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Soap Sock Solved Foot Twitches

A reader with restless leg syndrome discovered to her delight that putting soap in her socks made her unpleasant foot twitches disappear.

Restless leg syndrome can be extremely annoying. In this condition, people who are lying in bed or sitting still have an irresistible urge to move the legs. This can lead to foot twitches as well as more noticeable jerks involving the entire leg. Both the sufferer and his or her bed partner may become sleep deprived as a consequence.

Doctors prescribe medicines such as pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinorole (Requip) and transdermal rotigotine (Neupro). These medications act like the neurotransmitter dopamine. They can be helpful. Troublesome side effects might prompt a doctor to switch a patient’s medication, however (Chung et al, Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, July 2017). Is there a remedy that might help?

Soap for Foot Twitches:

Q. I read your column about putting a bar of soap under the sheet for leg cramps. I suffer from restless leg syndrome [RLS] 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 nasty 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 the sock on the foot with foot twitches.

It worked! I now use my “soap sock” regularly when I feel the least tingle of RLS.

A. Thanks for your soapy sock story. You are not the first person to tell us that soap sometimes helps restless leg syndrome.

Kathryn reported:

“Two nights ago I tried this AND IT WORKS!!! No cramps and no restless legs. I have had cramps for years at night and just recently, restless legs. I’m a convert!”

DH is also a fan:

“The bar of soap in my sock at night stops the restless leg problem, helps with the tendinitis I sometime suffer from the Achilles heel problem I have on one foot. I don’t know why it works, but it does.”

Clare was desperate for relief from RLS:

“I was desperate – my RSL comes in waves. Then it will subside and come back after a month or two. The last week it was pure misery. I could not stop that gnawing & pulling sensation in my leg muscles. I was ready to try anything.

“Searched the web and found this suggestion about the bar of soap. Don’t laugh, but last night I put three bars of soap under the sheet where my feet and legs are. WHAT A MIRACLE.”

“Don’t ask why or how. No one knows. But I can tell you IT TOTALLY WORKED! Slept blissfully. NO MORE RESTLESS LEGS!!!”

“Hooray for whoever it was that figured this out. Simple. Cheap. Safe. And most of all, it works!”

What About the Lump in the Bed?

Not everyone benefits as well as these folks. In fact, some folks tell us that soap is totally useless for RLS…though of course you can always use it in the shower to stay clean. One advantage to using soap in socks or under the sheet is that there is no danger of overdose as there is with the prescription drugs (Cardon-Dunbar et al, Journal of Medical Toxicology, online May 25, 2017).

We have developed two products to make soap in bed or in your socks a little bit easier. One is “Bed Soap.” It is a flatter bar of soap that is hardly noticeable under your bottom sheet. It also has more soap than your average bar soap and it has a little lavender scent to enhance sleepiness.

The other is “Leg Soap.” So you don’t have to worry about cutting up or “shaving” your soap to put in your socks, we have done it for you. The leg soap product has dozens of small, pre-cut soap chips that easily fit in socks conveniently. You will also find a fragrance that we think is not only pleasant but may be responsible for the actual effectiveness of the soap against cramps or RLS. Do let us know if either product works for you.

Here is a link to more information about Bed Soap and Leg Soap.

Revised 6/15/17

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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