Cramps in the calf muscles (krampi) are a common occurrence among people of all ages. Causes of spasm can be vitamin deficiency, overstrain and even serious diseases. If convulsive contractions last more than 15–20 minutes and are repeated several times a week, you need to visit a phlebologist. The specialist will diagnose and prescribe treatment. . We will talk about the causes of seizures and how to effectively relax the calf muscles in an unexpected short-term attack.
Cramps in the calves are characterized by unnatural, sharp muscle contraction and the occurrence of acute pain. This syndrome is not an independent disease. Common causes of convulsive contractions:
- Muscle strain . Long intensive training - running, walking, swimming, cycling, athletics and others - can cause cramping in the legs. Often beginner athletes who are not accustomed to prolonged exertion experience such discomfort.
- Violation of the water-electrolyte balance . It occurs when the body loses salts and minerals due to diarrhea, vomiting or lack of drinking. Wasted electrolytes are responsible for the sensitivity of nerve endings, so their lack is the reason that reduces the calf muscles.
- Tissue injuries (sprains, tears, bruises). In case of damage to the tendons and muscles of the lower leg, a person, as a rule, tries to keep the lower part of the leg in one position, so as not to aggravate the injury. Prolonged retention of the ankle in an irremovable position can provoke a convulsive syndrome.
- Hypothermia . Prolonged exposure to cold often causes the muscles of the lower legs to contract. This is due to the body's response to external irritation - a low temperature - and is accompanied by short-term muscle contractions that can cause a cramp.
- Incorrect stop position when walking . It occurs in women using high-heeled shoes, and with flat feet. As a result of the uneven distribution of weight in the foot, an overstrain of the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the lower legs appears.
- Alcohol abuse . With regular drinking of alcohol, blood circulation in the limbs is disturbed. In combination with hypothermia, this can cause a convulsive spasm. It is not for nothing that doctors categorically forbid drinking alcohol while relaxing on water.
In addition to the listed cases of seizures, the syndrome manifests itself in a dream. Scientists can not accurately determine the cause of night attacks. It is believed that this is due to the person being in an uncomfortable or unnatural position for a long time.
First aid at home
With frequent and prolonged convulsions, a specialist consultation is necessary. As a rule, doctors prescribe physiotherapy, physiotherapy exercises and massage. But if the attack suddenly occurred at work or at home, we recommend using simple methods to relax the calf muscles.
With a sharp pain syndrome, perform a simple gymnastic stretch.
- Without getting out of bed, roll a towel or T-shirt into a tourniquet.
- Bend the “affected” leg at the knee and throw an improvised tourniquet on the upper part of the foot.
- Spread your leg smoothly up.
- Hold this position and pull the toe of the foot toward you.
- Stretch your shin for 1 minute.
- Stand a meter from the wall and make a shallow lunge forward.
- Put your palms on a support, straighten your tense leg back and press the whole foot to the floor.
- Stand for 1 minute, then straighten up gently. If the pain has resumed, repeat the stretch again.
- Accept the “supine” position.
- Bend your legs and place your feet on the floor.
- Raise the “affected” lower leg and press it to the knee of the second leg.
- Perform rotational foot movements: 15 times clockwise and 15 times counterclockwise. If the pain persists, repeat the exercise.
Another effective way is pinch massage. Without getting out of bed, begin to intensively pinch a tense muscle. Continue for 10-15 seconds. Then, pat your lower leg with your palms several times. The pain should subside. If this does not help, repeat the massage.
Push and prick
At the time of a painful spasm, grasp the shin with your palms and press with your thumbs on the middle of the calf muscle. As a rule, after a few pressures the pain weakens. You can then stand up and pull your calves with simple exercises. Some also benefit from a light injection with a sharp object (pin or needle) into a sore muscle. The main thing is not to overdo it and not to injure yourself.
First aid on the water
Often convulsive syndrome overtakes while swimming. In such a situation, you cannot panic and make chaotic movements that consume energy. Try to get to the shore and already on land make a simple stretch of the back surface of the lower leg and massage your legs.
If you are far from the shore, fill your lungs with air as much as possible and roll over onto your back. Grasp the toe of the problem leg, pull it towards you and smoothly straighten the limb. Repeat 3-4 times. After the pain subsides, very carefully, without making sudden movements, swim to the shore and massage.
We list the preventive measures that will reduce the risk of pain cramps in the calf muscles:
- Perform a warm up and a hitch . Before each intense workout, warm up your body and stretch your calves. This will improve blood circulation in the legs. After class, do some stretching exercises to relieve muscle tension and get rid of blood stasis.
- When in the sun for a long time, drink plenty of fluids. It is best to drink special isotonic drinks rich in vitamins and minerals. If this is not possible, drink more clean water, and take multivitamins at home.
- Try to keep your feet always warm. This will help prevent cramps and colds.
- Girls are recommended to wear comfortable shoes with soft soles most of the time. Wear heels only on special occasions.
- Give up bad habits: alcohol and tobacco.
- Adjust your diet. Add foods rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D (liver, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, mushrooms, nuts, seaweed, tomatoes, legumes, oatmeal, millet) to the menu.
- Get rid of excess weight. Regular jogging and a low-calorie diet will help to put the figure in order and reduce the risk of cramps in the calves.
- Sign up for a session with a professional massage therapist. This will help improve circulation in the legs.
- Use anticonvulsants (as prescribed by your doctor).
- Every night, before going to bed, do warm foot baths with sea salt or herbs.
- Stretch yourself. Stretching workouts will improve body mobility and relieve cramps and strain.
Before taking preventive actions, be sure to visit a doctor and make sure that convulsions are not a consequence of pathology, for example, varicose veins. Otherwise, you risk aggravating the course of the disease.