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Old 07-18-02, 05:53 AM   #1
sprockets
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Knee problems

I have been changing my lifestyle over the last 6 months. Eating healthy, exercising, etc. Bicycling is a large part of my exercise routine but over the last three weeks I have noticed some knee pain, almost like a hyper extension injury although I can't remember hyperextending my knee.

Almost all of my riding is on a road bike, I have heard that clipless pedals can help to avoid these kind of problems. Currently I use pedal clips - I always have, can anyone offer some advise on wether or not it is worth the investment in clipless pedals.

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-18-02, 06:29 AM   #2
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Might be worth checking with the clips slightly loose and ensure that the soles of your shoes aren't holding your feet into an awkward angle.

If this improves things may be worth getting clipless with some "float" adjustment.

You really need to be sure your pedal/knee/saddle relationship is ok.

i use toeclips and have resisted changing to clipless (and have used same make of pedals for 25 years plus) because I have trouble with my knees and stick with what works for me.
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Old 07-18-02, 07:19 AM   #3
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I had the opposite experience. I used to have knee problems riding in clips. I switched to clipless mainly because they looked silly on my road bike (such vanity!) and my knee problems cleared up soo after. I think that was because riding clipless pedals encouraged me to adopt a straighter leg position whereas in clips my legs could flop and move around. Having a secure foothold was also better. Every tried riding in clips with the strap a little too tight! Not for the faint hearted! I've never slipped my foot off the clipless by accident, and even full standing hill climbs made me more confident. Again though, it's a personal choice, but well worth trying if you've never used them. Maybe try a mates bike that has them fitted. They take a little getting used to but that soon passes.
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Old 07-18-02, 08:20 AM   #4
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Successful use of toe clips needs a number of things to work together:
Clips the correct size (S/M/L)
Straps the right tension : I prefer quite loose. If you have to use them tight for "efficiency" then you are better off clipless.
Shoes with a clean profile and not-too knobbly sole.
Pedals with a well aligned axle. Bent axles cause the pedal to wobble and are really bad for your knees.


Shimano leisure cycling shoes have a series of slots for toe-clip users, but these assume that
the orientation of the shoe in the pedal is normal. I prefer to keep some free rotation on my shoes, so avoid slots and knobbles on the sole.

It is easy to get these factors wrong and find clips difficult to use. By comparison, clipless may seem easy. Get them right and you will be happy enough in clips.
I avoid clipless because the rotation required for exit hurts a knee injury.
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Old 07-18-02, 08:22 AM   #5
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Many people swear by speedplay pedals for relieving their knee pain. Check them out at speedplay.com.

Dax
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Old 07-18-02, 08:49 AM   #6
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It's possible your knee problems stem from too much riding too soon. If you ramp up the miles too quickly you can really foul yourself up.

Good luck on your new regimen.
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Old 07-18-02, 10:16 AM   #7
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I get more knee problems when I use higher gears. It seems like I avoid knee problems when I use higher RPM's and lower gears.
This also seems to fatigue me less and doesn't hurt my speed at all.

I try to consider my legs as I would a small engine: higher RPM's,
rather than more cubic inches (or CC's,) to produce more power.
I think my knees can handle fast spinning better than they can strong pressure.

Also, I take it easy for the first 5 or 10 minutes of my ride to warm up. All this "advice" is in addition to what others have said.
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Old 07-18-02, 10:33 AM   #8
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Your cadence will be what's best for you. Fast spinning is just as detrimental as straining on a higher gear. You need to be careful about the crossover from the aerobic to anaerobic threshold, even though the same muscle groups are involved. That might force you into compensating your ride position, possibly putting strain onto the leg joint. That's just my opinion.
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Old 07-18-02, 10:42 AM   #9
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Possibly go to a pro shop and check to make sure that your bike is perfectly sized. I find that when I am riding normally I have the seat really high and I drop the seat when I hit the trails. Dropping the seat and forgetting to put it back up affects my knee greatly so I have to be really careful.

