Recovering from cramps?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by DownTheLine, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. DownTheLine

    DownTheLine Hall of Fame

    Apr 15, 2009
    I had 4 matches yesterday. 2 Singles and 2 doubles. Both my singles went into 3 sets. My last singles match I started to cramp up pretty bad(Both hamstrings, right calf, right foot, along with my right forearm and the muscles around my elbow).

    Here's my situation. 1 hour hitting today, 4 matches tomorrow(2S, and 2D) 2 matches tuesday(1S, 1D) thursday(1S, 1D) and Friday(1S, 1D).

    I can still feel soreness in my left hammy and my right bicep feels the same way.

    How should I recover? I've been drinking alot of fluids and put some heat on it last night. Is there anything else I can do?

    Thank You for all the advice!
  2. kcdtarheel

    kcdtarheel New User

    Apr 11, 2009
    Wow, that's a lot of tennis. I have struggled with cramps at times and my doctor has recommended that I drink tonic water which has quinine in it. Apparently quinine pills used to be prescribed for severe cramping but are no longer made so a good way to get it is through tonic water. He also suggested I drink smart water which has extra electrolytes. Good luck!
  3. DownTheLine

    DownTheLine Hall of Fame

    Apr 15, 2009
    Thanks. I have some pedialite or something that has alot of electrolytes that I may have to drink.
  4. Carlito

    Carlito Semi-Pro

    Oct 17, 2005
    Ice is better for cramps then heat. Especially if you are playing the next day. You also need to eat meat for the protien and potassium.
  5. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

    Jun 18, 2009
    Thermotabs, salt pills. You can get quinine from canadian pharmacy. Pickle juice sport good. Tonic water also has 23g sugar/liter. Chocolate milk, with ratio of carb/protein of 4/1 is good. Fluid recovery powder also. You should have been taking salt pills during the matches, to stop lactic acid build up in the blood stream, and water loss/sweat. Salt loss through sweat is the reason why you are cramping, hence, hot weather is worse. Alkaline/acid bal. is the reason why you cramp.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Cramping in tennis players has several contributing causes. It is clearly more than just a fluid and electrolyte problem, and includes poorly understood over stressing muscles.

    At a minimum, proper hydration and electolytes before, during and after play is essential. When you exercise, more capillary beds in muscles are recruited so your circulating blood volume should increase. That is why it is important to drink a half liter of a sports drink close to starting play. That extra fluid will optimize blood flow to your muscles, and let your heart beat more efficiently at a slightly lower rate.

    During play, drinking of several ounces of fluid at each changeover helps keep your "tank" filled. Besides the fluid, the most critical electolyte is sodium, although potassium is also important. Regular Gatorade contains the necessary electolytes, and also adds the sugar that is your muscles main source of energy. The only trouble with regular Gatorade is that it causes intestinal cramping in many. That can usually be solved by diluting it with water, or also taking along a water bottle and alternating sips. (Of course Gatorade, Powerade and others also sell multiple different options of sports drinks, with varying amounts of electrolytes and calories.

    As you are playing multiple matches, getting good, readily absorbed nuturition flowing to your muscles is also important: http://www.playerdevelopment.usta.c...sps?iNewsid=117759&itype=7418&icategoryid=616

    Stretching out a cramping muscle is a natural first reaction. Stretching after a match is also important. Before the match there should be a dynamic warmup rather than static stretching. There are some studies, and plenty of devotees of massage.

    Warming a cramped muscles will loosen them. But the increased blood flow will also augment capillary flow, and hence increase inflammation. Ice would decrease blood flow (and hence decrease inflammation) so the exact use of warmth and ice are somewhat tricky and related to what the primary objective at that moment and over the subsequent few hours would be.

    And certainly training can decrease the likelihood of cramps for a given amount of exercise. The paradox occurs of course, that the more fit you are, the longer some of your points will be, and the further in the tournament you are likely to advance. That is why even the pros are subject to cramping, especially during a hard five setter on clay on a hot day.
  7. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

    Jun 18, 2009
    It won't matter how much water you drink if you don't take the salt pills. Not enough salt in gatorade and too much processed sugar.
  8. OKUSA

    OKUSA Hall of Fame

    Mar 23, 2010
    contrast shower could help

    2-3 minutes hot, 1-2 minutes cold, repeat
  9. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Apr 4, 2008
    emergenn C
  10. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    May 31, 2006
    I really don't like this advice. I haven't had time to read everything you've posted in regards to links, and it's been a while since I researched hydration, but that size of a massive energy-hit before playing doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Being appropriately hydrated and warmed-up, yes, smashing pretty much a whole gatorade prior to I can't imagine doing it or recommending it.
  11. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    "Hydration tips before players hit the court:

