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Severe Cramping of Leg Muscles & Feet

lenora

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Hello Everyone.....Lately I've been having trouble with severe cramps in my calves and feet. It originally started in my calves and I have no idea why my feet are now involved.

I've been hospitalized with serious matters, each one different, 6 times in the past 8 mos. I don't know if it has anything to do with the drugs I was given in the hosp., or just what.

I know I have problems with electrolyte imbalances and have been working on that. I was told I had too much water during the day (including tea) and was to keep it at 32 ozs. That's not very much liquid in a hot, hot climate. Besides, I'd been doing the larger amount for 40 some years without this occurring. Anyway, the consensus was that I had Autimmune Encephalitis, which also causes seizures ... real humdingers, apparently. I did break my arm by falling 6" thanks to one of them.

OK, my question is this: I was told that sodium was the electrolyte out of balance, so of course I upped that again in spite of having extremely high BP in the late afternoon and evening, and then dropping to an outstandingly low no. in the a.m. It used to be low all the time, but then menopause changed all that.

I'm quite petite, but have put on 24 lbs. thanks for the meds. Any way around this? I have to be on keppra for another year at least. This seems to be the culprit and yes, a diuretic was prescribed. I was doing so well as I have 3 neurological issues, all serious, some involving brain surgery, and spinal cord surgery, tethered cord syndrome and discs problems among them. I don't allow myself to dwell on everything wrong with me; am realistic, but to be honest I couldn't deal with a major surgery again now anyway.

What I would ask from you is your ideas concerning the leg cramps. Needless to say, I'm getting no sleep whatsoever and I'm fighting so many problems. Oh, yes, I now have 5 stents due to a heart that has damage, so there's that also. This is all in one tiny body, but a fierce personality that seems to reach up and fight things off...often without me even knowing it. It's called tenacity. I'm in constant pain and that's probably my biggest complaint after the lack of sleep. I've lived this way for 32+ years and no, I realize there won't be any changes. My neuro has tried me on every sleeping pills and supplement imaginable. I realize that I'll have to live with it, there was damage to the sleep center of the brain prior to my brain surgery, but it seems that everything's ganging up on me at one time. It's too much at times, and in between I'm my usual happy self and nothing really gets me down. I have the support of my husband my daughters, but they have their own lives and I want them to have them. I certainly don't want them showing up at the hospital all the time, wasting their time sitting on the highway and the other spending money for an emergency ticket to Dallas. I did almost die in January when I was admitted, so that was the closes call I've had. The congestive heart failure in April wasn't exactly a walk in the park, but I handled it. I'm fine, recovering but fine. I was told on Monday that I suffer from anemia, which is a laugh to have on top of ME. One wouldn't know if you feel worse in any event. Everything is a big deal, it seems and I'm tired of so much input from my doctors. Bless them, they try to help, but don't realize that help comes in the form of an entire package telling you exactly what to do. They try, and I'm lucky to have them.

Ok, any ideas about the cramps would be most welcome. Thank-you in advance. I hope you're all doing OK and that spring has brought a new round of enthusiasm to your lives. Yours, Lenora.
 
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Low sodium seems to be common among a subset of us. Adding too much sodium supplementation causes shooting pains and cramps in my legs and feet despite low blood sodium........
 

Wolfcub

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I am so sorry @lenora that you have so much pain and troubles to bear. And all the time you try to be so helpful and supportive for others. I wish I had a useful suggestion for your cramps, and am sorry I can't contribute enough to be much help to you.

Have you tried epsom salt baths? Some people say they do help muscle cramps.... (but that may not work for you -I don't know.)
I wish you well and send you my kind thoughts :hug:
 

lenora

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Hi Wolfcub.......Thanks for your kind thoughts. Yes, I've tried Epsom Salt baths, the mg. is supposed to be good for cramping, but they haven't done much good for me. I also have mg. creams, roll-ons and sprays....you know how it is to throw good money after bad! It's so elusive, I think (only think) it's tied up with the electrolyte imbalance but I don't know how.

I really don't have many more problems than a lot of people on here....it's when they all come to fruition together that I'm bothered. I have a Parkinson's med that's supposed to help with leg cramps BUT there's also literature indicating it can lead to Parkinson's. One doesn't know which direction to turn, and I'm a great believer in natural things first. But in this case......that's just not working out. Thanks again....and I truly hope that you're doing well. No sore throats or the like, we don't want that. Yours, Lenora.
 

lenora

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Low sodium seems to be common among a subset of us. Adding too much sodium supplementation causes shooting pains and cramps in my legs and feet despite low blood sodium........
Have you found a way to control this wigglethemouse? So, I've become a subset of a subset....at last I've achieved something in life !! Yours, Lenora.
 

