Question: I’ve been riding for 10 years and suffer from chronic saddle sores on my left sit bone. I understand that a leg-length discrepancy can cause sores on the short-leg side. My left leg is about 3/8 inch shorter than my right. I’ve tried many position and equipment changes but nothing has worked. Can you help? — Paul D.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: It sounds like your short leg makes you sit crooked on the saddle, irritating the same area all the time. But other factors can contribute, too. You may have overpronation in one foot, low-back misalignment, or even something as simple as an old saddle that’s broken down in the area where you get the sores.
The best way to determine if you really have a leg-length inequality is to get your leg bones measured professionally. You also need an analysis to see if you have a “functional” leg-length inequality. This means that your legs are actually the same length, but due to other biomechanical factors (such as pronation) your legs’ effective reach to the pedals is unequal. Therefore, pressure concentrates on one sit bone.
Andy Pruitt’s Medical Guide for Cyclists, available in the RBR Bookstore, covers this issue in detail. It has instructions on how to shim a cleat if you do, in fact, have legs of unequal length. Also check out the other related titles in the Medical and Technical sections of our Bookstore.