Author Topic: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!  (Read 9074 times)

nolajo

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Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« on: April 09, 2012, 04:43:49 PM »
Hi Mustachians,

While biking home today something that's happened sporadically before happened once again - my right hip started hurting out of the blue, shortly into my ride. It's a fairly sharp pain too, not an ache. Now, I know that none of you are providing medical advice that should take precedence over my own good sense (and I won't sue anyone if my leg suddenly falls off or something because of anything you tell me), but I'm wondering if there's an easy fix?

The rundown on my bike: not exactly a beach cruiser, but similar in the seat position and how one sits in it, ie basically upright. I think I have the height adjusted correctly since my knees are at a gentle bend when the pedals are all the way down (if I drop my heels though I could lock my knees).

I'm only 24 and healthy by all standards - good BMI (which I know can affect joints), active, etc, and my four mile round trip to work seems like it shouldn't be a problem. Admittedly, I'm not a great biking enthusiast otherwise, so if there are other resources I should be looking towards, I'm all ears.

Have any of you dealt with something like this? Is there some adjustment in position that might  make a difference?

goiyala

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 05:08:43 PM »
I am not going to give biking advice - this is more on the pain part.
Is your pain a nerve pain? Does it radiate down your hip and thigh/leg? This might be a case of nerve inflammation. Wait and see for a few days - find out if this pain occurs only when you bike or at other times too. If it really is nerve inflammation, you might have to visit the doctor/chiropractor.

Bakari

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 05:23:27 PM »
How many gears do you have, how much do you carry, and what is the route like (hills?  head winds?)

How wide is your saddle (and what is your gender)?  Beach cruiser (and upright bikes in general) usually have much too wide saddles.  It should be barely wider than the distance between the "sit" bones of the hip.

When your pedal is straight forward, is your kneecap directly above the pedal axle?  If not, try moving the saddle fore or aft: http://bikedynamics.co.uk/fit02.htm

nolajo

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 05:26:19 PM »
No, thankfully it passes and doesn't radiate. I guess it falls into the realm of annoyance at the moment, because it's strong and sharp when it happens, but not paralyzing or anything. Biking is the only thing that seems to bother it, and even that's not consistent. Basically at this point, it's such an intermittent problem that I figured I'd try to see if this is something that just happens to bikers sometimes and how they've coped with it. It was fresh on my mind when I got home this afternoon and this seemed like a good crowd to ask about the issues a bike-commuter (rather than racer or something) might face. And while I hardly eschew doctors, I know how much of a pain (literally and figuratively) it can be to try to pin down something of this sort.

nolajo

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 05:36:33 PM »
How many gears do you have, how much do you carry, and what is the route like (hills?  head winds?)

How wide is your saddle (and what is your gender)?  Beach cruiser (and upright bikes in general) usually have much too wide saddles.  It should be barely wider than the distance between the "sit" bones of the hip.

When your pedal is straight forward, is your kneecap directly above the pedal axle?  If not, try moving the saddle fore or aft: http://bikedynamics.co.uk/fit02.htm

I have six, though I tend to stay in 4th because the bike seems to have issues I haven't yet addressed about shifting out of that gear. My ride is flat and I'm usually not carrying a whole lot more than my own 140 pounds. (My goodness, you just got a woman to give her weight publicly! Sneaky, that.) The saddle is about 7.5 inches wide at its widest (vs. more than 10 inches for my neighbor's cruiser) - I just went and checked. I'm a woman with roughly average hips though I have no idea how I would get an accurate measure on my sit bones LOL. I was under the impression that a saddle that's particularly narrow can cause nerve damage though.

sol

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 06:46:46 PM »
I sometimes get a stray joint pain on my first few rides of the season, if I push too hard without being in good enough shape.  I usually attribute to some sort of misalignment, like I'm pedaling toe-in or something. 

I'd say rest it for a week and then go for a shorter and less strenuous ride with an experienced rider who can evaluate your riding position in person.  If it persists then consider lowering your seat or swapping sadles.  Or just taking it easy for a while until your fitness improves.

There are certainly joint-specific injuries you can get from riding an improperly fitted bike, but these usually apply to serious types who do a lot of miles on a regular basis. 

