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Thread: Hip pain

  1. #1
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    Hip pain

    Reposted from Saddles. Moderator, feel free to delete my post from Saddles.

    I have hip arthritis in my right hip, with spurs. When biking, the pressure of the seat causes fairly severe hip pain. If I move forward onto the nose the pain goes away, indicating that the most likely pressure point is at the curve where the nose meets the rear of the seat.

    I cut out a pad to fit the seat. I cut out an indentation on the right side of the pad to relieve that area. That actually did help my hip pain---but it took away the support I need across the back of the seat by narrowing the part of the seat that's in contact with my rear end. That means that a narrower seat might relieve my hip pain, but it wouldn't be wide enough for my rear end and my sit bones. I am carrying some extra weight. I don't need a cruiser seat, but I do need a wide seat.

    One more thing: I have arthritis in my shoulders plus carpal tunnel syndrome. That means I have to take the pressure off my arms with a fairly upright position. I've taken care of that with a handlebar modification, but that has shifted my weight to the rear, necessitating a wide seat. My shoulders and wrists do feel good now.

    I'm currently using a Selle Royale Ellipse Moderate. http://www.nashbar.com/reviews/nashb...te-Saddle.html
    It's 200 mm wide (about 7.75). The width feels right to me. Note that this seat is fairly flat across the top.

    I've looked at dozens of seats on the internet but can't find the right shape. I'm guessing that the right shape would be fairly wide at the rear, with a significant curve in toward the body where the nose meets the rear. Does that make sense?

    This problem has cut my yearly mileage in half. I'd like to ride about 1000 miles a year, with average rides about 20-30 miles. I'd like to be able to tour. At the moment that doesn't look likely. I depend on biking for my fitness, so this hip problem is a real drag.

    Any ideas for either a seat that would work for me, or how I could modify my current seat?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Brew1's Avatar
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    I don't know, to me it sounds like you should get bent!

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brew1 View Post
    I don't know, to me it sounds like you should get bent!
    ^^^^^^^
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    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    /wave

    This may not be the answer you're seeking - but am just throwing out some thoughts?

    I have severe 'OA'. My left knee, and right hip have been replaced (so far) and due to spurs, my right shoulder has been rebuilt (rotator cuff cut). I ended up moving to a recumbent trike, and now I can ride as long as I wish with no pain being caused by the trike. I have done 9hr rides, and done multiple long daily rides in a row with zero issues. This was my resolution that worked for me. I found even on a 'comfort' type bike with a wide, soft seat, that did not resolve my shoulder and hand issues. But the trike did.

    BROL (Bent Rider Online) has a very active forum you might float around in for a while? http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...splay.php?f=13

    Good luck to you.
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    Peter, thanks very much for sharing your experience. Fortunately I've been able to solve the shoulder and wrist issues. The problem may be that what solves shoulder and wrist issues creates problems farther down.

    I don't know whether a recumbant would take the pressure off my hip. I don't really see myself going to a recumbant for many reasons. I'd like to try one someday, though.

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    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    buy em and try em

    Most lbs will let you use a seat for a few days. I'd look to try a variety of seat widths and shapes if possible. If not, I'd look for online sources that will do similarly and just start buying some saddles to try. I have a half dozen saddles or more and I have no particular issues.....

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    Are you sure it is the saddle that bothers your hip or the hip angle when back in the saddle? By moving forward you open the hip angle which might relieve pressure on the arthritic joint. Just a thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    Are you sure it is the saddle that bothers your hip or the hip angle when back in the saddle? By moving forward you open the hip angle which might relieve pressure on the arthritic joint. Just a thought.
    ^^^ this (BikeWNC beat me to it!) ... you might want to think about this.

