cripple calf muscle

u05harrisb Posts: 531
edited April 2011 in MTB general
went riding on the club run yesterday, was pushing it pretty hard :lol: but then when on one of the attacks my calf muscle tensed up, worse that it had ever been before. so in words very painfull, was tense and fairly sore for the rest of the ride. today its really sore and painfull when touched and/or stretched, any ideas at all guys/girls? if it helps at all i first felt it about to "go" when i started sprinting and tipped my toe in a little more than i would do normally when shifting position on the saddle.

many thanks!


  • xCatch22x
    xCatch22x Posts: 36

    This happened to me a week ago at Dalby Forest. I havnt ridden for around 2 months so was a bit out of shape and after a crappy week of shifts I was well tired.

    First of all I will deal with what I do when it happens, then how to prevent it.

    1) Fall off the bike begging for forgiveness for whatever it is that I have done wrong!
    2) Seriously, stretch the muscle as soon as you can to get the blood flowing.
    3) Ride with the ball of your foot further forward on the pedal if possible, pedal type permitting. Having you foot too far back on the pedal can actually bring on cramps earlier.
    4) Get some salty food in your system and replenish your water loss asap.


    Muscles cramp due to the following reasons.

    Lack of blood flow which leads to a build up of lactic acid
    Lack of electrolytes in your system. Sodium and potasium that help control muscle function. If they are depleted then the brain cannot stop the muscle contracting ie cramp.

    So, if you were breathing heavy ie gasping it's probably going to help to improve your cardio vascular system (Lungs and heart to me and you).

    Spending the few days before the ride hydrating yourself so that your pee is pale and not dark in colour for at least the day before helps. Drink a fair amount on the ride too.

    Eating your last meal 2 hours before the ride starts so that your digestive system isn't pulling on your blood supply when you start the ride.

    Eat banana's and salted peanuts to help the intake of electrolytes.

    Have you tried elete electrolyte? It's quite good and I find it helps prevent cramps.
  • bennett_346
    bennett_346 Posts: 5,029
    Raise your seat a bit perhaps?
  • Daz555
    Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    xCatch22x wrote:
    2) Seriously, stretch the muscle as soon as you can to get the blood flowing..
    IF it was cramp a stretch is a good idea. However if it is a tear/strain/pull then stretching is not always so clever.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Salt in your water you drink while you ride is supposed to be good to help avoid cramp. I usually chuck in a little salt into my camelback mix now (water + salt + high juice), but I know from experience that it can be painful when it happens.

    I don't tend to get it these days when riding, but have had crippling cramp in the middle of the night which can still be painful for a couple of days after. However a trick I learnt was to bring the foot/toes towards you when it's about to happen, which seems to stretch the muscle as it occurs. I do this each time and sure enough it usually prevents it "going". Maybe the same principle could apply to riding, just as you feel it's about to go. No use once it's gone though.

    That's just regular cramp. Tearing a muscle, ligament or whatever is another matter.
  • angry_bird
    angry_bird Posts: 3,786
    Can you walk ok on it or are you limping around?

    From my experience rest a couple of days and see how it is, I frequently fark up my legs to a stupid extent by running around too quickly in hockey matches, trying to change direction or just get a bit of extra speed, then I end up overextending my foot and BANG cramp.

    Has me hobbling around for the rest of the week. It feels completely different to when I cramp when I'm just low on salts and dehydrated.

    It will get less painful to touch over the next couple of days, gently stretch it, and then probably best to keep off the sport for a few more days. Once the pain is gone then stretch it out well , but if it get's painful stop. Then just make sure you always stretch it before sport.
  • Raise your seat a bit perhaps?

    Was going to say try dropping saddle a bit.

    Have seen a guy with a similar cramp (not dehydration) out on a road ride. The pace was a bit higher than he was used to and his saddle was a bit high. He was ankling (pedaling toes down) and from pulling along side you could see his calf working very hard through the bottom of the stroke.

    How straight does your leg get as you pedal, should be a bit of bend left in the knee through the bottom.
  • captainfly
    captainfly Posts: 1,001
    I've found compression socks work well to stop my calfs cramping and getting pumped (which is just over trainning the muscle), Suffered a massive pedal strike through a shin wrap last summer (which is stil dented witha smal bump) and made my left calf go dead far too quickly, wearing compression socks it is back to norma.

    If it is cramp then an isotonic/eletrolyte drink before you ride would be a good idea use one that combines with carb loading to increase endurance even further.
    Mongoose Teocali
    Giant STP0

    Why are MTB economics; spend twice as much as you intended, but only half as much as you wish you could afford? :roll:
  • u05harrisb
    u05harrisb Posts: 531
    thanks for all the advice guys!

    dropping the saddle a tad would probably help, ive just been adjusting everything a little on the bike over the past month bit by bit

    and the electrolyte thing sounds even more probable, it was very hot that night and i was pushing it pretty hard and was sweating more than i would do normally!

    i am looking for alternatives to things like eating energy bars and such like, im on nature valley bars at the moment but some trail mix or some peanuts im sure would do the trick!

    thanks again!