Author Topic: Muscle Cramp  (Read 2030 times)

Muscle Cramp
« on: November 21, 2017, 08:05:23 pm »
Over the years I have always suffered from a bit of cramp in my legs. I thought it was just me, I'd pushed it too hard somewhere, not fit enough, carrying too much weight, not enough fluids or whatever. Then last summer I bought a nice shinny new bike; result no cramp on any ride regardless of the length or conditions!

Now, I've just got the old bike (531st tourer) out for the winter and first ride, cramp. Okay it was a hilly ride and and very cold, but it got me thinking; have I fundimentally been riding an ill fitting bike for years.

So, two bikes side by side and tape measure in hand. Set height, near enough the same, bar height, about an 1" higher on the old, stem reach about the same, but there was one big difference, my new bike had it's seat pushed back a lot further, as in about 2" further back that the old. In fact there were two difference the second being weight, I haven't measured it but 25yr old 531st Tourer v modern Carbon Road bike, so the weight difference was quite bit a well.

So a question to the enlighted. Do you think that have a too far forward saddle could be the cause of the cramp (mainly thigh cramp)?

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2017, 09:10:55 pm »
Watching with interest as I am a sufferer.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Ben T

  • I do find that slightly bizarre, I must admit.
Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 09:56:08 pm »
I thought cramp was a sudden acute spasm you get when twisting a leg in an awkward position rather than a general achiness... I've never had (what I know as) cramp when cycling.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2017, 10:44:44 pm »
Yes it is a sudden acute spasm, but it's nothing to do with twisting or general achiness. It's difficult to describe, but imagine your muscle has just decided to contract, with no real notice, to it's shortest length, wants to pull itself even shorter, all at the same time hurting like hell (big understatement) and you have to do something about it. The only remidy is to stretch the muscle, against the pain and I'll tell you that hurts as much, if not more than the pain of the spasm; but it's got to be done.

I remember hearing someone once say that if you not sure whether you've had an orgasm or not you haven't had one! It's the same with cramp. You bloody well do know you've got an attack.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 12:23:19 am »
The advice for reducing cramp attacks is stretching the muscle that cramps, rather than taking drugs like quinine. e.g. stretching calves before bedtimes.

So maybe the new bike is just stretching the muscles a bit more/enough?
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 08:15:55 am »
I thought cramp was a sudden acute spasm you get when twisting a leg in an awkward position rather than a general achiness... I've never had (what I know as) cramp when cycling.
Cramps (in my experience) can start without any twisting or awkward positioning.
At their worst, the muscles will tear badly. They can be agonisingly painful.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Ben T

  • I do find that slightly bizarre, I must admit.
Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 09:09:32 am »
Yes it is a sudden acute spasm, but it's nothing to do with twisting or general achiness. It's difficult to describe, but imagine your muscle has just decided to contract, with no real notice, to it's shortest length, wants to pull itself even shorter, all at the same time hurting like hell (big understatement) and you have to do something about it. The only remidy is to stretch the muscle, against the pain and I'll tell you that hurts as much, if not more than the pain of the spasm; but it's got to be done.

I remember hearing someone once say that if you not sure whether you've had an orgasm or not you haven't had one! It's the same with cramp. You bloody well do know you've got an attack.

Yeah, I've had it - just as you describe. Just never while cycling, even to the point where I can't even envisage getting it while cycling.
The only difference for me is the stretching necessary to alleviate it isn't that painful, possibly only because of the knowledge of the relief it brings.
I get it when contorted wrongly, for example the last time I got it was when I was trying to look under a car to see how the towbar fitted, when crouched, rather than fully lying down with legs stretched out as I should have been. (Cramp, that is.  :) )
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2019, 04:32:46 pm »
The advice for reducing cramp attacks is stretching the muscle that cramps, rather than taking drugs like quinine. e.g. stretching calves before bedtimes.


But you can't  stretch the muscle while you have a cramp. One thing that can help is to press the joint in the direction the cramped muscle wants to take it, while tensing the opposing muscle to push back.
Jennifer - walker of hills



Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2019, 05:56:35 pm »

Cramps (in my experience) can start without any twisting or awkward positioning.
They can be are agonisingly painful.
I agree.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2019, 06:26:07 pm »
When I get them, it's usually while dismounting. As you swing your leg over the saddle, you fold it back at the knee. I remember one attack where a quick-thinking control marshal on an Audax had to grab my bike so that I could hop around the market square.

