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  1. #1
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    Sore knees -- age related?

    So I went on a 50-mile ride last weekend, and got back with sore knees -- I actually began to be conscious of them at about 30 miles. I'm beginning to see a pattern: in the last year or so, it seems like this may (but then again, may not!) happen on any ride of 30+ miles. I'm 55, and have been riding for 25 years at about 1000 to 1600 miles per year. Never any problem until recently, and there hasn't been any real change in the amount or the way I ride. Is this what happens -- the first sign that I'm getting too old to do it any more? What a depressing thought! Is there anything I can do to stave this off, or do I just have to accept it? (Sigh)

    Lee

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    67 years here. Knees Ok.

    Ken is 82 no problems.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member woodenidol's Avatar
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    Its not the years, its the miles. smile.

    Not neccasarily bike miles either. My knees get sore at times, from riding and not riding. I know some of it is from wrestling. I think my years of running added to it also. We are all built differently, and sadly different parts wear out over time.

    That being said, I dont think sore means damage is being done. Heck, my legs are more sore golfing sometimes than riding, and I dont believe any damage is being done. Maybe either stock up on Advil for the once in a while long ride, or just enjoy the shorter stuff. I dont think riding has to be about centuries and long distance.

    Hang in there

  4. #4
    Senior Member CrankyFranky's Avatar
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    It's a fact that all people wear out at different rates. Heredity and injuries play their parts. But you should get your knees looked at by a specialist. X-rays can only tell you half the story - sometimes an MRI is more informative. If you have access to a physiotherapist, preferably one with experience with sports injuries, all the better. It's amazing how out of alignment we can become without noticing it - it takes a trained person to spot these things.

    If you can, look up Cyclist's Knee. Bicycling magazine Nov/Dec 1981 did an article on it. I happen to have a photocopy of the article, and would be willing to scan it if you want. At least it is a start if you can't find anything on your own.

    Besides the damage and wear of the knees as one ages, your fit on the bike and how much force you transmit through your knees (i.e., how high a gear do you push) can make a big difference in knee pain. If you haven't changed your riding style, you'd be wise to spin @ higher rpm and be less concerned with going fast.

    If your saddle is a bit too high it can also cause the kind of issues you are experiencing; it did for me.

    My knees are also on their way out - at 59.5 and counting... and I sometimes get bummed by it too - my neighbor runs three times a week at 74 - life isn't fair!

    When I develop painful knees during walking, I have the good fortune of being partially healed by merely riding moderately in not too high a gear for a few weeks. In my case, my quads get out of whack over the winter when I don't cycle - and strangely, stationary biking doesn't provide the same benefits for me. I think that my vastus medialis muscles gets out of tone, and that allows the whole joint to get askew enough (doesn't take much) to hurt. Sounds like you have a different problem, though.

    I wonder if there are any BFers who continue to ride after knee replacement - or is that a question I'm not supposed to ask?
    Anyway, good luck looking into alleviating your soreness, Lee. Don't give up!
    69 Raleigh Sports, '7 Atala Record, '82 Stan Pike

  5. #5
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    Had to stop running due to ankle and knee pain. Just too, too much to bear.

    Took glucosimine for a few years and then started biking. I'm not a long distance person yet, 20-30 miles at a time with some 40-50 milers thrown in. But, little pain.

    BUT, knee pain, as is all pain goes with the territory. We are active people and have a choice. Some pain and be active and have fun. Or, no pain and have cardiovascular problems and be fat as a blimp. No choice as far as I'm concerned.

    As I was taught in a school long ago: "Pain is your friend..." learn it understand what it is telling you. Sometimes it is telling you to quit while you are ahead and sometimes reminding you there is a way to go and you are doing just fine.

  6. #6
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    Biking after knee replacement

    "I wonder if there are any BFers who continue to ride after knee replacement - or is that a question I'm not supposed to ask? "

    I had a total knee replacement three years ago, and have managed a bike touring trip for a week each spring and fall since then. This spring trip was a particularly hilly area, but my knee worked fine, although I really used my granny gear! Which is OK seeing that I am a real granny at 73. I use my bike for basic transport around town whenever I can, except for the bad part of our Ontario winter. I still have to ride my age this year though.

  7. #7
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrex View Post
    So I went on a 50-mile ride last weekend, and got back with sore knees -- I actually began to be conscious of them at about 30 miles. I'm beginning to see a pattern: in the last year or so, it seems like this may (but then again, may not!) happen on any ride of 30+ miles. I'm 55, and have been riding for 25 years at about 1000 to 1600 miles per year. Never any problem until recently, and there hasn't been any real change in the amount or the way I ride. Is this what happens -- the first sign that I'm getting too old to do it any more? What a depressing thought! Is there anything I can do to stave this off, or do I just have to accept it? (Sigh)

    Lee
    Typical causes of knee pain are:
    Pushing too hard a gear for too long.
    Incorrect saddle placement (height or fore/aft).
    Incorrect cleat position.

    What part of your knee is hurting? (Patella area, back of knee, etc.)

