Muscle cramps are a common occurrence in the body, and will usually affect different parts of the body. One of the most common body parts affected by these cramps is the legs, and more specifically the muscles in the calf region. Leg cramps affect both children and adults, making it very important to know what symptoms to look out for. Since leg cramps are contractions of the muscles in the legs and they occur involuntarily, one of the most common signs of this is pain in the legs. This may often be accompanied by twitching, soreness and a noticeable hardening of specific leg muscles.
Some of the causes of leg cramps include flat feet, liver failure and restless leg syndrome. Some pregnant women will also experience muscle cramps in their legs owing to the additional weight of the pregnant belly. During this cramping, it is very painful to move your leg. The use of natural remedies to ease the pain comes in handy as there are several options available for you without any side effects. While these remedies work well for acute leg cramps, they may not be a permanent solution for those suffering from chronic leg cramps. If you consistently suffer from leg cramps, you need to seek professional medical help. This is important because it allows for proper diagnosis and consequent administration of ideal treatment.
1. Stay Hydrated:
Time Required: Water intake staggered throughout the day.
What You Need: Plenty of drinking water.
There is a direct correlation between acute leg cramps and the level of hydration. When you are dehydrated, the muscles are more predisposed to getting tense, a factor which contributes significantly to leg cramping. This is particularly important for you if you exercise a lot as you tend to lose more body fluid faster compared to someone who does not exercise. The other reason why you need to stay hydrated is to ensure that your electrolyte levels are balanced. An imbalance in these levels triggers cramping in the legs.
- Make sure that you spread your water intake throughout the day to keep leg cramps at bay. Take caution to avoid excessive water intake as this could lead to water poisoning.
2. Warm Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A clean towel and hot water.
Using a warm compress helps you manage leg cramps because the heat present allows for muscles relaxation in the legs. This also works by improving the flow of blood to the affected muscles. Overall, the use of a warm compress is both easy and effective. Make this a regular part of your post-exercise routine if you often engage in physical exercise and activities.
- Soak the clean towel in the hot water for a minute before squeezing the excess water.
- Wrap the warm towel around your leg at the point where the affected muscles are and allow it to remain there for 10 minutes.
- Once the towel cools down, soak it once more in the water and repeat step 2 once more.
- Use this remedy at least thrice daily to manage leg cramps with ease.
3. Increase Your Daily Intake of Bananas:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: 3 bananas
One of the main causes of cramping in the legs is a deficiency in the levels of potassium in the body. Potassium is important for the normal functioning of the muscles as it helps manage proper muscular relaxation. If you suffer from leg cramping every so often, you may consider increasing your levels of potassium. Bananas are a rich source of potassium, and simply eating this fruit will increase the levels of this critical mineral salt.
- Simply snack on bananas during the day and observe any improvements as far as the extent of leg cramping is concerned.
4. Salty Water:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Half teaspoon of salt and a glass of warm water
One of the simplest ways to ease cramping in the legs is to take warm salty water. Salty water helps replenish the levels of electrolytes in the body. Low electrolyte levels are a major trigger for muscle cramps. By dealing with this through intake of salty water, you should be able to manage the cramping and thus reduce the pain associated with leg cramps.
- Add the salt to the glass of warm water and stir well to facilitate dissolution.
- Drink the salty solution at least twice daily until you are able to reduce the extent of leg cramping.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of honey, and a glass of hot water.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for the management of leg cramps. This is because the ACV not only acts as an anti-inflammatory, it also has a high concentration of potassium. As aforementioned, potassium is a key element in the tightening and relaxation of muscles. By taking ACV, you are better placed to replenish potassium levels in cases where the cramping is the result of potassium deficiency.
- Place the 2 teaspoons of ACV in the glass containing hot water.
- Stir in the teaspoon of honey and sip this mixture.Use this remedy thrice daily until you are able to note an improvement in the condition of your leg.
6. Cayenne Pepper Paste:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: Cayenne pepper powder, olive oil, warm water, and cotton wool (optional).
Cayenne pepper contains a compound known as capsaicin. Capsaicin is both an anti-inflammatory compound as well as a natural muscle relaxant. By making a paste using the powder and olive oil, you should be able to massage this effective home remedy on your leg and keep cramps at bay. You could also opt to incorporate cayenne pepper in your daily food intake for long term benefits in reducing the frequency of leg cramps.
- Take a teaspoon of the cayenne pepper powder and place it in a shallow bowl.
- Add the olive oil in small amounts until you get a paste with the desired consistency. This is important so that the paste is neither too runny nor too grainy during application.
- You may use the cotton wool to apply the paste on the affected leg, making sure you massage as gently as you can.
- Allow the paste to stay on the skin for 15 minutes before rinsing it off using warm water.
- Use this remedy as often as you need to. If you get regular cramping in the leg, you may want to prepare higher amounts of the home remedy in advance for your convenience.
7. Take a Warm Bath and Use Epsom Salts:
Time Required: 40 – 60 Min
What You Need: A warm bath and Epsom salts.
The essence of taking a (long) warm bath is to ensure that your muscles are relaxed. Leg cramps occur when muscles in the leg tense, so what better way to deal with this than to enjoy a relaxing bath? For extra relief, you will need Epsom salts. Epsom salts are basically naturally occurring salts of Magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is an essential salt in the relaxation of muscles. By adding these salts to your bath water and allowing absorption through the skin, you can be sure to relax as well as get relief from cramping in your leg.
- Place a cup of the Epsom salt at the bottom of the bath tub and run the water over the salts as gently as you can.
- Soak in the bath for at least half an hour (you can soak in for as long as you would like).
- Make sure you massage the affected leg as you soak in the Epsom bath. Use this remedy at least twice daily until the cramps in your leg subside.
8. Wintergreen Oil:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of wintergreen oil, 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil, a clean cloth, and warm water.
Wintergreen oil is rich in Methyl salicyclate, a compound that is known for its ability to provide pain relief and enhance blood circulation at the site of application. When this oil is mixed with vegetable oil (which acts as a carrier oil in this remedy), the resulting oil mixture is massaged on the affected leg to manage the pain and stop the cramping. You may add a warm compress to this remedy to amplify the benefits of the oil mixture.
- Mix the Wintergreen oil and the vegetable oil in a shallow container. If you intend to prepare large volumes of this oil mixture, simply use the ratio 1:4 (Wintergreen: vegetable oil respectively).
- Take a teaspoon of the mixture and pour it on the affected leg before massaging gently for about 5 minutes.
- Soak the clean cloth in the warm water and then wring out the excess amounts of water.
- Tie the warm cloth on the part of the leg where you just massaged the oil and let it remain on for 20 minutes. Use this remedy thrice daily until you get better.
9. Get active! Stretch an Walk:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Grounds with relatively even terrain, and a good pair of sturdy shoes.
Sometimes all you need to do when you get leg cramps is to get moving. Walking is a great way to stretch those muscles and ease the cramping. this simple activity also promotes the circulation of blood to your legs which are an added incentive as you are up and about.
- Simply wear your sturdy walking shoes and set out.
- Make sure you stretch your legs, preferably with your toes pointed towards your head. Do this as often as you can until the leg cramps ease.