Mary

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@lenora , I get cramping of my leg muscles and feet when I'm low in potassium. It happens like clockwork. You might try drinking some low-sodium V8 or other vegetable juice - several glasses - and see if that helps. The low-sodium kind is higher in potassium than regular V8.
 

lenora

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Oh Good, Mary, I'll ask Rod to pick some up and I'd be more than happy to give it a try. Anything to stop from being wide-awake an hr. after I've gone to bed (and I'm sleepy). Actually, I have some potassium caps that I may try. Yesterday I had two bananas and two oranges. It's all so hard to figure out. Thanks again. Yours, Lenora.
 
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Have you found a way to control this wigglethemouse?
@lenora , I get cramping of my leg muscles and feet when I'm low in potassium
Potassium doesn't solve the issue for me, and jury is still out to see if it helps. I cannot supplement oral magnesium without adding potassium though, so I know it's very easy to send electrolytes even further out of wack in my case.

@lenora I have not found a way to control this except for cutting down on the sodium, which is not ideal. Like you medical advice was to limit fluid intake, which is hard to do as that makes me feel worse.
 

Zebra

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Hello Everyone.....Lately I've been having trouble with severe cramps in my calves and feet. It originally started in my calves and I have no idea why my feet are now involved.
Hi @lenora!

First of all, I am sorry this is happening to you. Seems to me that you already have more than your fair share of maladies to bear!

I also experience cramping of the feet (especially in the arches) and cramping in my calves (tight as bricks).

Although I have not yet uncovered an underlying disease process that may be causing this, I have been able to ease my symptoms with a magnesium supplementation.

If you are having trouble keeping your electrolytes in balance, it is plausible that your magnesium is low, leading to cramping.

If your doctor is OK with it, you might try magnesium supplementation.

To initially get things under control I recall using a combo of high-dose magnesium and malic acid.

For maintenance I take a regular calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement with each meal, ensuring that I now only take the recommended daily allowance.

If you would like, I can go back through my records and see the brand name, dosage, etc. my doctor recommended when my cramping was at its worst. Just let me know.

My best regards,
Nina
 

Wishful

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If you try all the electrolyte balancing and other normal treatments for cramping, and none has any effect, it could possibly be due to ME messing up neurological signals. ME messes up some of my muscle control.

I just did a quick search for cramping due to neurological problems, and this seems like a useful paper: https://practicalneurology.com/articles/2019-aug-july/muscle-cramps

It also mentions mitochondrial dysfunction as a cause of cramps, which could also result from ME. It also explains some diagnostic procedures for figuring out why the cramps occur. Check it out, talk to your doctor, and maybe together you can figure out what treatments are best to try.

The paper's conclusions: "Cramps are an under-recognized treatable painful symptom that affects a large number of people across normal physiologic and neuromuscular, neurologic, and medical disease states. Clinical judgement should be used to fully evaluate possible treatable causes. A rational treatment plan includes pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic options."
 

lenora

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Hello Wishful, thanks for getting back to me. I did read the article in practicalneurology.com and found it quite interesting. My Dr.'s office called with some of the results of yesterday's blood tests. First off, have a low balance of sodium, which I find hard to understand, but is obviously correct. In order to balance the electrolytes properly, I'm going to need calcium, mg.,iron, sodium and a couple of other items. I can hardly wait to begin messing around with it all! (Again.... Anyway, I am concerned about even the low-sodium tomato juice (V8) being too high in salt with this grouping. I really have been trying to eat more potassium and sodium, so the sodium is really surprising me. Mary, could you kindly tell me if you suffer from high blood pressure at all? Mine runs both ways, and I do have to be careful about the upper end of it. Sometimes it reaches 300 or over and that's something that even the hosp. can't bring down. In all honesty, I think it has everything to do with my Arnold-Chiari Malformation and the damage that was done at that time. I'm probably the oldest one I know still alive with all these concurrent conditions, so there's very little room for comparison. If you hear of anyone, please do let me know. High blood pressure throws a little extra kick into things for me, especially with the allergies (antihistamines make the BP soar).

