Have you ever gone hiking on a whim and wound up with crazy sore leg muscles the next day?
I’m not necessarily talking about a hard hike, either, although those will contribute to sore muscles. I’m talking about easy ones too.
Unfortunately, no matter how easy your hike is, if you don’t walk or hike a lot, your leg muscles (the ones located beside of your shins) will most likely be unhappy later.
Have you been there? I know I have! Recently, in fact.
Today, I wanna share a bit about our annual hike on the Virgina Creeper Trial (with lots of photos) and give you a recipe for a DIY sore muscle ointment that was a lifesaver for me 24-48 hours after the hike!
If you and your family don’t walk or hike much, let me encourage you to set aside some time to get outside and make a go of it. You’ll love it. Just be sure you have some of this sore muscle ointment handy afterward! Your muscles will thank you!
Hiking The Virgina Creeper Trail
A few months back, Dean and I took all four boys on a hike with our church family down the Virgina Creeper Trial.
This hike is something our church does every year as a group, only the last several years, we’ve opted out because our kids are small and the hike is quite long.
We normally start up at Taylor’s Valley and hike the 8-9 miles down into Damascus, but this year, since the boys are older and better able to handle a longer hike, Dean and I decided to give it a go again. We figured that we would only do half of the hike just to play it safe, and in the end, we only hiked around 4-5 miles. The three older boys did great, but little Ezrah was a wee bit fussy after a bit.
Now, I love hiking. Hiking is something Dean and I have always done together whether it was randomly exploring the forests around where we live or hiking trails (like the Appalachian Trail or Gentry Creek Falls) in our area.
There’s something so perfect about being out in nature, breathing fresh air, and spotting herbs and wild foods that could sustain you if you needed them to. Ahh… slow living like that refreshes my soul. Not to mention, it’s good exercise!
So as we hiked down the Creeper Trial, we stopped for photos, had some good conversations with great friends, and did our best to console our grumpy baby (who wanted to be held, not strapped to our back). When we finally made it down into Damascus we walked to the Old Mill restaurant for some dinner along the river. It was a great day, and we all slept well that evening.
Sore Leg Muscles And Lots Of Whining
The next day… or two… or even three, were not so great, though. At least, not for my legs.
They were SO sore! Apparently, I don’t walk enough because, oh my word, the muscles beside the shins in my lower legs were so sore that it hurt to move my feet, let alone, walk anywhere. And, have you seen where I live? Um, I live on top of a mountain, and I have to climb stairs to get into my house. Ugh!
After 24 hours of whimpering with every step I took, I decided enough was enough. I was making something to help so I could get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Seeing how I was desperate for something quick and easy, I came up with the following recipe for a sore muscle ointment with some things I already had around my house. I simply rubbed it on my sore leg muscles 3-4 times a day for several days in a row. Not only does massaging sore muscles feel so good (does anyone else think that’s weird?), but doing it with a pain relieving ointment is 10 times better! And this one… it smells crisp and fresh like pine trees. Ahhh.
This DIY sore muscle ointment ended up being such a relief to me, and it worked quite well.
DIY Sore Muscle Ointment
This sore muscle ointment is great to keep on hand, and it’s one of those things that can be whipped up quickly too.
You can use it anytime sore muscles show up such as:
- When you go walking, running, or hiking for long distances, use this on sore back and leg muscles afterwards.
- If your kid plays sports, let them rub some of this over their muscles after practice or the game to help minimize soreness.
- When your man is out chopping wood to keep you warm this winter, give him a back massage with this before bed.
Okay, so whip up a batch of this, and store it in a cool dark place. It will stay good for quite a while.
- 1/4 cup apricot kernel oil
- 1 tablespoon beeswax pearls
- 2 heaping tablespoons arnica gel
- 6-10 drops Tame The Pain KidSafe Synergy Blend (3-5% dilution)
- Place beeswax in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and pour in sweet almond oil. Mix well.
- Pour oil/wax mixture into a small blender along with the arnica gel (I love using my Magic Bullet for these small projects) and blend well. It should lighten in color and look creamy. (If you find you don’t have enough to blend well, just grab a small whisk and whisk away until it’s mixed well.)
- Add essential oils in at this point, and blend (or whisk) again until well incorporated.
- Transfer to a storage tin. Label and store.
Massage a small amount of your sore muscle ointment over sore muscles for 1 minute using small circular motions. After 1 minute, apply a little more and massage for another minute using straight, long strokes. Repeat 3-4 times a day until muscles are no longer sore.
Store in a cool, dark place away from excess moisture. Will store for up to a year.
Want even more herbal ointment recipes? Check out my e-book, Herbal Ointments, Salves & Balms: The Ultimate How-To Guide! Not only will it tell you which of these ointments to use and why, but it will walk you through the steps of making them yourself! Plus, you’ll learn how to source quality ingredients, how to keep your creations shelf-stable, and how to add “advanced” ingredients into them. Oh… and you’ll get 5 exclusive recipes to help you get started making your own herbal ointments, salves, and balms right away! Learn more about it here!
About The Ingredients
When it comes to making something to massage into sore muscles, I knew I wanted something that wasn’t thick and creamy so I chose to use apricot kernel oil and a wee bit of beeswax. The main difference between ointments, salves, and balms is the amount of beeswax they contain, and each is used a different way. I chose to make this recipe as an ointment so it would be soft and absorb into the skin well while still being slippery enough to massage with.
As far as herbs go, when it comes to sore muscles, arnica is a must for me. Arnica is mostly used externally in the form of oils, tinctures, salves, and gels for its ability to help decrease inflammation and therefore pain.
There are a lot of essential oils that can be used for pain and inflammation, but I used Plant Therapy’s Tame The Pain blend because it was what I had on hand for pain. Not only is it preblended (no thinking required), but it’s safe for me and my kiddos (2-years and older) to use. For me, it’s perfect! This blend contains citronella, rosalina, palmerosa, black pepper, lavender, fir needle, geranium bourbon, and geranium Egypt.
So there you have it. An excellent sore muscle ointment you can make yourself that will keep for up to a year, and is a great way to relieve pain associated with sore muscles.
Pin this DIY to one of your Pinterest boards, and stop by the Growing Up Herbal Facebook page and share your favorite DIY remedy for sore muscles.
This post was underwritten by Plant Therapy. All opinions are mine. Plant Therapy offers 100%, pure, undiluted essential oils sourced from some of the top essential oil suppliers in the world. They have single oils and synergy blends as well as a line of synergy blends specific to children. Not only do they offer high-quality essential oils, but they also offer carrier oils, hydrosols, and other essential oil accessories to help you keep yourself and your home naturally healthy.