Calf cramps

Self induced cramping

17 messages
20/08/2007 at 12:50
Hello - I used to be a regular runner and then got a bad calf injury. I have started back slowly and can now run 4 miles without much after effect. HOWEVER, I am quite alarmed at the fact that when I lie down I can tense up both calf muscles and bring on a cramp like pain. I did this the other evening and 3 days afterwards my calf is still sore.
I know the answer is not to tense them up however I was wondering if this condition is normal or if it is related to poor hydration, weakness of the muscles etc?
If anyone has come across this before or has any tips / advice I would be most grateful.
20/08/2007 at 12:58
Cramp can certainly be made worse with poor hydration. I have also found in the past that because I don't eat very much salt at all I suffer from cramp unless I specifically focus on getting a bit of salt in my diet.

Have you thought about getting a good sports massage to the area. You might find that there is some scar tissue from your injury that is putting extra strain on the muscle and a sports massage can help get rid of the scarring.

Not the best advice that you will receive on this subject but perhaps something to start thinking about.
20/08/2007 at 13:05
Thanks Gordon - re salt I think I have enough in my diet however I know that my hydration can be better. I am sure that I have got scar tissue still around, I am trying to avoid the expense of a sports masseur (due to 2 young kids and a wife that likes to shop!) however it may be worth doing.
20/08/2007 at 13:07
Hi Possa,

Started running about 2 years ago, currently doing about 20K per week (3 sessions). Had a "week off" last week, then die a really gentle run on Friday. Woke up Sunday...did a little stretch...and WOW... both calves "cramp up"...never known pain like it...for about 5 mins in pure agony..then couldn't walk for an bath seemed to help. This has never happened to me before! So I am interested in any comments. I have always thought I did not drink enough fluid, (particularly Saturday night alcohol session which I guess can cause further de-hydration). Also been advised that Creatin (?) can help...take a couple of hours before running.

20/08/2007 at 13:09

Just tried this link on google

20/08/2007 at 13:15
If you don't want to pay for a sports massage then you can get a brilliant gadget online called "The Stick". Its a self massage tool and works really well. Not cheap but cheaper than a sports massage and you can use it as many times as you want without having to keep paying the big burly handsome bloke to put you in agony!
20/08/2007 at 13:20
Hi Gordon,

Thanks for the info. I have also been looking at the internet and there is quite a lot of info regarding "cramp", (and generally an addmision of lack of info as to causes). In my own case i have read that de-hydration and "exess alcohol" .. (DOOOH) can cause this.

I think therefore that my own condition may have been "self inflicted".

I will try and learn form this!!

20/08/2007 at 14:31
Alcohol is never at fault. It only does good! That is my story and I'm sticking to it!!!
21/08/2007 at 11:43
For years was plagued by cramps especially after long distance events and sometimes after normal exercising.  Tried all the supplements - calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc. but still some nights woke up every 10 minutes or so.  Decided to go back to 'ordinary' salt (sodium chloride) instead of Lo Salt which contains 1/3rd potassium chloride - I had switched because of mild hypertension.  Found that frequency and severity of cramps much diminished, whilst b.p. (now controlled by medication) unaffected.  Wonder if 'salt is bad' message overstated, especially for athletes.  After all it was sodium depletion that caused this year's FLM tragedy, and others.  
21/08/2007 at 12:11
Thank you all for your comments. I am going to try and start a more religous stretching regime as I reckon my calfs are too short at the moment due to long time out of action.
21/08/2007 at 12:16

We do get the message that we need to drink as much water as we can and that we need to eat as little salt as we can. I guess we're learning in the past few years that it's not quite that simple!

21/08/2007 at 12:53
My hubby is a strongman competitor and he has more muscle than anything else and use to suffer considerably from bad cramping in the muscle.  Started taking calcium and magnesium and within 5 days was a great improvement.  May be worth a try?
21/08/2007 at 12:55

A svelte runner and a strongman competitor - I wonder who takes up most of the bed!!!

21/08/2007 at 13:17
His shoulders take up over half the bed, and he's getting bigger!!!!!
21/08/2007 at 13:49
I'm sure I've heard that bananas are good for combating cramps ...
Massage certainly does help though.
21/08/2007 at 14:03
Bananas contain potassium which is why they are recommended.  In spite of all that still got the cramps so in my case it was the shortage of sodium that was causing the problem.
21/08/2007 at 14:18
Runnersbeen, you need to get a bigger bed!!!

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