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Thread: Cramps??

  1. #1
    millergear's Avatar
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    Cramps??

    I've been prone to leg (thigh) cramps since I started hammocking in the early 90's. They hit when I draw my leg up to change position or to get out. The 1st was excruciating, stuck in a Hennessy where I HAD to bend my leg to get out the bottom, making it even worse. Must have looked very comical, flopping put onto the ground, sliding down hill while moaning in pain till I got upright, then standing touching my toes in my skivvies!!

    It's easier to manage getting out in a side entry. Then I basically stay touching my toes till it subsides, about 10 minutes today.

    I'm not sure it's actually hammock related, or just due to hiking (since I haven't been a ground dweller in 20 years). Anyone else experience this? If it is hammock related am I screwed? Have to become a low life ground dweller? Or are there options to avoid getting the cramps?
    "My name is Millergear and I'm a Gearaholic!"

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    Acer's Avatar
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    Most of the times leg cramps are caused by lack of potassium..eat banana's before you go or carry lots of dried banana chips..watermellon is full of potassium or go to health store and get some potassium tablets. Check out other foods with potassium in it.

    http://www.algaecal.com/potassium-rich-foods.html

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    Senior Member Shnick's Avatar
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    Someone else a few days ago had asked about toe cramps, I'd venture to say that if someone isn't accustomed to hammocking, their muscles could cramp up, especially after a long hike up and down hills and such.

    I'd hold short of associating hammocking with your cramps, although you may want to try a little stretch after the hike to loosen up those joints/ligaments.
    With any workout, your body's adjustment will just take a little time.

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    Senior Member ernesthemmingway's Avatar
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    I have heard some people lay the blame for leg cramps on the 'calf pressure", or that line of tension that sometimes forms under your lower leg when you lay diagonally in a gathered end hammock. I dont really have a solution to that, nor have I experienced it myself, but I have heard about it.
    with two m's, like "hammock."

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    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    I used to get cramps in my knees and lots of stiffness in my knees when I first started using a hammock and it would be painful to bend my knees when I first woke up. I'd also wake up throughout the night very uncomfortable and have to continually stretch and bend my legs. Then I read somewhere on here (no clue where the thread is or what the name of it is) but it suggested that putting something under your knees so they bend and not hyper flex helps. I started putting my extra clothing in a stuff sack underneath my knees so they would bend where the ridge in the hammock formed. This has really helped from preventing cramps in my legs or from my knees stiffening up.
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

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    millergear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazy river road View Post
    I used to get cramps in my knees and lots of stiffness in my knees when I first started using a hammock and it would be painful to bend my knees when I first woke up. I'd also wake up throughout the night very uncomfortable and have to continually stretch and bend my legs. Then I read somewhere on here (no clue where the thread is or what the name of it is) but it suggested that putting something under your knees so they bend and not hyper flex helps. I started putting my extra clothing in a stuff sack underneath my knees so they would bend where the ridge in the hammock formed. This has really helped from preventing cramps in my legs or from my knees stiffening up.
    I heard about the knee thing but wasn't sure if it was to be under both knees, or between the knees. Tried it under both ways and it wasn't at all comfortable. Tried it between the knees, and got a bad cramp.

    I'll give the potassium idea a try, seems to have considerable merit.
    "My name is Millergear and I'm a Gearaholic!"

  7. #7
    Acer's Avatar
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    I get leg cramps from working on different kinds of concrete..buildings I work in to set trade shows as I walk at a fast pace all over the shows shouting orders and seeing that everything gets set...each building,,the concrete is different and wears on your body by the 2nd day,,by day 4 or 5 your used to it,,I have to maintain my potassium levels to keep from getting leg cramps as the shock on the body makes your body use potassium as you hike and work out. drinking gatoraid for example will help alittle.. If you are not used to hiking wearing a load,,or work into it,,you will develop leg cramps from the hotness you put your body muscles thru...the heat of your body burns it up..stoke up before you hike. or hang..

    If your just hanging and not hiking,,,then I would say your putting your legs in somekind of a bind and maybe need to do as the guys are telling you..stick something under the knees as you might unknowingly be shutting your blood flow off by either too straight of legs or having the weight of one on the other. experiment. Do you have a diet of fruit and the high potassium foods that were in that list? check it out and diagnose what your eating. Its worth a look.
    Last edited by Acer; 04-14-2012 at 20:02.

  8. #8
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millergear View Post
    I heard about the knee thing but wasn't sure if it was to be under both knees, or between the knees. Tried it under both ways and it wasn't at all comfortable. Tried it between the knees, and got a bad cramp.

    I'll give the potassium idea a try, seems to have considerable merit.
    AAHH sorry to hear that, I generally put something underneath both my knees. But yes potassium and lots of fluids will help, stretch before you go to sleep and when you wake up. Good luck on your quest for comfynes.
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

  9. #9
    Acer's Avatar
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    I find for me..cold packs on the area I am having a leg or thigh cramp works best to get rid of the friggin things, as normally when I get one in one leg,,I get it in the other one as well as the muscles tightening up like a wound up spring..I also get them when I first start humping hills deer hunting the first couple of days after I have been sitting on my butt in the office too long..breaking the legs back in and pushing it on the muscles..then I go to the force fed diet for potassium and in a couple of days everything is back to normal..but they are a real pain in a@# for me. No fun at all as I have had them last 20 minutes or more even and Ice is the only thing that stops them for me. When your out in the woods tho,,no ice anywhere so it really sucks. good luck..Before I go on a big backpack trip,,I loverload the pack for a solid week and hike at least 3-5 miles every day to break the legs in,,its a must for me at my age and that way I avoid the leg cramps. good luck

    We need to ask Cannibal if DMSO gets rid of leg cramps..will message him on this..and find out.

  10. #10
    L.D. Cakes's Avatar
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    Do you stretch when you first wake up? Is that when it does it? I do automatically as I'm waking up, even in my bed. Most people stretch with their toes pointed, and that's what I was doing too, causing an awful cramp. I've learned now to pull my feet upward before stretching my legs and that stops it from happening.
    Love many, trust few & always paddle your own canoe. American Proverb

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