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Knee pain: different leg length ?(3 posts)

Knee pain: different leg length ?Derrick VL
Dec 9, 2003 10:09 AM
Having knee pain for several months now, everytime after I have been on my bike, who can help me?

The pain is located on both knees, but especially right side. Just under the knee cap. (Echo shows a little bit water in there)

I changed pedals ('Look black' cleats to 'red' cleats), I changed saddle position, etc without result.
Both on my MTB and race bike (different shoes, pedals) I have the same pain.

The pressure on both shoe soles is measured, is identical and looks good. The position on the bike and the pedalling looks good according to the doctor.

The doctor measured yesterday my leg length through X-ray. Right is 8 mm shorter than left. He advised to adjust one pedal 4 mm. I am not sure this will help.

Anyone experience with this pain and the solution?
Anyone having different leg lengths?
re: Knee pain: different leg length ?FTMD
Dec 9, 2003 11:30 AM
It sounds like you've done a lot of work trying to find the problem, but the one thing I didn't see was a serious fitting by an experienced fitter. I think you need to have this done, and have your position and pedaling motion evaluated.

Let's say your left is the shorter leg with the right longer. If you set up your saddle height to accommodate the right leg, your left is going to be too far extended. Conversely, set it up to accommodate your short leg and the longer leg isn't going to get the right extension.

But...from my own experience, both knees shouldn't be bothering you in the same place. To me, and I'm no doctor, that doesn't sound like a leg length discrepancy issue, where I would believe one knee should hurt but not both. But by all means, it cannot hurt to have a qualified fitter check it out and give an opinion. For what it's worth, I had the x-rays done and had my left leg was 6 mm longer than the right. My fitter thought that really wasn't enough to be concerned with but went ahead and shimmed my shoes to make up the difference (1/2 of the difference or 3 mm). I rode like this for 2 months and saw no difference so I removed the shims.

I hope this helps somewhat. I know knee pain can be very frustrating. My blanket advice on knee pain is strength training and stretches. That's what got me back on the bike and I rode more this year than I did the 3 previous combined, although I did have moments of discomfort.
Dec 9, 2003 3:41 PM
I was on the trainer the other night, watching an old video of like the 1997 Fleche Wallone/Liege-Bastogne-Liege.... I and they were talking about some pretty reknown rider, who... due to a childhood accident had one leg that was... get this some 4 cm shorter than the other. The season before the race, he had some surgery to shorten the longer leg, to bring them more in line, but he still had a kooky position on the bike. I cant think of who it was, but I will review it tonight... so dont sweat the one leg longer than the other. Perhaps someone more knowledgable about cycling history (early 90's) and who that might be.

The fit is a good idea. General pain in the front of the knee has a typical rule to move your seat back, but not too much all at once. I would also check your seat height and ask someone to ride behind you and see if you bow your knees out and then press them in on the downstroke. This sometimes puts some odd stressors on the outside of your knee, which could be part of the issue. But, this is all sight unseen, of course. I do not know the remedies you have tried, but constant fidgeting with height and fore/aft and cleat positioning is not good, you never really know what is right or wrong. Check to make sure your cleats are not too far back. Too far back will force too much pressure to the front of your knee.

But, the bad thing is that consistent repetitive motion with poor mechanics can cause injury, and some relatively chronic tendonitis-type pain. So, at this point, it sounds like it is nagging and will likely only be remedied by rest, and getting your positioning right. So, please dont think that once you get dialed in, your pain will just "go away". You have to be patient.

Best of luck, but I am confident you will find your ideal position. Lots of ibuprofen and perhaps some glucosamine-condritin will likely help.