Thigh / hip pain getting worse each workout

Hi guys. I’m new to TrainerRoad and structured cycling, currently in week 10 and about to finish SSBLV with ftp moving from 178 to 198 on first block and hopefully 220+ when I retest in just over a week.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had growing pain during workouts at the top of my right leg /
Hip. It’s getting progressively worse and exaggerates when working above ftp. Tonight was spencer + 2 and it was really sore by the end. I’m trying to identify the source and had a couple questions that I was hoping the community could help with

  1. is this likely to be caused by my fit? Given it’s just one side I was thinking perhaps not?

  2. I’ve had surgery on my left knee before and I know it’s not as flexible or strong. Is it possible that as I’m pushing harder that I’m over working the right hand side? Again why would this make the hip hurt of all things and not something else?

  3. could it be my cleat angle? I’ve noticed that my right foot doesn’t point as straight forwards as my left but my cleats are setup straight. Should I angle the cleats to follow my natural foot alignment?

Any guidance would be much appreciated especially any links to how to do a decent bike and clear setup (I’m on mtb cleats). Hopefully I can get on top of this or I’ll be forced to take w break to recover

Thanks

Let’s get this out of the way: see someone who really knows (sports medicine, PT, etc.).

My experience, which may be entirely irrelevant to your case, is that bike fit issues cause me knee or back pain. I’ve never had ONLY hip pain due to fit. But I HAVE had hip pain due to poor hip flexion range of motion (basically, not so good at bringing my knee to my chest). It feels like a pinching sensation at the top of the pedal stroke. It is exacerbated when I’m in the drops, and can also cause my knee to flare out.

Search for “hip opener” by Kelly Starett and you’ll find his videos on assessing and addressing this. If that’s what it it.

Good luck

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If you are new to structured training it could be a multitude of things causing your issues. Yes it could be linked to every one of the items you listed. Indoor training is stressful on your body and will magnify bicycle fit issues. You could also have an imbalance caused from the surgery you mention. Your cleats should match your natural angle of your feet or it can put undo stress on your ankle, knee, and hip joints as you complete one pedal stroke. Your issue could be as simple as over stressing your hip muscles/joint and its causing inflammation if you are new to indoor training. I would be willing to bet this is the cause of your issue if you never have experience this issue riding outside.

I had a similar thing happen to me where i developed a sore heal on my left foot to the point i could not walk on it after 6 months of constant use of TR. A lot of ice and stretching routine solved the issue for me. It comes back once in a while to remind me to stretch more.

As PKwell suggests you may just need to stretch your hips out. I would start by cutting back on the intensity of the workouts for a few days if you can and really concentrate on stretching the muscles around your sore leg. Use Ice/anti-inflammatory medicine like Ibuprofen to cut the inflammation and i am willing to bet the pain will slowly go away. However it may return in the next training block as training ramps up again. If it continues i would start to look at getting a professional fit done.

Just some personal experience

I’ve had severe glute and quad tightness that pulled on my front hip causing a burning sensation on my upper leg/hip area

A thorough rolling routine at night with a ball to get into my glutes and quads was needed

Happens to me when ramping up my training when quads are really working and well, growing… off season base riding does not affect them

Yours could be unrelated but thought I’d share. Good luck.

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Have you tried lowering your saddle? First thing I would look at.

Thanks for the responses!

I’m certainly guilty of not stretching much and having checked a few videos on hop openers I can see there is work to do! I’ll switch my Thursday workout to be a chilled one and maybe bring forward my rest week while working on stretching and bike fit a little more

@Jax why do you say lower, not raise? Is that a common thing to try? Its something easy to try so i’ll give it a go

@bholmlate

Your cleats should match your natural angle of your feet<

Thanks, thats good to know. I’ll see what a small change does

I’ve also found a local physio who cycles so i’ve booked an appt for next week to get some professional advice

thanks all

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So: I am not a bike fitter, nor am I a physiotherapist. Like a lot of people here though, I’ve read a LOT about bike fit.

Your body and its functionality aren’t symmetrical, but your bike is. This means that if there’s a problem, it almost always affects one side before the other.
If your saddle height is too high (for example), you will automatically “protect” your legs from over extending by rocking your hips with each down stroke. But your body will try and protect one leg more than the other, and so one hip will rock further than the other.
The leg hanging off the hip that is dipping the least will need to over extend even more than it otherwise would if A) your saddle were at the right height or B) you were physiologically perfect and your hips were rocking perfectly evenly. That’s going to cause problems, and thigh/hip pain is pretty far up the list of symptoms.
Now imagine one of your legs has undergone some trauma, like an operation - your body is going to want to protect that leg even more, right? So you’ll probably be dipping that hip even MORE than you otherwise would, leading to your other leg reaaaally overextending.

But then again you might have the perfect saddle height and it could be something completely different! Best thing to do is see a physio/fitter. Second best thing to do is read up about saddle height for function (NOT equations or heel on pedal stuff). But the most important thing is definitely don’t ruin yourself by riding with bad fit!

Good luck.

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check your cleat position in case one of them has moved a little bit

Thanks, that’s a great response. :grinning:

I suffered for a long time with a searing/burning pain around the top of my left thigh/hip area. It was worse with harder efforts, particularly if they were sustained.
It turned out that I had femoral acetabular impingement (FAI or hip impingement) I ended up having surgery to fix it with good results.
I would say if you can’t correct it using simple methods it might be worth seeing your doctor and have an x-ray of the hip.

I documented my recovery here if you want a read!

Good luck :+1:

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Just years of riding, and also suffering from something similar. For many years I along with many cyclists tended to ride with too high a saddle. Was racing once in the States and a coach made an observation on it. Since riding with a lower saddle, things have been greatly improved.

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