How To Get Rid of Thigh Cramps?


Thigh cramps

Thigh cramps can occur due to sudden contraction in the muscles of your legs. These involuntary and uncomfortable contractions can disrupt your daily activities.

Thigh cramps at night can disturb you while sleeping. Thigh cramps almost affect everyone including the athletes and runners.

According to a research, 79% of athletes, 39% of runners and 60% of cyclists go through serious thigh cramps.

The muscle cramps occur without warning. Generally, they do not need any particular medical attention.

They can be treated with home remedies, stretching, massaging and exercise. Keep reading to know about the causes and solutions of thigh cramps.


Causes of Thigh Cramps

There can be several causes of thigh cramps.

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Dehydration, overuse of a particular muscle and lack of proper exercise are some of the reasons of thigh cramps. Let us look in detail at what causes thigh cramps.

What causes thigh cramps

1. Inadequate Supply of Blood

Inadequate supply of blood is also responsible for thigh cramps.

The arteries can turn narrow and make it difficult for circulation of blood. It can cause pain in thigh muscles. It occurs when you are exercising.

2. Poor Blood Circulation

Poor Blood circulation is also one of the causes for the occurrence of thigh cramps. Improper diet and inadequate flow of blood in your body can lead to leg cramps in thighs.

Eating healthy food can help you avoid pain in thigh muscle due to poor blood circulation.

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3. Deficiency of Minerals

Deficiency of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium can cause thigh cramps. Medicines for high blood pressure are also accountable for lack of these minerals in your body.

Therefore, these medicines can also be responsible for deficiency of minerals.

4. Dehydration

Dehydration is one of the most common causes of pain in thigh muscles. Lack of water in your body can lead to frequent leg cramps in thighs.

Make sure you drink seven to eight glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration.

5. Muscle Fatigue

Muscle fatigue and overuse of a particular muscle can also lead to thigh cramps.

Excessive pressure on specific muscles can lead to involuntary contraction of the muscle. When your muscles turn tired, muscle knots are formed. Try taking rest in such circumstances.

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6. Nerve Compression

Nerve compression can also cause pain in thigh muscles. Compression of nerves in your spine is also known as lumbar stenosis.

The pain can worsen if you walk for a more extended period. Spinal cord injury can also be responsible for the same.

Along with the above causes, there are various factors which affect the frequency of thigh cramps. Let us look at them in detail.


Factors Affecting the frequency of Thigh Cramps

Age

Old people are more prone to thigh cramps as they have less mass in the body.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women fall under more risk of getting leg cramps in thighs.

Alcohol

If you are addicted to alcohol, there are high chances of occurrence of thigh cramps in your legs.

Diseases

People with thyroid, diabetes, and nerve disorders are more prone to getting thigh cramps.


Symptoms That Require Medical Attention

Generally, thigh cramps are harmless and do not require medical treatment. However, there are specific symptoms which can need you to consult a doctor. Let us now look at them.

  • When you face severe discomfort
  • Leg swelling, swelling of the body, or redness
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Increase in frequency of thigh cramps
  • No sign of improvement
  • Happens to occur without any common reason

How to Prevent Thigh Cramps?

There are several ways to prevent thigh cramps:

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can increase the frequency and chances of thigh cramps. Therefore, it is necessary to drink at least seven to eight glasses of water per day.

It is essential to drink more water during the hot weather and vigorous activities. Your medications and diet can also determine the amount of water you should consume.

Stretching your Muscles Regularly:

Before any vigorous activity or extensive use of a muscle, stretch your muscle gently. If you face high cramps at night, perform a little stretching before sleeping.

Take Proper Diet and Nutrition

Incorporate more amount of Vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium in your diet. Eat healthy food and take care of your nutrition.

Also, make sure that you sleep on your side and do not use constrictive bedding for sleeping.


Thigh Cramps Treatment Options

There are thigh cramps treatments available. Read further to know how to get rid of thigh cramps.

Thigh cramps

1. Stretching

Lay down on your back, use a towel or a belt to wrap the ball of your foot of the affected leg and raise your leg. Pull your leg towards you gently with the help of the towel or belt.

Keep massaging the hamstrings while pulling your leg. You can do this using your one hand to hold the towel or belt and the other hand to massage.

If you cannot lay down on your back, you can do the same by sitting, stretching out your legs and bending forward.

