As a runner I’ve struggled with knee pain associated with my IT band. Now that I have nearly 900 miles on my bike in preparation for RABRAI, I’m noticing some knee soreness. Nothing that will keep me from moving like my running injury, but it feels tight and often sore. I’m trying to be better about doing yoga after rides and am using my foam roller 2X a day. Anyone else experience this issue and have suggestions on how to fix/prevent it?
I’m no doctor, I don’t even play one on TV, but here are some rules of thumb that might help. But the best answer is to really go to a very reputable bike shop that does bike fittings and see if there’s something amiss with your setup. Could be seat height, clip placement, etc.
But the rule of thumbs are:
Top of knee pain, your seat is too low or forward
Back of knee pain, your seat is too high or back
This of course can’t cover all the possibilities including any pathological issues, but if you’re new to biking that may help.
As rj said, spinning (faster rotation pedaling) is better than slow low gear crunching, for the knees anyways.
saddle or cleat adjustment. See if the local bike shop will do a fiting or have someone ride along behind you and see whats going on, rocking side to side saddle probably too high, knees going in and out on each stroke, saddle probably too low or cleat angle wrong.
And while you’re experimenting with seat height and cadence, ice those knees right after you ride for 20 minutes or so (1 frozen dixie cup worth of icing) until you figure out if you have a seat adjustment issue or cadence issue or both.
Seat ht, cadence, pedal float. If your ankles are like mine and pronate/supinate many degrees with each rotation of the pedals, you may need a pedal designed with lots of float. This allows the foot to rotate without torquing the knee. I like BeeBops. Saved my knees!
Improper seat height can certainly contribute to knee problems, but in my 45 years of bicycling I have most often seen knee problems associated with grinding it out too much. A cadence of 40 in one of their highest gears. That is a recipe for knee issues.
I could have written the same thing about knee pain. I do the yoga (it helps) and the foam roller (a wonderful thing) and all of the responses are spot on. I don’t know if you are male or female but I found that as a woman with wider hips my knees angle in so that I tork my knees when I pedal. I did a little research and found pedal extenders, I ordered some and it really seems to help.Having said all that some times I still have pain occasionally so I went to see a sports medicine doctor. I evidently have a little arthritis so all I’m doing is good but sometimes I’ll have to take it easy and a steroid shot helps. I also rely on this book “The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies.” by Jordan D. Metzl. Hope this helps.
cadence, and spend the money to get your bike properly fitted to you for the peace of mind. i have problems with my knees towards the beginning of my training cycles, but once my ride cadence gets up to 80-100 avg, the pain magically goes away. if you’re grinding along on flat ground at 60-80 rpm, try downshifting and getting that in the 90-100 range.
Thanks Everyone! I’m a 32 year old female. I had my bike fitted for me when I bought it 2 years ago, but I may have messed with the seat height when I tried to self-install my bike rake. And, I’m putting way more miles on it than I was when I was tri-training. I’ll stop at the bike shop on my ride home.
I truly appreciate all of your suggestions. Now… does anyone else have sore hamstrings? What are your recommendations?
One variation on seat being too far back/forward is to go from a “Set Back” seatpost to a “Zero Set Back” seat post or vice versa but that’s generally about the last fix used before starting from scratch with a new frame, new stem, etc.
Hlwolfgram: Thanks Everyone! I’m a 32 year old female. I had my bike fitted for me when I bought it 2 years ago, but I may have messed with the seat height when I tried to self-install my bike rake. And, I’m putting way more miles on it than I was when I was tri-training. I’ll stop at the bike shop on my ride home. I truly appreciate all of your suggestions. Now… does anyone else have sore hamstrings? What are your recommendations?
Another point for those shipping bikes. Usually you have to remove your seatpost (with seat attached). Make sure to mark the insertion level of the seatpost into the frame (use electricians tape or masking tape, etc.) before you remove the seatpost so that you can put it back for the ride in exactly the right place.