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How to adjust a saddle for comfort? Have problem on left side only.(21 posts)

How to adjust a saddle for comfort? Have problem on left side only.Kristin
Jul 18, 2003 11:34 AM
I'm trying saddle #4 currently. The same thing always happens. Within 20 minutes of riding on the road, I get a bad ache deep in my left butt(ocks) and eventually my whole leg aches. Also, my foot starts to fall asleep. Moving around doesn't seem to help. (Interestingly, I can put the bike on the trainer with no chamois and will be perfectly content.) I'm going to assume that the saddle is pressing into my pereneum and causing the nerve to compress. The funny thing is, that it never happens in my right leg, just the left, and its happened with 5 different saddles. Has anyone else experienced this? What's the fix? Is it possible for a persons pelvis to not sit level on the saddle?

Interestingly enough, the ITBS I developed was in my left leg. I wonder if limited circulation could have contributed to that injury.

Thanks in advance!!
Are your legs the same length ?MR_GRUMPY
Jul 18, 2003 11:43 AM
One of my friends has the same problem. Always leans to one side. He has the same problem with reach to the bars. My guess is that his back is not straight. He is no newbe, he's raced for years and years.. and years and years.
A cleat shim might help......or not.
Who knowsKristin
Jul 18, 2003 12:22 PM
Everyone seems to have a different way to measure this. One doctor told me my right leg was longer and the another told me my left was. I can't imagine that anyone has two legs that are exactly the same length.
Never with just one leg...Jervis
Jul 18, 2003 11:46 AM
but I've had problems with both before. Check the tilt on your saddle, not nose up/down, but the sides. Either my seatpost or my saddle is crooked (you can see it from the back of the bike) and can make for some odd seating positions (it's not so bad that I notice it all the time). Are you right handed, by this I mean is your right leg your strong leg? I'm left handed and on 20+ mile rides my right leg always seems to get sore more than my left. I also have problems with my right knee due to the lack of muscle. Try concentrating on your pedal stroke and making it even so you work both legs. Since you have a trainer, it might be a good idea also to run one leg excersizes. Just unclip one leg and put it somewhere out of the way and run your other leg, making sure your pedal stroke is even all the way around. It really helps your stroke and your leg strength (even if you can only do it for 30 seconds at a time). Sometimes I get the same problem with both legs (the numbness and soreness) and I find it's a result of saddle height, try lowering it liiiiiiiitle by little until the pain stops or until it just gets too unefficiently low. Not sure if any of that solves your problem, but I hope it does something.

If one leg is shorter...coonass
Jul 18, 2003 1:12 PM
you can get cleat shims at a ski shop and drill them to fit your cleats..
One PT had told me to use a heel lift in my cycling shoeKristin
Jul 18, 2003 1:29 PM
And not a shim. Does that make any sense? To me, it seemed that a shim would be what was needed, since I don't really use my heels to pedal. Thoughts?
May be anything from differing leg lengths to pelvic tilt,MXL02
Jul 18, 2003 2:13 PM
to scoliosis. I would go to a good sports medicine orthopod and have him/her measure and examine both lower extremities, pelvis and back. I am a physician, and I can tell you that you DO NOT want to keep injuring that will start to get fibrosis and may become whatever you need to do to get level on the saddle while pedaling.
Thanks, good adviceKristin
Jul 18, 2003 2:28 PM
Actually, I do have some posture abnormalities and no one has ever determined the cause or treatment. Thanks for the info about that nerve...I certainly don't want to end up with chronic pain. I found a new orthopedic clinic and I'll ask if they think they can truly help me figure it out. Thanks.
One PT had told me to use a heel lift in my cycling shoecoonass
Jul 18, 2003 5:12 PM
I agree w/u....I don't see how a heel lift will benefit pedaling motion (walking maybe) and MXLO2 has some good advice... a good sports therapist....if unsure of whom to contact in your area, check with your local cycling club and inquire who the CAT4/5 riders can recommend....the AMA regards all Sports Therapist & Doctors as excellent, so that would be a lost cause.
Not make senseNatC
Jul 19, 2003 10:14 AM
Heel lifts are useful in accomodating limb length discrepancies while walking, but since you pedal on the forefoot, a cleat shim or thicker insole under the forefoot of the shorter leg would be much better. The only true way of measuring a limb length discrepancy is to take a body scan (a full-body x-ray) and measure your skeleton on film. When a clinician measures your limb lengths with a tape externally, it is only an estimate since soft tissue confounds the measurement.

I think I'd try visiting an osteopath or chiropracter for manipulation. You're stretching regularly, right?
a couple of things....DINOSAUR
Jul 18, 2003 2:12 PM
One of the benefits of having an all leather saddle, such as a Brooks, is that after a period of time the shape of the saddle will contour to match the shape of your little rear (I presume that it is little). But the problem with the Brooks is that they have short rails and most of us can't get them back far enough to dial in with our KOPS (or whatever method you use to determine your saddle position).

#2 A lot of the pros position their saddles so it is slightly cockeyed and not lined up straight with the TT. Which way you would angle the saddle would probably make a difference (maybe yours to the left? (I'm no help here).

