Unequal Leg Length

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Barryg, Apr 27, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Barryg

    Barryg Guest

    I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc. A
    light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately measured my leg
    length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would guess
    that this is quite significant.

    I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat, crank
    drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?

    Thanks for any help, Barry
     
    Tags:


  2. I have a slightly different leg length, and also a very different toe-out angle between my right and
    left feet. The way I adjusted for this is to buy two diferent spindle lengths for my Speedplay frog
    pedals. The right pedal has a spindle which is 1/4-inch longer than the left. Speedplay does not
    seem to advertise that they offer different pedal lengths, but if this appears to help, just send
    them an email or ask your local dealer to get you the list of available lengths.

    "BarryG" <bg at albany dot net> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc. A
    > light bulb went off in my head this morning and
    with
    > a little ingenuity I accurately measured my leg length and found my left
    leg
    > half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would guess that this is quite
    > significant.
    >
    > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > crank drilling, etc? Should a
    health
    > care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    >
    > Thanks for any help, Barry
     
  3. Rick Moll

    Rick Moll Guest

    Leg length inequality is fairly common, and is often corrected with a shim between the shoe and
    cleat. For more information you may want to read up about this in a cycling medicine book. Here's
    two I have in my library that I've found useful:

    Bicycling Medicine by Arnie Baker, M.D. Simon & Schuster

    Andy Pruitt's Medical Guide for Cyclists by Andrew L. Pruitt, Ed.D. with Fred Matheny RBR
    Publishing Company http://www.roadbikerider.com/

    From what I understand a 10mm difference can definitely cause problems if not corrected. The most
    accurate method to measure the inequality is apparently with an x-ray. And the common wisdom is to
    correct for half of the difference with a cleat shim.

    I personally use a 3mm shim on my right cleat.

    But for an inequality as large as you have I would seek professional assistance. From what I
    understand the recommended amount of correction often depends on whether there is a femoral or
    tibial inequality.

    Hope that is enough to get you started,

    Rick Moll

    BarryG wrote:
    > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc. A
    > light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately measured my
    > leg length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would
    > guess that this is quite significant.
    >
    > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > crank drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    >
    > Thanks for any help, Barry
     
  4. Gene Cosloy

    Gene Cosloy Guest

    "BarryG" <bg at albany dot net> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc. A
    > light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately measured my
    > leg length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would
    > guess that this is quite significant.
    >
    > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > crank drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    >
    > Thanks for any help, Barry

    Hi Barry,

    There is another issue to consider: how did you conduct the measurement? Standing up or sitting with
    legs outstretched as you would in the recumbent position? Leg lengths may not be the whole story.
    Some folks have asymetrically shaped pelvis' and lower back irregularities that conspire to make
    your position on the bike unbalanced even if your actual leg lengths are equal.

    Gene (Taiko, BikeE NX)
     
  5. I accurately measured my leg length and found my left leg
    > half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would guess that this is quite
    > significant.
    >
    > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > crank drilling, etc? Should a
    health
    > care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    >
    > Thanks for any help, Barry
    >
    >

    well, there are at least 2 of us on the board with this problem (Jeff?) I haven't found a solution
    to it yet. I just comprimise between the ideal length for each leg and live with it. I wonder if it
    would be feasible to mount a 155mm crank arm on the left side and leave the longer crank on the
    right side?? any opinions on this?

    rich v2
     
  6. My left leg is 1/2" shorter than my right, due to having been broken and I am planning to try to get
    a LH crank arm that is 5mm shorter than the right one, just to see if it will improve my
    performance.

    I really don't get any trouble from it on the bike but I am conscious of it when I am walking.

    Lewis

    http://www.tinyurl/8vvh ........

    "BarryG" <bg at albany dot net> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc. A
    > light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately measured my
    > leg length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would
    > guess that this is quite significant.
    >
    > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > crank drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    >
    > Thanks for any help, Barry
     
  7. Jeff Wills

    Jeff Wills Guest

    Rick Moll <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Leg length inequality is fairly common, and is often corrected with a shim between the shoe and
    > cleat. For more information you may want to read up about this in a cycling medicine book. Here's
    > two I have in my library that I've found useful:
    >
    > Bicycling Medicine by Arnie Baker, M.D. Simon & Schuster
    <snip>
    >
    > From what I understand a 10mm difference can definitely cause problems if not corrected. The most
    > accurate method to measure the inequality is apparently with an x-ray. And the common wisdom is
    > to correct for half of the difference with a cleat shim.

