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Charlie Horses--Prevention and Likelihood of Recurrences

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Charlie Horses--Prevention and Likelihood of Recurrences

Old 07-03-19, 08:35 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
quads
art schools need models for life drawing classes. just sayin'
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Old 07-03-19, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I had some quad cramping few weeks ago, tried the TUMS and pickle juice, no effect. Mine came on suddenly at the beginning of the ride, on a bike whose fit I was in the process of adjusting, and the seat was too far forward, IIRC. I had walked up and down 4 flights of stairs earlier that day, and suspect that had something to do with the cramping (especially walking down the stairs).

Pain originated in the areas circled in red, FWIW, YMMV:

Nice quads!

I can produce thigh adductor or quad cramping pretty reliably by stretching my hamstrings after a long hard ride. Pretty good evidence for a spinal mechanism.
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Old 07-03-19, 10:22 AM
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Am I wrong, or is OP an adult who has only experienced one cramp ever? We should be asking OP for advice!

Even the best-trained professional athletes get an occasional cramp.
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Old 07-03-19, 10:45 AM
  #29  
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Drink some pickle juice, the liquid in a jar of Claussen pickles. A little pickle juice added to a Bloody Mary doesn't hurt either.
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Old 07-03-19, 10:49 AM
  #30  
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Sounds like a slight strain. I've got no idea why your body muscles pull like that, but supposedly it's to protect itself.
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Old 07-03-19, 11:44 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
I have an 11 mile loop that I ride most evenings, and after being 4.79 miles into it I had to stop pedaling when struck by a charlie horse in my calf After standing still for a minute or so, I started off again slowly but managed to ride the remaining portion without any recurrences. Two questions:

1) Any tips for avoiding a charlie horse in the first place? My diet today was keto-like (I like a lot of keto-friendly foods, but I still eat carbs) but I also ate an apple at 3:00 and two small bananas ~90 minutes before tonight's ride.

2) For those who have suffered charlie horses during a ride, how likely have you found it for a second or third episode to occur?
Make sure nothing is cutting off circulation while in the saddle. I've gotten leg cramps from using a too-wide saddle, for instance. If standing up to pedal occasionally (which is something everyone should do) clears up the charley horses/cramps, that's a good indication your saddle is impeding circulation.
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Old 07-03-19, 07:41 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
I have an 11 mile loop that I ride most evenings, and after being 4.79 miles into it I had to stop pedaling when struck by a charlie horse in my calf After standing still for a minute or so, I started off again slowly but managed to ride the remaining portion without any recurrences. Two questions:

1) Any tips for avoiding a charlie horse in the first place? My diet today was keto-like (I like a lot of keto-friendly foods, but I still eat carbs) but I also ate an apple at 3:00 and two small bananas ~90 minutes before tonight's ride.

2) For those who have suffered charlie horses during a ride, how likely have you found it for a second or third episode to occur?
Claudication? Google it, compare symptoms and perhaps discuss with your MD if it seems appropriate or happens again.


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Old 07-03-19, 09:21 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Careful here, potassium overdose is a really unpleasant thing. Supplements generally have a limit of 100mg for good reasons.
Point taken . But one would have to take almost 50 pills or whatever each dose is to get the daily dose.

As I said, I'm tracking and the additional 800 mg still don't get me over the daily 4700 mg needed. And on a sweaty ride I sure lose plenty sodium and potassium.
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Old 07-03-19, 09:39 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Am I wrong, or is OP an adult who has only experienced one cramp ever? We should be asking OP for advice!

Even the best-trained professional athletes get an occasional cramp.
LOL and thanks. All of my rides are short as most of you you (I think) would define them. My odometer reads a little over 700 miles this year, and this can be approximated by ~70 rides of ~10 miles each. I was just looking for any tips that might eliminate them entirely.

I will note this: I won't ever try to rub my calf in hopes that this will PREVENT a cramp because that's what I attempted while riding and that was exactly WHEN it occurred. I can sense when my muscle is trying to cramp on me (that's when/why I thought rubbing it might help), and a similar sensation was felt a couple of weeks ago and I was able to keep the cramp at bay by changing how I positioned my leg/foot on the pedal keeping my calf muscles "stretched," if that makes any sense.
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Old 07-04-19, 02:38 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
LOL and thanks. All of my rides are short as most of you you (I think) would define them. My odometer reads a little over 700 miles this year, and this can be approximated by ~70 rides of ~10 miles each. I was just looking for any tips that might eliminate them entirely.

