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14 Ways to Get Rid Of Leg Cramps, and Prevent Them from Returning Back

By Andrew Alpin, 26 June 2018

One of the most common ailments present in elderly aged people and pregnant women is leg cramps. Unusual exertion or getting into awkward positions during sleep can cause leg and foot cramps. Muscle strain or dehydration is the main cause leg cramps. Blood clots, mineral deficiencies, nerve compression and many other dangerous reasons can also cause cramps. The worst part of leg cramps is the calf turning that can really be painful. Moreover, it attacks you mostly at night and when you least expect it. Fortunately, you can easily get rid of leg cramps.

The major causes of leg cramps

While there are other factors that can cause leg cramps, the major culprits are:

  • Lack of minerals and water in the body,
  • Improper blood supply to the legs,
  • Compression of nerves,
  • Inadequate calcium in the bones,
  • Excessive strain on the legs

1

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1Drink a lot of water

It may sound very ordinary but dehydration or lack of fluids is one of the main culprits of leg cramps. Drinking a lot of fluids especially while working out is completely necessary. Water can help in reducing a cramp when you’re suffering from one because a dehydrated muscle is very vulnerable to muscle cramps. Muscle contraction makes the muscle get stuck into an awkward spasm thus causing a cramp.

Drink a lot of water

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2Eat food high in minerals

Potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium are the four most essential nutrients for our muscles which should exist in perfect balance in our bodies. A lack or deficit of such minerals makes muscles contract frequently.

Eat food high in minerals

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3Why you need minerals to prevent muscle contraction

Minerals like calcium are very important for preventing conditions like muscle contraction in tissues including the heart. While magnesium deficits are rare, they can cause sore muscles. Magnesium reduces lactic acid build up causing post-workout pain. Sodium is extremely necessary during hot weather and when you’re working out, as your muscles have to be hydrated to prevent cramps. Consume more dry fruits and nuts and ingredients like chia seeds that are rich sources of magnesium and other minerals for leg cramps.

Why you need minerals to prevent muscle contraction

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4Consume apple cider vinegar

Another trick to reduce leg cramps is to consume apple cider vinegar because it is rich in minerals essential for our muscles. It helps maintains a balance of bodily minerals and prevents dehydration. ACV can also prevent menstrual cramps in women.

Consume apple cider vinegar

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5Massage to prevent cramps

When the supply of blood is decreased to a muscle leading to a decrease in oxygen and minerals it causes the muscle to cramp. Muscles can be relaxed and the blood flow can be restored by massaging the legs and relaxing the muscles. Massaging increases circulation and oxygenates muscles thus preventing muscle cramps. Massaging your legs which are most prone to muscle cramps before you sleep is a good idea.

Massage to prevent cramps

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6Hot and cold compresses

When you’re having a muscle cramp, you can put a hot pad or hot compress on it. This will increase blood flow and relax the muscle. For decreasing swelling and numbing the affected area, you can use an ice pad, or alternatively, apply a hot and cold compress. Migraines, diabetes and other medical conditions causing leg numbness cannot be cured by this treatment in which case you should consult a doctor.

Hot and cold compresses

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7Avoid prolonged sitting

Sitting all day and a sedentary lifestyle leads to under-conditioned muscles which are more prone to muscle cramps. If you are constantly sitting in one position at work, you should standup at regular intervals and walk, it will prevent muscle cramps. Exercising can also prevent cramps and improve your cardiovascular health.

Avoid prolonged sitting

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8Towel stretches

Stretching your muscles is very helpful when you’re having leg cramps. Using a scarf, towel or necktie and stretching your legs with your toes pointing up is one of the most useful methods for reducing cramps. Stretch the towel with your two feet and hold each end in different hands. With the cramped leg, stretch the towel and raise your leg, it will decrease the cramp.

Towel stretches

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9Stair calf stretches

The stair calf stretch is one exercise which can help you anywhere when you’re having a cramp. Place your feet on the bottom stairs with your heels extended slightly over the edge.

Slowly start moving your weight from one foot to the other. Lower your heel as close to the floor as possible and then stretch by applying pressure. When you feel your calves stretching, hold the position for at least 30 seconds.

Stair calf stretches

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10Toe stretches

If you’re having toe cramps, toe stretches can help a lot, although it is similar to calf stretches, it can help in preventing cramps too. Stand on a raised platform or on a flat ground either on your toes or only your feet. Now, slowly rise up on your toes and hold this position for 10 seconds and then go back to start. Repeat this 30 times or until you feel better.

Toe stretches

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11Quadriceps muscle stretch

This exercise will help you get rid of cramps in the quadriceps muscle area. Stand straight next to a chair and hold it with one hand for support. Now, fold the affected leg from the knee in a backward position and using your free hand, bring it to the level of your hips. Repeat this till the cramp goes away.

Quadriceps muscle stretch

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12Epsom Salt

The best way to increase magnesium is by having a bath with Epsom salts. Some bodies have the ability to absorb more calcium, not from eating, but the pores in their skin. An Epsom salts bath can also relax your muscles to avoid getting cramps and muscle pain. It even relives many spasms and improves nerve function.

Epsom Salt

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13Acupressure

Our bodies have certain pressure points which require special attention. Applying pressure on these points can provide relief from cramps faster. Cramps usually occur when there is too much stress on a particular muscle. Acupressure helps relieve the stress thus relieving the pain. There is one pressure point located between the big and second toe. There is also one situated between the upper lip and the nose, (just one-third of the distance away from the nose.)

Acupressure

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14 Stretch before and after you exercise

It is necessary to stretch and do warm-ups before exercising for our body to prepare for an intense workout. Stretching and warm-ups actually help in loosening up the muscles and increasing blood flow for muscle oxygenation.

Stretch before and after you exercise

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