One step back

Over the past 6 months I’ve not had to deal with the “2 steps forward, 1 step back” type of progress that people warned me about. It’s been a forward progression — linear at first, then exponential once I got on the bike and on the road again.

That changed about 2 weeks ago.

Thinking back even farther, I had these occasional “twinges” in calf, or back of my leg while walking. But it went away quickly or worked itself out while riding. Then something triggered it — some new PT exercises, or too much yard work or a combination of both (I think).

I went from walking with only a slight limp, to back to using a cane again.

Diagnosis? Consensus between doctor, PT, and massotherapist is sciatica. Something in there is aggravating the sciatic nerve. The crazy thing is that it moves around: back of the leg, all down the leg, in the foot, in the calf. Riding sometimes seems to help, sometimes doesn’t. I’m doing lots of stretching, PT, massage, and trying to pay attention to what might aggravate it. Chiropractor might be next up.

Dana, my wonderful massage therapist, says “you have a new anatomy now”. It feels that way — different. And I’m always aware of it — sometimes more, sometimes less. But it’s always there. Makes me think of all the different parts — the nerves, muscles, tissues, bones — that make up the body. All the different things that could go wrong. It’s pretty amazing that it doesn’t go wrong more often.

(BTW: Dana’s website is here: She’s pretty terrific)



Filed under recovery

5 responses to “One step back

  1. Anonymous

    Email me Brian. First question for the MT/PT is how’s your piriformis? Don’t go gettin adustin willy nilly.


    • Brian

      Hey Jim …

      I’m doing some stretches for the piriformis. Also, the PT measured me and when laying flat the ‘fixed’ leg is a bit longer — she thinks because of my hips are ‘out of alignment’ (my words there). That’s how it’s felt too. So I’ve got some stretches and exercises to work on that.

      If I do see a chiro it will be someone I know who’s worked on other cyclists and runners in the area and comes recommended.

  2. Jim

    I am dealing with someone with the same types of issues.
    Take it from me, rushing things will NOT make it better.

    I also have to deal with muscles in the back of my legs that have locked up on me on a couple of occasions. The worst is when it happens on the mat and it does that without warning. The pain is simply unbearable. I wind up taking time off the mat and had to wear a brace all last year even working the state tournament.
    Make sure you take good care of yourself and if it means cutting back on activity during the winter, you can deal with it.

  3. Anonymous

    This is more of a question for your ortho, is it a functional leg or true leg length discrepancy? He may have already done this and it will be in your records. If not, it can be measured off your x-rays. All the yoga, stretching and PT will not be able to change a true leg length change, but ROM is the most important thing. Since you are the adaptable part the the bike interface you need to next look at any asymmetrical changes with your pedaling. A front on recording at 80%, preferred, and 120% cadence with some white dots on your knees is a good start. Since you are having sciatica you want to also see what the pelvis is doing, so a couple of white dots on your PSIS (google it) should show something. The knees are important though since that’s usually where the initial changes will occur because above and below are fixed points.

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