I'll go ahead and buy some V8 juice to have on hand. My Dr.'s more or less trust me to phone them if I think I need them, and to go ahead and try things on my own if I don't. This has made for a good, relationship on both sides...but all sides are now beginning to be confused and the old magic of things working out is disappearing. I hate to go on more pharmaceuticals but there doesn't seem to be any choice.

My pain's very bad at the moment, probably as a result of crestor and the BP meds. on top of all of the other meds I'm on, plus the initial injuries & falls. Thanks for all your ideas, I appreciate them and I give them much thought and consideration. Right now, I'm just tired of being sick and would love to have a short renaissance.

I actually think I'm merely seeing the progression of ME over the years and what it does to the body. (Breaks it down completely). Perhaps I'm wrong (hope so), but it seems that all systems fall down, which makes a certain amount of sense. I'm very glad that more researchers are on all this. Thanks again, you've been a great help. Yours, Lenora.



Hi @lenora!

First of all, I am sorry this is happening to you. Seems to me that you already have more than your fair share of maladies to bear!

I also experience cramping of the feet (especially in the arches) and cramping in my calves (tight as bricks).

Although I have not yet uncovered an underlying disease process that may be causing this, I have been able to ease my symptoms with a magnesium supplementation.

If you are having trouble keeping your electrolytes in balance, it is plausible that your magnesium is low, leading to cramping.

If your doctor is OK with it, you might try magnesium supplementation.

To initially get things under control I recall using a combo of high-dose magnesium and malic acid.

For maintenance I take a regular calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement with each meal, ensuring that I now only take the recommended daily allowance.

If you would like, I can go back through my records and see the brand name, dosage, etc. my doctor recommended when my cramping was at its worst. Just let me know.

My best regards,
Nina
Hi NIna, (Zebra)......Thanks for your input about my muscle cramping. The first sentence sounds exactly like what I suffer. Now tonight things are pretty good, but I did take extra potassium (courtesy of Mary, without realizing it) and a regular amount of sodium (in soup, rinsed off with water.) It actually works wonders. So, I've had extra sodium and definitely extra potassium, thus two combined and they sure did help. As per Mary's suggestionI took only what I needed NOW. It would seem that the other side of legs cramping is that they've had too much cramping...the usual conundrum. Boy, when the body goes haywire......!

Wigglethemouse, I'd say that you're on to something about us having too much of any one thing. That's the reason I'm concerned (and yet I understand, and have done it myself) about messing with our own bodies too much.
 

lenora

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I realize the replies are a bit confusing, but I once again fell asleep a few times in the midst of things. I couldn't erase the last set of stuck keys, so apologize.

All things considered, I actually did sleep last night and, thanks to Mary, I supplemented with extra potassium before bedtime and it did make a difference. Wow! A night's sleep & and I was only truly up and out of bed once. Amazing.

Please don't think that I undermine anyone else's problems b/c of my own. Quite the contrary, I know what so many things feel like and would like to help as much as anyone...the same as you ladies help me. It's working together, actively listening and then trying that make the difference. I feel sorry for anyone going it alone.

Little did I know at the beginning of all this what I'd be strong enough to face today. Of course I'm a different person than I was then....does that happen to the ordinary people, do you think? I mean that they become different people with age. Probably...after all, we're all subject to so much change in our lives. Thanks for listening. Yours, Lenora.
 

Mary

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I supplemented with extra potassium before bedtime and it did make a difference. Wow! A night's sleep & and I was only truly up and out of bed once. Amazing.
I'm really glad to hear this! For some reason middle of the night tends to be bad for me too in terms of low potassium, so in addition to taking it throughout the day, I take it in the middle of the night too. Also, low potassium itself can cause insomnia, besides cramping and muscle spasms.
 

lenora

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I'm really glad to hear this! For some reason middle of the night tends to be bad for me too in terms of low potassium, so in addition to taking it throughout the day, I take it in the middle of the night too. Also, low potassium itself can cause insomnia, besides cramping and muscle spasms.
Hi Mary....Oranges are particularly delicious this year, so I'm having about 2 of them/day. Large ones, I may add. I'm not really a fan of bananas, but since few things beat them for potassium, I try to have one/day. And yes, I'll supplement them with potassium again this evening. I could go to bed now, but I don't let myself do that...at least not generally. I find that I then have no sleep, so it's simply not worth it. Thanks!! Yours, Lenora
 

lenora

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Hi @lenora!

First of all, I am sorry this is happening to you. Seems to me that you already have more than your fair share of maladies to bear!

