I don't want to quit cycling due to knee pain...

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Andrepaul, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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    I had knee pain (both knees) after my first 60 mile road (flat) ride last weekend so I decided to try two things: take a week off to rest the knees and have my bike profesiionaly "fitted" or adjusted. After doing both of these things I decided to do a 75 mile ride (with 4 pretty hard hills) yesterday and the knee pain came back after about 42 miles into the ride.
    I've only been riding with the club for three months and only these last two weeks have I gone from doing 35 milers to 60 to 75 mile rides. Do you thing I did too much too soon? My next plan is to take the next 10 days off then do a 25 miler to see if the pain comes back. Then maybe I'll try 30 miles and so forth and so on.
    I really enjoy cycling and I don't want to have to quit this sport due to knee pain.
    Can anyone tell me if my plan is a good one or should I be trying something else.
    Thanks
     
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  2. TrekDedicated

    TrekDedicated New Member

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    You may have had your bike fitted, but the type of pedal you are using could be the source of the problem...

    Why are you trying to up the distance so much so fast?
     
  3. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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    I did not contiously try to up the distance, it's just that these rides sounded interesting and I thought I'd give them a shot.




    I
     
  4. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    I think there are two things to consider:
    1) Ramp up your distances a little more slowly. A lot of joint damage is the result of the supporting muscles not being strong enough. If you cut back some of your long distance rides and give yourself time to recover properly, your knees will get stronger.
    2) As TrekDedicated pointed out, your shoes/pedals could be the source. On Friday afternoon, I noticed that my right MCL was aching horribly after less than 20 miles. After a day off the bike spent worrying about the metric century I had coming up this morning, I took some measurements and found that my right cleat had rotated some. My heel was sitting just a little bit farther out than it should have been. I made a quick adjustment before the ride and got through it with almost no pain. Well, not im my knee anyway. :)
     
  5. Roadie_scum

    Roadie_scum New Member

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    That is a heavy increase in mileage in a short period of time. If you do that and have any underlying problems you will find them, but it is hard to say if you got the problem due only to the heavy and sudden increase or due to an underlying susceptibility which would have been problematic whenever you tried to ride these distances. My advice is to see a physical therapist with good knowledge of cycling in your area. Things like hip function and flexibility can cause problems, but the solutions aren't as obvious as you might think - if this is your problem (as it was for me) you need a program specific to your functional characteristics rather than generic strengthening/flexibility exercises.

    Bike fits may or may not help depending on your problem and the expertise and understanding of whoever does the fitting. Sounds like this one didn't do much. Even a well qualified fitter may have trouble with specific injuries without a firm diagnosis. Think about how good the fitter's qualifications were and what you were able to communicate to them about your injury. If they are well qualified it may be worth seeing them after you've seen a PT or doctor. Otherwise maybe try someone else after seeing a health professional.

    Good luck!
     
  6. robkit

    robkit New Member

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    i sometimes suffer with soreness around the left knee. i've noticed it moves llaterally at the top of the pedal stroke and this is attributed to lesser mobility in my left hip than my right. sounds like this or similar was your problem? if so can you share advice? thanks.
     
  7. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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  8. Rideastrong

    Rideastrong New Member

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    Do you know the exact root of the knee pain? What part of your knee?
     
  9. Roadie_scum

    Roadie_scum New Member

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    That sounds moderately similar. My problem has been improved by a combination of ASTYM - an aggressive massage technique that breaks up scar tissue - and very specific strengthening/flexibility work. I would recommend seeing a qualified physical therapist who has experience working with cyclists as these problems can be quite specific to the specific exercise modality and the individual person.
     
  10. pug_ant

    pug_ant New Member

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    Hi, I had a similar thing recently when trying to ride for longer as I've only started riding any distances in the last couple of months. What I found was that I was pushing to hard in too high a gear. I'd start getting pain in the front of my knee just under the kneecap and be sore there for up to a week afterwards. I'd be ok walking but climbing stairs in particular was painful. What I found helped a lot was too pedal much faster in a lower gear. It felt very strange (still does) but as long as I concentrated I found my knee pain was reduced dramatically to the point where I would now call it mild stiffness. I did my first metric century last weekend and my knee was the least of my concerns at the end of it.

