I woke up to excruciating pain in my calf in the early morning. I haven't had a leg cramp (a.k.a "Charley Horse") in a long time and the pain in my calf was intolerable. I had to wait it out and tried my best to stretch out my calf but it felt like it only got worse. Thank goodness it didn't last long but it was definitely long enough. So what causes calf muscle pain during the night?
How to Help Prevent and Relieve Leg Cramps
Two possible reasons for leg cramps include a lack of potassium and dehydration. I try to drink plenty of water throughout the day but there are times when I am so busy I don't drink enough. Potassium can be found in foods such as bananas, beans, oranges, and tuna. Other reasons include muscle fatigue or after having tried a new activity.
I did some HIIT yesterday using an Insanity workout I had not tried yet. I'm going to guess that was part of the reason for my leg cramp.
Stretching also helps and it is something I don't spend enough time on. Even stretching your calf muscles before bed may help.
If you start to experience a painful calf cramp like I did this morning, here are ways to relieve the pain:
- Pull your toes back (don't point them)
- Massage the cramp
- Lift your leg toward the ceiling, point your toes, then flex them back
- Put your foot on the floor and lean forward
- Apply a hot compress to the cramped muscle
Sometimes the pain makes you forget what to do which was my situation this morning. Eventually, I remembered to pull my toes back and while it still hurt like a &*!#@, it finally subsided.
Nocturnal Leg Cramps: Night-time Calf Muscle Pain
photo credit: sxc.hu