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Thread: Leg Cramps?

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    Junior Member tvme's Avatar
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    Leg Cramps?

    Over the past 8 months I've been getting back into fair shape. My weight is down as low as it was in jump school over... well a long time ago.

    I've been having leg cramps ... say every other day. Not while riding, they're waking me up. I hadn't really had many muscle cramps for years. Is this a function of getting back into shape? Getting old? Or am I going to drop dead sometime next week?

    Any ways to cut down of frequency or severity? Don't say bananas- I just ate and don't want used cheerios all over.

    Bob

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    Probably gonna drop dead in the next week watch out! No seriously when I first got into cycling my legs would do the same, cramp up at night while sleeping. I had to get up and do a stretch many times. This lasted almost all summer.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvme
    Over the past 8 months I've been getting back into fair shape. My weight is down as low as it was in jump school over... well a long time ago.

    I've been having leg cramps ... say every other day. Not while riding, they're waking me up. I hadn't really had many muscle cramps for years. Is this a function of getting back into shape? Getting old? Or am I going to drop dead sometime next week?

    Any ways to cut down of frequency or severity? Don't say bananas- I just ate and don't want used cheerios all over.

    Bob
    Getting back into shape does bring a few aches and pains and cramps will come on in a lot of people. One reason is the cutting down of Salt- but I do not suggest that you start taking more salt but it is one option. There is an Isotonic drink supplement available- Plenty of manufacturers-and This has worked on one of my friends that had cramps. Plus an isotonic additive in your water bottle does help with rehydration.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    Do you take a good multi vitamin? Sounds like the body is asking for a B-complex to help rebuild.

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    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    'Flexall' works wonders. Doesn't have the lasting odor of Ben Gay.
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

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    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Sometimes happens to me after a long (60+ m) or hard ride. I don't know if it's just the placebo effect or not, but drinking a large bottle of GatorAide seems to really help (along with some stretching). I think it's salt/electrolyte loss in my case.

    I've also heard of people's saddle height affecting this, although the mechanism is unclear to me.

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    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I fought the same thing when I started riding. I had darn muscles cramp up in the middle of the night I didn't even know I had. I altered fluids (both type and quantity), researched the medications I was taking, talked to my doctor, etc.

    Something that might help is an over the counter med called "Leg Cramps". The active ingredient is quinine which is a muscle relaxer. You can find it in an Eckerds, Wal Mart, etc. Quinine also prevalent in tonic water if you can stomach that stuff. I still keep a bottle or two of Leg Cramps handy in for those late night issues.......

    The good news is you're getting in shape and over the long haul you will not have those issues as often.

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    Wrong Side Of 50
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    I have been a serial cramper most of my life, often just a nigle or two or full blown cramps catching you unawares even while resting. Lack of electrolytes in the muscles. Sorry to say but bananas have potassium & magnesium, the other main electrolyte is sodium. So I try and eat a banana and have a magnesium tab a day. A little salt added to food also. I try to adjust my intake on a needs basis i.e. a long ride in hot weather I'll take an extra mag tab on the day & drink electro/carb mix during the ride

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    You might try this out as it stopped my cramps cold.

    I take (1) Potassium Gluconate 595 mg tablet every morning with my
    meds & vitamins. Since it's a hi dose concentrated it beats bannanas
    by a bunch. The great part is your body will use what it needs and
    dump the rest in your waste. It will do no harm.

    So give it a try, mate. I used to have cramps so bad my thigh muscles
    would get small tears. Since I've added the (1) postassium I'm
    pain free.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I still get 'em, but not at night. Rather, they seem to hit me while sitting at my desk at work, which always results in a panic move to straighten the leg as quickly as possible, which usually results on my banging my knee against something, which usually results in my shouting out something that I shouldn't be shouting out at work.

    I've found that using an energy drink on longer and harder rides helps, as does 12 ounces of the same energy drink after the ride. However, on especially difficult rides, I'll get cramps the next day no matter what I do. To me it's a small price to pay for staying in shape.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al f R
    I have been a serial cramper most of my life, often just a nigle or two or full blown cramps catching you unawares even while resting. Lack of electrolytes in the muscles. Sorry to say but bananas have potassium & magnesium, the other main electrolyte is sodium. So I try and eat a banana and have a magnesium tab a day. A little salt added to food also. I try to adjust my intake on a needs basis i.e. a long ride in hot weather I'll take an extra mag tab on the day & drink electro/carb mix during the ride
    +1
    I'm always expectin some cramps to surface at most inopportune time. If I do the 'above' it reduces their occurrance to almost never.
    Only changes are no added salt in diet and since I can't really stomach gatorade or many other sports drinks, i rely on bananas heavily before, during and after a ride.

