Cramps .. Charlie horse

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by JCF, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. JCF

    JCF Rookie

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    Hi
    I was playing tennis last night, and i didn't stretch .. stupid i know..
    I got a really bad cramp in my calf, i went down and no matter what i did
    the pain wouldn't go .. it was like the muscle was locked in the flex postion.
    agony for about 5 mins.. usually when i get a cramp when i stretch my leg the pain goes .. but last night no .. agony .. my opponent ran into the club house and got an ice pack .. I thought heat would have been better but it seemed to help a little, but by the time he got back the pain had lessened.

    I took the next month off from the club, just to be safe, my leg is still a little
    sore like the muscle is bruised.
    my questions are :
    *Would stretching have prevented this ?
    *What can i take to the court , in line of food to make this less likely, or eat in
    my spare time ? Bananas maybe?
    * should i go see a physio ?
    * im sure right now my leg is more susceptible to a cramp, but in the long term will it be ?


    Thanks
     
    #1
  2. Nuke

    Nuke Hall of Fame

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    So, did this happen last night . . . or a month ago?
    If it happened a month ago and your leg is still sore, you probably need to see a doctor about it.
     
    #2
  3. Serve em Up

    Serve em Up Rookie

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    I've had several recent episodes of charlie horses. I usually get them in the arch of my foot or in the hamstring. I did get one a couple of weeks ago in my forearm.

    I do not get them during playing. The attacks come in the evening when I'm not active. Usually when I relax the muscle.

    Fromwhat I've read dehydration, over-exertion, lack of sodium and potassium are the cuprits.

    I've started drinking a gatorade in addition to water, using more salt on my food, and/or spiking a propel with a 1/2 tsp of Morton Lite Salt which is 50-50 mix of potassium and sodium chloride. Have'nt had one charlie horse since.

    I feel for you. Those things are really really painful.
     
    #3
  4. JCF

    JCF Rookie

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    Nuke
    It happeend last night, and It feels much better but still a little sore ,

    so you think I should eat plenty of salt, and bananas ? for the sodium and potassium ??

    as well as stretch of course before a game ?
     
    #4
  5. learn2relearn

    learn2relearn New User

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    i used to cramp a lot.

    two things i did stopped the cramping.

    i started taking, postassium, magnesium supplements. i noticed that i wouldn't cramp even if i played six days in a row while practicing.

    but during a tournament i started cramping about the third match in - lucky i was 6-1, 4-1 up at the time. i knew it wasn't because i was short on the necessary minerals so i remembered another cause for cramps was dehydration. i was dehydrated because i wasn't drinking as much due to being nervous (gross detail - i wasn't p**ss*** clear). anyway i spent the night before the next match inhaling water.

    no cramps.
     
    #5
  6. usfferjenn

    usfferjenn Rookie

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    when this happens you should to elevate your leg by bending your knee at a 90 degree angle and massage the calf muscle moving downwards to your ankle-don't massage it left to right because that will only cause the muscle to continue cramping. icing can help but never apply heat b/c that can make the cramping worse (the heat brings more blood to the area and you want move the blood away from the area and towards your heart, which is why you also elevate your leg).

    i felt one coming on the other day and right away I stretched my leg out, pointing my toes to the ceiling and that also helped.

    magnesium supplements are really good in preventing them too, and also eating foods rich in magnesium like fish, pumpking seeds, spinach, etc....
    hope this helps....
     
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  7. masha4ever#1

    masha4ever#1 Semi-Pro

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    I feel with you too. These things are terrible.
    To prevent cramps take a lot of potassium. I know it sounds strange, but a lack of magnesium is not the main reason for cramps. You can find magnesium nearly everywhere...it's in water, mineral water, and almost in all kinds of fruit. But only a few products contain potassium......therefore it is very important to take some potassium fizzy tablets or stuff like that. And if you do so, you won't have any problems with cramps again.

