Knee Pain But Not When I'm Riding



PedalDangit

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May 28, 2015
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I'm hoping someone will have some advice to help this. I'm 36, overweight (5'9"/175cm - 240lbs/108kg) most of my riding lately is road on a hybrid, but also some MTBing.

Here's the relevant history: Last summer I was riding a lot and playing a lot of tennis. By fall I was having significant RIGHT knee pain and in October I stopped both activities in order to heal up. Since I was doing both I don't know what the cause of my pain was. Fast forward to spring this year...Knees feel better, started doing both activities again, but mostly tennis, just a few rides here and there. Knees are fine through all of the spring tennis season. Beginning of May I start riding a lot (4 rides a week...a lot for me right now) as I'm between tennis seasons. As of yesterday afternoon, still no knee pain at all, on or off the bike. I go to my first tennis practice of summer season last evening. Within minutes I'm feeling some pretty nasty LEFT knee pain. Bad enough that I have to quit early. I feel it in the middle and back of my knee. And it feels "tendon-y". Less than a month ago I was playing tennis 2-3 times a week with no problems.

All the extra biking lately leads me to think that's what caused it. But I've felt no pain while riding, or at all until last night. After I went home I took some ibuprofen and an hour or 2 later my knee felt fine. Still good as of now. Took the day off of either activity and I plan on doing a shorter ride tomorrow (10-20 miles) and then maybe hit a few tennis balls to see if the pain comes back.

Have any of you experienced cycling related knee pain that only hurts when doing other activities? I have a theory that I'm going to look into. My hybrid bike has eggbeater pedals and my left foot has been unclipping unexpectedly on occasion lately. It makes me wonder if I might have the cleat misaligned making my foot misaligned. Maybe it's putting my foot a little too much toe-out and heel-in, and my foot is fighting the misalignment and pushing my heel out causing me to unclip. I hope that made sense. I'll investigate that when I get home.

Thoughts?
 
PedalDangit said:
I'm hoping someone will have some advice to help this. I'm 36, overweight (5'9"/175cm - 240lbs/108kg) most of my riding lately is road on a hybrid, but also some MTBing.

Here's the relevant history: Last summer I was riding a lot and playing a lot of tennis. By fall I was having significant RIGHT knee pain and in October I stopped both activities in order to heal up. Since I was doing both I don't know what the cause of my pain was. Fast forward to spring this year...Knees feel better, started doing both activities again, but mostly tennis, just a few rides here and there. Knees are fine through all of the spring tennis season. Beginning of May I start riding a lot (4 rides a week...a lot for me right now) as I'm between tennis seasons. As of yesterday afternoon, still no knee pain at all, on or off the bike. I go to my first tennis practice of summer season last evening. Within minutes I'm feeling some pretty nasty LEFT knee pain. Bad enough that I have to quit early. I feel it in the middle and back of my knee. And it feels "tendon-y". Less than a month ago I was playing tennis 2-3 times a week with no problems.

All the extra biking lately leads me to think that's what caused it. But I've felt no pain while riding, or at all until last night. After I went home I took some ibuprofen and an hour or 2 later my knee felt fine. Still good as of now. Took the day off of either activity and I plan on doing a shorter ride tomorrow (10-20 miles) and then maybe hit a few tennis balls to see if the pain comes back.

Have any of you experienced cycling related knee pain that only hurts when doing other activities? I have a theory that I'm going to look into. My hybrid bike has eggbeater pedals and my left foot has been unclipping unexpectedly on occasion lately. It makes me wonder if I might have the cleat misaligned making my foot misaligned. Maybe it's putting my foot a little too much toe-out and heel-in, and my foot is fighting the misalignment and pushing my heel out causing me to unclip. I hope that made sense. I'll investigate that when I get home.

Thoughts?
It is far more likely that being overweight and playing tennis has resulted in a knee problem. since tennis puts constant stress on the knees. Also, if you can tolerate Naproxin it is what an orthopedic physician prescribed for me when I had a similar injury caused be stepping down a non-code front step that was about 4 inches too tall. Also, you may want to try using an ice pack on the knee the next time it hurts.
 