  8. #8
    Senior Member curdog's Avatar
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    Knees

    The only time my knees don't hurt is when I'm cycling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrex View Post
    . Is this what happens -- the first sign that I'm getting too old to do it any more? What a depressing thought! Is there anything I can do to stave this off, or do I just have to accept it? (Sigh)

    Lee
    I doubt it's a sign of aging, but it could be. Don't "accept it" without a lot of detective work first.

    I spent many years jogging (starting at age 26) and always had sore knees when building up the mileage. When I kept the mileage constant no knee problems. If I got sick or for some reason didn't jog for a week or more, I'd have to go through the sore knee thing building up again.

    I attributed it to a couch potato youth (to mid 20's) as I was hindered by bronchial asthma until they got decent medications. You can't have the best of joint health unless you've used them and especially if they were not used during the formative years.

    I've been cycling now since about 60, and really into it for some 5 or 6 years. No knee problems unless doing a much harder than normal ride. But it would only hurt for a day or so and it was only on the right knee.

    Then 6-months ago, I really dinged the right knee. I attributed it to the fact that I had started doing squats since the year before (180 lbs) and had been doing some really steep/long single-track which I hadn't done before, at least not while doing squats. I just over used the knee I thought.

    Well, by trial and error, I modified my weight training routines to promote recovery and did easier rides. After a few months I was 80 to 90% recovered but couldn't fully recover. I was about to blame age, which I rarely do as the best way to handle getting old is denial.

    With all the rain this year, I decided to get back into jogging to fill the cycling void as I could run in between the showers. I've since started riding in light rain as well. I went to a running shoe store that video tapes you on a treadmill. Watching the slow-motion playback, I saw that my toes pointing out and that my right foot waved left-right while in the air and landed at an outward tilt.

    When I got home, I moved my cleats so that the heel barely touches the chain-stay. No more pain and back to almost full-weight squats. I may get an insert to tilt my foot out a little. My Specialized shoes already tilts the foot out 1.5 degrees, but I may go a little more.

    I believe and there is now some scientific evidence that my 30 years of weight training has protected my
    joints. I have no arthritis at age 70 (in about 10-days). Weight training also keeps one flexible and eliminates the need for dynamic stretching (static is ineffective and can be dangerous).

    A verbose post to be sure, but my point of all this is there are so many variables, it takes a lot of effort to track down the cause. If it is arthritis, the good news is that all types respond well to exercise.

    I tend to prefer higher gears on steep climbs as higher cadence puts more stress on the aerobics system. I'm somewhat deficient there due to the asthma, so I climb better loading the muscles instead. I did spin more during recovery, but now I'm back to my old ways.

    Al
    Last edited by alcanoe; 05-27-09 at 07:55 AM.

  10. #10
    Happy Rider
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    which of the knees are bothering you?
    Bike to live, live to eat!!

  11. #11
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrex View Post
    I actually began to be conscious of them at about 30 miles. it seems like this may (but then again, may not!) happen on any ride of 30+ miles. I just have to accept it? (Sigh)
    Lee - You don't have to accept it until you try a few things.
    About 12 years ago I started getting knee pain at the 30 mile mark - particularly early in the season. If I tried to ride through it, it just got worse. It would get so bad that even a 12 mile ride was painful. I resigned myself to the thought that my long distance days and touring were over. I tried higher cadence, different seat positions, nothing seemed to work for me. Then one spring a few years back I felt that familiar onset during an early season ride again - when I got home I was rummaging around and found an old neoprene knee brace (really just a sock) and decided to try it. I went out and did 20 miles - no problem, 30 miles - no problem and so on. Last summer I did 4 centurys and countless metrics, road fast club rides and pushed hard. What I found was that early in the season I need to build back my leg strength before I push too hard and wear the brace for rides over 30 miles. Unfortunately I forgot that advice on a club ride this season and tweaked it again - but with the brace I am still able to ride. Monday it was 75 miles, had pain at the end but some ice took that away and yesterday morning I did an 18 mile easy recovery ride with only a little pain at the end. I am looking forward to a fast club ride this weekend of 50 miles on Sunday and a hill training set on Saturday. You bet I will be wearing my brace for both of these.

    Some people will say it's all about seat position, some say it's all grinding big gears, some will say it's cadence - etc. For me it was developing legs strength first and supporting the knee while doing it. Once I have the leg strength I can run big gears, I can stand up hills and otherwise push hard to stay with the pack - try it too early in the season and I pull up lame.

    My point is that you need to try things and find what works. You most likely will need to wait a week or two before you do so that the inflamation is gone - some say as much as 3 to 6 weeks.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  12. #12
    Senior Member CrankyFranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Some people will say it's all about seat position, some say it's all grinding big gears, some will say it's cadence - etc. For me it was developing legs strength first and supporting the knee while doing it. Once I have the leg strength I can run big gears, I can stand up hills and otherwise push hard to stay with the pack - try it too early in the season and I pull up lame.

    My point is that you need to try things and find what works.
    Hey cf - too good an answer to be calling yourself fool!
    69 Raleigh Sports, '7 Atala Record, '82 Stan Pike

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