    FWIW, I'm 60, and have fairly severe degenerative OA, affecting spine, hips, knees, etc. etc.
    Among other things, I've suffered from what sounds like a similar 'hip pain problem'.
    For me, the solution has to do with keeping the hip angle 'open' by (a) using a relatively 'upright' position (flat-bar road bike) and (b) enough leg extension [saddle height] to further reduce any 'closing' of the hip angle 'coming over the top'. Bear in mind, this is what works for me (solution worked out with my physiotherapist); ymmv.

    Again FWIW, I've found that a too-wide/too-soft saddle exacerbates the problem rather than reduce it.

    I'm able to manage 6-7000 kms/year consistently with very little discomfort attributable to my OA.

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    Maybe by open you mean that your knee never comes up high enough to force the two parts of the joint together? I do have an upright position (swept-back bar, which is more upright than a flat bar), and that does help my hip. I definitely have a lot of leg extension. I've ridden with my leg practically straight my whole life, have never been comfortable with the "slightly bent knee." I think what's happening is that the weight of my body against the seat is forcing the spurs on the socket into nearby bone and/or nerves. So it seems like the solution would be to relieve that pressure. But I see your point too about the angle of the two parts of the joint.

    How crazy would it be to cut an indentation out of the seat?

    Badger1, I'm amazed that you're able to cycle 6000 km per year with farily severe OA. I don't think though that it's the loss of cartilage that's causing the worst pain for me. I think it's specifically the spurs. I don't have any cartilage in my shoulder and it's more tolerable than spurs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
    ... Badger1, I'm amazed that you're able to cycle 6000 km per year with farily severe OA. I don't think though that it's the loss of cartilage that's causing the worst pain for me. I think it's specifically the spurs. I don't have any cartilage in my shoulder and it's more tolerable than spurs.
    GetUpnGo,

    Well, it's kind of like your username(!) ... I made the decision 10+ years ago that I had either to 'git moving' or fossilize! I hate 'swimming laps', can't stand 'exercise', but have always (since a kid) loved riding.

    I've been very fortunate on three fronts. Attached to the uni. where I work is a major sports-medicine facility (all bells/whistles), to which I have access for both diagnostic stuff and physio. As it happens, several of the staff are serious cyclists. I also have a very good relationship with my LBS -- that's allowed me to experiment/try out different bike types/set ups at minimal cost before committing.

    Thirdly, I took my doctors/physio at their word: cycling (like swimming ... ugh, no thanks!) can't cause any real/further harm, and in fact is one of the best things to do to slow up the progression of symptoms. So far as I can tell, that's turned out to be true. I have to be sensible/careful re. things like road noise, jarring, twisting, etc., but other than that it's all good.

    Back to your specific issue, I suppose it's clear that these kinds of issues/problems in relation to a specific activity are always 'individual'. I still do wonder, though, about saddle 'type'. Have you tried a narrower (but fitted to sit-bone width), firmer 'racing-type' saddle to see if that helps? Specialized and Fizik, among others, do produce versions of their top saddles suited to more 'upright' riding positions. Other than that, you might want to consider a consult with a sports-medicine facility (if that's feasible) to see if you can more precisely work out what is causing this particular problem.

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    Badger,

    Thanks for your further input. I also resolved some time ago to keep moving. I will be going to an LBS for a fitting, as it seems my bike may be one size too large, which makes mounting and dismounting even harder with limited hip range of motion. I was between sizes and chose the large size. They also suggested going with a narrower and firmer saddle. For some reason, I've been hypersensitive to saddles my whole life, even when I was healthy and biking 2000 miles a year. I always needed a wider saddle and more padding than most folks. Prior to my arthritis I rode a Specialzed Body Geometry, one of the original models. That worked well until arthritis led to weight gain, and then it seemed too narrow. According to my sit-bone width I'm supposed to be on a 143 mm wide saddle, but I'm not comfortable on that width at all, never have been. I like around 197 mm.

    I'm thinking the problem with my current saddle may be that it's too flat. Maybe bumps in the right place would raise me up off the spurs a bit.

    Spurs may be different from other aspects of arthritis because overuse in the wrong way does cause inflammation.

