Training & Nutrition - "Small" Cramps in Upper Thigh
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05-17-05, 08:16 PM
Every so often I'll develop some "small" cramps in my upper thighs. These aren't like when your whole leg cramps up, it's more like a few localized tight areas that hurt. Usually I notice them when I'm sitting in my chair at work (it's a drafting chair, so my feet don't touch the ground), or worse, when I'm driving my car. If they get really bad I need to stand up and try to massage my leg a little, but they always seem to come back when I sit down again. Generally they don't bother me at night when I'm in bed, like the cramps I'd sometimes get after riding hard that are down in my calfs.
What's weird is that these cramps only seem to happen after I have not been bike riding for more than 5 days or a week. Once they start they can persist for several days until I go riding again. They showed up again today, and I was a little worried about going on a group ride tonight (first since last Thursday, so 5 days ago), so I hung with the slow group (not that I wouldn't have anyway). What's so weird is that my legs didn't bother me at all during the ride. I can feel them coming back a little bit right now after getting home.
I'll admit that my electrolyte levels may be a tad off from most people. I don't drink milk, and I'm not that great about taking my calcium supplements. That being said, I don't hold back on cheese and all the other calcium sources out there. I have started taking along one bottle of Gatorade lemonade (great stuff, btw) on rides, along with another bottle of water. I used to just bring water. It does help pick me up a little during rides, but I don't know how much it would impact this particular problem. I'm not really sure what else to try to do about these little cramps. Any thoughts?
05-22-05, 11:26 AM
Do you have a regular stretching routine? Could they be blood circulation related, and not muscular cramps? You said you only experience them when sitting?
11-05-05, 01:00 PM
I got some more of these over the past few days, as I haven't ridden since October 30th. The pain is right on the top of my thighs if I'm sitting, a few inches above the knee. I think it started showing up on the 2nd or 3rd of November. I went out for a ride today, and I didn't think much of the pain I was experiencing in my left leg on the drive out, because it's always been that way. However, when I got to the trail and started riding, the pain didn't stop. In fact, it got worse.
I stopped after about two miles and stretched at a picnic table, but it only helped temporarily. I was fine if I was standing, and my legs were straight. Bending my leg really hurt, but I tried to fold my leg together to stretch out the tight muscle, and that seemed to work. I pressed on for another mile, but it just got more and more painful, to to the point where I stopped and turned around. On the way back, the upstroke of my left leg was excruciating, and the downstroke was ok. Before long, my right leg started to hurt too, and getting back to my car was a horrible and slow experience. I'd only gone out a little less than 3 miles, and the return trip took a good 20 minutes.
Once I got back to my car, packed everything up and headed home, my legs felt ok, but not better. When I got home, I had to lift myself out of my car with my arms as much as I could, because my legs hurt so much and were so stiff. I had to shuffle my way up the stairs to my apartment one at a time, since I couldn't put all my weight on my left leg without it almost buckling. I took some Ibuprofen and soaked in a hot bath, but it didn't help. It still really hurts to sit down or get up out of a chair, and if I press down on the tops of my thighs, they're very sore.
What can this be?
11-05-05, 05:27 PM
I had massively painful riding cramps for 20 years, and tried all of the logical suggestions: bananas, calcium. potassium, hydrate more, stretching before and after, etc. The cramps would come on some time after the rides and at night in bed. This year I started using Gatorade (1/2 the recommended amount) in my water bottles, and that eliminated the cramps for all but the most strenuous rides. I told my doc, and he prescribed quinine tablets, and that the Gatoradethat took care of the cramps. There are likely sports drinks that are just as good as Gatorade, some maybe better. Good luck.
11-05-05, 05:48 PM
I take a bottle of Gatorade with me, I drank most of it today hoping it would help, but no luck.
11-05-05, 05:51 PM
Be sure to take a Glucose Tolerancy Test and have specific bloodwork done by a physician to eliminate any possibility of aquired diabetes, which impairs circulation in the legs and causes similar symptoms. If ditected early, it can be treated successfully in most cases, so ask your doctor.
11-05-05, 05:53 PM
That's a depressing thought.
I also suffer from something similar. Thigh and calf knots. Also looking for improvement.
11-11-05, 10:21 AM
On recommendations from this thread, and from a runner friend, I got some vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and calcium supplements. The cramps cleared up, and I rode the past few days just fine. I can't tell yet if it was the vitamins that helped, or if the cramps just ran their course, but all seems good right now.
10-30-10, 09:00 PM
Did you ever solve your leg cramps you got that came 5 days to week after not riding? Our son has same thing. Wondering.
10-30-10, 09:52 PM
I don't know. I haven't had this particular problem for a few years now. That was also the time I was really building my skills/strength as a cyclist, so it could very well have been just from overexertion and new muscle development. It was sort of like growing pains in a way. The stretching and vitamins seemed to help the most though. It doesn't help so much for stopping cramps that have already occurred, but for preventing them in the first place.
If it continues, you might want to see a sports doctor.
11-04-10, 03:50 PM
The location of the cramp seems to indicate your seat may be a llittle too low and too far back. A seat that's too high typically causes calf cramps. So try raising the seat 3-5mm.
Here's some threads about cramping with good results:
Why do I cramp so much? (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=155580)
Combating CRAMPS; running out of ideas!! PLEASE HELP! (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=202961) <-- no more cramps!
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