Shutterfly
Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 6:20AM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
The last few mornings I've gotten horrible calf cramps while lying in bed and stretching upon waking up. They're so bad that I walk around the rest of the day with a strained calf muscle.

I haven't experienced these kinds of cramps in years, but I recently started watching what I eat (basically just cut out the crap food and now eating healthy-whole grains, lean protein, fruits/veg- attempting to lean out a bit for fall racing) and I suspect that has something to do with it. However, I don't see that I could be deficient in any mineral because I've been eating a very, very healthy, nutritious diet. I'm taking calcium supplements and a multivitamin, and eating 5-9 fruits/veggies a day.

Any experience/advice with this?

I'm afraid I'll get a cramp so bad that it does some serious damage. Also afraid that its a mineral deficiency that may have other consequences besides calf cramps. It would be a really stupid way to get injured and don't want to get sick in some other way.
Non-college
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 7:22AM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Isn't it postassium shortage? I know when I have this problem I just add a banana to my diet each day and it goes away.
Flagpole
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 7:39AM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Shutterfly wrote:

The last few mornings I've gotten horrible calf cramps while lying in bed and stretching upon waking up. They're so bad that I walk around the rest of the day with a strained calf muscle.

I haven't experienced these kinds of cramps in years, but I recently started watching what I eat (basically just cut out the crap food and now eating healthy-whole grains, lean protein, fruits/veg- attempting to lean out a bit for fall racing) and I suspect that has something to do with it. However, I don't see that I could be deficient in any mineral because I've been eating a very, very healthy, nutritious diet. I'm taking calcium supplements and a multivitamin, and eating 5-9 fruits/veggies a day.

Any experience/advice with this?

I'm afraid I'll get a cramp so bad that it does some serious damage. Also afraid that its a mineral deficiency that may have other consequences besides calf cramps. It would be a really stupid way to get injured and don't want to get sick in some other way.


Calf problems like that are very typical for men as we get older. I was awakened by just such a calf spasm for the first time about a month ago. I've had ongoing calf problems that have affected my running for about 10-12 years now. I find that the best stretches of time I have without pain is when I do the following...

Make sure to keep potassium levels up
Make sure to stay properly hydrated
Daily stretching of calves, mostly being concerned with toes pointed UP instead of down (so, stand on a step and drop the heel DOWN...don't raise up on your toes)
Proper sleep (7+ hours at least every night

For people who have never had a cramp such as these, they are no joke, and can sideline you for a week or more. The first time I got one I was in the midst of a short run, and it hit within a mile of the finish. I foolishly limped (continued to try to run) home instead of walking. I then had a limp for several days and could not run for almost two weeks. I've since had a cramp come up and bit me a few times while running and now I stop and walk the rest of the way immediately.
Mr. Obvious
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 7:43AM - in reply to Flagpole Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've had these periodically. First time was on a cool-down run and I dropped like I had been shot. The middle of the night or early morning ones are bad. Sometimes it takes several days to loosen up, too.

My tips:

Stay hydrated
Eat Bananas
I use the foam roller on mine.
riley stops
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 7:51AM - in reply to Mr. Obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Whenever I cramp in my legs at night I know I am dehydrated.
Brown Shoes
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 7:53AM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Shutterfly.

You are going to think I am crazy, but try this...

Put a bar of soap under the mattress cover in your bed, around the area where your legs rest at night. Just something normal, like Lever 2000 or Irish spring. This will stop all of your cramps, at least while in bed.


Report back.

I am not kidding.

Of course this is not a cure for the actual cause, but while you try to find the cause, do this.
sweet
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 11:01AM - in reply to Mr. Obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Captain Spalding
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 11:07AM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Shutterfly wrote:

The last few mornings I've gotten horrible calf cramps while lying in bed and stretching upon waking up.


