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  #1  
Old 06-30-2004, 12:17 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Can a cramp cause any serious damage

i sometimes get calf cramps when i'm asleep. I got 2 last night, they weren't horribly bad, but still bad. Today my right calf hurts a little bit. When i get them the gastrocnemius muscle flexes and my foot points downward for about 15 seconds.

Is it possible for cramps to be so common and/or such a strong contraction that ligaments or muscles can get torn?
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2004, 12:43 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
Is it possible for cramps to be so common and/or such a strong contraction that ligaments or muscles can get torn?
Yup. But it's pretty uncommon. Most likely the muscle will be sore and inflamed for a time after a severe cramp.

Seizures can rupture tendons and break bones all by muscle contraction. But what happens there is that muscles that don't ordinarily contract at the same time suddenly do, both pushing and pulling on structures at the same time. It's this additional force that raises the risk of bone, ligament, and tendon injury.the most.

And let's not forget Tetany, the reason we get tetanus shots. Here's a nice graphic (work safe) of a Tetany sufferer.
Tetanus
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Old 06-30-2004, 12:57 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Luckily I had a tetanus booster about 3 years ago.

Its only the gastrocnemius muscle, its usually not that muscle and the front muscle contracting at the same time or anything. I don't think i've ever had that happen.
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Old 07-02-2004, 08:42 PM
YWalker YWalker is offline
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I've had those before. It feels almost as if someone had reached inside your leg and tied your muscle into a knot.

When they happen while sleeping, I usually get a half-second or so warning where I wake up, and know that it's starting to happen. The feeling is absolutely unmistakeable.

As soon as you're aware it's happening, flex your toes upward, and hold your foot in a tight flex until you feel the cramp subsiding. It doesn't prevent the pain entirely, but it keeps it from advancing to the knot-tying stage. Sometimes you may feel it coming back, but you just need to flex your foot and hold it again until it goes away.

IIRC, dehydration is a common cause. Low levels of calcium, magnesium, and/or potassium can also help bring it on. My most common trigger was pregnancy.
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Old 07-02-2004, 10:12 PM
USCDiver USCDiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Yup. But it's pretty uncommon. Most likely the muscle will be sore and inflamed for a time after a severe cramp.

Seizures can rupture tendons and break bones all by muscle contraction. But what happens there is that muscles that don't ordinarily contract at the same time suddenly do, both pushing and pulling on structures at the same time. It's this additional force that raises the risk of bone, ligament, and tendon injury.the most.

And let's not forget Tetany, the reason we get tetanus shots. Here's a nice graphic (work safe) of a Tetany sufferer.
Tetanus
QtM, the only thing I can think of, besides a full blown seizure, that could result from a severe cramp would be a bit of rhabdomyolysis affecting the kidneys. Otherwise it seems overall harmless.
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Old 07-02-2004, 11:09 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCDiver
QtM, the only thing I can think of, besides a full blown seizure, that could result from a severe cramp would be a bit of rhabdomyolysis affecting the kidneys. Otherwise it seems overall harmless.
My implication wasn't that cramps caused seizures; rather that a seizure could cause dangerous muscle spasms. Tetanus also causes dangerous, and frequently fatal muscle spasms. One can also see muscle spasms in cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries. There are certainly health implications to both such conditions and the persistant muscle spasms they may cause.

Otherwise you are correct: 99.999+% of muscle cramps ae neither health nor life threatening. Tho they may present a hazard if they occur while driving, or during an intimate moment. Cries of pain from muscle cramps may on occasion be mistaken for cries of passionate release by one's partner or worse, by one's partner's father.
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Old 07-03-2004, 11:55 PM
Bambi Hassenpfeffer Bambi Hassenpfeffer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YWalker
My most common trigger was pregnancy.
How common were your pregnancies?
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2004, 01:08 AM
Tikki Tikki is offline
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I had a charley horse so bad one time that I had to get out of bed, stand and bend over at the waist for a while to make it stop. May Dad often has to walk his off.

In the last year or so I found that I can intentionally cramp up my right calf. Doing as YWalker discribed makes it and unintentional ones stop.
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  #9  
Old 07-04-2004, 01:24 AM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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Get plenty of calcium and magnesium, as already noted; and drink tonic water before you hit the sack. The quinine is great for settling down those muscles.

On a more serious note: my elderly mom fell in May and didn't break anything but had pulled the ligaments in her neck, shoulder, etc. A few weeks later I had to call an ambulance because the tightened, tense muscles in her neck had built up so much lactic acid from not being used that they went into a terrible spasm. (This is what her physical therapist deduced.) She couldn't move or even get her regular clothes on for the trip to the ER. So this is a rather extreme example, but it does happen.
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