How to Get Rid of Thigh Cramps: 14 Steps

Table of contents:

How to Get Rid of Thigh Cramps: 14 Steps
How to Get Rid of Thigh Cramps: 14 Steps

The presence of muscle cramps, especially in the thighs, can be very unpleasant. Uncomfortable and involuntary muscle contractions are not only painful but can disrupt everyday activities such as sleep. Cramps are generally not a very serious medical condition and can be treated with home remedies such as stretching, massage, diet and exercise.


Part 1 of 3: Stretching Your Thigh Muscles

Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 1
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 1

Step 1. Find out which muscle is cramping

Before treating a cramp through stretching, it is important to identify which muscle is contracted. The thigh has several muscles that can be affected by a cramp, and identifying the most important ones will allow the stretch to be more effective. Generally, a healthcare professional – such as a physician, physiotherapist or personal trainer – will need to perform the procedure.

  • The hamstring is located at the back of the thigh and affects hip and knee movements. The upper part of the tendon connects to the lower part of the gluteus maximus, just behind the coccyx, ending at the knee.
  • The quadriceps are located at the front of the thigh and are the largest extensor muscle of the knee, as well as being the strongest muscle mass in the body.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 2
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 2

Step 2. Lengthen the hamstring

If the discomfort is located in the back of the thigh, stretch that tendon. There are several ways to accomplish this task.

  • Using a towel or belt, lie straight on the floor and lift the affected leg. Wrap the belt or towel around the part where the toes connect to the sole of the foot and hold both ends of the object. Calmly pull your leg back; if you like, use one hand to massage the hamstring as you stretch, or do this after you've finished stretching.
  • If lying down is not possible, the same stretch can be done while sitting. Keep your legs straight and lean forward (while stretching the hamstring with a belt or towel) for the same effect.
  • Don't exert too much force against the tension of a tight, cramped muscle. Instead, pull gently, increasing the force as the tension in the leg decreases.
  • Between stretching sessions, take a walk to help relax the hamstring.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 3
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 3

Step 3. Stretch your quadriceps

If the cramp is located in the front of the thigh, stretch the quadriceps. There is a very effective stretch for the hip that can greatly alleviate discomfort.

  • To relieve the quadriceps, stand up and bend the affected leg toward your gluteus maximus (buttocks). If you can, grab your foot and pull it toward your buttocks to stretch it further.
  • Don't forget to keep your knee in line with your thigh so you don't injure your knee muscles and tendons.
  • Use one hand to massage the hamstring while pulling the leg toward the buttocks. If you prefer, do the massage only after stretching the quadriceps.
  • Again, avoid putting too much force against the muscle that is suffering from cramp. Stretch calmly, pulling slowly. Only increase strength when the tension in your legs improves.
  • Walk around between stretching sessions to help relax your quadriceps.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 4
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 4

Step 4. Do light exercise

Light physical activity can help stretch a cramped thigh muscle. Normal movements help to release tension from the muscles in a natural way and relax the patient, but consider other types of exercise such as yoga.

  • Do the exercises only if you can and don't try too hard. In some cases, this is only possible after slightly stretching.
  • Walking moderately is the best exercise to help stretch your thigh muscles. The stride should be wide to ensure full muscle is used.
  • Try doing some yoga, which will also help you stretch your muscles. The restorative and yin types are designed specifically for stretching and treating muscles.

Part 2 of 3: Using Other Home Treatments

Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 5
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 5

Step 1. Massage the thigh or have a professional treat the area

Massage is a great way to cure a cramp as it increases circulation to muscle tissue. Combined with stretching, massages can quickly relieve the pain of muscle cramps while relaxing the patient.

  • Massage the thigh cramp site. Press the area carefully with your hands and apply more pressure if there is no pain.
  • The “foam roller” is another great equipment to massage your thighs. Composed of foam, these “spaghetti” allow for “myofascial self-release”, that is, a self-massage through the application of pressure on the cramped area.
  • Massage from a professional can also help reduce cramps. It is important that a licensed massage therapist work with the thigh muscles, as they easily know which muscles are affected by the cramp, as well as which muscles may have secondary inflammation due to the first injury. Swedish, neuromuscular, and myofascial releases are the massages that have the most effect on cramps. Tell the massage therapist that you have cramps so he doesn't overdo it.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 6
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 6

Step 2. Use heat therapy to relax your muscles

Heat can greatly help to relax the contraction and relieve pain, in addition to calming the patient, contributing to less muscle tension. Warm baths and compresses are just a few of the heat treatment methods to help alleviate thigh cramps.

