What a Podiatrist Can Do For YOU!

What Causes Foot Cramps At Night? [Causes & Best Treatment]

What Causes Leg Or Foot Cramps At Night: Foot cramps are the most common muscle spasm in our body. This is because they are under the most stress!

What Causes Foot Cramps At Night?

The exact cause of muscle cramps is still being debated. It has to do with electrolyte imbalances, dehydration & hypoxic conditions.

But these are the following causes of non-dangerous night cramps:

  • Overuse of muscle.
  • Pregnancy causing vein compression.
  • Pregnancy releasing the “Relaxin” hormone.
  • Dehydration.
  • Imbalance of electrolytes: magnesium, potassium & calcium.
  • Holding an uncomfortable position for a long time (such as a bent foot at night).
  • Some state that it could be due to poor flexibility.

Why Are Foot Cramps Most Likely?

  • The foot is the further body part from the heart & spinal cord.
  • This means that nerves & blood vessels have to travel the farthest to supply the foot!
  • The foot is also the most stressed body part as it must support our entire weight all day long.
  • In most cases, this is completely normal & nothing to worry about.
  • There may be concerns if you are older, overweight, have diabetes, or have any systemic problems.
What Causes Foot Cramps At Night? Causes & Best Treatment 2019
Foot and leg cramps at night can occur for numerous reasons. The most common cause is soreness that builds up in your muscles every day. When you stop moving at night, it swells in your muscles.

Correctable Causes Of Foot Cramps:

1)Muscle stress or fatigue:

  • ***This is by far the most common cause of foot cramps.**
  • 95% of the time, this is the cause of the muscle cramps in your feet or legs.
  • In most cases, a cramp can last 10 seconds to a couple of minutes.
  • This is absolutely nothing to worry about.
  • The muscle is usually overworked throughout the day.

Other causes:

  • Overuse of muscle.
  • Dehydration.
  • Imbalance of electrolytes: magnesium, potassium & calcium.
  • Holding an uncomfortable position for a long time (such as a bent foot at night).
  • Some state that it could be due to poor flexibility.
Cramps in the arch and ball of the foot.
Cramps and spasms can frequently occur in the arch and the back of the calf. These can be very painful.

Consider this if:

  • You are young & healthy.
  • If you don’t smoke & don’t have diabetes.
  • If you are very active on your feet.
  • It is most common in athletes &
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you are young & growing.

How To Relieve Cramps:

  • Stretching the foot cramp out will relieve it in almost all cases.
  • Getting up & moving around will increase blood flow to your feet.
  • If you sweat or have an electrolyte imbalance, stay well hydrated.
  • Make sure you do not go to bed dehydrated!

Recommended Foot Cramps Products:

Foot & Leg Spasm Creams:

These are our favorite nighttime products to relieve foot, ankle, and leg cramps at night.

Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Best & Proven Pain Relieving Gel.
Roll On Version of Biofreeze Gel.
A giant container of value size biofreeze.
Menthol Based Ointment with Hemp Extract
Biofreeze Menthol Pain Relieving Gel 4 FL OZ Tube For Pain Relief Associated With Sore Muscles, Arthritis, Simple Backaches, And Joint Pain, Pack Of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Biofreeze Pain Relief Roll-On, 3 oz. Roll-On, Fast Acting, Long Lasting, & Powerful Topical Pain Reliever, Pack of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Biofreeze Menthol Pain Relieving Gel 1 Gallon Bottle With Pump Topical Pain Relief For Sore Muscles, Arthritis, Backache, And Joint Pain, Original Green Formula, (Packaging May Vary)
HEMPACTIV Joint & Muscle Relief Cream, Infused with Hemp, Menthol, MSM & Arnica, Soothe Discomfort in Your Back, Muscles, Joints, Neck, Shoulder, Knee, Nerves - 2 Fl Oz
Price:
$27.48
$31.27
$159.80
$19.99
Overview:
The Proven and Scientifically Published Menthol Based Gel
Same as biofreeze gel, but the roll-on is prefered by some people for their feet, less messy.
8.1 lbs(3.67 kg) of Value Sized Biofreeze!
This is an alternative cream: Basically Biofreeze + hemp extract.
Pros:
Scientifically proven to loosen up and relief pain up to 2x longer than Ice. Less effort than ice and great reviews. 900+ 5 star reviews on Amazon.
The roll-on application of this biofreeze can be easier to apply. Less overall mess.
If you know you already love it and trust the reviews. This is a great value that lasts a long time.
It has great reviews, loved by the all natural crowd. 100s of 5 star reviews with a near perfect rating.
Cons:
Don’t put this on open sores or mucous membranes, it will burn! It can run out quick and doesn’t prevent pain, just helps it.
Not as easy to spread in other areas, main difference is the roll on applicator, same solution.
A gigantic bottle that could fall over and injure you! Seriously this could be too big in some situations.
Basically looks like menthol(active Biofreeze ingredient), but with hemp extract SKYROCKETING the price.
Important Tips:
Menthol is the active ingredient in this and other hemp based creams. It works similar to ice, but once you apply it you can just move on rather than waiting 20 minutes. **Works great to get your through the night if you have pain sleeping**
Roll-on method is best for the bottom of the feet. No other real advantage. Most patients like it prior to bed for easy sleeping without foot pain.
If you know you love it, this stuff works all over the sore areas in your body not just your foot. I have had many people get me to order this for them in the past and LOVED IT!
The hemp extract is almost nothing and likely a marketing gimmick. It’s basically Biofreeze with some hemp extract raising the price.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Best & Proven Pain Relieving Gel.
Biofreeze Menthol Pain Relieving Gel 4 FL OZ Tube For Pain Relief Associated With Sore Muscles, Arthritis, Simple Backaches, And Joint Pain, Pack Of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Price:
$27.48
Overview:
The Proven and Scientifically Published Menthol Based Gel
Pros:
Scientifically proven to loosen up and relief pain up to 2x longer than Ice. Less effort than ice and great reviews. 900+ 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Cons:
Don’t put this on open sores or mucous membranes, it will burn! It can run out quick and doesn’t prevent pain, just helps it.
Important Tips:
Menthol is the active ingredient in this and other hemp based creams. It works similar to ice, but once you apply it you can just move on rather than waiting 20 minutes. **Works great to get your through the night if you have pain sleeping**
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Roll On Version of Biofreeze Gel.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Roll-On, 3 oz. Roll-On, Fast Acting, Long Lasting, & Powerful Topical Pain Reliever, Pack of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Price:
$31.27
Overview:
Same as biofreeze gel, but the roll-on is prefered by some people for their feet, less messy.
Pros:
The roll-on application of this biofreeze can be easier to apply. Less overall mess.
Cons:
Not as easy to spread in other areas, main difference is the roll on applicator, same solution.
Important Tips:
Roll-on method is best for the bottom of the feet. No other real advantage. Most patients like it prior to bed for easy sleeping without foot pain.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
A giant container of value size biofreeze.
Biofreeze Menthol Pain Relieving Gel 1 Gallon Bottle With Pump Topical Pain Relief For Sore Muscles, Arthritis, Backache, And Joint Pain, Original Green Formula, (Packaging May Vary)
Price:
$159.80
Overview:
8.1 lbs(3.67 kg) of Value Sized Biofreeze!
Pros:
If you know you already love it and trust the reviews. This is a great value that lasts a long time.
Cons:
A gigantic bottle that could fall over and injure you! Seriously this could be too big in some situations.
Important Tips:
If you know you love it, this stuff works all over the sore areas in your body not just your foot. I have had many people get me to order this for them in the past and LOVED IT!
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Menthol Based Ointment with Hemp Extract
HEMPACTIV Joint & Muscle Relief Cream, Infused with Hemp, Menthol, MSM & Arnica, Soothe Discomfort in Your Back, Muscles, Joints, Neck, Shoulder, Knee, Nerves - 2 Fl Oz
Price:
$19.99
Overview:
This is an alternative cream: Basically Biofreeze + hemp extract.
Pros:
It has great reviews, loved by the all natural crowd. 100s of 5 star reviews with a near perfect rating.
Cons:
Basically looks like menthol(active Biofreeze ingredient), but with hemp extract SKYROCKETING the price.
Important Tips:
The hemp extract is almost nothing and likely a marketing gimmick. It’s basically Biofreeze with some hemp extract raising the price.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):

Night Time Stretching:

These are our favorite time-stretching splints.

