Are cleat shims for a longer or a shorter leg?
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  1. #1
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    Are cleat shims for a longer or a shorter leg?

    I'm having difficulty visualizing whether a shim that goes between the cleat and the shoe would to correct a leg that is shorter or longer.

    If your right leg is longer than your left, would you shim your right or left shoe? I'm at a point where at one saddle height I get minor pain behind my right knee and 1mm lower makes that pain go away but introduces frontal left knee pain.

    I'm thinking I need to commit to one height but shim one of my shoes.

  2. #2
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    I went through this. I eventually threw out shims, contraptions, insole platforms, etc... and just stretched to release my tilted pelvis. Is your perceived LLD - leg length differential - structural or functional?

    I spent a good deal of money on shim kits, Hogg's stuff, etc.. in the end all I had to do was to be honest with myself and work on the cause.

    The one thing I did take away from Hogg, or rather what my fitter agreed on, was to set the seat height so there is no rocking; which coincidentally will probably put you somewhere between the two leg lengths probably towards the shorter.

    Stand straight on a wooden floor, do your toes on the shorter leg point outwards (away from body center) more than the longer leg? If so, you may have a tilted pelvis caused by a tight psoas muscle on one side. I can cause both of my toes to point straight with 5 -7 minutes of stretches.

    Also, I tried to self-fit myself for ever. I read and threw myself into everything, in the end, the resulting fit was a) incredibly more comfortable and b) way, way off from where I had it set.

    For what it's worth, I was also in a "if I move if 1/2 mm this way I get pain, but I swear this must be right" spot before seeing the fitter. The resulting change was like night and day.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  3. #3
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    I have shims (between cleat and shoe) and orthotics for pronation. I don't have any significant leg length discrepancies. However, I do have a lot of back issues and other weird stuff, partially caused by tight hamstrings and years of a desk-bound career. I've recently tried to make more of an effort to stretch frequently, and it does help quite a bit.

    To echo what 9W9W said, before seeking mechanical fixes, I would make sure the problem isn't caused by a physical imbalance that can be somewhat easily addressed. For me, adding a device to mask a particular deficiency always "enabled" that issue, and often made things worse. The human body is an amazingly adaptable structure- when it's functioning correctly.

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    shim the shorter leg

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    shim the shorter leg
    What he said. The BikeFit site has a lot of info on how to use their wedges, and is worth checking out. I use them for pronation; seems to help

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    shim the shorter leg
    Agree, but only if the LLD is tibial.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    Agree, but only if the LLD is tibial.
    assuming it's structural to begin with. $5 says the guy has a tilted pelvis
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    assuming it's structural to begin with. $5 says the guy has a tilted pelvis
    I actually went to a fitter, the local university cycling teams fitter (i.e. not some 18 year old kid at Performance Bike). I went in for right knee pain and they gave me a 3mm left shoe shim and 1mm right shoe shim. My right knee pain went away but I got left knee pain so I took the shims out (after easing into the new fit and waiting several weeks). Now, with 41mm seatpost exposed, I have posterior right pain but if I go to 40mm exposed my right posterior pain goes away but left anterior pain shows up.

    The fitter said one of my legs was longer but I can't recall which. They also said I have "insufficiently flexible hamstrings" so I've been doing ~3 min holds of hamstring stretches in the evening every night. I do have a desk job but try to keep my legs fully extended as often as possible, not sure what would cause a tilted pelvis or how to fix it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    I actually went to a fitter, the local university cycling teams fitter (i.e. not some 18 year old kid at Performance Bike). I went in for right knee pain and they gave me a 3mm left shoe shim and 1mm right shoe shim. My right knee pain went away but I got left knee pain so I took the shims out (after easing into the new fit and waiting several weeks). Now, with 41mm seatpost exposed, I have posterior right pain but if I go to 40mm exposed my right posterior pain goes away but left anterior pain shows up.

    The fitter said one of my legs was longer but I can't recall which. They also said I have "insufficiently flexible hamstrings" so I've been doing ~3 min holds of hamstring stretches in the evening every night. I do have a desk job but try to keep my legs fully extended as often as possible, not sure what would cause a tilted pelvis or how to fix it.
    I guess I was wrong then.
    I presume the shims were there for over/under pronation and not simply platform shims? Otherwise, why not just shim 2mm on one side.

