Q&A: Cramping in Calves
Q: The calves of both legs cramp if I play more than two hard sets of tennis. I always stretch prior to the match, eat bananas, stay hydrated, and take potassium tablets daily. What do you recommend?
A: Cramping is a sensation that can occur for many different reasons, including poor nutrition or hydration. Another cause is intense overuse of the calf muscles in activities such as running, jumping or cutting. Athletes become "plantar flexion dominant," meaning overly reliant on pushing with their calf muscles instead of driving through their hips, where they use their larger glutes and other muscles as opposed to the smaller calf muscles.
This results in very sore and fatigued calf muscles that essentially become strained. Try strengthening your glutes and working on pillar strength. To further assess and correct for any compensatory movement patterns, you should be evaluated by a licensed health-care professional who may then establish an appropriate treatment plan.
About The Author
Craig Friedman – Craig Friedman is the Vice President of the Performance Innovation Team at Athletes' Performance. He designs and implements performance training systems for professional athletes in all sports as well as elite youth and college athletes.