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    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 4th Sep 19, 9:58 PM
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    trailingspouse
    Cramp in my calves
    • #1
    • 4th Sep 19, 9:58 PM
    Cramp in my calves 4th Sep 19 at 9:58 PM
    I exercise regularly (45 minute HIIT every other day), and get woken every morning (about 5am) with cramp in my calf muscles. If I'm lucky it's only one, but more often it's both.


    About three weeks ago I started a new job, which involves wearing steel toe cap boots - not the comfiest of footwear, although I'm luckily not on my feet all day long. Coinciding with starting the new job and wearing the new boots, my cramps are getting worse. Last night I was woken three times, the third time was so bad I was actually whimpering with the pain.


    I've been told to make sure I'm well hydrated - I've been drinking more, but there's been no improvement, in fact last night was one of the worst I've had, despite drinking so much that I needed to go to the loo again at gone midnight.
    I've been told I don't have enough salt in my diet. Which is true enough - I don't use salt when I'm cooking, and I don't put it onto food at the table, apart from chips (and I very rarely have chips...). I'm loath to increase my salt intake because of the other health implications, but it's starting to look like I might have to.

    It's also been suggested to me that I should drink tonic water - I'm going to try that tonight, but I thought that was more for restless leg syndrome than for cramp?



    I'm female, 58.



    Any thoughts? Also, what's the best thing to do when it happens (bearing in mind I'm half asleep...), to make it go away as quickly as possible? I live on my own so I can't get someone else to flex my foot like the footballers do...
Page 1
    • hollie.weimeraner
    • By hollie.weimeraner 5th Sep 19, 7:03 AM
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    hollie.weimeraner
    • #2
    • 5th Sep 19, 7:03 AM
    • #2
    • 5th Sep 19, 7:03 AM
    I suffer from cramps at times but it's down to my varicose veins. I get quinine sulphate tablets prescribed.

    I don't get them all the time and it seems to come and go in phases. I just keep the tablets by my bedside so if I feel a cramp coming on I take one and then take one for the next few nights which seems to sort things out.

    So my question would be have you got any varicose veins?

    If so have a word with your GP about quinine sulphate.
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    • culpepper
    • By culpepper 5th Sep 19, 8:38 AM
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    culpepper
    • #3
    • 5th Sep 19, 8:38 AM
    • #3
    • 5th Sep 19, 8:38 AM
    It probably is salt to some extent. You can have a deficit because when you sweat you lose salts which is why dried sweat looks white on sports clothes and your lips taste salty after running.

    There are electrolyte drinks for sports that can replace the things you lose or you can make your own.
    Its basically a water diluted fruit juice with sugar and salt .

    When you do get calf cramp , get out of bed or remove your shoes if you aren't in bed and stand on a flat preferably cold floor about 2 foot lengths from a wall. Lean towards the wall so that you are stretching the muscle.
    • JJ Egan
    • By JJ Egan 5th Sep 19, 11:22 AM
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    JJ Egan
    • #4
    • 5th Sep 19, 11:22 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Sep 19, 11:22 AM
    Tonic Water is the old remedy for cramps as it contained Quinine .
    Rehydration salts from chemist asda tesco etc . Diarolyte and Galapharm .
    • Misslayed
    • By Misslayed 5th Sep 19, 2:10 PM
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    Misslayed
    • #5
    • 5th Sep 19, 2:10 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Sep 19, 2:10 PM
    Do you take statins by any chance? Gave my husband dreadful cramp, no effect on me!
    Hi. Martin has asked me to tell you I'm a (novice) Board Guide on the Competitions, Site Feedback and Campaigns boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with abuse). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 5th Sep 19, 4:33 PM
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    trailingspouse
    • #6
    • 5th Sep 19, 4:33 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Sep 19, 4:33 PM
    Very many thanks.
    No, I don't have varicose veins, and I don't take statins.
    Lack of hydration is likely to be the root cause - I'm finding I simply don't drink as much at work as I would at home (5 hours with a 15 minute break, there just isn't the opportunity).

    I had a tonic water before bed last night - no cramps!! So, I'll try a combination of all of them I think - a bit of salt in my food, make a concerted effort to drink more, and a glass of tonic water before bed.

    I never realised tonic worked for cramps - I swear by it for restless leg syndrome, but haven't suffered from that since I started going to the gym regularly. Will add it to my shopping list for tomorrow.
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 5th Sep 19, 10:18 PM
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    silverwhistle
    • #7
    • 5th Sep 19, 10:18 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Sep 19, 10:18 PM
    I'm older than you and play women's league football: I get occasional cramp in one leg at night (an old injury I think) but for games I take salts in my water bottle including potassium and magnesium (not just sodium). I buy specific sports ones but you can get similar at the chemist.


