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  1. #1
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    Achilles pain...anyone?

    Recently started having some occassional achilles tendon pain after I ride. I have been doing some longer rides to prepare for a 12 hr. race. Will the SS have any negative effect on this? I have been considering putting on some gears...

  2. #2
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    I got achilles tendanitis (painful) for nearly 3 months from running and that is when I switched to cycling as it is generally brought on by impacts or poor foot position of which running for me did both as my feet roll in when I run.

    Since I have started riding I have never had a problem and have pretty much only ever ridden SS. Two things that have really helped with knee/ankle pains for me on SS are:

    1) Stand up pretty much anywhere that has a slight uphill gradient. Pushing two long while seated on SS can really cause some issues

    2) Move your cleats back towards the heel of your shoe. The further back you place them the less your calf muscle is applied to the reaction when you stand (as when you have them under the ball of you foot). Mine are probably between the ball of my foot and the middle of my foot and I have found less pain and increased mashing power.

    For what it's worth though I am switching to gears myself at the end of the year on my next bike as I still think long term SS surely can't be the best option especially if I have previously had issues with my legs, maybe it's good for some but I want to still be cycling when I'm 90.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny K
    Recently started having some occassional achilles tendon pain after I ride. I have been doing some longer rides to prepare for a 12 hr. race. Will the SS have any negative effect on this? I have been considering putting on some gears...
    I'll chime in here...

    I am recovering from a total achilles rupture in November 2008 from a non-biking injury. I can tell you that you absolutely want to ensure you don't damage your achilles. Its a terrible injury, and I would advise getting a professional to look at your position.

    SSing will inherently put more of a strain on knees/joints/etc due to the increased torque that you encounter when climbing, but I do ride my 29er SS a lot.

  4. #4
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    As menitoned, make sure your cleats aren't too far forward, and make sure your saddle isn't too high.

    Both those things will cause you to toe-down, and that kills your achilles.

    Mine still bug me sometimes from an AIDS/Lifecycle ride in '05. 580 miles on fixed gear with both the mis-adjustments i mentioned. On the plus side, SS mountain bike doesn't bother it all, it might if i had my saddle too high though.

    Also, a stretch after you're warmed up helps.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI0tT0dY95E

  5. #5
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    Second the stretching, before and after you ride. Also ice it after riding. Keep an eye out for thickening and if it gets worse, see a physio or physical therapist. Achilles tendnosis is a ***** to get rid of..... curtailed my running days!!
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  6. #6
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    I had Achilles tendinitis, came out it was due to the shoes I used -flip-flops-, switched to little higher-heeled shoes and it passed like a charm.
    As a general rule the less flexible the bottom of the bike shoes the better and put your cleats on the ball of your feet.

  7. #7
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    Ok, cleats are far back already and bike position is good....I think it is the seated climbing that is causing the trouble, I will try standing some more before I go and throw gears in the mix.

  8. #8
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    I hate doing it as much as the next guy but proper stretching (after you've positioned yourself correctly on the bike) really is the answer. I've had achilles tendonitis for a decade, mainly from running, but it will flare up at times when riding my SS. Keep the calves loose and you remove the pressure applied to the tendons down in the heel.

  9. #9
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    What gear are you running? I had the same issue, moved the cleats to a better position but I also realized that I was trying to run too big of a gear too early in the season. I dialed that down, had to spin a little more, but between the two, I was back to my normal self in no time.

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    Fixed or freewheel? As others mentioned the pain is from overloading the Achilles tendons or from shock. Avoid it by riding lower gears, or moving the cleat back somewhat to shorten the lever arm from cleat to ankle.

    Fixed gear riders have to be extra cautious, since the back resistance they apply to control speed or skip/stop the rear wheel often involves much higher and quickly ramped forces then pedaling does.

    The Achilles tendon benefits from gentle stretching from time to time, especially before hard rides, and can also be strengthened. Try running distance on the balls of your feet like a sprinter. Don't overdo this at first or you'll be limping for days, but over time you'll find you can do this for quite a distance as your achilles tendon and calf muscles strengthen.
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  11. #11
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    I've had achilles tendanitis and occasionally still have flare ups, not from cycling though. I have a really good PT that I see and here are a few things I've learned that work good for me.

    Stretching Is the best way to prevent problems.
    If you are having pain ice after a ride.
    Friction Massage works really well.
    A little rest then strengthening exercises.
    Ultrasound has really worked for me in the past but you'll need to see a PT for this.
    I'm the opposite from what some have said earlier, standing and cranking on the pedals really bothers mine if I'm having problems. Seated is ok.
    Find a good PT and don't take advice on the web.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  12. #12
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    I got acute Achilles tendonitis once, back in my late 20's, from trying to add too much mileage too quickly (running). I was told in no uncertain terms to get on crutches for ten days, to not use that tendon at all, or I'd have it for life. I listened. It worked like a charm; that's one of the few problems that have never recurred. Treat it right, treat it now, so you won't regret it later.

