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Avatar universal

Muscle spasms in legs that cause bruising

I have been getting (every once in a while, but now more often) real bad spasms in my legs and they are causing bruises. It usually happens in the night, I will wake up with severe pain, I believe it is a charley horse, in my lower leg. The next morning there is a bruise where the spasm was.
1. Is there a way to prevent these spasms?
2. What causes the bruising and is this something I should go see a doctor about?
23 Responses
356518 tn?1322267242
I would definatly go see your doctor as you should not be having brusing from a charley horse. You could have a blood clot and that is very serious. If you get low onm potassiom you will have cramps too.
Tuck will be able to answer your question as far as the brusing. I have never heard of cramps or acharley horse causing brusing.
The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes.
547368 tn?1440545385
Hi Sbartist,

Welcome to the Pain Management Forum. I am sorry that you are experiencing muscle cramping/spasms.

This can be a common occurrence for some that is just an insignificant misfiring of nerve fibers. For others it can be from overexertion, a vitamin or mineral deficiency and/or dehydration. Lack 0of fluids in your system can lead to an electrolyte imbalance which in turn can cause your muscles to spasm or cramp.

Bruising does not normally accompany spasms. Are you on blood thinners or any medication that could thin your blood? Is it possible the bruising is not related to the cramping? Is it possible that you are not seeing a thrombus (a blood clot)? Is the area warm or red?

I suggest that you consult your PCP. It could be nothing but maybe some lab work to rule out some deficiencies would be in order. Please let us know how you are doing. We will look forward to hearing from you again.

547368 tn?1440545385
It's a bit late for me and I made a typo...sorry. I meant to say: Is it possible that you ARE seeing a thrombus (a clot)?

Sorry Again,
Avatar universal
I am not on blood thinners or any medication. I am a 20 year old and have just added some more exercise to my daily routine so I wasn't sure if that could be it. I have also been having pain in my lower legs when exercising and it get to a point where I have to stop and rest. I have trying to make sure I am getting enough water and vitamins/potassium but that could be it? The bruising may not be from the cramps/spasm but I only see them after a muscle spasm.
I hate going to the doctors and but I will if you feel like it is really necessary.
Thanks for helping!
547368 tn?1440545385
Cramps and spasms can be from over use of your muscles. If you do not exercise do you still get the bothersome symptoms? I would stop the exercising for a week and see if you still get the bruising and cramping. If you do it is time to see a physician asap.

If you don't than I would still see your physician but would feel a bit relieved that your symptoms are most likely induced by the exercise. Your PCP most likely will ask what makes it better and what makes it worse. If you stop the exercise you will be able to answer his/her question and he/she will have a place to begin instead of being told to stop the exercise and see if that makes a difference. It is bruising that I find most concerning. So you have unexplained bruising in any other part of your body?

Please let us know how you are doing.

Avatar universal
Thanks for the info, I am taking a fittness class in college right now and haven't been able to stop but I guess I can with a doctor's excuse.
There is only brusing on my lower legs and it only happens when I get those spasms which only happen once in a blue moon but now more often since I stepped up the exercising.  (3 times in the past 1 1/2 months)
I am scheduling an appointment to see a doctor. (I have to find a new one since I am away at school) Is there any specific questions you think I should ask?
Thanks again
547368 tn?1440545385
I would just ask what he/she thinks is causing the bruising when it is not normally related to muscle spasms. Also be sure to tell him that these bruises are not the result of repeated injuries. Hopefully he'll run some routine labs.

Good luck and I'll watch for your updates.
Avatar universal
I am a 59 year old woman who had a stroke 6 years ago and have been taking a blood thinner and other meds since then.  I'm doing really well but I've always. struggled to lose weight.  So, I recently began exercising (just walking on the treadmill) more often.  I, like sbartist, have noticed brusing on my calf after experiencing a muscle spasm at night.  The bruises are small, but the charley horses are painful.  Thank goodness I don't get them very often.  I think the bruises are caused by the blood thinners, but I'm wondering if the spasms have anything to do with it.  Any info for me? Do you think the exercise, although mild, is causing it?   I'm also diabetic.  I see my POP regularly and bloodwork has been good. Thanks for any advice you may have.
Avatar universal
I am so glad I found this forum.  I am very worried about my 67 y/o husband.  He has severe leg cramps during the night that sometimes cause brusing.  This week he had one in his upper arm, a muscle cramp leaving a 6" x2.5" bruise.

He does take lisinopril, but I didn't think that was a blood thinner.  He does have a HUGE vice of constantly drinking  diet cola.  He loves to be doing things and enjoys woodworking and I have wondered if the standing on the concrete while he does this causes it.  I found a box of rubber matt squares to put down a small portion of the shop, but am unable to buy any more right now.  Sometimes he wears his steel toe boots and usually has leg cramps that night (that is predictable).  

