– Cramps (or myoclonus) is a sharp uncontrolled painful increase in muscle tone lasting from 10 seconds to 15 minutes. Most often, convulsions of the calf muscles occur. This is due to the fact that the calf muscles work a lot and at the same time are located on the periphery – far from the heart and central vessels.
The causes of spasms can be divided into two groups – some are caused by physical exertion, while others are symptoms of various systemic pathological conditions. Here is an incomplete list of pathologies that may be accompanied by this symptomatology: varicose veins, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, renal failure, imbalance of thyroid hormones, flat feet, Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, various tumors, spasmophilia, multiple sclerosis, neuroinfection, encephalomyelitis and more. So if spasms occur more often two to three times a month and are not associated with sports activities, then you need to contact a neurologist.
If convulsions occur against the background of increased physical activity – especially for cyclic sports such as running or cycling – then they can be dealt with on their own. Most often, the cause of this painful situation is the lack of macronutrients such as calcium and magnesium (they are needed for muscle contraction), as well as excessive load, which in turn leads to the accumulation of lactic acid and increase the basic muscle tone. Platypodia also plays an important role – it causes non-optimal “springing” of the arch and impaired blood flow and lymph outflow.
What to do to prevent seizures
- Lack of electrolytes occurs against the background of fluid loss through increased sweating during cyclic training. So to regulate normal muscle contraction, you need to restore the necessary amount of magnesium, calcium and potassium (and for better absorption they can add vitamin B6).
- Doctors often advise balancing the diet, but in modern life it is much easier to fill in the missing elements with the help of dietary supplements or vitamin complexes.
- With severe flat feet, you need to buy or make orthopedic insoles for at least training shoes.
- Two to three times a week, you need to stretch the calves – three repetitions (no less), the duration of each 40 seconds. And in preparation for the competition or when recruiting training volumes, do not forget to do sports foot massage once a week.
What to do if a cramp has already occurred
Most often, cramps occur at night – this is due to the fact that in the supine position and with low blood pressure at night, blood flow in the leg muscles worsens. When this happens, the easiest way is to pull the sock on yourself, bend and unbend the knee several times, rub and massage the calf muscles well. Plus, to enhance blood flow, you can use heating ointments.
If you are afraid of spasm during the competition, bring along an alcohol wipe and a sterile syringe needle. If a seizure occurs, you need to stop, wipe with alcohol the outer part of the calf muscle in the widest part and pierce it with a needle (1.5–2 centimeters) – so you can quickly relieve the spasm and continue running. After the injection, the needle can be pulled out immediately. If there is no rush, you should start by pulling on your sock and massage.