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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-07-05, 02:46 PM   #1
EnLaCalle
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One Leg Longer question

What do you guys know about correcting this problem? It's something I've suspected of myself for a long time now, and I think I finally have solid proof beside occasional pain in just one leg or knee (printing on saddle rubbing away on one side and not the other... maybe this means something else though).

I've heard there are cleat shims out there to help this. Also, is it possible to just get a longer or shorter crank arm for one side? More expensive probably, but is this a fix?

I tried using the search function on this one, and once again, have found myself lacking in narrowing down the results effectively.
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Old 07-07-05, 03:00 PM   #2
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go get measured before you do anything. it would be a bummer if you made a bunch of changes and they turned out not to fix the problem.

you should probably also get your stance/form analyzed as well.
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Old 07-07-05, 03:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnLaCalle
What do you guys know about correcting this problem? It's something I've suspected of myself for a long time now, and I think I finally have solid proof beside occasional pain in just one leg or knee (printing on saddle rubbing away on one side and not the other... maybe this means something else though).

I've heard there are cleat shims out there to help this. Also, is it possible to just get a longer or shorter crank arm for one side? More expensive probably, but is this a fix?

I tried using the search function on this one, and once again, have found myself lacking in narrowing down the results effectively.
Go to a good shop that has several years of fitting. The LeMond LeWedge helped me over come legs of different length.

A shorter crank arm shortens the bottom reach but lengthening the top reach. So not an option. Only a wedge or lift will help.


Cheers,
Dusk
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Old 07-07-05, 08:46 PM   #4
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I say go to a chiro first. I'd spend a hundred bucks sorting out the problem rather than putting bandaids on the symptoms.
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Old 07-07-05, 09:30 PM   #5
Bob Gabele
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Stop right here!!! Go no further!!!!

I have about a 3/4 inch difference between the two, with my left leg being the short one. After 54 years of lots of different athletic ventures, I can tell you that "I feeeel your pain". Trust me, I ride a lot (six days/week with pace) and recently have tried out the Le Wedge setup. Pain in my knee went away immediately when pushing big gears.

I definitely would NOT!!! go to a longer crank length on your shorter leg! There may be better products out there than Le Wedge, which is really intended to alter the angle at your foot-pedal intersection. Using Le Wedge to build up one leg results in stacking many thin pieces together in order to build up the necessary length differential to make up for your leg imbalance. What happens is that you need to make sure that stack of inserts are tightened down enough so that they don't shift when torqued, which they will do when screws loosen. When this happens, it becomes very difficult to clip out of the pedal. I have thought about glueing together the shims to avert the torque but presently am just making sure things are bolted down tight before each ride.

What I want to impart to you is that building up your "short leg" by using shims on your shoes is a great idea. I would start with the LeWedge concept as it seems to be readily available, albeit originally conceptualized for a different application.

For myself, I will continue to use the system until I find one where I can insert a shim in my "short shoe" that is a solid one and not consisting of a stack of very thin pieces.
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Old 07-08-05, 07:11 AM   #6
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These guys will build totally custom bike shoes: http://www.rocket7.com/rocket7/
They send you a mold kit to make casts of your feet.
Then they create custom shoes to compensate for problems and enhance comfort.
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Old 07-08-05, 03:14 PM   #7
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Have you fractured your leg in multiple places?

If not I'd recomend that you fix the problem rather than using shims to compensate for the problem.

I am a NUCCA chiropractor that rides fixed. The NUCCA procedure is very different to traditional chiropractic care but is very effective in helping people with short legs. Check out this article by Lennard Zinn (he wrote Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance): http://nucca.org/articles/upper_cervical_adjustment.htm

He dedicates a chapter in his new book, "Zinn's Cycling Primer", on this procedure.

If you need a recomendation for a dr. in your area pm me.

Good luck.
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Old 07-08-05, 03:53 PM   #8
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Or contact your local state association for a list of chiropractors who may have sports related certification or check here http://www.acasc.org/
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Old 07-08-05, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnLaCalle
What do you guys know about correcting this problem? It's something I've suspected of myself for a long time now, and I think I finally have solid proof beside occasional pain in just one leg or knee (printing on saddle rubbing away on one side and not the other... maybe this means something else though).

I've heard there are cleat shims out there to help this. Also, is it possible to just get a longer or shorter crank arm for one side? More expensive probably, but is this a fix?

I tried using the search function on this one, and once again, have found myself lacking in narrowing down the results effectively.
Leg length discrepancy is very common. During my 2 hour professional bike fitting which included the very vital proper cleat positioning, there was a shim added under my right cleat to make up for my minor leg length discrepancy.
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Old 07-08-05, 04:44 PM   #10
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yeah, i should have a pro fitting done. if there is a discrepancy with the length of my legs, it is a minor one. And it hasn't been much of a problem, but something I was curious about and thought worth looking into. I do get minor aches in one leg and not the other from time to time. Nothing severe, but definitely noticable. I've always chalked it up to compensating for minor leg length discrepancy. While I definitely appreciate the concern, I don't think it's something I need to see a doctor about. But the pro fitting is probably a good idea. Especially for when I lose my mind and blow all my savings on a custom frame!! woohoo!
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Old 10-27-05, 01:16 AM   #11
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The answer to your problem is to see a chiropractor, preferably someone with cycling knowledge. I struggled with this problem for 2 years after getting a road bike and the chiro sorted me out in 20 minutes. Maybe contact a cycling club to find a recommended chiropractor.
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Old 10-27-05, 05:49 AM   #12
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LeMond used to use a thick leather shim between the cleat and the sole of his shoe.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnLaCalle
What do you guys know about correcting this problem? It's something I've suspected of myself for a long time now, and I think I finally have solid proof beside occasional pain in just one leg or knee (printing on saddle rubbing away on one side and not the other... maybe this means something else though).