    •Limit/avoid caffeinated beverages (iced teas, coffee, colas) especially right before and after match play. These may cause additional fluid loss as urine.
    •The night before, fill and chill squeeze bottles or sports jugs and bring to each practice or match. Each player should have a minimum of 2 liters available courtside.
    •Consume enough fluids throughout the day so urine is a light or pale yellow color before starting a match.
    •Drink 17 to 20 oz of fluid within 2 hours pre-match."
    -By PAGE LOVE, M.S., R.D., L.D.
    Sports nutritionist, Nutrifit and Nutrisport Consulting and USTA Sport Science Committee (Atlanta, GA)

    As I mentioned above, during play I recommend 1/2 strength regular Gatorade, or alternating sips of water and a Gatorade like sports drink because full strength Gatorade can cause intestinal cramping. Certainly the pre-match fluids do not have to be a sports drink if adaquate sodium and nutrition can be obtained by other means. (But it is interesting that Dr. Love is holding up a bottle of Gatorade when discussing pre-match hydration in the following video:

    Why so much attention to starting to hydrate before the match even begins?
    Because you can never catch up during a match once you fall behind. Here are the Conclusions from a review article:
    Mark S. Kovacs

    "• Maintaining appropriate fluid levels is vital for
    performance and temperature regulation. Tennis
    players need to be on a structured fluid intake
    program during practice and match sessions.
    • Most tennis players sweat more than 2.5 L·h-1,
    yet it is difficult for athletes to comfortably drink
    more than 1.2 L·h-1. This discrepancy makes
    consuming adequate fluids during play a
    physiological challenge.
    • Thirst is a bad indicator of body water status.
    • Tennis players consume less fluids during
    matches than practice.
    • Na+ depletion, not K+ depletion is a key
    electrolyte in heat related muscle cramps.
    • Latter stages of matches and tournaments are
    when athletes are more susceptible to temperature
    and hydration related problems.
    • Recommend athletes drink more than 200ml
    every changeover in mild temperatures (<27ºC
    WBGT), and it would be highly recommended that
    each athlete is on a specific hydration routine that
    has been developed through a monitoring period of
    sweat changes throughout practice and match
    • Recommend athletes drink more than 400ml
    every changeover in hot and humid conditions
    (>27ºC WBGT).
    • CHO and electrolyte drink promotes fluid
    absorption to a greater degree than water alone.
    However, water consumption has been shown to be
    sufficient for tennis practice and matches lasting less
    than 90 minutes. As hydration guidelines must be
    individualized, it is appropriate from the research to
    recommend that the tennis athletes consume a CHO
    and water drink if matches or practices are longer
    than 90-120 minutes."
  12. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    From that review article I quoted from above, I found some additioninal information that may be useful to you:

    "Recovery and rehydration after a strenuous
    practice or match session is vital for health and
    subsequent tennis performance. After a tennis match
    or practice, the player’s concern should be with
    replacing lost fluid, carbohydrate ingestion of either
    liquid and/or solid to aid in glycogen resynthesis and
    electrolyte replacement (Sherman, 1992). Glycogen
    synthesis rates are the highest immediately after
    exercise (Bonen et al., 1985). If CHOs are withheld
    for two hours post exercise, it can reduce the rate of
    glycogen synthesis by 47%, compared with feeding
    CHO immediately after exercise (Ivy et al., 1988).
    This accelerated rate of glycogen resynthesis is
    likely due to the insulin-like effect of exercise on
    skeletal muscle (Ploug et al., 1987). The specific
    type of CHO [Carbohydrate] ingested has been shown to be
    important. Ingestion of high glycaemic-index CHOs [i.e. sugar]
    resulted in a 48% greater rate of muscle glycogen
    resynthesis than the ingestion of low-glycaemic
    index CHOs [i.e. starch] at 24 hours after ingestion (Burke et al.,
    1993). It is recommended that players consume 1.5
    g·kg-1 of CHO during the first hour post-exercise,
    but no greater benefit has been seen on muscle
    glycogen resynthesis when >1.5 g·kg-1 of CHO was
    ingested (Ivy et al., 1988). For example a 75kg
    tennis player should consume approximately 113g of
    CHO within the first hour post-exercise. The
    addition of protein to the CHO has resulted in a 27%
    greater rate of muscle glycogen accumulation over 4
    hours than the same fuel source without 28g of
    protein (80g CHO and 6g fat) (Ivy et al., 2002).
    If a tennis player has to follow up with a
    practice session or match within one to two hours, it
    is recommended that a CHO-electrolyte beverage be
    consumed that contains Na+ and Cl- concentrations
    of 30 to 40 mmol ·L-1 (Gisolfi and Duchman, 1992).
    As ad libitum drinking often leads to
    involuntary dehydration (Greenleaf, 1992), it would
    be recommended to have tennis athletes on a
    specific hydration schedule during match
    changeovers and practice sessions. Hydration
    schedule can be developed by the trainer, coach and
    athlete by measuring fluid loss—practically. The
    easiest method is to weigh (kg) the athlete before a
    practice (match) session and then subtract the
    athletes post-exercise weight (kg) and amount of
    fluid ingested (L) during play (Equation 1). This will
    determine the athlete’s fluid volume loss for that
    particular session. This value can be divided by time
    (hourly, 15 minutes etc) to determine the athlete’s
    approximate fluid loss (sweat rate) per unit of time.
    From this value an individualized practical hydration
    routine can be established.
    Total Fluid Loss = BW (pre-exercise, kg) - [BW
    (post-exercise, kg) - Fluid ingested (L)] (1)
    The following example demonstrates the
    practicality of equation 1. A tennis player who has a
    pre-exercise weight of 80kg and who plays for 2
    hours while ingesting 2 L of fluid with a measured
    post-exercise weight of 77kg, will have an
    approximate fluid loss of 5 L in two hours or 2.5
    L·h-1. This equation does not account for fluid lost
    due to urination. If the athlete must urinate it needs
    to be accounted for in the equation."
  13. DownTheLine

