There are many possible causes of feet and leg cramps but only a couple of really likely ones. I estimate (by observation not scientific measurement) about 80% of night cramps are caused by not drinking enough water. There are many reasons this might happen. Perhaps your not thirsty in the cooler months? Older people often limit fluids to avoid having to wake several times for toileting during the night. You should also note that water does not mean tea, coffee, alcohol, juice or soft drinks. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics which means – drink 100 ml of these drinks , urinate 105 ml of fluid out.
Thus this adds to the problem of dehydration. A further 10 % can be accounted for by mineral imbalances, often magnesium or potassium. A blood test is a good idea before launching into taking supplements. That leaves around 10% to spread amongst all the other possibilities. The most notable of these is a reaction to ‘overuse’. This translates to some muscles working too hard because another area has slacked off. This is where a podiatrist may be able to help you. Use of an orthotic device can normalise muscle use and stop excessive strain being bourn by one area.
For information on night cramps in children browse to our next FAQ.