Avoiding Knee Pain

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by knitmebikey, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. knitmebikey

    knitmebikey New Member

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    I used to bike a lot more often than I currently do, but I had a spinal injury and it took me a lot of time to build back up to doing that sort of activity without back pain. Now that I've started again, I've noticed that I'm starting to get a lot of knee pain and stiffness while cycling.

    I've heard that this could be fixed by adjusting the seat height, but I was wondering about other people's opinions, whether they've had this issues, and how to help it?
     
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  2. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    The knee is a large and complex joint and pain too general of a term to identify a specific cause.

    Conventional wisdom is to be sure the bicycle is fitted appropriately for you. There are a lot of resources online to assist with finding the right fit and a local bike shops often can help with fit issues as well.

    To keep knees happy, seat height followed by fore/aft positioning need to be set correctly. I have observed that most novice and casual riders have the seat/saddle set too low causing the knee to be flexed too far and preventing the proper extension - this can unduly stress the joint.

    Pedaling technique can also exacerbate knee conditions. Volumes have been written about pedaling technique, but all you need to know is that cycling is not a strength activity. Use you gearing that allows you to pedal in a smooth motion with a fast cadence.
     
  3. Ulysses31

    Ulysses31 New Member

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    Saddle height is key, too low and you put a lot of extra pressure on your knee to push the pedals down, too high and you're reaching too far and over your stretch your leg muscles which also has an effect on your back and saddle comfort as you'll be rocking your hips.

    Foot position on the pedals can also put undue strain on the knees, A good guide for foot position is to have the ball of your foot over the pedal axle. You do not want to be pedalling with the arch of your foot or your toes.
     
  4. Keyan

    Keyan Member

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    I never had issues with my knees but my calf muscles. I wonder what I could be doing wrong or maybe that is expected to experience some build up of lactic acid in my muscles when they get tired and sore of pedaling. I think the height of the saddle in relation to you being able to pedal smoothly contributes to this issue mentioned.
     
  5. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson New Member

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    I've had a few issues with my knees seizing up, particularly after I reached 40 years old. I'd ensure your knee is only bending as little as possible so theres not too much stress on it while you are peddling, Moving your seat to a higher position should help with this. I also used a knee support, basically just a bandage you can wrap around the knee to support the tendons a little more. Finally I found very cold temperatures would increase the pain so I avoided very cold winter rides if it was causing me problems.
     
  6. sunshiney

    sunshiney Member

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    It could have something to do with pushing yourself too hard, especially since you're coming back to it after an injury. Maybe take it extra gentle your next couple rides and see how it feels? Sometimes it takes longer to build back up to a certain level than we realize, and it's easy to accidentally push yourself too far. Going back and taking it slow for awhile may help.

    Otherwise I would play with the height of your seat a bit, in the past when I've had trouble with my knees it's usually because I'm sitting too low. There are tons of sites that give directions on posture and saddle height and even leg measurements as well, Youtube is actually a great resource for that.
     
  7. Darktone

    Darktone New Member

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    I have had knee pain for a few years now. I am 51 so I guess that goes with age too. Usually my knee's are what stops me from rides over 20 miles. Some days I feel good and go for longer rides. Hoping if I can drop my weight down it will help. Aspercream helps too.
     
  8. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    I've had several minor/moderate knee problems over the years, and the best thing for my knees are doing straight leg-raises with light weights 2 or 3 times a week. After that, good old quad stretches

    from what I know, cycling is "unnatural", in that the middle quads don't work enough, so they can get weak, which can cause the knee cap to not track properly. Therefore, the middle quads need some catch-up toning with the straight leg raises.
     
  9. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    My left knee sometimes bothers me, I think through my own fault in perhaps the wrong shoes and -- as others say above -- improper bike fit. Plus I push myself too hard sometimes in my anxiety to get mileage.

    Bob
     
  10. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    If I've said it once, . . . Lower gears, higher cadence, correct knee and hip alignment, and workable saddle height and setback. But most important, lower gears. If you're mashing big gears, no measure of saddle height is going to save your knees.
     
