Question to those shimming cleats

Question for those of you adding a shim to one of your shoes.

How did you go about determining the anatomical leg length discrepancy? Through an ortho or a PT? What did they do?

I’ve got a twisted pelvis with right side forward (had this for around a decade) and have done PT and am putting in a good 15-30 minutes of “core” and gluteal work a day, but the imbalance doesn’t really get any better. I’m wondering if I’m fighting against a true leg length discrepancy and that may be why things persist.

I think what you are saying or trying to determine is whether you have a structural leg length discrepancy or a functional. If functional then the gluteal / core work and pelvic stabilization work, which honestly can take around 6 months of work to really get to a solid place. Structural discrepancy would need to be determined by x-ray. Typically a structural issue is d/t a leg break at some point, etc. I feel you as also have had similar and unfortunately followed the wisdom of some fitters and added a shim as that was their “simple” solution. I’ve removed that shim, adjusted my seat height accordingly and have like you been focused on core and gluteal work. I’d recommend you checking out the facebook page by Tim Woo of @ So Cal PT called: cycling performance and injury group.

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shims only come in so many different thicknesses, so I’d recommend some simple trial and error, assuming you don’t have the option to get an xray (and that’s assuming that you do have a physical leg length discrepancy)

Start low and build up the shims, seeing if you can feel the difference each time.

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Yes, this is my exact issue. Problem is the glute/core work hasn’t helped much over 5 years which is what actually got me thinking potential anatomical (bone) cause. Thank you for the recommendation, I actually just sent Ivan O Gorman a contact email prior to seeing your response to see if his group can assist remotely as well. Like you, I went down the shimming route 15 years ago and got away from it as it was based on hunch. Thanks again!

My right femur is approximately 1 cm shorter. I first discovered this when using an indoor rowing machine, was pulling to one side and could compensate with changing foot position. If I lay on my back with my knees bent it’s pretty apparent. Fast forward to indoor cycling I now use a right 6mm shim for road and 3 mm for MTB, and also different cleat positions for both. It took a lot of trial and error and small adjustments to get to something that works for me. If it isn’t shimmed and positioned right I get knee tendinitis or saddle sores. I’ve never been to a professional for a fit, just tinkered until my body was happy.

A bike fit identified mine. Funny how I never noticed it but after it was pointed out its very noticeable, especially when I am wearing 3/4s. I used to suffer with a sore hip on very long rides and every ride if my BB ball bearings were failing and a click hip post rides. Touch wood since it was identified I’ve never suffered from any.

During the bike fit.

After getting a new bike and shoes, I switch from SPD to SPD-SL. Duplicated the same fit to the new bike but felt my right wasn’t getting on top of spin. Decided to get a third eye after messing around with the seat height/setback and cleat positioning didn’t help. Funny how changing pedals would do that. Before the SPD, I was using my old Time Equipe Magnesium from my collegiate days. Neither pedal platform gave me any indication of leg length discrepancies/imbalance. Didn’t pursue why as the shim did the trick.