Member Case Study: Aerobars and Hip Pain

author : AMSSM
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If stay in the aero position for an extended period of time, I experience discomfort in my right hip and the lateral aspect of my left knee since putting on aerobars.

Member question from MikeJ
Since attaching clip-on aero bars to my road bike, I have experienced discomfort in my right hip and the lateral aspect of my left knee if I stay in the aero position for an extended period of time. It feels like a strain type of sensation. Any thoughts as to what adjustments in my position I could make to alleviate this?

Answer by K. Karlson MD
Member AMSSM


As you have discovered, the repetitive nature of cycling requires close attention to bike fit, otherwise you can cause any number of painful overuse problems. You are describing pain in the iliotibial (IT) band distribution. The IT band in cyclists usually causes pain at the outside of the knee, but occasionally causes pain at the outside of the hip, which is the other end of the IT band. You have pain in both places.

 

In looking at usual bike fit, a seat that is too high or too far back is usually the culprit. In your case you have not altered the seat but have changed your body position to significantly farther forward in order to get into the aero position. This has put stress on your IT band because it has to turn a sharper corner than normal at your hip, thus you increase strain along its whole length.

 

You may be able to alter your seat in order to feel less pain in the aero position, but that may cause other trouble when you are not in the aero position. Try lowering it a bit or moving it forward - only a little, and remember where it was! You can also increase your IT band flexibility by stretching it. Ask your local PT or athletic trainer to show you some IT band stretches.  You may also have to revisit having a proper bike fit by a specialist with the addition of the aero-bars.


KKarlson MD
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Lebanon NH

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date: October 8, 2007

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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