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10 Tips to Avoid Cramp


Updated January 18, 2006

Over contraction of a muscle often leads to a painful cramp. Sometimes the cause is known, for example over-exertion during athletics, but often there appears no obvious cause. Cramp is associated with muscle exertion, dehydration, heat cramps, some medications and some inflammatory disorders such as polymyositis.

Leg cramps are more common in older people and many people find themselves being woken up at night by cramp. Although very painful, cramp is rarely serious.

How to avoid Cramp

  • When exercising, warm up gently.

  • When warm, stretch muscles gently.

  • Massage the limbs most likely to be affected.

  • Don't get dehydrated - drink plenty of fluids before physical activity.

  • Maintain a balanced diet, appropriate to your lifestyle and activity level.

  • At night, keep bed covers loose. Anything that makes the toes point down can put strain on the leg muscles.

  • Quinine can be useful for night cramps. It is present in tonic water, in low doses.

  • Applying heat to tense or tight muscles can help.

  • Sometimes low sodium can cause cramp.

  • Stay active - innactivity due to prolonged sitting can result in cramp.

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