Best Night & Stretch Splint Products:
Most Cost Effective Night Splint (Not Best for Sleeping).
Best Actual Night Splint (For Night Time Use)
Best Price & Light Support Night Splint
Vive Hard Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint and Trigger Point Spike - Stabilizer Brace Relieves Inflammation - Foot Support Boot Features Adjustable Hook and Loop Straps for Achilles Pain Relief
Procare ProWedge Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint - Medium
Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Foot Drop Orthotic Supports Kit Adjustable Dorsal Night Splint Support Sleep, Recovery, Tendonitis, Arthritis with Hard Spiky Massage Ball (Black)
Price:
$34.99
$58.07
Price not available
Overview:
Hard Night Splint -** Use it before going to bed for 20-30 minutes**
Best & most comfortable splint for actual night time use.
Top of the foot softer & more gentle splint.
Pros:
This is an amazing device with the highest amazon rating. Has 2 great foot wedges that bend your big toe up and lock your foot in. Great at what it does.
This has excellent reviews(better than the hard splint), less foot numbness and soreness in the ball of your foot. Very soft and comfortable.
Most people can tolerate this one during the night, but only because it stretches you less! That might be a good thing if you can set it and forget it for 6-8 hours at night.
Cons:
Hard to use at while sleeping, so don’t use it that way! Easy to use it incorrectly if you don’t use the foot wedges correctly. Your big toe should be angled up to lock your foot in.
It actually stretches you less (that’s why you are able to wear it all night). It is more expensive.
Basically it is more tolerable because it is weaker. This less results in more time.
Important Tips:
**Must use the foot wedge in the front to angle your toes up. This locks your foot from twisting out rather than stretching through the Achilles tendon – This is the KEY!**
If you prefer to actually wear it at night then this is the BEST option. It does work, but this is for those with very little time and can fall asleep in it!
This is meant only for sleeping because to get results you need to wear it a lot longer than the other braces. Use it only if you are very sensitive.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Night & Stretch Splint Products:
Most Cost Effective Night Splint (Not Best for Sleeping).
Vive Hard Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint and Trigger Point Spike - Stabilizer Brace Relieves Inflammation - Foot Support Boot Features Adjustable Hook and Loop Straps for Achilles Pain Relief
Price:
$34.99
Overview:
Hard Night Splint -** Use it before going to bed for 20-30 minutes**
Pros:
This is an amazing device with the highest amazon rating. Has 2 great foot wedges that bend your big toe up and lock your foot in. Great at what it does.
Cons:
Hard to use at while sleeping, so don’t use it that way! Easy to use it incorrectly if you don’t use the foot wedges correctly. Your big toe should be angled up to lock your foot in.
Important Tips:
**Must use the foot wedge in the front to angle your toes up. This locks your foot from twisting out rather than stretching through the Achilles tendon – This is the KEY!**
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Night & Stretch Splint Products:
Best Actual Night Splint (For Night Time Use)
Procare ProWedge Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint - Medium
Price:
$58.07
Overview:
Best & most comfortable splint for actual night time use.
Pros:
This has excellent reviews(better than the hard splint), less foot numbness and soreness in the ball of your foot. Very soft and comfortable.
Cons:
It actually stretches you less (that’s why you are able to wear it all night). It is more expensive.
Important Tips:
If you prefer to actually wear it at night then this is the BEST option. It does work, but this is for those with very little time and can fall asleep in it!
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Night & Stretch Splint Products:
Best Price & Light Support Night Splint
Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Foot Drop Orthotic Supports Kit Adjustable Dorsal Night Splint Support Sleep, Recovery, Tendonitis, Arthritis with Hard Spiky Massage Ball (Black)
Price:
Price not available
Overview:
Top of the foot softer & more gentle splint.
Pros:
Most people can tolerate this one during the night, but only because it stretches you less! That might be a good thing if you can set it and forget it for 6-8 hours at night.
Cons:
Basically it is more tolerable because it is weaker. This less results in more time.
Important Tips:
This is meant only for sleeping because to get results you need to wear it a lot longer than the other braces. Use it only if you are very sensitive.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):

****Before reading the rest, consider that overuse is the cause 95% of the time. If you go down here, you are probably wasting time and effort.****

2)Foot and Leg Cramps Due To Pregnancy:

  • If you are pregnant, you are essentially guaranteed foot and leg cramps.
  • They become more frequent the further you go into your pregnancy.
  • They occur due to the increased fluids in your body and other changes.

Causes Of Foot & Leg Cramps While Pregnant:

  • Your body releases a ligament called relaxin.
  • This hormone normally loosens tissues to birth the baby.
  • But this hormone allows easier stretching of your foot and leg ligaments.
  • This puts more and more stress on your foot muscles.
  • Not to mention that you weigh more than normal!
  • They become overworked and irritated.

