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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    194

    Help with fitting

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    I have found the best place for any kind of bike advice is to start here. You gals are the best so far in helping out with any kind of bike issues.

    On that note - help!! Last summer I developed tendonitis in my Achilles. I went for a bike fitting, hoping it would help. The guy at the LBS immediately lectured me on the height of saddle. I took it well and lowered the saddle. Well, since then not only does the Achilles tendons still act up but now I have knee pain. The guy at the LBS was kind of a jerk and I came away feeling like he thought I was an idiot and he was the better person. An *** in effect. So now I don't know what to do. I hate paying for yet another fitting simply to have the same experience but this is not working. What I know is that the cleat on my right leg feels off but no matter how much I play with it or ask others to adjust it, I just can't get it right - and that's the leg that hurts. I also know my knees hurt at the saddle height.
    Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.
    Savra

    2006 Specialized Dolce Elite/Specialized Stock Saddle
    2011 Surly LHT/Brooks S Flyer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,825
    Did the fitter adjust the saddle height for you, or did you do it yourself?

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    I definitely get Achilles tendon issues from having my saddle too high.

    But I wonder if your crankarms aren't too long for you. Your issues sound very similar to mine. If I ride anything longer than 165 mm, my seat height is simultaneously too high at the bottom of the pedal stroke - where I have to reach for the pedal with my toes and cause myself Achilles issues - and too low at the top of the pedal stroke - where I have to flex my knees past 90 and cause myself kneecap tracking problems.

    How long are your cranks? How long are your legs? It really has as much to do with tibia/femur ratio as with overall leg length, but inseam might give you a clue.

    Also, when you moved your seatpost down, did you also move your saddle back on the rails?



    On the cleat that you can't get adjusted enough, which extreme is it at when it hits the limit? (fore, aft, inside, outside, rotated toe-in or toe-out)? That might give you some clues as well.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 03-10-2012 at 09:00 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    194
    A) I let the LBS adjust the seat height. B) I did not move the seat back - but I have noticed that I keep pushing my but back now that it's lower. C) My right foot feels like my toes are angled in (and heel out) much more than my left foot (which doesn't feel angled at all). I have an inseam of 28.5 inches. The crank on my road bike is 7.5" and on my Surly 7". Interestingly, my right knee hurts on the Surly while my left hurts on the road bike.
    Savra

    2006 Specialized Dolce Elite/Specialized Stock Saddle
    2011 Surly LHT/Brooks S Flyer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    DE
    Posts
    1,221
    I too suffered with achilles tendonitis for a couple of years. I did PT for 3 months, which helped a lot. In addition to the exercises, My PT, also a cyclist, also had me do:

    1. Use Heel cushions in my everyday shoes. I used these (still do):
    http://www.drscholls.com/drscholls/p...p&searchArg=48

    2. Lower bike seat, and slide it back on the rails accordingly.

    3. Moved cleats on my bike shoes back a little bit.

    I got quite a bit of improvement in the first few months, but it did take over a year to be back at 100%. Probably would have helped to continue the exercises longer, but, well,......

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Quote Originally Posted by Savra View Post
    The crank on my road bike is 7.5" and on my Surly 7".
    That can't be right. 7.5" is 190mm and I don't think anyone even makes crankarms that long.

    Best I could find from cursory googling is that the LHT specs with Andel RSC6 triple cranks, and those appear come only in 175 mm? If that's correct, that's still WAY longer than I'd ever be able to ride with my 29" inseam.


    As far as exercises, I went through PT this summer for my Achilles as well - she did a whole lot of mobilization of the bones in my feet, but the home exercises I have are:

    (1) One-legged calf raises x 15 each leg. Start with shoes on and progress to barefoot and then to an unstable surface; start with your fingers lightly touching something to hang on (a wall, table or chair back) and progress to no hands.

    (2) "Rotating airplane" - come from standing to Warrior III with your arms in "airplane" position and then go directly from there into half moon pose (ardha chandrasana), to rotated half moon pose (pavritta ardha chandrasana) and back three times, then return to standing with knee raised before putting the leg down. Again, start with shoes, progress to barefoot and to an unstable surface. This one's great because it works strength and proprioception in both ankles and hips.

    After those strength exercises (which I typically do after a run or ride) I work flexibility:

    (3) rolling out my calves with a Stick and my feet with a spiky ball - you could also use a golf ball, spiky stick, walking on pebbles for your feet.

    (4) Traditional forward leaning calf stretch, with a wedge under my heel to balance my varus heel and keep my ankle aligned during the stretch; I raise the opposing knee and move it from inside to outside ten times during the stretch.


