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Avoiding and Treating Muscle Cramps

Avoiding and Treating Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are involuntary muscle contractions which can be extremely painful when they occur during a soccer match. When you have a muscle cramp in your lower body you may not be able to walk and will probably have to lay down on the field in agony. So why does this happen? Well it may be due to several factors; your body could be lacking in Sodium, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, or some other mineral in your muscles. This is usually due to dehydration or poor nutrition. You could also suffer from cramps because your socks or shin guards are too tight. This may decrease blood flow to your calves, which in turn might cause cramps in your muscles. The muscles that are cramped most often in soccer are your quadriceps, hamstrings, or calves.

How to avoid muscle cramps

  • Maintain a well balanced diet
  • Take a multi-vitamin everyday
  • Drink 16 oz of water 30 minutes prior to your match
  • Drink 10 oz of water 10 minutes prior to your match
  • Drink every chance you get during the match (i.e., Injury time)
  • Loosen your socks or shin guards during half time
  • Develop and maintain a lower body stretching program

How to treat muscle cramps

  • Stretch the muscle that is cramping
  • Massage the cramped muscle
  • Drink fluids

Once your cramps have subsided you may be able to keep playing. However, every chance you have be sure you are stretching the muscles you are having problems with. You can do this during substitutions, goals, or other stop ball situations.
Creatine may also increase the chances of you having muscle cramps; this is particularly true later in your match. To avoid this you may not want to use this supplement during your season.