External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis
58” I’m trying to get my leg figured out…Today I was great on the bike. I feel like superman, and better every day…my left leg seems really swollen and turgid [stilted] after the Time Trial in particular when I am having the rest of these nasty sensations. If I keep the hammer down, it starts to be bad, after a while it starts to feel tight, and like it’ll take no more.” Robbie King, Cyclist, noting inconsistency in sensation and performance during a very fit period, eventually diagnosed with EIAE
External iliac artery endofibrosis (EIAE) is an uncommon disease that affects a large number of athletes and cyclists in particular. Possible causes remain a mystery but one study shows a direct relationship with 59overdeveloped psoas, hip flexors used to propel forward motion. The usual profile for this condition is someone who began riding as an adolescent and engaged in top level competition early. This describes most of the pro and elite racing categories and a lot of top veteran riders.
The principal complaint is intermittent claudication, or ache, cramp, numbness or a tired leg at near-maximal exercise. Confusion and negligence cause the condition to go undiagnosed because mostly the rider feels fine.
60Well known riders with the condition describe balls-to-the-wall rides that come to a halt because one leg just stops, unable to pedal. Its mysterious symptoms are easy to ignore as cramps or tingling or a loss of power in one leg may occur only a few times per season. The sensations may hinder more during cooler weather or in intense events without a long warm-up. Eventually, those who need surgery experience the symptoms with more frequency.
There are a few vascular specialists in the world who readily recognize the symptoms of this condition and can treat it successfully. Testing for it is a specific procedure that requires expert analysis. This diagnostic puzzle coupled with its mystifying symptoms make it hard on motivated riders, trained to avoid pain, to address the perplexing condition without feeling wimpy or questioning themselves. But the condition is real. Blood pressure that drops in the affected leg can dangerously rise elsewhere.
Prayer re: External Iliac Arterial Endofibrosis (EIAE)
“God threw a barricade across my path—I’m stymied; he turned out all the lights—I’m stuck in the dark.” 61Job 19:8
We confess it’s easy to blame God when things are mysterious or unsettling. We ask for right diagnoses and healing for those suffering with EIAE.
Ponder Do I know anyone who requires an extensive warm-up to clear blocked leg(s)? Affirm I steer others in the right direction by knowing about EIAE. Watch artery or nerve sensations and report them to your doctor; ask specifically about EIAE.
58Conversations with Robbie King. We were fortunate in Robbie’s case to quickly assemble a team of medical experts and cyclists who had experienced EIAE. So while we were puzzled for several months, we got a clear direction for diagnosis and treatment. Robbie had inguinal release surgery and returned to pro racing within a reasonable recovery period; however ultimately, it did affect his career. About half dozen American pro’s had EIAE surgery that season. It seemed almost contagious.
59“External iliac artery endofibrosis: a new possible predisposing factor,” Journal of Vascular Surgery, Volume 38 Issue 1 Pages 180 – 182 V. Scavèe
60“Vanthourenhout better after surgery,” 9/5/07 and “An interview with Stuart O’Grady: Like having new legs,” by Karen Forman, 2002 Interview www.cyclingnews.com. Also for a not so fortunate incident post-surgery see, “Barloworld’s Cox dies following surgery,” Posted Aug. 1, 2007 www.velonews.com
61The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson