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why do you get cramp in your calf

They sneak up on you suddenly and are over mercifully quickly, but cramps can be excruciatingly painful for those who get them. And it s not just fitness enthusiasts or frequent runners high-heel wearers (and those who exercise very little at all) have to suffer too. Physiotherapist
answers all your questions. What causes cramps? The nerve impulse fires to the muscle in an erratic way, so the nerve causes the muscle to spasm involuntarily, explains Allardyce. The reason it does that is usually because there s a lack of ions, like magnesium and potassium, or electrolytes, like salt, and this causes a disruption in the flow of the nerve. Why does cramp happen? The big problem here is people are low in salt, which is an electrolyte, says Allardyce. Lots of people come to me saying, I suffer from cramps and the first question I ask is, How much salt do you have in your diet?. They all expect it to be a bad thing, so they say, Oh no, I never add salt to my food and I go, That s your problem. "If we don t have salt, we don t have the nerve conduction and if we don t have the nerve conduction, the muscles cramp. Man has evolved to need salt. Don t go overboard on the salt though the NHS recommends no more than 6g or a teaspoon a day for adults and half that for children from the age of four. So can we just eat a packet of salt and vinegar crisps? No!

Most of us eat the wrong kind of salt, processed salt which is basically sodium chloride and has a low nutritional value, warns Allardyce. Table salt is rubbish! If you ve got some in your house, pick it up and put in the bin. What you need is a good quality sea salt, like Cornish sea salt or Himalayan sea salt or an organic sea salt. It s packed with minerals. bts_videojs_iframe_container { position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56. 25%! important; margin-bottom: 15px; }. bts_videojs_iframe_container iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border: 0px; } Ready-meals are packed with bad salt because it s a preservative, so you re not getting nutritional salt in your diet. Sprinkle a pinch of organic sea salt on your chips before you go to bed each night and see if the cramps improve. Also, make sure you drink lots of water to keep the muscles hydrated. What if the salt doesn t work? The really stubborn ones usually need magnesium it s a magnificent supplement because it does so many good things to the body. But you ve got to be careful with it because I ve got a few patients who ve had a negative reaction to it so you need to start with a low dosage. The other thing to try is an electrolyte sports drinks like Lucozade. I think it s got too many sugars in but potentially any electrolyte drink could help stop cramping.

Anything else I can do to stop them? You need to exercise. Most people get cramp in their calf muscle, which gets short and tight if you don t exercise. So a really good way to stop cramping is to get the calf muscle stretched and strengthen it. A great stretch is standing on a step and dropping your heels. Put both feet on the step, and drop your heels below the step which gives a lovely long stretch through your calf muscles. It s really safe and anyone can do it. Do it every day, for three lots of 30 seconds, for four weeks and see if it helps. To strengthen the calf, do the opposite, a heel lift so stand on the step and pull your heel up, and go up and down. Do 10 reps to strengthen the calf. Or you could just jog or cycle. Anything that moves the foot and the leg will help the calf. Why do high heels give me cramps? They re putting too much pressure on the ball of the foot and the toes, rather than spreading the load more evenly through the foot and, with high heels, your shoe tends to cramp your toes together, so your feet get stuck in a cramped position and go into spasm. "The only way to relieve it is to get your toes out and stretch them out. What should I do when I ve got cramps? With cramp in your calf, you pull the toes towards you, explains Allardyce. Most cramp happens when you re lying in bed, so just pull the toes towards you and that will stretch the muscles.

You should notice them ease in a matter of seconds. It is not uncommon to experience leg cramps during pregnancy, particularlyPin the. Nearly half of all pregnant women suffer from musclePspasms in their legs, with cramping more frequent during the evening. What causes leg cramps during pregnancy? Leg cramps may be caused by the additional Pand changes in your circulation. Pressure from the growing baby mayPalso be placed on the nerves and blood vessels that go to your legs. This pressure or pinching may be the cause of your leg cramps. What can you do to treat leg cramps during pregnancy? There are a few things that you can do to treat leg cramps or preventPthem from occurring. Try one or more of the following interventions P to help relieve or prevent leg cramps:, and include stretches thatPtarget your calves. Rest with your legs elevated. Wear supportive stockings. Massage your calves and feet. Apply local heat. Contact your health care provider if your leg cramps are severe or persistent. Your health care provider may prescribe additionalPsupplements or. Compiled using information from the following sources: Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W. , M. D. , et al, Part 3. March of Dimes, Danforths Obstetrics and Gynecology Ninth Ed. Scott, James R. , et al, Ch. 1.

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