    Good luck
     
  11. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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    Pug_Ant...congratulations on your first century! I'm hoping to accomplish one sometime in the future (pain-free).
    Thanks for the reply and your history. Yes, the pain that you described sounds exactly like what I'm going through. My plan is to take another few days off to let the knees rest and then do a flat 20 miler on Sunday. I'll try your spinning idea but what rate do you spin at? Is there a way to spin at a certain rate without having a cyclometer that measures this?
     
  12. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    Try somewhere in the neighborhood of 90+ rpm. If you have a cyclocomputer with a timer, you can just count revolutions for six seconds and multiply. Pretty soon you'll develop a feel for what cadence you should be pedaling at.
     
  13. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Just try riding a gear or two lower than what you typically would use, and you'll naturally pedal faster to keep the effort about the same as you would typically see. If you ever feel yourself really *pushing* on the pedals at any point, downshift to keep the pedal pressure fairly light.
     
  14. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I think everyone has given some good advise. The pain you are describing sounds like tendonitis, and it usually is the result of doing too much too quickly. The quadriceps are stronger than their attachment to the bone, so while the muscle is doing what you ask of it, the tendons are taking a beating. The clue is in this comment:

    I cannot tell you what the best cadence for you would be, but it is obviously faster (with less resistance) than what you are doing now. Rather than trying for a specific cadence, you might just try going one or two gears lower than you think you should be in. As pug-ant stated, it will feel strange, but that small change goes a long way towards releaving the stress on the tendons.

    There are other things that might help, but would (or at least should) require a professional evaluation of your specific situation. In my case, I tore the medial miniscus in my left knee before most people on this board were born (ok, 1977), and the lateral miniscus in the right knee in 1995. As a result of that and the accumulated abuse my knees have taken over the years, I have chronic tendonitis and patellar instability. A petella strap helps me, but that is not the answer for everyone.

    Another comon problem is that the hamstrings are overdeveloped compared to the quadriceps. Doing leg lifts to help strengthen the quads and stretching the hamstrings daily helps to releave this stress on the knee.

    Again, a sports medicine evaluation to determine exactly what is happening with your knees would give you the best course of action, but reducing the mileage and increasing the cadence are good starting points.
     
  15. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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    OK I'll try the spinning idea. The hills that I've been climbing require hard effort even in the easiest gear on my triple front chain ring so I really can't spin climbing. I guess no hills for a while??
     
  16. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    As one other guy said, exactly where is the pain?

    Also....

    how tall are you and how long are your cranks?
    Is your seat too low?
    Do your feet supinate or pronate when they shouldn't?
    Do your feet feel as though they are pointed in or out correctly?

    When I was younger I use to scoff at the effectiveness of icing injuries, but I've since learned that icing and a few days rest can work minor miracles. :)
     
  17. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Don't get me wrong, the effort will still be hard. You'll just have a somewhat lower pressure on the pedals and your knees because you're in a lower gear than you're used to.

    If the hills are so steep that climbing in the granny gear is still tough, then you may want to either stand-up in the steepest sections, or back off a little and work up to that level of challenge.
     
  18. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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    Hello,
    I'm 6 ft tall and I guess I have standard length cranks but I'll measure them tonight. The seat height is correct. About my feet, I have SPD pedals and there is some "float" between the shoe clip and pedal where I can point my foot inward toward the bike and outward away from the bike. Is that OK? Also, I noticed that both feet have looseness in the shoe side to side and in the up and down directions although the length of the shoe is correct. Yesterday I just bought some footbed inserts that have helped me to have a much better fit in my shoes so now I have no foot to shoe looseness. I guess this looseness could have contributed to my problem??
     
  19. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    Is your discomfort on the inner, outer or front (high or low) of your knees?
     
  20. Andrepaul

    Andrepaul New Member

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    The discomfort is located on both knees right above the knee cap and a little toward the inside of the leg.
     
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