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Old 08-25-08, 06:33 AM   #1
Ed in GA
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Knee pain and possible solution

Yesterday, my wife, a friend and I rode 20+ miles. A couple of other times I've ridden, I've had knee pain when I finished.

What I discovered during my ride yesterday was.....

Even though my LBS had gone through the fitting process with me a couple of times and I seem to have proper fit, I found that I was pushing my knees out as I was riding.

I'm 63 and weigh close to 250lbs and probably the extra mass I have in my mid section is responsible for this. But, I was able to ride the last 2/3's of my ride and keep my knees tucked in and close to the bar.

I think with practicing keeping my knees tucked in, this may eventually become habit and the knee pain will go away.

This morning, unlike most mornings after I've ridden, I have little to no pain in my knees, specifically the left knee, and I think this may be due to my knee push out/tuck in discovery.

Anyone else had this experience and found this correction to the problem?

ciao`

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Old 08-25-08, 07:23 AM   #2
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No direct experience, but I often see people riding with their knees out and wonder how much their knees must hurt at the end of the ride. Yep, the gut seems to often be the root cause. In the recumbent world, it's referred to as an 'aerobelly' because it's shaped like a fairing.
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Old 08-25-08, 07:28 AM   #3
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Since you have gone thru the fitting process, I will throw in my two cents here. I started to experience sore knees and found that increasing my cadence solved the problem.
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Old 08-25-08, 07:29 AM   #4
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I've seen many riders with their knees out. Sometimes this is the result of the fact that they really need a wider space between their feet when they pedal. Not everyone has the same hip width. You may find a product like Knee Savers Pedal Extenders useful. I know of several riders who swear by them as the cure for their knee pain. Here's their web site link: http://www.kneesaver.net/
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Old 08-25-08, 07:34 AM   #5
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There are also Lemond wedges, which are shims you put between your shoe and cleat to tilt your footbed either in or out. I had knee pain, and these help me a bit. Do you wear out the outer or inner edge of the heel on your shoes? If not, this might not be your problem.

Lots of things affect knees, especially seat height. You might go back to the shop that fitted you and tell them about your knee pain. This kind of feedback may help them get it just right.
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Old 08-25-08, 10:04 AM   #6
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Do you run/walk with your knees "tucked in"? Your pedal stroke should mimic your walk/run motion of your legs and feet. If you have to tuck in to get comfort your seat height and bar reach is incorrect.
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Old 08-25-08, 11:00 AM   #7
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Typically cyclists whose knees flare out have tight IT bands. At your weight, there may be other factors.
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Old 08-25-08, 11:11 AM   #8
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Do you ride clippless? You can angle your cleats a little to ensure your knees track straight when you pedal.

I'm quite duck footed and i think having my cleats mimicing my natrual foot alighnment is causing my knee pain. I've put my cleats on straight so my knees track straight too when i pedal. Will know after my ride tommorow. Will have a go at tucking my knees in too

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Old 08-25-08, 06:56 PM   #9
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Hi

HI,
I too have problems at the begining of my rides, if I move my heels outward it stops, I ride a little pigeon toed this prevents any knee pain. Not sure why?
Most of our leg muscles are not evenly distributed on our legs,sprinter runners may have huge quads and have hamstring pulls when running down hill.
Bike either use toe ridding ridding is good for speed and acceleration, arch is more for power climbing.
I prefer clipless mountian shoes , with a slightly farther back setup. If I wear my clips ,my knees don't hurt if I am in regular shoes I have more pain. My rocksports have a steel last and they are the best street shoe for me to ride in. Otherwise its the Lakes mountian
My guess is we move our feet around to help tired muscles rest. and this may be bad for joints.
I would reccomend looking at your feet on the pegs you may be favoring you legs at your knee's expense.
Another thing I noticed is the farther I move my seat adjustment back the less knee I use.
if your seat is all the way forward you may be overflexing your knees.
remember we are all different, the perfect set up may be not perefect for you..
Doug
ps I too have joined the ranks of the nearly 60 and can tell you Joints don't improve with age, and any old injury even as a kid can seem to raise its ugly head. I swear By Fish oils I try and take 3-4 tabs a day, not sure if its all in my head but hey thats where the pain goes..
hehe

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Old 08-25-08, 07:32 PM   #10
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Seat height too short? You should be able to fully extend your legs with your HEELS on the pedals, without rocking the hips. Anything shorter = pain.
Mashing instead of spinning = pain
Crank length. Too long = pain.
See my post here-
Are Your Cranks Too Long?
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Old 08-25-08, 08:22 PM   #11
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Experiment with foot rotation, until you find the one position which is correct for each of your legs. Warning -- it may not be symmetrical. As was mentioned earlier, spinning lower gears is decidedly easier on the knees than stomping higher gears.
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Old 08-26-08, 05:56 AM   #12
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I have struggled with knee pain for years - I have found some solutions that work for me. From reading here of others experience I can tell you that few things that work for one will work for others, seems to be lots of people suffer from this. Here is my story:
I developed knee pain in my left knee about 10 years ago, pain was mostly in left knee just to the outside of the patella. It got so bad I could not ride over 20 miles. It was not weight related. I use speed play pedals so the feet float. I tried riding with my feet at different angles, provided temporary relief but did not last long and was uncomfortable. Messed with seat height and position - didn't work. My problem was tendonitis in the knee caused by weak muscle support. I started using a knee brace ($10 neoprene sock) which increased blood flow and supported the knee enough to allow me to strengthen the muscles, I got to the point where I could do a century without the brace and pain free. Now I have developed what I think is arthritis in my right knee, this will cause pain the moment I start out if I am not careful. I started using the brace on this knee and it helps - gets it good and warm and then it gives me no problems over a long ride.

I did go to a doc when the knee problem first occured - he gave me anti-inflamatory drugs, they made me sick.

Good luck - you may need to try a few things before you find what works for you.
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Old 08-26-08, 06:03 AM   #13
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I'm quite duck footed and i think having my cleats mimicing my natrual foot alighnment is causing my knee pain. I've put my cleats on straight so my knees track straight too when i pedal. Will know after my ride tommorow. Will have a go at tucking my knees in too
Well i went out for a short half hour ride in the park across the road this morning. I think, problem solved . Tried the tucking the knee thing in too and really liked the feel of it. Felt like it helped my knees track straighter.

Will know for definate after another couple of rides but i cant feel anything at the mo
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Old 08-26-08, 09:16 AM   #14
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I went to a pro bike fitter. The first thing the fitter did was to make me walk back and forth over and over to see how I walk, my knees, my hips, etc. Then came the way I ride on the trainer. That's when I discovered that I had "knee drift".

Also during the first analysis (the walking), the fitter believes that at some point I had an injury. Later on this was also mentioned by a sports chiropractor.

The bike fitter spent a lot of time with the shoes and cleat placement. That was the first thing. Then the other parts of the fitting was later.
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Old 08-26-08, 11:15 AM   #15
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Gave this sanswer on another thread- but If you ride with your knees out- then all you have to do is point yours toes in on the pedals- and the knees will come in also. This is easier to do with clipless as you can set the cleats to do it- but if on platforms- then make a point of pointing the toes in until it becomes the natural position for the feet.
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Old 08-26-08, 11:56 AM   #16
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Well i went out for a short half hour ride in the park across the road this morning. I think, problem solved . Tried the tucking the knee thing in too and really liked the feel of it. Felt like it helped my knees track straighter.

Will know for definate after another couple of rides but i cant feel anything at the mo
That's great.

There's a lot of good advice in this thread.

Once again, I've adjusted my seat height and front to rear position to see if there is any improvement.

But, I am going to make a habit of consciously tucking my legs in toward the bar.

If I weighed 175#, at my height, none of this might be an issue. But, with my size, I think I need to make the effort.

Hope it works for you as well.


ciao`


Ed

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Old 08-26-08, 12:07 PM   #17
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That's great.

There's a lot of good advice in this thread.

Once again, I've adjusted my seat height and front to rear position to see if there is any improvement.

But, I am going to make a habit of consciously tucking my legs in toward the bar.

If I weighed 175#, at my height, none of this might be an issue. But, with my size, I think I need to make the effort.

Hope it works for you as well.


ciao`


Ed

Does take a bit of conscious effort to remember to tuck in the knees but i think after a while i'll start to do it unconscously. Kinda like the way i rotate my heels out to unclip my cleats without even thinking about it
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Old 08-26-08, 09:49 PM   #18
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I found myself sticking my knees out a bit when my (ahem) parts were getting crowded by gut, thighs, and saddle. Something had to give so I raised my stem a centimeter until my weight came down and everything fit in its place again.

