I have a client that gets severe tightness and cramping in his legs while he runs. If he stops and stretches, the cramping will go a way, but will come back shortly after starting up again. He has gone to a running shoe fitting specialist, but after running with the new shoes he has found that they haven't alleviated the problem. He has also seen a nutritionist in hopes that maybe his diet was the culprit. Again, it didn't seem to help. If you have any advice, please let me know.
Cramps can be quite a problem for some people. I am unsure where your client’s leg cramps are located; in his feet, calf area, hamstrings or quads or, maybe all areas independently or simultaneously? Is the cramping primarily on one side or both sides? Other things that might be a factor is if your client has any medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and circulatory plaque problems… If this is the case then some of the medications he may be on might have a tendency to “wash out” some of his electrolytes, leading to an imbalance and the cramps. Just another thought.
Other items of interest are the environment; is it hot or cold when he runs, the morning or evening, is he wearing a “sweat suit” or has any orthopedic problems? All of these things may or may not effect the cramping he is experience, but it gives us more variables to look at for solving the problem.
It seems that most information about cramps leads us to dehydration and sodium depletion or hyponatremia. Low sodium salt in the plasma has a high association with cramps. Sodium is an electrolyte (lyte) and is one of the things responsible for water balance in the body. There are other “lytes” that help regulate water and electrical activity at the cell, which is where the cramps taking place. These other “lytes” are potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. All these work in concert to regulate the water balance in and out of the muscle cells and regulate membrane electrical activity.
Membrane activity can be changed from the lytes and water balance, as well as different diuretics. I am unsure of your clients age & health, but if he is like the general population, out of shape with multiple problems, then chances are he may be using some medication you are un- aware of. If he is a super athlete, then he may be chronically dehydrated and have a depleted lyte panel.
One recommendation is have your client see his Health Care Provider (HCP) and get a blood test. A CBC, complete blood panel will show many things, one of which is the electrolytes of concern. After you get your information you can start trouble shooting what is going on. If the blood looks good, then you may want to assess some type of neural problem creating discontent in the muscle.
These suggestions may sound somewhat excessive, and may well be. However, I am uncertain of your clients fitness level, if he is trying to do too much too soon, if he is on some depletion diet or medication he is not telling you about and so on… To keep your client and you safe and happy it is better to be safe then sorry. Other than the above information, you can have your client try some bike or stairmaster work for an alternative and see if that causes cramping? Good Luck, Steve