Calf cramps: How cramps do not have to occur
Everyone knows them, extremely painful calf cramps in which the pain only gradually subsides. Often, the cramps in the calves occur during sports or special exertion. To relieve the pain, you can stretch the leg. But what can help so that it doesn't come to this? Sports scientist Marcel Reuter from the German University for Prevention and Health Management / BSA Academy in Saarbrücken has the answers.
Stretching helps with leg cramps
Many people are familiar with the problem: the muscles in the calf cramp and suddenly the calf pain is there. Nothing works anymore, as you can often see in sports broadcasts. Stretching usually helps quickly, but sufferers should not stop there. A quick and effective method that can help relieve leg cramps is to step into position and slowly bend your upper body forward. The feet are hip-wide and parallel to each other, the heel of one at the level of the toe of the other.
Prevent calf cramps by exercising
As the sports scientist Marcel Reuter from the German University for Prevention and Health Management / BSA Academy in Saarbrücken explained, this will stretch the calf muscles. This will relieve the cramp and relax the muscles. In addition, a massage or heat can also have a soothing effect, since this promotes blood circulation and also relaxes the muscle. Manual treatments (osteopathy, fascia distortion model, Rolfing) can also be helpful, in which special attention is paid to the stretching of the calf muscles. Preventing calf cramps can sometimes be achieved through exercise and proper nutrition. For example, regular cycling, swimming or running stimulates the muscles to get used to constantly increasing loads.
Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty
According to Reuter, the amount of drinking also plays a role: it should be two to three liters per day and an additional half to one liter per hour of exercise. Isotonic drinks can be useful in hot weather and prolonged physical activity. As a preventive measure, those who eat a balanced diet do not need any food supplements, but can cover their needs for the important mineral magnesium, for example with oatmeal or rice. The equally important calcium is found in cheese and other dairy products, potassium in potatoes, nuts and fish. In this country, nobody has to worry about an insufficient supply of salt, since most Germans tend to consume too much of it.
Cramps from overworked and untrained muscles
Sometimes people wake up at night with the typical pain, but often a leg cramp occurs during and after exercise. As Reuter explained, the calf muscles contract without subsequently relaxing again. This can take from a few seconds to a few minutes and is often associated with pain. The most common problem is when the muscles are overworked or untrained. But the cramps can also occur as a result of alcohol and nicotine abuse. In some cases, there are also pre-existing conditions such as chronic circulatory disorders, which should be clarified by a doctor. (sb)