I also experience cramping of the feet (especially in the arches) and cramping in my calves (tight as bricks).

Although I have not yet uncovered an underlying disease process that may be causing this, I have been able to ease my symptoms with a magnesium supplementation.

If you are having trouble keeping your electrolytes in balance, it is plausible that your magnesium is low, leading to cramping.

If your doctor is OK with it, you might try magnesium supplementation.

To initially get things under control I recall using a combo of high-dose magnesium and malic acid.

For maintenance I take a regular calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement with each meal, ensuring that I now only take the recommended daily allowance.

If you would like, I can go back through my records and see the brand name, dosage, etc. my doctor recommended when my cramping was at its worst. Just let me know.

My best regards,
Nina
Hi Nina....Sorry, I thought I'd replied to you yesterday. I'm a bit scared off magnesium at the present time as it seems to cause the leg cramps at night. Odd as it had always helped prevent them before. Personally, I think you're filled with so many fluids via IV at the hosp. that the body doesn't know what to think for a few wks. afterwards. I've been using raw calcium/mg., but would definitely be OK with moving over the regular calcium (not oyster shells), mg., zinc, small amt. of iron, I'm also anemic, and malic acid. I don't know if there is such a mixture sold, but I can put them together if I have to. I really didn't need anemia on top of everything, have a feeling I've had it for mos., and will really have to eat more meat to try and get out of it. It's more likely that it was all the blood they were taking at the hosp. 6 tubes, 6 x/day seems a bit excessive. I'll have a retest in a mo. and we'll see if it has gone then. Of course they want to go on fact finding missions in all areas of my body, but I'd prefer to wait and see if it goes on its own. Nothing leads me to believe that it's coming from me. Actually, the nurses, aides and even the doctors at the hospital are all very nice and helpful. I'm just getting tired of being there...the novelty has long worn off.

Have you ever had problems with mg. having undesirable side-effects? Thanks for everything. Yours, Lenora.
 

lenora

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Yes, deb74, Mg. used to help my cramps, but I swear that lately they've been making them worse. Now it's highly possible that whatever was given to me IV at the hospital helped throw my body out of balance.

I'm having to balance all of my electrolytes at the moment...and I don't feel as if I really know what I'm doing, thus dislike it so. I'm low on iron which can also cause leg cramps, but I won't make any changes until I see the specialist in about 2 weeks time. An excess of it can cause cramping, just like being on the low can cause the same thing. I really must get this squared away. If I do, I'll post somethng but will definitely make certain that you know without all the guesswork. Yours, Lenora.
 

lenora

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Hi @lenora!

First of all, I am sorry this is happening to you. Seems to me that you already have more than your fair share of maladies to bear!

I also experience cramping of the feet (especially in the arches) and cramping in my calves (tight as bricks).

Although I have not yet uncovered an underlying disease process that may be causing this, I have been able to ease my symptoms with a magnesium supplementation.

If you are having trouble keeping your electrolytes in balance, it is plausible that your magnesium is low, leading to cramping.

If your doctor is OK with it, you might try magnesium supplementation.

To initially get things under control I recall using a combo of high-dose magnesium and malic acid.

For maintenance I take a regular calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement with each meal, ensuring that I now only take the recommended daily allowance.

If you would like, I can go back through my records and see the brand name, dosage, etc. my doctor recommended when my cramping was at its worst. Just let me know.

My best regards,
Nina
Hi Nina.....I never did reply to you. My apologies. Yes, I used to use Mg. a lot...and it helped. I agree that most of us are low in the this very important mineral and I try to keep it properly balanced with calacium and the others. If it isn't TOO MUCH TROUBLE, yes I would appreciate it if you could go through your old records & let me know what your Dr. had to say. My Dr.'s are all over the place with opiniions, so I don't think it matters. Besides, I'll know immediately if it isn't working. I cramp up immediately and when it's too much or too little of something, my hands and fingers now cramp up. I'll hope for the best.

I do have one of my old doctors who is keeping a pretty close eye on me. Because he cares, no other reason. I do wish I could find another like him....but I'm afraid those days are gone. Either that or that type of doctor works overseas. Nevertheless, I'm staggered at the amount of work, time and effort they put into their patients. How did I get off into that tangent? Sorry.

I was kind of you to offer your help and I do appreciate it. Even now my legs are hurting...at least the l. one. I have medication that works, but I don't want to use it unless near bedtime. Thanks again for your very kind offer. Yours,, Lenora.