    I know getting my bones "unstuck" helped a lot, but the more I work it, the less trouble I have with my Achilles as I ramp up my running mileage.

    Still, it really sounds like you need to get your fit dialed, and unfortunately, you may need to shell for another fitting.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,449
    Nothing to add except: Find a different fitter!
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    444
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Nothing to add except: Find a different fitter!
    +1.

    Also, are you riding with your heels up or down? I was told by a cyclist much more experienced than I that keeping your heels "up" while pedaling can lead to the symptoms you describe. Apparently, you should keep your heels "down" at all times (as much as is possible anyway. Works the backsides of your legs nicely on the upstroke if you really concentrate on doing it). Hard for me to remember and every now and then I have to think about it, but I already have knee problems (IT band) so I don't want to tick off my Achilles either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Quote Originally Posted by westtexas View Post
    keeping your heels "up" while pedaling can lead to the symptoms you describe.
    True - I'd gotten into the habit of "ankling" (i.e., pumping my toes up and down in sync with the pedal stroke) - both because it was fashionable in the '80s and because (as I said), before I installed 165mm crankarms I had to point my toes to reach the pedals at the bottom of the stroke.

    It wasn't until years later when I started having Achilles trouble that I had to unlearn that habit. It was a gradual process of learning to pedal with horizontal feet and lowering my seat height little by little.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    371
    Quote Originally Posted by Savra View Post
    The crank on my road bike is 7.5" and on my Surly 7".
    Take a look at the back sides of the cranks - the sides towards the frame. There will inevitably be stamped a length. This marking will usually be near where the pedal attaches. It'll be just a plain number like 165, 170, 175, and etc.


    While you're checking the crank length, check something else too: Turn the crank until one crank arm points up along the seat tube. Measure the distance from the seat tube to a convenient prominent location on the pedal. Now rotate the cranks so the other crank is pointing up along the other side of the seat tube. Measure the same distance on that side.

    Your two measurements should be identical. However, some bikes ship from the factory with the pedals not centered! Most people seem to be able to adapt without noticing the off-centeredness. However, your joint issues might make this an issue for you.
    Laura

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    194
    Ok, yes, apparently my ability to "measure" my cranks leaves a bit to be desired. So, with your suggestions - the road bike is 170 and the Surly 165. I definitely was ankling. This season I have worked on keeping my feet flat.
    Are there some good questions I can ask a bike shop before shelling out the money for a fitting to know if they are any good. The bike shop I went to supposedly did great fittings but the one the guy did for me sucked. All he looked at was the seat height.
    Savra

    2006 Specialized Dolce Elite/Specialized Stock Saddle
    2011 Surly LHT/Brooks S Flyer

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    444
    I would simply ask the staff 1) where they were trained in fitting and 2) can they show you a basic breakdown of the process.

    When I got my fitting done, he had a logbook where he kept all my records so we always know where the "start" is that he made notes in the entire time. Other than just putting me on the bike and playing around with the string and pendulum thing, he measured my hip flexors and shoulder and all other various body parts off the bike. He was sent by the shop we have here to go learn how to fit professionally as well at one of the various schools out there. I was extremely satisfied with the thoroughness.

    You could always do it yourself as well:

    A walkthrough that has been posted here before.

    EDIT: sorry for the rambling sentence structure. I don't have time to fix it at the moment but I promise I'm usually more coherent.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Another thought, and I must say I AM SO NOT AN EXPERT. I have horrible achilles tendon issues brought on from backpacking and getting older and favoring a bad knee. I have changed my pedals to Shimano A530 platforms. On a long ride I will often clip out, flip my pedal over and ride a ways unclipped to allow my feet and knees the opportunity to move around. Another suggestion is to trade out your pedals to a platform, do some riding and see if that helps. Perhaps even going so far as to chalk the bottom of your shoe, go for a ride and see where the natural position is for your right foot. I know that sounds a bit corny but I totally get the frustrations of not feeling right on the bike.
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    905
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Nothing to add except: Find a different fitter!
    +1 as well.
    And - since you are already having pain and problems - do not look for fitters in a bike shop, find a Sports Med specialist or a PT that does bike fits instead, or a sports MD/PT that works with a bike fitter. It may take a bit more search to find them, but it will be worth your while.
    E.'s website: www.earchphoto.com

    2005 Bianchi 928C L'Una RC
    2010 BMC SLX01 racemaster
    2008 BMC TT03 Time Machine
    Campy Record and SSM Aspide naked carbon on all bikes

 

 

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