Building High-Performance Muscle™
Injuries and Rehab
 
Calf Cramps/Pain
1
 

usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

Hi all,

Has anyone experienced calf crampinp? How have you fixed it?

My calves are tight every day especially my right one. It's to the point where I'll go to run sprints and I'll have to suddenly stop or hop of the treadmill cause my right calf cramps up. Just jogging will cause it to cramp up and in some cases it will hurt for a day or so.

Any ideas?

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JFG
Level 4

Join date: Nov 2006
Location: British Columbia, CAN
Posts: 1479

Gastroc or soleus?

How's the Achilles? Knee? Hip? Ankle? Do you have the proper shoes? Are you running toes first?

Add water and potassium to your day.

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

JFG wrote:
Gastroc or soleus?

How's the Achilles? Knee? Hip? Ankle? Do you have the proper shoes? Are you running toes first?

Add water and potassium to your day.


I'm not sure what Gastroc or soleus is?

Everything else is fine. My feet do hurt when I wake up. I wear running shoes when I running/walking. I wear Oly shoes when lifting most of the time.

I probably drink a gallon of water a day not including water used during perworkout supps. (Anaconda & MAG-10). I'll try potassium.

My only other thought is that I wear Vibrams Five Fingers from time to time, but I can't imgaine it's them. I've worn them for years and use to run in them regularly.

Thanks for the response.

-Chris

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

^ just googling it, I think it's the Gastocnemius, but I'm not too sure.

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JFG
Level 4

Join date: Nov 2006
Location: British Columbia, CAN
Posts: 1479

The calf muscles......

Are you running toes first?

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

JFG wrote:
The calf muscles......

Are you running toes first?


I'd say I land on the front pad of my foot not really my toes, is that what you mean?

Edit: Like a mid foot strike if that makes sense?

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JFG
Level 4

Join date: Nov 2006
Location: British Columbia, CAN
Posts: 1479

This is just a guess, but I would say your gait. Every time I start the hill running portion of the running program, 1 or two people get calf pain.

Run properly, get the right show for your foot and for now, massage.

Heel first when you land. Not toes, not front pad. Heel.

Shoe: go to a running store that will look at your gait, bend at the knees or even have a fancy machine.

That SHOULD take care of it. If not, come back :)

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

JFG wrote:
This is just a guess, but I would say your gait. Every time I start the hill running portion of the running program, 1 or two people get calf pain.

Run properly, get the right show for your foot and for now, massage.

Heel first when you land. Not toes, not front pad. Heel.

Shoe: go to a running store that will look at your gait, bend at the knees or even have a fancy machine.

That SHOULD take care of it. If not, come back :)


Okay, I will try that. Thanks, I really appreciate the response.

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Airtruth
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 4295

get in shape.

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

Airtruth wrote:
get in shape.


Thanks for that gem...

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smallmike
Level

Join date: Aug 2006
Location:
Posts: 662

Heels first is the worst advice for running form. It does use your calves less but it will also lead to a lot more problems, both in the short run and in the long run, among them shin splints from eccentric stress on your tib anterior and knee/hip/lower back problems from the pounding. I could analyze your running form, but I doubt that is the problem.

There are many things calf cramping could come from. You would have to rule out neurogenic vs. vascular claudication. You might also check your electrolyte levels. One solution related to that problem is drinking pickle juice when you start having calf camps.

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

smallmike wrote:
Heels first is the worst advice for running form. It does use your calves less but it will also lead to a lot more problems, both in the short run and in the long run, among them shin splints from eccentric stress on your tib anterior and knee/hip/lower back problems from the pounding. I could analyze your running form, but I doubt that is the problem.

There are many things calf cramping could come from. You would have to rule out neurogenic vs. vascular claudication. You might also check your electrolyte levels. One solution related to that problem is drinking pickle juice when you start having calf camps.


Ya, I don't think it's my form. I've been running my whole life (up to 6 miles 3-4 times a week while in the Corps.) and this issue is recent. I did hurt my right claf last year, but I don't think that's it either.

Hmmm pickle juice, that's interesting. Why pickle juice?

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

Should I just down some gatorade and see if that helps? How do you chekc electrolyte levels?

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chillain
Level 4

Join date: Jan 2005
Location:
Posts: 3585

usmccds423 wrote:
Should I just down some gatorade and see if that helps? How do you chekc electrolyte levels?


Calf cramps were a worry for me as well, always showing up by the 3rd hoop game or threatening to show up while driving home after leg day (manual transmission) so my "solution" was to just always keep banana(s) handy.

Sports drinks are fine and all, but coconut water/kiwis/bananas/avocados are better, more concentrated sources of K+.

In my case, what I eventually found was occasional Ca++ supplementation (ie. 250mg tab every few days, and definitely on leg days) ended up "fixing" the problem. Which was surprising to me, as greek yogurt and cheese are definitely in my everyday diet.

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Airtruth
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 4295

usmccds423 wrote:
Should I just down some gatorade and see if that helps? How do you chekc electrolyte levels?


If your calfs are tight every day and gatorade helps your diet is seriously deficient.

90% of the time the reason is your body just isn't conditioned to what you are doing. What you are doing involves many things, including how much you ran today, how much you will run the next few days, how much you are eating currently, the sneakers you are wearing, and how much you weigh.