    I'll agree on all of those points- my right leg is about 10mm shorter than my left, confirmed by
    x-ray and Arnie Baker himself (he tickles!).

    I don't have shims for my cleats- I haven't found anything that will work properly with SPD cleats
    and shoes. As a consequence, I've strained the iliotibial band on my left side- it's a constant sore
    spot. Strangely, it feels worse if I *don't* ride- perhaps it requires the constant stretching to
    stay healthy.

    Jeff
     
  8. Rick Moll

    Rick Moll Guest

    Jeff Wills wrote:

    >... I don't have shims for my cleats- I haven't found anything that will work properly with SPD
    >cleats and shoes. As a consequence, I've strained the iliotibial band on my left side- it's a
    >constant sore spot. Strangely, it feels worse if I *don't* ride- perhaps it requires the constant
    >stretching to stay healthy.

    I haven't shimmed regular SPD cleats, but I have made shims for my SPD-R shoes. From what I've read
    SPD cleats are commonly shimmed with hard plastic or aluminum stock. I used nylon sheet stock to
    make my shims, and the same material should work to make SPD shims. Nylon sheet is available in a
    range of thicknesses. I bought my nylon stock here:

    http://www.onlinemetals.com/

    I just cut the shim out of the sheet with a scroll saw.

    One of the books I recommend, "Andy Pruitt's Medical Guide for Cyclists" has quite a bit of info on
    knee, foot and ankle problems as well as how to set up your cleats to correct for them. Andy Pruitt
    is the director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, and he works with recumbent riders in
    his practice. His book is oriented towards DF bikes, but also has a lot of information that is
    pertinent to recumbent cyclists as well. I highly recommend his book. Here is an excerpt and the
    table of contents:

    http://www.roadbikerider.com/ap_excerpt.htm

    Rick Moll
     
  9. Jeff Wills

    Jeff Wills Guest

    Rick Moll <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >I used nylon sheet stock to make my shims, and the same material should work to make SPD shims.
    >Nylon sheet is available in a range of thicknesses. I bought my nylon stock here:
    >
    > http://www.onlinemetals.com/
    >
    > I just cut the shim out of the sheet with a scroll saw.

    Well, the shim part is really no problem, but how do you keep the SPD cleat from hitting the ground
    when you're walking? That's the real issue that I've had with shimming the cleat. It kind of defeats
    the purpose of having "walkable" clipless pedals and shoes if you have to swap shoes to walk into
    the coffee shop.

    FWIW: my next experiment will involve the Lake CX-115 Look-compatible shoes and some fat shims. I've
    never been *really* happy with SPDs- they've just kept working over the years.

    Jeff
     
  10. [email protected] (Lewis Campbell) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > My left leg is 1/2" shorter than my right, due to having been broken and I am planning to try to
    > get a LH crank arm that is 5mm shorter than the right one, just to see if it will improve my
    > performance.
    >
    > I really don't get any trouble from it on the bike but I am conscious of it when I am walking.
    >
    > Lewis
    >
    > http://www.tinyurl/8vvh ........
    >
    > "BarryG" <bg at albany dot net> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc. A
    > > light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately measured my
    > > leg length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg. Offhand, I would
    > > guess that this is quite significant.
    > >
    > > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > > crank drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    > >
    > > Thanks for any help, Barry

    Arnie Baker (Bicycling Medicine) doesn't endorse different crank lengths to accomodate differences
    in leg lengths. He states that 3 mm shim is required to accomodate a leg which is about 6mm shorter
    in the lower (tibial)leg. I prefer a modified insole. I cut a running shoe insole from the rear of
    the cleat to the front of my shoe. I use a full insole on top. I'm using MTB shoes w/ velcro straps
    so toe area adjustment is easy. For lace-up shoes you can use two sets of laces - one for the toe
    area, one for the instep. If the shoe is still uncomfortable, try stretching the front of the shoe
    w/ a shoe stretcher. P.S. I also use a ~3mm heel lift in my walking/hiking/running shoes & boots
    (6mm is uncomfortable) but not the cycling shoes.
     
  11. Rick Moll

    Rick Moll Guest

    Jeff Wills wrote:

    > Well, the shim part is really no problem, but how do you keep the SPD cleat from hitting the
    > ground when you're walking? That's the real issue that I've had with shimming the cleat. It kind
    > of defeats the purpose of having "walkable" clipless pedals and shoes if you have to swap shoes to
    > walk into the coffee shop.

    I've gone the road shoe path, and carry a lightweight pair of sandals with me. But Andy Pruitt does
    suggest in his book that you can use Shoe Goo to build up the sole around the cleat after you've
    shimmed it.

