Muscle cramp is a muscle that suddenly tenses and won’t relax. Cramp can occur in many parts of the body but usually affects the calves when it comes to running, cycling or walking.
Muscle cramp can be caused by a sudden, abrupt movement, an awkward position, long-term exertion, oxygen depletion, a lack of minerals, moisture in the muscles or intense cooling of the muscles after they have been hot.
- The muscle feels hard and is painful
- The limb can’t move but there is no clear swelling or bruising.
Stretch the muscle gently and very gradually. A light sports massage will relax the muscle and encourage circulation. If the sports person suffers from cramp after a major exertion in a hot environment, you must not warm the muscle by massaging as the body is already overheating.
If the sports person often suffers cramp, without any obvious cause, refer him to the doctor.
- Make sure that you warm up and cool down effectively.
- Drink sufficient water in hot weather.
- Don’t do more than your body is capable of when training.
- Regularly top up on moisture, salt and minerals during long-term, intensive exercise. Don’t just drink water; drink sports drinks too. If you often have cramp, you can take extra magnesium and calcium with your doctor’s advice.