DancingLady

Member
Mar 9, 2015
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I think the type of movement you do in tennis is more likely the cause of your pain. It sounds like possible tendinitis. I think you might want to take a break from the tennis for now and just do cycling. Cycling is probably a better exercise for weight loss than tennis. Swimming would also be good if you want to do more than one activity. Once you are at a healthy weight, the strain on your knees will be reduced.
 

PedalDangit

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May 28, 2015
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Thank you both for your response, and apologies for leaving this unanswered for so long.

You're both right that tennis is harder on your knees, and the logical thinking is that it's the tennis that's caused it. But the fact that I played the entire spring season with zero pain, then biked ONLY for the entire month of May, then within minutes of being on the tennis court...bad knee pain. Since that first painful tennis practice I've biked several times with no significant knee pain. Then yesterday I played a tennis match only because we were short players and I didn't want our team to take a default. Within minutes the same bad knee pain. I stuck it out, but I was on the receiving end of a thorough butt kicking. I couldn't move around the court. And now, the next day, almost no knee pain and I'll probably get on the bike tomorrow.


DancingLady said:
I think you might want to take a break from the tennis for now and just do cycling.
Despite my suspicion that cycling might have at least a part in the knee issue, this is the game plan for now. I've told the tennis team captain I'm out until further notice. If I can only bike this summer, I'm ok with that.

I looked at my shoes and my cleats are straight and I have plenty of float, so I don't think it's a shoe/pedal issue. But when I look down as I'm pedaling my left foot (left is the problem knee) is noticeably turned in a few degrees. Really makes me wonder if that's causing it. I don't walk pigeon toed. Also, I think my saddle might have been a bit too high. It seemed fine, but I did the heel test. Unclipped and did a few pedal strokes with my heels on the pedal and it was difficult and I really had to rock my hips to keep my feet on the pedals. As I understand it when doing this, your leg should just be straight at the bottom of the stroke, but you shouldn't have to struggle to keep your feet on the pedals. Right?
 

JoanMcWench

Active Member
Feb 17, 2015
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Might be best to incorporate more aggressive stretching before participating in either tennis or cycling. It works great for me. I've experienced that issue with my left knee & solely when I'm not moving. In motion there's no pain whatsoever but when I'm still it's like a pulsating nusance. I found stretching aggressively before riding the distances I do helps dramatically.
 

PedalDangit

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May 28, 2015
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I'll do that. My stretching routine is usually only a quick quad stretch. (Heel to butt for a few seconds)
 

DancingLady

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Mar 9, 2015
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It's important to be fairly warmed up before going any deep stretching. It doesn't take long to get the blood flowing though. You can easily warm up at home by doing a few flights of stairs, some jumping jacks of jump rope of a few minutes in s rebounder if you have one. You'll be much looser already from warming up and the stretching will be more effective. Also, stretch thoroughly after the ride to reduce how much the muscle wants to tighten up after exercise.
 

Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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kylerlittle said:
It could be a lot of things, best thing to do is see a physician.
That's also my suggestion because we really don't know what's bothering your knee. My mother in law had that problem although she is not a biker. For several years she was experiencing occasional pains. What we didn't know was her worrying could have caused her a more serious health problem. When we brought here to a specialist and she was cleared, relief followed. That nagging thought that you may have bone cancer or something like that can aggravate matters. So there, consult a doctor.
 

Bonzer

Member
May 25, 2015
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You're only 36 and there is no reason to exorcise debilitating orthopaedic problems. Knee pain is synonymous with overweight/obesity. You would have strained and inflamed a tendon or a muscle group which could be causing the knee pain. Visiting an orthopedist does not harm but you may try the following measures in the interim.

Don't play tennis and go for long walks. Walking is a load-bearing exercise and puts extra stress on a painful knee. You can't play tennis for obvious reasons. Cut down Sugar and refined starches till your knee pain goes away, as they promote inflammation. Don't use Ibuprofen too much it's an NSAID. if you want to go the medication route, better consult your doctor as better drugs are available. Eat 5 small meals every day. Drink lots of water.

Finally, continue with your cycling. Good Luck!
 