    DownTheLine Hall of Fame

    Apr 15, 2009
    Thanks everyone for all the help! My matches went very well. I could still feel the soreness or the "clinching" feel, but all and all it was good. I'll keep following advice from you guys.
  14. baseliner68

    baseliner68 New User

    Oct 6, 2007
    Living in the South with so enough humidity that your clothes are wet within 5 minutes of walking out the door and drenched on the court we (hubby and me both instructors and players) keep lots of pedialyte and pickle juice around in the summer, always put 2 salt packs(like the ones from Wendy's or McDs) in each 32oz bottle of gatorade and have learned some other methods as well. I thought it had to be an old wives tail when some older players at a tournament last summer said to keep a bar of soap by the bed and when a cramp came up to rub in all over the area. For prevention rub it all over the lower part of your sheets. My husband was flying out of the bed with cramps at times even with lots of pickle juice, salt and constant fluids but after adding that it's not happened. Another crazy sounding that works is mustard. It contains tumeric and about 2 tsps/day does wonders. I asked some other pharmacists about it and yes, the chemistry behind it is solid.
    With as much tennis as you're playing I'd be doing all I could and getting lots of rest between! Take care of your body.....noone else will do it for you.
  15. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

    Jun 18, 2009
    Sport juice pickle, has lots of salt. It's the salt in the pickle juice that works.
  16. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

    Sep 22, 2009
    Can't I just bring a jar of pickle and bottles of water to the match instead? It'll be kind of weird munching on pickles during the match and downing bottles of water in between, but wouldn't that also work?
  17. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

    Jun 18, 2009
    Don't need the pickles, just the salty juice.
  18. baseliner68

    baseliner68 New User

    Oct 6, 2007
    Doesn't hurt eating the pickles in the summer esp but like said, you're just needing the pickle juice. You can even keep adding some water to it once the pickles are gone and don't overdilute but will still get benefit from. Drink all during the summer if you play alot in the heat.
    My husband is a top national player (in the younger SENIOR division now....ha!...ok, why am I laughing? I am too.:(....) Anyway, a coach (would ask who as is a big one but he is asleep) told him to add the 2 packets of salt to the 32 oz of gatorade because with our society having all the obesity and high bp gatorade cut down on the salt but as an athlete you need it. You're losing it fast when you're sweating alot!! .....Don't be like me and go through the heat exhaustion thing. After having passed out and being looped when I walked off the court I was woken up with ice water and handed a jug of gatorade with about a cup of salt in it. It was honestly the best thing I'd ever tasted at the time. I drank one bottle and was handed another. I got about half way through and just spewed the next drink I took. Your body knows just what it needs and when it's had enough. .....It took me forever to get over that and honestly I wonder in the hot summer if I am over it. Some people don't ever get back regulated. .....That was when I learned it was up to me to take care of my body and also before I met my now husband who has taught me all the tricks. Always looking for more though.... he really sweats tons.

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