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Old 05-09-11, 04:31 PM   #1
GetUpnGo
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Mounting/dismounting with hip arthritis

In the past year I have developed fairly severe arthritis in one hip. It has gotten pretty hard to get my foot up over the top bar due to limited range of motion. Once I'm on the bike I'm pretty much ok. Getting off is even harder. Changing sides doesn't help.

Anybody else have this problem?

I can't imagine changing my bike as a lot of effort and expense went into getting the perfect bike built last year. There is no version of my frame available with a lower top tube---it's a standard men's frame.

Got any exercises to recommend to increase mobility or range of motion?

I'm assuming that inflammation is a big part of the problem, so I'm looking into ways to reduce that (especially diet).
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Old 05-09-11, 04:47 PM   #2
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I would talk with a physical therapist who might have suggestions regarding stretches and techniques of mounting the bike. I know you love your bike, but more of a step-through (which my wiife uses as she also has a leg-over problem) might be in order???

Anti-inflammatories?

Recumbent?

Sorry I have no further suggestions and hopefully others will.

Good luck.
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Old 05-09-11, 05:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
In the past year I have developed fairly severe arthritis in one hip. It has gotten pretty hard to get my foot up over the top bar due to limited range of motion. Once I'm on the bike I'm pretty much ok. Getting off is even harder. Changing sides doesn't help.

Anybody else have this problem?

I can't imagine changing my bike as a lot of effort and expense went into getting the perfect bike built last year. There is no version of my frame available with a lower top tube---it's a standard men's frame.

Got any exercises to recommend to increase mobility or range of motion?

I'm assuming that inflammation is a big part of the problem, so I'm looking into ways to reduce that (especially diet).
Due simply to your unsteadiness getting on/off a bike it's only a question of time until you fall and really mess up your hips & back. That said, I strongly suggest that you move to an adult trike AFTER you get with your ortho doctor to treat your hips.
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Old 05-09-11, 07:03 PM   #4
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Due simply to your unsteadiness getting on/off a bike it's only a question of time until you fall and really mess up your hips & back. That said, I strongly suggest that you move to an adult trike AFTER you get with your ortho doctor to treat your hips.
Talk of trikes of any sort would seem premature.
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Old 05-09-11, 07:08 PM   #5
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Talk of trikes of any sort would seem premature.
Heh heh. Thanks for that, JanMM! I'm NOT getting rid of my bike, not until I've done everything I can to adapt myself physically.
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Old 05-09-11, 07:46 PM   #6
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I recently had my right hip replaced and I should have insisted on it being done sooner.
I had to give up biking 10 to 12 years ago and even motorcycling was hard to tolerate.

Things that helped ME while waiting for the joint to totally fail was laying of dairy products and drinking a couple glasses of tart cheery juice each day (it apparently has a natural anti inflammatory in it). I tired glucosamine and chondroitin but it didn't seem to do anything but make me a farting machine...

Mine was due to an injury back when I was 20 and in the service and it slowly got worse and worse. Near the end I couldn't tie my shoe or cut my toe nails on that leg and exercising just made it worse.

Good luck to you...
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Old 05-09-11, 07:46 PM   #7
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Heh heh. Thanks for that, JanMM! I'm NOT getting rid of my bike, not until I've done everything I can to adapt myself physically.
Don't ask me if my long wheelbase recumbent bicycle is easy to get on and off, then!
A physical therapist may be of help to you. (As previously suggested.)
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Old 05-09-11, 08:21 PM   #8
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GetUpnGo, Try standing a bit further from the bike and laying it over more to mount/dismount, maybe tuck your foot closer to your butt as if you didn't want to kick something behind the saddle. Feeble suggestions I know, but a PT should be visited as to prevent worsening the situation.

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Old 05-09-11, 09:43 PM   #9
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I've had both of my hips replaced (2008/2009), and had the same problem before replacement. My bike is probably on the large side for me, but I could tilt the bike over one way and just step over the top tube to get on/off of it. And no, I didn't fall off of it or start looking for a trike. I just couldn't quite swing my leg over. My PT couldn't really suggest much that helped as far as stretching or other exercise. Good luck, and hope you can keep riding.
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Old 05-09-11, 10:04 PM   #10
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Lay the bike on the ground, straddle it ,then pick the bike up.
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Old 05-09-11, 11:24 PM   #11
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Lay the bike on the ground, straddle it ,then pick the bike up.
+1
And if you can bend from the waist and extend your leg straight back here is another option.

Standing on the left side of the bike, grab the right handlebar in your right hand and lean the bike to the left, as far down as your arm will allow. That will put the bike leaning close to the ground with the top tube and seat at about knee level.

Bend forward from the waist and extend your leg straight back, reaching as high as possible. Hopefully, you can get your leg and upper body parallel to the ground. Your leg is now clear of the seat and top tube since they are at about knee level.

All it takes is a small pivot to swing your leg over the seat/top tube. Then bring the bike back to an upright position, and you're off.

I have limited range of motion due to rheumatoid arthritis, and that trick has worked for me for the last several years.

