Diagnosing Leg Length Discrepancy

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by [email protected], Feb 19, 2006.

  1. hi, anyone had a leg length discrepancy diagnosed? i've heard of a few
    people having to put spacers in one shoe's cleat to even out a leg
    discrepancy. i'm pretty sure one of mine is a few millimeters
    off......no matter what i do i can never get my cleats adjusted so that
    each leg stroke looks identical from above (one knee will move straight
    up and down, while the other floats in and out a bit). let me know if
    you have any idea how to get this diagnosed and get the specific length
    difference (x-rays ?). thanks much!
     
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  2. JeffWills

    JeffWills Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > hi, anyone had a leg length discrepancy diagnosed? i've heard of a few
    > people having to put spacers in one shoe's cleat to even out a leg
    > discrepancy. i'm pretty sure one of mine is a few millimeters
    > off......no matter what i do i can never get my cleats adjusted so that
    > each leg stroke looks identical from above (one knee will move straight
    > up and down, while the other floats in and out a bit). let me know if
    > you have any idea how to get this diagnosed and get the specific length
    > difference (x-rays ?). thanks much!


    X-rays are the definitive method. Otherwise, differences in joint
    flexibility and geometry can affect the external appearance. AFAIK, "a
    few millimeters" is not particularly significant. If the stroke "looks"
    different side-to-side, I'd guess that you might have a muscle
    imbalance or something equally soft-tissue related.

    FWIW: my right leg is about 1/2" shorter than my left, and my right
    foot points outward at about a ten-degree angle. Aside from getting my
    cleats' rotational adjustment set correctly, I haven't done anything to
    compensate for this. I'd like to, but my riding partner (wife) isn't
    pushing me fast enough to make it matter.

    Jeff
     
  3. Jeff Starr

    Jeff Starr Guest

    On 19 Feb 2006 15:40:49 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

    >hi, anyone had a leg length discrepancy diagnosed? i've heard of a few
    >people having to put spacers in one shoe's cleat to even out a leg
    >discrepancy. i'm pretty sure one of mine is a few millimeters
    >off......no matter what i do i can never get my cleats adjusted so that
    >each leg stroke looks identical from above (one knee will move straight
    >up and down, while the other floats in and out a bit). let me know if
    >you have any idea how to get this diagnosed and get the specific length
    >difference (x-rays ?). thanks much!


    How does it feel? I think that is what is important.


    Life is Good!
    Jeff
     
  4. Pat in TX

    Pat in TX Guest


    > hi, anyone had a leg length discrepancy diagnosed?


    yes, I have for years had doctors say, "Has anyone ever told you one leg is
    shorter than the other?" This was always after the basic test. You lie on
    your back with your legs out straight. Then, you bend your knees and lift
    your buttocks off of the table/floor/whatever. You straighten your legs out
    again and they look at your feet to see if your legs are the same length.
    But, they never did anything about it other than say, "I thought so!"

    Finally, one doctor said, "Let's take an x-ray." and, sure enough a
    standing x-ray showed that my pelvis was tilted! One leg is 3/8" shorter
    than the other and when a pad of that length was added to my foot, my pelvis
    tips were horizontal again.

    Now, he didn't do this all at once. First, he put in a 1/16th" pad in and I
    walked around on it for 2 weeks. Then, he took that out and put in a 1/8th"
    pad for two weeks and so on. At the end of the time, he x-rayed me sitting
    and standing. And, voila!

    The result? I no longer have a lower back pain on the left side that I have
    had for years and years. One of my vertebrae was tilted and cramping the
    space between two of the vertebras.

    However, I haven't used the pads in my cycling shoes. I haven't messed
    around with shims, either. What he did was put a pad on my saddle to keep
    the pelvis in proper position. Until you asked, I wasn't aware that I wasn't
    using the pads in my cycling shoes. Hmmm. I'll have to ask about that. Maybe
    it is because the heel position isn't as crucial when wearing cleats?

    But, I do know that one foot tracks with my toes straight ahead and the
    other, the shorter leg, likes for the toes to point outward a bit. Maybe you
    don't have a leg length discrepancy at all--maybe you just have a foot that
    goes differently from the other foot. I suspect my right foot toes out
    because of the knee operation....
     
