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  1. #1
    Registered User twilight's Avatar
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    Question Inner thigh pain-cramps

    Not sure if this is the right heading for this topic, but figured more would see it here than under the health, hygiene heading.

    As I've gotten older and heavier, I've develop this issue in my inner thighs where there is some type of pain there most of the time. When I am in my tent at night after hiking my inner thighs will often times cramp up, bad. When they cramp the muscle is as hard and stiff as a 2x4. I think it's the gracious muscle or the adductor
    longus.

    I remember I began noticing this when we moved and I was carrying a lot of things up and down steps. Another thing, I have never really been a limber person to begin with and sometimes get cramps in my hands if I've been working with hand tools a lot during the day.

    Wondering if anyone else has experienced this type of inner thigh pain and what they did to remedy the situation.

    Twilight

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    1) Make sure you are getting enough electrolytes as an electrolyte imbalance can cause muscle cramping. In other words, are you eating lots of salty foods or adding some kind of salt or electrolyte mix to your water?

    2) Yeah, your inner thigh muscles play a big role in stabilizing and balance. So, if you are accustom to walking on relatively even terrain and start doing a bunch of walking on uneven surfaces, you will dramatically increase your use of your stabilizer muscles. Having those muscles get sore and cramp up is a reasonable outcome of a rapid increase in intensity and/or duration of use.

    Be patient. You're essentially doing muscle strength and stamina training, and that takes time and persistence. Massaging every evening can also help with soreness and cramping.

    Also, shoes that have good support for your feet might help stabilize your legs and reduce the amount of work your stabilizer muscles have to do. Boots might either improve stability, or shift the workload from your ankle to your legs. So, changing from boots to shoes or the other way around might also make a difference if you don't want to just keep at what you're doing and building strength.
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    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    You can also eat bananas for your cramps. The potassium in them is what you are lacking that br8i9ngs on the cramps. My Doctor told me about this and told tablets will only give you more than you need and your body will remove most of it through your urine. The tablets are also bad for your liver and kidneys.
    Blackheart

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    Raisins also for potassium. More potassium than bananas.
    Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBill View Post
    You can also eat bananas for your cramps. The potassium in them is what you are lacking that br8i9ngs on the cramps. My Doctor told me about this and told tablets will only give you more than you need and your body will remove most of it through your urine. The tablets are also bad for your liver and kidneys.
    Okay, I can't just let this alone. It would be great it the whole electrolyte/cramping issue were so simple. IT'S NOT.

    Sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium are all electrolytes that play a roll in our bodies nerve transmission and cramping. Most of us get enough sodium in our diet without supplementing it, except when sweating heavily. Potassium is absolutely one of the electrolytes that can be in short enough supply that it contributes to cramping. But, it is absolutely NOT always the culprit. Most endurance athletes find a mixture of the aforementioned electrolytes is the most consistent and effective solution to cramping and the general malaise that comes from depleted electrolytes. Some people, generally people that sweat heavily, find they need supplemental electrolytes during almost any extended physical activity. Others people, myself included, can manage our electrolyte needs through a fairly normal diet except in the most extreme heat and extended endurance events. And, some people are extremely sensitive to the ratios of the different electrolytes while others get by with just a pinch of table salt. I know athletes that find one particular brand/mix works for them while others do not.

    Tablets are NOT more than you need if you consume the right dose at the right rate. They certainly are more than you need and potentially more than is healthy for people that take tablets without the need or in excess. And, tablets are not "bad for your kidneys", excess salts over an extended period of time are bad for your kidneys, so don't take too much on a regular basis, but don't be afraid of taking enough.

    Eating bananas for potassium sorta works sometimes for some people, and it was the standard mantra in the 70's and early 80's, but there are plenty of foods higher in potassium - google it. Potato chips or french fries anyone? If you have a doctor that is recommending eating bananas as a serious solution to real cramping, get another doctor!! Your doctor is about 30 years behind our current understanding of sports medicine.

    As for most backpackers, probably a pinch of Morton's Lite salt (sodium and potassium chlorides mixed) in a each liter of water you drink is probably all you need and highly effective when you are sweating heavily. If you aren't cramping and/or sweating heavily, you probably don't need any electrolyte supplements. AND, some peoples' bodies benefit from the addition of calcium and magnesium to the mix. So something more than Morton's Lite salt can certainly be called for. Also, some of the flavored electrolyte supplements, like NUUN or Hammer Fizz add flavor to the water helping make drinking enough water more palatable for some.