I will note this: I won't ever try to rub my calf in hopes that this will PREVENT a cramp because that's what I attempted while riding and that was exactly WHEN it occurred. I can sense when my muscle is trying to cramp on me (that's when/why I thought rubbing it might help), and a similar sensation was felt a couple of weeks ago and I was able to keep the cramp at bay by changing how I positioned my leg/foot on the pedal keeping my calf muscles "stretched," if that makes any sense.
Rubbing a cramp is definitely not helpful, and that stretching you describe works.

I ride more in a month than you do in a year, and I suspect something is wrong if you routinely get the same cramp with such short rides. Most likely is the seat position, could be any number of ways that's affecting your pedal stroke.

Don't fool around with your electrolytes, that's total nonsense, usually expensive, mostly just peed out, and can have side effects. Seriously, a little google and being careful about your sources and you will see cramps and electrolyte levels aren't related.
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Old 07-05-19, 11:26 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I had some quad cramping few weeks ago, tried the TUMS and pickle juice, no effect. Mine came on suddenly at the beginning of the ride, on a bike whose fit I was in the process of adjusting, and the seat was too far forward, IIRC. I had walked up and down 4 flights of stairs earlier that day, and suspect that had something to do with the cramping (especially walking down the stairs).

Pain originated in the areas circled in red, FWIW, YMMV:
Have you read this thread? https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting...-too-much.html
Never happened to me while biking, but triggered by walking especially when off the bike. Biking regularly actually helps in my case to avoid those quad cramps, although biking too much and not walking enough is probably the reason for the cramps.
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Old 07-05-19, 11:37 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
When I was in school, the term "Charley horse" referred to the pain resulting from getting kicked or kneed in the quadricep... Some kid would walk up to you and say "You look like a farmer, but you don't have any animals. How about a nice Charley horse?" as the kneed you really hard in the quad.
We had the same hit but it was called a "dead leg," A hammer blow to the femur while sitting. I can't recall the specific phrase but I remember the feeling. Spreading sore numbness.

Kids are terrible to one another
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Old 07-08-19, 04:03 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Point taken . But one would have to take almost 50 pills or whatever each dose is to get the daily dose.

As I said, I'm tracking and the additional 800 mg still don't get me over the daily 4700 mg needed. And on a sweaty ride I sure lose plenty sodium and potassium.
That's not how an overdose occurs. It's not a matter of the total amount over 24 hours, it's how much you have taken in at once. Your blood levels of potassium actually increase during intense exercise. We're not evolved to take in concentrated potassium. Do you have ANY history of low serum potassium levels? If not, I have no idea why you would consider taking this risk.

At least talk to your doctor about it. You're taking about 8 times what is generally considered safe.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:39 PM
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I'll just leave this right here: Muscle Cramp - Causes and Remedies

Last edited by Clipped_in; 07-08-19 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 07-08-19, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
That's not how an overdose occurs. It's not a matter of the total amount over 24 hours, it's how much you have taken in at once. Your blood levels of potassium actually increase during intense exercise. We're not evolved to take in concentrated potassium. Do you have ANY history of low serum potassium levels? If not, I have no idea why you would consider taking this risk.

At least talk to your doctor about it. You're taking about 8 times what is generally considered safe.
Thanks for pointing this out. I'll be more cautious now. I appreciate the feedback.

I have no lab result or any low potassium history. I just based that on tracked nutrients and potassium is always lower than what is recommended (4,700 mg). honestly I have no idea how they come up with that number since it would require me to eat a ton of fruits and vegetables.

