Re: Grinding sound from knee!
|Originally posted by mmpc001
I've been riding my MTB fairly regularly (about 50 miles a week) over the past 4 months. Thankfully I have experienced little - if any - pain from my joints, muscles, etc. over this time. Recently, however, I've noticed a "grinding" sound coming from my knee when walking up stairs. It causes NO pain but the sound is horrible - like bone scraping bone. Any ideas what may be causing this and should I be worried about it? Thanks.
I want to take an opportunity to tell you something that I can only WISH I would have been told years ago. Do NOT take what you described lightly!
One of the first ways of diagnosing Chondromalacia is by a creaking in the knees while climbing stairs. This is considered a sure-tell sign that things are going wrong. The creaking may have gone away, but it usually comes back. Another sign of it is if your knees start feeling “stiff”. This is usually much harder to detect, because someone that is trying to grow in their athletics is usually used to the feeling of having places in their body feel stiff. Hence, it’s very hard to know if your knees are responding the way they should or not. If, at any time along the way, you go to a movie or sit for a few hours on an airplane and you feel your knees are stiff afterwards (even if only for a few minutes), this is a huge sign that what you’re doing is slowly damaging your knees. This damage is irreversible and can haunt you into your old age (for the record, I’m not that old
). The more you ignore it the more irreversible damage you will do.
Even advanced stages of Chondromalacia won’t necessarily cause you a lot of pain. In a nutshell, Chondromalacia is mistracking of your kneecap with in the knee’s grove. This causes excessive rubbing of the underside of the kneecap with the outer edges of the knee joint. This rubbing will slowly turn the cartilage under the kneecap from smooth to rough. And that is what causes the creaking. When this roughness rubs against anything, it causes what’s underneath to become inflamed. And that’s when the pain starts.
A few things cause this mistracking of the kneecap: One is Biodynamics. Your genetic makeup could be that you have an excessive Q-Angle and/or Antiverted Hips. I have this problem and am still learning what is best about dealing with it from a biomechanical point of view. Some times it’s because your inner quad muscle is unproportionally weak compared to your outer quads. That can be corrected by strengthening your VMO (inner quad muscle) via certain exercises. Ironically, cycling is a great way of strengthening that muscle.
This problem is much more common in runners (which is where my problem began) and people tht play big impact sports like Basketball and Volleyball. However when it comes to cycling, the problem is often due to the following reasons.
1) Over exercising – You may want to become a great cyclist in 20 rides or less, but take it easy. Improve your pace/mileage gradually (recommended is by no more then 15% per week).
2) Seat Height – Ensure your seat height is optimal. Chondromalacia is often caused from a seat being too low.
3) Seat Fore/Aft position – If you put your crank at about the 5 O’Clock position where your cranks are perfectly lined up with the seat tube and the ball of your foot is on the center of the pedal, you want to be able to drop a string with a weight from the front of your kneecap and the string should bisect your pedal axle.
4) Push easy gears. Spin those legs and don’t try using brute force. Your cadence should hover around 90 and up. You’ll become a better athlete this way and a much better cyclist. Plus, your knees will thank you!
5) Lastly, if you’re using a clipless pedal system, ensure your cleats line up with your natural foot alignment. I’m writing such a book here that I’ll have to leave it up to you to research that position. My personal recommendation is to purchase speedplay pedals. If you buy the zeros, ensure you adjust them to have the full range of float. The other speedplays don’t limit your float so adjustment isn’t important.
I happened to ruin my knees partially because my biomechanics are less then great, and I choose sports that didn’t compliment that fact.
Now, I have no choice but to focus on every knee friendly detail. However it took two years of solid training before I noticed anything like "creaking". You've just noticed it in 4 months. Ensure you do your research BEFORE your knees make you do so!
(sorry for the book...)