UKBouldering.com

Forearm cramp (Read 1271 times)

csl

Offline
  • *****
  • Administrator
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 628
  • Karma: +80/-0
Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 08:11:54 pm
The last few times I've been out climbing I've suffered with a totally debilitating forearm cramp. When the cramp comes on it turns my hands into useless claws and it takes a lot of effort to straighten out my fingers. I don't feel knackered when it comes on, and actually feel like I have a few hours of pulling hard left in me. But, once it's happened the whole session is a write-off. Even if I spend 30 minutes stretching and think I'm ok, the next time I pull on it happens again pretty quickly.

Today I was out bouldering and it came on after about 2-3 hours of trying relatively hard (for me), but previously it's happened mid-route when all I've been doing all day is plodding up easy sport routes. (This was terrifying, I was mid clip and claw hands turn out not to be dextrous enough to get a rope into a quickdraw  :lol:)

I've been doing a bit of foam-rolling + stretching for my forearms but was wondering if anyone had experienced anything like this or had any idea what else I should be doing to prevent it.


csl

Offline
  • *****
  • Administrator
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 628
  • Karma: +80/-0
#1 Re: Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 08:15:27 pm
Thinking about it, lots of coffee before climbing and then probably not enough water at the crag can't be helping. Will try harder to drink more fluids...

teestub

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1159
  • Karma: +106/-3
  • Cyber Wanker
#2 Re: Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 08:19:08 pm
Only experienced cycling (legs not arms) before where it was definitely a hydration (or rather specifically a lack of electrolytes) issue.

Any dietary changes or illness?

Ru

Offline
  • *****
  • Global Moderator
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1812
  • Karma: +105/-0
#3 Re: Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 09:19:02 pm
Try a magnesium supplement.

webbo

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4376
  • Karma: +114/-6
#4 Re: Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 09:26:38 pm
Bizarrely I get  finger cramp after cycling but not after climbing. I tend to get cramp in an evening or in bed.
I experienced it last week in my quads after a day waxing a staircase which involved a lot of kneeling, then I did a session on the board.
Iím starting to think itís like teestub says hydration or electrolytes even though I have thought in the past cramp is due to pushing your muscles beyond what they are trained to do.
So Iím giving those SIS tabs ago after training.

petejh

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4250
  • Karma: +452/-24
#5 Re: Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 09:46:44 pm
Might be dehydration or lack of a mineral. Equally it might be a nerve impingement. I get cramps in my left forearm and (very specifically) my left Teres Minor muscle when I'm tired, from scar tissue on my left rotator cuff which impinges on a nerve. Also I get cramps in my right calf from nerve impingement/damage of my sciatic nerve where it exits the right side of my lumber spine.

Any minor injuries in shoulder/neck/arm in last few years could contribute..
« Last Edit: January 12, 2020, 09:55:00 pm by petejh »

webbo

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4376
  • Karma: +114/-6
#6 Re: Forearm cramp
January 12, 2020, 10:01:54 pm
I get nerve impingement down my arms from sleeping on my right shoulder which is nothing like the cramp I get.
One is tingly or lack of feeling in my fingers. The other is ďOwe, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckĒ

csl

Offline
  • *****
  • Administrator
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 628
  • Karma: +80/-0
#7 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 08:06:55 am
Thanks all

Only experienced cycling (legs not arms) before where it was definitely a hydration (or rather specifically a lack of electrolytes) issue.

Any dietary changes or illness?

Nothing drastic, a little less meat. No illness.

Try a magnesium supplement.

Thanks, will give it a go

Any minor injuries in shoulder/neck/arm in last few years could contribute..

This could explain it, but I get it equally bad in both arms so I'm not sure it will be related.

Nutty

Offline
  • **
  • menacing presence
  • Posts: 222
  • Karma: +7/-0
#8 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 09:26:55 am
Glad to see this topic raised - I've experienced almost the exact same symptoms: cramping forearms and clawed hands coming on mid-route seemingly out of nowhere (i.e. not feeling tired). It's happened mainly on days doing easy sport for me as well, though I have had it happen at the end of long sessions at the wall as well - possibly a hydration issue. Once it happens on a day that's me finished as I cramp up again very quickly even after a rest.

I've considered magnesium supplements, but wasn't sure what to take - magnesium oxide is apparently poorly absorbed so magnesium citrate might be better. I might try taking a magnesium citrate tablet or two (i.e. 100-200mg) on days when I know I'll be out doing easy sport for a while and see if it helps. Too much magnesium (>400mg) can give you the shits apparently, so don't over-do it.

duncan

Offline
  • *****
  • Global Moderator
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 2202
  • Karma: +253/-2
#9 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 10:27:58 am
I've had arm muscle cramps when two conditions apply together: specific muscles being undertrained for the amount of exercise I'm doing and being dehydrated and/or short on electrolytes. In my case this tends to happen on very long routes, but I'd imagine it could also occur with a long day bouldering outside if you've done very little recently.  Long days can be dehydrating and low sodium food can be an issue in the US (corn chips are the obvious antidote to this!). 

cheque

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Hangdog millionaire
  • Posts: 2487
  • Karma: +327/-1
    • Cheque Pictures
#10 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 03:23:03 pm
Thinking about it, lots of coffee before climbing and then probably not enough water at the crag can't be helping. Will try harder to drink more fluids...

I find it easy not to drink enough when I climb in the winter- youíre not sweating or getting noticeably thirsty plus drinking ice-cold water when trying to stay warm is not appealing. I often pack up at the end of the day and think ďoh look, I didnít drink any water all dayĒ then Iíll get a headache on the way home and feel absolutely dessicated all evening.  :wall:

The recommendations of those electrolyte dissolving tablets is a good one. I started nicking my other halfís for big mountain days in the summer and they were very good.

