What Causes Leg Cramps?

January 28, 2021 2 min read

What Causes Leg Cramps?

During your workout or run, has your calf cramped up forcing you to stop? Even though calf cramping is extremely common among athletes, the exact cause of this phenomenon is still unknown. These cramps can last for just a few seconds, or even as long as 10 minutes! 

What are Calf Cramps?

Calf cramps are painful, involuntary contractions of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles). Although the exact cause of calf cramping has not been determined, there are several potential causes that affect different athletes. These cramps can unfortunately happen at any time: during exercise, or as long as six hours after a workout. Cramps cause the muscle to spasm and obstruct the flow of blood to the muscle making it difficult for oxygen and nutrients to reach the area. Cramping affects 39 percent of marathon runners, 79 percent of triathletes, and 60 percent of cyclists at some point in their lives. 

What are Possible Causes for Calf Cramping?

1. Dehydration
Dehydration from prolonged exercise is believed to cause calf cramps because of reduced blood volume in the muscle. This can be prevented with proper hydration during exercise.

2. Tight Muscles
Tight muscles are contracted and have less blood and nutrients to perform properly. Stretching before and after exercise helps reduce the risk of getting calf cramps during a workout. 

3. Electrolyte Deficiencies
Too little sodium or potassium can cause calf muscles to cramp up. Eating energy gels or drinking an electrolyte beverage during exercise can help bring electrolytes back into the body to avoid calf cramps. 

How Can Zensah Help?

Zensah can help alleviate the pain and frustration of calf cramping with our line of compression products such as the Compression Leg Sleeves, Tech+ Compression Socks, and Ankle/Calf Compression Sleeves. Using these products while running helps reduce calf cramps and lessen fatigue. Graduated compression improves blood circulation in the calf and speeds up the flow of oxygen back to the fatigued area. Micro-ribbing on the back of the leg sleeves provides additional calf support. For athletes who experience calf cramps post-workout, the Ankle/Calf sleeves are a great recovery tool. Additionally, our upcoming product, the Heat Recovery Sock, uses Far Infrared Technology to provide deep and gentle heating directly to the calf muscles promoting faster recovery (Learn more and sign up to be notified when it launches here). 

Even though we haven't uncovered an exact cause for calf cramps, Zensah's compression gear can help!


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