#3 Saddle tilt makes a big difference. I have a Thomson two bolt seat post on one of my bikes and I start out making it perfectly level in my garage by using a large carpenters level that covers the entire length of the saddle. I go out for a ride and slowly tilt it back in very small increments (it might take a couple of rides in order to do this) until I find the magic spot. You can't imagine the difference that a couple of degrees in saddle tilt. Saddle tilt and bar tilt go hand in hand, you have to adjust both, probably best to start off with the saddle tilt first.

#4 Most of us have a leg discrepency. I adjust mine to accomodate the shorter leg. But I guess it depends how how much a discrepency. If I go up too high, my lower back starts to tighten up, too low and I feel like my bike is too small for me. I have to get it down to the mm before it feels right.

#5 And once everything feels right, don't mess with it. I made a saddle change, then put back on my old saddle and it took about two weeks of messing around until I felt comfortable again.

An old road dog once told me to forget about measurements when making settings on your bike. Listen to your body. If you feel like something would feel better with a slight change, do it. But make very small changes and not all at the same time.
All good advice, andcoonass
Jul 18, 2003 5:04 PM
"#2 A lot of the pros position their saddles so it is slightly cockeyed and not lined up straight with the TT. Which way you would angle the saddle would probably make a difference (maybe yours to the left? (I'm no help here)."

I believe that this saddle alignment is to allow the male anatomy more room on the side that contains the 'natural' position of the lower anatomy.
All good advice, andDINOSAUR
Jul 18, 2003 10:15 PM
Gosh, I could be wrong, but I swore I read somewhere that some cyclist who experience lower back or hip problems seem to be better off if they ride with their saddles slightly off center. I searched high and low and I could not find that article. In any event, if your reason is correct, it certainly would not help Kristin, unless she has another problem that we don't know about....
After reading the added threads,coonass
Jul 19, 2003 1:40 PM
It seems that there may be more to the top-tube/saddle nose misalignment than just anatomy issues....If it works, go with it..
A couple of months ago I twisted my saddleBowWow
Jul 18, 2003 10:16 PM
a few degrees to the right. Interestingly, I wear my pants "right-handed," that is, the equipment falls naturally to the right side. Last week I inadvertently re-aligned the seat with the top tube, and my back and left leg were in agony within five miles.

As a further complication, my left leg is a few millimeters shorter than my right, so I wear an insole in the left shoe, nothing in the right. My butt is better, my back is better, but now I'm struggling with sharp pain on the outside of my left knee. I think it is a never-ending process of adjusting, settling in, then a new ailment crops up so you adjust again...
Be very careful about that knee pain and go easyKristin
Jul 20, 2003 12:47 PM
Don't ride through it if it seems to get worse. You don't want to wrestle with chronic ITBS!!
Another thought...coonass
Jul 18, 2003 5:39 PM
You can also inquire about a good least he/she is familiar with the body and will actually touch you and may be able to determine if you do have some physical differences; whereas a Physician will only sit across the room from you, look at your blood pressure readings and tell you that you need a blood test and to come back in 2 weeks....then to be told that your cholesterol is out of synch and put you on a diet and/or 500mg of B3...Oh Yes, your original symptom?? Well, we're going to have you get some x-rays and send you to another physician who is better at reading the report from the hospital (they'll NEVER see the xrays, only the hospital's report) You got to love our Medical Profession.....they're responsible for over 96,000 deaths a year through malpractice....Vietnam only killed less than 60,000 total...and yet the people screamed to stop the carried away with my personal views...
Jul 18, 2003 5:45 PM

"Claim #2: Alternative treatments are dangerous.
All the literature shows that holistic treatment are the safest treatments available. While there is some risk involved in any therapy, the risks of alternative therapies are insignificant. They are clearly far safer than the most routine treatments provided by conventional medicine. There may be 2 or 3 deaths per year attributed to alternative medicine.
Meanwhile, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, conventional medicine kills 225,000 Americans per year (over 600 per day), and severely injures over 2 million per year (JAMA 2000). Over the counter drugs kill another16,000 Americans per year (JAMA 1998). Considering that the risks involved with conventional care are roughly 100,000 times greater than with alternative care, which should be the first choice in care?"
Additional important information to your correctionKristin
Jul 20, 2003 12:43 PM
Most alternative treatments have been shown to be of no or little emperical value. Basically, its been demonstrated in many well-structured, clinical studies to do not much of anything. I respect that you believe in alternative medicine and disapprove of traditional doctors, but I disagree with your conclusions. I'm not saying all doctors are good doctors--or even useful. But I still want to see the double blind study before I buy into something.
True, true, true...always educate yourself (nm)coonass
Jul 20, 2003 3:11 PM
Maybe your saddle shouldn't be straight...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 18, 2003 6:27 PM
... I used to always have the nose of my saddle point in-line with the top tube of the bike. Then I started developing saddle sores on my LHS. I noticed that taking the saddle slightly out of line with the top tube helped. I believe I rotated the nose of the saddle towards the non-drive side of the bike.

Try either way and see if it works for you.

Good luck