    > FWIW: my next experiment will involve the Lake CX-115 Look-compatible shoes and some fat shims.
    > I've never been *really* happy with SPDs- they've just kept working over the years.

    I never liked SPD either, which is why I switched to SPD-R. But now it appears that Shimano is
    phasing out SPD-R for a new road cleat that they developed for Lance.

    Rick Moll
     
  12. [email protected] (Larry Bloomfield) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > [email protected] (Lewis Campbell) wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > My left leg is 1/2" shorter than my right, due to having been broken and I am planning to try to
    > > get a LH crank arm that is 5mm shorter than the right one, just to see if it will improve my
    > > performance.
    > >
    > > I really don't get any trouble from it on the bike but I am conscious of it when I am walking.
    > >
    > > Lewis
    > >
    > > http://www.tinyurl/8vvh ........
    > >
    > > "BarryG" <bg at albany dot net> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles, etc.
    > > > A light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately
    > > > measured my leg length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg.
    > > > Offhand, I would guess that this is quite significant.
    > > >
    > > > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > > > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe, cleat,
    > > > crank drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    > > >
    > > > Thanks for any help, Barry
    >
    > Arnie Baker (Bicycling Medicine) doesn't endorse different crank lengths to accomodate differences
    > in leg lengths. He states that 3 mm shim is required to accomodate a leg which is about 6mm
    > shorter in the lower (tibial)leg. I prefer a modified insole. I cut a running shoe insole from the
    > rear of the cleat to the front of my shoe. I use a full insole on top. I'm using MTB shoes w/
    > velcro straps so toe area adjustment is easy. For lace-up shoes you can use two sets of laces -
    > one for the toe area, one for the instep. If the shoe is still uncomfortable, try stretching the
    > front of the shoe w/ a shoe stretcher. P.S. I also use a ~3mm heel lift in my
    > walking/hiking/running shoes & boots (6mm is uncomfortable) but not the cycling shoes.

    I found a flat 2+ mm blue gel insole at the local pharmacy which fits well unmodified under a
    standard athletic shoe insole - I like it better than the modified one discussed above (less
    compressible)
     
  13. [email protected] (Larry Bloomfield) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > [email protected] (Larry Bloomfield) wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > [email protected] (Lewis Campbell) wrote in message
    > > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > My left leg is 1/2" shorter than my right, due to having been broken and I am planning to try
    > > > to get a LH crank arm that is 5mm shorter than the right one, just to see if it will improve
    > > > my performance.
    > > >
    > > > I really don't get any trouble from it on the bike but I am conscious of it when I am walking.
    > > >
    > > > Lewis
    > > >
    > > > http://www.tinyurl/8vvh ........
    > > >
    > > > "BarryG" <bg at albany dot net> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > > I've always had a problem with left knee pain when trying to go more than about 50 miles,
    > > > > etc. A light bulb went off in my head this morning and with a little ingenuity I accurately
    > > > > measured my leg length and found my left leg half an inch (1 cm) longer than my right leg.
    > > > > Offhand, I would guess that this is quite significant.
    > > > >
    > > > > I would appreciate hearing from anyone with a little experience themselves with this or with
    > > > > knowledge on the subject. Also what is the best way to adjust for this - with the shoe,
    > > > > cleat, crank drilling, etc? Should a health care professional (podiatrist?) be involved?
    > > > >
    > > > > Thanks for any help, Barry
    > >
    > > Arnie Baker (Bicycling Medicine) doesn't endorse different crank lengths to accomodate
    > > differences in leg lengths. He states that 3 mm shim is required to accomodate a leg which is
    > > about 6mm shorter in the lower (tibial)leg. I prefer a modified insole. I cut a running shoe
    > > insole from the rear of the cleat to the front of my shoe. I use a full insole on top. I'm using
    > > MTB shoes w/ velcro straps so toe area adjustment is easy. For lace-up shoes you can use two
    > > sets of laces - one for the toe area, one for the instep. If the shoe is still uncomfortable,
    > > try stretching the front of the shoe w/ a shoe stretcher. P.S. I also use a ~3mm heel lift in my
    > > walking/hiking/running shoes & boots (6mm is uncomfortable) but not the cycling shoes.
    >
    > I found a flat 2+ mm blue gel insole at the local pharmacy which fits well unmodified under a
    > standard athletic shoe insole - I like it better than the modified one discussed above (less
    > compressible)

    Cut the toe area off the blue gel insoles above the ball of foot - even more comfortable
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...