Dr. Margaret Goodman, M.D.

From the pages of THE RING magazine: Leg cramps

After chasing Shane Mosley around the MGM Grand Garden ring to win a lopsided 12-round decision, Manny Pacquiao declared his performance was less than stellar due to a left calf muscle cramp. The persistent spasm began during round four, and despite trainer Freddie Roach’s massage between rounds, the ailment would not dissipate.

Although muscle cramps are common in athletes, we rarely hear of a boxer proclaiming severe limitations because of one during a bout. So The Ring thought we would take this opportunity to explore the causes, treatment and prevention of muscle cramps.

People alternately control and relax muscles as they move. A muscle that involuntarily (without consciously willing it) contracts is termed a “spasm.” If the spasm is sustained, it becomes a cramp, and you may see a visible hardening of the involved muscle. It can last anywhere from seconds to hours, or it can reoccur multiple times until it ultimately resolves.

Cramps can be caused by multiple circumstances and occur in many locations. In this article, we will be dealing with skeletal muscles, but a cramp can involve any muscle, even those belonging to various organs such as the lung or bladder.

If a fighter were to suffer a broken bone, the associated muscles around that bone will cramp as a protective mechanism. Excessive exercise and muscle fatigue can produce cramps during the time of the activity or later. Rest cramps that occur at night can be painful and disrupt sleep. Boxing and other forms of vigorous activity produce excessive perspiration, fluid loss, and dehydration, which increase the likelihood of cramps.

 

To continue reading this article from the August 2011 issue of THE RING magazine and receive more than 100 pages of additional boxing content, please click here to purchase a single copy of the new Ring Digital Edition for only $3.99 (55 percent off the cover price). Or you can subscribe to the Digital Edition by going to same link.

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