Then again, there's this guy I always end up passing, who has no apparent weight problem, with knees sticking out wider than his handlebar. I'd seen butts wider than handlebars, but his were the first knees. Studying his form from behind, I could only discern that he was sitting a couple of inches too low and was probably sticking out to compensate.
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Old 08-27-08, 05:40 AM   #19
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I agree with you completely. When I learned to keep my knees close to the bar my knee problems almost went away. I did have prolems again when I changed shoes, but now have that solved.

When I feel knee pain I check to make sure my legs are tucked in. If that is not the problem I check my cadence. When my cadence drops the pain comes back even if my legs are tucked in.

There are so many reasons for knee problems. The three cures for me are the shoes, not allowing the knees to flare out and cadence. Any ONE of these will cause pain. When all are correct I can ride pain free for any of the distances I want.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:48 AM   #20
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I rode Ten miles yesterday afternoon. I kept my knees tucked in and my cadence up. I still had a little soreness in the knee afterwards which I feel is a carry over from the pain I was getting initially.

I have a 25 mi organized ride this Sunday and I think I'll give me knees about a two week rest afterwards to let them recover.

I get just about all of the pain in my left knee which was the one I seemed to be pushing out the most.


edit;

I think I'm going to order, and try, a set of Pedal extenders as well.
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Old 08-27-08, 11:07 AM   #21
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knee pain

I read this thread yesterday because of my right knee pain. I noticed when I ride with out clips that I ride kinda duck footed. So this morining, I made an effort to ride with my feet straight on the pedals. No knee pain, so I guess I will go back to the old toe clips, keep my feet straight, and have no pain????

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Old 08-27-08, 12:41 PM   #22
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Seems like putting our heads together has solved our collective knee problems.

I was gonna try the "putting the cleats on straight" thing before reading this thread ( although i deffo think the tucking the knees in has helped, which i hadn't heard of before) after reading this in another thread:

"I somewhat reject a major tenet of that article Joe...that is adjusting your cleat and shoe position to your natural walking pattern. Doesn't work for me. If you watch top level cyclists, the vast majority have their shoes straight ahead if not slightly pigeon toed through the bottom of the stroke. By contrast if you watch them stand on the podium trying not to look at the trophy girls, many stand with toes out like a lot of people do. This because the foot naturally toes in when your knee tracks straight up and down with knee(s) close to top tube. This has been proven to me over time. With Look KEO Grey cleats with 4.5 deg of float, if I put the cleats on my shoes to match my natural slew footedness...a mild duck walk if you will, I set myself up with medial knee pain because the cleat is fighting the natural tendency for toes to turn in during the power of the stroke.

Here is a simple test. Sit upright at say a kitchen chair with feet on the floor and knees relatively close together. Lift your feet off the ground and relax them...then put them down. Good chance, your feet will either be straight ahead or slightly pigeon toed. That is the position you want your cleats on your shoes. Pretty much all the literature that diagnoses knee pain says the same thing. If you have medial (inside) knee pain, your cleats are restricting your toes from tracking inward on the downstroke."
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Old 08-28-08, 05:14 PM   #23
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Assuming that you find a good fit for pedals, seat height, etc., the most important thing to remember to prevent knee problems is to spin, not mash. The picture that I have after reading your post is that you probably do not spin very fast, just shift down a gear, pick up the rpm, and get the pressure off your knees. Your knees will be glad you did. And you have to keep thinking about this the entire ride or you will find yourself mashing again.
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Old 08-30-08, 09:52 AM   #24
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Picked up a set of "Kneesavers" from http://www.bikescor.com/

Hopefully, these will help me with my "toe out" problem and keep my knees in instead of pushed out.

I've put them on my bike (Wasn't easy to do with look pedals) and I'll see how my knees feel after my 25 mile ride tomorrow.

I have a feeling that I'm going to have to take a couple of weeks off from riding to allow my knees to recover from the soreness that's already there.
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Old 08-30-08, 09:05 PM   #25
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I got my new bike a 2009 Cannondale Q-5, and it had flat pedals on it. I put toe clips on it and my knee pain is almost gone. I got my toes pointing stright instead of duck paddeling.

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