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Okay, last question of the day. What are those post ride leg cramps about?(25 posts)

Okay, last question of the day. What are those post ride leg cramps about?Kristin
Apr 21, 2003 10:08 AM
I'll feel fine when I fishish my ride. Actually, I'll feel great. But within 8 hours my legs will start to ache and the pain will last another 8 hours. Sometimes I can't sleep. In years past, these cramps have gone away after 2 months of consistent riding. Ibuprofin doesn't seem to help. What causes this?
Recovery.Spunout
Apr 21, 2003 10:21 AM
Healing.

If you are in base miles (haven't read your threads below), you might be going a bit too hard. After a hard workout, expect it.

So, keep up the LSD. After a hard workout, plan a recovery day or very light day after.
linkDougSloan
Apr 21, 2003 10:22 AM
http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/SGOT.html
Where on your legs, exactly? What muscle group? OrOldEdScott
Apr 21, 2003 10:22 AM
are we talking the whole damn leg?

Is it actual cramps or just pain?
AnswersKristin
Apr 21, 2003 11:22 AM
Yep, my whole damn legs. Its not second day soreness, as Doug's post indicates. I've had that plenty of times and know what it feels like--hurts to stand/sit, climb stairs, etc and gets better when you stretch. This is different. It starts hurting way before day-after soreness could begin. Its more like a dull ache that doesn't seem to have one focus point--just a general pain. Come to think of it, I got these a lot as a kid...especially when my feet got cold and wet. My parents had always told me they were growing pains, except I never seemed to grow out of them. I figured it was common for people to get this after initial excercise.
This may sound weird, butOldEdScott
Apr 21, 2003 11:33 AM
I'm betting the problem is in your lower back. The generalized pain you describe is not common after exercise, and could be due to a mis-alignment or other problem in your back. Might even occur without your back itself being painful.

This would be made even worse if you're stressing that musculature with too much drop from saddle to handlebar.

Obviously, this is just a guess, and worth exactly what I'm charging for it. But if you find no other real explanation, it might be worth having a chiropractor check things out.
Busted muscles.MR_GRUMPY
Apr 21, 2003 10:25 AM
If it goes away in 8 hours, you're ready to train harder.
No pain; no gain [nm]Leroy
Apr 21, 2003 10:44 AM
this is a serious response to cramping...Fredrico
Apr 21, 2003 12:00 PM
I used to cramp on hot days, and a few years ago riding short commutes. I'd get to work, fine. Then on the way home, after sitting at a desk all day, my legs would cramp up right away.

My brother works construction, and gets dehydrated frequently during a long day in the sun and heat. That was my problem. I drank coffee all day, a diuretic, and suffered serious potassium deficiency, the same as from riding a bike hard on a hot day. He gave me some potassium gluconate. I took two tabs and a good swig of water before going home, and surprise, no cramps. Problem solved, once and for all. I've never cramped since.

At any rate, potassium gluconate is relatively harmless and cheap. Before you theorized about this and that, or go see a doctor, just try it. You may be as surprised as I was.
My guess, dehydration.....russw19
Apr 21, 2003 12:32 PM
Seriously... check your urine color and odor. I know that sounds sick, but see how dark yellow your urine is. If it's really dark or golden colored, that's a sure sign. However if you drink enough sports drinks, this could change the color, but you still may be dehydraded. Does your urine smell strong or pungent? That's sign number two. Drink lots of water.... lots more than you think you need.... if you wake up 4 times a night to pee, that's better than waking up with your calves in knots.

Number two to check is are you stretching well both before and after you ride? If not, you should start. It could help this.

Also, what Fredrico said above is very true... so eat more bananas. They have a lot of potassium... that's why cyclist eat so many of them... keep you from cramping.

I used to have this problem a lot when I was younger. I used to ride about 20,000 miles a year and would always wake up with muscle spasms and cramps. It was simple dehydration for me. I live in a very humid climate and that was compounding the problem. Make sure you are drinking enough both on and off the bike. Most people don't drink enough on the bike, let alone after the ride is over.

My rule of thumb is that for every hour I ride, my post rehydration is 1/2 gallon of water. That's on top of the 40 ounces or so I will go thru during the ride. Also make sure to prehydrate. If you know you are going to ride after you get off work, drink plenty of water during the day.

The only possible bad thing about being overly hydrated is bloating for women and having to pee a lot. I would trade more trips to the bathroom for a good night's sleep with no cramps later that night.

just my opinions....
Russ
This may be of some interest:coonass
Apr 21, 2003 2:25 PM
I began using Sodium Bicarbonate in my Camelbak and it's been a life saver for me....be careful: too much will 'ruin' your ride :)
Here's a few sites to visit:
http://www.cptips.com/muspain.htm
http://www.fitnessworld.com/info/info_pages/library/webfact/webfact0499.html
http://topcondition.com/index.html
http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/lactic.htm
re: Okay, last question of the day. What are those post ride leRich_Racer
Apr 21, 2003 2:50 PM
I'd agree with russw19, I think this sounds like a dehydration issue - maybe addedto low sodium/potassium too. Try to hydrate before a ride, drink about a bottle an hour or a sports drink that has added salt (isotonic), and continue to hydrate for 30 minutes after the ride too. If your urine is dark yellow you're dehydrated. I'd rather stop to pee a lot due to overhydration than have cramps or loss of performance (10-50% from dehydration).
agree with most-dehydration and lack of mineralsrufus
Apr 21, 2003 3:42 PM
i have problems with leg cramps in the middle of the night. mainly because i love ice tea, a diuretic, and drink way too much of it, and not enough water. so i try to drink more water, and take a potassium gluconate tablet after longer rides in hot weather.

