If your leg problem does not
require an evaluation by a doctor, you may be able to use home treatment to
help relieve pain, swelling, stiffness or muscle cramps.
- Rest and protect a stiff
or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be
causing your pain or soreness.
- Ice will
reduce pain and swelling. Apply
ice or cold packs immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice
or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day.
- For the first 48 hours, avoid things that
might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic
- After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply
heat and begin
gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help
restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between
heat and cold treatments.
- Compression, or wrapping the
sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease
swelling. Don't wrap it too tightly, since this can cause more swelling below the
area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage is too
tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the
area below the bandage. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a wrap
for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem may be
- Elevate the area on pillows while
applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at
or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.
- Remove all rings , anklets, or any other jewelry that goes around an extremity. It
will be harder to remove the jewelry after swelling
- Gently rub sore or pulled muscles to relieve pain. Do not rub or massage a calf that is swollen.
- Stand and move your legs. Gentle motion may
help with cramps that are brought on by exercise.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will
often help leg cramps. For more information about the home treatment of muscle
cramps that are often caused by dehydration from exercise or heat, see the
If you think your child is
growing pains, try warmth and massage to relieve
discomfort in the legs. Do not rub or massage a calf that is swollen.
For leg cramps, consider wearing support stockings during the day, and
take frequent rest periods (with your feet up). If leg cramps occur during
pregnancy, make sure you are eating a diet rich in
magnesium. Talk with your doctor about taking a
calcium supplement. He or she may recommend a calcium supplement that does not