Leg Pain | Pittsburgh, PA | Cycling, Sports, and more

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or a weekend warrior, the activities we love to hate or simply love, stress our bodies.  Let’s focus on cycling, which is a great cardiovascular and strength training activity.

Leg pain, neck-back-shoulder-knee pain, and cycling (spinning). Several causes exist; visit your Pittsburgh Chiropractor, Dr. Steven LeGault for evaluation and treatment. (subluxation, psoas, sciatica, disc herniation, nerve entrapment, stenosis, pinched nerve, etc.)
By: Tejvan PettingerCC BY 2.0

Pittsburgh area cyclists are prone to certain injuries due to “overuse”, bike ergonomics & posture, and those pesky drivers.   Let’s take a look at bike ergonomics and  the flexed (forward bent) posture.  This position forces the body into a somewhat unnatural position for an extended period of time especially if you are out training for hours.

Not only does this forward bent position put added stress on low back and neck, it stresses the muscles and ligaments of your hips.  Repetitive hip flexion and hyper-flexion can produce structural and functional changes involving related muscles.  Such changes create symptoms that mimic various conditions.

The low back and leg symptoms involve:

  • Cramps
  • Unknown decline in performance
  • Pain or burning sensations in leg – “sciatica”
  • Muscle spasms in leg or back
  • Decrease or loss of sensation in leg
  • Back pain and discomfort
  • Decreased strength in leg
These symptoms are evidence that something is wrong and we need treat it like a fire alarm.  When a fire alarm goes off, firefighters don’t put in ear plugs so they don’t hear whats going on; they figure out the source of the fire and stop it from spreading.  Please don’t  put “ear plugs” in by self-medicating and mask the problem.
Potential conditions include: (not all-inclusive)
  • Disk herniation
  • Vertebral subluxation complex
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Dehydration
  • External iliac artery compression

The last item called “external Iliac artery compression” needs to become a differential for athletes.   In 2009, a study published by the European Society for Vascular Surgery states that it was first noted in 1984 and 90% of the people diagnosed were competitive cyclists, although other active individuals such as runners, weight lifters, and football players may experience similar problems.  The external iliac artery supplies blood to the lower extremities (legs) and due to proximity, the psoas (major) muscle is the interfering culprit.

The psoas major muscle connects to your lumbar spine and your femur.  It is a long muscle that helps flex your hip and your lumbar spine (helping you stay in the aerodynamic position and helps you move your hips).  The external iliac artery become tethered and kinked during hip flexion from repetitive movement and a hypertrophied (enlarged) psoas muscle.  The enlarged or inflamed muscle puts pressure on the artery decreasing blood flow.

External iliac artery travels medially (on the inside) in relation to the Psoas muscle. (Arteries not drawn to scale)

The irritation from the Psoas muscle and decreased blood flow produces symptoms; chronic irritation can result in compounding fibrosis of the artery (called “endofibrosis”).  Due to location of anatomical structures, people are more likely to experience this in the left leg than the right.

If you are experiencing similar problems and/or want to ensure proper function , please consult Dr. LeGault, Chiropractor in North Hills Pittsburgh for evaluation and treatment options.  Non-surgical treatment options are effective and have the least unwanted effects.

Oftentimes, patients enter LeGault Chiropractic with a variety of conditions.  Some experience low back pain, neck problems and others seek wellness care.  Positive results occur quickly because the specific chiropractic care effectively restores proper function to the nervous system by correcting structural problems involving both spinal and extra-spinal joints.

Even though the adjustments are the most powerful aspect of Chiropractic…LeGault Chiropractic located in the North Hills (Pittsburgh) utilizes supportive care to expedite improvement.