Overuse and injury are the most common cause of leg pain. Both lead to the formation of scar tissue which causes pain, inflammation by impinging nerves, constricting blood vessels (impeding the flow of nutrients and removal of wastes), and causing adhesions (scars between two surfaces) that limit movement. Even moderate exercise can cause micro-trauma, which leads to the formation of small scars and eventually pain. Runners are particularly vulnerable to this.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories can alleviate immediate pain. Ice the muscle for 15 minutes (but no longer than 20 minutes). If you’re still cramping, repeat icing. A heating pad for 20 minutes or a hot shower will also reduce pain. Massage and foam rollers can help relax the muscle. Gentle stretching before and more intensely after exercising will help keep the muscles limber and reduce tightness [see Easy Thigh Stretches]. These remedies can go a long way to reducing the effects of overuse and injury. If you continue to experience pain and severe cramping that don’t respond to self-care, a successful alternative used by many professional athletes is Active Release Technique and Graston Technique.
Active Release Technique and Graston Technique successfully and permanently treat pain and disability in muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. ART and Graston release scar tissue, thereby reducing stiffness, decreasing adhesions, and improving blood flow. ART is particularly effective in treating cramps and pain in the lower extremities. A recent study shows ART is an effective first-line treatment in relieving inflammation and problems associated with Achilles injuries. ART can increase pain thresholds, making it easier to engage in rehabilitation after injury. ART is so effective that its founders have partnered with the Ironman competition and the World Triathlon Corporation to provide ART therapy to athletes. ART is completely natural, non-invasive, and requires no medications or drugs. Try ART for yourself, the only things you have to lose are aches and pains.
1. Miners AL, Bougie TL. Chronic Achilles tendinopathy: a case study of treatment incorporating active and passive tissue warm-up, Granston Technique, ART, eccentric exercise, and cryotherapy. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2001 Dec,55(4):269-79. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222702/
2. Robb A, Pajaczkowski J. Immediate effect on pain thresholds using active release technique on adductor strains: Pilot study. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Jan;15(1):57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.04.004. http://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S1360-8592%2810%2900051-3/fulltext