If stretching right after you wake up makes your calves cramp, don't stretch them then. Give you muscles time to move around and relax before stretching them.
Coach D
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 11:24AM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Cramps of various kinds are often caused by dehydration. Look into your hydration.
runcool
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 11:53AM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Have your boyfriend massage your legs while you sleep.
Shutterfly
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 9/16/2009 1:37PM - in reply to Coach D Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks for all the good advice, guys. I do eat 2-3 bananas a day so I thought I had potassium covered.. its entirely possible my hydration sucks though because I hardly ever pee throughout the day. I'll definitely work on that.

thanks again
Shoebacca
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 3:46PM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm bumping a thread that's been buried for a while, but I think it's a common problem. All of the ideas above are great, but I just learned a new one from a massage therapist and it makes a lot of sense.

Typically, the calf cramp is a result of constant plantarflexion when running (pointing toes down at push off) and not enough dorsiflexion. The muscles get so over-worked doing that motion and never really stretch the other way. I found I used to get them in the morning and, shockingly, they were most directly related to when I thought I was actually stretching to help it. Stretching by plantarflexing your feet in the morning just constricts your calf muscles. What you actually want to do is dorsiflex at your ankles. Stretches where you raise your toes instead of lowering them will be best for avoiding calf cramps.
2slow4lane1
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 5:50PM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Nighttime calf cramps is a symptom of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Be sure to research other symptoms if you have relatives with autoimmune disorders. Let me know if you need more insight.
i feel your pain
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 6:25PM - in reply to 2slow4lane1 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
What has worked for me:
- Daily banana. Must have my daily banana.
- Warm water epsom salt foot soaks. A massage therapist recommended this when even the bananas were failing, and it seems to work. Magnesium, or so he said.
- Don't go to sleep dehydrated.

For a quick fix, ask your pharmacist for oral rehydration salts. If those help, you know the problem is a lack of some salts.

Good luck. Cramps suck, but this is definitely manageable/curable.

I know someone with Hashimoto's. Definitely have that checked out.
armchair coach
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 6:30PM - in reply to i feel your pain Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Magnesium supplement and lots of water.
hoprun
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 7:12PM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Some great advice so far. If you don't get any relief you might want to get your iron levels checked, though you'd probably have more symptoms than calf cramps if you were deficient. When I was very anemic it would take me 5 minutes to get out of bed because my calves were so cramped.
towhee
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 7:35PM - in reply to hoprun Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I read somewhere that cramps can be related to a lack of oxygen as well as electrolyte deficiency. So when you feel one coming on, take some deep breaths. Believe it or not, it has worked for me.

I've had the exact same morning cramps in bed when I first wake up and almost involuntarily stretch. If it's really bad, it can cause a muscle strain that you feel for a day or 2. The deep breaths have saved me from that.

Also I find that it happens when I'm trying to ramp up some aspect of training. It goes away as time goes on and I grow used to the new level.
Dr. Perfecto
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 7:49PM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
99% of the time calf cramping like this has NOTHING to do with mineral deficiency. Your calf muscle has just gotten to big for the sheath around it. A few times a day, whether sitting or laying there flex your foot so your toes go up, pretend like you are flexing it towards your kneecap. You will stretch out that sheath and won't have many more problems.

I've seen grown men say they have literally been screaming at 4am and crying because of these kind of calf cramps.
sameproblem
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 8:01PM - in reply to Dr. Perfecto Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
if i don't drink enough water i get calf cramps, and especially during sex.
Torrance Community Dance Group
RE: Morning Calf Cramps in Bed 11/16/2010 10:52PM - in reply to Shutterfly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Guys, dealt with calve cramps since about age 37, very severely the last 2 years until I bought some compression sleeves for my calves. Miracle.

I don't even wear them running, just after hard workouts after I cool down and shower they go on for the rest of the day and usually overnight. I trained for NYC and did not get one cramp at all since making this change. At times when I am cold, dehydrated and can feel my body tightening up after say a 20 miler, I can even feel my calves about to twinge and cramp, but it does not happen as long as the sleeves are there to apply a little pressure and keep the pressure there. At one point I even got the full compartment syndrome testing and was considering if I would have to quit running...this changed my life, please try it.