    Finally, if you are cramping because you are using your muscles harder than they are accustom to, electrolytes may not solve your problem. A fitness program for those muscles will.
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    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Okay, I can't just let this alone. It would be great it the whole electrolyte/cramping issue were so simple. IT'S NOT.

    Sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium are all electrolytes that play a roll in our bodies nerve transmission and cramping. Most of us get enough sodium in our diet without supplementing it, except when sweating heavily. Potassium is absolutely one of the electrolytes that can be in short enough supply that it contributes to cramping. But, it is absolutely NOT always the culprit. Most endurance athletes find a mixture of the aforementioned electrolytes is the most consistent and effective solution to cramping and the general malaise that comes from depleted electrolytes. Some people, generally people that sweat heavily, find they need supplemental electrolytes during almost any extended physical activity. Others people, myself included, can manage our electrolyte needs through a fairly normal diet except in the most extreme heat and extended endurance events. And, some people are extremely sensitive to the ratios of the different electrolytes while others get by with just a pinch of table salt. I know athletes that find one particular brand/mix works for them while others do not.

    Tablets are NOT more than you need if you consume the right dose at the right rate. They certainly are more than you need and potentially more than is healthy for people that take tablets without the need or in excess. And, tablets are not "bad for your kidneys", excess salts over an extended period of time are bad for your kidneys, so don't take too much on a regular basis, but don't be afraid of taking enough.

    Eating bananas for potassium sorta works sometimes for some people, and it was the standard mantra in the 70's and early 80's, but there are plenty of foods higher in potassium - google it. Potato chips or french fries anyone? If you have a doctor that is recommending eating bananas as a serious solution to real cramping, get another doctor!! Your doctor is about 30 years behind our current understanding of sports medicine.

    As for most backpackers, probably a pinch of Morton's Lite salt (sodium and potassium chlorides mixed) in a each liter of water you drink is probably all you need and highly effective when you are sweating heavily. If you aren't cramping and/or sweating heavily, you probably don't need any electrolyte supplements. AND, some peoples' bodies benefit from the addition of calcium and magnesium to the mix. So something more than Morton's Lite salt can certainly be called for. Also, some of the flavored electrolyte supplements, like NUUN or Hammer Fizz add flavor to the water helping make drinking enough water more palatable for some.

    Finally, if you are cramping because you are using your muscles harder than they are accustom to, electrolytes may not solve your problem. A fitness program for those muscles will.
    OK I will grant your assessment sounds logical but why would you spend ungodly amount on supplements which only gives you expensive urine. Certain foods can be eaten that will provide everything the body needs to remain in balance. You need iodine, eat fish, just don't over do it. There is a fish hatchery near my old hometown that sells smoked salmon that is great on backpacking trips. While I am a carnivore, I also found that certain herbs provide additional nutrients beside just making the food taste better.
    While bananas will help as you say are not for everyone. My Doctor's point was supplements in pill form are too much and they put stress on the liver and kidneys while it has work extra to bring the body back into balance.
    Blackheart

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    I know if my dad doesn't eat a banana a day he gets bad leg cramps. I've also read magnesium can help as most are deficent in magnesium and don't even know it.

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    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Chia seeds, raw pumpkin seeds (or salted) and bananas can help with electrolyte levels. Gatorade works, too.

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    I work outside a lot of the time. I sweat a lot, I drink a lot of water. I take a Centrum multi vitamin a day, I eat a regular diet (which does include a banana a day). Did I mention I drink a lot of water? Often a gallon or more a day. I don't add salt or any electrolyte mix to the water.

    The only time I ever get crampy is if I am dehydrated; if I haven't been drinking enough water.
    When I get a headache, it's usually because I need water.
    That night I was uncomfortably cold (although I was wearing 4 layers of clothes and inside of 2 sleeping bags), I drank just over a liter of water on a day that I hiked 13 or so miles. Proper hydration helps the body regulate heat.

    Everyone seems to gravitate toward a potassium deficiency whenever the subject of cramps comes up, which may sometimes be the case - but try drinking more water. Hydration is vital in so many of our bodies functions.

    The use of muscles that aren't accustomed to being used is surely a contributor, as could be the footwear... but I get sore muscles every time I do something I haven't done in a while and I rarely get cramps.

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    Get yourself checked for Thrombosis (DVT) There are some big veins in there.
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    If you are on medication, esp those for hypertension, you can develop severe electrolyte imbalances. If you are on these meds, please consult your Dr or prescriber about cramping. Blood work is indicated. Tinkering with electrolytes can lead to problems with heart dysrythmias.

    Some folks use a roller to ease out leg muscles with good success . I have had good luck with a TENS unit for back spasms. My unit came with instructions for leg spasms.

