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Calf Cramps After Sprinting?

by Shaina

I'm a sprinter and lately, I have been getting painful calf cramps after my workout at practice. My calf muscles feel tight, stiff and hard. Almost like the muscles are flexing to 100% it's ability, only it's involuntary.

One day at practice, we ran a 400m, 200m, then 100m. My calf cramped up for about two minutes, but it wasn't too bad. I was able to walk it off.
Then the next day we ran five 100m's. I was supposed to run ten but my cramps came back and I had to stop. It was extremely painful and this time lasted about 5 minutes. I couldn't even move my leg, it hurt so bad.

It just recently happened (a few hours ago), I have been stretching it, icing it, and even heating it. Please tell me specific things I can do to help this. I know that if you answer this question, it may be days after I have asked it, but I would but I'd still appreciate any advice you know of.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about calf cramps. It can indeed take a while to answer questions, especially because I have been on holidays as well, so did not do any website work for about a month.

Anyway, I'll tell you what I know. Calf cramps are one of the least understood issues for runners. Also see Running and Calf Cramps. I used to get them a lot when I was a teenager playing soccer. I was a midfielder and cruised the field extensively. Towards the end of games, when I used to be completely wiped out, I'd get calf cramps.

Apart from over exertion, calf cramps are also linked to hydration and nutrition, especially potassium levels in your blood. Consider if you can improve your diet by using sports drinks and/or eating bananas before your workout. It is basically a case of trial and error to see if you can eliminate your muscle cramps by changes in your diet or not.

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If your muscles are continuously stiff and hard, then I would recommend some deep-tissue massage to loosen it up. After your muscles are loose again, make sure you do sufficient running stretches. Especially heel drops and calf raises would be good for you (for anyone for that matter!).

Lastly, consider if this is a sign of an injury. I have had issues with hamstrings before, where I would get these muscle spasms, much like cramping. Turned out that I had torn a muscle.

Hope this helps a bit.
Kind regards,

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Mar 04, 2011
By personal experience heres what you do
by: Runner

A few days ago, I was conditioning for high school track and completely overdid it. At first when I was doing my workout it felt like I had pulled my calf muscle really bad. I ignored it, and the pain persisted and got worse until I was writhing on the ground in pain. Two of my coaches immediatley ran over and massaged out the knot that was my calf muscle. Having a great track coach who has been coaching sports for 30 years and another coach who had been coaching track for 20, I was in good hands and I was soon feeling good enough after a few minuted to get the "Drink Water and Pickle Juice" talk. I am still quite sore from this and would recommend you do the same as what my coaches told me.

-drink water as often as possible before practices
-pulled muscles resulting from cramps are very well treated by some Icyhot and a heating pad
-Pickle juice cures all cramps!!!

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