Methods for relieving leg cramps include massage, applying heat or ice, and stretching, advises WebMD. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate the pain. For persistent leg cramps, a doctor can prescribe stronger medication.
Once leg cramps begin, simply walking on the affected leg may alleviate the discomfort, according to Everyday Health. Shaking the leg or jiggling the muscles may help as well. To alleviate a cramp in a calf muscle, flexing the muscle by pulling the toes up toward the head may help, suggests MedicineNet. Putting weight on the affected leg and bending the knee may also stop the pain, notes WebMD. If the cramp occurs in the front of the thigh, using a hand to pull the leg back toward the buttocks while using a chair to remain steady is often helpful.
Causes of leg cramps include strenuous exercise, muscle trauma, keeping the leg in an awkward position for a long period of time, and dehydration, explains Everyday Health. Certain medications and a lack of potassium, magnesium or calcium are other possible causes. Lifestyle changes, such as drinking plenty of fluids, eating a well-balanced diet and strengthening the leg muscles, can help prevent leg cramps.