    Best to you.

  12. #12

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    Hydrate, electrolytes and stretch. A teaspoon of mustard cures my cramps almost instantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davem View Post
    Hydrate, electrolytes and stretch. A teaspoon of mustard cures my cramps almost instantly.
    Like just plain ol' mustard? Or some sort of mustard powder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBill View Post
    . . . why would you spend ungodly amount on supplements which only gives you expensive urine. Certain foods can be eaten that will provide everything the body needs to remain in balance. . . My Doctor's point was supplements in pill form are too much and they put stress on the liver and kidneys while it has work extra to bring the body back into balance.
    Don't forget that drinking too much water can kill you too!!

    I think there is a bit of a dosage issue/misunderstanding going on here. Nobody here is suggesting that people should take more electrolytes than they need and no two people doing two different activities at two different times will need the same electrolyte dosage in the same proportions. We are also not suggesting that one should be taking electrolyte supplements on a daily, ongoing basis, but rather as needed during times of higher than normal exertion and/or during cramping.

    It is irresponsible and simply naive for a doctor (or anyone else for that matter) to suggest that, by default, electrolyte pills, tablets, or drops are an unhealthy or inappropriate dose under situations of high exertion in warm weather. Electrolyte dosing is hugely variable depending on . . . are you ready for this . . . depending on how much you take!!

    It is also naive to suggest that all of everyone's electrolyte needs can be met under all circumstances by consuming "regular" food. In many cases, that is true. But during high exertion in high heat ("high" being variable depending on the person as well as their acclimation to exercise and heat) most of use will experience some level of electrolyte depletion that can be more effectively addressed with salt tablets, electrolyte replacement drinks or whatnot. Electrolyte supplements are especially useful, in preference to whole foods, during extreme exertion, while struggling with high heat and/or altitude when our digestive system has slowed down and is not digesting food well, AND, what we really need is salt and water and not more fats, carbs, or other nutrients.
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    Good stuff, NSherry.
    There are so many variables, and I think there have been good points and suggestions made here.
    Everyone's needs are different, and some folks have health or medication complications that should be discussed with their doctor.
    Hopefully the op has gotten what he needed from this thread.
    .
    I'm planning my next section coming up in a couple weeks, and if it's crazy hot, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a few packets of Gatorade or something.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Finally, if you are cramping because you are using your muscles harder than they are accustom to, electrolytes may not solve your problem. A fitness program for those muscles will.
    That is the only part of your reply that is spot on. This whole electrolyte deficiency notion gets peddled and repeated as fact, when it's anything but, and I wish it would stop because athlete's are relying on this information and not getting any relief because of it.

    OP mentions being laid up in his tent at night with leg cramps. So I assume he's been hiking pretty hard all day. He gets hand cramps after using hand tools all day. He's gotten "older and heavier" aka "out of shape". There you have it folks. Almost all exercise induced muscle cramping is the result of pushing your body harder than it's accustomed to and triggering a still unknown series of events that leads to localized cramping. That's correct, we still don't know the exact mechanism that produces cramping. You want to cure cramps, get in better shape. It's really that simple.

    If electrolyte imbalances were the true cause of EIMC:
    How do you explain localized muscle cramping (calves, hamstrings) when true electrolyte deficiency and dehydration is systemic?
    How do you explain cramping during cool weather events where participants are sweating minimally?

    I don't really feel like typing out a detailed response, but I really urge anybody who is looking for a solution to exercise induced muscle cramps to please do some research on the topic and separate fact from fiction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    That is the only part of your reply that is spot on. This whole electrolyte deficiency notion gets peddled and repeated as fact, when it's anything but . . . I really urge anybody who is looking for a solution to exercise induced muscle cramps to please do some research on the topic and separate fact from fiction.
    Dear JPritch,

    Your last statement is a great one. I completely agree.

    Your first statement belies a real understanding of this issue. Yes, electrolytes as a solution (pun intended) for cramping are definitely oversold. BUT, they absolutely play a role for many people and absolutely solve people's muscle cramp issues in some cases. It's just a fact. Some people with muscle cramps take electrolytes and see a rapid and effective decrease in cramping tied directly to their taking of electrolytes. To deny that observation is silly. To suggest that because the mechanism isn't well understood or that you don't personally understand logically how it could work is irrelevant. It works for some people some of the time and is a nearly zero risk experiment to see if it might help a particular person in a particular situation.


    To take it a step further, in cases of extreme exertion and heat, electrolyte replacement is not only helpful, it is essential to maintaining adequate hydration and performance.