  • Taking a hot bath – either a shower or a bath – will help to relax the muscles and treat cramping pain. The heat from the water also helps to promote blood circulation to the submerged area.
  • When placed in hot water, Epsom salts are also very helpful in reducing muscle tension.
  • Fill a bottle with hot water or take a hot compress and place it over the cramped thigh.
  • There are over-the-counter medications that, when rubbed on the thigh, relieve cramps through heat, relaxing the affected area.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 7
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 7

Step 3. Pay attention to the diet

Some studies show that low levels of nutrients like potassium and calcium can stimulate cramps. Consume sufficient amounts of these nutrients to minimize discomfort.

  • Bananas and oranges are great sources of potassium.
  • Brown rice, avocados and almonds provide magnesium.
  • Calcium is found in milk, yogurt and other dairy products, as well as in vegetables such as spinach.
  • Cramps can indicate mineral deficiency. A multimineral supplement can be highly beneficial.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 8
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 8

Step 4. Hydrate yourself

No studies have shown that dehydration is linked to leg cramps, but some evidence suggests that too little water can contribute to thigh cramps. Don't forget to drink enough water throughout the day to avoid this condition.

Drinking water is enough to keep your body hydrated. If you prefer something tastier, consume sports drinks or juices with water during the day

Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 9
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 9

Step 5. Sleep on your side and do not wear bedding that interferes with movement during sleep

Sleeping on your stomach and wearing bedding that limits movement can exacerbate your tendency to develop cramps. Strip tight sheets and sleep on your side to lessen the incidence of thigh cramps.

  • A thin sheet can restrict movement of the feet and legs, so it should be removed from the bed.
  • Sleep on your side with your legs slightly bent to minimize contractions in your thighs.
  • Sleeping in positions with your toes pointed down will make cramps worse.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 10
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 10

Step 6. Buy pain relievers or muscle relaxants

If other methods do not help reduce the cramps, take an over-the-counter medication or see your doctor to prescribe a stronger muscle relaxant. When the pain or cramps linger, it's best to see a professional to rule out another medical condition hidden by the cramps.

  • Take an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to reduce inflammation that may still be present in the muscle.
  • Talk to your doctor and ask if you can consume muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride to help fight tension and muscle cramps.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 11
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 11

Step 7. Avoid quinine

Some alternative sources suggest using quinine to treat muscle cramps, but it is very dangerous and can cause very reckless health conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia, nausea, headache, and tinnitus (tinnitus). Avoid it if possible.

Part 3 of 3: Understanding the Origin of Thigh Cramps

Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 12
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 12

Step 1. Find out what is causing your thighs to cramp

There are many possible reasons that cause cramps; among them are poor blood circulation and muscle fatigue. Finding out the cause of the tension will help with quick treatment.

  • Poor blood circulation in the legs, excessive muscle strain, insufficient stretching before or after exercise, muscle fatigue, dehydration, potassium or magnesium deficiency, and nerve compression are other causes of thigh cramps.
  • Most thigh cramps can be treated with home remedies. In some individuals, contractions at these sites occur due to mineral deficiency. Consuming a high quality mineral supplement can be beneficial.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 13
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 13

Step 2. Find out what medical conditions can cause thigh cramps

Not all cramps should be attributed to simple factors such as excessive physical exercise or improper sitting. Some medical conditions such as Parkinson's or diabetes increase the likelihood of muscle cramps. If home remedies don't alleviate the problem, go to the doctor to make sure there is no other hidden condition.

  • Pregnancy can cause thigh cramps.
  • Alcoholism also promotes spasms in the local muscles.
  • Dehydration contributes to increased tension at the site.
  • Parkinson's disease can affect the thigh muscles and cause cramps.
  • Endocrine disorders – such as hypothyroidism and diabetes – can also encourage the onset of cramps.
  • Neuromuscular disorders, such as neuropathy, are possible causes of muscle tension in the thigh.
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 14
Get Rid of a Thigh Cramp Step 14

Step 3. Be aware that some medications can cause thigh cramps

Just as illnesses and disorders contribute to tightness and muscle contraction in the thigh, certain remedies will make individuals more susceptible to muscle spasms. Knowing which medications can cause cramps will help both the doctor and the patient to identify the cause and decide the best method of treatment.

  • Diuretics such as Lasix make a person more susceptible to cramps.
  • Aricept, a drug known to minimize Alzheimer's disease in the United States, can cause thigh cramps.
  • Procardia (Nifedipine, in Brazil) – used to combat angina and high blood pressure – is another medication that possibly increases the chances of cramping in the thighs.
  • Albuterol sulfate or albuterol spray (Aerolin), indicated for the treatment of asthma, also make people more likely to suffer muscle contractions.
  • In the treatment of Parkinson's disease, Tasmar is used, which in some cases can cause muscle tension in the thighs.
  • Used to fight cholesterol, statin medications (Crestor and Lipitor) are other possible “culprits” for thigh cramps.


Popular by topic