Recommendations for Foot and Leg Cramps While Snorkeling?

By Diana Larsen

I experienced painful and annoying foot and leg cramps while snorkeling on our recent trip to St John. It’s quite debilitating and requires returning to land sooner than I would have otherwise.

Bottle of medication for foot and leg cramps while snorkeling

I plan to try this over the counter medication next time but wondered if there were any other suggestions?

Thank you.


  1. I get cramps while snorkeling and also playing tennis. The go to ‘cure’ for immediate results is pickle juice or mustard. No one really knows why these types of spicy foods intercept the cramping signals but it does seem to work most of the time at least for myself and my friends. As far as prevention everyone has an opinion! Google it. Good luck. I hope you find something that works for you.

  2. On a recent trip to the Gardens of the Queen in Cuba, my husband and I both got leg cramps the first day out. The marine biologist with us quickly massaged our calves, had us pull our toes toward our knees and stated that dehydration is probably the cause. We had not hydrated very well before the snorkel as we had been on a long van ride the day before the first day in the water. We stayed hydrated for the rest of the trip and had no further problems.

    Hope this helps and happy snorkeling.

  3. I will take an antacid like Gaviscon, Rolaids or Tums. The calcium magnesium in it goes to work fast and gets rid of the cramps.

    Also stay hydrated. Drink lots of water before jumping into the water.

    Stretch too. I will do yoga moves to get the back of legs, lower back and shoulders stretched, especially if I have to lift over a wall or up a boat ladder.

    I also will snorkel for an hour or more each time I go out, so being physically ready to enjoy the fish and reefs is a priority for me.

    P.S. If anyone reading this has encountered leg cramps at night, pop an antacid. I learned the antacid trick from a ski instructor who mentioned it when someone’s calf was cramping up in the boot during a lesson. As always, consult your doctor if you are on meds or have other issues that may not jive with antacids.

  4. Mustard is what we use for muscle spasms on long bike rides. It work almost instantaneously. Just plain old yellow mustard, about a spoon full. My wife finds it works for her muscle spasms that are not tied to exercise.

  5. I have found this cramp prevention to really help: a friend gave me one of those Himalayan salt lamps. I only use it at night while sleeping. It releases potassium into the air, which I absorb while breathing. I do get a lot less cramps than before!

    If I DO get a cramp while I’m out snorkeling, I massage the area, then tread water or just float and wait for it to pass. Eventually it does, and then I’m on my way. No need to panic.

  6. I’ve been using Hyland’s Leg Cramps sub-lingual tablets for many years and always have a bottle on hand. They work immediately for relieving leg cramps. I haven’t tried the PM tablets (shown in your photo), but the original Leg Cramps have worked great for me! I hope anyone who tries any Hyland’s Leg Cramps find it very helpful.


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