Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Unequal leg length - shims?

samsbikesamsbike Posts: 942
edited February 2015 in Road beginners
My length leg appears to be 1cm longer on one side.

So I would like to use something on the other foot - to balance out the leg length.

What am I supposed to use to do this, I think I need to raise the cleat but am not sure how.

thanks

Posts

  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,773
    Custom made orthotics? As well as biblically flat feet, I have one leg 1cm longer than the other and this is what I have - not specifically for cycling, I have them in my shoes/running shoes/rugby boots and had some made to fit my cycling shoes.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • Maybe a couple of these;
    https://www.i-ride.co.uk/Leg-Length-Shi ... k-Keo.aspx
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df17mQAtfYM

    But it might be worthwhile getting checked out for a good bike fit, I think shims are Ok if the tibia is shorter rather than the femur but I'm not 100% on that.
    The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the devil's own satanic herd.
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    1 cm is quite a bit, do you use any type of compensation in your regular 'street' shoes for walking?
    If not, then I suggest you first do some 'test walking' in a shopping plaza that has space for a long walk on a flat surface. Walk normally, but pay attention to how the heal of your shoes contact the floor, and any unbalanced 'rocking' of your hips, or unusual leg movements.

    If the leg length imbalance is small, it might be corrected by a simple foam or leather insole in one of the shoes.

    Then try simple pedaling tests such as using the shoe heal on the pedal, and being aware of hip rocking, or need to reach further with 1 leg.

    If needed, a shim (plastic?) can be used between the cleat and bottom of the cycling shoe - perhaps using slightly longer mounting screws.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • Best explain where I'm coming from. Broke my hip a few years ago, when they got me out of plaster et cetera, measured my legs and told me that the broken one was 1cm. shorter.
    On their advice put pads under my heels in my shoes for walking and cycling.
    Just could not get on with them.......... Reverted to normal and it felt right straight away.
    I guess that all my life my legs have not been of equal length......
    As it was the first time my legs had there relative lengths compared can't guarantee that.
    So ask yourself the question do I need anything in my shoes.............
  • Best explain where I'm coming from. Broke my hip a few years ago, when they got me out of plaster et cetera, measured my legs and told me that the broken one was 1cm. shorter.
    On their advice put pads under my heels in my shoes for walking and cycling.
    Just could not get on with them.......... Reverted to normal and it felt right straight away.
    I guess that all my life my legs have not been of equal length......
    As it was the first time my legs had there relative lengths compared can't guarantee that.
    So ask yourself the question do I need anything in my shoes.............
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    You might consider having someone walk/ride behind you to observe your walking gait, and body motion when on the bike.
    A good observer might be able to see if you have any uneven motion or 'tilt' of your hips and pelvis.

    Perhaps you have always had some amount of leg length difference and have 'adjusted yourself' so that it feels OK. This might work fine as long as your musculature is strong enough to compensate for misalignment stresses, but later in life it might become troublesome.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 362
    I would suggest not overthinking it too much to begin with. Most people have leg length differences anyway so it may not cause you any trouble at all.

    A friend of mine had a 4 cm difference following an accident and simply put his saddle down.
  • samsbikesamsbike Posts: 942
    Cheers all. Advice seems to be sort the seat out. I am curious because I get a really bad ache on my right shoulder only after about 18 miles. Have raised the bars and set back is right and wondered if my asymetry was causing this as well.
  • germcevoygermcevoy Posts: 414
    I would seriously recommend a decent bike fit. A custom insole sorted my leg length difference (also due to hip issues).
  • 5pudgun5pudgun Posts: 401
    Why do you feel you need to do anything? What problems is it causing?
  • samsbikesamsbike Posts: 942
    5pudgun wrote:
    Why do you feel you need to do anything? What problems is it causing?

    Not so much in the legs but my right shoulder and neck are killing me and stiff after a hours riding.

    Bars are higher and its only on the right side, which means I am not sitting on the saddle properly
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    Daft question to the OP - Do you have a problem ? - it may be that other parts of you body have adjusted to the leg length discrepancy - so 'evening' it up could open a whole can of worms.

    Even people with legs same length have a stronger side, or don't square on the saddle. If its a problem i would go for a gait anaylsis and get orthtics via that route. I am bit wary of bike fits to be honest - if you know anything about cycling your position is unlikely to be that far out - and with a 1cm leg discrepancy a bog standard fit may not be for the best. Id tweak things yourself.
  • sopworthsopworth Posts: 191
    Firstly, if it isn't broke don't fix it. If your discrepancy is not causing you pain or discomfort on the bike then I'd leave it alone.
    If you are getting pain in the knee from the shorter leg, you could adjust your saddle height to ensure the shorter leg isn't over stretching - prob best to see a good fitter for this as they may well shim your shoe properly.
    I suffered from a pain on the inside facing part of my knee. Discovered I had a leg length discrepancy and now have 3mm shim infer my cleat. Pain gone, both knees track the same path and, whilst my cycling hasn't noticeable improved, it's good to be able to feel both legs working in harmony and one not clearly over stretching.
    Every case is different but there is mine. Good luck with sorting the issue out.
  • samsbikesamsbike Posts: 942
    The problem is that I have a problem. I sit with the whole of my right side slightly tilted foward. This causes a lot of RH neck/ shoulder ache. I found this out at yoga and when I changed my bike position ever so slightly after hurting my left leg. Its got worse as it happens off the bike now.
    I think I better get a bike fit.
Sign In or Register to comment.