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Raise my saddle or lower it or what???(17 posts)

Raise my saddle or lower it or what???PaulCL
Jun 14, 2001 11:43 AM
Recently, I have been having some nagging pain in my left hip, radiating down my outer thigh. Not during riding, but continually afterward. No crashes just 150 miles/week.

In the last 6 weeks, I have moved my cleats (for ProFits) back on my shoe to lessen foot numbness. It worked. Also, I have raised my stem maybe 2-3mm. Could these be the cause?? Any solution ideas??

I've been doing the Advil thing for a week without much help. I was thinking that my change of cleat placement adjusted my pedal stroke leading to a slight over-extension of my left hip. Sound reasonable?? Maybe shims under my left cleat?? Help, it hurts. Thanks. Really. Paul
Not sure what...PsyDoc
Jun 14, 2001 1:09 PM tell you. Do you have a stretching routine? Without more information, sounds like you may have strained some of the muscles in that area. How did you go about setting your seat height? My "correct" seat height is set about 1-2cm lower than what I originally had it set.

Try this, put on your cycling shoes and put your bike on a trainer and level the front wheel (not necessarily in that order). If you do not have a trainer, then put your bike in a hallway so that you can balance yourself. Get on your bike and put the right crank arm perpendicular to the floor (or at 6 o'clock). Next, extend your leg down, without clipping in, and see if your heel touches the pedal. Suppose that your heel touches the pedal...that's o.k. as it is a good indicator you are within 5mm of your correct saddle height (according to a few sources, including Carmichael and Armstrong). Now, repeat the same procedure using your left leg. If your left leg does not touch the pedal, then you have a leg length discrepancy (many people do and do not know it). In such an instance, I would recommend setting your seat height based on the shorter leg. If the discrepancy is large, then you may want to use a shim or see an Orthopedist and see what he or she recommends. My chiropracter told me that a discrepancy greater than 1/4" may need to be "shimmed" for a runner, but he was unsure about whether 1/4" would need to be shimmed for a cyclist.

Also, I recommend not riding long or especially hard after making adjustments to your position. I have found that even with slight adjustments to my bike, I need to give my body time to compensate/adjust. You might want to take a few days up to a week or so off and then go back to "easy" riding and see what happens. Just my .02.
I appreciate the replyPaulCL
Jun 14, 2001 1:47 PM
I have had my saddle at the same height since buying this saddle two years ago. I have never had any problems before. Maybe, I should move my cleats forward on the shoes again, accept the numb toes, and possibly alleviate the hip discomfort.

Why would pain like this show up when I haven't had an injury? or a crash? Maybe the extra mileage I have been doing this year is catching up to me. This year, I ramped my mileage up from about 80miles/week to around 150.

Pain, discomfort, and a decreasing stock market. Life can suck sometimes!
eliminate variablesfreespirit
Jun 14, 2001 2:20 PM
You mentioned the variable that you might first remove. Put the cleats back, and see what happens. Keep in mind that if you are already injured, though, it may take some time to see realistic results.

If you pedal toes down, moving cleats rearward on the shoes would have the effect of increasing the distance between your hips and pedals, similar to raising the seat (your toes would be further down, right). If you were at the upper range of 'correct' saddle height to begin with, this could have put you over the edge.

If you have leg length discrepencies, also increasing saddle height past a certain point could expose a problem with that leg first.

Put them back and see what happens. Other than that, I'd recommend lots of stretching, especially including the ilio-tibial band (cross your legs standing, and bend over to each side).
eliminate variableshnmalone
Jun 15, 2001 6:20 AM
I agree with freespirit here. I had the same problem just a few weeks ago, after I had raised my seat a centimeter or so over a couple of weeks. I think that ANYTHING that rapidly alters the relationship between pedal and seat, including clip position, can be a culprit.

I ate ibuprofin morning, noon and night, as your wife suggested. Take two weeks off, and cut back on the miles when you get started again. (Like you, I just didn't want to stop outright, but . . .) Ice the hip from crotch to butt after each ride, and stretch. The ilio tibial stretch sounds good. After a month, I'm slowly getting better - I'd say I'm 95% now. Bursitis and tendinitis take time. Good luck.
I don't see how either of the adjustments you described couldbill
Jun 14, 2001 2:12 PM
result in HIP pain. With the normal position of your pelvis on the saddle, your hip is nowhere near full extension -- not that I'm sure what IS full extension for a ball joint like the hip, but standing erect results in more extension than anything on a bike.
I think that your answer may lay in your doubling your mileage. Not to say that adjustments to your position couldn't help, but I'm thinking that it's an injury and not an adjustment problem. Sometimes, parts just start to hurt, because you're not stretching or because you've actually injured something else and are experiencing referred pain.
What you've described could be sciatic pain.bill
Jun 14, 2001 2:16 PM
A bundle of nerves runs from your spine down through a notch in your hip down your leg. If the area becomes inflamed, you get all sorts of back, hip, and leg pains. It's often enough caused by muscle inflammation over the area, and the nerve bundle starts to hurt. Sometimes, life's stresses cause people's sciatic nerves to hurt. You may just be getting old, my friend.
Oh, say it ain't so!PaulCL
Jun 14, 2001 7:15 PM
Bill...I'm not getting old, just better..right? I appreciate all of the replies. Maybe age 39 is catching up to me. Damn.