JSWin

Active Member
Jul 13, 2015
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Knee pain on from one to the other side. This is fairly simple if you haven't had any kind of major accident or injured yourself. Although this could still be healed.
It would kind of be a lifestyle change with how you eat. You just need to learn how to eat really clean. When I say that I am talking about eliminating processed foods and GMO's. They cause body pain. Start to educate yourself about it. There are plenty of videos and information out there about it. Eat real food basically. Clean out your system. You will see a big difference. It's not something to just try for a few days or weeks. You need to do this long term to see the results of not having pain. Your weight can have something to do with the pain, but it really shouldn't cause you pain that you need drugs to alleviate it. So eating better will also help you loose the weight as well.
 

Kakashi

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Feb 3, 2018
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You might have a problem with your knee since it's been a recurring problem/pain. You might want to get it checked by a doctor first. If it's swollen, it might be gout or arthritis or maybe you have a pinch nerve. You could try massaging it with some liniments to ease the pain but if it has no effect then its something serious, you really have to go to the doctor.
 

treecko142

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Feb 8, 2018
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Consult a doctor just to make sure it isn't anything very serious, although it doesn't seem to be due to the symptoms just being mainly pain and no limitations in your range of motion. It may just be the additional stress of increased workload with your weight, so try mixing up your routine and finding the right balance, and always take time to rest.
 

Steve5

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Feb 3, 2018
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I think it's best to consult with a medical professional. Worrying about something can only make you feel worse. We have to remember that stress is the number one cause of all diseases.
 

DenisP

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Apr 13, 2018
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First off, I'll say the same thing I always do: you can read the experiences posted here and take some light advice, but always seek professional medical help for health issues.

That being said, I think one of the main contributing factors to your knee pain definitely has to do with being overweight. At 5'9", you should be aiming for a weight of around 144-176 lbs. At 240 lbs, you aren't just overweight. You're 36% above your maximum recommended weight, meaning you're obese.

Obesity, combined with a genetic predisposition for chronic knee issues, often results in severe pain for many people. Several people in my family are obese and they all experience chronic knee pain. I'd say your best bet is going to be improving your diet and including some low impact exercises into your daily routine. I get the feeling that losing weight will drastically reduce your knee issues.
 

Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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First off, I'll say the same thing I always do: you can read the experiences posted here and take some light advice, but always seek professional medical help for health issues.

That being said, I think one of the main contributing factors to your knee pain definitely has to do with being overweight. At 5'9", you should be aiming for a weight of around 144-176 lbs. At 240 lbs, you aren't just overweight. You're 36% above your maximum recommended weight, meaning you're obese.

Obesity, combined with a genetic predisposition for chronic knee issues, often results in severe pain for many people. Several people in my family are obese and they all experience chronic knee pain. I'd say your best bet is going to be improving your diet and including some low impact exercises into your daily routine. I get the feeling that losing weight will drastically reduce your knee issues.

The mention of obesity is what I am afraid of. Although I am not obese, I am overweight by perhaps 30 pounds. When the bulge on my right calf first appeared, the doctor said that it may have been abused by my body weight. I was a skinny girl and I only gained weight when I was in my 40s. That’s why the doctor had reason to say that my weight is one cause of that bulge on my calf. A podiatrist said that when there is pain in the lower limb, the first thing to check is your weight. Ouch!
 

Kakashi

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Feb 3, 2018
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It could be a pinch nerve sometimes when one is overweight and engages in a physical activity like cycling it can result in a pinch nerve. When it comes to bones and nerves I don't go to a doctor, I go to a reflexologist.
 

treecko142

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Feb 8, 2018
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The mention of obesity is what I am afraid of. Although I am not obese, I am overweight by perhaps 30 pounds. When the bulge on my right calf first appeared, the doctor said that it may have been abused by my body weight. I was a skinny girl and I only gained weight when I was in my 40s. That’s why the doctor had reason to say that my weight is one cause of that bulge on my calf. A podiatrist said that when there is pain in the lower limb, the first thing to check is your weight. Ouch!
Body weight can really put more strain onto your lower extremities, especially on pressure points like the knees, and this is especially more prominent as you get older.
 

lovvetyga

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Oct 13, 2021
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Hey! It was a long time ago, but I'm curious to know what you did. I'm also a bit overweight, and my doctor recommended wearing a knee brace, but I'm not sure if it helps. How did you solve your problem?