CHARLEY HORSE or SEVERE MUSCULAR CRAMP with harsh PAIN

CALF MUSCLE: GASTROCNEMIUS MUSCLE AND SOLEUS MUSCLES

are very prone to cramping due to sudden changes in training, dehydration and lack of stretching. Running Dialogue author shows you the tricks to decrease your potential for calf muscle strains secondary to a charley horse.

Running Dialogue...training 5K to the Marathon. Humor, nutrition, injury advice and essays for all training levels.

a CHARLEY HORSE is: 
An acute agonizing spasm caused by prolonged contraction
at the muscle fiber level. The cramp can last minutes.
Causes include:
	post exercise--often many hours post exercise--due to
buildup of lactic acid... 
	or small areas of muscle damage; 
	after repetitive movement--such as five miles on a treadmill
at constant speed and elevation without changing cadence or
style; 
	exercising more than usual: Over fatigued muscles;
	sitting or lying in an awkward position, which compromises
circulation; 
	excessive sweating or exercising with a fever or in hot
conditions; 
	Loss of potassium or sodium; insufficient intake of calcium;
Treatment and avoidance
Many books say massage and stretching. If you massage a
cramping muscle you will certainly strain it; if you try to stretch
a cramping muscle you’ll strain it some more.
Do this: Place the cramping muscle in its shortest anatomical
position. For the calf, this means bringing the foot back to
your butt--the position in which the calf is least likely to 
remain in spasm because you have “told” the stretch proprio¬
ceptors the muscle is in its absolute resting position. 
As it relaxes, you can use gentle touch followed by gentler
massage...a slow kneading to locate the sore spots. Then use
ice alternating with low temperature moist heat to further relax
the muscle and bring nutrients in...while flushing wastes out.
Eat something with sodium and potassium; bananas and oranges work well. Take a tum or
glass of milk for calcium; add an anti-inflammatory for pain.
Diazepam and diphenhydramine can help, too. 
In 12 hours you may be able to take an easy run. If the cramp
was due to a severe strain, you may need several rest or
cross-training days.
Except in the case of a minor spasm while exercising, hold
the stretching until after the acute phase. Avoid heat for the
first 48 hours.

Vitamin B-complex has been shown of use for leg cramps in one study. Quinine is also helpful but has side effects. Tonic water is a good source of quinine. A glass before going to bed may help; the liquid may help too!

Dehydration is a major cause of muscle spasms. Drink plenty of caffiene free and alcohol free liquids. Drinking 8 glasses per day is nonsence for intensive exercisers. You can lose 8 glasses of fluid in one hour of exercise. Drink until your urine is light yellow.

Adapted from the pages of Running Dialogue.


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Stretching and Flexibility with Calf muscles used as example...can decrease risk of charley horse
Slow stretching...no bouncing
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Copyright David Holt 2,000 Any part, or all of this training material may be quoted or reviewed...provided you acknowledge the source...Running Dialogue and other books by David Holt, this web page or www.runningbook.com, and contact me at holtrun@sprynet.com to let me know the material is being used or reviewed.

The calf muscles (gastrocnemious and soleus muscles) are prone to CHARLEY HORSE or SEVERE MUSCULAR CRAMP with harsh PAIN