written by Kerry Gustafson
It's summer. It's getting hot. Whether you are training, racing, or recreating, everyone is going to succumb to muscle cramping at some point.
Are all leg muscle cramps the same? Should we treat them all the same?
There are two different types of leg muscle cramps.
Type 1, or single muscle cramping, is due to electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, and depletion.
Type 2, is skeletal muscle overload and fatigue. It can also could be a deficit in strength or flexibility from a prior injury.
Cramping is often reported following calf or hamstring strains.
Prevent Type II race-associated cramping by: protecting any recent muscle-tendon injury (due to strain or cramps) and allowing time for full regeneration.
Then use stretches and strengthening exercises to improve imbalances in strength, flexibility, and activation of surrounding muscles.
If leg muscle cramping continues to plague your training and races, it's time to seek outside expertise and consult a sports medicine clinician.