How Can I Get Rid of a Leg Muscle Cramp?

Staying hydrated helps prevent cramps.
Applying ice may help relieve a charley horse.
A person with leg cramps.
A person with defined leg muscles.
The human muscular system.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 June 2014
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You can get rid of a leg muscle cramp, also commonly referred to as a charley horse, through the use of ice, massage, and elevation of your leg. Another thing you may want to try to help your leg cramps are stretching exercises, but these exercises should be continued only if they do not cause you any increased discomfort. If you get a leg muscle cramp at night while you are trying to sleep, you may be able to alleviate the pain by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. In the event that your problems with leg cramps are chronic, you may want to see your doctor to determine the underlying cause of the cramps.

Ice is considered one of the most helpful things to use for leg cramps. One of the reasons why ice may be so helpful for eliminating pain and swelling from a leg muscle cramp is because the cold can constrict the veins inside the leg, which could reduce blood flow and decrease swelling in the affected area. Be careful not to apply the ice directly to your skin, because there is a risk of frostbite occurring when the ice is left on for too long. Before applying the ice to your leg, wrap your leg up in a towel so that the ice isn't coming directly in contact with it.


Massage is another way to get rid of a leg muscle cramp. You can either do this on your own or get someone to help you. Massage may be especially helpful just after exercising, and you might want to consider massaging your legs regularly after exercise or any other type of strenuous activity. It is possible that regular leg massages may also help to prevent muscle cramps in the legs, especially if they are done after exercising.

Elevating your leg may also be useful for getting rid of your leg muscle cramp. You should lie flat on your back with your cramped leg elevated to a level above your heart. Doing this will cause the blood in your leg to flow to your heart, which should help reduce the pain and swelling in your leg. If you do not find it too painful to do so, you could also try to sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and stretch forward. Some people claim this stretching exercise helps get rid of their leg muscle cramps.

If leg cramps are a regular problem for you and seem particularly bothersome at night, you may need to occasionally take pain relievers at bedtime so you can sleep. Keep in mind that regular use of pain relievers is not recommended, and chronic leg cramps should be seen about by a doctor. Sometimes leg cramps occur because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, or they may be symptoms of other health problems. Don't delay getting your symptoms evaluated by a doctor if the cramps are occurring often.


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