How can I avoid muscle spasms in my hamstrings and legs?

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    May 15, 2014 4:15 AM GMT
    I got back from running this afternoon, and sat down for a few minutes. I felt perfectly fine from my run and I know I haven't been over training. When I stood up, my hamstring clenched up searing in pain - now it feels like it will take a few days to recover and heal. It seems stupid that all I did was just stand up and now I feel injured...icon_sad.gif

    I've been eating my usual healthy food with enough salt...Does this happen to anyone else often?

    I've been having a muscle spasm in my thighs and hamstrings off and on every few weeks to a month.

    Anyone else have experience with this? Any advice?
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    May 15, 2014 6:27 AM GMT
    I was getting cramps in my calves but they've stopped occurring. I was thinking potassium, not salt. Try eating foods high in potassium.

    Muscle cramps and potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/l34lezh

    Foods high in potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/lh26q9h

    I have a banana every day with my evening bran mush and on run days I use one in my pre-run smoothie, so 2 on those days (MWF).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 15, 2014 7:02 AM GMT
    Eep maybe more stretching

    Your muscles may have contracted due to exertion and when you stood up maybe they were still contracted..

    Like a person becoming musclebound

    I dunno, not my area of expertise but, musclebound seems to resonate with injury description... sometimes my muscles spasm from exertion all the micro fibrous tearing

    Lactic acid fermentation is not dependent as much re what you eat so....?

    Anyway sorry, maybe more people will chime to this.
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    May 15, 2014 12:59 PM GMT

    My fore arms hurts the same...

    *noted on what A. said

    "eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables and also to make sure that I including potassium and magnesium rich foods."
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    May 15, 2014 3:14 PM GMT
    Thanks for the advice.

    I haven't been eating any bananas recently. It is possibly my potassium is low. One thing I noticed, is that I often don't replace my electrolytes directly afterwards. Sometimes I will wait an hour or so until I am cleaned up before doing that. I should change that as well.
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    May 15, 2014 6:15 PM GMT
    My aunt is on blood thinning meds and as per her doctor's advice has reduced her sodium. She was so successful about reducing her sodium intake that her sodium became dangerously low and she was collapsing. She didn't realize it was her sodium level that was causing it but when she was in the emergency room they did a blood test and were very concerned about her sodium level being extremely low. The ER doctor recommended that she drink Gatorade regularly, which she does now.

    Check the label; it may have the other minerals that you need.
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    May 16, 2014 4:09 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI wanted to chime in again stating that bananas are not the best foods for potassium content. Here is a list of ten foods that are recommended for increasing potassium levels. They're listed in the order of highest to lowest and bananas come in at number ten, signifying that they have the lowest levels of potassium. White beans come in at the top of the list and even salmon, baked squash and baked potatoes have more potassium than bananas.

    Remember, you don't have to eat bananas straight after a workout after you've been sweating. You can also build up healthy levels of potassium by eating potassium rich foods throughout the day. Bananas are easy since they require no preparation/cooking but other food sources arr far better. Overall, it's marketing hype from the agricultural industry to sell a food that's basically sugar.

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-potassium.php


    Thanks for the info. I will try out several of the foods on the list. I suppose baked potatoes will be a plus since I could use the carbs for running.
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    May 16, 2014 7:47 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI wanted to chime in again stating that bananas are not the best foods for potassium content.

    I would rather eat a banana instead of a cup of cooked white beans. icon_twisted.gif
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    May 19, 2014 1:26 PM GMT
    I have found some positive results to taking magnesium. Mainly for muscle soreness and cramps. Don't know if it will affect spasms.
  • fitartistsf

    Posts: 638

    May 19, 2014 7:29 PM GMT
    How much water are you drinking per day?
    Being well hydrated is also recommended against cramping, or getting a "charlie-horse"...
    To be well and truly hydrated, you should be drinking at least a liter per day over the course of approximately 12 hours per day.
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    May 20, 2014 1:15 AM GMT
    crazyrunnerguy saidI got back from running this afternoon, and sat down for a few minutes. I felt perfectly fine from my run and I know I haven't been over training. When I stood up, my hamstring clenched up searing in pain - now it feels like it will take a few days to recover and heal. It seems stupid that all I did was just stand up and now I feel injured...icon_sad.gif

    I've been eating my usual healthy food with enough salt...Does this happen to anyone else often?