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    I've got similar hip probems and I'm 65.

    I've gone to a Bontraeger Nebula Plus Foam Flex saddle and I've done 20+ rides so fare with it and no pain.

    They come in three sizes and you can get the bike shop to measure your sit bones and order the right one.

    Mine just happens to be the most narrow one. It's not a plushy soft saddle and in fact is fairly flat, but it seems to have just enough padding to work well.

    As for mounting or dismounting your bike I have found that I have little problem if I lay the bike at about a 45* angle before I even attempt to stradle it, and also the seat I mentioned above is really easy to just slide off the back since its narrow enough to allow it.
    http://bontrager.com/model/08374
    Last edited by Jimbo47; 02-14-12 at 05:13 PM.

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    PROBLEM SOLVED! (I hope)

    I went to a bike shop yesterday and discovered a new 2012 model of my current seat. Selle Royal added two bumps of padding under the sit bones and made the seat a bit softer overall. The very patient salesman installed both last year's and this year's models on a bike and put the bike on a trainer for me to try. With the 2012 model my pain was gone! I was amazed, and extremely happy.

    So my hunch was right: my current seat is too flat. The new seat lifts me up just enough that the rear of my thigh clears the edge of the seat without compressing the bone spurs. I haven't tried the new seat on my bike yet, but I have high hopes for it. It felt great in the store.

    To cycle painfree would be a dream come true for me. Folks, don't take your good health for granted. If you're painfree now, take advantage of every day to bike or do anything else you're able to do at this time in your life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
    PROBLEM SOLVED! (I hope)

    I went to a bike shop yesterday and discovered a new 2012 model of my current seat. Selle Royal added two bumps of padding under the sit bones and made the seat a bit softer overall. The very patient salesman installed both last year's and this year's models on a bike and put the bike on a trainer for me to try. With the 2012 model my pain was gone! I was amazed, and extremely happy.

    So my hunch was right: my current seat is too flat. The new seat lifts me up just enough that the rear of my thigh clears the edge of the seat without compressing the bone spurs. I haven't tried the new seat on my bike yet, but I have high hopes for it. It felt great in the store.

    To cycle painfree would be a dream come true for me. Folks, don't take your good health for granted. If you're painfree now, take advantage of every day to bike or do anything else you're able to do at this time in your life.
    Good stuff! I do hope this is a solution ... as you and I (and many others) know, these kinds of physiological 'issues' can be a b_gg__ to sort out!

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    Badger, to be honest the real problem is lack of appropriate medical care for people who "aren't old enough" for hip replacement. According to my research, surgery is the only real solution for these spurs, but the spurs are only removed in conjunction with a hip replacement. I'm told they don't do surgery just to remove the spurs. But they're not going to replace the hip until you're "old enough" by their standards. That could mean 10-15 years of sitting around getting decrepit, meanwhile losing the last decade of your strength and vigor.

    Then there's the cost of the surgery. I don't think doctors have much sympathy for people who want to be active in sports, because to avoid pain I would only need to lie flat on the couch all day. In that sense the surgery isn't urgent, so they feel ok telling you to wait 10-15 years. I don't see it that way. To me being active IS life or death, because after age 55 you lose your overall heatlh very rapidly with loss of activities. After age 60 being inactive is practically the kiss of death.

    Anyway, I put the seat on my bike and rode a few miles. It improved the problem by about 50%, and there are a couple of things I can do to improve it further, like set the nose down a tad, try it with padded shorts, etc. If all that doesn't work I'll carve a relief hole out of the side. Why not?

    I should be happy I was able to ride 500 miles last year. There'll come a day when I'll remember that mileage fondly.

