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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-27-08, 03:07 PM   #1
tomdaniels
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Wonder why I don't bike in circles?

I went to a physical therapist today... One leg is between 2cm and 2.5 cm shorter than the other! Almost an inch! He has me doing some stretches and exercises to help with my foot issues and also to work on legs and ankles.

I am seriously considering shortening the crank arm on the left side, but will wait for his recommendation.
I may put a shim on the pedal of my stationary and see how it feels.

Anyone else facing this?
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Old 02-27-08, 03:12 PM   #2
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I'm 7MM shorter on one leg which isn't even close to you. WOW, you've been walking leaned over your whole life!
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Old 02-27-08, 03:28 PM   #3
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I suspect my right foot is bigger than my left. Maybe there are variable size pedals I could try.
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Old 02-27-08, 03:39 PM   #4
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I'm not but there are a few different length, adjustable or full custom cranks out there

Different leg lengths

How easy to get diff. length crank arms on each side?

Leg lenght discrepency
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Old 02-27-08, 04:03 PM   #5
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i'm off by maybe a 1/4" or so...maybe a tad more...it always bothered me.
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Old 02-27-08, 04:09 PM   #6
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Actually, most people use the same length crank arms regardless of their leg length. They adjust frame size or seat height to compensate, not crank arm length. If it doesn't feel like a problem, it isn't. The shim might be an idea, and seems like I have seen that discussed in the road forum a good while back.
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Old 02-27-08, 04:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tomdaniels View Post

[snip]

I am seriously considering shortening the crank arm on the left side, but will wait for his recommendation.

[snip]
You might try the opposite and see if it doesn't even things out quicker.

(just kidding!!)
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Old 02-27-08, 04:29 PM   #8
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My right leg is about 12mm shorter than my left. This ultimately caused mild scoliosis -- pelvis isn't straight while walking or standing, so spine is at an angle, but the body tries to keep it vertical. I have a 12mm heel lift I usually wear in my right shoe.
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Old 02-27-08, 05:07 PM   #9
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Cain,

Maybe we should've found a 3 legged race to run while we were in mille lacs!

We would've been all out of balance!
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Old 02-27-08, 05:13 PM   #10
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http://sheldonbrown.com/cranks.html#mixed
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Old 02-27-08, 06:57 PM   #11
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I am off by 1.5 cms. I didn't know this until I went to sports medicine for knee pain a few years back.

Basically I'm missing cartilage in my left knee as a result of my patella not tracking correctly due to the extra length in my left leg. I can still run but sports that require lateral movement like basketball become very very painful.

I don't wear anything special to correct this and I don't shim the cleats on my cycling shoes. What's helped is stretching my hamstrings, wearing inserts (Birkenstocks are my favorite) to make sure my heel is cupped and arch is supported, and--you guessed it--cycling. Cycling keeps my patella tracking up and down correctly.

If I'd known about this sooner, I could have taken better care of myself. Maybe I'd be on basketball forums instead of Bikeforms?
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Old 02-27-08, 10:24 PM   #12
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Bill K.,
Is there anything that the dear departed Sheldon Brown did not write about?! Thanks for the link.

I am leaning towards the pedal buildup to start then.
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Old 02-28-08, 01:16 AM   #13
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Bill K.,
Is there anything that the dear departed Sheldon Brown did not write about?! Thanks for the link.

I am leaning towards the pedal buildup to start then.
I always amazed at new tidbits I find on Sheldon's website.
My brother was in an auto accident when he was 15 and had a broken back/paralysis amongst some of his injuries. (Thank God for a competent neurosurgeon!)
While spending 2 months in the hospital, he grew about 4 inches on one side.
A couple years later, they shortened one leg about 1-1/2", but it's still noticeably longer than the other. When he sits, 1 knee is about 1" higher than the other, and you can see the outline of the steel plate in his shin.
They've strongly advised him to wear a built up shoe to keep his back better aligned to help minimize future back problems. He did for a few years, but he got tired of the expense. That's been nearly 40 years ago.
Ironically?, my niece was in one of the classic "car stuck on the railroad tracks" accidents and ended up with the same leg situation. They "stretched" her leg 1-7/8", which supposedly was a record at that time. Problem was, her tendons didn't stretch as much!


I'd suggest wearing at least a "partially built up shoe or some kind of insert. Just to help avoid back problems in the future. Even if you added a 1/4".....

