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Spinning & Knee injuries

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
A query on spinning.

I took up road cycling this year. I commuted 30 miles a day by the end of the summer, but took it easy to start with - I was actually amazed how long it took me to be able to do it 5 days a week (about 4 months of pretty much constant muscle aches!).

Anyways it is now winter, and it is too dangerous to cycle - people missed me frequently in broad daylight, so I don't fancy risking my life in the dark. That said, I want to retain the fitness because I will be skiing in Feb.

So...got a magnetic trainer (boring, hard to motivate self) but also started spinning.

I had no knee problems when cycling, even when I was up to 150 miles a week (almost 10 hrs a wqeek), but after no more than 10 hours of spinning (over a month), I had left knee problems and some issues in the right too. No pain when cycling, but a sort of feeling like the kneecap was "floating".

Stopped spinning for 2 weeks. Felt much better. Started again, about 10 hours later, same issue (bit less cos I now avoid the very high cadence work against low resistance which seems the worst).

Anyway, I wondered if other members have found spinning a recipe for disaster, and if so why. My feeling is that the position on the spinning bike is OK, though not as good as the bike. The intensity of the work is much higher though, and there is a lot of grinding (out of the saddle, high resistance, low cadence) - even went to one class where I never sat down in the whole 45 mins.

I like the spinning cos I am much more motivated in the group, but I am going to have to drop it, as it clearly doesn't agree with me. Seeing a physio next week about the knee too, as it is starting to worry me for the skiing.

Just curious really as to whether others have had similar experiences, and if anyone has any thoughts as to how to avoid.
post #2 of 8

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

I don't have a lot of road cycling experience (more a mountain biker) but I have been spinning quite intensively for the past 3 months (6 times per week). Like you, the Winter forced me indoors and out of the real world, I took up spinning and just never stopped I guess. Are you sure your bike is configured properly? I experienced knee pain when my seat was too far forward or backward, 0.5 of a cm out was enough to cause sore kneecaps. A bike mechanic at my LBS told me the dimple under the kneecap should fall directly over the main pressure point in your foot. (You can use a plumb bob to check this). So if you're using the clipless pedals, maybe check that the cleats are mounted properly? Maybe these are obvious things that you've already thought to check, but if not, hope it helps!
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

I went to see a physio in the end.

Bike position is an issue - the saddles don't really go far enough forward.

I think though that the main problem is my feet, which are very flat. When spinning I end up out of the saddle alot, pushing hard on my foot and I am in trainers which don't really support the foot.

When on the road bike, I have carbon soled cycling shoes which actally provide a food arch support, but also mean that all pressure goes through the ball of the foot (with the spinning bike's clip pedals this doesn't necessarily happen).

I am taking it easy for a couple of weeks, then will retry using inserts for my trainers to support the arch.

Happily the phsio said there is nothing wrong with the knees as such.
post #4 of 8

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

people talk about "spinning" small gears when receovering from knee injuries and its natural to regard a "spinning" class as much the same discipline but I believe the truth is very different.

i have had some minor knee problems lately and they are never helped by what seems like an easy spinning class in a warm environment.

i beleive the problem is the bikes themselves. the poor quality of the bottom brackets and the manner in which the resistance is applied really stresses the knee at the apex of each pedal revolution. add that to some of the ridiculous drills preached by spinnign instructors - some think that they need to ride at 40 or 50 cadence to simulate "climbing" and 150 to simulate "sprinting" and the way a fixed wheel will jolt the knee when decelerating and I've actually decided to stop spinning. my knees feel better after 3 hours out in the cold on a road ride!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

This is interesting - I assume these people have training, but as I said, I have (literally) spent 45 mins of a 45 min class standing on the pedals - my backside didn't touch the saddle.

I refuse to do the high speed/low resistance spins any more, it feels wrong and this was when my first symptoms came on. Then there is the mashing low cadence/high resistance sections, plus the general difficulty in adjusting the bike.

Previously I didn't have a problem spinning, but that was before I started to really cycle. I think the proble is that my legs are now strong enough to do my knees some damage with these sorts of drills.

I have quit...
post #6 of 8

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

I was doing a search on knee pain when I found this thread. I have a burning sensation on the outside of my left knee. It feel like a rash burn in the skin only that there is no rash burn. When I kneel down on a hard surface it stings like hell!. It all started after a bike session with a strong headwind. Now, I have been doing spinning 2X a week (I teach a class) and riding the bike during the weekends and weekdays whenever possible. I am starting to believe that there is something about spinning that might be bad for your knees but I can not figure it out. The way I teach is by mimicking mostly what I do on a bike. Spinning at higher cadence with low to medium intensity resistance.
Now, I am more incline to believe that the resistance mechanism of the spining bike is what differs fm the kinematics of pedaling a bicycle.On a bike the force is constantly changing(reduced) when you overcome inertia or slow your cadence. On a spinning bike friction forces increases with speed so in overall pedal force either increases or stays the same. In the end, my believe is, it adds stress to your knees(Just ride your bike with a break touching lightly. Is not the same as putting it in a higher gear). But my question is, have anybody experience such a burning pain on the knee? What causes it ?
post #7 of 8

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

Check the setup (seat height, saddle fore/aft, etc) of your spinbike. Try duplicating your fit as much as possible on your bike to your spinbike, that should solve most of your aches and pains. I never had those issues since I started spinning more than a year ago as I 'copied' the setup on my bike to my spinbike (Giant Tempo). Good luck!
post #8 of 8

Re: Spinning & Knee injuries

Make sure you get fitted to you bike by someone who knows who what they are doing!! There should be someone at your LBS who can do that (dunno about other places but £35 where i live). Buy the brand that fits you best, the right frame size, right saddle etc. Then when you want to do indoor training use a turbo trainer so you get the same perfect fit for the bike when you indoors or outdoors.I guess if 100+ cadences don't work for you don't do it, I can't naturally cycle with a cadence above about 106 so i just don't cos it feels bad. It might come with training but for now 100 is good for me.
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