How to relieve or remove muscle knots yourself?

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How to remove or relieve muscle knots yourself

A cramp, muscle pain, or shooting pain happens to everyone during or after exercise. Usually, this problem resolves itself. If it is not by stretching or greasing an ointment, you will undoubtedly be rid of it quickly with a bit of rest.

If all this doesn’t help, you might have a muscle knot, as I had recently. In this article, I will tell you what a muscle knot is exactly and how I could easily remove it myself.

What is a muscle knot?

A muscle knot is a contraction of part of a particular muscle. This causes this muscle to shorten and thicken. As a result, this muscle will have to stretch in a different place. The entire area around this muscle will try to absorb this, creating tension around this place.

Cramp in my thigh, muscle knot?

Recently I was out jogging when a stabbing pain started coming up in my quadriceps (thigh) near the end. I did finish the 10-kilometer loop (which was perhaps not very wise). I had no idea why I had suddenly gotten this feeling and decided not to pay much attention to it. It would go away on its own…

After a few days of rest, I decided to again put on my running shoes. In good spirits and without pain, I ran the first kilometers smoothly, at a pretty good pace.

The damper on the revelry soon followed. After 3 km, the pain in my thigh started to resurface, and after 4 km, I was forced to stop. I couldn’t walk another meter; my left leg just refused. A stabbing pain that was worse than the last time. I was in the middle of the woods, so I still had to get home. Even walking was torture.

I decided to take some extra rest to get rid of this ailment hopefully.

Remove muscle knots

Fast forward to the next attempt at painless walking. Again I left smoothly, and everything seemed to go smoothly. However, after 2.5 km, I had to stop my journey, and I had to walk home again with the necessary effort and pain.

In the meantime, I had ridden a few times on the mountain bike. Strangely enough, I did not experience any pain in my upper leg while cycling. I even did a tough mountain bike ride in Houffalize with no pain or ailments.

Because I like to alternate my training sessions on the bike with a round of jogging, it made me a bit despondent. In the meantime, I decided to bring this problem up to my doctor.

Because I am often involved with sports, health, and everything around it, it suddenly occurred to me one evening… Could it be a muscle knot?

Now the pain afterward was almost as bad as the pain at the time. So you can compare the feeling to a cramp in a muscle that lasts for a long time and remains in a cramped state.

How do you relieve a muscle knot?

Recently I wrote an article about foam rollers. You can use this to train or to recover your muscles. But I suddenly remembered that you could also remove stubborn muscle knots with this. It was my last hope to get rid of the pain of walking finally.

I’m not the biggest fan of massages, and I certainly don’t like someone else massaging me. So I would fix it myself.

With the help of a foam roller, I massaged my thigh for ten minutes. Not only the location of the pain but also the entire area around it. I repeated this a few times in the evening when I was sitting on the couch. I’m not a doctor or a physiotherapist, so I hoped my analysis of the problem was correct, that it really was a muscle knot.

Relieve a muscle knot with a foam roller

The only way to know if it had helped was to go for another walk. I left with a scarred heart.

I had planned to run a little slower than my usual pace, and it all went very smoothly. After about 2.5 miles, I was still jogging painlessly. I wasn’t confident in the good outcome yet, but it was a good sign anyway.

I can tell you that after a little over 9 km, I came home without pain and with a very good feeling. My muscle knot was gone!

I was very relieved that my problem was solved with a few simple massages. Depending on what is wrong with you, massage with a foam roller may solve your problem. Of course, your situation may be slightly different, so massaging may not be the right solution.

You can’t usually go wrong with massage, so it’s worth trying before you look for other and perhaps more complicated solutions. If you cannot get rid of your cramps, pain, or injuries, it is advisable to consult a doctor or physiotherapist.

How do you get a muscle knot?

Overload is often the cause of a muscle knot. Muscle injuries can also cause knots. People with desk jobs are also more likely to experience muscle knots. They have less movement and may adopt the wrong body position just because they sit behind a desk all day. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and anxiety can also be a cause.

How exactly I got my muscle knot is still a mystery to me.

4 tips to prevent muscle knots

  • massage
  • Magnesium
  • Move more
  • muscle recovery


his is not just a solution for a muscle knot, as you could read earlier in this article. Massaging can also have a preventive effect. You can easily massage body parts such as arms and legs yourself, possibly with the help of a foam roller. Places that you cannot handle yourself can be treated by your partner or a professional masseur or physiotherapist.

Massage for a muscle knot


Magnesium is a mineral that keeps your bones and muscles strong. It is also good for the nervous system and helps fight fatigue. Because our body cannot produce magnesium itself, we have to get it elsewhere today.

Magnesium is mainly found in green (leaf) vegetables, bananas, nuts, whole grains, and water. Even if you often eat these products, it is possible that you still have a magnesium deficiency. You can always have this checked with your family doctor.

The best way to absorb extra magnesium is through the skin. You can easily do this with magnesium oil or a gel. This keeps your muscles flexible and helps to prevent cramping and muscle pain. So you can use it both before and after your workout.

Move more

This, of course, speaks for itself. By exercising a lot, your muscles remain flexible, and you have less chance of muscle knots and stiff muscles. Even if you move a lot, an inconvenience can always occur; I am living proof of it. But the sportier and more agile you are, the faster you will get rid of it.

Muscle recovery

By taking good care of your muscles before and after exercise, you can prevent many problems. In the following article, you will find 11 tips to promote muscle recovery.

Have you ever had a stubborn muscle knot that was difficult to get rid of? Or have you finally got rid of your muscle knot with these tips? Be sure to let me know in a comment at the bottom of the page.

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Geert is a marathon mountainbiker who is also a bike maintenance graduate. Besides mountain biking he likes going on hikes and he loves an occasional trail run.

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