Key takeaways

  • An electric blanket by itself will not cause leg pain.
  • Heat, poor circulation, pre-existing health conditions and pressure points all contribute to leg pain while using an electric blanket.
  • Heat is a big contributing factor that can cause leg pain. We recommend lowering the temperature of your electric blanket or consider using alternatives (ideas below).

Electric blankets are slowly becoming a comfortable and affordable way to stay warm, especially on cold winter nights.

So if you don’t want to freeze at night then electric blankets can make you warm and comfortable but can electric blankets cause leg pain?

If you are searching for “Can Electric Blankets Cause Leg Pain” then you may be buying a new electric blanket and heard a rumour about electric blankets causing leg pain or you are experiencing leg pain after the use of electric blankets.

In this article, we will discuss the cause of your leg pain, is it electric blankets or something else?

We will also discuss some proven solutions to stop your leg and solve your body pain problem.

About the Sleep Snap Team

We’re a team of in-house and outsourced Sleep experts, mattress-testers and professionals (with a combined 30 years of experience) who provide insights into sleeping products and sleep-related issues.

Let’s get started.

Electric Blankets and Leg Pain – What’s the Connection?

Some people might think what’s the connection between your electric blanket and leg pain?

First, you need to know that electric blankets cannot create leg pain problems by themselves but if someone has existing leg pain problems, pre-existing health conditions or any nerve problems then electric blankets can worsen them.

Given certain circumstances, electric blankets could ultimately make your leg pain worse in many ways.

Can Electric Blankets Cause Leg Pain?

Electric blankets can cause leg pain in some people, and there are different theories and research conducted by scientists that prove electric blankets are the main cause of leg pain. You can find more information below.

Top Reasons Why Electric Blankets Cause Leg Pain

Here are some top and main reasons why electric blankets cause leg pain in some people.

Reason #1: Muscle Pain and Blood Vessel Pain From the Heat of the Electric Blanket

When you use electric blankets the heat from the electric blankets can cause the muscles in your body to tense up.

And if you regularly use electric blankets then the muscles of your leg can tense up much quicker compared to other muscles.

The heat from electric blankets also causes muscle spasms, this happens when muscles constantly contract and begin to cramp up and cause pain.

So this is how heat from the electric blankets may cause leg pain.

Another type of pain caused by the heat of the electric blankets may be blood vessel pain because the heat of the electric blankets causes blood vessel constriction which feels like a cramping sensation in your legs.

Also Read: My Tempurpedic Mattress Is Killing Me(Complaints & solution) 

Reason #2: Nerve Pain In Legs from the Current of the Electric Blanket

When you use electric blankets to stay warm then electric blankets pass any form of current through the nerves of your body.

When this happens, you may notice a feeling of tingling or burning sensation.

Electric blankets can increase the chances of nerve damage and when it happens then damaged nerves can not send signals to the brain which eventually leads to leg pain.

Reason #3: Electric Blankets Can Increase Blood Flow 

When you use electric blankets regularly it can increase the blood flow in your body which can be harmful to leg pain.

Because increasing blood flow in the legs and other muscles can be discomforting for lots of people.

And if the blankets are too warm or not positioned correctly then it can also create pressure points and lead to pain.

If you’re experiencing an increase in blood flow, you may need to reconsider using electric blankets.

Further Scientific Correlation Between Electric Blankets and Leg Pain

Cramp Threshold Frequency Phenomenon

Recent research from George Mason University, Central Michigan University and the University of Wisconsin delves into the concept of Cramp Threshold Frequency (CTF) and its relevance to muscle cramps, which can be a key factor in understanding leg pain associated with electric blanket use. The CTF refers to the minimum frequency of electrical stimulation required to induce a muscle cramp.

Studies suggest that factors influencing CTF, such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, could be exacerbated by prolonged use of electric blankets, leading to an increased risk of leg cramps.

The Role of Heat in Muscle and Nerve Function

Heat, as a byproduct of electric blankets, can have a significant impact on muscle and nerve function. According to The Healthcare Associates of Texas, consistent warmth can cause vasodilation, where blood vessels expand, potentially leading to increased blood flow and changes in circulation.

While this can be beneficial for some, it may cause discomfort or exacerbate pre-existing conditions in others, leading to leg pain. Understanding this physiological response is crucial in assessing the potential risks associated with electric blanket use.

A Doctor’s Opinion

Dr Eve Glazier M.D and Elizabeth Ko M.D argue they can be dangerous. They mentioned, “electric blankets may be cosy, but may be dangerous”. They also say:

One of the potential risks of using electric blankets is inadvertently overheating the body. Electric bedding should never be used for an infant or someone who is immobile.

Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, can result in neuropathy, which arises from damage to the peripheral nerves. Neuropathy causes pain, tingling and prickling sensations, most commonly in the feet and hands. It can also result in numbness. Any of these symptoms can have the net effect of interfering with an individual’s sensitivity to heat, particularly while sleeping.

This makes it possible to become overheated while sleeping with an electric blanket, or even suffer burns in areas of direct contact with the appliance. While there have been several reports over the years of heat stroke deaths caused by elevated core body temperatures due sleeping with an electric blanket, these are exceedingly rare.


EMF (Electromagnetic Fields) From Electric Blankets

According to the scientific paper ‘Impact of electromagnetic field exposure on pain…‘ from Science Direct, electric blankets generate exposure to EMF which means electromagnetic fields which can interact with your body and cause you pain.

While the chances are low, EMF can make your muscle pain worse and this is proven by scientists.

When you regularly use electric blankets it can only make your leg pain worse but also can create pain in other parts of your body like the hip, shoulders, and back.

Academic Journal Article about Sleeping with an Electric Blanket

How to Stop Leg Pain From Electric Blankets?

Before you follow some ways to stop leg pain from electric blankets, you need to know whether your electric blankets are the cause of your leg pain or not.

You can try sleeping without your electric blankets for a few days to check whether electric blankets are the actual cause or something else.

If you still insist on using an electric blanket, follow these steps to stay warm with electric blankets without any leg pain.

  • Use electric blankets for only 60 minutes at the beginning to prevent electric blankets from getting too warm. Temperature regulation is key to reduce the risk of leg pain.
  • Always start with the lowest setting and gradually increase the heat level until it makes you comfortable and warm.
  • Try to avoid electric blankets if you have diabetes, muscle soreness or poor circulation. You are at higher risk if are pregnant, are a child or are elderly.
  • Check if the electric blankets are damaged before using them.
  • Do not become over-reliant on electric blankets (the energy bills can also rack up!)

But if you are already facing leg pain during using electric blankets then you should stop using them for a few days.

Alternatives To An Electric Blanket

  • Hot Water Bottle
  • Heated Throws
  • Weighted Blankets
  • Wear Socks to Bed
  • Wear Warm Pajamas

Why is My Electric Blanket Causing Leg Pain?

There are different and various reasons why your electric blankets cause you to leg pain such as heat from electric blankets may increase the blood flow or current from electric blankets damaging your nerves.

And there are lots of reasons why you should not use electric blankets especially if you have any body pain or nerve pain syndrome. We suggest to seek medical advise from a medical practitioner.

Final Words

If you have electric blankets and if you are facing leg pain while using those blankets then you should stop right now.

Because there are lots of reasons why electric blankets are not safe for our bodies and lead to leg pain.

The heat and current from the electric blankets can be the cause of leg pain.

So if you want to stay warm during cold nights then you should try another different way to keep warm.

Because electric blankets are not the safest way to make yourself warm.

If you have any questions regarding leg pain and electric blankets then you can ask them in the comment section of this article.