Guide Medicinal Product

In case of cramps: should you avoid quinine? : The advice of a sports doctor

Interview of Dr. Pierre Godefroy, sports doctor, who gives practical advice in case of cramp ...

Do your patients often consult you for cramps?

Dr. Pierre Godefroy: For sportsmen, not so much. My patients are, for the most part, very well trained, and know exactly what to do to avoid cramps. They do sports two to five times a week, they know the stretching necessary to avoid pain.

As for all the others (amateur sportsmen ...), many come to see me for this kind of sudden and repeated muscular contractions.

What advice do you give to fight cramps?

Dr. PG: I give several tips: first and foremost to maintain a healthy lifestyle and, above all, good hydration before and after physical activity. The defect of hydration strongly favors the appearance of cramp, because the sodium and the mineral salts are eliminated by the sweat. It is common to forget to hydrate properly. It is also important not to wait until you are thirsty to drink.

I also advise to stretch well during a training: some easy exercises favoring the circulation of the blood and softening the muscles. Then at the end of the effort, during recovery, I advise taking the time for some relaxation to relax the leg muscles.

Many questions arise around quinine, a medication for cramps. What is your opinion on this?
Dr. PG: Quinine is much scrutinized by a large number of specialists. I know this drug well since I have prescribed it for almost 20 years in patients contracting so-called "essential" cramps so frequent (night and day). I admit that today I dispense with this medicine. Although I have never had any patients with harmful side effects, I remain cautious.

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