  11. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

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    You need to adjust the height of your saddle and get it just right for you. It's not different when you're sitting in an office chair that is height adjustable, if it's too low or too high your knee joints tend to suffer. Fortunately, once you figure out the right saddle height your knee pain should gradually go away. However, if you continue to experience knee pain then you should consult a doctor in the eventuality that it's related to something else besides cycling.
     
  12. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much! I am having a bike fit on Wednesday to get that part dialed in. I also discovered the joy of SPD cleats and Keen cycling shoes the last 2 days. And oldbobcat, I hear you about mashing big gears.

    I still hope to do mountains 0.05% as well as Indurian did! (And yes, I do know I'll never even approach his great cycling style, nor will my personal reincarnated forms, in 10,000 years.)

    Bob
     
  13. Djordje87

    Djordje87 Member

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    It happened to me when i was in hospital and after that in home care for six months. I had some lungs infection, a flu or whatever. Before that i was running half-marathons and i biked a lot. Like 100 km with one rest. For me it is a lot. However, when my rest period finished i started to pick my form up and for running was much easier because i ran more than i was biking. I started with several km and it was fine. Soon i managed 10 km and i was back on the track. But, as for the bicycle, whenever i tried to go around 20 km, my knees were crying. I asked some people who are experts on this and they told me that the ligaments in charge of my knees while i am riding a bike need to be stronger, like before. Additionally, i put some weight and everything led to this. However, i found a way to strengthen my knees. It was a workout routine from some NBA camp called Air Attack. It helped me a lot and my knees were doing great. That was around 2010, so 5 years ago and even now i feel fine. i had my knees hurt long before that, playing football and every now and then i feel some pain but it is not even close to that i felt after the big pause i made.
     
  14. goldenmaine

    goldenmaine New Member

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    It can be caused by various reasons like a pre-existing condition, over stress and use of the particular muscle part, unable to stretch before riding, or the posture and position. My dad experienced this in the past and he went to see a doctor for a check up. It was just a muscle strain and he was asked to wear a knee brace for support and protection while riding. Good thing it did not get worse since he followed the doctor's advice of not over using the muscle too much and take time to rest his legs.
     
  15. Djordje87

    Djordje87 Member

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    A lot of factors can be responsible for knee injuries. I had physical injury playing football on both knees so every now and again i feel strong pain deep inside my knee cap. That didn't stop me to stay in sport in an amateur level. I ride my all the time ( until it was stolen a month ago) and sometimes when go without some basic warm up, after some time i feel the pain. Also when somebody mess with my seat and adjust it to be lower. Another thing i noticed is when i am sick and down with something so i make a pause of week or two considering any sport activity my knees start to hurt. So, for me, regular activity, warming up and as for bicycle, well, you need to adjust it to your own body and take it slow if you feel the pain.
     
  16. artemioc

    artemioc New Member

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    I think having knee injuries is like a proof that you are doing your best in cycling. It is also good that you tried some adjustments in your bike to prevent further injuries.
     
  17. pwarbi

    pwarbi Well-Known Member

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    A few people on here have already mentioned getting a professional bike fitting and I think that's something that people should do before they get any bike.

    A lot of people still go off height and frame size and while that does give you a general size of bike you should be riding, it's not 100% accurate and if your experiencing any sort of lower limb pain that's a good place to start.
     
  18. jaredstephens6

    jaredstephens6 New Member

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    This actually helps me! I have been having knee pain when I ride my bike and some of the things you guys have said might help!
     
  19. glreese

    glreese New Member

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    The best think I can recommend is stretching. Stretching my legs always helps me with knee pain. If my knees bother me after biking I usually put ice on them.
     
  20. cyclenthusias44

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    Before diagnosing you knee pain, you need to know what's the exact cause of the knee pain. Is it because of some chronic disease like arthritis? Is it temporary general knee pain?
     
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