    I've been having a muscle spasm in my thighs and hamstrings off and on every few weeks to a month.

    Anyone else have experience with this? Any advice?


    Most skeletal muscle spasms come from having low sodium. Contrary to popular belief, it's very rarely potassium that causes spasms. That's why you see sports drinks with sodium, and, in the old days, salt pills at athletic events.

    If you drink lots of water; don't each much junk food / processed food; sweat a lot, your sodium will go low. I've had it happen several times, and have the blood work to prove it.

    In general, (and this is another popular myth), you should let thirst be your guide on your water. Too much water throws your electrolytes out of balance, but, too little makes it hard to stay cool, and your heart rate comes way up to compensate for low blood volume.

    Potassium causes the muscle to stop motion, FYI. That's why it's used for lethal injections, and on pump cardiac surgery. It stops the muscle dead in its tracks.

    If you'd like to understand this more fully, research the role of sodium in the cellular pump, and skeletal muscle contraction.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    May 20, 2014 2:03 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidI was getting cramps in my calves but they've stopped occurring. I was thinking potassium, not salt. Try eating foods high in potassium.

    Muscle cramps and potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/l34lezh

    Foods high in potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/lh26q9h

    I have a banana every day with my evening bran mush and on run days I use one in my pre-run smoothie, so 2 on those days (MWF).


    Bananas? Don't you realize that they contain potassium 40 and that K40 is radioactive?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 20, 2014 2:18 AM GMT
    FRE0 said
    Lumpyoatmeal saidI was getting cramps in my calves but they've stopped occurring. I was thinking potassium, not salt. Try eating foods high in potassium.

    Muscle cramps and potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/l34lezh

    Foods high in potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/lh26q9h

    I have a banana every day with my evening bran mush and on run days I use one in my pre-run smoothie, so 2 on those days (MWF).

    Bananas? Don't you realize that they contain potassium 40 and that K40 is radioactive?

    Things are looking pretty ugly with global warming and the dumbing down of society. I hope to be dead before it gets a lot worse.
  • DarkWoods

    Posts: 91

    May 20, 2014 9:09 AM GMT
    Whenever my knees give me pain I chip away at them with an ice pick.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 20, 2014 10:02 PM GMT
    Weed icon_cool.gif


    Or take Glutamine (With increased protein intake)
  • Beeftastic

    Posts: 1747

    May 22, 2014 9:40 PM GMT
    I don't know why but when I eat bananas I get muscle spasms in my legs and especially my foot's arch. I tend to get spasms in my foot, but bananas seem to trigger them. I am sure I get plenty of potassium in my diet anyways.
  • tango02

    Posts: 71

    May 22, 2014 11:42 PM GMT
    Have you injured that part of your body at some point in the past? If so you may have nerve damage because muscle spasms are a definite sign.
  • Beeftastic

    Posts: 1747

    May 23, 2014 3:31 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    Beeftastic saidI don't know why but when I eat bananas I get muscle spasms in my legs and especially my foot's arch. I tend to get spasms in my foot, but bananas seem to trigger them. I am sure I get plenty of potassium in my diet anyways.


    Does this happen at night while in bed?


    Not often, it's usually daytime and it's usually during low impact walking or some such. A lot of time my arch cramp is triggered by a full body stretch for some reason. You know the kind you do when you've been sitting in a chair for while and you stretch out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2014 2:48 AM GMT
    It used to happen to me often, usually at night, and always on leg day, until I made spinach and beans as a staple to my diet.

    In increasing order of culprit-liklihood:

    Sodium, but since most people routinely get enough salt, it's probably not sodium.

    Calcium, but probably not since you're a guy and I assume you get leafy greens and/or milk (and you can supplement it easily with foods, just be sure you have foods that contain vitamin D at the same time).

    Magnesium is about 20%DV in common "one-a-day" vitamins, and it's pretty prevalent in food (quick sources: almonds and spinach).