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    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Storing this disc-
    ussion til' later. I still don't feel that pain is hip...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Brew1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
    Badger, to be honest the real problem is lack of appropriate medical care for people who "aren't old enough" for hip replacement. According to my research, surgery is the only real solution for these spurs, but the spurs are only removed in conjunction with a hip replacement. I'm told they don't do surgery just to remove the spurs. But they're not going to replace the hip until you're "old enough" by their standards. That could mean 10-15 years of sitting around getting decrepit, meanwhile losing the last decade of your strength and vigor.

    Then there's the cost of the surgery. I don't think doctors have much sympathy for people who want to be active in sports, because to avoid pain I would only need to lie flat on the couch all day. In that sense the surgery isn't urgent, so they feel ok telling you to wait 10-15 years. I don't see it that way. To me being active IS life or death, because after age 55 you lose your overall heatlh very rapidly with loss of activities. After age 60 being inactive is practically the kiss of death.

    Anyway, I put the seat on my bike and rode a few miles. It improved the problem by about 50%, and there are a couple of things I can do to improve it further, like set the nose down a tad, try it with padded shorts, etc. If all that doesn't work I'll carve a relief hole out of the side. Why not?

    I should be happy I was able to ride 500 miles last year. There'll come a day when I'll remember that mileage fondly.
    Had my hip replace in November of 2010 at 52. Couldn't ride for over 12+ years before that. Could barely tie my own shoes or cut my toe nails (had to do some funny contortions just to do it). Finally talked the doctor into it because the last x-ray showed no cartilage left in the joint and it was all bone on bone. I had the Zimmermini titanium joint put in that has plastic wear inserts that supposedly is only an hour anterior operation when they wear out (if you catch them in time).
    Anyway, yes I wish they would have replaced it 12 years ago, last year was a real biotch trying to get back into bicycling shape after the long layoff. But it sure feels good to be pretty much pain free....

    Good luck with yours.

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    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    My right hip was replaced last June. Other than weather-related aching, I am doing much better, and still got 500 miles in for the year. The over 55 and under 200 rules made it take longer for me (soon 50 and 320lbs), but I am glad it's been done - the pain jolts for me really wiped me out - plus the bone spurs were causing shooting pain - now gone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
    Badger, to be honest the real problem is lack of appropriate medical care for people who "aren't old enough" for hip replacement. According to my research, surgery is the only real solution for these spurs, but the spurs are only removed in conjunction with a hip replacement. I'm told they don't do surgery just to remove the spurs. But they're not going to replace the hip until you're "old enough" by their standards. That could mean 10-15 years of sitting around getting decrepit, meanwhile losing the last decade of your strength and vigor.

    Then there's the cost of the surgery. I don't think doctors have much sympathy for people who want to be active in sports, because to avoid pain I would only need to lie flat on the couch all day. In that sense the surgery isn't urgent, so they feel ok telling you to wait 10-15 years. I don't see it that way. To me being active IS life or death, because after age 55 you lose your overall heatlh very rapidly with loss of activities. After age 60 being inactive is practically the kiss of death.

    Anyway, I put the seat on my bike and rode a few miles. It improved the problem by about 50%, and there are a couple of things I can do to improve it further, like set the nose down a tad, try it with padded shorts, etc. If all that doesn't work I'll carve a relief hole out of the side. Why not?

    I should be happy I was able to ride 500 miles last year. There'll come a day when I'll remember that mileage fondly.
    Agree on all counts! As I noted earlier, I've been "lucky" (if one can use that word in this context!) in that my worst-hit area is the spine -- that's where I have spurs (osteophytes).

    In relation to cycling, so long as I avoid severe jarring and/or 'twisting', they don't bother me overly. If anything, I find that during the cycling season (March/April through November/December for me) my 'symptoms' are generally reduced. I do live with chronic low-level back pain, and with three or four severe (sometimes excruciating/immobilizing) flare-ups a year, but I've learnt how to mostly avoid these and mitigate their duration when they do occur -- am trying to avoid any of the available surgical interventions if I can.

    The hip is of course different, not least because the joint is in constant motion. I do have some very early indicators of developing problems there as well; we shall see!

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