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    Wrong Side Of 50
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    I still get 'em, but not at night. Rather, they seem to hit me while sitting at my desk at work, which always results in a panic move to straighten the leg as quickly as possible, which usually results on my banging my knee against something, which usually results in my shouting out something that I shouldn't be shouting out at work.

    I've found that using an energy drink on longer and harder rides helps, as does 12 ounces of the same energy drink after the ride. However, on especially difficult rides, I'll get cramps the next day no matter what I do. To me it's a small price to pay for staying in shape.
    Don't put up with cramping, as with other posters here, those that have had cramps & now say they have lessoned or eliminated them all have the same theme "" electrolytes"" suffer no more GET INTO THEM

  13. #13
    Hwy 40 Blue Hwy 40 Blue's Avatar
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    This is a helpful thread for me, because a month or more ago when I was training for my century ride, I woke up suddenly at dawn with the worst charley horse (in my calf) I'd ever had in my life. I sat bolt upright, grabbed my leg and began to massage it even as it twisted up inside to a rock. My leg hurt for three days. A week later it happened to a hamstring, same thing, in bed at dawn. Ouch. I didn't know what to do other than suffer, and this info you guys are puttig out is helpful.

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    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    The following is a quote from a Practical Peer-reviewed Journal for Practicing Physicians....

    "No one knows for sure what causes nocturnal leg cramps. In many cases, there doesn't seem to be any specific trigger. However, sometimes the cramps are caused by overexertion of the muscles, structural disorders (eg, flat feet), standing on concrete, prolonged sitting, inappropriate leg positions while sedentary, or dehydration. Less common causes include diabetes, Parkinson's disease, hypoglycemia, anemia, thyroid and endocrine disorders, and use of some medications."

    "To stave off future episodes of nocturnal leg cramps, consider the following tips:

    Drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Doing so will help prevent dehydration, which may play a role in the cramping.
    Stretch calves regularly throughout the day and at night. (See box below for more information.)
    Ride a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before bedtime. This activity can help prevent cramps from developing during the night, especially if you do not get a lot of exercise during the day.
    Keep blankets loose at the foot of the bed to prevent your toes and feet from pointing downward while you sleep.
    Do aquatic exercises regularly during the week to help stretch and condition your muscles.
    Wear proper foot gear. "

    http://www.postgradmed.com/issues/20..._legcramps.htm
    Carpe who?

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    Always have had cramp problems with my legs and feet but the most recent set are a mystery. At the end of a 40 mile ride with fair amount of hills got the worst cramps in the thigh mucles on top by the knees. Made it home at a crawl. Always stay hydrated and use the standard electrolytes. Any ideas.

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    Junior Member tvme's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I've been away from my computer this weekend.

    So it seems "electrolytes" or their component parts are my most likely solution. Or maybe quinine. I kinda like that... add a little gin and... There's a large drug store on the way home with a good selection of supplements.

    TaosWoman wrote, "Sounds like the body is asking for a B-complex to help rebuild"
    I'm taking a multi-vitamin and some others. I need to check what is in it and make sure. I do exercise twice a day (once 1 1/2 hours before bedtime) plus work.

    Did you ever notice that the "normal" vitamins have the ingredients in a reasonable size print while the 'old fogey' pills have itty bitty tiny print?

    "Red Baron" wrote, 'Flexall' works wonders. Doesn't have the lasting odor of Ben Gay

    "Ben Gay"... You mean 'colonge', right?

    Thanks again.
    Bob

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    Senior Member jjsinglespeed's Avatar
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    Morton Lite salt,just a pinch in water works for me.Trust me I know all about cramps,I get the kind that you can watch move up and down your leg!---Jim

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106
    Always have had cramp problems with my legs and feet but the most recent set are a mystery. At the end of a 40 mile ride with fair amount of hills got the worst cramps in the thigh mucles on top by the knees. Made it home at a crawl. Always stay hydrated and use the standard electrolytes. Any ideas.
    Yes, Maybe I can help. In my earlier post here I recommended (1) tablet of Potasisum gluconate
    each day. I also carry and extra tablet for those times when I over do it a bit. At the first sign of
    a cramp I place the extra tablet UNDER my tongue to speed the absorbtion of the mineral.
    Works every time.

