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.

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.


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