MD Podiatrist Discusses Muscle Cramping

“You’re lying in bed, warm, relaxed, finally shedding the tension of your day, drifting off to sleep. Suddenly, quite forcibly, your calf muscle contracts sharply, uncontrollably. An alternate scenario: a soccer player, an hour into an intense match, falls to the ground, dropped by a “charley-horse.” Most athletes have experienced the pain of muscle cramps at some stage during their sporting career. But these are different from the sudden cramping that rouses someone suddenly (and painfully) from their sleep. It turns out there are numerous examples of muscle cramps, the spontaneous, involuntary contraction of a muscle group,” explains Dan Michaels, DPM.
“There are multiple components to the process leading to cramps, including your electrolytes, your hydration levels, and numerous others. Simply having inadequate levels of hydration does not appear to reliably lead to cramping. Some individuals seem to be genetically susceptible to them, current research indicating it is due to the type of collagen in tendons. Along with the critical step of relieving pain from damaged or aged structures, some combination of a precise stretching regimen, strengthening of appropriate muscle groups, and the use of foot supports, has improved the lives of many people,” says Dr. Michaels. Most commonly magnesium and potassium supplements solve this in a day or two.