    PS At night when I'm on my own I have to consciously get my toes back or push them against something..
    Last edited by silverwhistle; 05-09-2019 at 10:20 PM. Reason: PS
    • Fire Fox
    • By Fire Fox 6th Sep 19, 8:30 AM
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    Fire Fox
    • #8
    • 6th Sep 19, 8:30 AM
    • #8
    • 6th Sep 19, 8:30 AM
    I exercise regularly (45 minute HIIT every other day), and get woken every morning (about 5am) with cramp in my calf muscles. If I'm lucky it's only one, but more often it's both.

    About three weeks ago I started a new job, which involves wearing steel toe cap boots - not the comfiest of footwear, although I'm luckily not on my feet all day long. Coinciding with starting the new job and wearing the new boots, my cramps are getting worse. Last night I was woken three times, the third time was so bad I was actually whimpering with the pain.

    I've been told to make sure I'm well hydrated - I've been drinking more, but there's been no improvement, in fact last night was one of the worst I've had, despite drinking so much that I needed to go to the loo again at gone midnight.
    I've been told I don't have enough salt in my diet. Which is true enough - I don't use salt when I'm cooking, and I don't put it onto food at the table, apart from chips (and I very rarely have chips...). I'm loath to increase my salt intake because of the other health implications, but it's starting to look like I might have to. .
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    Ensure you take in a balance of essential minerals: you pee out and sweat out more than just sodium (salt). Drinking too much actually flushes out more minerals, potentially worsening the situation. Please do not supplement without the advice of a healthcare professional. Nobody here has access to your medical history.

    Mineral-rich foods include beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Ideally we would all have no refined or processed starchy carbs at all. A key mineral for muscle relaxation is magnesium: foods rich in magnesium include various seeds, cocoa, low sugar dark chocolate.

    HTH.
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    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 6th Sep 19, 1:28 PM
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    Slinky
    • #9
    • 6th Sep 19, 1:28 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Sep 19, 1:28 PM
    I get similar cramps, particularly on days when I've done exercise and also drunk alcohol. I try to make sure I drink the equivalent amount of water to alcohol and use rehydration powders in a drink before bed. I find wearing loose fitting socks in bed also helps, particularly with cramp in the top of my feet.
    • BananaRepublic
    • By BananaRepublic 6th Sep 19, 8:11 PM
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    BananaRepublic
    I used to get regular active legs at night, which is mini cramps, not nice. I sweat a lot when playing ice hockey and lose a lot of salt. I drank water, but then started to add a hydration tablet to the water bottle, and that usually cures the active legs. One tablet is enough. It contains a mix of salts, not just table salt. As far as I know they donít have that much table salt. but they do include a mix of salts eg potassium chloride. I once had severe cramp in my calf, but not since Iíve used hydration tablets.

    Dark smelly urine is a sure sign of dehydration. I had that in spades.
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 8th Sep 19, 11:54 PM
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    Nebulous2
    Cyclists often have problems with depletion of salts, as they tend to exercise for prolonged periods. Many of them swear by bananas as a preventative measure. for cramps.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 10th Sep 19, 7:00 AM
    • 3,718 Posts
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    trailingspouse
    Thanks all.



    I've had a few nights without cramps - but then last night it happened again. Darn it.



    But - I'd been to the gym in the morning, and worked in the afternoon, I hadn't had very much to drink at all, hadn't had any extra salt in my food (it's a hard habit to break...), and no tonic water. So I've learnt my lesson!


    Today I will drink more, add a bit of salt to my food, and have a glass of tonic before bed. Oh, and I've already had a banana with my breakfast, Nebulous2, before I read your post!! Fingers crossed for tonight.
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 10th Sep 19, 11:04 AM
    • 34,878 Posts
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    DCFC79
    I get these too, I asked a physio of the cause and was told it could be the change in temperature which I don't believe, they happen at night when its not hot nor cold but mild.
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 10th Sep 19, 11:39 AM
    • 2,671 Posts
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    D_M_E
    As for the steel toecap footwear - is it supplied by yourself or by your employer?

    Have you considered composite toecaps which are as good as the steel ones and weigh less - search for metal free or composite toecap or ask where you buy your protection.

    Friend had severe cramp after a replacement knee operaion and the only thing that cured it was - as said above - quinine tablets from the doc, before that he had been drinking tonic water, 2 or 3 bottles a day, and he said that gave him some relief.
    • Paula Smith
    • By Paula Smith 11th Sep 19, 8:27 AM
    • 65 Posts
    • 112 Thanks
    Paula Smith
    I used to get cramp when doing sport but then started putting salt on my pre-workout meal and the cramp went away. I probably have a fairly low salt diet in general.
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