Q: I am a female, age 35. I have been running since I was 12. As I became older, in and out of shape, I noticed whenever I ran I quickly developed these stupid cramps at the sides of my calves, about four inches above my ankle bone. I thought it was due to uneven pavement, not warming up, weakened muscles, etc. For the past three years I have been in shape, weight lifting, running, cycling, walking, etc. But these stupid cramps won't quit. Doctors say anti-inflammatories, coaches say ice and then heat. Father had me do specific exercises. I want to run. But these stupid cramps just won't stay away, no matter what I have tried and I don't want to live taking pills. The cramps start right away and won't go away until I stop running. When I don't run the cramps never resurface. It's just when I run. One woman told me I just wasn't meant to run and should give it up. It's about the only thing I haven't tried yet. Do you have any advice that I haven't tried yet? Any explanations for why these stupid cramps occur? I really appreciate any information you have for me. I am fed up.
A: Just a shot in the dark, but have you asked anyone about a possible
calcium deficiency? While it might not be applicable to your case, I have
heard leg cramps come up before as a symtom that turned out to be linked
to a calcium deficiency. The problem was dealt successfully with calcium
supplements. While I suspect you may have already asked about it, I would
encourage you to run this by your doctor. Beyond that, I am hesitant to
pursue this question as I am not qualified. My apologies. Good luck.
Further Answer: Just last night I found my answer by searching through web sites under leg cramps. What described my problem to the T was something called Anterior Compartment Syndrome. It is when a muscle, that exists on the outside of the lower leg is over developed, by running. The pain is caused due to the muscle sheath, it's not able to expand any more than it is already. When I start my run I am fine, but in five minutes, when the muscle begins to enlarge the pain starts. It read in the report "running becomes impossible." It also said that once the runner stops, the muscle shrinks back to it's normal size and the pain stops. I was so excited to find this. They said that surgery is often performed where slits are cut into the sheath to allow for the muscle to get larger. They also suggested I see a sports medicine expert who might be able to determine if the problem is being caused by the way in which I run, causing one muscle to become developed more than it should. Until then, I guess its bicycling for me. I want to thank you for your efforts and share with you this information in return. I hope you can pass it on to someone else. It feels good to have a problem identified. Now, no one can say that my legs are weak, or that it's all in my head, or that I just need to take medication for the rest of my active life. There is something I can actually do about it and so therefor I am not helpless. YEAY!!!!!!!!! Now, can you do something about my mother-in-law?
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