Member Case Study: Calf Cramps

author : AMSSM
comments : 0

Member Question from Captain
I woke up at 4:00 a.m. with a HUGE painful cramp in my right calf. The other calf was ready to let loose at any second. I think I was stretching my foot straight while turning over. It locked up for about two minutes then finally let up. I finally went back to sleep, and then iced it in the morning. It is a little sore and tight today.

I do not think I was dehydrated. I am careful with fluid intake. I am suffering some shin splints (the result of ramping run mileage up to fast). I stopped before the shin splints could have been called bad. I have not run in over a week (which is scaring the heck out of me right now).

Can you offer clarity on what may have happened? Should I back off tomorrow's workout? I really need to get back to running next week. Help!

Answer from Roy Henderson, MD, MPH
Member AMSSM
 
Most cramps are not serious. Your cramps are probably due to muscle fatigue, which would make more sense if you were increasing your workout intensity. These cramps often occur in bed when the foot is pointing down and the calf is relaxed. This makes it harder for the calf to relax during a contraction, and thus makes a cramp more likely. (Think of a swimmer getting a cramp when kicking.) If you have been resting because of shin splints, the cramp might have been due to slight deconditioning, relative to its normal state. If they continue to occur, back off on your workout and gradually build back up.

Roy Henderson, MD, MPH
MacNeal Hospital Family Practice Residency
Director, Sports Medicine Fellowship
Berwyn, IL

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date: September 13, 2007

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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