If the cramp has occurred on your front portion of the thigh, stretch your quads. Stand straight and raise your foot backward towards your butt.

Try to hold your leg with your hand and pull it closer to your butt. Make sure not to bend your leg too much and keep your knee in line with your thigh. Keep pulling your leg and stretching gently.

Don’t strain your muscle too much and pull your leg gently only. Keep walking in between the stretching to relax your muscles.

2. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt contains magnesium which helps to relax the muscles. Therefore, Epsom salt can be used to treat thigh cramps. Take two cups of Epsom salt and add it to a bathtub filled with warm water.

Soak in the water for twenty minutes. You can repeat this every day. People who have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems should not use Epsom salt.

3. Use Ice or Heat Pack

It is one of the best thigh cramps treatments. If you are suffering from pain, tightness or cramps frequently, you can use heat pack for the same.

Use a warm towel or heating pad to massage the area. You can also use ice packs on the swollen area.

4. Yellow Mustard

Yellow mustard contains acetic acid that increases production of acetylcholine. The acetylcholine helps the muscles to work. It can help to bring relief to your pain.

Take one spoon of yellow mustard and follow it with a cup of warm milk. It can help you cure thigh cramps.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to reduce soreness and bring relief to pain in the muscles. Therefore, Rosemary can help you to treat thigh cramps.

Take an ounce of Rosemary and put it in a jar of boiling water. Cover it and leave it for 30 minutes. Then, Soak a cloth in the water and compress the affected area with it.

Follow it with cold compression. You can also make Rosemary tea out of Rosemary leaves by boiling a teaspoon of Rosemary leaves to a cup of water. Drink this tea two or three times per day.

6. Light Exercises

If you go through the thigh cramps that won’t go away, then gentle exercises can be beneficial to you. Walking, yoga and movement of the body can be useful for treating thigh cramps.

7. Clove Oil

The anesthetic property of clove oil helps to reduce pain in thigh muscles. Also, the anti-inflammatory features in the clove oil help to cure the swelling of the muscles.

They also provide relief from pain. Take some drops of warm clove oil and gently rub it on the affected area. Massage it for five to ten minutes. Repeat if desired.

8. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses are rich in calcium and potassium. If the leg cramps in thighs occur due to the deficiency of these minerals, blackstrap molasses can be a perfect cure for you.

Mix one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in warm milk or water. Drink this liquid one or two times per day for relief in pain.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium and also helps to maintain fluid in the body. Low potassium in the body can cause thigh cramps that won’t go away.

Apple cider vinegar helps to cure the same. Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it. Consume it daily for useful results.

10. Baking Soda

Baking soda counterbalances the lactic acid which emerges due to vigorous exercise. Drink one-fourth teaspoon baking solution after exercise.

It helps to regulate the lactic acid. It also cures the pain in thigh muscles due to cramps.

Along with the above high cramps treatments, you can also go for a massage. Have fruit juices and liquid, and also use proper bedding.


Conclusion

You should keep certain factors in mind if you frequently suffer from thigh cramps. If you get thigh cramps at night, wear socks and sleep. Don’t wear too tight clothes on your legs if you suffer from thigh cramps.

Drink some warm milk and perform light exercises before sleeping to have a cramp-free night. Also, make sure to stay hydrated and inculcate vitamins and calcium in your diet.

Both stretching and resting are required to prevent cramps from occurring. Keep note of all the above to prevent and cure pain. 

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Sources:
Miller, K. C., Stone, M. S., Huxel, K. C., & Edwards, J. E. (2010). Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention. Sports Health, 2(4), 279–283. http://doi.org/10.1177/1941738109357299
“Muscle Cramp,” Mayo Clinic Website, last accessed March 15th, 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820
“Why Is My Leg Cramping? What Can Help?,” WebMD Website, last accessed March 15th, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse
“Remedies for Muscle Spasms, Leg Cramps & the Charley Horse?” Dr. Axe Website, Last accessed March 15th, 2018, https://draxe.com/muscle-spasms/
“How to get rid of a Thigh Cramp” wikiHow Website, Last accessed March 15th, 2018, https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-a-Thigh-Cramp

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Dr. David Cummings, MD

Dr. David Cummings, MD

David Cummings, MD, is a medical reviewer and editor at Daily Health Cures. David received his medical degree from the University of Illinois.