Sport, Sport Injuries

Running Cramp The Mystery

running cramp

Picture the scene; you’re out running (again!) It’s a fine, warm and bright spring evening and you have been pounding the beat for about 20 minutes. You’re in your stride, found your form, breathing like a racehorse and bounding like an antelope (well that’s how I imagine myself, while in fact I look like a flailing giraffe with a lazy left ankle struggling for my last breath of oxygen, but that’s besides the point) when it strikes.

The first sign of cramp, a twitch, a thought, a cascade of conscious and subconscious flickers followed by a grab, a limp and an internal scream as the almighty pain takes hold. You know it, I know it, it’s all too familiar, but where does it come from.

Well this is one area science has not neglected and for years we have been fed and continue to pass on the urban myth that cramping was caused dehydration, loss of sodium and of course potassium depletion. Queue the annoying runner that passes you, banana in one hand camel pack on the back and salt tablets falling out their pocket.

However recent research has suggested that this is all a pile of cods wallop! Kevin C. Miller of North Dakota State University suggests after lengthy investigation that cramp is caused by muscular exhaustion. This biochemical cascade results in muscles misfiring. While this all happens smaller nerves that prevent the larger fibres from over contracting malfunction resulting in muscles bunching up when they should be relaxing, hence the cramp.

Alas all is not lost, his research went on to show through further trials and many cramps later that there just might be some relief, dare I say cure or rather a silver bullet for such an occasion. This comes in the form of 75ml of pickle juice…hold the phone…what did you say, pickle juice. Yes my good runners pickle juice strained from a jar of Dill pickles.

Cramp was relieved after 85 seconds in victims (I mean volunteers) while relieving cramp 45 % faster than drinking no fluids and 37% faster than water (in your face camel pack dude). How we still don’t know, something in the acid, a certain molecule, we are still to find out.

So the next time you see a fellow runner passing you bye, look, observe and take stock, is that a pickle in their pocket or are they just happy to be running cramp free!

For more information about running cramp or any sport injuries, visit our main website here

Or you can call Kinesis Clinic directly at 01483 504314

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