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Muscle cramps in adductors

Old 06-07-21, 11:38 AM
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rbrides
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Muscle cramps in adductors

I never have the typical ailments most common to cycling. However I have recurring muscle cramps in my adductors. It seems to occur randomly. I've tried to monitor nutrition, weather temperature, effort/power, bike fit, etc but I can not figure out why I get these cramps, and why I get them only in my adductors. (see attached picture showing the adductor). There seems to be a practical remedy for all the common cycling pains (knee, back, calf, foot, etc).

Does anyone have any experience with adductor cramping and knowledge of a true remedy?

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Old 06-07-21, 11:54 AM
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Check return circulation from the lower leg. Try compression leggings when at rest. Consider the L4-L5 dermatomes in the spine and thier relation to injury as a precipitating factor.

If not on cardiac anti-arrhythmics consider that more than 25% of people respond to quinine sulfate in the relief of prolonged muscle cramps. (suspected that its works by relaxing calcium and other electrolyte channels in large muscles)

If you can't get Quinine Sulfate you can try Hylands Leg Cramp Formula. Chew four at the onset of a debilitating cramp.
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Old 06-07-21, 12:01 PM
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Try This:
2 Sips is all I need.
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Old 06-07-21, 12:07 PM
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Interesting.
Thanks.
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Old 06-07-21, 12:41 PM
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I've had problems with adductor cramps, specifically. Mostly while lying or sitting down. I move my thigh towards or away from the centerline of my body and cramp up. I get quad cramps occasionally (much milder than the adductor cramps), and calf cramps rarely, if ever. My cramps are almost exclusively due to fatigue, as far as I can tell - I'm pretty good about hydration and electrolyte replacement.

What I did (am doing):
1. Self-massage. I use something similar to "The Stick", (only knobbier). I still do this after hard or long/hard rides. 1 minute on each calf, 2 minutes on each thigh, concentrating on adductors and quads. Sometimes I'll do it after my ride, and then again about 30-60 min before bed if I've had a particularly hard ride, or I've done other "exercise" (e.g. bike, then mow lawn, or hike, etc.).
2. Varying my pedal stroke during my rides. My adductors were cramping especially when I was trying to pedal circles, pulling my foot back and driving my knee up and over the top of the pedal stroke. I'm working on being more balanced, getting more power from my quads, especially when I can feel my adductors getting fatigued.
3. Spending more time building my aerobic base, and less time in Z4. Often for duffers like myself it takes more discipline to go easy than to go hard.

Anyway, that has worked for me, I only now get cramps when I neglect to use self-massage. I hope it helps.
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Old 06-07-21, 01:58 PM
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A tsp or 2 of yellow mustard. It works nearly 100% of the time for me and the bride.
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Old 06-07-21, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
...it takes more discipline to go easy than to go hard.
Yep... That's the ticket. I am still trying to adjust my ride to my age. And it's not just recovery time.

Like when you have your chain on the biggest cog in the back and smallest in the front and just barely making it through a half turn... with those muscles tightening up and telling you... I'M GOING TO HURT YOU IF YOU DON'T STOP... and go to those size 12 gears on the end of your legs... And then... CRAMP!!!!

RATS!!!
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Old 06-07-21, 05:16 PM
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This is the only place I DO get cramps. And they're nasty.

Mustard never worked for me, but pickle juice makes it go away immediately. On brutally long rides, one pickle juice bottle may only last for 10-15 minutes however, so pack a bunch.

EDIT: I think it's the adductor. Whatever muscle is at the interior of my kneecaps.

Last edited by Dirt Farmer; 06-07-21 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 06-07-21, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirt Farmer View Post
This is the only place I DO get cramps. And they're nasty.

EDIT: I think it's the adductor. Whatever muscle is at the interior of my kneecaps.
Just above the knee, on the inside of the leg? That sounds like the vastus medialis, one of the quadriceps.
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Old 06-07-21, 06:17 PM
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This is one of the cramps I used to get early in the season when I was ramping up my mileage. For whatever reason, that just stopped happening. I think cramps coming and going is just one of life's mysteries.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:14 PM
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Shorter cranks? Less upward movement per stroke. I'm switching from 175 to 170 or shorter cranks for similar reasons. Technically 175 fit me, but not well anymore. After trying 170 cranks on one road bike it immediately felt smoother, less strain on the hips, adductors, knees, etc.

Other than that, researchers don't agree on what causes muscles cramps/spasms or how to cure it.

Two main causes for muscle cramps have been proposed and, depending on which an individual subscribes to, the choice of prevention and treatment strategies will be determined. This suggests an either/or dichotomy, and this is how the literature is often presented, with loud voices expressing strongly held views on either side [24, 25]. It should be recognised though that the picture is not at all clear, and the evidence on both sides of the debate is weak. It is unlikely that a single mechanism can account for all cramps in all situations, therefore the search for a single causal mechanism is probably futile. It follows from this that strategies for the prevention and treatment of the condition are also unlikely to be one-dimensional. However, whatever the primary cause, it is clear that cramp is accompanied by active contraction of the afflicted muscle, as evidenced by high levels of muscle electrical activity [26]. (Muscle Cramping During Exercise: Causes, Solutions, and Questions RemainingRonald J. Maughan and Susan M. Shirreffs.)
Everyone who suffers from 'em has a favorite fix. I like magnesium lactate. And GABA if it persists -- it's just an amino acid, related to gabapentin but not a substitute for the prescription med. Muscle relaxers if it's really bad and affects my neck (old C1-C2 injury so occasionally nothing else will relieve those spasms).

