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Left Side Issues

Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
Hi,

I have issues on the left side, always have on all my bikes, road and MTB. I've had 2 professional bike fits and both said I was pretty much bang on with the fit but when riding I find I wear my shorts out on the left and I have niggling issues on the left only, mainly saddle sores on the left side underneath and left quad tendon issues.

My feet feel fine and both feel comfortable in the shoes with no excess pressure anywhere on the feet on either side, although when im warmed up and my leg muscles feel nice and lose it feels like my left heel drops slightly lower than my right, like it feels more free, almost as if my right calf is tighter so my heel doesn't drop as much, but when doing a stretch test for my calves my left side is actually tighter than my right.

I also use a mix of 172.5 and 175 cranks and I get the same issue on both bikes so I don't think that is related.

Could I be dropping my left hip more than the right, or could my right side be too high pushing my left side down?

Is it worth adding a little pad or something to my left insole if my left hip is dropping to raise my left side a tiny bit?

Could it be worth raising my saddle a tiny bit to counter the left heel dropping and adding a little pad to the right side to even it up so I don't get issues on the right side then?

I guess it's a matter of trial and error to see what works for me, but has anyone had similar issues between left and right, and how did you cure it?

Cheers
Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond

Posts

  • zeeezeee Posts: 103
    Hi

    I am by no means an expert but if one of your heels is lower than the other then it's virtually impossible to have saddle etc set up correctly as it's going to be either too high or too low for one side. Using pads to raise your left foot could be a short term solution but imo you need to get to the bottom of whatever is causing this inconsistency. I am surprised neither bike fitter picked up this irregularity.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 5,145
    I have one leg longer than the other (only about 10 mm) which was picked up by a doctor when I was having trouble with one foot. Temporary solution was orthotics in my shoes, one slightly bigger than the other, long term solution was to do some stretching which resolved it.
    I can't say I've noticed much trouble on my bike, certainly not the extent that shorts wear out noticeably faster on one side. It wasn't picked up when I went for a bike fit, but that may be more to do with who was doing the fit.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 748
    I've got the same on the right side (more saddle sores than quad/muscle issues though), my right leg is definitely shorter than my left. I have put some 5mm shims under my right shoe cleat and it's helped.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,135
    Sounds more like hip inflexibility. Try to target some hip flexor stretches along with glute and hamstring work. Body mechanics is a very inter-connected thing if you pardon the pun. I do a lot of stretching and I'm constantly surprised at the differences R to L that I feel in the muscle groups mots notably my glutes, hips and hamstrings. I'd also do some spinal twisting/stretching too. If your saddle is straight and you are wearing out one side of shorts more than the other it must be that your pelvis is twisting one way or the other when pedaling.

    Jut my humble thoughts
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    thanks guys appreciate the advice, it's all things I can try.

    I also found an article when searching by Steve Hogg about right side bias which was an interesting read. I will do some video capture of my hips/spine later this week and see if anything stands out.

    I was also thinking of removing the insole from my right shoe just in case that side is a bit high forcing my hip up a bit and down on the left side and try that for a few weeks. If that makes no difference or causes noticeable issues I will swap sides and raise my left and keep right as it was. If that doesn't work I will consider tweak the saddle up and down and see but I didn't really want to touch that.

    I've also been thinking of doing yoga again, I tried it end of last year for a few months twice a week but it made no difference to my flexibility or comfort on the bike so I stopped doing it, also thinking back, before I had my last bike fit they said my calves were a bit tight and I had to do stretching 5 times a day on my calves and hamstrings as prep for the fit, and in that 5 weeks I improved my flexibility quite a bit, I recall she said once you have gained flexibility you only need to do it a couple of times a week to maintain it, but I slowly lost it and when I tried to repeat what I did before it doesn't seem to make any difference now, calves are still tight, I thought maybe I was overdoing it so did less, also tried leaving days inbetween but for the life of me I can't seem to gain flexibility.

    Anyway I will see how things go and report back.
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Same issue, for me its caused by hip mobility and completely unrelated to bike fit. Brilliant video on YouTube that a Physio recommended to me 'Hip Mobility Routine 8' GMB Fitness, has helped a lot.
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    Could be your left leg is longer and along with heel drop (which makes you move back on the saddle vs toe down which moves you forward) it creates more pressure/friction and giving you saddle sores. Do you feel more pressure on the left sitbone? that would give you an indication.

    Check your saddle height as well (might need to lower it) along with hygiene about the saddles sores.
    Is the saddle width right? too wide for your sitbones can cause irritation.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,135
    trek_dan wrote:
    Same issue, for me its caused by hip mobility and completely unrelated to bike fit. Brilliant video on YouTube that a Physio recommended to me 'Hip Mobility Routine 8' GMB Fitness, has helped a lot.

    Yeah, my Physio too recommended that video - that guy Ryan is a weird bendy FREAK!!!

    My hip tightness was causing knee pain.
  • Vino'sGhostVino'sGhost Posts: 4,129
    Pilates is your friend
  • I could go on for an eternity about my issues, I believe they mostly stemmed from a crash which then meant my bars were not level (not spotted by me), net result was I'd be riding lopsided, VERY lopsided. Adrian at Cadence Sport said he'd never seen anyone in such an extreme position. I also wouldnt rule out hip damage as I went down hard in a race. My body just seemed to adapt to that position but I'd get quite a few aches and pains. I saw him in Feb (crash was previous March), I'm now going to see him again next week because I still cannot get in position. What feels right, is actually wrong! I need to learn what is right! The first thing Adrian did on the fit was work from the bars backwards, not sure if your fitter checked this out?

    With that said, bib shorts seem to play a factor, anything with a large pad, or something that seems a bit softer has a tendency to move around which then pushes me further out of whack. Last night on the turbo I probably had to physically adjust my shorts about 10-15 times in a 1 hour session as I can feel no pad on my right, it's all gone to the left. It's hard work sitting in something that feels wrong because it's probably closer to being right.

    So, check bars are level, try different style bib shorts and work on flexibility, particularly hip flexors as that has made a lot of difference to me.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,578
    I'd look at trying a lower saddle height because this appears to be hip flexibility-related.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
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  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    Brooks saddle - will mould to the shape and pressure of your backside.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,578
    That's like taking paracetamol rather than trying to cure the pain though.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    Ben6899 wrote:
    That's like taking paracetamol rather than trying to cure the pain though.


    True but people use orthotics to correct misaligned feet - shims to correct leg length - a leather saddle worked for my wonky hips !!!
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,578
    Hey and I'm glad it did! But if OP can cure these ills by moderately correcting their fit, then that has to be considered.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • I had a bike fit in the summer, with a trained physio. First thing he picked up on was I had mild scoliosis - that and my saddle was 2cm too high(!).

    The scoliosis completely explains the tightness I experience on one side of my hips along with the fact I've always had a tendency to saddle rub on that side. In effect the slight spine curve pulls up one side of the pelvis.

    Anyway, worth checking - quite hard to see yourself though...
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,801
    maryka wrote:
    I've got the same on the right side (more saddle sores than quad/muscle issues though), my right leg is definitely shorter than my left. I have put some 5mm shims under my right shoe cleat and it's helped.

    Same here - only a couple of mm but seemed to work - well until a car ran into me a couple of years ago I think that's whacked my hips/legs or whatever out but that's another story.
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