My wife's guess (she's an MD) is that I have an inflamed bursa of the hip joint. Caused by?? what...overuse, bad stretching, mis-alignment, cleat problem??? Her recommendation was to eat Advil for breakfast, lunch and dinner and rest (translate: stay off the bike). I'll do the Advil..staying off the bike is another matter.

You might wonder why I asked forum members when I have a doctor in the house. Forum members may have had the same problem, hence, a possible solution. Besides, my wife had no sympathy for my 'overuse' injuries since I won't listen to her advice. Can't blame her. I guess we're all looking for a quick fix.

I think I will start by moving my cleats back to where they were before the pain started. I can handle numb toes a lot better. Thanks for all of the feedback. Paul
That's too funnysidley
Jun 14, 2001 10:09 PM
Does your wife know you are going behind her well-trained back for advice from a bunch of cyclists? What were you gonna do, tell her you got a second opinion from a guy who guys by the moniker of grz monkey? I guess it is somewhat comforting to know that doctors give their dearest patients that standard response, "well if it hurts when you bike, don't bike."

My suggestion was gonna be you might need to change crankarm length, but it sounds like you've had this rig for a while. My suggestion now is that you listen to your wife.

Best of luck, Paul
Doctor,Doctor, it hurts when I do that....Len J
Jun 15, 2001 6:24 AM
Don't do that.

If you can't get sympathy at home ya gotta go somewhere.

Good luck.
well, now I feel stupid. Your wife is an M.D. and I'mbill
Jun 15, 2001 8:06 AM
dispensing medical advice. You twicked me.
I just went to a doc about a shoulder problem I've been having for, oh, years. He said inflamed bursa, but he added that the bursa sac (in my shoulder at least) probably didn't become inflamed by itself (the implication being that inflammation doesn't start with a sac of passive fluid but rather with something that does something active). He thought that the inflammation was referred pain/associated inflammation from chronic inflammation of my rotator cuff muscle. Why is my rotator cuff inflamed? Well, because it is. Chronic inflammation feeds on itself and just doesn't go away. I've been popping Vioxx (a new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and consciously not stressing the muscle -- gentle stretching, trying to use other muscles -- and it's helped a lot.
I was thinking some more about your problem, too, because I've had pains emanating from my butt near my hip from time to time (I can't think of the muscle, but you've heard of it), and it had more to do, I think, with pedaling -- trying to lift too hard.
Have you also thought about whether your knees are out from the top tube? I would think that that could stress your hips more.
And finally, I was thinking that if you've raised your seat and changed your cleat position, you just may have to get used to the new position, and you've stressed some things in the process. I think that muscles definitely can get used to working in a particular orientation, and change can alter that orientation in way that's ultimately good but that takes getting used to, and you may strain some things in the process.
Ask your wife how we did.
About this much - -.Maillot Rouge
Jun 14, 2001 12:07 PM
The difference is just a little bit. Obviously 27 inch and 700 centimeters is going to be close in size but not close enough for tires to be interchangable. It doesn't matter for tubes cause they can expand. Higher end bikes have always been 700 c while department store and I would guess English and US made stuff was 27 inch. Come on man, Jimmy Carter said wee would all be metric by now. BTW how many ounces are wheels?

oops I did mean millimeters 700 cm would be a high wheeler. nmMaillot Rouge
Jun 14, 2001 12:11 PM
eight millimeters difference
Jun 14, 2001 3:34 PM
the bead seat diameter of 700c rims is 622mm; of 27-inch rims, 630mm. So to convert from 27" to 700C rims you need to be able to lower the brake pads by 4mm.
re: can someone explain the diff. between 27" and 700c?Haiku d'état
Jun 14, 2001 12:08 PM
700c tires are 700 mm in circumference and "C" refers to the width of the tire. 700mm=27.5 inches.

sheldon brown has a great article about tire sizing!
ok, if i'd actually read the article,...Haiku d'état
Jun 14, 2001 12:12 PM
700c = 622 mm = ~24.5"

wait, now i'm confused, too.

re: can someone explain the diff. between 27" and 700c?GW Rider
Jun 14, 2001 12:13 PM
700C tires are 27.55897 inches

Hope this helps