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Charlie Horses--Prevention and Likelihood of Recurrences

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Charlie Horses--Prevention and Likelihood of Recurrences

Old 07-02-19, 08:08 PM
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Payton1221
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Charlie Horses--Prevention and Likelihood of Recurrences

I have an 11 mile loop that I ride most evenings, and after being 4.79 miles into it I had to stop pedaling when struck by a charlie horse in my calf After standing still for a minute or so, I started off again slowly but managed to ride the remaining portion without any recurrences. Two questions:

1) Any tips for avoiding a charlie horse in the first place? My diet today was keto-like (I like a lot of keto-friendly foods, but I still eat carbs) but I also ate an apple at 3:00 and two small bananas ~90 minutes before tonight's ride.

2) For those who have suffered charlie horses during a ride, how likely have you found it for a second or third episode to occur?
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Old 07-02-19, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
I have an 11 mile loop that I ride most evenings, and after being 4.79 miles into it I had to stop pedaling when struck by a charlie horse in my calf After standing still for a minute or so, I started off again slowly but managed to ride the remaining portion without any recurrences. Two questions:

1) Any tips for avoiding a charlie horse in the first place? My diet today was keto-like (I like a lot of keto-friendly foods, but I still eat carbs) but I also ate an apple at 3:00 and two small bananas ~90 minutes before tonight's ride.

2) For those who have suffered charlie horses during a ride, how likely have you found it for a second or third episode to occur?
Increase Magnesium and potassium intake consider supplementation("sneak up on the magnesium, it can loosen bowels). Charlies are more common in hot weather. Also hydrate. Watch the fad diets
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Old 07-02-19, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado View Post
Increase Magnesium and potassium intake consider supplementation("sneak up on the magnesium, it can loosen bowels). Charlies are more common in hot weather. Also hydrate. Watch the fad diets
This!
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Old 07-02-19, 08:40 PM
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Eating Keto and carbs sounds a lot like just eating a lot of everything. Or like a vegetarian who also eats meat. Keto is based on near absence of carbs, so adding bananas and apples etc. makes it not keto.

Eat what you want, but don't call it keto if it isn't.

Last edited by HerrKaLeun; 07-02-19 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 07-02-19, 09:15 PM
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Had this occur once or twice during a computrainer class. Asked about it an was told to make sure my breathing was deep. Seems to have helped.
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Old 07-03-19, 01:15 AM
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Potassium and water. Like he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 07-03-19, 02:03 AM
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I had to look up what a charley horse was. I guess it's what we would just call a cramp. As they say, two nations divided by a common language.
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Old 07-03-19, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
I had to look up what a charley horse was. I guess it's what we would just call a cramp. As they say, two nations divided by a common language.
Muscle spasm
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Old 07-03-19, 05:21 AM
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There's absolutely no evidence that electrolytes do anything to avoid cramps, and in any event, you're getting them just a few miles into a ride which is way too soon for sweating to cause an electrolyte imbalance.

It's a one-time occurrence so far, and it may never recur as you strengthen the muscle. Even if it does recur, you handled it the way you're supposed to. I get a few of these a year, almost always in the spring as I'm ramping up my ride length, and once I've done that, they generally stop. I don't get them at all in the summer and fall, and I'm riding hundreds of miles per week.

BTW, the scientific evidence is clear that keto diets are really unhealthy. They increase mortality from all causes. You appear to be describing a low-carb diet, which is quite different.

If you need to change your diet for other reasons, do so, but a one-time cramp is not usually a harbinger of more problems.

Electrolyte supplementation is generally a scam. You're almost certainly taking in plenty in your food. Just be sure your diet includes enough fresh produce. Keto diets work against that, which is one of the main reasons they suck.
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Old 07-03-19, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs View Post
Potassium and water. Like he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I recently started mixing some "creme of tartar", which has potassium and Morton lite salt (sodium and potassium) in my workout water. Like 3g of creme and 1g of salt gives 700mg of potassium

All the ready electrolyte mixes contain very little potassium, and often sugar and cost a lot. So that is my ghetto version.

BTW. I track my food and specifically pick vegetables that are very high in potassium and still don't get my 4700mg daily. One has to eat a LOT of veggies to get all potassium. So potassium is my only supplement. It also gives my water some taste. (I only drink tap water and some coffee, no other type of drinks)
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Old 07-03-19, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
I had to look up what a charley horse was. I guess it's what we would just call a cramp. As they say, two nations divided by a common language.
Happens in different regions of same countries
gm
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Old 07-03-19, 06:29 AM
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Pickle juice is supposed to help prevent muscle cramps.

https://www.picklepower.com/the-prod...entific-study/

But I suppose that there tastier alternatives.
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Old 07-03-19, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado View Post
Happens in different regions of same countries
gm
This is true, but not to the same extent. If a man were to go out in public in England wearing pants and suspenders he'd be likely arrested. And describing something as a 'fanny pack' would be considered quite rude over here. I'm sure you could come up with plenty of other examples.

On the other hand, charley horse (that's how it's spelt in Wikipedia) sounds like there's a story behind the name. Does anyone know what it is?
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Old 07-03-19, 06:33 AM
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When I was in school, the term "Charley horse" referred to the pain resulting from getting kicked or kneed in the quadricep. It was part of the classic hazing ritual.

Some kid would walk up to you and say "You look like a farmer, but you don't have any animals. How about a nice Charley horse?" as the kneed you really hard in the quad. Then they'd say, "You don't have any land, how about some 'ache-ers'?" as they'd punch you sharply and repeatedly on the shoulder.

