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Does this sound like a muscle imbalance from cycling?

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Does this sound like a muscle imbalance from cycling?

Old 08-26-16, 01:35 PM
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Long Tom
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Does this sound like a muscle imbalance from cycling?

Hey folks! Haven't posted in a while. Hope all is well for y'all.

Back story (maybe): about 5 weeks ago I rode 55 miles with a buddy, tough climbing route. At about the 40 mile mark I had IT band pain in my right leg and had to basically finish the ride on one leg- my left. My left quad was actually sore the next few days which hadn't happened in a long time.

Part of my fitness regime this summer is 5-mile fast walks every other day with my wife. I started noticing my left leg felt funny when walking; mostly on the swing forward, not on the "push" part of the stepping motion.

Very hard to put into words but cutting to the chase, it kinda feels like there's something making it want to hyperextend... not painfully, just that it wants to do that a bit. Further, as the leg swings forward, it just feels funny... kinda locked-up might be a decent short description.

It occurs to me that an imbalance between quad and hamstring (in crude terms, I know there's more going on than that) might feels like this. Is what I'm describing... familiar sounding to anyone here?

It's creeping me out a bit. I know nerve issues can manifest like this (drop foot) or God forbid the systemic stuff like MS or ALS.

Thanks for any info.
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Old 08-26-16, 01:38 PM
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I know you're going to hate this answer, but I'd see an ortho specializing in sports injuries, or maybe a chiro.

Have you been fitted properly to the bike? Any leg length discrepancies you're aware of? Any issues with the shoes you wear on your walks?
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Old 08-26-16, 01:39 PM
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You walk to train for bike riding?
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Old 08-26-16, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You walk to train for bike riding?
How did you get that from what he wrote?
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Old 08-26-16, 02:27 PM
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Maybe "...5-mile fast walks every other day with my wife."?
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Old 08-26-16, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AristoNYC View Post
How did you get that from what he wrote?
my fitness regime this summer is 5-mile fast walk
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Old 08-26-16, 02:34 PM
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I walk because there's more to being ambulatory than cycling.

I also ride about 100 miles/week.
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Old 08-26-16, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
my fitness regime this summer is 5-mile fast walk
Doesn't say he's walking specifically to train for bike rides, just that he does both activities.
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Old 08-26-16, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
I know you're going to hate this answer, but I'd see an ortho specializing in sports injuries, or maybe a chiro.

Have you been fitted properly to the bike? Any leg length discrepancies you're aware of? Any issues with the shoes you wear on your walks?
^ You won't get better advice. I have a similar problem and it's due to an imbalance from years or running and then cycling. I didn't get treatment right away and it got much worse. A knowlegable sports medicine MD or chiro can ususally spot the issue quickly.
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Old 08-26-16, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Doesn't say he's walking specifically to train for bike rides, just that he does both activities.
Yes, the OP has now made it clear he's been cycling since the incident 5 weeks ago (I think he has anyway), but actually I'm a bit confused if his condition (ie. funny feeling) is relegated to occuring on his fast walks, or is it happening when on the bike?
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Old 08-26-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Yes, the OP has now made it clear he's been cycling since the incident 5 weeks ago (I think he has anyway), but actually I'm a bit confused if his condition (ie. funny feeling) is relegated to occuring on his fast walks, or is it happening when on the bike?
100 miles a week is Not much training.
(14.2 miles a day)
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Old 08-26-16, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
100 miles a week is Not much training.
Doesn't seem relevant whether 100 miles a week is a lot to you or not. He's described his 2 exercises that he does regularly, and a pain that he's feeling, and asked whether anyone here has had similar issues. He's not looking for "training" input.

Unless you're saying 100 miles a week riding is not enough to cause an overuse injury, which isn't true.

Anyway, my advice stands for the OP- See a specialist before it gets worse.
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Old 08-26-16, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Doesn't seem relevant whether 100 miles a week is a lot to you or not. He's described his 2 exercises that he does regularly, and a pain that he's feeling, and asked whether anyone here has had similar issues. He's not looking for "training" input.

