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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 23 September 2020
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Cramps are a real pain - but here's how you can eradicate them

Don’t let muscle spasms set you back.

Image: EMPICS Sport

MOST ENDURANCE ATHLETES will experience cramp at some point or another in their lives and if you’ll excuse the pun, they’re a real pain.

Cramps are usually brought on following a period of extended exertion, above and beyond what one is usually accustomed to but it’s not the only reason.

Defined as strong muscle spasms, they can cause pain for up to 24 hours after they occur and tend to occur more during warm weather.

This sounds very obvious but research on cramps is still very limited, with dehydration believed to be just one of many contributory factors.

Dehydration causes an electrolyte imbalance in the blood. One such electrolyte is magnesium and low levels of magnesium are believed to cause such spasms.

While little may be known of the why, the what is more certain. They’re damn painful and can derail a great cycle or run.

So how can we deal with cramps?

1) Get fitted properly for your running and cycling shoes

Calf cramp is common in both runners and cyclists and the position of the foot is believed to be one reason for this so to eradicate them we suggest a proper, professional fit.

Boxers often experience calf cramp and even Manny Pacquiao’s entourage are struggling to find a cause for it. His trainer Freddie Roach has a cure for it though:

We’re doing what we can do. I’ve got the doctors working on it. There are some Filipino guys here who are massaging it for him. The cream cost $1,800 for a single bottle. I wasn’t too happy about that.

2) Stretch as often as you can

The thinking behind this is it increases circulation. Poor circulation denies oxygen to the muscles but stretching feeds the cramped muscles with more electrolytes, apparently.

3) Get fitter!

Simple one this. Your muscles aren’t used to the exertion – so make them used to it.

4) Eat and drink more – now!

You should always eat and drink before you need to. Don’t put it off because to get into your system, fuel needs time. Energy gels and bars assimilate faster so have some of these as an emergency, but only in an emergency.

5) Ride through it – it will subside

Yes. Suck it up.

We’ll get you the name of that cream as soon as we hear….

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About the author:

Brian Canty

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