Cramps tend to come and go in different body parts. However, for people who undergo leg and foot cramps in a regular basis, you need a treatment plan. Leg cramps, also known as the Charley horse, is a type of muscle spasm that happens to your quads and calves all the way to your feet and toes. The discomfort and pain from recurring cramps is hard to ignore, after all. It immobilizes you at best and tortures you at worst. Are you suffering from leg cramps at night? How about leg cramps during pregnancy? There are ways to go about treating this. Although you have no control over cramps and your leg seizing up from the thigh downwards, there are ways to get rid of them when they occur in your sleep.
Contents of This Page
- 1 Treatment of Leg Cramps
- 2 Getting a Massage:
- 3 Stretching and Flexing:
- 4 Applying Hot or Cold Compress: See larger image Dynarex Instant Cold Pack, 4 Inches x 5 Inches, 24-Count Activates easily to provide instant relief Provides an anesthetic effect Relieves aches and pains Additional images: Price: $10.32 Buy Now
- 5 Taking Foods or Drinks Rich in Vinegar See larger image Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized Made from the finest, delicious, healthy, organically grown apples Add flavor to most foods, salads, veggies and even popcorn Additional images: Price: $3.67 Buy Now
- 6 Increasing Fluid Intake:
- 7 Taking Medications or Supplements: See larger image Whey Protein Powder Isolate by BulkSupplements | Clean & Pure Unflavored 90% Isolate for Men & Women | Build Muscle Mass & Burn Fat Fast Additional images: Price: $9.96 Buy Now
- 8 Wearing Appropriate Attire:
- 9 Getting Toe Stretchers:
- 10 Drinking Tea:
- 11 Doing Strengthening Exercises:
- 12 The Bottom Line
Treatment of Leg Cramps
Cramps can be caused by a number of issues, which can include pregnancy itself, medications, electrolyte imbalance, nerve problems, dehydration, and diabetes. If you want to know how to get rid of leg cramps, then keep on reading. Here are the ten ways you can go about treating your leg cramps in all the right ways.
Getting a Massage:
If you want your taut, cramped leg muscles to relax, you might need a massage. As your leg cramps up, you should know first which muscles are cramping up to avoid making them seize up so much that you’ll tear something. A masseuse has knowledge in which muscles should be massaged and how to massage them in order to keep them from contracting in a painful way that leaves you in dire straits. He can untighten the tension in your muscles to get them back in a relaxed, pain-free state.
When you have a leg or foot cramp, a massage seems like the most immediate reaction. It’s because it improves circulation on the affected muscle. You or someone who’s a good masseuse should apply proper pressure to the affected area using fingers, pressing firmly on problem spots where you’re getting the most pain. A soft or hard touch might be needed, but it depends on what kind of cramp you’re getting and what works best to you in getting about pain reduction. A massage assists in relieving muscle tension and improving your circulation.
Stretching and Flexing:
Curiously enough, there are some cramps wherein when you stretch your leg outward it gets worse so to relax that muscle you need to bend your leg. Other times, it’s vice-versa. It all depends on which specific muscle that’s contracting. Just like with your arm biceps and triceps, your biceps femoris, gracillis, sartorius, rectus femoris, fibularis longus, tibialis anterior, vastus medialis, and gastrocnemius alternate in contraction and relaxation states depend on how you flex or stretch your leg out.
When undergoing stretching exercises, you could deter a leg and foot cramp from worsening as it happens. It undoes the flexing action of your muscles so that it could go back to a more relaxed state, like loosening a stretched rubber band gradually so it doesn’t snap. That’s what makes this an effective leg cramps treatment. The exercise typically involves placing your leg in the right position so that it stops hurting you, which means either leg extension when you’re in the standing or sitting position or leg folding in case a stretch actually makes your cramps worse.
Applying Hot or Cold Compress:
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Another way to make your legs, feet, and thighs from cramping or even tearing is by applying hot or cold compress on the affected area. Which temperature of compress should you use? It depends on which one works the best on your cramped up leg muscles. The extreme temperature of either type of compress filled with ice or hot water relaxes the cramping by easing the inflammation of your muscles.
You could either get a heating pad then apply it on your leg (it could be filled with hot water or it could be one of those microwavable compresses you can heat up over and over) or you could instead rub ice on it if you like. The heating pad should have a comfortable, non-scalding type of temperature. The ice shouldn’t create an ice burn either because of extreme iciness. Just apply either type of compress until the pain in your leg disappears.
Taking Foods or Drinks Rich in Vinegar
: Funnily enough, ingesting vinegar does have an effect on your leg cramps in more ways than one. That’s because vinegar contains acetic acid. When you ingest it, it assists your body in the production of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that improves the functionality of your muscles. The more vinegar you ingest and the more acetic acid you put into your body, the more you’ll improve muscle function.
With that said, you shouldn’t overdo it with taking foods or drinks rich in vinegar. You should, for example, drink apple cider vinegar dissolved in honey for taste. You could also eat any type of mustard for the sake of cramp relief. However, take in the vinegar in commonsensical moderation, because some foods that have vinegar or require a saucer of vinegar to consume tend to create side effects in your body like hyperacidity of your stomach and other complications.
