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Fairly often, I get cramps that are really painful. I've noticed that there seem to be 2 different varieties of these cramps.

  • Random Foot Cramps - these are just cramps that I get in either of my foot in the arch or near the balls of my toes that just happen at random times. Most of the time to alleviate them, I just walk around for a while and it will go away, but I usually have to take my shoes off

  • Not so random other muscle cramps - these ones make a bit more sense. Basically if I hold some kind of pose for a while (say, a stretch, or the finish position of a crunch) then whatever muscle is involved will start to cramp up and i'll have to snap back to my normal standing or lying position to make the pain stop.

What could be causing these cramps? Could it be that I'm too inflexible to be doing some of these movements? Or maybe I'm lacking some kind of nutrient in my diet? (Diet info: I'm "paleo" so I eat a ton of chicken and beef, and also a sizable quantity of vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes, and carrots) Or maybe this is just a normal thing and I'm just being a baby?

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are you taking any creatine? –  kjy112 Apr 19 '11 at 17:42
    
@kjy112 no, i'm not –  Phil Quinn Apr 20 '11 at 15:24
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Most of the time, cramps come from electrolyte imbalance, and can be treated drinking more water and/or taking in more potassium, sodium, calcium, and/or magnesium. From your examples of cramps, I have always had the second type of cramping you mention, and no diet or nutrition changes have ever effected it in any way.

Hyperthyroidism is also a known cause for muscle cramps. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. Using iodized salt can help regulate the amount of iodine in your diet as well.

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+1 for the link...but you meant Hypothyroidism...Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. –  CarolinaJay65 Oct 6 '11 at 19:38
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Just a suggestion, but try more potassium in your diet (found in, among other things, bananas and radishes). It works for me quite nicely!

BUT be weary soliciting medical advice: if it persists consult a physician, because it could be symptomatic of another condition.

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I'm not sure I can remark on the impact of cramps with your diet but I know for a fact that at least a 10 minute warm-up before and after workout out has always helped me.

I learned this from doing it routine in p90x. I would do different warm-up exercises based on what you're working out (shoulders & arms, cardio, legs, quads, etc...) For example, If i'm doing shoulders & arms I usually do a lot of neck stretches as well.

Also, if you're not as flexible as you would like to be, try some Yoga. There are even the most basic exercises on YouTube and you can skip the whole spirtual thing and just take away the stretching if that's not your thing.

If you're not working out, try doing some basic stretching in the morning. It may sound a little odd, but I try to expand my reach to my toes every morning. It's a great way to prepare your body and gives me as much energy as a shot of espresso.

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Cramping, especially at night, can be a response to low calcium. There is a side symptom that shows low calcium, it's called crazy legs. Your legs don't want to stop moving. If you have both, increase your calcium.

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