Parizade

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 08:12:11 PM »
I've never experienced hip pain from riding a bike, but I found this article on LIVESTRONG that says it's fairly common:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/384162-cycling-related-hip-pain/

Bakari

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 09:51:30 PM »
I have six, though I tend to stay in 4th because the bike seems to have issues I haven't yet addressed about shifting out of that gear. My ride is flat and I'm usually not carrying a whole lot more than my own 140 pounds. (My goodness, you just got a woman to give her weight publicly! Sneaky, that.) The saddle is about 7.5 inches wide at its widest (vs. more than 10 inches for my neighbor's cruiser) - I just went and checked. I'm a woman with roughly average hips though I have no idea how I would get an accurate measure on my sit bones LOL. I was under the impression that a saddle that's particularly narrow can cause nerve damage though.

lol - that wasn't one of my questions!!
You get an accurate measure by squatting down with a ruler (probably while no one else is around...) and feeling for the bones, or sitting on something that will leave an impression.  Everyone is different, but 7.5 is likely way too wide.  You don't want it to be too narrow either.  You want it to be just right.  I bet its soft and squishy too?  Not a good thing. http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

Lastly, if you are mostly upright, consider lowering the handlebars.  Then you distribute your weight more evenly between the saddle and your hands.  It is more comfortable (once you get used to it) and as a bonus, you have less wind resistance, so you go a lot faster with less effort.

nolajo

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 10:08:08 PM »
Hmnn, I'll have to check the pedal alignment thing and look into a new seat. Though it's not squishy it sounds like it may just be too wide. Otherwise, the only thing that sounds likely as per the livestrong article is one of my legs being longer than the other, which would be news to me. Given that it's only a two mile bike ride each way and I've been doing it fairly regularly for months, I suspect I'm as in-shape as I should need to be for it and I would hope 4 miles a day isn't my threshold for repetitive stress injuries. It may also make sense for me to see about a different bike, since this upright style seems a bit more for the casual biker than the bike-commuter I've become.

I appreciate all the input from everyone. My first stop would've been to talk to a more experienced biker (as Sol suggested), but I don't have many friends who bike more frequently than I do so it's great to get the advice here. There are a couple though that I think I could pester if this keeps up.

masont

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 08:27:35 PM »
Hi.  Bike commuter, bike shop employee, and bike fitter here.

First off, you don't at all fit the profile of someone I'd expect to have repetitive stress issues from a poor saddle or position on the bike - you're just not on it very long.  Second, without looking at you on the bike, the best I can do is guess.  I will try to guess well though.  :)

First thing I would try doing is moving the saddle down a couple cm or so.  Your leg should describe a 30 (or 150 for all you anal retentive engineers) degree angle at the point of terminal extension of your pedal stroke. 

I also like the idea of trying a new saddle if moving your seat down a little bit dosn't help, and you've been getting good advice on that subject.  At the shop I work at, we have a device you can sit on that your sit bones will leave indentations in, and it's really easy to measure center to center of the two indentations.  Most likely your sit bones are between 120 and 150mm wide.  Trying to measure with a ruler seems really, really hard, and I woudn't trust the measurements I'd get.  I work for a shop that sells Specialized - that's who we get the "assometer" from that we use to measure sit-bones with.  If you can't find a shop with a sit bone measurement device, just try a couple saddles out (the bike shops should be happy to throw a bike on a trainer and swap out saddles for you to try) and pick the one that puts the most pressure on your sit bones.  It may be uncomfortable at first.  That's ok - sit bone soreness means that you are supporting your weight on your sit bones rather than your soft tissue. 

I'm a big fan of Specialized saddles (and have been since before I worked at a Specialized shop, so I think I've got a tiny bit of street cred on the subject) - there is an inexpensive women's model called the Riva that runs 30 bucks, and it should be more than accurate for your commute. 

Specifically where in your hip is the pain?


nolajo

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 09:50:51 PM »
Hi.  Bike commuter, bike shop employee, and bike fitter here.

First off, you don't at all fit the profile of someone I'd expect to have repetitive stress issues from a poor saddle or position on the bike - you're just not on it very long.  Second, without looking at you on the bike, the best I can do is guess.  I will try to guess well though.  :)

First thing I would try doing is moving the saddle down a couple cm or so.  Your leg should describe a 30 (or 150 for all you anal retentive engineers) degree angle at the point of terminal extension of your pedal stroke. 

