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Why Do I Have Leg And Ankle Pains At Night?

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Imagine you just had a busy day and looking forward to having a good night’s rest, only to have your night prolonged with severe pain in your leg or ankle.

Pain isn’t always pleasant, especially when it disrupts your daily activities. Though you may remember how the pain came to be, however, most pain sometimes leaves a clue.

Let’s look at some causes of leg and ankle pain at night and how to can get relief from it.

Why do I have leg and ankle pains at night?

Leg and ankle pain is a common condition everyone sometimes experiences. It can be problematic with symptoms such as dull aches, throbbing sensation, sharp pains, and extreme discomfort.

This condition has been linked to the following causes:


When your muscles are tired, it triggers cramps, which can cause leg and ankle pains at night.

These cramps can result from prolonged non-movement or being in a single position for a long period.

Asides from being in a position for a long time, other factors that can cause cramps are dehydration and lack of salt in the body fluids.

Therefore, staying dehydrated will help reduce the cramps and pains you experience at night.

Inflammation of the muscles

Muscle injuries can also cause leg and ankle pains. You may experience leg and ankle pains at night because of your muscles healing from an injury.

If your symptoms do not get relieved in a few days, see your physician for professional advice.


Leg and ankle pains are common symptoms of pregnancy. This results from the legs carrying an extra weight that is more than what it’s used to.

Massaging and stretching are ways to relieve leg and ankle pains. This can help reduce stress, tightness, and fatigue in the body.

Blood clot

Clots block the blood circulation in the veins, causing swelling, pains, aches, and cramps affecting the legs.

When you have a blood clot, you’ll experience many discomforts, causing pulled muscle, soreness, cramping, and intense redness or discoloration.

Sometimes, the affected area might feel warm to the touch and might also be tender.

Accumulation of blood clots in the veins might cause inflammation and could be the source of your legs and ankle pains.

Old age

We all are familiar with the general belief that our bodies get frailer as we age. As we age, our tendons get shortened, and we have muscle cramps more often.

About 75% of older adults complain about muscle cramps and legs, especially at night.

Although there are primary causes attached to this, including their past lifestyle, disease conditions, and certain medications, old age is still a significant factor contributing to the cause of leg and ankle pains in individuals.

Should I Be Worried If My Legs And Ankles Ache At Night?

If your legs and ankles ache at night, it could result from some factors mentioned above or other disease conditions that we have yet to discuss.

The underlying cause of your leg pain is the determining factor in whether you should be worried when you have these pains.

If you have mild leg pains and get dull after a while, you don’t have so much to worry about. However, if you experience intense pains that massages, rest, or medications cannot cure.

Then, it would help if you considered focusing on the underlying cause of your leg pains to avoid further complications.

If your leg or ankle pains are linked to life-threatening conditions like diabetes, Morton’s neuronal, Fibromyalgia, peripheral artery diseases, and some other related illnesses, then you should be worried.

Because if they are not treated, they could worsen from chronic pains and aches to rots, amputation of limbs, and even death.

So when you notice your symptoms are extreme, do not sit at home hoping it gets better; visit your physician.

Conditions associated with pains and ankle pains at night.

If your leg pains are recurring and more intense, it could result from some underlying disease conditions.

Asides from lifestyle factors, cramps, inflammation, or blood clots, you could experience leg pain as symptoms of other disease conditions.

When left untreated, could escalate into more severe or unmanageable conditions.

Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease, PAD, is a common circulatory condition where the peripheral arteries are narrowed, with reduced blood flow.

While PAD can occur in any organ or part of the body, the lower limbs are the most commonly affected. I.e., Legs.

The primary cause of PAD is the buildup of plaques in the arteries, a condition known as arteriosclerosis.

Plaques are deposits of lipids that accumulate slowly for an extended period.

The impact of reduced blood flow or Ischemia is most remarkable when there is a higher demand for blood supply, such as during physical activities.

Therefore, people who are not very active may not experience the symptoms involved immediately.

It also explains the most telltale signs of PAD, known as intermittent claudication, “a painful or tired feeling in the legs.

The affected foot or legs may lose color over time or feel cold, significantly when elevated.

As this disease condition progresses, patients will experience pains even during rest or when asleep at night.

The PAD advances to critical limb ischemia, a chronic condition that poses risks such as limb loss and gangrene.

Factors that increase the chances of arteriosclerosis can also increase the risk of PAD; some of them include smoking, diabetes, hypotension, high cholesterol level, family, and history.


Diabetes can also affect your nerves. An increase in the level of blood sugar can cause damage to your entire nervous system over time, including the nerves on your feet.

Diabetes can have a significant impact on the quality of life because of the damage it causes.

As this damage worsens, symptoms will include tingling feet and leg pains, leading to the amputation of the patient’s legs.

Morton’s neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a benign, painful condition usually affecting middle-aged women who often walk on narrow shoes.

You feel pain on the foot, extending to the toes because of irritation, trauma, or excessive pressure.

The pain is sometimes worse by walking and engaging in strenuous activities. Common symptoms may include numbness, paresthesia, and shooting pains in the legs and toes.

Other medical conditions that could cause pains in your ankles and legs are:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pinched nerves
  • Plantar fasciitis

How to relieve leg and ankle pains at night

There are remedies for foot and ankle pains at night. These treatments range from easy home remedies to medications and professional health care interventions.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water can help reduce your muscle cramps and also improve circulation. Water helps maintain proper function and movement of fluids in the body, preventing risks of swelling.

Studies have shown the average amount of water to be taken daily is three liters. Ensure that you take that much and keep yourself hydrated.

Massage and stretching 

Massage therapies are an excellent way of reducing tension in the body. Book a massage session after a stressful day or on your free days.

It will help reduce aches and cramps that might cause your leg pains.

Simple stretches can also be effective in relieving the muscles and tendons around your legs and ankles.

Simple exercises

Exercising is another easy way of working your muscles. However, intense workout sessions or heavy lifting might not be advisable.

Easy repetitive motions like having a short run, walking, and jogging can help improve circulation and stretch the muscles surrounding your legs.

Wear proper shoes

Overly tight shoes can do a lot of damage to your legs and feet, always ensure you wear the correct shoe size to avoid numbness and shooting pains in the legs and foot.

Shoes that are also too high or narrow can also lead to stress, pain, and strain.

Talk to your physician

Getting total relief from cases of leg pains may not happen with just home remedies. If you experience recurring pains even after trying the home remedies, see your physician.

Take away

Now that you know all you need to know about leg and ankle pains, it should be easier for you to point out the exact cause of your aches and follow up with the practical steps listed above to help relieve them.

Always remember to stay hydrated, wear proper shoes, and regularly visit your massage therapist.


Healthline: 8 Causes of foot pain at night and how to treat them

Azura Vascular Care: Is Leg Pain at Night A Warning Sign of Vascular Disease

The Feet People: Are you getting aching legs at night? 9 causes of lower leg pain

Griswold Homecare: Leg Cramps in Elderly Adults

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