I do find spinning helps my knee though. Takes the pressure off and makes it feel good.
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Old 07-19-02, 06:51 AM   #10
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Thanks for the great advice every one. I have been doing some reading on this topic as well, since I have jsut bought a neew bike I'm going to check the fit first. I am also going to try to increase my cadence, I'm always pedalling too slow. I'm also going to look into clipless pedals. Any suggestion for shoes/pedals, I'm a big guy (6'3", 205 lbs) and take a size 13 wide.
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Old 07-19-02, 07:05 AM   #11
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I think the boot cleats are universal and mostly the SPD design. If you are going off road I'd probably suggest you look at a heavier duty boot with good foot/ankle protection. I mention this because I currently use a very thin Shimano shoe on my road bike, and I know for sure it is not adequate for the off-road stuff I want to get into. My existing shoe is not waterproof and that counts against it. I've seen some decent off-road shoes and they look sturdy and waterproof enough.

I've read reviews about clipless pedals and some mention to look at pedals that won't clog with mud or at least be easy to clean. It seems some clipless pedals are better than others though that's all I've read. I'm sure the folk who have done some dirty rides will have more practical advice.
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Old 07-19-02, 03:56 PM   #12
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Sprokets,
I am also a big guy at 6' 5 and 255 wth size 15. I think you will be able to find a few spd's in that size range just ask the lbs's for recommendations. Currently I haven't found a company that carries my range.

Cadence is very important for both your knees and staying upright. If you peddle to slow you will tip. It runs along the same line as football. Keep your feet moving and you will keep moving. Move the feet slowly and better hope you aren't near a cliff.
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Old 07-19-02, 04:03 PM   #13
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I may be a bit late in this thread, but I hope not. I have had knee problems in the past, and the sole cause was not warming up properly. I used to try to go too fast too early and my knees just weren't ready for it.

Now I generally pedal easier in the really early stages of a ride, and generally my legs will tell me when they're ready for me to increase the intensity a little. Now I don't have knee problems anymore.
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Old 07-19-02, 08:12 PM   #14
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Sprockets,

might it be a matter of seat adjustment??

see

Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair
page 25

Fitting you to the frame

You should be able to comfortably straddle the the top tube of the bike with your feet flat on the ground.

Level the saddle first. Adjust the height of the saddle so you can maintain a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of your pedal stroke with your foot held level.

For the next step you will probably need help. In position on the bike, rotate your crankset backward until your right crankarm points straight ahead. With the crankarm horizontal, a vertical line passing through the pedal axle should intersect your knee about 1/2 inch behind its front surface. Loosen the saddle clamp and slide the saddle forward or back to achieve this ideal position if possible.

With saddle correctly adjusted, your arms locked straight , and hands in position on top of brake lever hoods, your back and the bike's top frame should form an angle equal to or slightly smaller than 45 degrees.
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Old 07-23-02, 12:08 PM   #15
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Could be a sign of a pre-existing knee condition that under the stress of cycling could be saying hello. If altering shoes, saddles, clips doesn't help, seek out the advice of a sports medicine doc for a consultation. Cycling is good for the knees in the right doses and under the right conditions but taken to extremes on a knee that has problems, can be not so good.
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Old 07-24-02, 11:46 AM   #16
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Thanks a lot everybody, some really great advise there. My knees have started to feel better so I started riding again today. I have adjusted my seat front to back position, increased my pedal speed and slowed myself down a bit (this was definitel the most difficult part as I am a bit of a speed freak by nature). I rode the 25 km into work this morning with no problem and I paid extra attention to proper stretching both before and after. It felt great to be cycling to work again. I'll keep everybody informed about my progress and thanks again!
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Old 07-24-02, 05:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
I have had knee problems in the past, and the sole cause was not warming up properly. I used to try to go too fast too early and my knees just weren't ready for it.
Keep in mind that stretching after a ride (or any other exercise) will help keep muscles conditioned, and therefore, keeping less strain on joints in the future.
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Old 07-30-02, 06:25 AM   #18
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I made a couple more minor adjustments to my bike and I'm feeling great! I think the problem was a combination of seat height (too low) and pedal speed (also too low). It's going to take a little time to get used to the new style of riding but I'm feeling a lot better and confident that I've improved my riding style.

Thanks to all for the input.
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