I'm sure the routine continued on from there (let's face it, schoolyard bullies can be quite creative) but I never saw / experienced the full version.
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Old 07-03-19, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
This is true, but not to the same extent. If a man were to go out in public in England wearing pants and suspenders he'd be likely arrested. And describing something as a 'fanny pack' would be considered quite rude over here. I'm sure you could come up with plenty of other examples.

On the other hand, charley horse (that's how it's spelt in Wikipedia) sounds like there's a story behind the name. Does anyone know what it is?
Scroll down to near the bottom of the article for a possible explanation for the name.

BTW, get it right, it is “spelled” not “spelt” and we ride on tires, not tyres.

Just kidding mate, I love the differences in our common language.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312241.php
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Old 07-03-19, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
BTW, get it right, it is “spelled” not “spelt” and we ride on tires, not tyres.
Just kidding mate, I love the differences in our common language.
You're quite right about 'spelled' - I knew something wasn't right as I wrote it - but it's definitely 'tyres', not 'tires'. That way we can't have any lame jokes about bikes being two tired to stand up.
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Old 07-03-19, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
You're quite right about 'spelled' - I knew something wasn't right as I wrote it - but it's definitely 'tyres', not 'tires'. That way we can't have any lame jokes about bikes being two tired to stand up.
Good one!
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Old 07-03-19, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
There's absolutely no evidence that electrolytes do anything to avoid cramps.
True and it has been looked for extensively. Exercise-related cramps are poorly understood and most are likely neurogenic, i.e., originating in spinal reflex loops, not muscle. They tend to get better with conditioning.
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Old 07-03-19, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for all of the replies. I do supplement with magnesium, and I've just discovered my multi-vitamin has a whopping 2% RDA Although I do eat bananas, I probably am deficient in potassium and will start supplementing.

Regarding the foods that I eat, I mentioned the "keto-like" foods that I ate mostly yesterday in case it might have contributed to the Charlie horse. I am not on a restricted calorie diet of any sort (I maintain the same weight essentially all year) and I'm definitely eating "keto," but I do eat fewer carbs than most.
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Old 07-03-19, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
I recently started mixing some "creme of tartar", which has potassium and Morton lite salt (sodium and potassium) in my workout water. Like 3g of creme and 1g of salt gives 700mg of potassium

All the ready electrolyte mixes contain very little potassium, and often sugar and cost a lot. So that is my ghetto version.

BTW. I track my food and specifically pick vegetables that are very high in potassium and still don't get my 4700mg daily. One has to eat a LOT of veggies to get all potassium. So potassium is my only supplement. It also gives my water some taste. (I only drink tap water and some coffee, no other type of drinks)
Careful here, potassium overdose is a really unpleasant thing. Supplements generally have a limit of 100mg for good reasons.
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Old 07-03-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
I have an 11 mile loop that I ride most evenings, and after being 4.79 miles into it I had to stop pedaling when struck by a charlie horse in my calf After standing still for a minute or so, I started off again slowly but managed to ride the remaining portion without any recurrences. Two questions:

1) Any tips for avoiding a charlie horse in the first place? My diet today was keto-like (I like a lot of keto-friendly foods, but I still eat carbs) but I also ate an apple at 3:00 and two small bananas ~90 minutes before tonight's ride.

2) For those who have suffered charlie horses during a ride, how likely have you found it for a second or third episode to occur?

You got a calf cramp after 4.79 miles on the bicycle?

I'd be checking your setup and pedalling style.

Are you able to post a photo of your bicycle and preferably of you on or at least next to the bicycle?
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Old 07-03-19, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
True and it has been looked for extensively. Exercise-related cramps are poorly understood and most are likely neurogenic, i.e., originating in spinal reflex loops, not muscle. They tend to get better with conditioning.
The thing about exercise-related cramps is they're most likely going to go away completely just as fast as they come on regardless of what you do, so all the folk-cures of cramping are most likely just artifacts of the post-hoc fallacy.

"I took supplements and the cramps went away, so supplements prevent cramps" is a classic example. The cramps would have gone away if you ate Elmer's glue or chanted "no more cramps" also.

No matter how many times blood testing shows no relationship between cramps and electrolytes, people are going to stick to this story.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You got a calf cramp after 4.79 miles on the bicycle?

I'd be checking your setup and pedalling style.

Are you able to post a photo of your bicycle and preferably of you on or at least next to the bicycle?
Keep in mind, though, that this was a one-time event. For all we know, it might have been caused by something he was doing before he got on the bike combined with the 4.79 miles.

Cramps are pretty random--one time is hardly reason to pull the fire alarm and make a bunch of changes.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You got a calf cramp after 4.79 miles on the bicycle?

I'd be checking your setup and pedalling style.
This right here. I've had a tricky right calf for... years. Decades. It will just sometimes cramp up while I'm sitting on the sofa, or asleep in bed. But on a bike? It last reared up on me at mile 95 of a century. The time before that was well over 100º, and 60+ miles in, during a long climb.

Locking up a muscle at the 5 mile mark indicates something other than nutrition or hydration. One of my sisters could get cramps from simply looking at a bicycle, and now drinks pickle juice on every ride. Seems to work for her.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:16 AM
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I had some quad cramping few weeks ago, tried the TUMS and pickle juice, no effect. Mine came on suddenly at the beginning of the ride, on a bike whose fit I was in the process of adjusting, and the seat was too far forward, IIRC. I had walked up and down 4 flights of stairs earlier that day, and suspect that had something to do with the cramping (especially walking down the stairs).

Pain originated in the areas circled in red, FWIW, YMMV:

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