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Old 02-06-06, 08:18 PM   #1
dbmcclus
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Do any of you have problems with leg cramps and / or foot cramps? I am 54 years old and have only been riding for about 6 months. I can ride 50 miles w/o any problems, however now I get leg cramps and foot cramps sometimes at night. I have even gotten foot cramps one day while riding. Usually the foot cramps are when my feet are cold. My shoes do not seem to be too tight. I am not taking any supplements.

I have just purchased a bottle of "Leg Cramps w/quinine" from Walmart but have not used any yet.

Thanks,
Dennis
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Old 02-06-06, 08:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dbmcclus
Do any of you have problems with leg cramps and / or foot cramps? I am 54 years old and have only been riding for about 6 months. I can ride 50 miles w/o any problems, however now I get leg cramps and foot cramps sometimes at night. I have even gotten foot cramps one day while riding. Usually the foot cramps are when my feet are cold. My shoes do not seem to be too tight. I am not taking any supplements.

I have just purchased a bottle of "Leg Cramps w/quinine" from Walmart but have not used any yet.

Thanks,
Dennis
Do I ever know those problems. My foot cramps boiled down to bad shoes and poor foot circulation. Oversized shoes with stiffer soles and wearing thick socks to sleep in are beginning to reverse the problem.
The legs cramps seem related to poor hydration, poor electrolyte balance/nutrition, excess caffine, and pedaling too hard - too fast - too soon. More water, less Jolt Cola, and pacing any increases in mileage are helping. May be entirely different for you. One of the professional cycling trainers may be able to give a much better answer if you can afford it. I do not see the benefit of leg cramps w/quinine unless you have Yellow Fever.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:24 PM   #3
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I suffered through upper and lower leg cramps along with foot cramps for a couple years. The good news is that I seem to have "outgrown" them but I'm not sure exactly why. I even asked my doctor for advice a couple years ago and he suggested the quinine-but to get it from tonic water. So, I would drink a bottle an hour before I rode but it tasted nasty plus it tended to upset my stomach while riding. I then asked a pharmicist about getting quinine and she suggested the "leg cramps". I rarely take them now but still find them useful at night sometimes.

I wondered if mine were related to medication I was taking. That reallly has not changed but the cramps have greatly subsided. I've eliminated caffeine and most of the alcohol from my diet so that might have been of help. I've also added potassium by increasing my intake of bananas. Maybe it's related to the fact I've ridden 20,000 miles and my legs are in better shape.

I wish I could help but not sure I have good advice other than increased potassium and calcium and less alcohol and caffeine. Plus, maybe it will tone down as the legs tone up.......
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Old 02-06-06, 11:12 PM   #4
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I've often wondered why there seems to be no definitive cause established for cramping. Some say it is caused by a lack of sodium, others by a lack of calcium - coupled with unusually hard work. I find that on the first few days of a tour, before I've tuned up the legs, I'm quite susceptible to cramps. They can be upper or lower legs, sometimes feet, even fingers. I usually take a salt tablet, and some Tums for a few days, and voila! no more cramps.

I don't know if is due to simply overworking some muscles, or if there truly is a deficiency of some sort. I do know that after a few days of occasional agony, they'll leave. And they don't return, even though I stop taking any tablets.

How's this for a post that doesn't say much of anything, except "Hang in there"!
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Old 02-06-06, 11:41 PM   #5
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Never had a problem with leg cramps, but I used to get foot cramps almost every ride in excess of 15 miles or so. Those days, I was riding with running shoes and toeclips. Solution for me was clipless pedals and good stiff cycling shoes. Haven't had a foot cramp once since I switched.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:50 PM   #6
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Quinine works very well Get it in Tonic Water
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Old 02-06-06, 11:57 PM   #7
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Lots of times cramps are associated with dehydration,



























































































