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  1. #1
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    Side wedges on shoes: which side is more commonly wedged up?

    Strange question.... let me flesh it out.

    I recently switched to Speedplay pedals. I have a significant leg length discrepancy, so the first order of business was to shim one side. I was in one LBS and they had a pack of the BikeFit wedges so I snagged it. To do a simple length-shim with those you would stack them on top of each other with the wedges reversed. An hour later, I'm in a different LBS and they had regular 1mm straight shims for Speedplays, so I bought those too.

    I've got the leg length shimmed to my satisfaction, and am thinking I'd experiment with some side-wedge-shimming just to see what it did for me, since I already spent $30 on this pack of the dang things <g>... This is how I've fit myself to my bike; make adjustments, take the bike for a 50-mile ride and see what my body tells me. I do bring the tools along to hit the "undo" button if a change is causing problems.

    So, to my question. The pamphlet that came with the BikeFit wedges unfailingly shows them installed with the fat side to the outside of the foot. Is that "most common"?
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  2. #2
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    always leary of this type of question...
    but, here goes.
    1st, I wouldn't be playing with foot angle unless you KNOW it needs attention.
    Idea of a angle wedge is to distribute pressure evenly across the cleat and shoe. So if a rider is pressuring the outside of the pedal/shoe much more than the inside, then the wedge is placed high side in - this means for many bowlegged riders...
    When I say bowlegged, I don;t mean those riders who have fairly straight legs but ride with knees splayed. That would be best served by firswt addressing other settings.
    But if a rider has truly bowed legs, then trying to achieve a 'straight knee line' from hip to pedal can be very counter productive and injurious. Best is to work with the state of the leg structure and support it at the point where it feels neutral and provides the best power. Putting wedges high side out for real bowleggedness is bass-ackwards. Although many think that to straighten the knee line is a fix, it can really hurt a rider.
    That said, many bowlegged riders who have compensated well enough might be splayed outward more than necessary. Shoe Hotspots can often be attributed to uneven pressure. Spread the pressure more evenly and the hotspot dissipates.
    The other additional option, which can help for bowleggedness, are pedal shims to increase the Q. Move the pedals outboard and the angle the bowed leg needs to make becomes less. Downside of pedal shims is that there is less crank/pedal clearance when leaned over.
    Add in varus angle and it can become quite complicated.

    Riders with knock knees go the other way.
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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I used these wedges to eliminate severe foot pain on rides longer than 70 miles or so. The way it was explained to me was like this. I have wider hips, the way my feet were placed on the pedals without shims made my feet kind of slide outward, away from the frame. As long as my muscles weren't fatigued, no problems. But after a lot of miles, my muscles would start to tire, and pressure would build up, especially on what I think is called the tuberosity of the fifth metatarsal (i.e., the bony bulge just above your small toe). I adjusted the screws on the cleats so that the shoes were as far away from the frame as possible, and inserted shims on both sides, so that my feet were tilted very slightly inward, and this eliminated the problem completely.
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    No, inside-up

    Quote Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
    So, to my question. The pamphlet that came with the BikeFit wedges unfailingly shows them installed with the fat side to the outside of the foot. Is that "most common"?
    No, it is not. See http://www.bikefit.com/t-whywedge.aspx.

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    Thanks! I read the article you linked to there. I'll try them to the inside, see what happens.

    I appreciate the replies guys; I know it's a huge question and not something that's even answerable on the Internet. But-- I already have these wedges on hand, might as well give them a spin.

    I was thinking I'd try 2 mm of wedge up to the INSIDE of both cleats and see how the body likes it. That, or 1 mm, but that might be too subtle...?
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    arg. This is a complex topic. Generally, I found that with foot issues, you put the thick edged side of the to the side where the pain is. BUT FIRST make sure that your seat is the right height and that you don't have any Q factor issues.

    For me, for example, I had a recurring pain on the outside of my left foot. Had a lot of money into shoes and insoles after fiddling with the seat to get it right. Then discovered that I'm not symmetric and due to a knee injury years ago, I have a wider Q factor on the left than on the right. Getting a longer pedal for my speed plays on the right, made my dogs happy campers but I still needed a 2mm wedge on the left foot with the wedge to the outside.

    J.

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    I hear all that. Complex indeed. At age 48, on top of the asymmetries I've got going in my body, that i was born with, I've got a couple injuries that have played out over the decades, most notably a right hip, which has led to me favoring and protecting that leg, which led to noticeable atrophy of the quads on that side. Also, a sprain to that knee last fall has caused some issues cycling.