  5. Bruce Graham

    Bruce Graham Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    >
    > [email protected] wrote:
    > > hi, anyone had a leg length discrepancy diagnosed? i've heard of a few
    > > people having to put spacers in one shoe's cleat to even out a leg
    > > discrepancy. i'm pretty sure one of mine is a few millimeters
    > > off......no matter what i do i can never get my cleats adjusted so that
    > > each leg stroke looks identical from above (one knee will move straight
    > > up and down, while the other floats in and out a bit). let me know if
    > > you have any idea how to get this diagnosed and get the specific length
    > > difference (x-rays ?). thanks much!

    >
    > X-rays are the definitive method. Otherwise, differences in joint
    > flexibility and geometry can affect the external appearance. AFAIK, "a
    > few millimeters" is not particularly significant. If the stroke "looks"
    > different side-to-side, I'd guess that you might have a muscle
    > imbalance or something equally soft-tissue related.
    >
    > FWIW: my right leg is about 1/2" shorter than my left, and my right
    > foot points outward at about a ten-degree angle. Aside from getting my
    > cleats' rotational adjustment set correctly, I haven't done anything to
    > compensate for this. I'd like to, but my riding partner (wife) isn't
    > pushing me fast enough to make it matter.
    >
    > Jeff
    >

    Same here, but my right leg is about 3/4 inch shorter. Almost nobody is
    perfectly symmetrical right to left. A classic illustration if you can
    use a photoeditor is to take a full face photo then split it down the
    middle and flip just one side to the other to make a symmetrical face.
    Now do the same using the other half face. Two different people!

    I point toes down more with my short leg. I tried setting that short leg
    cleat about 4mm forward but didn't notice much difference. Might be
    worth a try, but not for such a tiny leg length difference.

    Bruce
     
  6. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    >hi, anyone had a leg length discrepancy diagnosed? i've heard of a few
    >people having to put spacers in one shoe's cleat to even out a leg
    >discrepancy. i'm pretty sure one of mine is a few millimeters
    >off......no matter what i do i can never get my cleats adjusted so that
    >each leg stroke looks identical from above (one knee will move straight
    >up and down, while the other floats in and out a bit). let me know if
    >you have any idea how to get this diagnosed and get the specific length
    >difference (x-rays ?). thanks much!


    I don't think the assymetry in your pedaling stroke has anything to do
    with leg length (since raising or lowering your saddle shouldn't cause
    your knee to move to the side). Rather, I'll wager the issue is with
    alignment in your knee itself. My right knee has always done the same
    thing. I believe that you can correct for this with alignment of the
    shoe (in my case, tilting the outside edge of the shoe up seems to
    help).

    Mark Hickey
    Habanero Cycles
    http://www.habcycles.com
    Home of the $795 ti frame
     
  7. yeah, i have tried doing all kinds of angles with the cleat wedges, but
    nothing seems to help. my left leg looks perfect, while my right leg
    floats in and out a bit regardless of how i angle or move the cleats.
    i've never really had any injuries that would cause this, and i'm
    pretty young so no joint problems yet. it did seem to get a bit better
    when i added about 2mm of spacers to the total right side height. just
    didn't know how to figure out exactly what would make my legs perfectly
    equal length.

    seems like x-ray would be the only way. i do know that the
    chiropractor has told me i have a pelvic tilt, which is probably most
    of the problem that makes one leg 'seem' shorter. likewise, when
    running i always seem to be more comfortable on the left side of the
    road than the right due to the road angle tilt. guess i'll have to
    look at getting some x-rays.........thanks much
     
  8. RonSonic

    RonSonic Guest

    On 20 Feb 2006 08:53:52 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

    >yeah, i have tried doing all kinds of angles with the cleat wedges, but
    >nothing seems to help. my left leg looks perfect, while my right leg
    >floats in and out a bit regardless of how i angle or move the cleats.
    >i've never really had any injuries that would cause this, and i'm
    >pretty young so no joint problems yet. it did seem to get a bit better
    >when i added about 2mm of spacers to the total right side height. just
    >didn't know how to figure out exactly what would make my legs perfectly
    >equal length.
    >
    >seems like x-ray would be the only way. i do know that the
    >chiropractor has told me i have a pelvic tilt, which is probably most
    >of the problem that makes one leg 'seem' shorter. likewise, when
    >running i always seem to be more comfortable on the left side of the
    >road than the right due to the road angle tilt. guess i'll have to
    >look at getting some x-rays.........thanks much


    There are bike fit guys with laser pointers for each leg and LeMond's shoe wedge
    alignment gadgets and all other sorts of stuff. I've never had benefit, or felt
    such need, but both my legs track straight. The pelvic tilt sounds like it could
    explain all of this. I'd see about a pro fitting, at least for the pedals, if I
    were having an issue like this.

    Ron
     
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