advertisement
Question
Posted by: Russell | 2010/12/18

Quinine for cramping on endurance events.

Hi Ross, you previously answered a question of mine on cramping. In summary, no matter how much training I do, I suffer from severe calf cramps on the last 10km''s on the Two Oceans. I am currently adjusting my training to include a lot of glute and core strengthening exercises (this seems to be working and has had a big effect on my marathon times)

A running partner suggested I try using quinine for ultra marathons (she also cramps and said it helped her tremendously on the Comrades). Is this something that I can try, or are there big risks involved?

Regards, Russell.

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Russell.

Good work on the core work - that really does help. I know coaches in the USA who are prescribing an hour a day of core work with their elite athletes, so it's clearly a recognized effect, which you're now benefiting from.

I've not seen quinine as a "cure" for cramps. So there's no research, I can't think of the theoretical basis for it either. They did prescribe quinine as a treatment for nocturnal leg cramps, but the FDA in America said that this is "dubious", so it's kind of losing popularity now. It was in fact banned for that use in 1994, and that suggests to me that it's probably a bit risky, and without any proven benefit.

All in all, given that there's no evidence of quinine's effectiveness for exercise-associated cramping (which differs from night time cramps, incidentally), and the possible danger, I don't think it's the answer. As I may have said to you previously, the cramp is unlikely caused by a change in pH, or a change in sodium or magnesium or any chemical - it's fatigue related, and neurally caused, so the training you're doing now is a good start. Obviouly work on the specific muscles that cramp - maybe quads, calves, hamstrings.

And stretch before you cramp - by 30km you might want to be stretching at water tables, to help prevent them

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/12/21

Hi Russell.

Good work on the core work - that really does help. I know coaches in the USA who are prescribing an hour a day of core work with their elite athletes, so it's clearly a recognized effect, which you're now benefiting from.

I've not seen quinine as a "cure" for cramps. So there's no research, I can't think of the theoretical basis for it either. They did prescribe quinine as a treatment for nocturnal leg cramps, but the FDA in America said that this is "dubious", so it's kind of losing popularity now. It was in fact banned for that use in 1994, and that suggests to me that it's probably a bit risky, and without any proven benefit.

All in all, given that there's no evidence of quinine's effectiveness for exercise-associated cramping (which differs from night time cramps, incidentally), and the possible danger, I don't think it's the answer. As I may have said to you previously, the cramp is unlikely caused by a change in pH, or a change in sodium or magnesium or any chemical - it's fatigue related, and neurally caused, so the training you're doing now is a good start. Obviouly work on the specific muscles that cramp - maybe quads, calves, hamstrings.

And stretch before you cramp - by 30km you might want to be stretching at water tables, to help prevent them

Good luck

Reply to fitnessdoc

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement