alkaline water. I was not able to eat spicy foods or fried foods the last few years, and I started drinking alkaline water… now I don’t have problems when I eat fry foods (they are not good for me but I love them and eat them once a month.) I am not sure if it will work for everyone.

amazing, just tried soap with very bad hand and finger cramp, noting else has worked. thanks

That person with a jaw pain should be VERY careful. It could be a symptom of a heart attack for women!

Try soap with any of your leg pains. I had 6 weeks of hyperbaric oxygen treatments where I had to lay in a tube for at least 45 min. Decided to just rub the bar of soap on the calfs of my legs to control cramps. Worked like a charm. Please try soap – it works for me.

Find your Leg Soap comments very helpful. Thank you Peoples Pharmacy.

For any type of foot or leg cramps, I squeeze the area between my nose and upper lip — it works!

I am wondering if the soap thing works on cold burning toes

Why are people so frightened to try this? It’s free and won’t hurt you in any way. I have RLS and have been sleeping with Ivory soap under the top sheet for years now. It also keeps cramps at bay. I put a new bar in the bed and take the used one into the shower as needed. We were in hotel one night and I wondered why I couldn’t sleep while my feet jiggled all over the place. Realized I needed some soap, so I used the hotel soap which worked just fine. When we travel I always remember to remove the soap in the morning so the maid won’t think we’re weird or something!! Have also found that perfumey soaps work wonders and last longer too. I love getting skeptics to try this. They smirk until it works and I get thanked quite a bit. Thanks to you for this idea that has made like nicer in a small but important way.

I’d love to hear from a scientist on my question: Could this have anything to do, at all, with off-gassing mattresses? Could there be something in the soap that is counter-acting the effects of chemicals in the mattresses? It may sound far-fetched, but since so many people have the trouble at night and not in the daytime, could it stand to reason that there’s something about the bed that is the problem? at least for some people? Maybe future letter-writers could tell us what type of mattress they sleep on….could be interesting.

How about sudden (when sitting or lying down) painful curling of the toes? Know of any cause? Would soap therapy minimize this reflex action?

Have you heard of this remedy helping with other night time pain such as shoulder or jaw pain?

Usually with leg cramps I’ll rub some arnica oil on the site and the pain will go away but while out of town and without my remedy I was struck with a terribly painful cramp in my outer ankle. Thinking of the soap cure, I rubbed the dampened bar of hotel soap on the painful area of my ankle and the cramp disappeared. I’m a believer.

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