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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

Cramping up at night

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Have you ever been asleep and awoken by a cramp in your foot or calf? Talk about a pain. Getting foot or leg cramps at night is fairly common with PD. There are a number of reasons for this.

When this happens your foot may go into a forced or twisted position. Muscle cramps and dystonia are common occurrences in Parkinson's. Muscle cramps and dystonia in PD can be caused by muscle rigidity and decreased movement (bradykinesia). This can occur when your PD medication is wearing off, and is especially common at night or early morning.

If muscle cramps are waking you up here are some things to try:

  • Set up a sleep routine - limit daytime napping, limit blue light from tvs and computers prior to bed, and try waking up at the same time in the morning.

  • For some, getting up and walking or standing on your foot can help.

  • Make sure you are staying hydrated

  • Make sure you are eating the rainbow of fruits and veggies. Getting nutrients like magnesium and potassium from our food can be helpful.

  • Foot massages can help.

  • Talk to your physical therapist about stretching that may help.

  • Try a sleep meditation to help to get back to sleep (talk to your doctor about this).

  • Talk to your doctor about any supplements, like magnesium or potassium, or trying an epsom salt (high in magnesium) warm compress.

  • Talk to your neurologist about the timing of your medications. If cramping becomes severe and is disrupting your sleep, botox or another medication may be considered.

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