A major task in geriatrics is management of manifestations of the degenerative changes peculiar to the aging process. Among these manifestations are two types of intermittent pain in the muscles of the lower extremities: the pain of intermittent claudication, and night cramps. The pathogenesis of intermittent claudication has come to be widely recognized; it is a pain of exercise, caused by inadequacy of blood supply in proportion to blood demand, much as is the anginal effort pain, and like the latter it is an expression of organic or spastic narrowing of vessels carrying blood to the muscles involved.
The pain of night cramps, like the pain of claudication, is intermittent, affects preponderantly the middle-aged and elderly and involves the same muscle groups. It is because of these obvious similarities that night cramps too have been generally considered a symptom of peripheral vascular disease. It is a common experience of specialists
GOOTNICK A. NIGHT CRAMPS AND QUININE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1943;71(4):555–562. doi:10.1001/archinte.1943.00210040114012