Increasing Fluid Intake:
If your cramps are caused by dehydration, then you can prevent or relieve them by keeping yourself hydrated. The standard theory is that when you’re dehydrated and have lost a lot of fluid during exercise, this alters your body’s fluid balance and increases nerve excitability, which in turn causes muscle contraction and cramping. To remedy this, you should take in more fluid, particularly of the variety with loads of electrolyte (i.e., water mixed with salt and citrus or Gatorade).
You can get electrolyte imbalances after excessive sweating during intense workouts or when you’re sick and you’ve vomited a lot of food. Other conditions that could lead to dehydration include diarrhea and kidney failure, which all of them increasing your tendency to cramp up your muscles. It’s said by loads of experts that muscle spasms can be reduced significantly when you drink loads of water if it’s caused by loss of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and salt.
Taking Medications or Supplements:
Your muscles may also spasm if you have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health. To address this issue, you should get magnesium and calcium supplements in order to get rid of your muscle spasms as soon as possible. You can also take vitamins such as Vitamin E or muscle relaxants recommended by your healthcare professional for the sake of mitigating the recurrence of regular leg cramping.
If you’re dealing with recurring nighttime leg cramps in particular, then you can take the following medications to treat it. There are OTC (over-the-counter) pain medicine you can get without a prescription such as naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). However, medicine intake safety should also be your top priority. For example, avoid medication that you’re allergic to and always consult your doctor first before trying any drug out for your own wellbeing.
Wearing Appropriate Attire:
If you’re pregnant and you’re having leg cramps (thus certain medications are out of the question for you to take since it could lead to birth defects and whatnot), then what you wear can assist in pain relief from the muscle spasms of your legs. After all, labor pains and cramps are already quite bothersome in and of themselves, so there’s no need to worsen them with the presence of leg cramping and muscle strain as well.
You can resolve pregnancy-caused cramps and spams by elevating your legs, applying heat to the affected area, and wearing supporting stockings. The idea here is to get the right stockings that will ease the pressure on your legs. Pregnancy causes leg cramps because of blood circulation changes, weight gain, and pressure on the blood vessel and nerves. Therefore, you can combat these cramp-inducing bodily changes by putting on medically appropriate footwear and dresses when going about your daily activities.
Getting Toe Stretchers:
If you’re experiencing leg and foot pain (since certain muscles of your leg are connected to and can be stretched by muscles of your foot, this can result in spasms from both), then you can relieve this tandem of pressure and strain by wearing a toe stretcher apparatus. As long as you sport this product on your foot for at least an hour a day, you can say goodbye to both foot cramps and leg cramps.
Toe stretchers specifically improve gait and bone alignment as well as stretch muscle ligament from your foot and toes to your calves and thighs to reduce muscle tension since there’s more muscle to go around. You can become more flexible with the assistance of this piece of footwear. Many leg and foot cramp issues are caused by tightening up the ligaments and muscles of the foot, thus affecting the rest of the muscles in your leg. These toe garments are worn while you’re lying down or sitting rather than when you’re walking.
Did you know that drinking tea can reduce muscle spasm on your leg area and other places on your body? That’s because one of the reasons why cramps happen is because of anxiety and stress. Sure, physical exertion allows for direct contraction and pressure on your muscles, which could lead to cramping when all is said and done. However, stress is a mitigating factor towards muscle spasms that should be addressed. Your body doesn’t only react to physical stress but also mental stress as well.
That’s the reason why you should drink Chamomile tea or Valerian tea (which contains Valerenic acid). It’s the kind of tea that helps you relax your body physically and mentally. There’s a link between relieving leg and foot cramps and drinking Chamomile tea, particularly when it comes to reduction of muscle spasm pain. You should drink this type of tea after exercising your foot without overdoing your exertion in order to really calm your nerves and your muscles. For the best results, you need to drink cramp-relieving tea 6 to 7 times a day.
Doing Strengthening Exercises:
Muscles that spasm, cramp, and emanate pain tend to be weak muscles that don’t have enough strength and thickness in them to be able to take the aches and soreness of a strenuous workout. These are the type of muscles that tend to snap under loads of pressure. Bodybuilders have thick muscles that are less cramp-prone because they’ve been trained to take loads of tension on them without breaking due to their flexibility and pure muscular strength.
As the Internet meme goes, “Never skip leg day” when you go to the gym. You should train your legs in order to be able to get rid of cramps, particularly the muscles on your feet, calves, and thighs. You should indulge in foot, calf, and thigh exercises that will give your muscles the ability to not break under pressure or cramp up. The idea behind bodybuilding is to give you a h3er, more powerful body that can handle all sorts of stress and lift a huge amount of weight efficiently. Train your legs until leg cramps cease bothering you.
The Bottom Line
The phenomenon of leg cramps is caused by loads of conditions, from you being dehydrated to something much more serious, like having a kidney disease. When you have a leg cramp that recurs over and over, you usually have to see a doctor that’s a specialist in physical therapy and rehabilitation. So that’s what causes leg cramps; treatment of it, in turn, requires you to address the root cause of the cramp. For example, if your cramps are caused by trauma in the muscle through vigorous exercise as well as keeping your leg in an awkward position for so long, you can avoid the cramps by being more careful when exercising and maintaining proper gait or leg positioning so you don’t flex or stretch your muscles in a wrong way. In order to resolve your leg cramp issues, you need to follow the advice shown above and discover the root cause of your ailment.