Unless you're saying 100 miles a week riding is not enough to cause an overuse injury, which isn't true.

Anyway, my advice stands for the OP- See a specialist before it gets worse.
He complainted that at 40 miles on a ride his leg gave him trouble.
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Old 08-26-16, 03:36 PM
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Injuries and imbalances accumulate over time. Until you can get in to see a sports doc, try these stretches. I started doing them after finishing a long ride one-legged. Fixed me right up, YMMV. IMO, unlikely to be a muscle imbalance. Something else.
https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post15372967

My wife and I have been doing Nordic walking for the past 3 weeks, training for a 10-day backpack with my wife. If you don't know what that is:
Anyway, not having ridden a bike since RAMROD, we went out on our tandem and set 7 Strava PRs on a frequently done 44 mile ride. So there's that.
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Old 08-26-16, 04:14 PM
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See a specialist, but sure, it could be an issue of bike fit. Maybe it's something that can be addressed by adjusting your saddle, your cleats or shoes.

I was getting a cramp only in the right calf on long rides, but it wasn't until I made a point to stand while climbing a 1/2 mile hill, pedaling slowly, very conscious of how my feet felt, that I realized that something felt off in the angle of my right foot - like the pedal was twisting it outward. I'd never noticed it before, but before the next ride, I made a point of adjusting the cleat. It didn't look like it was off, and it was difficult to discern the adjustment when I made it (judged by feel, sticking my finger in the gaps between the bolts and the edge of the slots), but sure enough, next ride everything was hunky dory!
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Old 08-26-16, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
my fitness regime this summer is 5-mile fast walk
I forgot, Bike Forum = we only ride bikes. Any other form of exercise must be cross training for biking.. got it.
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Old 08-26-16, 11:55 PM
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My original post was flawed.

I have been riding for 4 years. I do several hard climbing rides a week that are 25-35 miles each, to average approx 100 miles a week. I also like to hike, walk, and do other things.

Walking, I have lately noticed my left leg feels a little wonky. It might be traceable to a recent hard 55-miler I had to finish on one leg, my left, due to my right shutting down from IT pain. My left leg bore the burden, stud that it is, but my quad got hammered which, being a quad, means it got stronger.

My hypothesis is that this was the tipping point in an imbalance condition in my leg, one due to my love of cycling and in particular hard climbing routes.

However I'm in my 50's and it could be something else entirely. Hate to bug you guys but in the spirit of preliminary research I'm askin' if any of this seems plausible to you.

I'm continuing to ride, walk, and hike in the meantime. Got a big high altitude solo backpack trip into rugged territory in October that's dangling in front of me like a carrot.
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Old 08-27-16, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
My original post was flawed.

I have been riding for 4 years. I do several hard climbing rides a week that are 25-35 miles each, to average approx 100 miles a week. I also like to hike, walk, and do other things.

Walking, I have lately noticed my left leg feels a little wonky. It might be traceable to a recent hard 55-miler I had to finish on one leg, my left, due to my right shutting down from IT pain. My left leg bore the burden, stud that it is, but my quad got hammered which, being a quad, means it got stronger.

My hypothesis is that this was the tipping point in an imbalance condition in my leg, one due to my love of cycling and in particular hard climbing routes.

However I'm in my 50's and it could be something else entirely. Hate to bug you guys but in the spirit of preliminary research I'm askin' if any of this seems plausible to you.

I'm continuing to ride, walk, and hike in the meantime. Got a big high altitude solo backpack trip into rugged territory in October that's dangling in front of me like a carrot.
Another possibility is that it didn't get stronger, it got damaged and now isn't firing right. I've also had that. After an exceptionally punishing steep climbing ride, it's taken a month for my muscles to rebuild. When those muscles are non-functional, other muscles take over the work of moving you around except they're not very good at it, not having seen much use.
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Old 08-27-16, 09:46 AM
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I wonder if you're getting enough quality recovery time especially from a overuse injury.
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Old 08-27-16, 11:48 AM
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Yeah, 100 mpw of Colorado climbing could actually be a lot of training.
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Old 08-27-16, 12:32 PM
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Do you stretch? How's your core strength?

