Massaging the upper thigh may alleviate cramping, according to MedlinePlus. Heat may relax the muscle when cramping begins, but ice is often preferable once the pain has subsided.
For cramps in the back of the upper thigh, it may be useful to put weight on the affected leg and bend the knee slightly, states WebMD. Lying down and pulling the top of the foot toward the head may also help. Standing on one leg while pulling the other toward the buttock may alleviate cramping in the quadriceps.
To prevent leg cramps, stretching and warm baths before bed may be useful, WebMD claims. Drinking sufficient water, particularly before, during and after exercise can also prevent cramping. Swimming and strength-building exercises are particularly effective for preventing leg cramps, and electrolyte replacement beverages such as Gatorade may be useful. Additionally, it is best to keep legs warm and to avoid pointing the toes while sleeping.
Factors contributing to muscle cramping may include alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, menstruation and pregnancy, says MedlinePlus. Dehydration, muscle fatigue and poor blood circulation in the legs can also lead to cramps, according to WebMD. Cramps may result from deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, potassium or vitamin D.
Those suffering from recurring leg cramps should consult a physician, according to MedlinePlus. During the visit, the doctor may perform blood and urine tests. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the cramps.