As a bodysurfer, if you have ever had a leg or calf cramp, you will know why we have posted this. Calf cramps can be one of the most agonizing pains to experience.
We have all had first-hand experience of the pain. On more than one occasion, I have fallen victim to the initial tugging feeling. Then, your leg stiffens up and you are rendered useless. Getting a calf cramp on land is one thing, but to get a calf cramp in the water, and especially while handplaning or bodysurfing in the ocean, not only hurts like hell, but it can also be dangerous!
One particular experience I can remember was when I was travel surfing and bodysurfing through Morocco a few years back. After finally seeing a good break after days of travel, I bolted out into the water. 15 minutes later, just as I finished the 10-minute paddle to the killer point, it hit me! There was not a lot I could do apart from float around and try, in vain, to stretch my leg out. On land, this is a good idea. In water not so much. I ended up getting a set on the head and found myself washed over the rocks for my trouble. The thing is, it could have been a lot worse, but I was lucky.
Unfortunately, there is no specific way to effectively deal with cramps in the water. However, this is the perfect case of "prevention is definitely better than cure". We as bodysurfers in particular should learn to take care of our bodies before getting into the water. Bodysurfers and swimmers are the most prone to being struck by leg or calf cramps in the water. This is due to the physical excursion on the legs and calves. Also, wearing fins puts the risk much higher due to the added strain the bodysurfing equipment places on your calf muscles. While I am on the subject of bodysurfing equipment and bodysurfing fins, it is really important to choose the right fins for your particular feet. Read our article on choosing the right bodysurfing fins to find fins that fit you best and reduce the strain on your calf muscles.
"Technically, a muscle or calf cramp occurs when your muscle tightens and shortens, causing a sudden, severe pain."
Muscular tissue cramping is primarily the result of overexertion and/or dehydration. Whenever you do not possess adequate fluids in your system, it can cause an electrolyte imbalance that triggers your muscle tissue to cramp up.
Electrolytes are nutrients and minerals which include sodium, magnesium, calcium and together with potassium, these nutrients and minerals assist the body cells in normal cellular functions . Any time you have fluctuations and imbalances in the levels of these vital minerals, you will start to have problems in the basic operation of bodily functions. The effects are brought out in the form muscle spasms and cramps. The crucial electrolytes influencing muscle tissue cramping are potassium, sodium, not to mention calcium.
The most likely time you are going to get a muscle spasm or cramp is when partaking in physical exercise.
These have been known to be the biggest culprits for leg and calf cramps, while tennis and other hand held racket sports are more likely to cause arm and back cramping.
Believe it or not, cramping may also occur after long periods of inactivity, such as sitting too long in one place without moving a muscle. If you have a desk job, take 15 minutes every 2 hours or so to stand up and stretch.
Sometimes you can even get a cramp when you're just lying in bed. This also goes back to the above comment that cramps are likely to occur after a period of muscle stillness, or when you have been in the same position for an extended period of time.
For the most part though, researchers cannot define an exact cause, and it seems to vary from person to person.
The calf muscle seems to be the most affected muscle group, however, you can also get them in your thighs, feet or just about any muscle group. I have even had a severe back cramp. Cramps, and the initial onset of a cramp and the ensuing pain can be reduced by a few simple methods, as we will show you above.
Researchers are unable to say for certain what the exact causes of leg cramps are. Oftentimes, there doesn't appear to be a specific cause. What researches can tell us is that typically, the cramping originates from:
Muscle cramps can also arise from the spontaneous firing of special nerve groups, followed by contraction of certain muscle fibers.It is very difficult to determine the exact cause of leg cramps and muscle spasms. This is because everyone is different, and their bodies respond in different ways to interior and exterior bodily influences.
Diet and exercise is the safest and best way to treat just about any ailment but in some cases medical help is needed. Quinine sulfate generally is the prescribed medication of preference for cramping. If the discomfort is moderate or self limiting, topical ointment and/or oral non-prescription analgesics might be suitable. These particular medications can be suggested by a health care provider or simply a pharmacist.
Boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C, as it will help stop your muscle tissue from cramping. It is strongly recommended to consume timed-release Vitamin C supplements two times per day. You should be taking 1,000 milligrams in the morning, and additionally 1,000 milligrams in the evening. Keep in mind that in some cases, people might experience diarrhea in the event that you take over and above 1,200 milligrams of Vitamin C daily.
First, relax the tightened area.
As this is the most likely form of cramping a bodysurfer will experience, we will run through the best form to combat the onset of a cramp. For calf cramping in particular, you can perform a wall stretch out by following the steps below:
Prevention is always better than cure the most important tip: Make sure to drink plenty of fluids! before and after bodysurfing
In the event that your calf muscle tissue is prone to frequent cramping, this may mean they are weakened! There are specific exercises to strengthen the muscle group that you are having problems with. One of the best exercises for calf and thigh cramps is the toe raise.
To improve the benefits of the exercise, you might want to attempt holding dumbbells at shoulder-level.
If you are suffering from cramps on a regular basis, it is strongly recommended to use a consistent application of heat to the affected muscle tissue. Heat the muscle tissue with either a moist warm towel, or with a cream like Deep Heat for ten to fifteen minutes 5 or perhaps 6 times a day. Continue to do this until the pain diminishes.
An ice pack can be both a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory. Place an ice pack on the area for a maximum of 10 minutes, or until there region is a cheerful red. This means that blood cells have arrived to heat up the cramped muscle tissue. In the event that an ice pack is unpleasant, attempt heat.
First, relax the tightened area.
Massaging the calf, arch , and toes or affected area with baby oil for 10 minutes can work wonders for the pain of a cramp.