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Old 03-29-07, 09:30 AM   #1
bjamin2002
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chronic leg pain

I'm 23 and I started biking in September 05 while training for a marathon. I ran the marathon just fine. Then in Jan 06 I started to get pain around my left knee. Doc said it was Iliotibial Band Syndrome and to take it easy. I stopped riding/running for a while but when I tried again the pain came right back. I've since given up running and become a bike enthusiast, but the pain has spread to my whole leg and I am barely able to ride. Docs can't really say, other than I probably have inflammation on my IT band. Has anyone had this problem or know of a good solution? I stretch/RICE/NSAID several times a day, I don't know what else to do.
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Old 03-29-07, 09:38 AM   #2
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Have you ever had your bike fitted?
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Old 03-29-07, 09:42 AM   #3
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No, I've been doing it myself. I really should. I had a bike that was too big for me and I got a smaller one. How much can saddle height and stem length do for me? I have lowered my saddle slightly because I've read that can help and my stem positioned so that when I look down the handlebars are in line with the front hub.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:24 AM   #4
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1 cm can mean the difference between knee pain and comfortable riding. I would recommend getting the bike fit by a professional. Keep going back for adjustments until its just right.

Too low of a saddle will cause knee pain. Having the stem too long can cause back pain. Just because having the handlebars in line with the hub works for some doesn't mean it will work for others. Mine are set a bit back from it.

A proper bike fit is well worth the money.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:25 AM   #5
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start at the holy mecca: http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html.

Go to get yourself checked at a good bike shop to be sure.

And have you gotten any second opinion on the knee pain and the cause? The right medical professional can do wonders.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:29 AM   #6
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Right. I'll be heading to the bike shop tonight to get that checked. I've seen several doctors including orthopaedists and pain management specialists as well as done a couple months of physical therapy. They have all been a little confused why my pain hasn't gone away and have basically said all I have to do is stretch and ice.
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Old 03-29-07, 02:10 PM   #7
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Here's a question. Do you sit cross legged with your right foot on your left thigh? The reason I ask is, after years of trying to figure mine out (and getting my bike fitted), the way I was sitting at work turned out to be the culprit. My left IT band was (and still kinda is) more tight than my right as a result, which gives me problems when walking on concrete. I don't cross my leg anymore and stretch lots, and it slowly seems to be clearing up.
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Old 03-29-07, 02:15 PM   #8
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Aactually, I do sit like that a lot. The side of my leg definitely "feels" tight, but I do IT/hamstring/calf stretches probably 4-6 times/day. And I hate walking on concrete. It felt so good when it was snowy out and I had to walk on the soft snow.
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Old 03-30-07, 09:31 AM   #9
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I had IT band syndrome last year. It started with minor pain on the outside of my left knee. As I continued to ride it felt like someone was stabbing my knee with a screwdriver. Ice and NSAIDs would help the pain, but would not prevent recurrence.

I went to an orthopedist, he put me in physical therapy 2-3 times per week for 3 weeks. Each time the therapist would stretch my leg around for a while, then put me through some leg-strengthening exercises and various stretches. I was off the bike completely for those 3 weeks, then got back into it slowly, continuing the stretches before and after each ride. I've now been pain-free for about 10 months.

The point is this: When you have leg pain, it's probably NOT best to just try to gut it out. You should probably do three things: 1) see a doctor and get the immediate problem resolved, 2) get your bike fitted, and 3) if you ride clipless make sue your cleats are adjusted properly.
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Old 03-30-07, 10:12 AM   #10
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The point is this: When you have leg pain, it's probably NOT best to just try to gut it out.
A very profoundly important lesson I learned only after having made this mistake, which has become my nemesis.
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Old 04-04-07, 11:22 AM   #11
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I saw several doctors and was in physical therapy for a good 2-3 months. Over the course of the last year I've taken breaks of 2 months and 4 months of no riding or anything, with trying to get back slowly into biking in between. I've actually had more success by riding a little bit lately. It seems like to more I do nothing the more it hurts. But it's just been so long I have almost lost all hope of it completely going away.

I take 3 aleve per day, stretch and ice 4-6 times/day, I bought new cushioning shoes to walk in, got fitted for my bike, got insoles for my road shoes, use anti-inflammatory cream twice a day, I ice hardcore after every ride, and I limit my rides to about 30 min 3x/week and as little climbing as possible. Is there anything else I can do?
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Old 04-04-07, 11:47 AM   #12
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I feel your pain...I'm dealing with ITBS that started when I was training for a half-marathon in August 2005. I have been in PT since then, making some progress, but yet at the point where I can run for any distance over 1/2 mile. So I'm taking up bicycling, and so far I haven't had trouble *knock on wood*.

My orthopedist told me that it can take up to 3 years to fully recover from ITBS - so your best strategy is probably patience. I know its soooo hard.

Does the pain only occur when you're riding, or is it sore all of the time?

One thing my PT suggested is that I raise my seat a slight hair higher than I would normally ride; probably takes a bit of the pressure off the band. Something to think about.

What kind of strengthening exercises are you doing? My PT has me doing a lot of hip and glute strengthening, which will help stabilize the leg muscles and put less pressure on the ITB.
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Old 04-04-07, 12:03 PM   #13
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Yes I am done with running indefinitely (a shame) and really thought biking would be better. The pain seems to subside with activity, like the added bloodflow helps. But comes back after some time. Example: I rode yesterday morning about 8am and went 30 min and felt good. It felt pretty good most of the day. This morning I wake up and it hurts a bit. It's really hard to judge. I sit in an office chair most of the day at a computer, I'm beginning to think that's one of my problems. I mostly do a lot of stretching, along with some core excecises... abs, back, sides. It's so hard to keep the motivation to do everything. And sometimes I just forget something because there are so many. My morning regimen of stretching, icing and such takes a good 45 min if I really focus.
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