Sports drinks or electrolyte-enhanced water help to replace fluids and electrolytes to reduce the chances of a leg cramp. The primary cause of leg cramps is dehydration, according to Nancy Matsumoto for The Wall Street Journal. Humans become dehydrated when they participate in heavy exercise or do not consume enough fluids. Muscle stress, due to overexertion, also increases the potential for a sudden leg cramp.
Applying weight to the affected leg and bending the knee so the top of the foot comes closer to the head helps to bring immediate relief when a cramp occurs in the back of the thigh. If the cramp is in the front of the thigh, use a chair for balance and pull the foot back toward the buttock. WebMD recommends preventing future cramps by increasing magnesium in the diet and stretching properly before any exercise session.
Mayo Clinic recommends using heat or cold therapy to relieve the pain due to a muscle cramp. It also indicates that some medications increase the chances of cramps. Diuretics, beta-blockers and other blood pressure medications are some of the most common culprits. While most cramps are harmless, if they interfere with sleep and are accompanied with muscle weakness or lingering pain, the sufferer should see a doctor.