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View Full Version : Killer Calf Cramps - What happened?



Bklynmom
06-14-2007, 04:38 PM
I woke up in the night with a killer calf cramp. I stretched and it went away but all day today it felt like it was going to cramp - stretching staved it off so far. The other leg felt a little crampy too. I had some vitamin water with calcium and a banana which helped, and I've been stretching every chance I get.

However, I can still feel the muscle twitching right now:(

I have been training - about 4-5 days a week - some hill repeats (6 X on a .20 mile medium grade) nothing crazy, since March. I did my first century at the end of May. I am starting to work on hills, which hasn't bothered my calves at all.

Now yesterday it was raining, so I went to a spinning class which was an endurance ride where we tried to keep a 90 RPM cadence for 30 min. I kept up at about 80 RPM. I then did a light weight workout (nothing I haven't done hundreds of times). Maybe this caused it somehow? I haven't done spinning in a few months but was a regular during the winter.

So my question is -- what did I do to myself, and how do I fix it?

Beane
06-14-2007, 04:53 PM
I had this same experience -- extraordinarily painful cramp in the middle of the night (I actually woke up screaming). Let me know if you find anything out about how this happens. Thanks.

Kimmyt
06-14-2007, 05:04 PM
I tend to get them when I'm doing very strenuous activity involving pointing my toes for a length of time. I've had some doozies swimming (thought I might actually need the lifeguard for that, was screaming and clutching to the side of the pool) and have had some doing more technical routes climbing.

Sometimes when I spin and my toes try and point instead of using the proper technique I feel like I'm going to get them, but I just make a point to drop my heels. Can't help you with the night thing though, maybe eat a banana before bed??

Bklynmom
06-14-2007, 05:12 PM
[QUOTE=Kimmyt;213060]I've had some doozies swimming (thought I might actually need the lifeguard for that, was screaming and clutching to the side of the pool)

I have had them from swimming too - sure that was dehydration - screamed and was rescued by a swimmer who bent my foot for me...

Maybe it was spinning - I did it in sneakers instead of bike shoes, maybe that was a reason.

Bananas before bed will become my routine for sure.

gnat23
06-14-2007, 06:00 PM
If I'm exercising a lot, I get these horrendous suddenly-screaming night calf pains all the time... unless I take my calcium/magnesium and multi-vitamin pills EVERY DAY.

I dunno what causes it, but if I stay good with my pills, then they go away. Annoying.

-- gnat!

Bklynmom
06-14-2007, 07:23 PM
I took an extra calcium and vitamin too - thanks!

L

Jolt
06-14-2007, 07:26 PM
I have had them from swimming too - sure that was dehydration - screamed and was rescued by a swimmer who bent my foot for me...


I have gotten them while swimming as well, usually when using fins. I have found that it is especially likely to happen when using fins that are a little too big for my feet, for some reason.

Fredwina
06-14-2007, 08:59 PM
I get these too, I've mentioned them to several Docs, and the reply has always been "don't worry"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cramp#Nocturnal_leg_cramps
http://alternative-medicine-and-health.com/conditions/legcramp.htm
http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C466614.html

Running Mommy
06-14-2007, 09:47 PM
What knat said... Calcium, magnesium, and potassium....
Also can be dehydration. But mag is usually the culprit.

melissam
06-15-2007, 10:53 AM
Oof, Bklynmom, that sounds painful! :eek:

My theory is that the major contributing factor was spinning in sneakers. The softer soles may have resulted in your toes pointing downward during the longer endurance session, which may have put more strain on the calf muscle.

Of course, this is only a theory from a person with absolutely no medical training. That and $5.00 might buy you a cup of coffee (depending on where you buy your cup of coffee.) ;)

Melalvai
06-16-2007, 03:05 PM
I get them too.
Stretching before bed helps a little. Stretching throughout the day helps a lot more.

echidna
06-21-2007, 09:44 PM
Just a guess - but if cramps aren't typical for you the spinning class may have been the culprit.
You were asking your legs to go faster than they are accustomed to (the suggested rate was 90 RPM and you were having trouble maintaining beyond 80 if I understand correctly).
It takes a long time (months, and sometimes years) to develop the neural pathways that speed up your cadence, and until those pathways are well-developed, your effort at a higher cadence is going to be inefficient. Thus the cramping - the few muscle fibers that had already "learned" the faster-cadence bit were overworking, and the more laid-back ones were loafing.
If this is the "problem" ("problem" in quotes because it's a symptom of imminent improvement), all the nutrition and hydration in the world won't fix it - just time, effort, and experience.