How to Stop Cramps in Your Calf

Found This Helpful

A calf cramp is an involuntary painful spasm or tightening of the muscles in the calf, the posterior lower leg between the knee and ankle. Strenuous exercise, excessive inactivity or an imbalance of such things as sodium and electrolytes can cause cramps. Calf cramps are usually temporary but can cause severe, debilitating pain. Extreme or chronic cramps in the calf can lead to damage in the muscle through a tearing of the muscle fibers or compression of nerve endings leading to problems with overall mobility.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • Water


  1. Stop activity once the pain begins. Stretch calf.

    To stretch calf, alternate movement of ankle so the toes point downward then upward.

    For advanced stretch, perform runner's stretch. Position body at at arm's length from wall. Place hands on wall and place unaffected leg in a slightly bent position in front of the affected leg. Keeping the heel of the affected leg on the ground, slowly lean into wall until you feel a stretch in the calf.

  2. Apply moderate thumb pressure into the calf muscle belly, or the thickest part of the calf, for severe calf cramps. Once tension or spasm releases, increase thumb pressure. Continue until cramp dissipates.

  3. Follow thumb pressure with kneading massage or palm pressure from the ankle up across the muscle to the back of the knee.

  4. Apply ice to area to decrease inflammation or swelling.

  5. Take a hot shower to loosen muscle spasm if tightness is persists.

Tips & Warnings

  • Drink enough water every day to decrease the incidence of calf cramps. Increase water intake with strenuous exercise.
  • Perform daily stretching routine, especially the runner's stretch described in step 1, to decrease the chances of getting a calf cramp.
  • Since severe or chronic calf cramps can cause muscle damage consult your physician if pain persists to rule out any medical conditions or problems, including health issues that may cause calf cramping or are caused by the calf cramp.



  • Photo Credit jambes image by daniel sainthorant from runners stretch image by LadyInBlack from

You May Also Like

  • How to Prevent Muscle Spasms

    A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle that may occur suddenly, usually resolves quickly and is often painful. Sometimes,...

  • How to Prevent Calf Cramps While Sleeping

    Night leg cramps, or nocturnal leg cramps, are a sudden tightening of the muscles in the leg, usually in the calves. Calf...

  • How to Stop Leg Cramps, Charley Horses

    Few things spoil the enjoyment of a good exercise session or a peaceful night's sleep like the sudden onset of a leg...

  • What Causes Calf Cramps?

    Calf cramps are among the most painful types of cramps. They can come on suddenly and without warning. Considered a skeletal muscle...

  • Causes & Treatment for Cramping Calves

    Cramping calves is a painful condition that plagues many athletes, although it does occasionally affect non-athletic individuals as well. The causes and...

  • Remedy for Chronic Leg & Knee Cramps

    How to Alleviate Chronic Stomach Cramps. ... Calf cramps can strike suddenly and bring intense pain. Worse yet, they frequently occur in...

  • How to Stop Feet & Leg Cramps

    How to Stop Feet & Leg Cramps. ... If you have severe foot or leg cramps and they occur often you should...

  • What Are the Causes of Calf Pain?

    Calf pain can take many forms, from a dull ache to severe cramping. It can also have many causes, some unrelated to...

  • How to Prevent Cramping

    Cramping is the sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. Muscle cramps -- particularly those in your legs...

  • How to Stop Foot Cramps

    Foot cramps can be extremely painful and can occur when you least expect them. Often they cause the arch of your foot...

  • What Causes Severe Leg Cramps While Sleeping?

    What Causes Severe Leg Cramps While Sleeping?. Nighttime leg cramps are defined as sudden, painful, ... The cramp generally occurs in the...


Read Article

5 Breathing Techniques For Weight Loss