There are a variety of issues that commonly cause night leg pain. Muscle cramps can be the result of hormonal changes, nutrient deficiencies, or dehydration. Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, can cause discomfort or pain when a person is resting, so it is frequently an issue at bedtime. Certain diseases such as fibromyalgia are known to often cause pain in the legs at night. Some other possible causes include diabetic neuropathy, blood clots in the legs, or just simple overuse of the legs.
One of the most common causes of night leg pain is cramping of the muscles in the thighs or calves, sometimes called a Charley horse. People may experience these types of cramps for a variety of reasons. Dehydration may cause the muscles to seize up, or the cramps may be caused by a lack of potassium, magnesium, or calcium in the diet. Hormone fluctuations can also be to blame; pregnant women often suffer from them, particularly in the second trimester, as do women who are menstruating. Pain in the legs at night can also be a side effect of some types of medication.
Restless leg syndrome can also cause leg pain at night. This is a condition where a patient may feel a variety of sensations, including aching, cramping, or burning in his or her legs. Since moving the legs relieves these feelings, patients often suffer most during the night while lying down.
Night leg pain can also often be the result of various diseases or disorders. Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and sensitivity to pressure, may be to blame. Patients with Addison’s disease, which causes adrenal insufficiency, and Parkinson’s disease, which affects the central nervous system, sometimes feel leg pain at night. Arthritis and Plica syndrome can lead to pain in and around the knees.
Various other problems can also commonly lead to night leg pain as well. Patients with diabetes may experience pain at night due to diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage in their legs. People who’ve recently had issues such as heart attack or stroke may develop painful clots in their legs, known as deep vein thrombosis. Injuries to the cartilage, ligaments, or tendons that support the knees may be more painful at bedtime. Sometimes leg pain is simply the result of overuse, such as from strenuous exercise or standing for extended periods of time.