At-home methods that may help prevent the occurrence of nightly leg cramps include drinking a lot of water, avoiding alcohol consumption, eating foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium or calcium, massage, and stretching daily. Other preventive treatments are exercising and taking multi-vitamin supplements, according to WebMD.
Home remedies for helping muscle cramps right when they happen include flexing the foot up toward the head, massaging the muscle with hands or ice, walking or jiggling the leg, and taking a warm shower or bath, Mayo Clinic states. It is advised to schedule a visit with a doctor if sleep interruptions caused by leg cramps affect daily activities or if muscle weakness develops. Emergency medical attention should be sought if the cramping is severe and persistent or if the cramps occur after having been exposed to a toxin. Medications are no longer advised for treating nightly leg cramps as the effectiveness has not been properly demonstrated.
Common causes of muscle cramps include dehydration, injury or overuse of muscles, pregnancy, exposure to cold weather, and not having enough minerals in the body. They are also caused by standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time and certain diseases and medications, reports WebMD.