Vein Compression While Pregnant:

  • The uterus can expand and compress your iliac veins.
  • These veins lead to your heart.
  • If the veins are compressed, this backs up the blood flow in your legs.
  • This causes poor oxygenation & nutrition of your muscles and nerves.

How To Relieve Pregnancy Foot or Leg Cramps:

  • Stretching the foot cramp out will relieve it in almost all cases.
  • Getting up & moving around will increase blood flow to your feet.
  • If you sweat or have an electrolyte imbalance, stay well hydrated.
  • Make sure you do not go to bed dehydrated!

3) Peripheral vascular disease (Poor Circulation):

  • This is a prevalent cause of cramps in the older population.
  • It is also widespread if you are a smoker or have diabetes.
  • This cramping is due to a lack of blood flow to your feet.
  • It typically shows up in the arch of your foot.

Why Does This Happen?

  • This occurs when your feet are elevated.
  • Your heart has a more difficult time sending blood to your feet from your heart.
  • If you drop your feet over the bed, gravity gets the blood to the feet.
  • Once the muscle gets oxygen, the pain gets much better.

Consider this if:

  • You are over the age of 45 years old.
  • If you are a smoker.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you have arteriosclerosis.
  • If you have had a prior problem with your heart.

How To Relieve Foot Cramps:

  • See your podiatrist as soon as possible.
  • You will likely need a vascular workup.
  • This is essential because the peripheral vascular disease is a major killer in the world.
  • It has a very high mortality rate & must be treated aggressively!
Why Do My Socks Feel Like They are Bunching Up on the Ball of My Foot?
There are many nerves at the bottom of your feet extending into your toes. Continued pressure on these can lead to spasms, pain, and radiation through the foot.

4)Peripheral Neuropathy:

  •  This is most commonly seen in people with diabetes & chronic alcoholics.
  • Peripheral neuropathy is essentially the dysfunction of the nerves further away from the spine.
  • This is called a stocking & glove distribution because the hands & feet start experiencing symptoms first.
  • This can cause nerve pain, cramping, sweating & temperature abnormalities, among many others.

How To Relieve Foot Cramps:

  • See your podiatrist as soon as possible.
  • You will likely need a neurological workup.
  • Peripheral neuropathy can be slowed or even reversed with nutrition therapy & lifestyle changes.
  • Medication can control nerve pain & symptoms.

5)Diabetes:

  • Diabetes can cause peripheral vascular disease, which leads to nighttime muscle cramps.
  • Diabetes can also cause peripheral neuropathy, which is a nerve disorder.

How To Relieve Foot Cramps:

  • See your podiatrist as soon as possible.
  • You will likely need a vascular & neurological workup.
  • Peripheral neuropathy can be slowed or even reversed with nutrition therapy & lifestyle changes.
  • Medication can control nerve pain & symptoms.
  • This is essential because the peripheral vascular disease is a major killer in the world.
  • It has a very high mortality rate & must be treated aggressively!

6)Smoking:

  • Smoking can lead to higher rates of peripheral vascular disease.
  • The peripheral vascular disease will lead to foot cramp symptoms.

How To Relieve Foot Cramps:

  • See your podiatrist as soon as possible.
  • You will likely need a vascular workup.
  • This is essential because the peripheral vascular disease is a major killer in the world.
  • It has a very high mortality rate & must be treated aggressively!

Home Treatment:

  • There are usually two phases to the bottom of the foot cramps and spasms.
  • This doesn’t matter whether it’s plantar fasciitis, plantar fibroma, the sore bottom of the foot, or even Achilles tendon pain. Treatment is all roughly very similar.
  • The two phases of treatment include controlling the acute inflammation and correcting the biomechanics, which led to the problem in the first place.

Control Inflammation:

Massage & Ice Products:

  • The metal ball is one of my personal favorites.

Menthol Based Gels:

  • Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
  • These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.

Massage Sticks:

  • These can work great for loosening your muscles.

Removing The Stress:

  • The key is to prevent future pain.

Get Great Shoes:

  • Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will ensure that pressure is removed from your foot and ankle.
  • This can be overworking and tightness of the muscles.
  • This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or weak ankles.
  • Consider shoes combined with good supportive orthotics for the best pain relief!
  • The following link will show you what our favorites are.

Best Podiatrist Recommended Shoes

Get Great Orthotics:

  • These are our recommended orthotics.

Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:

  • It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!

Get A Great Static Stretch:

  • These devices are great for stretching while you are resting.

Best Podiatrist Recommended Shoes