Massage Therapy for Leg Cramps

What Are Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps, also know as a charlie horse, can be painful contractions of a muscle that happens without your control.

If you train hard, particularly running, at some point you may experience one.

The common site for a muscle cramp is in your calf muscles. The calf muscle group includes the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

The exact cause of a muscle cramp is hard to pinpoint, some of the factors leading to the same are as follows -

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Rigorius exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Low potassium or sodium
  • Very tight muscles

Severe muscle cramps can cause your muscle to tear, just as if it were a muscle strain injury

Trigger Points and Muscle Cramps

Trigger points towards the middle of you calf muscle are more likely to bring on night cramps.

Cramping can occur while walking or running due to poor circulation caused by muscle tightness.

Common Causes of Trigger Points

Climbing, walking up hill, and bike riding, can all overwork you calf muscle, causing myofascial trigger points to form.

Other causes include:

  • Swimming with toes pointed in a flutter kick

  • Long drives without using cruise control

  • Wearing high heeled shoes

  • Sitting in chairs that limit circulation, by putting pressure on the back of your thighs

Sleeping with your toes pointed, keeps you calf muscle in a shortened state. You may be able to prevent this by not tucking in the covers in at the end of the bed.

Trigger Point Massage for Leg Cramps

Trigger point massage can be used to help you rid yourself of leg muscle cramps. You can use the Knobble, a thera cane or supported fingers when treating the trigger points in your calves

Just remember to make it easy on yourself, and put your foot on the bed or a chair, saves your back

Deep stroking massage with your opposite knee works really well, either sitting or lying down.

  1. Simply move your cramping leg down over your knee

  2. Start at the back of your ankle and end at the back of your knee

You'll know when you find a tender spot, it'll hurt like heck.

Just go over that spot a few times, 6 to 12 short strokes ought to do the trick. Follow this up with some icing for about 15 minutes. Massage the whole area to get some blood flowing.

After a good massage, be sure to stretch.

Warning: Stretching can be harmful when active trigger points continue to make a muscle tight.

Return from Leg Cramps to Bodyworks Plus Massage Therapy homepage

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.