I try to get him to drink water, but I have to get gatorade as he hates water.  I bought him potassium, e, and fish oil.  

He has several other health issues, migraines, high blood pressure, removal and regrowth of acoustic neuroma, chronic kidney stones...so he isn't the healthiest person.  On the other hand when he isn't feeling bad he is very active, or he takes something (vicodin/imitrex) and lays down until the headache gets better.  

I took (literally went with him to be sure he asks questions and because he is very hard of hearing in one ear and deaf in the other) to our pcp, but he (pcp) didn't seem very concerned about these symptoms.  But I am very worried about him.  I even got shea butter to help with the thin skin because his skin tears so easily and he bleeds alot because of the advil/aleve he takes.
Avatar universal
I recently over-exerted my thigh muscle during a bike ride (I changed the seat position, so I think some muscles got used harder than they were used to).

Everything felt fine that evening until I was awakened during the night with a horrible cramp, which has led to a red/blue/yellow bruise where the cramp was.  The bruise has spread since down behind my knee (presumably as the blood pools downwards).

I had no idea that a cramp could cause bruising, but in my case, it seems to have.  

I suppose that I actually could have torn the muscle on the ride, but if so why didn't it hurt then or for hours later during the evening?  

I had no pain or weakness at all until after that really bad cramp in the middle of the night!  And the bruise is located exactly where the cramp was located.
Avatar universal
My BF is 89 years old  and was recently diagnosed with slow growing cancer but his major problem is heart edema.  Recently he has had severe leg cramps at night and subsequently, slight bruising.  He is on blood pressure medication and a diareutic and also took a 5 day treatment of ketorolac for shoulder pain.  Is it possible the leg cramps are associated with the ketorolac or his other medications and/or his other medical problems?  He has opted for no treatments for any of the major things, but some relief of the cramps would be welcome.
Avatar universal
My aunt is an RN & I have had severe charley horses (leg cramps)| in my calves before, where the next morning, there is a giant sized bruise. I have asked my aunt about this & with her being a nurse for 30 years, I trust her, she said bruises can happen from a leg cramps, i.e. charley horse. So unless you are getting multiple bruises from your leg cramps each week, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Avatar universal
i am 64 yr male for some time now iv been getting lot cramp in my hand  which is leaving bruiseing and the pain is like touthache in my hands at the back of my hands and all my fingers just curl up,,i am on  bloodthinning  tablets for me heart  anyone  suggest anything  thanks.
Avatar universal
I'm very glad I found this.
I am 16 years old and last night for the first time I woke up out of a sound sleep with the most severe pain I've ever felt. I've broken bones before that hurt less. I couldn't get back to sleep until the pain in my calf stopped. I have soccer every afternoon at school for an hour and 3 nights a week for 2 additional hours. However, I've done that most of my life and never had a problem. I realized also that once or twice the same spot has Hurt during a soccer game and thought I just had my shin guards on too tight. Now I'm realizing maybe it was the same thing as last night but confused as to why this is just happening when I'm not straying to much from my regular routine. The only difference really is that I'm on a diet but it's not extremely strict or anything. Could that be related? Help would be appreciated!
Avatar universal
Im a 56 year old man with high blood pressure and seizure disorder thats under control by taking keppra.In spite of my conditions i exercise 5 times a week--biking--walking--mostly cardio   Recently i started getting spasms in my right calf while sleeping--very painful--lasts for 4 or 5 minutes  The next day there is bruising in that same area as the muscle spasm(charley horse)  The bruising has been lasting now for about 2 months.  Not blood clots-had a DVT test done>>>>anyone knows what this is???
1326416 tn?1370930601
  From: aquaman444  Im a 56 year old man with high blood pressure and seizure disorder thats under control by taking keppra.In spite of my conditions i exercise 5 times a week--biking--walking--mostly cardio   Recently i started getting spasms in my right calf while sleeping--very painful--lasts for 4 or 5 minutes  The next day there is bruising in that same area as the muscle spasm(charley horse)  The bruising has been lasting now for about 2 months.  Not blood clots-had a DVT test done>>>>anyone knows what this is???  
                                 Shinty re-posted this because aquaman444 posted it following an older thread. I thought more people would see this posted this way, and maybe be able to offer advice.
Avatar universal
My husband, who is 59 years of age, takes Diltiazem, and Lisinopril for high blood pressure, and Duexis for arthritis of the shoulder, recently had a terrible cramp in his thigh.  Two days later he shows me his leg and literally, his entire thigh from the inside, outside and down the back of his leg is awfully bruised.  It is black and blue all over.  I can not get him to see a doctor.  I thought if I could get your opinion, and show the same to him, he would take an interest and see his physician if you thing necessary.  I literally have never seen a bruise this big.
Avatar universal

Exact same thing happened to me, word for word as described in your post.