Hope you find something that works for you

Last edited by Recycle; 05-09-11 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 05-10-11, 01:06 AM   #12
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Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Lay the bike on the ground, straddle it ,then pick the bike up.
+1
And if you can bend from the waist and extend your leg straight back here is another option.

Standing on the left side of the bike, grab the right handlebar in your right hand and lean the bike to the left, as far down as your arm will allow. That will put the bike leaning close to the ground with the top tube and seat at about knee level.

Bend forward from the waist and extend your leg straight back, reaching as high as possible. Hopefully, you can get your leg and upper body parallel to the ground. Your leg is now clear of the seat and top tube since they are at about knee level.

All it takes is a small pivot to swing your leg over the seat/top tube. Then bring the bike back to an upright position, and you're off.

I have limited range of motion due to rheumatoid arthritis, and that trick has worked for me for the last several years.

Hope you find something that works for you
GetUpnGo,

I, too, am having problems mounting and dismounting my bike due to a problem with my right hip. I've had my new bike for only 3 weeks, but I am finding the tricks that Recycle and fietsbob have suggested are helping me. The last two times I had the bike out, in order to dismount, I planted my left foot on the ground, and tilted the bike at an angle, with the top tube closer to me and the wheels away from me. This reduced the overall height and I was able to get my right leg over the seat. Mounting the bike is a little less of a problem. At one of the places I was starting/ending my ride, there was a small grass embankment (about 3' high) at the side of the road. There, I simply laid the bike down on the embankment and stepped over the bike. However, I am reluctant to lay the bike down on a hard surface--after all, it's my new baby and I am trying to keep it pristine.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:24 AM   #13
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Lay the bike down
Step over it
Bend over and grab the handle bar
Lift up
There you are ready to go

Dismount:
Reverse the above process.

I don't have any hip problems but when I ride long distances and am really tired I do the above. Not cool, but who
cares. I am seventy four and will ride the way I want to.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:43 AM   #14
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My dad was crippled by arthritis in both hips and could barely walk for the last 25 years of his life so I'm very careful to look after my hips, both of which started showing signs of degeneration before I was 45 (I'm 55 now).

I have to be careful mounting and dismounting my bike. If I just throw my leg over the saddle, I'm in trouble! I prefer to lay the bike low and kind of step over it.

I've been taking Glucosamine and Cod Liver Oil for about 15 years now. I think they are helping slow down the degeneration but I can't say for sure - I'm not about to stop taking them to see if that makes things worse!

I had to stop running because the pounding from even 30 minutes of running would make my hips ache for a week.

Walking is fine as long as I restrict the sideways range of movement of the hip joints. Sideways movements of my legs are a bad idea. The front and back movements of normal walking and pedalling are fine.

I find that using lower gears and higher cadences helps to make cycling a joint-pain-free experience. I live in a very hilly area with some monstrously steep hills (20-25+%) and if I try using raw power on them, my hips soon complain. My Cannondale's 39/29 bottom gear starts to hurt me at anything over about 15%. My Basso has a 30/28 climbing gear and I can get up pretty much anything on that gear without suffering joint pain afterwards. Keeping weight down makes a difference - less strain on the body. (Unfortunately, I am currently carrying about 40 pounds of surplus fat and that is making life harder for my joints.)

Anyway, GetUpnGo - I say that conservation is the name of the game and good luck with that. At some point, hip replacement is an option but I would like to only have it done once, if at all, so I'd want to be well into my 60s before that was necessary. Who would want second major surgery in their 70s? (I'm assuming that artificial joints still have a life of about 20 years. Perhaps joint technology has moved on now?)
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Old 05-10-11, 05:32 AM   #15
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Anyway, GetUpnGo - I say that conservation is the name of the game and good luck with that. At some point, hip replacement is an option but I would like to only have it done once, if at all, so I'd want to be well into my 60s before that was necessary. Who would want second major surgery in their 70s? (I'm assuming that artificial joints still have a life of about 20 years. Perhaps joint technology has moved on now?)
That is why they kept putting me off for my replacement because of the longevity of the joint. They've come a long way though and I still wish I would have done it earlier so I could have enjoyed a little bit more of my younger years.
My joint has some type of plastic wear inserts and my Doctor tells me as long as we catch it early enough it's about a 1 hour surgery to replace them and has a short recovery time as compared with a total replacement. In other words they wouldn't need to dislocate your hip to do the work and they would go in anterior rather than posterior.
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Old 05-10-11, 07:13 AM   #16
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I had some pretty severe pain in my right hip when I raised that leg. I work in construction and frequently have to navigate large steps and had to make sure I led any step-downs with my right leg so it was my left that was up in the air, so to speak. The problem also manifested itself when getting on or off my bike. My chiropractor told me my hamstrings were too tight and they were pulling my pelvis out of alignment, putting pressure on nerves. With some treatments from him, and some regular stretching exercises, it's improved a lot. Mind you, a breast stroke kick in a pool is still pretty excruciating, but tall steps and bike mounting/dismounting are very manageable now.

