Benign Fasciculation Syndrome

I don’t think my legs were too happy about my Offa’s Dyke Path run on Saturday. By the evening whilst sat on the sofa my calves were twitching uncontrollably. They do this quite often after a long run or a particularly hard session. Not just running either, anything seems to set them off. I’ve seen it whilst in the sauna after a hard swim even. I’ll just be sat there relaxing and my calf muscle will be twitching away, pulsing uncontrollably. I can’t feel anything while it happens and I’m not doing anything to cause it. I don’t really know what they are up to so thought I’d look it up.

Apparently it is called Benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS).

According to Wikipedia

(BFS) is a neurological disorder characterized by fasciculation (twitching) of various voluntary muscles in the body. The twitching can occur in any voluntary muscle group but is most common in the eyelids, arms, legs, and feet. The twitching may be occasional or may go on nearly continuously. Usually intentional movement of the involved muscle causes the fasciculations to cease immediately, but they may return once the muscle is at rest again.

The cause of them is unknown, but some studies have shown some association between fasciculations and:

  • a stressful time
  • trauma
  • anxiety or depression
  • high-intensity, strenuous exercise
  • fatigue
  • drinking alcohol or caffeine
  • smoking cigarettes
  • a recent viral infection

Clearly mine are due to ‘high intensity, strenuous exercise’. Here’s a little video clip of what they look like – It looks as though there’s an alien being in my leg trying to get out!

It may have the fancy name of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome but it’s nothing to worry about as far as I’m concerned. If anything it just proves that I’ve been training well!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography…. The list goes on.