or you could start taking Midol.
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Old 02-07-06, 12:04 AM   #8
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I did wake up with a Charlie Horse the other night. I had ridden all week, and then did about a 50-miler. It wasn't a real bad cramp though.
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Old 02-07-06, 12:05 PM   #9
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I also vote dehydration for cramps. I suffered through foot cramps while I was adjusting to my Shimano
SPD carbon shoes. They are so bloody stiff my feet just had to get used to them. I used gell type inserts in place of the factory ones at first. After a few weeks I went back to the factory ones.
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Old 02-07-06, 12:05 PM   #10
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One of the common causes of cramp- other than overexercise on poor quality muscles- Is a low salt intake. Salt is frowned on now but the isotonic drinks do assist, and there is a love hate thing in the UK called Marmite. Spread on toast- and still either love it or hate it. I always take marmite sandwiches on long rides, and they do help. Not only on cramps but also on re-hydration. By the way- I am a marmite hater.
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Old 02-12-06, 04:10 AM   #11
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I deal with foot cramps regularly and have found they are directly related to amount of water and calcium consumed, along with, of course, strenuousness of exercise. Seniors need more calcium than younger riders. Quinine was taken off the market here in HI. While in vietnam we took quinine daily to avoid malaria. It is great for cramps as well!
Plus semior cyclists are prone to calcium loss in bones to a greater extent than runners for example. we need to do weights and some concussion exercise as well it seems to protect bone loss.
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Old 02-12-06, 02:15 PM   #12
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"I have just purchased a bottle of "Leg Cramps w/quinine" from Walmart but have not used any yet." From the name of this product, I thought you were pulling my leg (no pun intended). But an Internet search revealed the exact name! I hope I never have to use it.

BTW, Dennis, did you discover the cause of your bike wobble at high speeds?
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Old 02-12-06, 04:37 PM   #13
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You gotta have electrolytes, plain table salt is usually good enough. Drinking straight water can make the cramps worse due to electrolyte dilution. E-Caps are good.
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Old 02-14-06, 03:23 AM   #14
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I'm 63 and regularly ride my age or more. It is my 50th year riding 10spd bikes. I don't experience leg or foot cramps but, I know that a couple of years of riding will get your muscles into better shape and riding form will come. That being said if you have a double WB racks carry one bottle of water and a bottle of gatorade in the other. That will balance the electrolyte intake. Also, don't let yourself get dehydrated drink as much as you need. Another trick is that I take a tums to chew before I ride and a couple while I am on very long rides. Calcium is needed more as we get older to help with the electrolyte intake. Good luck.
The other suggestions above all bear merit so experiment till you find your groove.
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Old 02-19-06, 10:40 PM   #15
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I was getting leg cramps every time I stretched any leg or foot muscle during the day, at night - whenever (even putting on my shoes) - it was becoming rather annoying and to say the least painful. My electrolytes were fine, potassium levels good, well hydrated, I tried the magnesium, calcium blend but no change.

I finally did a google search on leg cramps and discovered 101 reasons why they happen. I narrowed mine down to muscle fatigue. I swim 1.5 miles 3 days per week and the cramps were always worse on the last day, just kicking off the wall would cause one or switching from crawl to breast stroke.
Since December I added 3 days a week of resistance training to my regime (for strength not just toning) my cramping has been cut 90% and my activity level has gone up at least another 60%.

Good luck and hope you can solve the problem
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Old 02-20-06, 11:12 AM   #16
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Often older riders who have been "away" for a while will
uncover circulation issues that walking will not tell of until
much later in life.

I have terrible circulation issues and must supplement my
diet with one 595mg tablet of Potassium Gluconate every
day. My doctor tells me that the added potassium helps
with both blood flow and nerve health. All I know I've
not had a ,knock on wood, cramp in my legs since I added
the potassium to my diet. Interestingly, my potassium
count in my blood work was OK but the doctor said
I needed a "boost" to feed the damaged veins / nerves
in my legs. Works for me!!

(My cramps were so bad they would pull my legs
right out from under me while I moaned in pain.
NOT fun at all. )
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Old 02-20-06, 06:00 PM   #17
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I have had massive leg cramps for 20 years. I tried bananas, vitamins and lots of hydration. I started using Gatorade this past summer, and with 260 mg of quinine that almost did the job; still had occassinal cramps. I recently started a heavy training program preparing for summer racing, and I also started using Accelerade during the workouts (31 gm/20 oz water per .75 hour) and Endurox (32 gm/12 oz water) immediately after the workouts. I have not had a leg cramp since.

I recently read an explanation for this: Hydration with plain water washes the electrolytes out of your body which leads to greater lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Electrolytes must be replaced to reduce damage to muscles.

I am not pushing the use of Accelerade or Endurox, there are probably other sports drink additives that are just as good.
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