  13. #13
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    interesting thread, just how mad for your knees and so on do you guys think riding SS really is?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by _daemon_
    interesting thread, just how mad for your knees and so on do you guys think riding SS really is?
    There is another thread going around on this that I started and appears to be up in the air between:

    SS makes your muscles around your joints stronger and uses various candences so it is good for them and gears put a constant grind on your knees at the same candence

    to

    SS puts a lot of torque and load on your joints and thus is bad for them...

    At the end of the day who knows but my common sense tells me that long term it can't be good but short term it's probably ok.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    I've had achilles tendanitis and occasionally still have flare ups, not from cycling though. I have a really good PT that I see and here are a few things I've learned that work good for me.

    Stretching Is the best way to prevent problems.
    If you are having pain ice after a ride.
    Friction Massage works really well.
    A little rest then strengthening exercises.
    Ultrasound has really worked for me in the past but you'll need to see a PT for this.
    I'm the opposite from what some have said earlier, standing and cranking on the pedals really bothers mine if I'm having problems. Seated is ok.
    Find a good PT and don't take advice on the web.
    Great reading on all types of injuries/preventions, massage, icing, pressure points etc.! Thanks for the link!

    Quote Originally Posted by chumbox
    There is another thread going around on this that I started and appears to be up in the air between:

    SS makes your muscles around your joints stronger and uses various candences so it is good for them and gears put a constant grind on your knees at the same candence

    to

    SS puts a lot of torque and load on your joints and thus is bad for them...

    At the end of the day who knows but my common sense tells me that long term it can't be good but short term it's probably ok.

    Either way, prolly somewhere in between and dependent upon many factors such as pre-existing conditions/tendencies. I'd say best bet is it's generally good for you, but there are sometimes when we should all just get off and walk up (gears or SS). Another reason it's good to stand sometimes and not just sit and spin all day long....exercises different muscles in different ways and helps strenghten the entire body, not just one set of very specific muscles.
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedogz
    Either way, prolly somewhere in between and dependent upon many factors such as pre-existing conditions/tendencies.
    Great call... this is why I am switching to gears later this year as I know I already have pre-existing problems and want to reduce the chance of it reoccurring ever but I can think of one guy already off the top of my head who has SS'd for like 20 years racing and everything and he has had no problems ever.

  17. #17
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    I've got absolute crap knees. My dad already had one replaced by the time he was my age. I've advocated both of the positions stated above, depending on how my knees are doing. Have to say, anytime I tweak one of my knees, it's from standing on the SS, not spinning on the gearie. I always know exactly when it happens. So right now, I've taken to spinning more, and gearing down my SS, and hoping the inflammatory tendencies in the cartilage in my knees simmer the hell down. I will say, even (especially) on the SS, spin, spin, spin for a minimum of 10 min. before you start standing on it, if at all possible. The knees really need to warm up; they don't like being heavily loaded suddenly before they have done so (at least mine don't, that's how I've gotten into this present cycle) That, plus the fact I'm a old fart, but I see guys older 'n me out there tearing it up, so I won't blame age.
    Just bad knee genes.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    I've got absolute crap knees. My dad already had one replaced by the time he was my age. I've advocated both of the positions stated above, depending on how my knees are doing. Have to say, anytime I tweak one of my knees, it's from standing on the SS, not spinning on the gearie. I always know exactly when it happens. So right now, I've taken to spinning more, and gearing down my SS, and hoping the inflammatory tendencies in the cartilage in my knees simmer the hell down. I will say, even (especially) on the SS, spin, spin, spin for a minimum of 10 min. before you start standing on it, if at all possible. The knees really need to warm up; they don't like being heavily loaded suddenly before they have done so (at least mine don't, that's how I've gotten into this present cycle) That, plus the fact I'm a old fart, but I see guys older 'n me out there tearing it up, so I won't blame age.
    Just bad knee genes.
    Great info too! Warm up by spinning at the start of my ride especially in colder weather....wearing leg warmers for at least the first half hour of riding and sometimes the whole ride if it's cold enough. Keeping legs and especially knees (and all joints) warm with circulating blood is essential and helps prevent injuries. There is not much soft tissure (full of blood vessels) around the joints and tendons therefore get less blood supply.

    EDIT: A cool or cold wind/breeze especially during night rides can really suck the warmth out of your exposed body parts even when the temperature is not that cold. Dress in layers and peel as needed.
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  19. #19
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    I have bachne, scoliosis and a wicked case of chronic anxiety. All brought on by single-speeding.

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    .......... delete post

  21. #21
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    My buddies and I just got back from SSing in Austin this weekend and my achilles is KILLING ME now! I tend to run my cleats way-way forward so I'm haeding for my bike room right now with a 4mm allen.
    I got some pretty decent Niners!

  22. #22
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    Any of you guys/gals ss with five-tens and platforms?

  23. #23
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    Eccentric lowers....up with both, slowly down with one. Start on the floor and progress to a small step, then full range (stretch). Add weights in a backpack when this is easy. 15 reps. Regularly through the day. Don't be afraid of a little soreness, but be respectful and progress slowly over time. You will need to do this for a few months....A good physio will set you up on a programme. Sorting out the biomechanics and being mindful of load / torque and compression from footwear will also be necessary. Good Luck!

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