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Old 01-25-09, 09:56 PM   #1
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Post Ride Calf Muscle Pain (sometimes)

Anybody have any suggestions as to why my calf muscles, especially my right, gets quite tight post-ride?

Some background:
- Type of ride: predominantly road (clipped) or hybrid (not). Clips = Crank Bros. egg beaters.
- In flight nutrition: electrolyte drink (not gatorade). On longer rides, bagels, bananas, fig newtons, gels, etc.
- My build: 5'8", 175lbs. Age 48. Broken right ankle at age 15 and 16.
- Pedalling mechanic: Left thigh is fore & aft and passes within 1" of top tube on the way over. (normal?) Right thigh is approx. 8-10 degrees to the right. I never really noticed this until midway through last season. (not normal?) I correct for it by pressing down on the inside on my right foot when I think about it. Cleats are identical in shoe sole placement.
- Symptoms: In-Ride (anywhere from 1-6 hrs): Nothing to speak of when riding.
Post ride: Sometimes pronounced limp, right foot. If I bend my knee and contract my calf, it often goes into a painful knot. The funny thing is, if I bear the pain, it subsides in approx 20-30 secs and lessens or removes limp.

If I do thorough leg stretches post ride, it doens't make much of a difference. I'm quite certain that I'm hydrated. Last winter I did no riding and walked with a pronounced limp at times. It was acute enough this summer to preclude me officiating minor football because I could not run well enough without significant discomfort. Again, it seems that by contracting the calf muscles, and bearing some pain, it makes the limp go away. Learning that trick by chance got me back into officiating. I should add at this point that I think my arches are fine. Left foot/leg has no issues. I haven't tried shims yet. Nor have I tried anti-imflammatories.

I fear this question is quite nebulous and may be hard for others to answer without all the facts but I thought I'd put it out there anyway. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

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Old 01-25-09, 11:39 PM   #2
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here are a couple of things you might wanna look at.

1st lets take out the issue of 'electrolytes' and other small mineral deficiences. That is something you'd have to verify, as you have noted you seem to have that covered.

1. check your saddle height against some of the conventional formulas... Same with saddle position...
combination of both (and leg/foot alignment) could a large factor in the problem. If you do find you;re well outside of settings some of the common formulas will recommend; do changes in small increments, less than 5mm, and ride for a few days, before making further changes. Large seat position/height changes can screw you up also.

2. canting - leg alignment. driving thru the pedal stroke with a leg/foot which is out of alignment can cause this as well. anything different than even pressure on shoe sole on the downward stroke, can cause real problems from the knee downward.
canting, wedging or 'shimming' for this would be a possible adjustment for alignment issues. Lemond LeWedges...
if you're compensating for alignment issues, this could be aggravating the calf problem.

Since you;re experiencing this running as well, you might want to go to a podiatrist first, then if orthotics are recommended for your athletic shoes, you might be able to use them also in your cycling shoes; or you can then use LEWedges to achieve the proper alignment in your cycling shoes.

Large differences in leg length (left to right) could also contribute to all the problems above, and so be at the root of your problem.

Last edited by cyclezen; 01-25-09 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 01-26-09, 05:34 AM   #3
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Here's my usual recommendation. Try taking some Magnesium and seeing if that helps. Thats the first thing to try.

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Old 01-26-09, 10:04 AM   #4
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one of the biggest things over looked is a cool down.

Whenever you go for a tough ride do not just get off the bike and go in and sit down. Ride super easy for a little bit. Then walk around afterwards. If i just straight go in my calfs kill me and just cramp up.
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