SA Chris

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 25012
  • Karma: +530/-10
    • http://groups.msn.com/ChrisClix
#11 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 04:43:01 pm
I use the SiS tablets for long runs and races in the mountains, I usually carry a spare or two in the plastic capsules out of a kinder egg for when I refill.

I know a lot of people swear by Tailwind powder in water.

Coops_13

Offline
  • ****
  • junky
  • Posts: 887
  • Karma: +36/-0
    • YouTube
#12 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 04:50:43 pm
I take 1.5l gatorade mix (water + gatorade powder) and 1l water (with emergency filter bottle) into the high alpine when I go bouldering. This was brought on by calf cramp occurring a couple of times - no cramp since...

teestub

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1159
  • Karma: +106/-3
  • Cyber Wanker
#13 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 04:59:34 pm
I use the Nuun ones as I like their flavours, nice but pricey.

Bradders

Offline
  • ****
  • junky
  • Posts: 773
  • Karma: +42/-3
#14 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 05:41:05 pm
Forgive my ignorance, but what's wrong with just drinking water?

teestub

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1159
  • Karma: +106/-3
  • Cyber Wanker
#15 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 05:43:15 pm
As I understand it cramping, especially in the summer when the dehydration is brought on by excessive sweating, can be brought on by lack of electrolytes (as youíve sweated our all the salts). If you donít replace the salts as well as the water then you can actually exacerbate the issue.

tomtom

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 18769
  • Karma: +585/-8
#16 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 05:48:17 pm
Forgive my ignorance, but what's wrong with just drinking water?

I've never found the need for salt supplements in the UK - but when working in the field in Australia all day (40 degrees - fairly humid - wearing thick cotton safety gear) I was getting through 5-8 litres of water a day. At the end of the day I would have a mega salty crisp craving (and a can of pop helped) and a couple of spoons of gatorade in the water during the day helped with this...

I've never got that sweaty/hot/waterloss bouldering (though the odd summer walk in has dehydrated me..)

Ru

Offline
  • *****
  • Global Moderator
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1812
  • Karma: +105/-0
#17 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 06:59:21 pm
I might try taking a magnesium citrate tablet or two (i.e. 100-200mg) on days when I know I'll be out doing easy sport for a while and see if it helps.

Yes, magnesium citrate. Works for me, I just take some in powder form (mixed with water) if I get cramps. I don't take it regularly but I don't get cramp regularly either.

Footwork

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 579
  • Karma: +50/-0
  • Living With Wads
    • Living With Wads
#18 Re: Forearm cramp
January 13, 2020, 07:11:56 pm
I use the Nuun ones as I like their flavours, nice but pricey.

+1 for these. I've suffered really badly from cramp in the past cycling and found hydration tablets made a big difference. When having long days out climbing in summer I'll use them in a big 2 ltr bottle.

Have a long session at the wall when well hydrated (not so much you piss yourself) and see if claw hand comes back.

monkoffunk

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 586
  • Karma: +51/-0
  • sponsored by black coffee and beta alanine
#19 Re: Forearm cramp
June 12, 2020, 12:57:35 am
I did my first sport climbing today in about 10 months and had this same cramping issue. The whole fingers clamping shut, having to try using my teeth to open them out so I could make a clip etc.

Was interesting, I was drinking water but no electrolytes. Was very hot out. By end of end my arms tasted like the sea.

Gonna bring some kind of electrolyte next time and compare.

Fultonius

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 3038
  • Karma: +94/-3
  • Was strong but crap, now weaker but better.
    • Photos
#20 Re: Forearm cramp
June 12, 2020, 07:46:59 am
Guys - lots of references to hydration on this thread, but I was fairly sure that no link between (de)hydration and cramps has ever been shown. It's one of those "common knowledge" issues.

Anyone got any SCIENCE?

https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a20840695/dehydration-doesnt-cause-muscle-cramps/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407543/

webbo

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4376
  • Karma: +114/-6
#21 Re: Forearm cramp
June 12, 2020, 09:02:28 am
Re using those SIS tablets I have found they have made no difference at all. Due not climbing as much but doing more finger boarding and some core stuff that I wouldnít do normally. I now get cramp in my abs the day after weights again when cycling usually when riding at fairly sustained pace.
I reckon itís due to stressing already stressed muscles.

monkoffunk

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 586
  • Karma: +51/-0
  • sponsored by black coffee and beta alanine
#22 Re: Forearm cramp
June 12, 2020, 09:16:31 am
I donít think I was dehydrated yesterday, but I was sweating a lot more than I usually do when I climb. Hyponatraemia certainly can cause cramps and certainly can be caused by excessive water consumption. I wasnít consuming excessive amounts of water, but wasnít eating anything salty. It seems probable to me that there was more than one factor, particularly as I was pushing to my limit and got pretty fatigued.


https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2008/07001/muscle_cramps_during_exercise_is_it_fatigue_or.9.aspx

webbo

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4376
  • Karma: +114/-6
#23 Re: Forearm cramp
June 12, 2020, 11:26:15 am
I would say that itís more likely you were asking your forearm muscles to do more than they are currently used.

cheque

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Hangdog millionaire
  • Posts: 2487
  • Karma: +327/-1
    • Cheque Pictures
#24 Re: Forearm cramp
June 12, 2020, 09:06:28 pm
I would say that itís more likely you were asking your forearm muscles to do more than they are currently used.

When I saw this topic revived this was my first thought. I climbed a steep jamming route the other day (height and grade withheld to protect my ego :look: ) and got a pump in my left hand that I hadnít experienced for a decade or more- Iíd forgotten how bad it could feel!

 

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal