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Old 02-12-08, 05:26 PM   #1
Mojo Slim
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Continued trouble with my Plantaris

NOTE THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL POST


I have posted here recently about my new riding group, now that I have moved from Quincy, CA to Lincoln, CA. The new group of 55+ riders challenges me with speed and hills. I was excited about getting in better shape. But in recent weeks I not only felt I was not improving but was actually getting slower.

Some history: In 2005, on the first day of the 7-day AIDS/LifeCycle from SF to LA, I injured/strained my plantaris tendon. It's the one that runs from behind the knee down the back of the calf. It is apparently useless, except to slow down tennis players, football players and bike riders. Some inspired taping allowed me to finish the 7 day ride with relative ease. In the illustration below, it's "I", the fourth one down on the left, if you can' read it.



I seemed to have strained it again, probably trying to keep up with my new group. It's not really painful, but seems to make my leg feel very tired. I crawl up hills and can't keep up on flat ground. No power.

I have a doctor's appt soon, and hope to get some treatment and prevention advice, which I will pass on. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this and what, if anything, helped.
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Last edited by Mojo Slim; 05-29-08 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 02-12-08, 05:42 PM   #2
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Yes, please keep us posted. Glad you're gonna see a doc.
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Old 05-29-08, 11:52 AM   #3
Mojo Slim
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I have come full circle with the problem with my leg, and have ended with "it is what it is". as one doctor put it.

My symptons were that my left leg would get very fatigued with exertion. No pain, but just a few strokes standing up or hammering and all my power would be gone. I can make it to the top of any hill, and I can ride about any distance, I just have to "protect" my leg by not exerting myself much. In fact, I had some sort of epiphany after my Lake Tahoe ride a couple of weeks ago. My buddy was wiped out, I felt fine. I felt fine because I had not exerted myself.

I had an ultrasound, blood test and tests involving needles and electricty. I had polio as a child, which affected my left leg at the time, and one doctor said it was a "distinct possibility" that I had Post Polio Synrome (now, mostly ruled out).

My diagnosis? Back to the original post. I think I have injured my plantaris or other muscles or tendons and just keep aggravating them because I ride frequently. I leave in two days on the 7-day 570 mile AIDS/LifeCycle ride from SF to LA. After that, I MAY try to lay off for 6 weeks to see if the rest helps. The doctor thought that was a reasonable alternative. However, not riding for 6 weeks will be tough. I WANT STEROIDS! HUMAN GROWTH HORMONES! VIAGRA!
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Old 05-29-08, 12:06 PM   #4
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I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but why was post-polio syndrome ruled out? Or "mostly" ruled out?
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Old 05-29-08, 12:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cone Wrench View Post
I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but why was post-polio syndrome ruled out? Or "mostly" ruled out?
The neurologist saw no indications in his tests (he did two, neither of which I can name) of PPS. My research says that there is really no hard-n-fast diagnosis, and no one really knows much about it except it affects 20-60% of polio survivors. My case was not acute at age 9, therefore shouldn't be acute at age 60+. My only PPS symptom is "fatigue without pain". There seems to be no treatment. When the article started talking about using a cane, walker or iron lung, I quit reading.
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Old 05-29-08, 01:07 PM   #6
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It's not quite the same problem, but I have a chronically stretched ACL that used to get really aggravated when I rode, especially if I had to ride against a stiff wind. It's in almost exactly the same location as the point on the diagram you have. I had severe pain, however, so I don't think it's the same thing. My ACL problem was diagnosed with an MRI.

Anyway, I found that I needed to raise my seat 1/4 inch, and the problem went away completely. I don't know if that would help or not, but have you tried adjusting your seat slightly?
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Old 05-29-08, 01:32 PM   #7
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Good point, PrairieDog! What is it they say? Knee pain in back = saddle is too low, pain in front = saddle is too high? Substitute fatigue for pain. If the tendon was really injured, you'd know it! Since you're only guessing about it, I'm guessing you're wrong. Try the saddle adjustment and report back.
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Old 05-29-08, 02:30 PM   #8
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6 weeks afoot would be difficult, especially in spring/summer. Good luck with that. If you go that route.
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Old 07-15-08, 10:23 PM   #9
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UPDATE

I thought I would revisit this, just in case it might help someone.

As you can see from the old posts above, I was having trouble with my left leg, that may or may not have been a recurring problem with my plantaris tendon. The real issue was that my leg would get very fatigued very quickly if I put much effort into my ride. For instance, if I stood on the pedals to catch up to a rider 100 feet ahead of me, my leg would tire after about 6 stokes and then be tired for the rest of the ride.

On June 1, I left on a 7 day, 545 mile ride from SF to LA (AIDS/LifeCycle). The ride can be taken at any speed, so I wasn't too worried. I had done the ride 3 times before.

On the first day, my leg just about gave out on a small hill just before lunch. After lunch, it was much better and I seemed to get stronger as the days progressed.

Now, I very seldom experience the "fatigue" and never seriously. I can stand on the pedals as long as my lungs hold out. Whatever the problem was, it seems to have just gone away.

The only thing that is different is that in late April, a friend (who knows his stuff) moved my cleats from the front of the show to the back and made adjustments to my saddle. Over the next month plus, up to the aforementioned ride, I really didn't feell much difference. Maybe it just took some time to "sink in".

I am encouraged. I'm back at the fitness club using weights, and trying to do some intervals on most of my rides, which I could never do before. I might actually get better.

That is all.
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Old 07-16-08, 06:44 AM   #10
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In antiquity they would take the plantaris muscle of sheep, peel off the fascia, and fashion a comdom out of it. It was called "the Condome of Rome".

Of absolutely no use to you now, of course. I always thought they would let the plantaris rupture and be done with it. I'm pretty sure my right plantaris ruptured a decade ago. I haven't missed it.
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