|The Bike Doc
Joined: 08 May 2003
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas
|Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:12 am GMT +0000 Post subject:
The pain and location you describe is consistent with tendon strain from the calf muscles insertion into the lower part of the femur. You can over stress this area if your saddle is too high or too far back. You should have the bend in your knees at around 20 degrees for mountain biking and 10 degrees for road biking. If your knees bend less than these numbers you will be over extending your knee and straining the tendons.
If you have one leg shorter then the other, in your case it would likely be the left leg, then shims may be in order to raise your left foot up enough to compensate for the leg shortness. If there is a significant enough discrepency in the leg length that cannot be overcome with shims, then a shorter left crank arm would be appropriate, though an expensive alternative. You should get a crank arm of a length shorter than the right equal to the leg length discrepency. For example if your right leg is 10 mm longer than your left, then you should get a crank arm that is 10mm shorter such as a 175mm on the right and a 165 on the left.
Get an evaluation by a Physical Therapist familiar with measuring leg length discrepancies. Also, ask the therapist about stretching exercises for the the legs to help limber up the knees. Bob Anderson's book "Stretching" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0936070226/qid=1078422567/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-5296357-5677419 is an excellent resource for teaching you how to properly stretch.
Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc