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Question about pedaling & sprains(9 posts)

Question about pedaling & sprainsKristin
May 25, 2001 12:47 PM
I hate to post this after WCC wonderful remarks below!! But I'm curious if this is a typical rep. use injury or not. This morning I sprained my ankle when I stood up quickly. Inside of the joint, just above the heel. It might have to do with the way I pedal. This is a re-curring thing for me by the way...goes back to my equestrian days, but its never been this bad. Pedaling. When I ascend a slight incline (climbing :), I tend to scrunch my toes up, tighten my foot , point the toes in (play in my clips) and pull the upstroke heavily. Am I doing this all wrong?? It seems to get me over the hill okay.
As my spin has developed, I think almost not at all aboutbill
May 25, 2001 2:16 PM
my feet and ankles other than to try to keep even pressure on the ball of my foot as lightly as possible while still transmitting power. Even pressure is the key. I try to imagine, well, maybe not an egg (although I think that was Dinosaur's advice, and it started the imagery), something like a peach under the ball of my foot, and I try to sort of keep enough pressure through the entire stroke to keep it there under the ball but not so much to squish it. Really what I do is focus on transmitting even power through the ball of my foot throughout the stroke and letting the rest of the foot and ankle do what they want in the process. When I can feel even light pressure on the ball of my foot with the rest of my foot relaxed, that's when I think I'm spinning best. So, my ankles NEVER experience nearly enough stress to strain them.
Kristen, I have to tell you that I am not happy at your misfortune, and I admire your spirit and dedication. But when I read this post, particularly in view of the logo that was thought up in your honor, I had tears running down my face. I've regained my composure, and I have more compassion now. And I'm so ashamed.
AH Grasshopper!Len J
May 25, 2001 2:50 PM
Kristin, Kristin, Kristin......Grasshopper.

Relaxation is the key to the Universe.

Are you sure it is a sprain? Did you roll it? I have had a history of loose ligaments that caused me to roll my ankle if I stepped on anything unevenly. If this is what happens to you, the only thing I found that helped tighten my ligament was crossover Ice skating (believe it or not). I have since found that doing crossovers around turns on in-line skates has the same effect.

If you can begin to notice when you "Scrunch your toes up" and concentrate on relaxing them, you will be amazed at how much better your feet & legs feel, both during the ride and after the ride. Scrunch is like clench, clench restricts blood & oxygen flow (and Lactic acid removal). This causes your Heart/Lung machine to work harder to get blood thru the clenched area. I think you get the point. This also works for me when my thighs begin to hurt, I can usually squeeze a few more minutes of hard effort if I can relax my thighs (I tend to clench my thighs when they start to hurt).

Just my 2 cents.

BTW, I admire your persistance at this, mere mortals might have given up.
Will try...Kristin
May 27, 2001 1:01 PM
Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure if "sprain" is the correct term. My Deltoids are suseptable to irritation because of a "slight" instep. I was concerned that my pedaling had irritated the lig. I rolled my foot just slightly and had plenty of pain as a result.

I will practice what you said if it ever stops raining! Somehow I feel like I need to clench up to deliver power and have control. But this could just be something I need to completely relearn.

A different question. If you were setting up a road bike for a new road rider who had some conditioning from the previous season. What cassettes would you install?
CassetteLen J
May 29, 2001 8:13 AM
Depends on terrain you will be riding.

I Use 12-23 for flats (where I live it is all flat).
I have a 12-27 for hilly rides.

My normal ride has a 53/39 in front, (But I do have a beater bike with a triple if I'm going to be doing serious hills).

Conditioning will determine which of the gears you push the most, As you get more conditioned you will move up the cassette (over the same course).

Hope this answers your question.

Good riding.
May 25, 2001 3:11 PM
There is a school of thought which holds that very little power can be added by an upstroke simply because whatever power you try to add is overwhelmed by the opposite foot's downstroke. Power can be added on the forward and rearward motions.

I think I read this in a Chris Carmichael piece. He is Lance Whathisname's coach.

It has helped me to focus not on the upstroke but instead on keeping the steady power going down, backward, and then forward. Up pretty well takes care of itself. Once the motion is learned, it turns into a spin like the other posters describe as the goal.
Scrunching toes bad. Relaxing foot good.ScottV
May 25, 2001 6:22 PM
I have no idea if your tech caused the sprain but I can tell you that you should try to relax your foot. Aslo try to work on the down stroke first and forget about the upstroke. A good way to work on this is the classic scraping mud off your shoes. That is try to mimic this motion on the down stroke.
Scrunching toes bad. Relaxing foot good.look271
May 27, 2001 2:45 PM
You're exactly right. I find that the scraping the mud thing works great. Sometimes, if the going gets really ugly (steep and I don't want to stand),I shift further back on the seat to get my hamstrings more involved. Gives the quads a break. FWIW, I've read that pulling up on the upstroke is of little or no value.You just can't generate enough power to make a difference in your spin.
Thanks...Excellent AdviceKristin
May 28, 2001 10:23 PM
It FINALLY stopped raining, so I went out and practiced. What a huge difference! The first thing I noticed is that, when it came time to stand, I could actually do it. All that clenching would sap my stength in the first half of the hill. Then, when I tried to call on my legs to stand, it burned too much. I could only push out like three strokes. Since Saturday I've climbed whole "hills" standing. I've also begun spinning at a faster cadence, which (I think) is a good thing.