sore knees due to peddles?/cleat setup?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by BenMelb, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. BenMelb

    BenMelb New Member

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    i get sore knees within 2 min of riding my ocr1, i tried the seat, but now i thought maybe its the feet.

    it burns on the front of my knee, and i cant stand up to peddle so if i hit a hill i have to stay seated as i have no power standing up....

    is this sounding common (my first bike ! 2 months) i normally only ride 35km each ride but the burn/not able to stand is almost instant

    move the cleats back?

    any help would be good
     
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  2. Fradbut

    Fradbut New Member

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    Sore knees on the front normally means your saddle is too high, should be set so your knees are slightly bent when you feet are clicked into the pedals when the pedal is at the bottom of its rotation.
     
  3. conyoman

    conyoman New Member

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    Hi there

    That sounds like tendonitus to me.

    There's a couple of things you can suss out

    1> Do you ride a fairly large gear? If so, drop it. Spin your legs more - IT could be the big gear putting a strain on your knees. Used to be a common problem with juniors and juveniles pushing 53x12....

    2> Make sure your saddle height is spot on. Too high or too low will also put a strain on the saddle. There's formulae for it that greg lemond used to swear by - search google for optimum saddle height. There should be loads of guides

    3> Cleat type and position.....what pedals are you riding? I used to get major knee problems when on look pedals and black cleats, switched to red and it eased a bit - switched to time TBT and the pain stopped. Best way to guide how they should sit on your shoe is to sit on a table high enough that your legs don't touch the floor. Relax your legs and look at your feet - mine are toes out, so I set my cleats like that. Also, get on a turbo trainer and watch your pedal action from the front and back - any wierd movement? Your legs should move straight up and down - if they're not - you're rotating around the knee and aggrivating the tenodon that goes across your knee cap.

    Hope that makes sense.......

    ps - just call me a geek!:D
     
  4. Mr.Gib

    Mr.Gib New Member

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    Stop riding and go to you nearest sports medicine doctor ASAP. What you have is likely Patello-femoral syndrome. If you get it sorted out you will have a wonderful life of cycling. If not you can do permanent damage. The underlying problem is the lateral muscles (vastus lateralis) and lateral connective tissue (illio-tibial band) in you legs are too tight and strong and the medial muscle (vastus medialus) is too weak. It can take up to a year of intense physio therapy to fix the problem. Never resort to surgery although some doctors will advocate a procedure known as a lateral release. Not necessarey as physio works - just takes time.

    See more here:
    http://weightweenies.starbike.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=11620
     
  5. BenMelb

    BenMelb New Member

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    Thanks very much for all the help!

    I use both Shimano:
    PD-A520
    • SPD Sport/Touring Pedal
    SH-RT50
    • SPD Road Touring Shoe
    These may not be the best but i could afford them and I was told they will suit my riding (fitness only/light walking at rest stops)

    I should say i have had knee problems before even though i am only 25 and light weight ~60kg. I decided to stop running and other sports for the bike, as i assumed this would keep my leg in one motion and limit the chance of another twisted knee.

    The bike shop spent some time with me setting up the bike to ensure (i hope) it fitted me. I have since moved the seat up, and i thought this helped, i was aiming for 5deg bend in the leg when clipped in and at the lowest peddle possition.

    I am however a student and cant afford pysio :( I could try the local bike shop and see if its the setup? If it is a physical problem with my knees then i am in some trouble...

    I will try looking at my feet position (sitting on somthing high) currently i have it pointing straight ahead.

    once again thanks for helping a new rider its fantastic!:)
     
  6. Postie

    Postie New Member

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    Actually this is backwards. Sore in the front could be related to the saddle being too low, not too high.
     
  7. BenMelb

    BenMelb New Member

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    Ok, i have used the following to determine my seat hight
    http://www.bikenow.com.au/u-fit/saddle_height.htm
    "your inseam measurement, multiply the figure by .883. The result will be your seat height"

    So best i can measure is my inseam as 810mm and thats about 71.5cm seat hight.

    currently mine is 69cm, so i wouldn't have thought that was to much an issue... however i will try it with the seat higher.

    But i have the knee burn (mostly when hitting hill) as i need to sit down, thats why i though it my be the feet. When i stand up my legs feel like jelly and i have no power and instant lactic acid pain in the knees, sit back down and its not so bad... my mate never has such issues and i can almost keep up with him on a hill however i am sure i am in more pain with my knees as he said he has never felt such.

    I have moved one of my cleats ~9mm behind the ball of my foot to see what this does... (if it feels better than the other foot)

    My feet look to point straight ahead when they are hanging relaxed....

    I would go for a ride to test these out but its raining here in melbourne, 33deg and stormy - bugger :( might try tomorrow but i here its going to be 43deg C :eek:
     
  8. conyoman

    conyoman New Member

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    That formula sounds good to me - riding 25mm too low could be putting unnecessary load to your knee - when you ride the climbs, are you spinning a small gear - or are you the Ullrich of Oz?

