Muscle cramps are common and often painful involuntary muscle spasms, which can affect an athlete in many sports, including football. There are a lot of ways to treat muscle spasms, and also many ways to prevent them if you are an athlete. Here are some of the most common ways to prevent and treat the muscle spasms, which every athlete should know about to ensure they are staying safe and healthy while in sports.
Preventing Muscle Cramps
There are several ways you can prevent muscle cramps as an athlete, even though the cause of the cramps are still fairly unknown. The most important way you can prevent muscle cramps is to always stretch and warm up before you participate in sports. You should take some time to stretch for about five minutes after you compete in a sport, which will help gradually decrease the muscle contractions. Stretching the calf muscle is also important to prevent muscle cramps, and can be done by doing simple calf lunges. All you have to do is stand with both feet pointing forward, and then proceed to straighten the right leg out completely, followed by the left leg. You can also prevent muscle cramps by stretching out the hamstring muscle, which is where a lot of athletes feel muscle cramps. Sit down with one leg inward and place one leg straight out with the toes pointed upward, and then stretch out to touch the top of the toes on the straight leg. You should repeat this exercise 10 times with each leg. Muscle cramps can also be prevented by drinking a lot of fluids before, during, and after a sport such as football. One reason why a lot of athletes cramp is because they are lacking fluids, which is why you hear that someone went to the locker room to get an intravenous line.
Treating Muscle Cramps
Athletes are often annoyed by muscle cramps because they generally go away on their own, meaning it might take a minute or a few days. There is no real cure for muscle cramps, but there are things that an athlete can do to help the muscle cramps go away a little faster, and also provide much needed comfort. The most obvious way an athlete can stop the muscle cramp is to just take a break away from the sport that caused the cramp in the first place, which means knowing when to leave the lineup for a while. While you are out of the sport, you should be gently rubbing or massaging the area near where the cramp is occurring, or having someone do it for you. Sometimes a trainer will come by and ask you where you are cramping, and then they will proceed to rub the area and apply firm but gentle pressure, which will help increase blood flow to the cramped muscle.
It is also a good idea for an athlete to treat the muscle cramps by simply stretching the affected area for 10 minutes. For example, if the muscle cramp is in the thigh area, then the affected leg should be stretched out as far as possible for maximum relief. Fluids and sports drinks can also help alleviate the muscle cramps, but it might not be a quick relief for an athlete right in the middle of a game. The best thing that an athlete can do to help the muscle cramp go away is just simple exercise and stretching routines, which can help stop the spasms.
It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if the muscle cramps are severe because this could indicate something more serious, such as a tear or fracture in a ligament or bone. You should wait no more than a few days in between the initial muscle cramp and medical treatment if you notice that the symptoms are getting worse or that treatments you are doing at home are not working. It is important to treat the muscle cramps properly right away so that no lingering problems will persist.