Leg Pains & Cramps

Kelly Anne Spratt, D.O., Director of Women's Cardiovascular Health at the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center, answers your questions.
Nighttime Aches

Q. My legs ache at night. They feel best while I am walking. Often I get up early in the morning to go for a walk because of the pain in the calves of my legs. I am wondering what causes it, and what to do to remedy it. I am 77 years old and have no other problems.

A. It is not a sign of a serious problem, although it can be painful and limiting.

One of the major reasons for leg pains, especially at night, is tension of the Achilles tendon, the large tendon at the heel and along the back of the leg. As you already have discovered, the best way to deal with this is to stretch this muscle and tendon -- and walking is a great option for stretching. It is helpful to do this each night before you go to bed and again in the morning. It might also help to take a B-complex vitamin and get plenty of rest.

Continued on page 2:  Painful Spasms