I had a different situation where I'd start getting pain in my right hip/glute. It got progressively worse over the course of 5-6 years. Neither my orthopedist nor my chiropractor could figure it out until they found a lateral bulge at L4/L5 (to be fair, I didn't see them until it got really bad, in the last year).

I ended up in PT and I got lucky with the therapist. She was excellent at diagnosing issues and aside from working on core strength, she found the root of my problem was muscular, including a 3 mm leg length discrepancy that was functional (she could get my legs level).

Through several weeks of PT and a regular 15-20 minute stretching routine, I'm 100% and I'm stronger than ever while riding.

My legs are now level. At first she showed me how to manipulate my hip to get it back to level but it would go out almost daily. Now they're level all the time (I check daily).
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Old 08-27-16, 12:38 PM
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Howdy again. I walked 5 miles this morning. I'd say it's subtle at this point but I still notice it.

Planning on doing a 30-mile climbing ride this evening. My climb route has long sections where I'm all the way in full granny gear, which on my Roubaix/6800 is 34 tooth. Steep. It's a quad workout for sure. Climbing is my thing with cycling; I love the aerobic rush and the tangible obstacle to overcome. I SUSPECT I'm just at a place where the muscle straightening my leg (quad) has overpowered the muscle bending it (hammie) because while I hammer my quads regularly, I don't have a similar workout for the back of the leg.

Being 51 years old with the typical assortment of "stuff" that comes with an active lifestyle doesn't help... won't bore y'all but my left leg is both longer (birth) and stronger from being my "main leg" since a hip injury in the 80's. My left leg has taken the brunt of anything resembling impact or jarring ever since then, to protect that right hip. My left quad is a little bigger, etc.

Don't think that has a ton to do with it but untangling the physical yarn-ball is tricky as you get older.

Thanks folks.
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Old 08-27-16, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
Howdy again. I walked 5 miles this morning. I'd say it's subtle at this point but I still notice it.

Planning on doing a 30-mile climbing ride this evening. My climb route has long sections where I'm all the way in full granny gear, which on my Roubaix/6800 is 34 tooth. Steep. It's a quad workout for sure. Climbing is my thing with cycling; I love the aerobic rush and the tangible obstacle to overcome. I SUSPECT I'm just at a place where the muscle straightening my leg (quad) has overpowered the muscle bending it (hammie) because while I hammer my quads regularly, I don't have a similar workout for the back of the leg.

Being 51 years old with the typical assortment of "stuff" that comes with an active lifestyle doesn't help... won't bore y'all but my left leg is both longer (birth) and stronger from being my "main leg" since a hip injury in the 80's. My left leg has taken the brunt of anything resembling impact or jarring ever since then, to protect that right hip. My left quad is a little bigger, etc.

Don't think that has a ton to do with it but untangling the physical yarn-ball is tricky as you get older.

Thanks folks.
Yes you do. Cycling. When you climb the steep in what's probably a big gear for you, your cadence probably gets a bit low. At 70 and below, it gets more interesting. So next steep climb, grab the bar tops, straighten your back, and without moving your upper body and trying not to pry on the bars, just pedal full circles.

You'll need a ton of hams pulling the pedal back near and at the bottom and at the start of the upstroke. Push forward on the top with about the same force as you pull back at the bottom. Try not to push down harder than you pull back and push forward. Make it about your hams more than your quads. This is how one fully develops one's legs. Depending on how well you can pedal the tops and bottoms, you may not have to pull up on the backstroke, just completely unweight that rear pedal. To the observer you should look like you are not working hard at all.
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