This was posed on Facebook, in a group called “Eat Clean (No Crap!) Train Smart, Stay Awesome. (join it!)
“Calf cramps kept me up and screaming and writhing all night! I am drinking plenty of fluids, taking supplemental mag, eating avocado, the only thing I can pin it down to is perhaps a lack of salt, but yesterday was a rest day so I shouldn’t have been depleted…..?
Jennifer Hallquist Answers!
Seems as if you ruled out dehydration as the reason for calf cramps..what about potassium?
Studies have shown increased electrical activity in the affected muscles, but doctors still don’t know what causes nocturnal leg cramps. In some cases, it may be a fluid imbalance or a vitamin deficiency.
Some tips for the future:
1) Avoid tight bed covers, which can lead to pointing of the toes and subsequent cramps. I create a ‘tent” around my feet to keep my feet out of plantarflexion i.e. toes pointed.
2) Stretch your calf muscles for about five minutes nightly before getting into bed and roll the bottom of your foot on a lacrosse ball for about a minute per foot.
3) If you have more night cramps in the future, pull your toes back (don’t point them), and, if necessary, put your foot on the floor and lean forward. Apply a hot compress to the cramped muscles or massage the cramped muscles with a Tiger Tail, mini bat or a simple piece of PVC pipe.
Here is an idea for a stretch:
Lie on your back in bed, lift your legs, extend them toward the ceiling, and then point your toes to the ceiling and flex them slowly back toward your calf. Repeat this flex and stretch until the cramps stop.
For an extra good stretch, grab your toes while still in this position and pull them down toward your knees. You’ll feel this stretch working in the back of the calf muscles.
Eileen Schreiber adds:
I recently spent a lot of time and moola at my PT for what seemed to be an Achilles problem. The real problem was that the bursa in my heel practically exploded with inflammation for the following reasons:
Tight hips and weak(ish) hamstrings led to increased pressure on my calves, which pulled my Achilles and created friction and hellish, no, I cannot walk anymore, inflammation.
At that time, my calves were so tight I could barely move.
Treatment: Lots of PT and deep tissue massage over time to loosen muscles, lots and lots of rolling out with the rumble roller on calves, IT bands, hamstrings and hips, strengthening of hammies, focus on using my hamstrings while lifting instead of moving forward on my quads, and stretches like Jen Hallquist suggests above.