Maybe I just add some of the Lite-salt to some food every once a while. Since i try to avoid processed food, my diet is not high in sodium at all. I don't eat when I exercise, so that wouldn't coincide with the elevated potassium levels you mentioned.
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Old 07-08-19, 06:21 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Have you read this thread? https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting...-too-much.html
Never happened to me while biking, but triggered by walking especially when off the bike. Biking regularly actually helps in my case to avoid those quad cramps, although biking too much and not walking enough is probably the reason for the cramps.
Thanks for the link, it seems I am not alone. I rapidly double-stepped up 4 flights of stairs this morning, pleasantly out of breath at the top, but fine otherwise. Then I walked back down the same 4 flights, and got the damned craps again, in the same exact spot. Walking down stairs definitely triggers them. I may need to (uncharacteristically) start taking the elevator down stairs from now on, as a concession to age.
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Old 07-08-19, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Thanks for pointing this out. I'll be more cautious now. I appreciate the feedback.

I have no lab result or any low potassium history. I just based that on tracked nutrients and potassium is always lower than what is recommended (4,700 mg). honestly I have no idea how they come up with that number since it would require me to eat a ton of fruits and vegetables.

Maybe I just add some of the Lite-salt to some food every once a while. Since i try to avoid processed food, my diet is not high in sodium at all. I don't eat when I exercise, so that wouldn't coincide with the elevated potassium levels you mentioned.

Sounds like a plan! Stay healthy, friend.
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Old 07-08-19, 07:37 PM
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Stretch & massage the cramping area. Warm up the local area with your hand as well. Warm tea with lemon tends to help reduce the lower leg cramping.
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Old 07-08-19, 08:17 PM
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Physiologically we don't know what actually causes cramps. We just know what situations or environment where they are more likely to occur which is a lot different knowing what the actual cause is. Situations or issues such as dehydration, fatigue, poor flexibility, electrolyte deficiency, muscle imbalance, transient neurological "misfires" and on and on.

Good luck in eliminating and or avoiding them in the future.
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Old 07-09-19, 08:06 PM
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Wish cramps were all I worried about. I put up with spasms, and muscles which do not have an off switch. It's called mixed Cerebral Palsy and part athetoid, part spastic. And I put up with spina bifida. I have to sometimes get off the bike and hop. I do drink nice Italian mineral water on a ride. Transient neurological "misfires" for me are my normal. I feel for you, fellow biped fully abled rider. I try to ignore all but the worst, and ride onward to my goals. What does not make me crash, or kills me, strengthens me. Best wishes for happy riding.
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Old 07-10-19, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado View Post
Increase Magnesium and potassium intake consider supplementation("sneak up on the magnesium, it can loosen bowels). Charlies are more common in hot weather. Also hydrate. Watch the fad diets

Throw some iron supps in there too, it helps oxygen get to where it needs to be. I take iron, magnesium and potassium daily as I was having daily cramps.
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Old 07-10-19, 07:07 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by mynewnchome View Post
Throw some iron supps in there too, it helps oxygen get to where it needs to be. I take iron, magnesium and potassium daily as I was having daily cramps.
If you're a man, iron supplementation is a great way to really screw up your prostate. There is literally no reason to believe it's related to cramps, btw.
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Old 07-10-19, 07:12 AM
  #48  
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Can any of the people suggesting electrolyte supplementation actually show any scientific evidence this has any connection to cramping?

Linking to a website promoting a supplement will definitely not count as "evidence", nor will your personal account of "I took this and the cramping went away".
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Old 07-10-19, 07:30 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
I had to look up what a charley horse was. I guess it's what we would just call a cramp. As they say, two nations divided by a common language.
Yup, the really painful kind.
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Old 07-10-19, 07:39 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The thing about exercise-related cramps is they're most likely going to go away completely just as fast as they come on regardless of what you do, so all the folk-cures of cramping are most likely just artifacts of the post-hoc fallacy.

"I took supplements and the cramps went away, so supplements prevent cramps" is a classic example. The cramps would have gone away if you ate Elmer's glue or chanted "no more cramps" also.

No matter how many times blood testing shows no relationship between cramps and electrolytes, people are going to stick to this story.
I use a combination of profanity and passive-aggressively ignoring, directed at the offending muscle. Works every time.

I'll be teaching this technique at a cycling-specific cramp prevention workshop. The secret is the exact ratio of the two ingredients. All campers will be required to sign a NDA, due upon payment and registration.
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