Still pondering over Why/What caused my muscles to cramp so early (at the 25km marks) and so severely that it reduced my run pace to a walk at Dec SCSM 2005!!! While the cramps did not show itself significantly at KLIM in March this year, i still can't understand what i did right this time round..... Questions and more Questions.. Went to Internet for answers and found this site interesting.. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/leg_injuries/a/leg8.htm
Here is excellent comments from Sweet Beena...
"Intakes exceeding requirements must be excreted in order to maintain the sodium content of the body. However, there is also a limit which sodium can be excreted. Intakes beyond this will cause an increase in sodium content, which in turn causes water to be retained. If this is maintained for too long, it may lead to tissue damage, hypertension, headaches, nausea, higher body temperatures, increased thirst and nausea. You will be stressing your kidneys to regulate the sodium content of the body. Salt excretion is reduced for the very young and as a person ages. Increasing your salt content can also lead to a loss of calcium. The homeostasis of the body is also disrupted.
Till now, no one fully understands what causes muscle cramps. Factors that contribute to cramping may be dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, overexertion, and/or inadequate fitness/conditioning, poor blood circulation.
Add some potassium rich foods to your diet such as bananas, walnuts... deficiency in potassium can be one of the causes too, not only deficiency in sodium. recently, i think some sports nutritionists cited lack of calcium as a contributor to cramps too.
just my humble cents of knowledge..
cheers have a great day ahead!...
What Are Muscle Cramps? A cramp is an involuntary and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. Cramps can affect any muscle under your voluntary control (skeletal muscle). Muscles that span two joints are most prone to cramping. Cramps can involve part or all of a muscle, or several muscles in a group. The most commonly affected muscle groups are:
*Back of lower leg/calf (gastrocnemius).
*Back of thigh (hamstrings).
*Front of thigh (quadriceps).
*Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, abdomen and along the rib cage are also very common.
Cause of Muscle Cramps!
Although the exact cause of muscle cramps is unknown, some researchers believe inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue leads to abnormalities in mechanisms that control muscle contraction. Other factors may also be involved, including exercising or working in intense heat, dehydration and depletion of salt and minerals (electrolytes).
Treating Muscle Cramps
Cramps usually go away on their own without seeing a doctor. Self-care tips include:
Stop doing whatever activity triggered the cramp.
*Gently stretch and massage the cramping muscle, holding it in stretched position until the cramp stops.
*Apply heat to tense/tight muscles, or cold to sore/tender muscles.
*To avoid future cramps, work toward better overall fitness. Do regular flexibility exercises before and after you work out to stretch muscle groups most prone to cramping. Always warm up before stretching.
*Calf muscle stretch: In a standing lunge with both feet pointed forward, straighten the rear leg. (Repeat with opposite leg.)
*Hamstring muscle stretch: Sit with one leg folded in and the other straight out, foot upright and toes and ankle relaxed. Lean forward slightly, touch foot of straightened leg. (Repeat with opposite leg.)
*Quadriceps muscle stretch: While standing, hold top of foot with opposite hand and gently pull heel toward buttocks. (Repeat with opposite leg.)
*Hold each stretch briefly, then release. Never stretch to the point of pain.
Preventing Muscle Cramps
To prevent cramps, you should also keep your body adequately hydrated. Children especially often do not drink enough liquids to replenish fluid lost during exercise. Some tips to prevent cramps:
*Drink water at regular intervals, before you get thirsty.
*Drink more than your thirst requires.
*Drink a sports beverage if you are working in heat or sweating for more than an hour.
Although most muscle cramps are benign, sometimes they can indicate a serious medical condition. See your doctor if cramps are severe, happen frequently, respond poorly to simple treatments or are not related to obvious causes like strenuous exercise.