12 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Leg Length Inequality


Homemade shim for my MTB cleats on my Shimano “Touring” shoe. I also put strips of hot glue on the side to elevate the sole of the shoe.

During the 2010 cycling season, while trying to find the ultimate saddle for cycling, I constantly had chafing issues, but ONLY on my right side, just forward of my sit bone. After reading Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists about leg length inequality (p. 69), I had my legs measured. I went to a trusted friend, who is physical therapist. Using a tape measure he determined that my left leg was 10 to 15mm  (1/4 to 3/8″) shorter than my right leg. That seemed to make sense, as my left ankle is my “bad” ankle that has suffered a major break in a mountaineering accident (1984) and has had subsequent surgeries, including a bone graft to build up the length of the leg. But would a shorter left leg contribute to soreness on my right side? Weird.
Since then, I have shimmed up my left shoe. I first used  a custom orthitcs in my left shoe only, which gives me a little more lift than the stock insole which I have in my right shoe. Initially I used a couple of sheets of HDPE (plastic), but the cleat kept rotating loose, so now I have placed two layers of 1.5 mm semi-firm rubber there (used on drafting tables as cutting pads). Pruitt suggested that you shim up only half the distance of your LLI and then, only if your LLI is more than 3mm.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, I am in the midst of testing various saddles, to it may be hard to tell if this made much difference.

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