    This summer was my first one cycling, and for the most part, my left leg has been a cannon. My right leg has been more of a project.

    Yesterday I messed with the wedges; I put 3 on each cleat and went for a very casual spin. I brought tools along and ended up also trying two wedges, and, even reversing the wedges in my right cleat to try that.

    Very noticeable. My left leg loved it; I settled on two wedges on the inside. Felt very natural and felt like a cleaner distribution of power through the joint. The right leg was less clear WTF was going on. The pedaling mechanics I'd found that "worked" for that knee were to stay conscious of keeping my knee in, towards the top tube, and heel in, towards the crank. If I was on a long ride and feeling a twinge in my "spot", which is the classic spot just below and to the inside of the kneecap, that'd generally fix it over the next few miles. Well, with the wedges in place it seemed harder to find a stroke that wasn't irritating that spot a bit- which granted was a bit tender from a ride Friday with tons of steep climbs.

    I also messed with moving my cleats inward (instead of centered on the sole of the shoe) in order to move my feet out on the pedals. That felt good.

    I plan on trying things out on a longer ride, with two wedges (equals 2 degrees) on each side and see what shakes out. However, I can certainly tell I'm in a bit over my head here! I will be cautious and try to be very vigilant with my body as I suss out the effects.

    One thing I think I can say with authority is that the wedges don't belong on the outside of my right cleat. That felt WEIRD and hurt a bit.

    My new bike gets here in a month or two. I may spring for a full fit then. Can of worms, that. I suspect true happiness comes from finding a bike-friendly PT and/or orthopedic doc to sort out that right leg for me, to the best that it can be. However, we just changed our insurance, and it'd essentially be all out of pocket..... ugh.
    Last edited by Long Tom; 11-11-13 at 12:19 PM.
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    Three wedges is a huge amount. Feet are touchy things, a millimeter here or there makes a huge difference so go slowly. Remember that you can really get things out of whack if you're not careful. If you're going to do it experimentally, plan on it taking a long time. For example, resolving my Q factor issue took the better part of a month to get it figured out. I made the mistake of overdoing it and wound up with a pain in my right hip that is still not completely gone. Make sure you aren't creating more problems than you are solving.

    My kids are accomplished ski racers. My daughter was having a big problem with a turn in one direction. A one half of one degree cant under one heel fixed it completely and her skis went from "these suck" to wonderful because of that. I don't think its a lot different in cycling. A little bit goes a long way.

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    Thanks John. Much appreciated.
    Every time that wheel turn 'round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground!

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    Steve Hogg has an excellent article on shimming and wedging that is a must read. You can find it here http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/...art-2-wedging/.

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    Sometimes is better just get the saddle down a few mm, or just move the cleat in the longer leg tiny back than use shims.

    There are many ways to fix the same problem.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    Putting wedges high side out for real bowleggedness is bass-ackwards. Although many think that to straighten the knee line is a fix, it can really hurt a rider.
    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    The other additional option, which can help for bowleggedness, are pedal shims to increase the Q. Move the pedals outboard and the angle the bowed leg needs to make becomes less. Downside of pedal shims is that there is less crank/pedal clearance when leaned over.
    Add in varus angle and it can become quite complicated.
    Good point. I'm slightly bowlegged (physically) and found that my biggest problem was my foot collapsing under load at the bottom of the stroke, which was putting a lot of pressure on the inside of my knee at the hamstring insertion point. This also resulted in more pressure on the outside ridge of my foot on longer rides. E-soles, the blue and/or black arches, made a huge difference and adding a BikeFit wedge fixed the remaining problem.

    With that said, my naturally bowed legs still create a challenge as my feet want to sit further out than my q-factor (and cleats) permit, which led me to start experimenting with the new +4mm axle length DA9000 pedals. I immediately noticed a drastic difference in how my legs felt after a ride. My feet also felt more planted on the pedals and sprinting felt dramatically more fluid. I was shocked that 4mm could make such a difference. I'm still dialing in cleat position on the wider pedals as I was getting some pain at the head of my fibula (left leg only) but this has overall been a very beneficial change. I highly recommend trying wider q-factor pedals if you're physically bowlegged - not a lot of information on the net to help us guys out.
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  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    NB: As you shim a recessed SPuD cleat its no longer recessed, so walking will wear it.. sooner.

    TA is one company , French, that makes crankarms of varying lengths ,
    so you can buy a shorter crank arm for the shorter leg. in 2.5mm increments.

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