    Good luck ;)
     
    #7
  8. usfferjenn

    usfferjenn Rookie

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    yeah, it's definitely from both, a lack of potassium and magnesium and it presents differently in people. some people may have a tendency to have more of a potassium deficiency as opposed to magnesium.
     
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  9. xtremerunnerars

    xtremerunnerars Hall of Fame

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    I thought it was the lack of sodium? Potassium and sodium are both important (NaK pump i know) but I thought you lost much more sodium via sweat than potassium via sweat.



    Doesn't elevating the limb seem like a bad idea? A muscle cramps because it is CRYING for some sort of mineral or blood gas and elevation would just deprive it more.
     
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  10. Gantz

    Gantz Rookie

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    if i don't stretch i get big time cramps. even if i'm playing lightly, i still get major cramps. it really sucks. so now i have to spend like 10 minutes stretching before matches while all the other kids start hitting immediately.
     
    #10
  11. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I doubt it. Cramping is not usually linked to stretching, at least not in my experience. Far more likely to be dehydration as others have alluded to. Was it hot? Had you been drinking much? Had you strained the leg unusually?

    As another poster said (and it's fact, not gross) - you should pee clear. If you don't, drink more water.

    Yup, although most western world diets aren't too lacking in salts! Maybe take a half-mix of gatorade or equivalent on next time too...

    If the pain doesn't disappear in a day or 2, or if it happens severely again, absolutely.

    No-one can know this across the interweb or otherwise at this stage!

    Now - as to stretching. It's good, and if you're used to it, great. That said, stretching of any substance shouldn't be done to cold muscle. It's actually more recommended that you get to the courts, hit for a little bit (maybe mini-tennis), and then stretch. Equally, go for a 5 minute gentle walk-jog, then stretch. Stretching cold muscles only asks for more problems. Then, esp. if you didn't take the mini-tennis option, make sure you warm up slowly and completely, don't just go on and start blasting. I'd argue that a decent warm-up is way more important than a pre-stretch.

    Post-stretching - after you play - is vitally important, i can't recommend it enough! It'll make recovery quicker, and stretching when the muscle is all warm is great for long-term flexibility.
     
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  12. usfferjenn

    usfferjenn Rookie

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    yes, you sweat out potassium and sodium when you exercise. sodium and potassium are involved in muscle contraction so if you're potassium deficient you're more at risk to have this happen to you. yes you sweat out more NA,but your body is able to replenish it quicker through a variety of foods, where as most people don't necessarily replenish their K storages adequately or immediately following exercise. BUT there's also many other reasons for people to have cramps like overuse of a particular muscle, mineral deficiencies and hormonal imbalances, and in some people even too much blood going to the muscle but typically the most common in athletes is through sodium/potassium deficiency.

    you need to elevate your leg at a 90 degree angle when you have a charley horse because the elevation is increasing blood flow away from the muscle and toward the heart to reduce the pain and throbbing faster. Also when you're trying to rub the muscle back into place, gravity is working with you rather than against you when your leg is up.

    If you start using heat or increase blood flow to the area you can have calcification in your leg and that just means you have an increase of blood flow in that muscle and it can harden and you don't want that to happen which is why you want to decrease the blood going to your leg by elevating your leg. When elevating it you're not depriving the muscle of any minerals any more so than just keeping it down because you're not exercising nor sweating, and therefore there's no NA/K release taking place.

    As for why a 90 degree angle, it's usually the most comfortable position to be when you're in pain and laying down and trying to rub your muscle back into place.
     
    #12
  13. pro_staff

    pro_staff Semi-Pro

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    Some of the poster already said this but I'll say it again: NEVER USE HEAT.
    It will make it a lot worse. I learned this the hard way. Whenever I played tennis, I would take a hot bath. And every single day without fail, I would cramp in the bathtub. Very painful experience. I thought it was because of tennis but I started doing researching about it and found out that it was the hot water that was causing it. So now I make sure I stretch before shower/bath.
     
    #13
  14. usfferjenn

    usfferjenn Rookie

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    This is probably what happened to you when you took hot baths after.

    Ice works better instead of the heat to relieve the pain.
     
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