Whether from exertion in the heat or a night time charley horse, cramps are no fun at all. Just the other night, I was nearly crippled by a nasty cramp in my ankle that seriously threatened my ability to walk and drive. Luckily, I knew what to do and the painful spasm was cleared in just a minute or two. You can do the same!
Stretch your legs before bed and/or lightly massage them.
Don’t tense your muscles or point your toes in bed.
Supplement with calcium – tablet style antacids like Tums work great for this.
Eat enough potassium. A banana is easily absorbed and cheap too.
Magnesium is also said to help. This can be found in nuts as well as other places.
Drink enough water, especially if you’ve been exercising in the heat.
When the cramp first hits, flex your foot if it’s in the leg. If it’s somewhere else, relieve the tension on it and try to work the muscle around. Massage the muscle.
Stand on the foot if possible, but take it easy – you don’t want to strain your muscle.
Stretch the muscles gently. The pain will go away eventually – breathe through it.
Drink some potassium bearing substance right away.
Gatorade, Powerade, Pedialyte, or any generic sports drink.
Coconut water is also great for potassium replenishment.
The Ultimate Cramp Fix
This last remedy deserves a section of its own. It might sound strange but it really, actually works. When I have a very nasty cramp, I drink a couple ounces of pickle juice and the cramp is usually completely gone within just a couple of minutes. If you don’t have juice, eat a couple of plain dill pickles. This is actually science based. Even for stubborn cramps, this remedy works faster than anything else.