    As the pain decreases I swallow whatever is left of the tablet to feed the rest of the mineral
    into my body. Since I've been doing this I've not had a time when I could not either manage
    the cramp or eliminate it completely before it got to bad.

    Try it. It can not harm you in anyway.
    Last edited by Nightshade; 06-12-06 at 11:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al f R
    I have been a serial cramper most of my life, often just a nigle or two or full blown cramps catching you unawares even while resting. Lack of electrolytes in the muscles. Sorry to say but bananas have potassium & magnesium, the other main electrolyte is sodium. So I try and eat a banana and have a magnesium tab a day. A little salt added to food also. I try to adjust my intake on a needs basis i.e. a long ride in hot weather I'll take an extra mag tab on the day & drink electro/carb mix during the ride
    I strongly second this advice and information. Cramps are a symptom of electrolyte imbalance. Nothing more than a banana and some salt pretzels or chips could be all a person needs to prevent cramps.

    I personally don't get cramps. I did, however, a week ago and it was my wife who reminded me to take some potassium and sodium (She had some tablets on hand). I guess I had been remiss in hydrating and keeping my calorie intake up enough on a particularly hot day and longer than usual ride.

  20. #20
    pot hole magnet snailmale's Avatar
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    My money's on Grampy's advice:

    "To stave off future episodes of nocturnal leg cramps, consider the following tips:

    Drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Doing so will help prevent dehydration, which may play a role in the cramping. ..."


    It's perhaps just a theory, but I'm convinced most of us are simply more dehydrated than we think we are. I used to suffer from the worst cramp dances at night, but since I doubled my water intake I have never ever had a recurrence.
    Hey, you've got nothing to lose: even before purchasing supplements, try one ride day where you guzzle water and electrolyte drinks like you're on shore leave. Remember not to count anything with caffeine as these tend to be diuretics. Dollars to donuts that'll have you sleeping like a baby. (Until you need to use the toilet at 2:30am, which will feel like a stroll in the park compared to waking up at the same time in a world of pain.)

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    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snailmale
    My money's on Grampy's advice:

    "To stave off future episodes of nocturnal leg cramps, consider the following tips:

    Drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Doing so will help prevent dehydration, which may play a role in the cramping. ..."
    Awwww shucks...... I wish I could take credit for it. I was quoting some hoidy toidy Doctor......
    Carpe who?

  22. #22
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    This being a really important topic (IMO), its always great to learn new ways to skin a cat. Of the few forums I spend any time on these daze, Road Bike Racing just had a similar thread ...
    Combating CRAMPS; running out of ideas!! PLEASE HELP!
    which covered some similar thoughts, but also made me aware of an electrolyte replacement supplement that might be a workable alternative to the sports drinks which don;t sit well with me.
    Beinging mildly hypoglycemic, I like to separate carbo/sugar ingestion from the electrolytes, and possible I try to use fructose sugars in their 'time-release' form ( a piece of fruit).
    The suppement noted - Enduralyte
    seems to be a good way to deal with electrolyte supplement without having to ingest unwanted sugars as well. And the ratios with this stuff seems in line with recommendations I've read from a number of good sources.
    Not necessarily for 'everyday' use, but a simple packaged form for use on long day or multiday rides; this stuff seems worth a try for me. I'm gonna git some - I'll report back with observations once I've had some solid fieldtests.

  23. #23
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    I am the subject of cramping during hilly long rides (centuries). I was recommended by Terry Morse on this forum to try Endurolyte from Hammer. I did so for the first time a couple weeks ago at the Sierra Century. Although I was close to cramping I didn't actually had to stop bebause of them. That was a first for me.
    There are different theories about what causes cramping; lack of electrolytes is one of them (that's where Endurolyte is helpful), lack of training is another (you know what to do to fix it), and lack of fluid is the third most proclaimed reason (drink a lot, especially sport drinks if the rides are long).

  24. #24
    Semper Fidelis
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    great topic and answers.

    I get leg cramps quite frequently or in the arch of my feet, especially late @ night as it wakes me up I am tossing, turning trying to roll-out of bed, stretch walk and massage the muscle area all at the same time.
    This seems to happen if I am not hydrated enough or I do not consume an energy type drink.
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  25. #25
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    a bannana before every ride and gatoraide on the ride. Very rarely get cramps anymore
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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