General Cycling Discussion - Can incorrect placement of feet cause knee pain?
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08-14-08, 03:16 PM
About 4 months ago, I bought a new hybrid bike for the summer. When buying the bike, I made sure to have the correct size bike. After a few weeks of riding I starting experiencing knee pain in both knees.
It was my first day back today and I realized something that I hadn't before. When I bike, I place my foot's heel on the pedals. Can that cause knee pain?
08-14-08, 04:39 PM
Normally recommended positioning of your foot is to place the ball of the foot on the pedal. That is assured with some minor room for adjustment if you clip in which you obviously don't do. On the other hand everyone's physiology is a bit different and I believe one major problem doctors make is to treat based on population studies which in essence is saying 'What happens to the masses is what I'll assume in your case'. They're OK doing that cuz statistics causes them to be right most of the time. But doing a real diagnosis is more complicated because as I stated earlier 'everyone's physiology is a bit different'. You are the closest one to your physiology so experiment around with pedaling positions and see if a certain position minimizes your knee pain. You might start with the recommended 'ball-on-the-pedal' position. When clipping in they talk of adjusting the front to back position of the clip and the angle of the clip to position your foot on the pedal so that you do not develop pain when riding so you can presume foot position does make a difference and the adjustment allows 'tuning' for different peoples makeup. In other words EXPERIMENT!
Check your saddle height. A good starting point: Sitting squarely on the saddle, without rocking your hips to the side, with the low pedal/crank lined up with the seatpost, adjust the saddle height so that the heel rests on the pedal with the leg straight. When you pedal with the ball of your foot, look for a knee angle of about 30 degrees at the bottom.
If the pain is in the front of your knee, it usually means your saddle height is too low. If at the back of the knee, too high. Unnatural foot angle or pointing the knees too far in or out can bring about knee pain.
08-15-08, 01:11 AM
Yes, incorrect foot position can cause knee pain and riding on the heel of your foot is most definately "incorrect". The ball of your foot should be positioned over the pedal spindle. The post by flian is a good description of how to get a ball park fit. Better yet, go back to the shop and ask then to get you set up.
08-15-08, 08:00 AM
err...yeah I think my prayers have been answered, I biked all over my town yesterday and my knees feel fine today. I placed the balls of my feet on the pedals. Damn and I got a MRI and x-ray for them too. LOL
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