What To Do If You Get Swimming Cramps

When muscles are in a contracted state for long periods of time, cramping may occur. While this is usually a minor nuisance for most athletes, it can be especially concerning for swimmers, who may find themselves struggling to get back to dry land where they can rest. If you regularly experience swimming cramps, consider the following.
What Causes Cramps?
Most people attribute muscle cramps to electrolyte loss related to sweating. In reality, however, there is very little research to support this theory. These days, more and more experts blame muscle fatigue for cramping. As muscles get tired, interior mechanisms begin misfiring causing the tissue to over-contract and bunch up. This causes pain and limited mobility – an especially big problem for people stuck in a body of water.
Limiting Risk
Muscle cramps affect people differently based on their genetics, age and activity levels. That said, you can limit cramping by taking the following steps:

  • Hydrate: While cramping isn’t necessarily associated with fluid loss, proper hydration will help your muscles function more efficiently.
  • Eat the right foods: Potassium and sodium are important for swimmers. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, focusing heavily on tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, white beans and orange juice.
  • Try pickle juice: Studies have linked pickle juice with a reduced risk of cramping. While they don’t know the exact reason, experts suspect vinegar may disrupt reflex commotion by activating nerves in the muscle tissue.

Things to Consider
If you’re relatively out of shape, you’re more at risk for muscle cramps. When starting a regular swimming regimen, start slowly to give your body time to adjust. You can also do strength training exercises, focusing on muscle groups which have cramped in the past.
Stretching is also an important way to reduce the risk of cramps. For best results, don’t just stretch prior to swimming; instead, stretch your muscles several times throughout the day to promote greater flexibility and nerve function.

Health News + Events

What to Expect With COVID-19 & Back-to-School Protocols

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, it turned life upside down for more than 50 million school-age children across the country. In fact, according to Ed  Read More

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY