Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


Quick Start Forum Video Tutorial

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Shin and Foot Cramping Over Night

JwriterJJwriter Posts: 140
I've been diagnosed this past April with Psoriatic Arthritis, that has been responsible for destroying spinal discs for the past 3 to 4 years now according to my Rheumatologist. I have had a L5/S1 fusion in 1991, a C6/C7 Fusion in 2009, a C7 Foraminectomy this past May and many many cortisone injections at different levels (including SI Joints) over the years. I am on Humira, Amitriptylin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Lyrica and Soma in attempts to lessen pain and associated symptoms PLUS I have an implanted Lumbar spinal cord stimulator as of last October. Having said that, for the past 3 to 4 months now, I have been experiencing excruciating nightly cramps in my shins and feet that wake me out of a sound sleep...and often mean the end of my night's sleep because of the pain they leave me in. The ONLY way to relieve them is to get-up and attempt to walk the cramps out, and even when I'm able to do so my shins (especially the left leg) feel as though someone had been repeatedly kicking them so getting back to sleep is next to impossible.

Now my question is, has anyone else experienced this kind of cramping and if so...what have you been able to do in attempt to prevent them from happening?? Any reply and/or advice would be appreciated...my Doc says there all due to the Neuropathy (nerve damage) that I've had and that not much can be done for them.

Thank you!



  • I have also experienced night time cramps that wake me up! :''(

    I haven't had them in my shin, but do get them in my calf and foot; both on the top of my foot and also in the instep and my toes.

    I have tried various things to help;

    Eating bananas for the potasium
    Eating plenty of calcium rich foods
    Taking magnesium baths - Epsom salts
    Drinking LOTS of water daily

    Going for daily walks
    Exercising - especially leg stretches
    making sure that my legs don't get cold during the night

    If I get cramp during the night;

    I try to stretch it away (trouble is stretching one area sometimes causes cramp to develop in another!)
    Getting out of bed and standing on my foot
    Going for a walk around the room

    If anyone has found anything else that helps, PLEASE do let us know.

    Hope that you can find something new here to try Jeff :-)
  • Hi Jim,

    I have been experiencing shin and foot cramping for several months now, although it has always happened when I'm awake. Lying down generally triggers the spasms and walking or putting pressure on the leg only partially helps. I think my cramping is being caused by stenosis. Am having L4-S1 PLIF in three weeks and am hoping these weird cramping episodes stop afterwards.

    Whatever is causing your foot/shin cramps, I hope you can find some relief. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • advertisement
  • Hi Jeff,
    I'm new here & have a bulging disc @ L5-S1. I have been experiencing these horrible shin pains too. The pain is bone deep & feels like someone has my leg in a vice. I wish I had some answers for you. You have enlightened me, because I was wondering if this new symptom was even related. Now I'm sure that it is. Hoping one or both of us can find some answers very soon.
  • Sorry to hear. When I get cramps and muscle spasms I have to take Flexeril a muscle relaxer. I still get the cramps if I walk too much. Awakening with cramps is just awful. I find it hard to stand up right away as my foot is numb for at least 20 minutes after waking up so it's hard to jump up and put the affected crampy leg on the floor. Sometimes I can put my leg on the wall and it goes away. Heating pad helps some what. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • My issues are protrusions at the L2/3/4 and I don't get the feet cramps sleeping, I get them in my pool of all places! It doesn't matter if I do hard aqua work outs, or just gentle walking in the pool. None in the shins, just the feet...painful for sure!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • advertisement
  • Many thanks to all of you whom replied to my post, and what I've discovered is that there's really no rhyme nor reason as to what brings the cramping on. I do indeed eat plenty potassium rich foods daily, I do the stretching exercises a few times each day and I do take the anti-spasmatic meds as prescribed.

    Having said that, I've pretty much just resigned myself to the fact that I'll be dealing with the cramping (shins, feet) to one degree or another as time moves on...just the nature of the disease that not only affects the joints but also ligaments, and tendons which is what the shin cramping is all about.

    My frustrations stem from being tired ALL day long thanks to the constantly interrupted sleep, and along with that comes the inherent crabbiness, anxiety and a bit of depression too...simply because I'm feeling helpless to do anymore than I am to alleviate what's going on. Additionally, my Docs can't really do anymore either in the way of meds or therapies that might help.

    Thanks again and I hope that you all have a safe, pain-free and enjoyment filled weekend!

  • Do you take lipitor or any of the other popular statins out on the market? About 2 months ago, I was complaining to my PM Doctor that the cramping in my legs had increased ten fold. He had my PCP order a muscle enzyme test to see if the lipitor was contributing to the problem. Turns out my numbers were very high and that was contributing to the increase in cramps. Everything is back to the way it was before lipitor turned on me.

  • I get cramp in my calf and sometimes in the side of my leg, so not in the shin. But I have found that to stop the calf cramps at night I need to have my foot at right angles to my leg ie my toes must not be pointed. That meant that if I slept on my front (which I haven't done since the fusion) I had to have my feet over the end or the side of the bed, or my ankles on a pillow or silmilar. I get the calf cramps a lot while swimmimg when there is no choice about pointing my toes.
    I sympathise with your pain, my husband would go "Thank God its just a cramp" when I would sit up yelling in the middle of the night (I think he thought it was my back getting worse or something)but they don't half hurt and would leave me limping for a couple of days. I don't get as many night cramps since the fusion but the problem remains on swimming although not quite as bad.
  • Jeff, if you have hypertension and take medication for it, check to see if your med contains a diuretic. That will rob your body of potassium pretty fast. Muscle cramps and racing/irregular heartbeats are side effects of a potassium deficiency.

    I suffer from shin cramps as well, especially at night. I found that doing *light* stretching (you should never stretch to the point of discomfort) and holding the position for about 20 seconds helps. Most people know how to stretch the calf muscles but often forget about the muscles in the shin. Stretch the shin muscles by either standing or sitting on a chair, placing your foot on the floor behind you, and gently laying the top of the foot on the floor. I also gently massage my shin muscles, which also helps alot.

    I have suffered on and off with critically low potassium and have had to take prescription supplements to correct this. You might want to ask your GP to run a basic blood panel just to be sure.

    Aside from bananas, which most people think of as a good source of potassium, orange juice is also a good source. If your market carries them (and you like them), avacados are an excellent source of potassium too.

    It's a pretty simple thing to check your blood potassium, and it may point to the cause of your muscle cramps. I'd urge you to talk to your GP about that before assuming that your cramps are due to your psoriatic arthitis.

    Best wishes to you, I know that's a tough diagnosis to deal with. Take good care.
  • I get the cramping and burning along with it in my shin, calf, and half of my foot. I assumed it is part of the nerve stuff happening. I find that icing helps sometimes.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.