What was the outcome?  How long did it take to heal?  

I saw some post indicate a bllod clot.  Trying to rule that one out...

Thanks for your reply.

Avatar universal
hello is there any body find the answer?, my father has 64 and had the same problem, spasm with bruise could you please help me finding the cause im so worried about him thank you
Avatar universal
I am a 42 woman who sees a pain dr for my back issues and I am on a narcotic methodone for my back issues and have been on it for over a year now so I know my leg cramps are not due to that.   But recently I found out that I would need carpel tunnel surgery on both my arms.  I had a steroid shot to help for the time being and they put me on Neurontin for the nerve pain right now that I have been on for about a month.  Just recently I have been waking up with bad Charlie horses and bruising where the pain is,  I never had the bruising prior to that.  I do have two jobs that does require a lot of lifting and bending.  Questions would be:  Do u think they could be due to the Neurontin or my work?  One of the comments I read above they said it could possibly a blood clot.  That has me worried.  What do you u think.  I don't want to make an apt if I do not have to.  Thanks for your help.
Avatar universal
Well, I guess I'm part of the club now. Just two nights ago I left work because my body started aching and I was beginning to get the chills – for me that's the first signs I'm about to be hit with the flu.

After a very fitful night's sleep – a couple of times feeling pain in my right calf one of the times I got up to get sick – i noticed the next day my entire right leg, from top of calf to ankle and all the way around, was very red, swollen and tender to the touch. I've had charlie horses in that calf before and chalked it up to having one (or more) that evening but in the delirium of fever it didn't really register.

It's now day two. The leg is still swollen, red and tender. I'm okay when sitting and it's fine after I've been up for a while... it's just the transition between up and down that hurts the worst.
Avatar universal
Once you detect a cramp you must position your body in such a way as to bend over on your side in bed. Using both hands on either side of the calf muscle (assuming it is the calf that is cramping) proceed to massage the area briskly up and down to stimulate blood and fluid flow. This in most cases alleviates the cramp and prevents further damage.
From Experience. From reading I have found that Gatorade and Bananas help because of electrolytes and potassium And of course regular leg exercise..
Avatar universal
Hi, sbartist. :-) I would like to tell you a quick tale. I am a person who is a little clumsy, so when I would find a bruise that I could not remember acquiring, I would usually figure that I had bumped into something and just did not remember the incident. Things like this happened on the rare occasion when I was young and healthy, although I often would remember, later, what had happened. However, in my 30's I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I am still clumsy. In fact, like many others I've met, it seems a little more so, and with the cognitive issues, my memory can be quite elusive, at times, so unexplained bruises just aren't surprising to me. I do take a lot of supplements, such as potassium and magnesium, to assist with muscle soreness and cramps, as well as keeping my electrolytes in balance and preventing dehydration with Gatorade. However, I do take an NSAID, so bruising a little more easily is likely. Since I have had fibromyalgia, though, I have had an unbelievable amount of muscle spasms/cramps/charley horses, whatever you would like to call them. I never really related the bruises to them. I tend to have them when I push myself too hard physically, during flare-ups, and sometimes for no discernible reason. Yet, say I spent an entire weekend sleeping little and giving the house a more than usually vigorous cleaning, I would afterward experience extremely painful muscle spasms, and I would have many deep, dark bruises in many areas of my body. I would assume they were from bumping into things, from carrying large loads of household items, etc.  It was not until my mother, who is a nurse was visiting after such a cleaning binge pointed out to me that muscle spasms could cause such bruising, especially since I take an NSAID, when she noticed some of my bruises, that I started paying attention. Now, I actually see that when I have those large and horribly painful spasms, I am almost always showing bruising afterward, of varying degrees. Since I have actually watched some of these spasms, and some of them are the charley horse variety, but some of them look like there is a living creature under my skin. Seriously, the closest description I can give is that it looks like my belly did when I was carrying my children in my last trimester, and I would watch the babies move. Those are the most painful and leave the biggest, deepest bruising. The muscles actually twist. The point of all of this is that I would say that muscle spasms/charley horses/and muscle cramps are quite capable of bruising a person. However, I would definitely advise anyone to consult their physician if they are having this occur. It's just a good idea to keep your doctor informed of anything that is causing you to have muscle spasms to the point of bruising, or if that is not the cause of the bruising, by any chance, you definitely need to find out what is causing it.
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