According to MedlinePlus, muscle cramps are involuntary contractions or spasms in one or more muscles. Muscle cramps can occur suddenly and unexpectedly. Further, they can occur both during physical activity and while resting. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), muscle cramps can vary in intensity, from a mild pulsing sensation to an intensely painful contraction. The AAOS further reports that while just about anyone can suffer from cramps, both youth and adults over 65 are more likely to experience cramping.
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Cramps in the Inner Thigh
The AAOS reports that the most common areas for getting muscle cramps are the back of the lower leg, the back of the thigh and the front of the thigh. Cramps in the inner thigh, or groin, are also common. The groin is responsible for adduction of the leg and stabilizing the hip. The groin is an often-underdeveloped muscle group and strains, cramps and pulls to this area are frequent. Muscles that span two joints are at an increased likelihood of cramps, according to the AAOS. Several muscles in the thigh and close to the groin cross both the hip and knee joint, such as the rectus femoris.
Though the exact causes of muscle cramps are unknown, many factors are believed to influence their occurrence. MedlinePlus believes that overuse of the muscle, dehydration, lack of minerals in the diet and lack of blood supply to the muscles are all contributing factors. Further, the Mayo Clinic suggests that compression of nerves in the thigh can result in spasms and thus cramping. Finally, both a lack of stretching and muscle fatigue are believed to contribute to cramps, according to the AAOS.
Immediate relief of cramps can be accomplished by stretching and gently massaging the afflicted muscle, according to MedlinePlus. The AAOS recommends applying heat to tight muscles, while applying cold to either sore or tender muscles. More long-term prevention of cramps, according to MayoClinic.com, includes a regular stretching program, adequate hydration and a balanced diet with plenty of minerals.