    If you have tight hams, and tight psoas, your pelvis may tilt slightly causing one leg to become shorter. However, this is not because your bones are shorter, but because of the pelvic tilt effectively pulling one leg up into your torso.

    Both of your toes pointing straight out when you stand barefoot?
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    they gave me a 3mm left shoe shim and 1mm right shoe shim.
    Curious... why not 2mm on the left and no shim on the right?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    shim the shorter leg
    Can you instead use a negative shim on the longer leg?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    Curious... why not 2mm on the left and no shim on the right?
    not all shims are platform type, some wedge the foot to correct over/under pronation. This can also be done via foot bed, to a certain extent.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  13. #13
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    I put shims in both of my shoes to correct for Vargas and I was wondering if I really need them. I got my legs X-ray and thereís only .04 mm different. What do you guys think?
    Thanks.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by George M View Post
    I put shims in both of my shoes to correct for Vargas and I was wondering if I really need them. I got my legs X-ray and thereís only .04 mm different. What do you guys think?
    Thanks.
    I think "Vargas" is a place in Venezuela. You can use angled shims to correct for varus or valgus which are an angle in the foot. That has nothing to do with leg length. Did the shims help your condition?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    assuming it's structural to begin with. $5 says the guy has a tilted pelvis
    If someone has a LLD, it is by definition structural.

  16. #16
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    I have a slight rub on the left side of my saddle so I really don't know what's going on. After getting my legs xray I would say its not LLD. Cheap black tights and expensive red saddle helped me find that. I think it may be a matter of just playing with the shims again. How do I start?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by George M View Post
    I have a slight rub on the left side of my saddle so I really don't know what's going on. After getting my legs xray I would say its not LLD. Cheap black tights and expensive red saddle helped me find that. I think it may be a matter of just playing with the shims again. How do I start?
    Do your knees track straight up and down, or is one knee nearer the top tube than the other? You may be able to just twist your saddle a bit to the right.
    Too old to ride plastic

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    Can you instead use a negative shim on the longer leg?
    Either that or just file off a bit of the sole of the shoe of the longer leg.
    Too old to ride plastic

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by George M View Post
    I have a slight rub on the left side of my saddle so I really don't know what's going on. After getting my legs xray I would say its not LLD. Cheap black tights and expensive red saddle helped me find that. I think it may be a matter of just playing with the shims again. How do I start?
    You go get a bike fit

  20. #20
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    Want to stabilize a foot that may be causing you problems on the bike than one reasonable possibility is to consider orthotics.

    As for leg length discrepancy, I could write an article but for the sake of brevity, I will just say that nine times out of ten leave it alone. The odds are it will cause more problems than it solves.

    If you absolutely positively can't help yourself in wanting a shim than get less than what you think it indicated.

    By the way, there are anatomical LLD and functional LLD and a combination of both.

  21. #21
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    I've got a few bike fits already.

  22. #22
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    Uneven saddle wear is typically a sign you have a strength or flexibility imbalance that is causing you to pedal slightly askew, rather than an indicator of an anatomically asymmetrical pelvis. However, saddle wear most commonly indicates that a rider is on the wrong width or shape saddle. The wrong saddle wonít support both sit bones and can often cause a rider to pick their favorite side, leaving the other unsupported and hanging off in space.

    copied from

    https://roadbikeaction.com/3-overloo...ed-a-bike-fit/
    Too old to ride plastic

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Uneven saddle wear is typically a sign you have a strength or flexibility imbalance that is causing you to pedal slightly askew, rather than an indicator of an anatomically asymmetrical pelvis. However, saddle wear most commonly indicates that a rider is on the wrong width or shape saddle. The wrong saddle wonít support both sit bones and can often cause a rider to pick their favorite side, leaving the other unsupported and hanging off in space.

    Thatís the best answer Iíve ever heard. Iím ok with the width,but the power in my right leg could be part of the problem. Thanks.

    copied from

    https://roadbikeaction.com/3-overloo...ed-a-bike-fit/

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by George M View Post
    I've got a few bike fits already.
    Then go back to your fitter if it's been remotely recent and tell them what's going on. Or has it been years?

  25. #25
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    Itís been a while and he moved to Florida anyhow. Thanks.

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