You are not my doctor, but I am too lazy to go see one.
April 5, 2008 11:55 PM   Subscribe

at night my legs get sore. It is enough that I will wake up too early and can't fall back to sleep. Sometimes I even dream about it, like I'm doing an iron man competition and am pulling an airplane or something. This isn't restless leg syndrome (is that even real?), they're just sore. Anyone know why this might happen and what I should do?

I moved in august, but it's been going on over two different beds. Is it possible that I have too many blankets (cold winter)? too stiff a bed? Unresolved anxiety about nuclear war?
posted by Large Marge to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, restless leg syndrome is real. I get it on aeroplanes!
posted by kenchie at 12:16 AM on April 6, 2008

Do you get cramps? You might try potassium supplements, or eating a banana.
posted by kindall at 12:17 AM on April 6, 2008

Seconding kindall and adding "drink more water".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:21 AM on April 6, 2008

Magnesium supplements.
posted by hifimofo at 1:36 AM on April 6, 2008

I never got general soreness in my legs, but I did get charlie horses or bad cramps sometimes. It stopped completely when my mom told me to start taking two Tums before bed. I guess I wasn't getting enough calcium, which can sometimes result in crampy legs.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:53 AM on April 6, 2008

Do you have a partner? Do you have a webcam? Try to find out if you're moving in your sleep. People with REM behavior disorder often don't know it and are perfectly fine in the daytime.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:16 AM on April 6, 2008

A.) RLS is real (I'm often woken by my SO at night when his legs get, well, twitchy). B.) Very similar question to yours was asked in January, so you might want to check there.
posted by bibbit at 6:26 AM on April 6, 2008

My leg joints get very sore when I can't move enough at night. Like when I'm sleeping with someone and I can't move around like I normally do, or when I'm in an unusually small bed, or when I have to sleep on a plane or train. I'm not sure if this is the same thing, because you didn't mention joints in particular, but is you bed too small? Are you sleeping with a SO and afraid to move around as much as you normally would?
posted by ohio at 7:03 AM on April 6, 2008

I'm really glad you asked this question. For the last couple weeks, my legs get really sore only when I lay down, but as soon as I lay down. As soon as I get up and move around the pain seems to go away. It's sorta scary-ish. I drink a crapload of water, so I don't think that's my issue. I usually take a multivitamin too, so I can't imagine it's magnesium or potassium, as I usually eat a pretty good diet too.
posted by TomMelee at 7:23 AM on April 6, 2008

The first thoughts that spring to mind are shoes and nutrients. If you are wearing shoes that are straining your muscles I think it's possible that the strain is not showing up until you completely relax. This has happened to me. Or maybe there's some nutrient issue (overage or deficiency). Pregnant women get leg cramps due to nutrient needs.

Try light stretching before bed. Make sure you hit all muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, medial, shin, calf, and foot)

IANAD and you should ask yours about this at your next regular checkup, unless you think it's serious enough to make a special visit.
posted by nax at 7:56 AM on April 6, 2008

My father had this, and eliminated it totally with a banana a day. No kidding. It's worked for him for decades. It's worth a try.
posted by availablelight at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2008

medstudentfilter--during the nervous system, the one thing that differentiated real vs functional pain was that if it woke you up at night. i.e., this is something that can be serious, so quit talking to us and go see the GP tomorrow.
posted by uncballzer at 9:03 AM on April 6, 2008

I usually take a multivitamin too, so I can't imagine it's magnesium or potassium

Just a fyi, most multivitamins do not contain significant amounts of mg, potassium, calcium. Check the label its probably 20-30% of rdv.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 9:49 AM on April 6, 2008

you don't give much away. assuming you're not that young, are you a heavy smoker? a diabetic? serious about being lazy? do you have weak pedal pulses? poor diet? is the pain relieved (fairly immediately) by dangling your legs down, out of the bed? is regular analgesia ineffective? there's more, but if - in the main - you were nodding along to those questions browse peripheral vascular (or arterial) disease. it may be your cause and would indicate you need to make lifestyle changes. seeing a doctor before your toe-nails thicken probably wouldn't go astray. cheers
posted by de at 10:35 AM on April 6, 2008

RLS is real. I've suffered with it since my teens. It's not a lack of exercise either, as the 15km I biked each way to and from work did not help a bit. Recently (4-5 months ago) I started using Requip for it and have had a much (MUCH) easier time.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:39 PM on April 6, 2008

I'm not yer doctor nor yer mate, but try:

Water and bananas. More exercise.

Hell, you can try all three things today!
posted by waxbanks at 12:54 PM on April 6, 2008

RLS is real. It's a tic or tremor of some sort. The drugs that we dispense at the pharm for RLS are the same ones used to alleviate Parkinson's tremors. That being said, are you dehydrated or drinking alcohol before bed? That does tend to cause leg cramping at night.
posted by pieoverdone at 4:06 PM on April 6, 2008

Is it soreness or a low-grade ache? I've experienced nighttime leg aching, but it is sporadic and goes away on its own after a day or two. I think it's most likely related to my intense exercise (I am a road cyclist and have raced for several years). For you, I would also suggest any or all of the following: a massage, a hot bath with epsom salts, and an electrolyte-based drink such as Emergen-C or Nuun. Of course, bananas are great, too.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:42 PM on April 6, 2008

Huh. People are likely right about nutrition, bananas and water. I've recently had sore legs in bed on and off, but it's also during a period where I lost my appetite for some reason, so I wasn't always getting my breakfast banana and drinking less water.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:34 AM on April 7, 2008

Thanks all! And sorry, I did not mean to offend with the RLS comment. I eat bananas fairly regularly and I am if anything overly hydrated. I do a lot of walking every day, so maybe it has to do with my arches like from the other post.
posted by Large Marge at 10:14 PM on April 7, 2008

If I walk around without shoes or in the wrong shoes, I wake up with very sore feet, legs, and back the next day, sometimes so bad that I can barely walk.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:04 AM on April 8, 2008

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