Conditions & Symptoms


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September last year I got terible cramp during the 3/4 stage of a 40 mile bike ride. I managed to get home ok by cycling at a steady, and slow pace. That night I had excruciating leg pain and chest cramp. Not a heart attack. Just bad diet. Not enough magnesium. The next day I was able to walk the 1 1/2 miles to work after a sleeples painful night with my lower leg. This pain took around two weeks to sort itself out to a level of pain I was comfortable with. Some months later, the following march. I cycled 250 miles in 27 hours to Bournmouth, with hardly any training beforehand; except for several 50 mile rides over a broken series of Saturdays or Sundays.

About half way through this ride, somwhere close to Banbury, the pain in my lower leg and foot caused me to take some rest as the pain was so unbearable and identical to the pain I experienced the September before. I appreciate now that I do walk to and from work daily, as this must have helped prevent a more serious medical problem. Some weeks ago I again, after a prolonged abscence from riding, did another 50 mile ride. My usual route, Mancheter to Buxton to Macclesfied to manchester. I could not believe that the same old pain returned, this time having to stop for a short sleep. I again managed to limp home; aware that I had to avoid cramp by not cycling heavily. Just gentle pedaling.

Now it should be said that I plan a charity cycling trip from Reggio-Di-Calabria in Italy to Cerbourge in France in April 2010. So I am getting some training in to avoid any possibility of ruining the ride with this reoccuring leg pain.

Today I decided that since a couple of weeks have gone by since my last ride, I would do some jogging to help strengthen my leggs. Now I set off ok, but after about a mile I could feel my lower leg beggining to experice pain again. I ran a little further and the underneath of my foot felt cold and painful. In short, I had to stop runnuing and could not even hardly walk. In fact I had to limp.

Strangely, after returning half way back along the trail I'd just ran and stopping to raise my leg for a moment and massage my calf and toes, The pain eventually subsided to an acceptable level. As I walked back the rest of the way home I new that I must have a medical problem that I can no longer ignore; especially if I want to complete my Italian endurance bike ride. I should also mention that night after night my leg aches during sleep. What could this be. Please help.

Vinny 49


Hi Vinny,
Broadly, there are 3 things that could be causing the type of pain you describe: Muscle ( unlikely), neural factors ( possible) and vascular issues ( likely cause given the symptoms you describe). It is not unusual for cyclists to suffer from a condition called Iliac Artery Endofibrosis. Due to the repetitive hip flexion involved in cycling, the wall of the external iliac artery becomes thickened with scar tissue, reducing blood flow to the leg and causing cramping, pain, tingling and coldness. It is often mistaken for a neural condition originating from the spine. It is reasonably easy to diagnose - you do a cycle test and have the blood pressure in your upper and lower limb measured. If the ratio of upper limb/lower limb pressure is below a certain level - you have a blockage!
I'd recommend you look up a couple of physios in Nottingham / Manchester who have a special interest in vascular disorders masquerading as spinal problems, and have written numerous articles on conditions such as yours. Their names are Roger Kerry and Alan Taylor.
Good luck. And get it seen to ASAP.