May 10, 2005 — Canadian trackie and Pedal contributor, Erin Carter from Manitoba, has spent the last year and a half cycling with one “good” leg but last week she had surgery in the hopes of having two. “It started off as an annoying cramp in my left leg, but I kept chalking it up to overuse and fatigue,” said Carter.
Months later she discovered that what she had initially thought was a nasty cramp was really a very serious leg condition known as iliac artery endo-fibrosis, which means thickening of the arteries. Essentially it meant that no blood was getting to her left leg while exercising. “It started off happening at the highest intensities but quickly became worse and worse so that by this spring any exercise caused my leg to go dead,” explained Carter.
Carter has done extensive research on the subject of iliac artery endofibrosis and has come across astounding data. “This condition has only been around for ten years or so information is hard to come by, but according to the leading physician on the topic 1 out of 5 cyclists suffer from this condition at various levels of severity,” she commented. “Stuart O’Grady is the most well-known cyclist that had this condition two years ago and he underwent corrective surgery,” Carter said
Last Tuesday Carter had that same corrective surgery called an iliac artery angiograph. She is now at home recovering and says that every day things get a little better and there’s slight improvement.
“I just want to be the red-flag here in Canada to bring attention to this condition. If it is the case that about 25% of all cyclists suffer from this condition we need to find a way to prevent it or learn more about how it occurs and how to prevent it if possible. The first step is to be aware and not to shrug off persistent cramp-like symptoms,” said Carter.
We wish her all the best and a speedy recovery.