Last edited by canklecat; 06-12-21 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 06-08-21, 03:10 AM
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For me a wider Q/tread helped with this.
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Old 06-08-21, 05:01 AM
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that's because you're (unknowingly) pulling up on the pedals.
Concentrate on pushing down and only push down on the pedals
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Old 06-08-21, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Just above the knee, on the inside of the leg? That sounds like the vastus medialis, one of the quadriceps.
Just did a 38 mile bike race over the weekend. That muscle and my hamstring on the left leg cramped up at mile 25 and 30. And that muscle on my right leg is still sore today.

Sounds like some good ideas here that I will have to try. Although taking some of these items orally while trying to navigate a mountain bike trail during a race is rather difficult. So more importantly...what can be taken ahead of time to prevent cramps?
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Old 06-08-21, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I think cramps coming and going is just one of life's mysteries.
I get the type described when I stand up from too long in the recliner after cycling. Also calf cramps in bed at night after cycling. I agree with the quote above. Cramps have defied my every attempt at analysis. Walking them off is painful, but quickest way Ive found to stop them.
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Old 06-08-21, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
that's because you're (unknowingly) pulling up on the pedals.
Concentrate on pushing down and only push down on the pedals
Very interesting. That is something I certainly could try during any bike ride (like tonight!) .
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Old 06-08-21, 12:55 PM
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Thanks all for the input. Mustard has worked but I use Tums. They help every time and are very fast.

Anyone have comments on cleat position, specifically, the degree of rotation to achieve a more "toe out" orientation?
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Old 06-08-21, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
A tsp or 2 of yellow mustard. It works nearly 100% of the time for me and the bride.
with or without hotdog?
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Old 06-08-21, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
Thanks all for the input. Mustard has worked but I use Tums. They help every time and are very fast.

Anyone have comments on cleat position, specifically, the degree of rotation to achieve a more "toe out" orientation?
not cleat position, but how is your saddle height? The higher the saddle, the more likely you're to strain the adductors when the legs are extended. Try lowering your saddle by a 3-5mm, this will force you to use more gluts (and stay away from activating the adductors).
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Old 06-11-21, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
Very interesting. That is something I certainly could try during any bike ride (like tonight!) .
I switched to flats and it helped, but it didnít solve my muscle cramping in my Hip Flexor and interior quads.

Iím doing PT right now for this. thereís no one magic bullet. Seek out PT.

one other thing to look at is what your doing OFF the bicycle. I was sitting in a bad position at work for 9 hours a day and that was a BIG contributor to my problems.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:22 AM
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I find that an Advil with breakfast goes a long way to prevention, used mostly on my long rides.
Those other hydration remedies are necessary as well of course.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:23 AM
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Muscle cramps may be a "mystery", but it's only a mystery because the average guy doesn't know how to prevent them. But cramps are not a mystery to science.

Let's take a look at how muscle contractions work, and a person may get cramps.

1) Muscle contractions need proper level of key ions, particularly calcium ions, to work. When calcium ions are depleted, then muscles become stiff (aka, cramps). It's one reason why dead body are stiff. So factor #1, keep the electrolytes leveled in your body. How to do can varied in individuals.

2) trained versus untrained muscles. There is a reason why untrained people get more cramps than trained ones. The trained person not only has a better cardio system, but the training process also train his physiology down to the chemical reactions, aka better mobolization of utilizatin of electrolytes. Trained person also tend to have bigger muscle fiber allowing him to do more work while still not straining any "localized" region of a muscle (which could induce cramps). So if you're untrained, you need to allow your body to up regulate your physiology apparatus. Keep practicing but go all out, this will not induce cramps too early

3) Then there is the case of highly trained athletes still gettting cramps. Simply put, no matter how trained you are, you CAN still push your body beyond its limits. In this case, nothing will prevent cramps except to back off.

4) it seems that people with more fast twitch muscles (aka, the "muscular" guys) can do more short and explosive work, but they also tend to get more cramps when asked to do less explosive work but over a longer duration. To a great extend, fast/slow twitch fiber ratio composition is a "genetic" thing, not much you can do about it, i mean endurance training does help to convert some fast twitch to slow twitch fibers, but it won't be a game-changer compared to someone borned with a high ratio of slow twitch fibers. It's why bigger guys tend to cramp sooner than the skinny guys. Also, skinny people (eg, if you lose weight) have a higher proportion of vascularity compare to heavier people, so if you're heavy, then losing weight will effectively raise your vascularity, and more being more vascular means more blood supply to muscles, which could delat the onset of cramps. You never see a "highly tuned" endurance athlete who is fat or heavy.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I find that an Advil with breakfast goes a long way to prevention, used mostly on my long rides.
Those other hydration remedies are necessary as well of course.
I too take Ibuprofen if needed but try to avoid ďtaking a pillĒ to solve long-term problems.

About a year back I had surgery to remove a hyperactive Para-thyroid (your body has 4 of these), as it was causing my Calcium in my blood to be all out of whack and lead to some extreme cramping. This was only found via a blood test, so lesson learned to see my doctor when problems donít easily go away.
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Old 06-11-21, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
with or without hotdog?
preferably without. But it is a good idea Hotdogs are so nasty tasting that you would have to overcome the taste by piling the mustard on.
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Old 06-12-21, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
I never have the typical ailments most common to cycling. However I have recurring muscle cramps in my adductors. It seems to occur randomly. I've tried to monitor nutrition, weather temperature, effort/power, bike fit, etc but I can not figure out why I get these cramps, and why I get them only in my adductors. (see attached picture showing the adductor). There seems to be a practical remedy for all the common cycling pains (knee, back, calf, foot, etc).

Does anyone have any experience with adductor cramping and knowledge of a true remedy?

See your doctor and make sure its nothing serious, barring that I'd suggest a magnesium supplement. I an doing keto and one of the side effects is a lack of magnesium. I take a magnesium supplement on top of the other supplements I take and I don't get cramps. Hope that helps!
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