Cancer and its treatment may cause problems that lead to patients having leg and other types of muscle cramps. Leg cramps or spasms are painful tightenings of the muscles in the leg, ankle, or foot. But it's important to know that other non-cancer related conditions and medicines can also cause problems that might cause leg cramps.
Some possible causes of leg cramps in people who have cancer include:
Your health care team can create a plan to help improve your sleep and manage leg cramps. One way to manage severe or frequent leg cramps is with a temporary muscle relaxant that can be prescribed by your doctor.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Grandner MA, Winkelman JW. Nocturnal leg cramps: Prevalence and associations with demographics, sleep disturbance symptoms, medical conditions, and cardiometabolic risk factors. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(6):e0178465. Accessed at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0178465 on January 3, 2020.
Karatas F, Sahin S, Tan B. Leg cramps associated with tamoxifen use-possible mechanism and treatment recommendations. Journal of Balkan Union of Oncology. 2016;21(2):520-522.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Palliative care. Version 2.2019. Accessed at https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/palliative.pdf on September 19, 2019.
Last Revised: February 1, 2020
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