I've heard there are cleat shims out there to help this. Also, is it possible to just get a longer or shorter crank arm for one side? More expensive probably, but is this a fix?

I tried using the search function on this one, and once again, have found myself lacking in narrowing down the results effectively.
Really your problem is not that one leg is longer than the other. Your problem is that one is shorter than the other.

But seriously, get yourself x-rayed and measured. This will tell you if your discrepancy is structural or functional. If you get your x-ray measured and they check out to be the same, then you know it's a functional leg length discrepancy and you'll be in for chiropractic, massage, and physio to correct it. That's what happened to me. Rode for a year with a shim under my left shoe when in reality I should've gotten in checked out earlier.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM OLIVER
The answer to your problem is to see a chiropractor, preferably someone with cycling knowledge. I struggled with this problem for 2 years after getting a road bike and the chiro sorted me out in 20 minutes. Maybe contact a cycling club to find a recommended chiropractor.
My experience too. Leg length differences can be actual (like one leg really is shorther) or effective (caused my a muscle/connective tissue balance or a misaligned spine). Your cure could be anything from PT, an alignment, or corrective inserts/shims.
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Old 10-27-05, 07:10 AM   #15
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I don't claim any medical knowledge, or knowledge of this particular problem, so I won't offer advice on what to do about it, but if it turns out that a shim under your cleat is what's needed I would recomend you take your shoe and cleat to a machinist, and ask him to make you a cleat in the thickness you need. It should be a quick easy job for someone with the right tools. basically a small piece of aluminum with 2 holes drilled in it. No need to futz around with wedges that come loose, and it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg.
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Old 01-06-07, 05:00 AM   #16
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To resolve small differences in leg length, can't you just put a couple of washers between the cleat and the shoe? It's a much cheaper fix (less than $1!) than LeMond Wedges or custom cleats/shoes or orthotics.
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Old 01-06-07, 10:40 AM   #17
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Pedal with your heels on the pedals...if there is a significant discrepancy, you will notice it (rocking more to one side, one leg straining to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke more than the other). Then simply set your seat height to cater to the shorter leg, then on the shoe of the longer leg, move the cleat rearward by a couple of millimeters.
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Old 01-06-07, 05:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by james_swift
Pedal with your heels on the pedals...if there is a significant discrepancy, you will notice it (rocking more to one side, one leg straining to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke more than the other). Then simply set your seat height to cater to the shorter leg, then on the shoe of the longer leg, move the cleat rearward by a couple of millimeters.
depends on your setup, but i've had sucess correcting a slight length discrepancy with this technique.
For whatever reason, i also found that low q-factor crank setup also helps out.
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Old 01-07-07, 09:13 AM   #19
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I was just going to start a thread about this! My left leg is 12mm shorter than my right (determined by a chiropractor and x ray) and I ride in clips. Should I just jam a shim right on the pedal or what? Any suggestions? (it does currently cause me pain when riding more than a few miles)
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Old 01-07-07, 09:47 AM   #20
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How about a thicker insole in one of your shoes? Not 12mm, but you could do 5 I guess. You could also look into getting a thicker pedal for that side.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:47 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorsha6
I was just going to start a thread about this! My left leg is 12mm shorter than my right (determined by a chiropractor and x ray) and I ride in clips. Should I just jam a shim right on the pedal or what? Any suggestions? (it does currently cause me pain when riding more than a few miles)
I have a leg length discrepancy. I don't know about the other brands of cleats, but I wear Speedplay Zero cleats, and there are shims made that fit between the top and bottom parts of the cleats. Speedplay will also furnish longer screws that are required if one uses a few shims - I use 5. They are slightly slimmer on one side, so if the arch needs support they can be piled symetrically. If not, they can be layered thick, thin, thick thin so that they are level. It is a very convenient, easy fix for leg length discrepancy. They are used extensively by our local bike fitting expert in that many people have leg length discrepancies.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:48 AM   #22
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Wow... holy responses batman!

My Fiance has a leg that is actually a few centimeters shorter than the other!!! I know that currently she's shortened her seat post to accomidate the short leg but the long leg gives her problems now. I don't think we could shim a few centimeters worth into a shoe to help her compensate. It would be too much. The LeWedge isn't enough as she prefers to ride clipped rather than clipless or platform only.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:04 AM   #23
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Quote:
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Wow... holy responses batman!

My Fiance has a leg that is actually a few centimeters shorter than the other!!! I know that currently she's shortened her seat post to accomidate the short leg but the long leg gives her problems now. I don't think we could shim a few centimeters worth into a shoe to help her compensate. It would be too much. The LeWedge isn't enough as she prefers to ride clipped rather than clipless or platform only.
Some sort of orthopedic shoe or a modded pedal is the only answer I can think of. Actually, it's pretty easy to have a 1cm thick sole glued onto a shoe if she can live with the looks. With a "few cm's" difference, doesn't she use special shoes by default?
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Old 01-07-07, 11:12 AM   #24
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I recommend going to a chiropractor, saying "no thanks" to any "adjustments" they want to do, and then doing the exact opposite of what they suggest.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:23 AM   #25
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A question to all who suggested seeing a Chiropractor: whatever happened with visiting a physician, an actual medical doctor who has studied for a decade and has the necessary tools to precisely measure the difference in leg length, or determine whether it's a case of hip misplacement, or scoliosis, or perhaps some arthritic deformation? Many of the tests require lab research unavailable to a chiro, not to mention the expertise.
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