I also like the idea of trying a new saddle if moving your seat down a little bit dosn't help, and you've been getting good advice on that subject.  At the shop I work at, we have a device you can sit on that your sit bones will leave indentations in, and it's really easy to measure center to center of the two indentations.  Most likely your sit bones are between 120 and 150mm wide.  Trying to measure with a ruler seems really, really hard, and I woudn't trust the measurements I'd get.  I work for a shop that sells Specialized - that's who we get the "assometer" from that we use to measure sit-bones with.  If you can't find a shop with a sit bone measurement device, just try a couple saddles out (the bike shops should be happy to throw a bike on a trainer and swap out saddles for you to try) and pick the one that puts the most pressure on your sit bones.  It may be uncomfortable at first.  That's ok - sit bone soreness means that you are supporting your weight on your sit bones rather than your soft tissue. 

I'm a big fan of Specialized saddles (and have been since before I worked at a Specialized shop, so I think I've got a tiny bit of street cred on the subject) - there is an inexpensive women's model called the Riva that runs 30 bucks, and it should be more than accurate for your commute. 

Specifically where in your hip is the pain?

Alright, sounds like the next step is lowering my seat an inch or so and seeing how that goes, since it is angled up slightly already. There're a couple of bike shops in the area so I'll check on whether any have an assometer/are cooperative. I've had decidedly mixed experiences at the one that's closest. I'm a sewer and used to taking my own measurements, but doing that one myself seems awfully tricky.

As for the pain, it's right in the joint and towards the front. I agree - the riding I'm doing does not seem likely to be causing repetitive stress, so my next thought was that I must be positioned wrong to cause something that ought to be basically easy to become painful. Who knew that the saddle that came standard might be such a problem?

masont

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 10:47:22 PM »
Hi.  Bike commuter, bike shop employee, and bike fitter here.

First off, you don't at all fit the profile of someone I'd expect to have repetitive stress issues from a poor saddle or position on the bike - you're just not on it very long.  Second, without looking at you on the bike, the best I can do is guess.  I will try to guess well though.  :)

First thing I would try doing is moving the saddle down a couple cm or so.  Your leg should describe a 30 (or 150 for all you anal retentive engineers) degree angle at the point of terminal extension of your pedal stroke. 

I also like the idea of trying a new saddle if moving your seat down a little bit dosn't help, and you've been getting good advice on that subject.  At the shop I work at, we have a device you can sit on that your sit bones will leave indentations in, and it's really easy to measure center to center of the two indentations.  Most likely your sit bones are between 120 and 150mm wide.  Trying to measure with a ruler seems really, really hard, and I woudn't trust the measurements I'd get.  I work for a shop that sells Specialized - that's who we get the "assometer" from that we use to measure sit-bones with.  If you can't find a shop with a sit bone measurement device, just try a couple saddles out (the bike shops should be happy to throw a bike on a trainer and swap out saddles for you to try) and pick the one that puts the most pressure on your sit bones.  It may be uncomfortable at first.  That's ok - sit bone soreness means that you are supporting your weight on your sit bones rather than your soft tissue. 

I'm a big fan of Specialized saddles (and have been since before I worked at a Specialized shop, so I think I've got a tiny bit of street cred on the subject) - there is an inexpensive women's model called the Riva that runs 30 bucks, and it should be more than accurate for your commute. 

Specifically where in your hip is the pain?

Alright, sounds like the next step is lowering my seat an inch or so and seeing how that goes, since it is angled up slightly already. There're a couple of bike shops in the area so I'll check on whether any have an assometer/are cooperative. I've had decidedly mixed experiences at the one that's closest. I'm a sewer and used to taking my own measurements, but doing that one myself seems awfully tricky.

As for the pain, it's right in the joint and towards the front. I agree - the riding I'm doing does not seem likely to be causing repetitive stress, so my next thought was that I must be positioned wrong to cause something that ought to be basically easy to become painful. Who knew that the saddle that came standard might be such a problem?
Why is your saddle angled up?

nolajo

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 07:53:00 PM »
I must be confusing where I've gotten some advice. I was advised to make sure the saddle wasn't pointed down as is sometimes the case on cruisers. It's not particularly angled up, just the way the seat is shaped when the base is parallel to the ground the nose is a little bit higher.

Rich M

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Re: Biking Mustachians: My hip hurts?!
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 10:06:31 PM »
Bike fit is important as said previously...especially seat height and position.  you can get away with a lot of variation of handlebar position....

But don't forget to stretch after the ride--especially those hamstrings and IT bands.