To put what I said in order of most popular reasons
1) Too much too fast. Just because you can run doesn't mean your legs recover from it.
2) Sneakers - new sneakers can be like a leg workout if they effect your arch's differently which leads to you have to approach the mileage like you would a begginner.
3) Gait - while some can be good some can be bad, it's usually not a problem if people never stopped running because there bodies have adjusted to it over the years. However a weight change or injury that changes it will effect it like new sneakers.
4) Diet. Takes a few weeks to adjust you could probably run under any diet if you do it long enough but less calories will take a few week adjustment period.
5) Gatorade, only if you recently started running and you sweat a lot.
6) Leg workout. This is only at the bottom because most people don't initially add the two together, this is overly demanding. Specially with calf raises.

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

Airtruth wrote:
usmccds423 wrote:
Should I just down some gatorade and see if that helps? How do you chekc electrolyte levels?


If your calfs are tight every day and gatorade helps your diet is seriously deficient.

90% of the time the reason is your body just isn't conditioned to what you are doing. What you are doing involves many things, including how much you ran today, how much you will run the next few days, how much you are eating currently, the sneakers you are wearing, and how much you weigh.

To put what I said in order of most popular reasons
1) Too much too fast. Just because you can run doesn't mean your legs recover from it.
2) Sneakers - new sneakers can be like a leg workout if they effect your arch's differently which leads to you have to approach the mileage like you would a begginner.
3) Gait - while some can be good some can be bad, it's usually not a problem if people never stopped running because there bodies have adjusted to it over the years. However a weight change or injury that changes it will effect it like new sneakers.
4) Diet. Takes a few weeks to adjust you could probably run under any diet if you do it long enough but less calories will take a few week adjustment period.
5) Gatorade, only if you recently started running and you sweat a lot.
6) Leg workout. This is only at the bottom because most people don't initially add the two together, this is overly demanding. Specially with calf raises.


I appreciate the real response this time. A couple of your suggestions may be the case. I might replace running shoes in the next week or so. It could be a recovery issue also.

@chillain I will try adding more more fruit to the diet. I feel like I eat a good bit as it is, but I'll try to eat more. I'm not big on sports drinks anyway.

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JFG
Level 4

Join date: Nov 2006
Location: British Columbia, CAN
Posts: 1479

smallmike wrote:
Heels first is the worst advice for running form. It does use your calves less but it will also lead to a lot more problems, both in the short run and in the long run, among them shin splints from eccentric stress on your tib anterior and knee/hip/lower back problems from the pounding. I could analyze your running form, but I doubt that is the problem.

There are many things calf cramping could come from. You would have to rule out neurogenic vs. vascular claudication. You might also check your electrolyte levels. One solution related to that problem is drinking pickle juice when you start having calf camps.


Not really. I come from a running shoe mindset, not barefoot. I will not discuss this, as it has been debated to death in the last few years.

For short strides (distance running), I prefer heel first with a "rolling" motion of the foot. For shorter run, where I can use my speed ( I come from 400 to 1500 background) I prefer longer strides and mid foot. Like "bouncing" off the ground.

Again, we could discuss this until we are blue in the face, but the simple fact is that by charging your stride, most injuries go away.

I covered electrolytes. The majority of the time, cramps can be alleviated with potassium. Ask any old time bodybuilder about the week prior to the ,show and potassium tablets.

And, if you can rule out neurogenic or claudication on the Internet, then you are a god. This is the equivalent of telling someone has SARS because he is coughing. Seriously?

OP. Take what I tell you as you wish. If you a condition of some kind, you are smart enough to go and see someone qualified.

Does it also mean that I am right? No, it means I gave you a option.

Cheers

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usmccds423
Level 5

Join date: Jan 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 7614

Just saw this on fox:


"Body Cue No. 5: Crazy muscle cramps in the form of stabbing pains in toes, calves, arches of feet, and backs of legs.

The Deficiency: Magnesium, calcium, and potassium. "If it's happening frequently, it's a tip-off that you're lacking in these," Blum says. And if you're training hard, you can lose more minerals (and water-soluble B vitamins) through heavy sweating.

The Fix: Eat more bananas, almonds, hazelnuts, squash, cherries, apples, grapefruit, broccoli, bok choy, and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and dandelion."



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/...s#ixzz2SntxNlWW

I think this is probably a part of it like many of you have said.

Thanks again everyone for your help.

-Chris

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chillain
Level 4

Join date: Jan 2005
Location:
Posts: 3585

usmccds423 wrote:
The Fix: Eat more bananas, almonds, hazelnuts, squash, cherries, apples, grapefruit, broccoli, bok choy, and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and dandelion."


Bananas are always listed among the first suggested sources of K+ and I suppose it's because everyone already eats em.

But avocados, kiwis, coconut water and I believe apricots and figs as well are all more concentrated sources. Worthwhile info for those who track macros, etc

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Shadowzz4
Level 1

Join date: Aug 2005
Location:
Posts: 1286

You are placing demands on your body. It will achieve basically what you want but in different ways. It will use the quads, hips and calves to drive you. Quads and calves are basically what I'd call dumb muscles. They do what they are told based on hip function. I'd bet you have extremely weak glutes and strong quads. There is a greater demand being placed on your calf due to weakness of your glutes and the right glute is almost always weaker than the left.

There is probably nothing wrong with your diet, at least, something that is causing the cramping.

If that was the case you would be cramping in more places than just your calf. Though this too can be tied back to your weak glutes.

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