View Full Version : Stopping Feet and Leg Cramping

October 15th, 2007, 08:17 PM
Well, I have written about my problems with this in the past and since I am training for a long swim and suffer from both foot and leg/thigh cramping, I have been experimenting with vitamins. I did the Gatorade (too much sugar), I did the private product things, and I stumbled across many websites that mentioned taking Calcium with Magnesium may be of benefit.

I started taking a Calcium pill and a Magnesium pill along with a separate vitamin that promotes good blood health (the B's), and all foot/leg cramping has completely stopped. Finally. It was preventing my being able to get past the 6 or 7 mile mark regularly. I started taking these supplements about 4 weeks ago. Since I returned to Roatan, I have not swam for 12 days due to ocean storms. Today was my first day back. I did a 6 miler and had no cramping at the 3 mile mark like I usually do.

So, it may be worth a try for people suffering greatly from this debilitating problem. I'm taking 384 mg of Magnesium, and the Calcium tablets have other ingredients, but the calcium is and of itself 334 mg. And of course I do know that we are all different and it may not work, but this, so far, has worked for me. I was about ready to do this: :whiteflag:


October 15th, 2007, 10:16 PM

Are you taking this once a day? When in relation to your workouts? I also get cramps (foot and calf)m pretty regularly, though much earlier in my workouts (mine are never 6 or 7 miles long!).


Skip Montanaro

October 15th, 2007, 11:59 PM
In addition to a multivitamin, I consume 1800 mg of calcium per day (doctor's orders). It hasn't helped my foot and leg cramps one bit. :dunno:

Anna Lea

October 16th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Leg cramps, calcium, etc.

Calcium: basic needs to resupply passive losses (i.e., to run your nervous system - brain, muscular system - heart, etc., with no extra stresses such as pregnancy, lactation, smoking, or heavy exercise): equivalent to amount of calcium in 1 qt of milk a day.

That's around 1500 mg of calcium per day (1200 minimum) for women and men both. Check supplement labels for elemental calcium. That's what you're getting, and it's typically lower than the amount blazoned on the package. (Avoid calcium from shells, coral, etc. because those things create problems for the kidneys, and calcium from coral has been detected with high amounts of lead and other heavy metals from the processing method.)

Also needed (for exercisers) is potassium, magnesium, and probably electrolyte supplementation. Hydration is important to avoid cramps.

The dr. I saw about swimming-associated leg cramps said take Tylenol, an anti-inflammatory med. He was not a sports med guy, but I decided to try it. I take a high-dose pill 30-60 minutes before a significant workout or long swim. I believe, in conjunction with everything else, it does help.

What really helps is getting those muscles and tendons more flexible and used to a hard workload, hard in this case meaning stuck in an unusual position without much relief over a long swim. And that means step classes 2-3 times a week.

I don't think there is a single bullet, magic, silver, or other, for leg cramps. You have to work every possible angle. Foot cramps are comparatively trivial -- they won't stop you dead, the way leg cramps will -- but try specifically warming up the feet before a swim, using dancer's exercises.

Regards, VB

October 16th, 2007, 08:20 AM

I need to be taking calcium anyway. I am bad with forgetting. I will try it out. I was having horrible cramping in my right calve in the beginning. It seems much better. I think I did toooooooo much in the beginning and I just fatigued the muscle. Plus I had never used fins before and that was tough. As I am getting into the swimming more and in better shape it is better.

But you swim such long long distances so I KNOW I would be one big body cramp:whiteflag:. I am glad you found something that seems to help you.


Mighty Minnow
October 16th, 2007, 09:54 AM
A nutritionist suggested I take 2 or 3 rolaids before a long workout the night before......(I too get leg cramps; particularly using zoomers). This is helping me somewhat as the rolaids have manganese and calcium. He also suggested sea kelp, which I've yet to try......

October 16th, 2007, 10:08 AM
Calcium and pure apple cider vinegar. 2 table spoons of Apple cider vinegar, a table spoon of honey with a little water and your calcium is how to go.

October 16th, 2007, 10:39 AM
I've been swimming for just over a month, 4/5 days a week, and the only cramping/muscle strain I have had thus far is on my inner thigh/groin area (think because I was kicking out wrong breaststroking). Taking this GNC multivitamin sports blend and drinking plenty of water/gatorade seems to have helped significantly but I'm just doing bout 2500 yards/day, can't even imagine a 6 mile swim :eek: Great advice in here, bookmark worthy.

October 16th, 2007, 11:03 AM
I just wanted to mention since someone may have misread what I wrote, you must take both Calcium and Magnesium. I never took anything prior to this, and I am taking minimum amounts to start with. So far, so good. And I do hydrate, I do stretch my legs/calves, etc. But this is the first time I am having great success with eliminating this kind of cramping which has stopped me from swimmer further distances. And I used to swim with Zoomer fins and I would cramp up at about 3 miles. I otta try using them again to see if this Calcium/Magnesium thing is helping.


February 19th, 2008, 10:03 PM
An interesting article from the NY Times about muscle cramps...

Summary from www.sportsgeezer.com:

Gina Kolata on the Mystery of the Common Cramp

"Geeky athletes who do the numbers know that cramps afflict 39 percent of marathon runners, 79 percent of triathletes, and 60 percent of cyclists at one time or another. What they don't know is why. Cramps are, as Gina Kolata writes in this New York Times piece, a medical mystery. The Times reports that cramps are commonly attributed to one of three factors: dehydration, electrolytic deficiency, and, more likely, an imbalance between nerve signals that excite a muscle and those that inhibit its contractions. Such an imbalance is more likely to occur when a muscle is growing fatigued. Geezer, who barely passed high school biology, goes with door number three.
Read more about what may cause cramps, but probably doesn't, in the New York Times..."


Blackbeard's Peg
February 19th, 2008, 11:37 PM
I've read that dehydration is a leading cause of cramps, and in some cases, ingesting water doesn't do the athlete any good if they aren't retaining the water. For those instances, it was suggested that the athlete consume salty foods (ie pretzels) prior to workout/race to help the body retain the water.

February 20th, 2008, 12:17 AM
I expect we are all running experiments with sample size of one. Wonder if any of the docs on the forum would like to weigh in with their opinion. I'm inclined toward door 3 myself, while recognizing the perdurance of the other doors (hydrating and calcating and replacing electrolytes...).
Regards, VB