nerve damage right leg
A back injury left me with permanent nerve damage in my right calf. The outside of my calf and foot are numb as a result. I have noticed that after I have been riding for a couple of hours, my right leg is decidedly weaker and more tired than the left. I have looked in the mirror and could see that my right leg is thinner and less muscular than the left. By the end of a ride, it hurts. Even my right hip hurts somewhat. Does anyone out there know of anything that can be done for this? Thanks.
Fattest Thin Man
If the nerve damage is in your central nervous system (your spine) there's not much that can be done. If the nerve damage is in your calf, it can regenerate over time.
The body can also be quite clever in finding other routes for nerve info if the nerves have been severed or removed. Keep working it, that's the only way to force the body to adapt/repair.
Thank you for your kind reply. Unfortunately, the nerve damage is permanent, caused by a spine injury in 1996. The reason I asked for advice here is that I was hoping other cyclists with similar conditions might know of ways to mitigate the problem through training techniques. Wishful thinking.
I am truly sorry for your condition.
Originally Posted by farandaway
Based on what you've written, you may want to try some form of proprioceptive work. You want to re-train your leg to complete, as perfectly as possible, the pedal stroke. Because of the numbness, the typical feedback others receive will not be available to you. Fortunately, your upper leg and certain part of the calf are not numb.
Really make an effort to build the mind-muscle link and be in tune with how the various muscles function. i.e. really pay attention to how it feels in the downstroke (in which the quads and glutes are dominant), how the hamstrings feel when you bring the foot back in the second half of the stroke, how the hip flexors feel as you finish the stroke. One technique that might work is to ride on a trainer with a mirror placed at various angles (as your leg goes through the stroke, feel the particular muscles being recruited). I'll say it again - really put an effort into building that mind-muscle link.
It won't be easy but life is not without challenges. Another benefit of re-educating your right leg is you'll be less likely to develop injuries in the left leg that is currently doing more than its share of work.
Research the therapists as well as neurologists in your area and never forget to ask for second opinions.
The best of luck to you!
Last edited by LifeIsSuffering; 03-26-08 at 11:56 PM.
Thank you much! This is very helpful. I will pursue finding a therapist and neurologist as well. With Kaiser's red tape, it will be a challenge, but they usually give in if I whine and complain long enough.