1. stretch before and after the ride.
2. drink plenty of water. avoid caffeine
3. potassium supplements
Whey you guys talk about leg cramps, are youKristin
Apr 21, 2003 3:47 PM
talking about a dull aching leg, or a charlie horse type muscle spasm? I'm talking about the former. My legs just ache. There is not sharp pain. Just want to make sure we're on the same page. But I'm assuming Rufus is talking about the same thing I am, since it happens at night. I get some symptoms of that restless leg syndrome too, and that will happen more often when I've just started excercising again.
Try eating some antacids that haveLone Gunman
Apr 21, 2003 4:25 PM
calcium in them. These are supposed to help with cramping problems and they have calcium which you probably need anyway. Get ones that taste good like cherry flavored or something and try. Not witchcraft or harmful (only if you eat the whole bottle in one sitting) but they may reduce or eliminate the problem. Of course do this when symptoms occur.
Try eating some antacids that haveflying
Apr 21, 2003 5:27 PM
Years ago I use to drink a ice water with Alka Seltzer in it when I got home from a really tough ride. Felt great & really reduced soreness. I wonder if it was because of the calcium? Or maybe the antacids buffered the lactic acid or even the asprin killed some pain?? Who knows but it worked great ;-)
I just stay well hydrated & fed now & seems ok
so you aren't talking about just sore achey legs are you?rufus
Apr 21, 2003 4:56 PM
a different type of pain then just overworked legs? or even leg cramps like a charley horse or a spasm? you just have a dull ache in your legs. does it change to a sharp pain at times when you move a certain way, or go from sitting to stanbding, or shoot down through your leg? where is it located, a specific area, or all throughout the leg?
Yes - I think the chiropractor might be the answerKristin
Apr 22, 2003 5:49 AM
Its just a dull ache with no spasm or sharp pain at all. It is not located in a specific area. It could be--as some have suggested--back related. 10 years ago, in college, I needed to have adjustments for some lower back spasms. And come to think of it, my leg aches went away for a while at that time. Hmmmm? Now I was never good about following the "maintenance" stretches and gave up entirely after a short time. I have known that I would eventually end up back at the chiropracters. (Get it? ...back? hehe.) Anyway. Perhaps that day is approaching. Coincidentally, or not, I have had some muscle spasms in my back and ribs since yesterday.
could be a back thingrufus
Apr 22, 2003 12:34 PM
i have a herniated disc in my back, and while i'm not saying this is what it is in your case, the symptoms are somewhat similar. my legs feel ok, but when my back flares up, it feels like it's going to spasm, and when it does go into spasm, it causes a tightening of the muscles around my hip joint. this causes pain in my hip, and in my legs, sometimes just an ache, and at times it'll shoot down my leg or through my hip.

this will last until i get the knot of muscles sufficiently loosened by stretching. if you see your chiropractor, ask for some stetches for the lower back and hips, maybe they will help.
Biomechanical misalignment?littleMoots
Apr 21, 2003 5:30 PM
Kristin:

You may want to visit an orthopedist or podiatrist. I had "tired/aching" legs for years. I finally found out that I have mild clubfeet and some flat footedness. One way to tell if you have a problem is to examine your street shoes. Do they show early and excessive wear on the sides of the heel?

If you have a biomechanical problem, you need to examine your fore/aft position with respect to your knee and bottom bracket. Also make sure that you are not pedaling with your toes as this can put too much pressure on your arch. You also may need more float if your feet tend to turn in or out a lot.

Finally, think about your crank length. Everyone always tries to put me on 165mm since I am so short. But, I have a really long femur so a 170mm actually reduces the stresses on my legs.

Also remember that women's legs tend not to be as straight as men's. (Women tend to be more knock-kneed.) So careful positioning can really help reduce the stresses on your legs. It is NOT normal for your legs to ache.

Good luck!
Whey you guys talk about leg cramps, are youtoomanybikes
Apr 21, 2003 6:07 PM
Kristin,

Everything being said above re water - drink water.

When I was younger and rode a lot more miles I was prone to real leg pain at the end of the weekend, beginning of the week ( longer days in the saddle on weekends) I found, by accident, that a glass or two of milk more than usual really addressed it. Calcium.

Read somewhere sometime later about calcium requirements in herd exercise - go figure.

Try drinking more milk and take rest days.
Kristin, Everything being said above re water - drink water. When I was younger and rode a lot more miles I was prone to real leg pain at the end of the weekend, beginning of the week ( longer days in the saddle on weekends) I found, by accident, that a glass or two of milk more than usual really addressed it. Calcium. Read somewhere sometime later about calcium requirements in herd exercise - go figure. Try drinking more milk and take rest days.toomanybikes
Apr 21, 2003 6:07 PM
approved
Mooooooo! ;-) nmSpunout
Apr 22, 2003 4:05 AM
Here's some info that helped me......coonass
Apr 21, 2003 5:33 PM
I started using a little Sodium Bicarbonate in my water bottle. Here are some sites to scrutinize....but don't overdo it on the SB; you'll 'ruin' your ride...

http://www.cptips.com/muspain.htm#muscrmp
http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/lactic.htm
http://www.fitnessworld.com/info/info_pages/library/webfact/webfact0499.html
Sorry for the double post...coonass
Apr 21, 2003 5:40 PM
I didn't see the first posting and since my ISP is goofing up tonight, I repeated....sorry!