Tight leg muscles can affect your daily life. Vitamin deficiencies, poor posture, inactivity and joint problems all can lead to localized bands of tight tissue called trigger points. Muscle tension may lead to restricted range of motion, poor movement mechanics, poor physical performance and injury. Natural therapies may help alleviate muscle tension. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing abnormal leg muscle tension.
Professional massage therapists are well versed in lower body anatomy. Several types of massage may be beneficial, including deep tissue massage, Swedish massage and healing touch massage. Deep tissue massage uses firm pressure to loosen knots, while Swedish massage uses light to moderate pressure to restore circulation and energize the body. Healing touch therapy uses gentle touch to help you consciously release tension in tight areas.
Myofascial release uses pressure to address muscle adhesions, break down scar tissue and inhibit nerve receptors that are tied to muscle activity. You can perform myofascial release without assistance using tools such as a foam roller or massage stick. A foam roller is a long cylinder of dense foam you roll over tense muscles to relax the muscles of the thigh and lower leg. A massage stick is similar to a plastic rolling pin and may be flexible or stiff, depending on the brand. The user or a partner uses the stick to massage leg muscles. Smaller stick sizes are appropriate for smaller muscles.
Stretching helps restore normal joint range of motion. Static stretching is a slow stretch you perform for 30 seconds or until the muscle relaxes. Dynamic stretching is not sustained and improves range of motion while you execute movement. Stretch to a point of mild discomfort and remember to stretch at the conclusion of every resistance or cardiovascular training session.
Tight leg muscles cannot be relieved unless you eliminate the cause for tightness. Aspects of your lifestyle may affect your muscular system and cause or contribute to muscle tension. Repetitive activities such as sitting, crossing your legs, wearing high-heeled shoes or overtraining can all cause microtrauma that disrupts your muscles. Consult an ergonomist about making beneficial changes to your home or office layout. A corrective exercise specialist, chiropractor or physical therapist can assist you with improving your movement efficiency and making other lifestyle modifications.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Massage
- MassageTherapy.com: Types of Massage and Bodywork Defined
- "Essentials of Strength and Conditioning"; Thomas R. Baechle, et al.; 2008