For all you knuckleheads who embraced the refrain, ‘What do I need to learn about history for; I’ll never use it’,… read on.
As a chiropractor with over 20 years of experience listening to complaints of aches and pains, I learn about as much from hearing the ‘history’ of an injury as I do from the exam. If I’d taken heed to my own experience regarding injuries and history, I’d have saved myself a lot of pain and frustration.
During my first year of road bike racing I developed some serious saddle problems. There wasn’t a saddle out there that I didn’t learn to despise. It came to a head after a particularly long and nasty race (Leesville Gap) which left me rubbed raw on the left side of my netherland region.
I came home and listed my expensive Specialized Toupe saddle on e-bay and started riding a cheap saddle that had more paddling.
But the problem still persisted, and the problem was that I was sitting too far to the right on the saddle, with my right sitbone not even touching the seat. I’d noticed for quite some time that my left foot was ‘toeing down’ a lot at the end of my pedal stroke and half of my ‘genius within’ concluded that my problem was that the excessive toeing down on the left was pushing me off my saddle to the right. I was only half correct!
It took a scooter ride by my wife help solve the problem.
She was following along on the scooter during one of my training rides when she noticed that I was sitting a full inch to the right on my saddle. To me, it felt like I was sitting centered. When I shifted to the left until she told me I was balanced, I felt dreadfully uncomfortable. But now I knew that I really had a problem. Not only was the saddle problem becoming unbearable, but there was no way I was pedaling efficiently while sitting off to the side like I was.
It took hours and hours of training time while thinking this over before I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. And it was HISTORY to the rescue.
I’d taken up cycling after severely injuring my right achilles tendon during a training run years ago. I’d tried to run off and on for five or six years after the event, but only furthered the problem, until I developed an unbalanced gait. The predominant characteristic of my unnatural gait was not toeing off at the end of my stride on the right side.
Well, there it was!
My cycling problem wasn’t excessive ankle motion on the left side of my pedal stroke after all. It was no ankle motion on the right. It wasn’t so much that achilles pain kept me from using my right calf, it was the years of faulty neuro-muscular programming that were to blame.
So what’s the lesson to be learned? Search your memory banks for any and all events of the past which may explain the source of your current injuries.
After all, the solution may be in the history.