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Old 02-28-08, 03:47 AM   #14
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I often get pain/numbness only in my left foot, which leads me to believe my legs are different.
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Old 02-28-08, 04:12 AM   #15
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I often get pain/numbness only in my left foot, which leads me to believe my legs are different.
Have you considered orthotics just for your cycling shoes? I use conformable custom ones (GBP/USD ~50.00) but superfeet step in orthotics are very good too. It may just be that a little extra support will remove any numbness, hotspots and pain. At least that's what it did for me.

http://www.sidas.com/ - still under construction (their old non-flash site was fine ) - anyway there are a number of shops in the US with the con'formable heat mouldable footbeds. They're very good, take ~30min to fit and make and much less expensive than a full custom job from someone with a medical qualification.

http://www.superfeet.com/activity/cycling.aspx - preformed, drop in, orthotics that are also very good but only go to a US17 I think

edit: superfeet shoe size correction
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Last edited by markhr; 02-28-08 at 08:19 AM. Reason: edit: superfeet shoe size correction
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Old 02-28-08, 06:56 AM   #16
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If you have a special shoes to compensate, use them if your ride on platforms.
If you use clipless pedals, put a shim under the pedal cleat on the sole of the shoe.
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Old 02-28-08, 07:13 AM   #17
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I went to a physical therapist today... One leg is between 2cm and 2.5 cm shorter than the other! Almost an inch! He has me doing some stretches and exercises to help with my foot issues and also to work on legs and ankles.

I am seriously considering shortening the crank arm on the left side, but will wait for his recommendation.
I may put a shim on the pedal of my stationary and see how it feels.

Anyone else facing this?
I have a one CM difference, enough to give me a completely different pedal stroke on the right and the left. I use commercially available arch inserts and avoid hikes of more than four miles, or extended walking on pavement. I'll eventually get custom made orthotics, but I keep putting it off - other health issues keep coming up. A shim is probably the way to go; when I discussed my leg length problems on this forum a year ago the late Sheldon Brown posted that differing length crank arms were a bad idea. LeMond makes a shim kit, the LeMond Wedge, I believe it's called.

Hang tight, Tom, you can get through this.
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Old 02-28-08, 07:58 AM   #18
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I often get pain/numbness only in my left foot, which leads me to believe my legs are different.
I used to get a lot of pain and numbness in just my right foot. I know I have a slight leg length discrepancy (most people do from what I've heard). But the real issue here was shoe fit and a slightly larger right foot. My shoes weren't wide enough and I was getting symptoms of metatarsalagia, which is where the metatarsals are pushed together and irritate nerves that run between them. I had pain near the ball of my foot and numbness and tingling in my second and third toes. Good orthotics (with metatarsal arch support) and some new shoes later and I'm not having the problem anymore! So if that's the kind of pain and numbness your having I'd check that out.
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Old 03-01-08, 12:42 AM   #19
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I suspect my right foot is bigger than my left. Maybe there are variable size pedals I could try.
Oposite to you. My left is 46 and right is 45.
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Old 03-01-08, 10:33 PM   #20
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Here's what I did for my clipless cycling shoes. I only had a piece of 5mm composite board so I used that, which was close enough for me. I had to get creative with the longer bolts, but I was able to make it work. Here are a few pictures.
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Old 03-01-08, 11:49 PM   #21
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My left left is shorter than my right leg by just a little (under 1cm). My left knee would often bother me on long rides until I got it diagnosed. The physical therapist put an insert in my shoe, voila, 99% of the knee pain is gone.
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Old 03-02-08, 04:11 PM   #22
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Good advice guys! I tried a pad (~2cm) on the left pedal of my stationary recumbent and it seems pretty good. I can't tell for certain as I have been sick all week and don't really feel up to pushing the body through a full workout. I didn't push long enough to get the foot issue, but could tell that my left side was running more smoothly.



Assuming that this works, the question now is whether to build up my shoes or my pedal.
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Old 03-02-08, 04:39 PM   #23
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td, are you planning on using clipless pedals? If so which ones?
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Old 03-02-08, 04:49 PM   #24
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Assuming that this works, the question now is whether to build up my shoes or my pedal.
Perhaps allow them to meet halfway?
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Old 03-24-08, 06:58 PM   #25
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I thought I would post a status update on my leg length issue.

I just attached kneesavers to both sides of my bent and then put a 1 inch pedal block on the left side.
A quick spin around the neighborhood felt _VERY GOOD_. I may have to trim off that block a little bit, but it seems like It may make a huge difference. Also, the kneesavers really seem to increase the comfort, but I am pretty wide to begin with---not to mention the 16-17 size shoes.

I will know for sure after the first 20 mile ride, I bet.
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