It's progressed over the last 6 years. As I've gotten older, and particularly as I've gained muscle mass. The cramping comes and goes; there have been times where just WALKING three blocks is unbearably painful. Currently, just walking from the parking garage to the office, my lower legs cramp (but not debilitating pain). But I recently started playing rugby, and within 5 or 10 minutes of playing, I can no longer run and can barely walk from the pain.
I've found no way to prevent the cramps; stretching, massage, etc. And icing down the muscles, Advil, muscle relaxers, and waiting are the only solution once it occurs.
The only way to avoid the pain is inactivity. Cardio at the gym consists of the stationary bike, and that's it. And it's not going to get better as I get older; I can either "just live with it" or it will get worse. Seriously, I'm only 38, I don't want to get a hoover-round yet. ;^)
I've been to a physical therapist ($$), I've had a doppler ultrasound to see if it's circulatory ($$$$), and multiple blood works ($) to see if it's electrolytes, hydration, thyroid, or red blood cell related. [And to clarify, it's not a joint/arthritis or a nerve/spinal issue.]
A friend who is the Head Athletic Trainer at a local university suggested it might be compartment syndrome, as he's seen student players with it, who have also had the surgery. He also referred me to an Orthopedic specialist he knows who works with the Denver Nuggets players. If I opt for the surgery, the orthopedic surgeon wants to do some more testing first, consisting of inserting tiny catheter pressure gauges into the muscles before and during exercise to measure the force. The recovery isn't ideal; from what I've been able to find out, it consists of being in bed for 4 days, and then 2 weeks on crutches afterward, physical therapy, and back to "top physical performance" in 6-8 weeks.
SO... I appreciate your guys concerns about IF I should have the surgery. And I know the procedure sounds extreme and gruesome.
But, I'm really hoping to hear from guys who have had the procedure, or know people who have. If you're have the procedure, what was your recovery time like? Was successful in solving the problem? Etc.