Gracilis cramps: A new bad thing–yikes!!!

File:Gracilis muscle adductor.gif

Do you know what your gracilis muscle is?

I do now. That is, after waking up in the middle of the night with really painful inner thigh cramps, I learned all about it.

I refer to the cramps as ‘really painful’ as someone with some experience in the pain department. Yes, unmedicated childbirth times three but worse than that, gall bladder pain. That remains the worst.

These cramps were the kind of pain that takes your breath away. You just focus on breathing. I considered calling 911. I was worried I might pass out. None of that happened but when the cramps passed I did some googling, as one does.

I chuckled when I discovered a discussion of gracilis cramps on a mountain bike forum where someone commented that it was the most painful thing they’ve experienced and they’ve broken a lot of bones.

There’s a lot of advice out there.

Pickle juice! But really any kind of electrolyte drink is said to help. I’m adding this to my post ride recovery regimen.


Also, stretching. So much stretching.

I’m on it.

A YouTube Video on stretching

Have you ever had those muscles cramp up? Tell us your story.

6 thoughts on “Gracilis cramps: A new bad thing–yikes!!!

  1. Almost as much fun as a gracilis cramp is a sartorius cramp. The sartorius, known as the “tailor’s muscle” is what you use to cross one foot over the opposite knee. When it cramps, it makes you do that, which can be awkward in the wrong setting; not to mention that it hurts. Like the gracilis, it is long and thin; from its action, you can probably surmise its attachment points, which are only a bit different from the gracilis.

  2. I get these rather frequently, usually in the middle of the night, and in various leg muscles. Electrolyte replacement is good, but to immediately stop the cramp use a microwave heating pad. They get hot enough quickly to stop the spasming of the muscle. A very hot shower with a spray nozzle against the muscle works too. Completely unencumbered by facts, I think it has to do with drawing more blood to the surface (oxygenating) the muscle because of the heat. Just my 2-cents.

  3. I think I had these 3 years ago. I was doing a 20 mile run as part of marathon training and it was really really cold. Not sure if the 20 miles was too much for my fitness at the time or the cold somehow aggravated my muscles? It still ranks as one of the top 3 worst runs of my life, the other two being marathons run at 85-90 degree temps. I came home in tears and my inner thighs did not feel right for the next three weeks. On the other hand – that run was 1,000x worse than running what I was training for (Boston marathon) and I was able to use it during the race to remind myself that I can do hard things. But wow – I never want to do that particular hard thing again and even now, three years later, I think maybe I should have called that 20 miler early rather than finish it. At least now I know what muscles were to blame!

  4. Yes, they’re the worst. The first time I had them, I called an advice nurse. When she learned I had been on a long flight (London, England to San Francisco) within the previous weeks, she insisted that I go to the emergency room. I tried hard to convince her that it was clearly a cramp, not DVT. I could SEE it cramping up and feel the lumpy muscle. But I went. The doctor there immediately said no, not DVT; that hurts, but not nearly as much as that particular cramp.

    Like you, I never for a moment thought I needed drugs for childbirth. I take Tylenol occasionally, but more often throw out the bottle when it has expired, without ever having opened it. My pain tolerance is nice & high. But not for that cramp!

    My solutions have been: more & better stretching when I even suspect my day’s ride/run might have been tiring enough to cause cramps, ample hydration (my only other serious encounter with this was at the end of a long training day for what is known as The Death Ride – a California event with 125 miles & 15,000 feet of climbing at elevations ranging from 5500 feet to about 9700 feet – at the end of the fourth big climb, I couldn’t even get on my bike & coast down without cramping up – water & Gatorade cured it), and finally (I can’t really explain how this one works), I now seem to wake up just as they begin & if I get up & walk, I can head them off before they become intolerable. They don’t happen very often, fortunately.

    1. Right. I’m hoping these don’t became a regular thing and I’ll do whatever it takes to fend them off!

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