    Try getting the ball of your foot directly over the pedal axle - best for power and comfort. 9mm behind the axle and you're almost on your toes. Set the cleats dead ahead if that's the natural position you've got.

    ....33 degrees! It's just about 10 here and it feels warm.....


    It may also be worth doing what someone has suggested earlier - go and see a doctor - they should determine whether it's a serious problem or just as a result of the tendon being aggrivated across the top of tyour knee.
     
  9. BenMelb

    BenMelb New Member

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    its 33 in this room and pouring with rain :) melbourne is known to have every season in one day!

    I now realise my 9mm behind (the axle behind the ball) sounds silly, the reading i have done say ball on the axle or 2mm max the ball infront of the axle.

    I have also moved the seat forward 10mm as per the "test" the above page has.

    I have seen doctors in the past about the knees and they say they are damaged but only the knife can fix it and they said they are not that bad. In Au we would need to see a doctor, then he will send you to a specialist, and last time i had to pay over $1,000 in fees for that.... so i cant take this path.

    Its not such a "pain" more a burn

    I also suspect i am sitting in the low cadence area (my computer doesn't tell me) and maybe this is the lactic build up issue? and causes the knee burn?

    Somewhere in my reading i say seat related issues that cause knee and top of the leg burn/pain (very similar to what i have)

    again thanks to every ones help, I thought you bought a bike and got fit :) its much much more than that, how ever i am loving the sport

    Edit:
    For Mr. Gib I looked at your post with the exercise and very well done and thank you for the fantastic effort you went to, to explain and show.


    However i almost cried when i saw you pushing the knee cap, If i tried that i would loose the knee cap as i was told by the doc's that the ligaments (don’t know the name) that hold the knee /cap in line have gone. Hence why i can twist my knee so easy.(left is 5 times worse than the right)

    however the burn is even on my knees riding, so (wishful thinking) i hope its not related?
     
  10. Mr.Gib

    Mr.Gib New Member

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    Your situation is classic - you are the typical age etc. Set-up is important but I doubt it is your problem. Did you check the link I inserted? It shows most of what you need to do. You could go to a sports med doctor and a physio to get started and then take over the treatment yourself. If you don't fix this issue you will have problems throughout your life. Where are you located? Maybe I can help.
     
  11. BenMelb

    BenMelb New Member

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    I had a look at your link and tried some out, I might have to go to the physio a few times to ensure i am doing it right.

    I am located in melbourne Australia.

    I have just got back from a ride, now it was on 20kms but its getting close to the high 30's deg C so it was enough for me.

    I found with higher cadence the knee pain was almost gone (lactic burn) I think my problem is i stay in a higher gear and fight my way up a hill and hence the huge increase in lactic acid? i found going slower but higher revs in a low gear (easy gear) it was not a issue.

    Now i have moved the seat up, and tilted the nose of the seat down a mm or so, so that it looked flat(seat)

    I suffered from numb arms/hands but also legs. never have had this before. Maybe the seat is now to high?

    Also i noted my feet at the bottom of the crank rev is not sitting flat, rather the toes are lower than the heel... is this wrong?

    the knees hips are in line and maybe the feet are slightly wider apart than the knees (maybe)
     
  12. Postie

    Postie New Member

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    25 mm is huge. At minimum you should raise the seat height to your calculated amount. You'd probably benefit by moving it up 35 mm to 73cm.

    Moving the seat back is probably more beneficial to you then moving it forward.
     
  13. Mr.Gib

    Mr.Gib New Member

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    Higher cadence is almost always better but be very careful to start slowly - low cadence and no pressure on the legs for at least the first 15 minutes - this will allow the joints to warm up properly and lubricate before you put them under stress.

    As I said before set-up is not at the root of your problem. A higher seat reduces the amount that your knees bend so it can offer some relief but will almost certainly lead to other problems - tendonitis, etc. Go ahead and make adjustment to your bike to deal with your current situation but at some point you will have to return to a standard set-up.

    If you indeed have patello-femoral syndrome then the only solution is proper physio and huge dedication on your part.

    I am in Canada - sorry can't help you mate. But in Aus shouldn't the visit to the sports med doctor be free? (physio is extra of course).
     
  14. BenMelb

    BenMelb New Member

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    Not these days, its getting more expencive, and private insurance is required and that wont even cover it all (i dont think, as a student i cant affor the private insurance)

    I will try and find a person that knows cycling and then they should a) know common faults and how to fix them, oposed to a standard pysio that the last 2 i saw were of little use except emptying my wallet ($75 first vist, and $50 after that!!)

    Was going to try and and move my shoes closer to the crank the keep the knees in line(as i am much smaller than most)
    Also looking at the tour downunder and some lance video's he/they peddle more than double the speed i was... maybe this really is my issue?

    I must stress, what i thought was pain, really only feels like the lactic acid build up you would get in the gym doing weights, its not clicking or feel like its grinding

    Does that sound like a condition? or lack of fitness/muscle and standard for a new rider esp given the low cadence(again its only hitting hills or if i really fight the gear)

    cheers and beers! (its over 40deg C atm so i'll stick to a cold beer)
     
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