Sport Injuries

Why does cramping happen to some and not others. Why have with all the sports science advances have we not been able to cure the common cramp. It has affected athletes of all ages for centuries. The common thought on the cause of cramps are lack of electrolytes, dehydration and muscle fatigue. This is reinforced  by the fact that cramps happen commonly at the end of the game or sporting event. Patients are then encouraged to take in plenty of fluid, use magnesium sprays, tablets or powder and have a good balanced diet to maintaining adequate carbohydrate reserves before and during sport. Muscle conditioning to the demands of the sport is an important factor to reduce the fatigue.

Other theories is that cramps could be due to nerve compression from higher up in the nervous tissue chain from where they are occurring. A common site of cramps are in the calf. The nerve that services the calf passes through the lower back, into the gluteals in through the hamstring muscles. So if there are one or multiple sites of compression then any of these areas could be contributing to the cramps. To solve this the athlete needs to get the areas surrounding the cramp checked by a Physio to see if it could be contributing to the problem. It is beneficial for a lot of reasons to regularly stretch the spine and the surrounding musculature whilst playing sport but another reason is that improved flexibility could also reduce cramps. Massage and physiotherapy to release the associated muscle tightness will also help.

If you are suffering cramps a good rescue strategy is to hold a sustained stretch of that muscle for 10 to 20 seconds and get some massage or trigger point therapy to the area. Call your local PhysioPro for a management strategy to look at causative factors and receive some hands on therapy to the affected area to reduce your susceptibility of suffering cramps in your next sporting event.

1 reply
  1. Kim OLeary
    Kim OLeary says:

    I had a great result with a patient from Como Physio Pro / Biotech Physiotherapy when I combined manual therapy to the lower back and gluteals along with treatment to the calves even though the patient only had cramps in the calves. If there is neural tension from slight irritation higher up the chain there are some anecdotal evidence to suggest that if you can relieve this it can give great results to cramps and similar presentations lower down the chain.

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