The horse that no one wants is the charley horse (leg muscle cramps)-a very painful cramp in the leg muscles that will make you stop whatever activity you are doing. Cramps can occur in any part of your foot, and they always happen at the wrong time. Help get rid of the cramp quickly and prevent future muscle cramps using the techniques described below.
Method 1 of 2: Deal Immediately
Step 1. Massage the cramped muscle
Muscle cramps usually occur in the calves, feet, and sometimes the thighs; massage the area to help reduce painful pressure and cramping. Use your thumb and fingertips with moderate pressure in a circular motion directly on the painful area and slightly above the area to increase circulation. Continue this procedure for a few minutes until the pain subsides or you want to switch to another treatment.
Step 2. Stretch
Your muscles become tight from the spasm, so stretching will help to relax them and flex. Performing one or more stretches that stretch the muscles in the affected area will help provide quick relief.
- Stand up straight, then enter the lunge position, with your cramped leg behind you. Straighten your back leg while your front leg is bent. This action will force the weight of your body to rest on the tip of your back foot; You can lean forward slightly on your bent knee if that makes you more comfortable.
- Sit on the bed or on the floor, and place your legs straight out in front of you. Lock your knees, and point your toes toward your face. Grasp that toe and pull your foot back slightly on your cramped leg.
- Stand straight on your toes and hold the position as much as you can. This will stretch the calf muscles and reduce spasms. Take a break every few seconds and then continue the stretch.
Step 3. Take a shower
Fill the tub with warm water and Epsom salt (British salt) and soak your body for 10-20 minutes. The hot water and salt will work together to soothe your tense muscles and distract you from the pain.
Step 4. Lift the affected area
Lift the affected area by placing it on a pillow or armrest of a chair or sofa. Elevating the cramped area will help increase circulation and move blood to/from the cramped area more effectively.
Step 5. Use a small amount of ice
To soothe muscle spasms, use an ice cube or a cold compress on the cramping area. Don't apply the ice directly, but wrap it in a towel or bandage before applying it to your skin. Do this action for 5-15 minutes for best results.
Method 2 of 2: Preventing Future Muscle Cramps
Step 1. Stretch regularly
If you train or exercise regularly, stretching properly first can prevent muscle spasms and cramps in the future. Stretch for 2-5 minutes before doing any exercise. The best stretches to prevent muscle cramps include the quad stretch and lunges.
- To do the quad stretch, stand straight and bend one knee. Continue bending your knees as far as you can, then hold your legs behind you and hold for ten seconds.
- To perform the lunge, get into a kneeling position on the floor so that one leg is bent at the knee and you are fully resting on the other calf. Then, lift your body off the floor so that your legs are bent. Do a few lunges by walking around the room in this position, alternating between the legs.
Step 2. Consume more potassium
Low potassium levels are associated with an increased likelihood of muscle spasms and cramps. Consume foods that contain potassium at least once a day including bananas, avocados, and oranges. You can also take potassium supplements from your local health food store.
Step 3. Consume more calcium and magnesium
These two vitamins work hand in hand to prevent muscle cramps and keep your body in top shape. Make sure you are consuming enough calcium and magnesium by supplementing your diet with these minerals in tablet form or in the food you eat. Dairy products and nuts are foods that are high in calcium and magnesium.
Step 4. Don't run out of fluids
If the level of sodium in your blood is high, it affects your muscles and circulation. Keep your sodium levels low by drinking lots of water regularly. If you're working out, increase your water intake with sports drinks with added electrolytes.
Step 5. Avoid diuretic foods/drinks
Anything that causes you to urinate frequently will reduce the amount of water and electrolytes in your body, which is a preventative for muscle cramps. Avoid drinking too much caffeine and if possible don't take pills that make you urinate frequently.