PDA

View Full Version : Calf cramps while swimming



sandymitchel
July 4th, 2012, 12:45 PM
For the first time ever I experienced calf cramping about 3 miles into a 5 mile swim. Luckily I was in a pool. I am going to an OW 10K next weekend and am looking for some quick advice or what to do before a swim to avoid the cramps or what to do during if I (and hopefully I don't) experience them again and this time in OW.

Thanks in advance.

Sandy

ViveBene
July 4th, 2012, 01:08 PM
Hydrating and keeping electrolyte levels up are giant steps toward avoiding cramping. If you'd like specific recommendations, please PM me. See also www.marathonswimmers.org (http://www.marathonswimmers.org) , a dedicated site (and you might find ppl you know there :)).

I stop and stretch, massage calves, as needed. (I am not in medal contention. :)) Varying the kick pattern with some BR, some BK, will also help.

Good luck on the swim!

mcnair
July 4th, 2012, 03:44 PM
Yep, hydration is hugely important... with an electrolyte replacement like gatorade; the extra sugars to replace depleted glycogen stores can't hurt either for distances over 3-4 miles.

mcnair
July 4th, 2012, 03:47 PM
Oh... and if you were in the pool, you may be experiencing the cramps more from the push off the wall than anything else... especially as you tire and become dehydrated. I've had that happen to me before and I've always chalked it up to hard push-off with fatigued/depleted muscles.

sandymitchel
July 4th, 2012, 08:06 PM
Marjorie - thank you so much. I will look at that website too. Sounds like it will have great info. I love reading about long swims and swimmers who do them. I am not in medal contention either. so I will keep your advice in mind.

Thanks for the well wishes!

Happy 4th of July.

Sandy

sandymitchel
July 4th, 2012, 08:09 PM
Alex - thank you for the quick reply. I do drink Gatorade (1/2 Gat, 1/2 water) during my swims, but I didn't have any before I started. So, I think that might have been my problem. Plus, like you said in your second message, it was much worse when I pushed off the wall hard, pointing my toes. So, I stopped that and just barely pushed off. So, luckily, I won't have that issue in the OW ; )

Happy 4th!

Sandy

aqueoushumor
July 6th, 2012, 04:27 PM
I find if I flex my foot (opposite of pointing) I can usually relieve it and actually keep swimming with just my arms. Bananas and V8 Juice (not during the swim) seem to be a good idea also. The last few months I've been having more trouble with foot cramps (ouch!) especially during backstroke. Go figure.

sandymitchel
July 6th, 2012, 09:50 PM
Thank you. I tried flexing, then pointing my foot too. You're right, that seems to help a bit. I appreciate your advice. Hope your foot troubles go away soon. Happy swimming!

Jim Kellam
July 7th, 2012, 08:40 AM
I have this problem frequently and I've done some technical reading on the subject. The fact is, no one knows for sure what causes muscle cramps but the two ideas mentioned previously--hydration/electrolytes and fatigue are the leading hypotheses. There is also a third hypothesis about limited blood flow through the muscle (warm up and do gentle stretches/massage to prevent this). Of course any or all of these hypotheses may be correct for a given individual or situation.

For me, I am far more likely to get a cramp when my muscles are fatigued (i.e. at the end of my workout rather than at the beginning). You cannot stop fatigue from happening at some point, so staying hydrated and consuming more potassium (don't forget the sodium!) really won't prevent the cramps, but maybe...maybe...you can delay them. The real answer is endurance training.

sandymitchel
July 7th, 2012, 06:22 PM
Thanks Jim! All good information. I appreciate it. Sandy

TUTs_mama
September 23rd, 2012, 10:13 PM
I find if I flex my foot (opposite of pointing) I can usually relieve it and actually keep swimming with just my arms. Bananas and V8 Juice (not during the swim) seem to be a good idea also. The last few months I've been having more trouble with foot cramps (ouch!) especially during backstroke. Go figure.

I second this advice. We actually learn in SCUBA classes how to handle leg cramps while in the water. Grabbing the top of your fin (or foot, in this case) and gently pull it towards your knee. You might find it easier to do this underwater, rather on top of it, but it is the only way I have found once I have gotten a cramp to get rid of it.