I've always associated with fitness, more than bike fit, but who knows.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2019, 08:59:02 am »
Try pickle juice

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2019, 09:27:19 am »
When I get them, it's usually while dismounting. As you swing your leg over the saddle, you fold it back at the knee. I remember one attack where a quick-thinking control marshal on an Audax had to grab my bike so that I could hop around the market square.

I've always associated with fitness, more than bike fit, but who knows.

Other factors may also influence cramps.  My worst ever were as an undiagnosed type 1 diabetic, so my whole endocrine system and body chemistry out of whack, mineral balance completely up the spout.  I'd be jumping out of bed almost every night with uncontrollable calf and quad cramps.

Start on insulin, body chemistry back to normal and the cramps are now generally gone, except under extremes of exertion/endurance.
Has the OP ruled out issues such as electrolytes, dehydration, blood glucose?  Is there a fitness improvement as well as a bike change?
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2019, 03:53:20 pm »
Can blood pressure influence propensity to cramping?

I get them at night, in bed. Started checking my bp in the morning; 93/62 was one reading. Generally systolic under 100 and diastolic under 70.

Also get them when kayaking, in my toes.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2019, 05:36:13 pm »
Pickle juice does help.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

'breff

  • M' back!
  • Head Banger.
Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2019, 07:34:59 pm »
Stretch and relax the affected muscle. Breathe deeply to get oxygen in as much as you can.
A can of fizzy pop with a teaspoon of salt just about stops cramp through the night.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2019, 07:39:49 pm »
Suffer badly from this too, it's always inner thigh on both legs at the same time. DIY 200 yesterday not hilly or fast paced, drank plenty water with electrolyte tabs and tea at cafe stops. Got home and stretched for 10 mins or so, later, went to bed and then awoke with the almighty pain! Couldn't move at all in any direction until it wore off after 3/4 mins. Legs feel really sore today, especially thigh muscles.

I'd love to know the cause, whether it's fluid, fitness or bike related? It's now got to the stage that I've come to expect it after a long ride.
Mind of a cyclist, body of a dart player.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2019, 08:15:22 pm »
Suffer badly from this too, it's always inner thigh on both legs at the same time.
Affects me in exactly the same place too. I have had success with tonic water (contains quinine).
Quinine tablets (I have been told) work well, but are only available on prescription.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2019, 09:53:56 pm »
I find it helpful to drink a pint of water with a Nuun tablet even if I have been well hydrated as I go to bed.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2019, 10:25:34 am »

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2019, 06:10:27 am »
I've bought these from the local Decathlon so will try them and see if they help any.

 https://www.decathlon.co.uk/salt-caps-x100-id_8409161.html
Mind of a cyclist, body of a dart player.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2019, 07:03:08 am »
I find it helpful to drink a pint of water with a Nuun tablet even if I have been well hydrated as I go to bed.
I find Nuun tablets don't work for me.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2019, 09:24:09 am »
There are other hydration tablets. I use ORS. Worth trying different types. Took me a little while to find these. I buy them from my local chemist but you can find them online.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2019, 07:36:47 pm »
I find diaoralyte cures a cramp attack in minutes. Only happens if I forget to use 1 sachet to 2 x 750 ml bottles when cycling

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2019, 07:13:06 am »
Another 200k at the weekend past and glad to report no cramp, muscles were extremely tight though and could almost feel it was about to happen.

Downed plenty of water during and after, took the above salt caps then had a 10 min spell on the rollers for a warm down when i got home.
Mind of a cyclist, body of a dart player.

Re: Muscle Cramp
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2019, 08:01:16 pm »
So I DNF'd WCW after horrendous cramps on the section to Hartlebury.  Thanks to the rider who stopped and virtually pressed a packet of crisps into my hands to get some salt into the system!  After the control, I managed to press on to Lilleshall, but by this point, my heart wasn't in it and I was worried I'd seize up again.

Anyway, since then, done a bit of reading and found this quite interesting: https://sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-i/

The quick TL;DR version is:
* Don't worry about electrolytes
* Pace yourself sensibly (I didn't! Wanted to make hay whilst the sun shone)
* Remember to stretch lots

I think the 3rd one is something that I can do better at.  Not sure when I'll next start a 600, but will try to get into the habit of doing so whenever I have a stop in future