    Potassium is your most likely culprit - and it's also used (like sodium) in producing sweat, though to a lesser degree.

    Potassium, like Magnesium, is readily available in foods (even for vegans). It is not typically found in multivitamins (except as a token <5%DV amount) since overdosing on it would be bad - and getting it from food sources means your body is very unlikely to acquire an overdose.

    Bananas, vilified above for containing sugar, are a good source of potassium since people can typically eat two bananas (~25%DV) without it feeling like "work." The same cannot be said of 5 cups of raw spinach or 1 cup of cooked white beans. Bananas also contain soluble fibre, which is beneficial to gay men for a totally different reason.

    Since you're running, the carbs in a banana are not likely going to scare you. If they do, beans give you fewer carbs and more soluble and insoluble fibre.

    Beans are a no-brainer addition to any salad to increase trace minerals, fiber, and add some protein.

    Here's hoping your cramps are taken care of by dark leafy greens, beans, or bananas... (and you don't have to eat them immediately after exercise).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2014 3:04 AM GMT
    The times when I personally have this problem, I'm not hydrating enough.
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    May 26, 2014 6:26 AM GMT
    Like others have said, possibly an electrolyte imbalance. It couod be sodium, but it could also be potassium, as we get a lot of Na in our diets already. Unless your training super hard and sweating like a mofo and drinking water like there's no tomorrow, then it's probably K. And it isn't really a myth that potassium deficiency (or hypokalemia) may contribute to muscle spasm. Essentially, potassium is necessary to help return the membrane to resting state, or repolarize the nerve membrane (contains the Na-K channels that help propagate the action potentials, or nerve signal, K is actually the key regulator of this resting membrane potential). Insufficient K then increases the duration of the action potential and the duration of the refractory period (amount of time for a membrane to become excitable again). This can lead to hyperexcitable nerves feeding into the muscles telling them to keep contracting.

    Less likely are low calcium and magnesium levels. K is easily absorbed by the body, but is poorly stored, which is why dietary intake is important. And ensure you're getting enough agua well before your run, not just gulping a bottle down 30s before you jet off!

    And I doubt it's the result of suddenly starting up an intense training regimen because your UN has runner in it. Lol
  • mybud

    Posts: 11837

    Jun 08, 2014 6:21 AM GMT
    I found the answer to be water.I run at least 35 miles a week, and if spasms strike I think dehydration. You may feel you're getting enough water but the reality you're not.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Jun 08, 2014 7:39 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    FRE0 said
    Lumpyoatmeal saidI was getting cramps in my calves but they've stopped occurring. I was thinking potassium, not salt. Try eating foods high in potassium.

    Muscle cramps and potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/l34lezh

    Foods high in potassium search:

    http://tinyurl.com/lh26q9h

    I have a banana every day with my evening bran mush and on run days I use one in my pre-run smoothie, so 2 on those days (MWF).

    Bananas? Don't you realize that they contain potassium 40 and that K40 is radioactive?

    Things are looking pretty ugly with global warming and the dumbing down of society. I hope to be dead before it gets a lot worse.


    Actually, I wouldn't worry about the small amount of K40 in bananas. I just used the opportunity to point out that concern about radiation can be carried too far. We cannot escape it; it's part of nature. Below a certain level it does no harm.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Jun 08, 2014 7:51 AM GMT
    I'd say that the muscle spasms are idiopathic. There are any number of possible causes. Sometimes experimentation is indicated to find a solution.

    Perhaps you ran considerably farther than accustomed; that could cause the problem. It could be an electrolyte imbalance or insufficient hydration. Perhaps it will never again occur and you will never know for sure what caused it. The human body is fairly flexible and somehow is able to adjust to less than ideal situations.

    Before running long distances in hot weather, pre-hydration is important. However, if you run too soon after drinking more than one glass of water, you may have trouble keeping it down and the water may temporarily noticeably reduce your lung capacity. The digestive system can absorb water only at a limited rate.
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    Aug 18, 2014 2:38 PM GMT
    For whatever reason, my muscles tend to get really tight after I exercise and occasionally seize up. Of course hydration and electrolyte balance are important considerations. I now use a foam roller almost daily after my workouts. Excellent results!