Help with Running Cramps

Running cramps, particularly running calf cramps, afflict everyone from the person going out for a morning jog, to elite athletes. And it's not just runners that get cramps they can be a factor in any sport - tennis, swimming, golf, cycling and triathlon. This site is dedicated to sharing ideas and information between sports people, athletes, health practitioners, anyone who enjoys training - for the best ways to prevent, avoid and treat muscle cramp.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Those Devilish Cramps

Those Devilish Cramps

Pickle Juice for Cramps!! This is a technical article about cramps, but the last part is called 'Sidebar - A Shot A Day' - Richard "Biff" Williams, PhD, uses pickle juice to treat his athletes with cramp, saying that the cramps recede within about 30 seconds. He uses about 2 oz of pickle juice to treat and prevent cramp - no kidding! We're going to do some research into pickle juice to find out what's in it!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Hong Kong athlete dies after running marathon in haze - Sports News -

Hong Kong athlete dies after running marathon in haze - Sports News -

4800 out of 40000 runners suffered from running cramps in the Hong Kong Marathon last week. The reason was suggested to be lack of water on the course - this would support the view that cramps can be caused by dehydration and depletion in nutrients. But also, the smog and pollution that day in Hong Kong was particularly bad - there could be some link between the bad air people would have been breathing in and the cramping - cramps are often caused by the build up of toxins in the muscles - so the bad air could have aggravated this situation.

This story makes you realize how important it is to hydrate, and also I would keep up my nutrient intake to combat the air pollution and support the respiratory system.

Running and Leg Cramps

Running and Leg Cramps

According to Patrick J Bird, PhD, muscle cramps when running are due to either fatigue or dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

In this article Dr Bird is answering an older marathon runner who has recently started getting cramps and wonders whether it has to do with his age.

He recommends stretching, running style, ice and heat as well as eating foods which have a high calcium, magnesium and potassium content. Worth a read to see his views on cramps.

This is a great inspirational story if you need a bit of motivation in your sporting career or a boost to achieve some of your goals. What a shame though that he had to suffer from running cramps for a third of the marathon distance - after all those months of hard training - imagine the result he would have achieved if he could have avoided those cramps . . .

Friday, February 10, 2006

Stomach cramps while running

Found this Question and Answer post while surfing the internet.

Technique can have a big affect on performance and I found this Q & A interesting - if anyone has comments on running technique and cramping, would love to hear what you've got to say . . . :)

Q: "In the last couple of months it happened to me a couple of times that I get stomach cramps during my every day's run. At first I tried to ignore it, but now I definitely think something is the matter. I don't have any other problems, I am healthy, fit and this happens only during running. What could it be? Thx!

A: Hello! I used to have the same problem, and then my personal trainer explained to me what is going on. These so called side stitches are caused by stretching the ligaments that extend from the diaphragm to the internal organs, especially the liver. The jarring motion of running during breathing in and out stretches these ligaments. Runners tend to exhale every two or four steps. Most people exhale as the left foot hits the ground, but some people exhale when the right foot hits the ground. Exhaling when the right foot hits the ground causes greater forces on the liver. So just as the liver is dropping down the diaphragm raises for the exhalation. It is believed this repeated stretching leads to spasms in the diaphragm. You can stop this cramping while running you know. When this happens, you should stop running and place your hand into the right side of your belly and push up, lifting the liver slightly. Inhale and exhale evenly as you push up. "

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Does Your Energy Drink Do More Harm Than Good?

Found an interesting article on sports drinks - not the Gatorade (sugar and water) type, but the new very high energy caffeine drinks like Red Bull, Monster, Adrenalin Rush - etc.

Most people think their getting 'more energy', when what is really happening is that you're getting a caffeine and carbohydrate load and the feeling that you're getting a 'lift'.

Where the problem comes in for runners and anyone doing strenuous sport, the big caffeine hit will work as a diuretic and is likely to cause cramping - particularly over long periods of exercise and in anyone more susceptible to cramp.

The best advice is to stick to water and/or don't confuse a high energy drink (like Red Bull) with a sports drink like Gatorade or Rebound.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Calcium & Running Cramps

One of the main causes of cramps is though to be a deficiency of calcium and magnesium. Many people think that it's hard to have a calcium deficiency however this recent article shows that it's not only possible but it's very likely that many people are calcium-deficient.

What effect does this have on cramps and running cramps? If you're deficient when you're young, there's a good chance you may not ever recover as you get older. And if you've had a health problem and you decide to get fit by running and improving your nutrition later on in life, you may find you're fighting an "uphill" battle.

Here's a link to a recent article on calcium deficiency in the US, click here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Calf Cramps While Swimming

Calf cramps while swimming are pretty common and because it's not always so easy to do something about them 'the instant it hits you', you end up having a longer recovery period post cramp.

Most common causes are:
  • long training sessions without enough water
  • using fins for the first time
  • using fins for an extended period
  • inability of the muscle to relax

Best solution when it occurs in the water is to grasp the muscle and squeeze to get the blood flowing. Stretching isn't the best thing to do and in the water it's pretty tough to stretch anyway.

If you're in the middle of a swim, monitor how much work that leg is doing and try to reduce it - sometimes we favor a leg during a swim, just like we do when we run. Take every opportunity to massage and squeeze the muscle to get the blood flowing - this will reduce the liklihood of it re-occurring, but doesn't guarantee it.

Finally, stay hydrated and well mineralized before a swim - especially if you're doing a biathalon. Water and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and selenium are all involved in the cramp/muscle contraction & relaxation process to different degrees.