The one hip problem I haven't been able to get a handle on, though, is pain in both hips when I walk slowly, or stroll, for more than a half-hour or so. It's horrifying the pain it causes, and it's put a real crimp in my wife's and my habit of attending art festivals, where all you do is stroll for hours. But strangely enough, when I walk briskly (3.5 MPH+) I can, and do, go for miles at a time with no problems.

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Old 05-10-11, 08:50 AM   #17
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<snip>

Anyway, GetUpnGo - I say that conservation is the name of the game and good luck with that. At some point, hip replacement is an option but I would like to only have it done once, if at all, so I'd want to be well into my 60s before that was necessary. Who would want second major surgery in their 70s? (I'm assuming that artificial joints still have a life of about 20 years. Perhaps joint technology has moved on now?)
I was told 30 years on mine (DePuy metal on metal). I'm mid-late '50s so maybe I'll still be around then?

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In other words they wouldn't need to dislocate your hip to do the work and they would go in anterior rather than posterior.
Mine were both done anterior rather than posterior, and it seems like most orthos are moving that way. Much better recovery; hip would dislocate going rearward and foot rotating out rather than frontwards as in posterior. Less disturbance of the muscles, etc. as well.

I didn't ask the surgeon about replacement of the replacements... that sounds kind of slick if they can just replace I'm assuming a socket insert?
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Old 05-10-11, 08:54 AM   #18
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Newer minimally invasive anterior hip replacement techniques give much more mobility, quicker recovery. If your doc isn't using these, find another doc. Your doc is out of date.

http://www.newhipnews.com/
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Old 05-10-11, 09:08 AM   #19
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Someone has already suggested getting help from the doctors and doing PT. The main this is doing some activity, in other words, keep fighting it..

And here I am crying and whining about arthritis banging my arm..I should kick my ownself in the butt for being such a puss!!

Again, seek the best advice you can get, and keep working it the best you can.

Luck to you,
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Old 05-12-11, 06:26 PM   #20
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Lay the bike on the ground, straddle it ,then pick the bike up.
HEY, THAT WORKED!!! I was very skeptical but I tried it and it worked. the leg spread near the handlebar with the bike on the ground is quite narrrow.

Now, there are times when this wouldn't work well, especially on pavement, with a loaded bike, etc. But it does work, so THANKS!

I noticed when I picked the bike up that standing in front of the seat I have about zero to a half an inch of clearance. I remember that I was in between two frame sizes (15" and 17") and went with the larger one. Once I'm on the bike the set up fits me perfectly, but straddling the bar I'm aware that the frame is a bit large for me.
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Old 05-12-11, 06:44 PM   #21
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Thanks very much to everyone for the suggestions. Very helpful. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with this problem.

A couple of people mentioned pain with walking. I am aghast that in the last 6 months I have lost my ability to walk for exercise, after walking my entire life. That is just really shocking to me. I was afraid to ski this past winter, fearing that my hip joint might be fragile and more prone to breaking. By the end of the winter I was terribly unfit, since I couldn't find any suitable exercise. I was so relieved in the spring to discover that I could still bike. Not pain free, but the pain isn't bad enough that I will consider quitting. I may be able to hike---walking on uneven ground seems easier than flat pavement.

I found last season that my hip slowly felt better the more I biked. I'm hoping and praying that that will happen this year as well, although I started this year's biking season at a low point functionally speaking. The key seems to be to divide the day into 5-mile segments with a good rest after each segment. I can do several of those without too much suffering.

Thanks for relating that you can identify.
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Old 05-13-11, 04:53 AM   #22
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limited ROM

Hi there.

I feel your pain. I used to run marathons, bike long distance, and do triathlons. After several years of watching my mobility and ROM decline and my pain levels rise, the surgeon and I determined that the bone-on-bone osteoarthritis was bad enough to warrant a Birmingham hip resurfacing, which was done on 4/27. Check out www.surfacehippy.info for a good group of peeps who've had the operation or are considering it. After two weeks, I'm off the pain meds and getting around OK with crutches. Glad to have it out of the way and looking forward to throwing my leg once again over the top tube.

kate
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Old 05-13-11, 11:50 AM   #23
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Talk of trikes of any sort would seem premature.
And what's wrong with a trike? All a trike ,of any kind, does is add another wheel so that anyone can ride a cycle.

Besides, there are , and have been, many really neat trikes from grandpa trikes to full bore racing trikes so there's a trike to fit all styles of riding.
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Old 05-13-11, 11:55 AM   #24
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And what's wrong with a trike? All a trike ,of any kind, does is add another wheel so that anyone can ride a cycle.

Besides, there are , and have been, many really neat trikes from grandpa trikes to full bore racing trikes so there's a trike to fit all styles of riding.
OP expressed a strong desire to continue riding his bicycle.
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Old 05-13-11, 07:09 PM   #25
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OP expressed a strong desire to continue riding his bicycle.
Correct. I feel that after a certain age you have to be really careful about giving things up, because you may never get those activities back again. My approach is to modify activities rather than give them up. I'm sure a trike can be considered modified biking, but I'm nowhere near that point yet.
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