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Calf cramp and resultant pains

ianramsianrams Posts: 51
edited January 2011 in Health, fitness & training
Whilst out on a training ride on Wednesday evening I suffered severe cramp in my left calf 12 miles into an 18 mile loop. I stopped and stretched and continued on but honestly, struggled to get home. Now I'm left with bad pains in my left calf which is stopping me from doing anything this weekend. I have some questions:

What causes the cramps as I drank High5 Zero during the ride but maybe not enough before?

What can I use or do, to help recover from this painful calf muscle? I've tried stretching but it feels like it might go ping!

Does what you eat drink during the working day effect your body as I'm beggining to think I eat too much rubbish during the day.

Thanks

Ramsey :cry:
Specialized Rockhopper Expert Disc 2009

Posts

  • Following recommendation from one of my riding buddies, I suggest taking multivitamins everyday. I was getting serve cramps, and aparently getting a large dose of magnesium and a few other vitamins everyday normally helps with the cramping. I don'T know if the vitamins are actually working, or if i'm just getting much strong and able to ride longer distances, but I havn't had cramps since he advised taking them.

    It also helps to load up ona good amount of water about an hour before the ride at the latest, that way you have enough fluids in you when you do start sweating.
  • Delta5Delta5 Posts: 264
    I also get vicious calf cramps with very little warning - they really hurt like hell and I'm still aching two days later. They sometimes happen on a ride, sometimes in the middle of the night. As a remedy just about anything salty washed down with pure water can relieve the spasm in 5 - 10 minutes. Even a left-over barbequed chicken drumstick saved me once - halfway up a 3100m mountain. For prevention a magnesium supplement helps, and I always carry natural stuff like dried fruit, nuts and bananas (for potassium), and crispy bacon (for sodium) . . . :)
    Lots of riders recommend isotonic drinks, but tbh I've never found them much good - went off them years ago and never gone back. Most taste like vomit to me, and have been known to result in the same.
    My abundant supply of MTFU is reserved for use in dry, sunny conditions.
  • ianramsianrams Posts: 51
    Thanks for the replies, very interesting. It took three days before the pain went and five before aching stopped.
    Specialized Rockhopper Expert Disc 2009
  • ianrams wrote:
    Thanks for the replies, very interesting. It took three days before the pain went and five before aching stopped.

    I know what you mean. When I do cramp, which is luckily not that often anymore, i'm basically immobilised for about 2-3 days afterwards.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Woke up with cramp last night for first time in ages and I hadn't been on the bike yesterday either and hadn't done anything different in terms of fluids and food. Almost both legs went as I was tensing up in the right whilst the left went. I have a trick for cramp in the night which someone told me, which is just as you feel it starting, angle your foot towards you. It often works surprisingly.

    Unfortunately the left leg just went and once it's gone it hurts like hell.

    Annoying as I'm riding today and tomorrow. Just hope it will go away, or will riding cause damage?

    It's eased off at the moment but there's tenderness on the calf muscle.
  • Delta5Delta5 Posts: 264
    I think I may have found the cause of my cramps . . . this might help any of you who have had similar problems.

    After a good summer of riding, when winter arrived I started feeling cr*p and battling to maintain a decent pace on my bike. Lots of aches & pains, and the crunch came on the Evans ride at Cliddesden in Nov when out of the blue I got massive cramps in my quads and calves. At the time I put it down to the cold and mud.
    Long story short, more cramps plus dizziness and a few other things eventually led me to visit the doctor, and blood tests showed that I had a serious vitamin D deficiency (mine was 24, 'normal' is 75 :shock: ) . . . and low calcium levels.
    The vit D deficiency is put down to a lack of sunlight, which is why it's worse in winter, but it affects some people much more than others. Vit D and calcium deficiencies often go together because vit D is required (amongst many other things) for the absorption of calcium - and a lack of calcium has been linked to cramps!
    I won't go into detail - there is plenty about it on the web - but if you are suffering cramps at night / feeling run down and achy in winter, it may be worth getting your vitamin and mineral levels tested.

    I've been on a vit D3 supplement since the beginning of January. The doctor said it would be at least a month before I should expect to see any improvement, but in the last two weeks I've had less muscle aches and thankfully no cramps, so it's looking hopeful.
    My abundant supply of MTFU is reserved for use in dry, sunny conditions.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    liver is a delicious and easy alternative to vitamin supplements, has load of vit d in it along with lots and lots of 'good stuff'
  • Delta5Delta5 Posts: 264
    liver is a delicious and easy alternative to vitamin supplements, has load of vit d in it along with lots and lots of 'good stuff'

    Delicious it is . . . but not that rich in Vit D (though it has lots of vit A) and unfortunately beef and chicken liver also contain loads of cholestrol. Salmon, mackerel, tuna and (if you can stomach it) cod liver oil are the best dietary sources, followed by milk.
    My abundant supply of MTFU is reserved for use in dry, sunny conditions.
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