Stretching is NOT a Good Calf Cramp Remedy!
One thing that I’ve seen repeatedly over the years is that when a person gets a sudden Charlie horse, or violent calf cramp in his/her calf, the first remedy they try to do is stretch. This is the exact opposite thing of what you need to do, in fact, stretching can cause the muscle fibers to tear and is the reason you may limp for days after a cramp.
Think of what would happen if you took a 12″ line and tied it into multiple knots, until the line was only 10″ long. Then you tried to stretch it back to 12″ again without untying the knots. The knots become tighter and the fibers outside of the knots will be overstretched – perhaps to the point of tearing. The same thing happens to your muscle.
Calf Cramp Remedy That is Quick & Easy:
When your calf muscle starts to go into a cramp, the fibers are all contracting totally and rapidly. The problem is your muscles have an “all or nothing” response, which means, when a muscle begins a contraction it doesn’t stop in the middle and make a U-turn. It’s going to finish that contraction, but if you stretch it in the opposite direction you’re pulling the fibers in two directions and it will tear in the middle. The calf cramp remedy you need will assist your muscle to finish the contraction BEFORE you stretch. (Important, DO NOT press on varicose veins)
Now, this will hurt like heck, but a calf cramp hurts one way or the other, so a remedy that involves assisting it to complete the contraction at least speeds up the pain and gets your muscle ready to receive your treatments that will relax the fibers. Instead of the cramp taking 30-60 seconds to complete (it feels like HOURS!), you’ll cut the time in half, or even better.
When a calf cramp begins, immediately grip behind your knee, at the beginning of your calf muscles. And then grip at the lower end of the muscles, just above your Achilles tendon. And then PUSH your hands together as hard as you can, and hold that push until you can breath normally again (it hurts and you’ll certainly gasp). This may take a very long 30 seconds or so, but just hold the push steady so the fibers can complete their contraction.
After you can again breath normally, let go, take a few breaths, and do it again. This time won’t hurt, you’re only doing it so you can assist any last muscle fibers that hadn’t finished the contraction the first time. Hold this push for about 30 seconds while you continue to breath normally.
The next step in the calf cramp remedy is to start to squeeze your calf like you were squeezing a thick wet towel, or like you were taking a wad of bread dough and making a French loaf. Go from behind your knee down toward your ankle so you can start to lengthen the muscle fibers.
Keep squeezing from the top of your calf to your ankle, going over and over, and also focusing on the inside and outside of your calf, and then using your fist to press into the center of the back of your calf. During a calf cramp, Hydrogen ions (H+) build up in your muscle. Do everything you can to force out the H+ toxins that developed during the cramp because these toxins cause spasms to form in the muscle fibers. You are trying to force out the H+, which will then cause your body to fill the void with blood, which will nourish your muscle fibers and start the healing process.
After you have fully massaged your entire calf, then you can safely stretch. Stretch slowly, allowing the fibers to lengthen gradually.
This treatment has worked for the endurance athletes I work with on a regular basis, I am certain it will work for you too.
Finally, drink a LOT of water to flush the toxins out of your body. And, if you get frequent cramps, it’s definitely takes more then just adding some sports drinks to stop the problem, visit a nutritionist to look into your diet to see if you are missing vital minerals and vitamins.
Wishing you well,