A variety of resources, including Harvard Health Publishing, identifies the different treatments for muscle cramps in the legs. Some of them are massage, hydration, stretching, and applying an ice pack. Muscle cramps occur due to various reasons such as tired muscles, nerve problems, pregnancy, kidney failure, or blood flow issues. This is why it’s best to consult a doctor when you experience these for further treatment of a possible underlying issue. You may also apply daily routines to help you prevent a painful leg spasm. Find more about these in the information below.
How to Treat Muscle Cramps in the Legs?
Multiple websites recommend the following first aid for muscle cramps in the legs.
Stretch and Massage
A Victorian Government website, The Better Health Channel, states that massage is a good treatment for muscle cramps in the legs. Stretch the legs first, then lightly massage the area until it subsides. A physiotherapist can provide you with better guidance in doing this properly.
Hydrate yourself as some experience leg cramps at night due to inadequate bodily fluidsA. The Australian dietary guidelines contain the following daily recommendations for fluid intake.
- Infants – 0.7 L to 0.8 L
- Children & adolescents – 1.4 L to 2.2 L
- Adults – 2.8 L to 3.4 L
- Pregnant – 2.4 L to 3.1 L
- Lactating – 2.9 L to 3.5 L
Visit the website of Eat for Health for additional information.
The Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby website of the Australian Government recommends walking around to ease muscle spasms in the legs. It states that 3 in 10 pregnant experience leg cramps which occur most often at night.
Change Sleeping Position
MyDr, an independent resource for health information, mentions that sleeping with your legs bent and with loose covers may help muscle cramps.
Apply an Instant Ice Pack
Healthdirect, a health information service the government funds, considers ice packs as a treatment for muscle cramps in the legs. It recommends putting it on the sore area for 15-20 minutes at a time and repeating it every 2 to 4 hours. Instant ice packs are available in many first aid kits that are available online.
Using a heating pad or applying a warm bath is also on the Cleveland Clinic’s list of treatments for muscle cramps in the legs. It is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical centre in the USA.
Take Pain Medications
The Cleveland Clinic also suggests taking medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help ease the pain.
What are Muscle Cramps in the Legs?
The Queensland Government discusses muscle cramps on its website and describes it as an uncontrollable and painful spasm of a muscle. It may last for varying periods, usually harmless, but may also be a symptom of an underlying condition. So, if you experience regular leg cramps, it is best to consult a doctor for diagnosis.
What Causes Muscle Cramps in the Legs?
There is no exact cause of cramps in the legs, but the following conditions may be a factor according to the government websites.
- Poor physical condition
- Mineral and electrolyte imbalances
- Tight, inflexible muscles
- Underlying medical disorder, such as atherosclerosis
- Inadequate diet and hydration
- Physical overexertion
- Blood supply reduces
- Muscle fatigue
Long periods of wearing high heels are also one of the leg cramps causes.
What Triggers Muscle Cramps in the Legs?
A Heart and Vascular Institute in the USA pinpoints the following triggers of muscle cramps in one of its blogs.
- Processed food
- Added sugar
- Fatty meats
The same resource suggests consuming a heart-healthy diet that is low in fat and high in healthy carbohydrates, fiber, and lean proteins.
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps in the Legs?
Government agencies recognise the following prevention strategies against muscle spasms.
- Increase your physical activity
- Stretch before exercising
- Do warm-up and cool-down activities before and after playing sports
- Drink plenty of water, especially if you are physically active
- Go through regular massage to reduce muscle tension
- Use footwear that fits you well and is suitable for its purpose
- Seek advice from a doctor regarding supplements for Vitamins B1, B12, D, potassium, and magnesium as they are known to help relieve muscle cramps
Maintaining a healthy diet is also important which must comprise fruits and vegetables.
Stretching, massaging, hydration, walking, changing your sleeping position, applying ice packs or heat, and pain medications may treat muscle cramps in the legs. Muscle cramps are uncontrollable and painful spasms that occur at varying periods. It is usually harmless, but if it occurs frequently, it may indicate an underlying health issue. So, it is best to seek advice from a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Other factors such as poor physical condition, mineral imbalances, inadequate diet, muscle fatigue, and certain foods may also trigger it. Fortunately, there are prevention strategies you may apply to avoid it.