    As to your logical argument about electrolyte depletion being systematic and cramps being localized, any time a system is under stress, those parts of the system that are most stressed (i.e., the most over worked and/or out of shape muscles) will be the most likely to show a reaction to that stress.
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    Default Inner thigh pain-cramps

    My doctor doesn't even know how to solve my muscle cramps!
    I've tried mustard, pickle juice, electrolytes...
    The electrolytes might help - I'm not completely sure yet. The ones I have, you're supposed to take one per hour while doing anything strenuous. I've done that and mostly no cramping - but not always. But haven't really tested them out on a real hike yet.
    I'm 71 and I can remember cramps in my toes going back to my college days. Poor shoes, cold feet, exertion - these seemed to be the cause.
    I think a lot of frequent stretching of whatever music lessons you are working may help prevent the cramps.
    in the last decade or so, I started getting them in my hands / fingers. I heard this theory about hand cramps, that start later in life:
    as you age, and your pads between your vertebrae start to shrink, those bones can squeeze down on some of the nerves going thru your neck to your hands and fingers - contributing to cramps. Not sure about that, but sometimes if I stretch my neck it seems to help.....
    One morning out hiking, those hand cramps really had me concerned. I had a water source I wanted to get to by nightfall, but I couldn't get packed up and started till the hand cramping stopped. That could be serious!

  19. #19
    Registered User twilight's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone who has offered they're suggestions on this topic. My hope when I started this thread was to see if there was some one else out there that was experiencing the exact same symptoms that I have been and in the areas I have been. But, I have not noticed anyone saying "yes, I've experienced that exact same thing".

    Nonetheless, there has been some good advice given here that I need to consider. I am being treated for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So, thanks to Old Hill Walker for mentioning DVT (deep vein thrombosis), I look into that a bit and see I could have some of the symptoms, so it will be worth mentioning to my doctor on my next visit. Also, on my visit I will mentioning PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease) as I do get numbness in my hands from time to time, hiking, and in other activities.

    Also, I want to try to increase my water intake as mentioned by MtDoraDave. Like him I am a heavy sweater also, and I don't drink nearly as much water as I should, hiking or at home. When I visit my chiropractor, he sometimes can tell I'm dehydrated just by feeling my back and neck. When hiking, I don't drink water often, but when I stop for breaks I camel up. Usually with some MIO (with electrolytes)or Gatoraid and in camp I do the same thing.

    And I would have to concur with JPritch also, and say often times when I go hiking anymore its rolling off the couch and hitting the trail for 30 to 60 miles. I haven't had a regular workout routine for a while. I've been trying to start one but the pain I get in my legs is preventing me from being consistent. And I know that may sound like an excuse to some.

    I've also looked into now stretches for the gracilis muscle, which seems to be where most of the pain I am feeling seems to be associated with. From where the muscle connects at the groin to the inner knee area. I feel soreness there, constantly. Other areas of soreness are calves, hips and shoulders, also tightness in the obliques, but I think that's from the crappy mattress I have. Considering moving to the floor.

    Thanks everyone for they're input,

    Twilight

  20. #20

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    I'll bite... "Yes, I have experienced the same thing."

    I get cramps often when I am working outside for an extended period of time. It doesn't always have to be when I sweat a ton but if I sweat a ton, I ALWAYS get leg cramps. When sleeping outdoors, it is more common than when I work in my yard but I get them when working outside all day at home, too.

    IMO, the ones I get today are simply from not drinking enough water throughout the day. Even when I try to drink a lot more than I think I need, I stiff often get leg cramps. If I drink alcohol when camping, or just around the house after a long day, the likelihood of getting cramps seem to go up.

    On my last backpacking trip., I got cramps in my inner thighs. I had never gotten them there before. it is usually in my hamstring or sometimes my calf. Usually when I stretch in the middle of the night or while trying to get up from the tent. I know, I know... out of shape and old...... Not really for me. I played 3 sports when in high school and was a college athlete. In high school when basketball and baseball overlapped, I would sometimes have a game in one sport and practice in another, the same day. I usually got leg cramps EVERY time that happened. I can promise you I was not out of shape.

    Also, I have tried several ways to keep from getting them with no success but dill pickle juice always relieves them. Sometimes it is amazing how fast it works. I can imagine that a shot in the arm couldn't be much quicker.

    So, yes you should drink more water. Yes, you should get more electrolytes. Yes, you should exercise more..... Yes, if you do all the above you may still get cramps. I get them in my legs, my Dad gets them in his arms.... Good luck and keep pushing. Hopefully they will become more frequent....

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