Cramping is a problem in most sports and it is no difference in Tennis at whatever level you play the game at. Find out all about what causes it, and what you can do to treat and prevent it.
Cramping normally occurs in the legs although in tennis it can affect the arms as well.
If you are a member of a good club like Tennis World Chatswood their team of pro’s can give good advice on how to treat and prevent cramp.
What is Cramp?
Cramp is essentially when a muscle spasms but does not then relax. It can cause severe pain and discomfort that can last a couple of seconds or as long as a few minutes. Quite often when cramp occurs and often comes back again.
What Causes It?
Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged time can cause a muscle cramp, in many cases, the cause is unknown.
Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:
- Inadequate blood supply
Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood can cause cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you are exercising, normally if you stop the pain will go away.
- Nerve compression
Compression of the nerves in your spine also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually gets worse the longer you walk.
- Mineral depletion
Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics and medications often prescribed for high blood pressure also can deplete these minerals.
How Do You Prevent Cramp
Ensure you have a proper and thorough warm up and cool down, focus especially on your stretching. Make sure you take enough fluids on board and that your diet is nutritious as well as maintaining a good overall fitness level.
How Do You Treat Cramp
Gently stretch and massage the affected muscles in question to aid the muscle to return to its natural position. Try to contract the muscles that oppose the action of the cramping muscles. For example, contract the hamstrings if the quads are cramping.
Ice sometimes assists in the cramp recurring, and if you increase your fluids especially sports drinks boosted by electrolytes this will help if the cramp has come as a cause of dehydration.
How Long Will Cramp Keep You Off Court
When your muscles are fully relaxed and the pain subsided you can return to court and resume your game. It is never a good idea to play through pain and cramp is a condition can often recur throughout matches.
Anybody that frequently experiences cramp should seek medical advice from a sports physician or a doctor.
Your club will have contact details of professionals such as them, as your club pro or other members who might have experienced such a condition.