T Nation

Creatine and Calf Cramping

The recent thread about the guy whose mother threw away his creatine led me to the Wiki post which said that
"Side effects that produce lower leg pain may be associated with the use of creatine. Creatine may be the cause of an increase in the anterior pressures of the lower leg. This is usually found in post-creatine use when at rest and after exercise.

Normal at-rest pressures have been found to be highly elevated by subjects who used creatine within the prior 35 days when compared to no supplementation. This can produce an extreme amount of pain in the lower leg due to the rigidity of the anterior compartment of the lower leg and lack of fluid drainage out of the compartment"

Has any one had this? What kind of pain? From time to time I get lower calf cramping that comes on in the night. The muscles will literally twine together and put you in agony. I eat well so I wondering should I go off or stay off the creatine as it might be the cause or could it be some other deficiency?

Thanks for any replies~~ leich

[quote]Leichenwagen wrote:
Has any one had this? What kind of pain? From time to time I get lower calf cramping that comes on in the night. The muscles will literally twine together and put you in agony. I eat well so I wondering should I go off or stay off the creatine as it might be the cause or could it be some other deficiency?[/quote]

I’ve never heard of, nor experienced, calf cramps when taking creatine. I find it hard to believe that the use of any particular dietary supplement is related to pain in a specific part of the body (with the exception of those that increase blood flow/circulation, which creatine does not, so it’s a non-issue).

You said you eat well already, but the best bet is to shoot for a gallon of water each day (get as close as you can) and toss a banana in your post-workout meal. That should straighten things out.

P.S. - The study that’s cited in that wiki article making the claim was done using just one guy running on a treadmill. That’s hardly conclusive or convincing evidence.

I highly doubt that has anything to do with creatine. The only time my calves cramp bad are after I’ve trained them very hard.

Like Chris said, drink more water and try eating a banana.

Well, there you have it, there are some problems with wikipedia. There “may” be some possibility since creatine increases muscle cell hydration,

But since I have never heard of this side effect before, and the fact that potentially thousands of individuals on this site alone consume creatine, it is a safe bet that it isn’t going to happen to you, especially using reasonable doses.

That’s what I love about Wikipedia. It makes uneducated parents panic when they read about “possible muscle cramping”.

I’ve never had any negative experience with creatine minus water retention with monohydrate, but that’s expected.

What kind of exercises do you do? Weights? cardio? All that stuff might have an impact as to why you get cramps in your legs.

Just to support the posts above, Wikipedia is not reliable source of information. My professors won’t accept papers with wikipedia as a source. And the number one thing I was told about 8 years ago when I first used creatine was, drink LOTS of water.

So, you’re probably not drinking enough water. With that said, the only side effect I have had with creatine is increased urination and about 5 lbs of weight gain from the water.

Ive had the same problem, everytime take creatine and go out surfing i got this painful cramps on my calfs (sometimes on my quads -those are the worst-). I though it was because of the cold or maybe because i wasnt drinking enough water, but now that you posted this i guess it wasnt coincidence

My understanding is cramping is caused by lack of water or lack of electrolytes or both. Thats it…if you have cramps you don’t have enough. Far as I know cramps are NOT caused by excessive training, pulled muscles, or fatigue. I think it there is some confusion about that, since people confused delayed onset muscle soreness from starting a new exercise program, with cramps.

I might not be the best of sources, but I got this from my younger bother’s football trainer. I assume the guy with a college degree in fitness at least kinda knows what he is talking about.

Take some multi-minerals and down water. Really short of 5 gallons in 20 minutes, you can’t drink too much water. As for the pills look for bio-available stuff. Really cheap mineral pills are ground up rocks pressed into new rocks, and pass right though the body untouched. A good test, if you drop a pill in a cup of water, and its not dissolved or muck in a few hours better buy a different brand.

[quote]Evolv wrote:
Just to support the posts above, Wikipedia is not reliable source of information. My professors won’t accept papers with wikipedia as a source.[/quote]

I’ve always found it to be incredibly accurate actually. In fact, there are a few studies such as this which go to support it. This was just the first I found with a google search, from CBC news:

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2005/12/15/Wikipedia-review051215.html

And just remember that wikipedia has only been around for about 7 years, how long have your professors been around, 60+? :confused: They tend to be set in their ways. I’ve found my professors to generally be extremely intelligent, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right.

OnT: Actually I noticed the exact same thing as you while reading the other thread, although personally I’ve never heard of it…doesn’t make much sense to cramp your legs but not anywhere else. But then again, I’m not a scientist and I don’t know what

“This can produce an extreme amount of pain in the lower leg due to the rigidity of the anterior compartment of the lower leg and lack of fluid drainage out of the compartment. It may also be exacerbated by the increase of water content in the muscle fibers, putting more pressure on the anterior compartment.”

means so I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility, I just wouldn’t worry about it too much unless you get serious symptoms like it says there.

I get calf cramps while on creatine quite often. Even when I am well-hydrated.

I also use my legs constantly when Im grappling, but I notice that I cramp far more often when Im on creatine then those rare times that I cycle off.