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  1. #1
    nik
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    No more achy knee

    I've finished building my new LHT with a Brooks B17 and LX 170mm cranks. The bike is great (I'll post photos in the other thread soon). This weekend I took it (unloaded) on its maiden voyage for about 35 miles. By the time I got home my right knee was so stiff and sore that I walked with a limp for the rest of the day.

    In general, what causes achy knees? My saddle is set back as far as she'll go. When I'm spinning fast in an easy gear my knee is ok, but when I want to put a little effort into the stroke I get a jolt of pain.

    FWIW I haven't had problems like this before with an old Rockhopper, Trek 370 road bike, or a Sekai 2500. Do I blame the saddle? Other than seeing a doctor, do you all have any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Just curious??
    Would you consider testing a pair of pedals WITH toeclips instead of clipless?
    Just test them out and see whether it reduces stress on your knee.
    Yeah, I know how much more "efficient" clipless pedals are.
    But how efficient are they if your knee goes out?
    Best - J

  3. #3
    nik
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    Just curious??
    Would you consider testing a pair of pedals WITH toeclips instead of clipless?
    Just test them out and see whether it reduces stress on your knee.
    Yeah, I know how much more "efficient" clipless pedals are.
    But how efficient are they if your knee goes out?
    Best - J

    I forgot to mention that I use toe clips and have used toe clips on all of the bikes I listed.

  4. #4
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    If the pain is in the front of the knee raising the seat a touch might help.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jcwitte's Avatar
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    I had serious cycling issues with my right knee a few years ago. I could barely walk after getting off the bike. I went through every bike adjustment imaginable, but my right knee was still hurting bad. After searching the internet, I found something called knee savers pedal extenders for people whose toes point out. It is a steel spacer that pushes the pedal out away from the crank arm so that your knee can flex and extend in it's "normal" manner. After using these, my knee pain went away completely. I recently started using speedplay frogs in addition to the pedal extender and still no knee pain.

    Chances are this is something that won't help you. If your toes on the side with the knee pain do not point out more than normal, then it is probably just a question of bicycle fit or minor adjustment. But, if you think you may have a "toe-out" condition, you can check the knee savers out at this link. http://www.bikescor.com/product/knee.htm

    I have absolutely no link to this product other than the fact that it allowed me to be able to bike without knee pain.

  6. #6
    Macro Geek
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    I have had knee pain due to cycling on-and-off since the 1980s. A couple of years ago I made an appointment to see a kinesiologist who specializes in bicycle fitting. The adjustments she made to the geometry of my set-up are not ones I would have tried myself, but they made a huge difference. I live with a certain amount of knee pain, but cycling does not, in general, make it worse.

    You may need the assistance of someone with a trained eye to spot subtle problems with fit, alignment, posture, and technique.

  7. #7
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Perhaps in that exuberance which accompanies a new ride, you subconsciously pushed yourself a bit too hard and simply stressed the joint.

    Let things heal up and give it another try, spending some quality time together and see how it goes. I suspect you may be more satisfied.

    In the meantime, doublecheck your saddle height, but I suspect that you just need a little time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chuckie J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Perhaps in that exuberance which accompanies a new ride, you subconsciously pushed yourself a bit too hard and simply stressed the joint.

    Let things heal up and give it another try, spending some quality time together and see how it goes. I suspect you may be more satisfied.

    In the meantime, doublecheck your saddle height, but I suspect that you just need a little time.
    I've had a similar problem with my left knee just recently and I'm suspecting it is because my saddles are too high. Is that what you meant by check your saddle height? I've backed them down a cm and it feels better but the pain from the initial stress is still there. I've read how stretching the hamstring helps (and it seems to) but I've learned some things from the whole experience:

    * don't mess with bike adjustments when everything feels good

    * stretching is good thing to do whether you're injured or not

    * and spin, spin, spin!

    Good luck healing.

    Chuckie

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    what about taking measurements from your other bikes and comparing distances?

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    Banned wagathon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nik
    I've finished building my new LHT with a Brooks B17 and LX 170mm cranks. The bike is great (I'll post photos in the other thread soon). This weekend I took it (unloaded) on its maiden voyage for about 35 miles. By the time I got home my right knee was so stiff and sore that I walked with a limp for the rest of the day.

    In general, what causes achy knees? My saddle is set back as far as she'll go. When I'm spinning fast in an easy gear my knee is ok, but when I want to put a little effort into the stroke I get a jolt of pain.

    FWIW I haven't had problems like this before with an old Rockhopper, Trek 370 road bike, or a Sekai 2500. Do I blame the saddle? Other than seeing a doctor, do you all have any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance...
    Just to get the facts in order, you probably should codify "spining fast," e.g., never under 75 rpm and usually around 80+ and also, if having the seat back as far as it will go actually has your knew over or behind the pedal spindle (if that's what your other bike has), e.g., maybe you need a setback seatpost or a seat with longer rails because the seat angle on your road bike is steeper than your offroader . . . just a thought

  11. #11
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    I always get a little heat in my knee on the first ride of the season. I set up so the knee (for me the point behind where the kneecap is) is a over the pedal quill, and I do all my other fitting by subtly adjusting the seat postion. I start so my knee won't lock as it goes past bottom center. In fact I normaly set the seat lowish so there is no possibility of the seat being too high, and make adjustments from there. This isn't a slavish process, just a few initial adjustments, but be willing to get off the bike and make changes at the first sign of trouble, maybe a few times on that first ride. Go out by yourself so you determine what you need to do, and not the other riders, or your idea of testing a bike.

    I read once that racers are supposed to spin for 800 miles in low gears when they restart each season. I keep that in mind, even if it is never nearly that much, maybe 5%, but keep in mind that big gears are bad for knees unless you can't catch up with the cranks.

    Pay attention to your body and try to figure ou what it feels like to be ahead of the pedal or behind. Try a few pedals with your seat way out of position. For instance if the pedals are too far forward it feels to me as if I have to reel them in on the bottom of the downstroke. If the seat is to high, I may have pain sitting, or rock side to side, or have locked knees. Learn your particular signs.

    A good exercise is to stand next to a chair, and hook your heel under it and try to lift it with a person sitting on it. This usually tightens a knee that got pain from the first day out. You have stimulated the muscles on the front of your leg, you need to stimulate, even slightly, the ones on the back.

    I was sitting here re-reading this. I don't have a full kneecap in my right leg due to an accident, and I noticed I had my ankles crossed, and was pulling back on the right leg to activate muscles in the back of my leg. That works too.

  12. #12
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    I am a little concerned about the statement that the seat is all the way back as if this were a good thing. Nobody here has mentioned proper fit (unless I missed it). Just because a position feels good doesn't mean it is good.

    For proper seat position, sit in your riding position with cranks level to the ground, the front pedal centerline should be directly below the rear of the knee cap. Use a weight on a string to check this alignment. Hold the string in that little dip to the outisde of the knee and let the weight hang down below the pedal and the string should pass right past the center of the pedal axle.

    I had to replace the saddle on a bike I just bought because the saddle that came with the bike couldn't go far enough FORWARD (short rails and a suspension seatpost combined problem). I would have left the saddle on but I got the achy knee from it. New saddle, new fit - no ache.

  13. #13
    Macro Geek
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadopazzo
    Just because a position feels good doesn't mean it is good.
    Yes! This is an crucial point. I hope readers pay attention.

    One of our society's deeply-felt and deeply-held cultural assumptions is that if something feels good, it must be good. But this is a faulty assumption at best. For a person on a bike, there is no single "perfect" position: but there is a range of positions that minimize biomechanical stresses while maximizing cycling efficiency. A position that feels good may or not be within this range. If someone has the seat way too high or low, way too far forward or back, etc., but reports feeling that everything is right, that suggests to me that the person has habituated to unnecessary stresses that could lead, in time, to injury.

  14. #14
    nik
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    Thanks for the suggestions so far. I plan on making some saddle adjustments this weekend. The problem is my butt is so comfy on the brooks that I may have thought my saddle was in the right position set all of the way back. After reading Peter White's bicycle fit page, I noticed he seemed to disregard the whole KOPS idea and suggested positioning the saddle to a point at which you don't feel like you have to hold yourself from sliding forward. I'll try gradually nudging the saddle forward until (hopefully) I've found that the knee pain is gone and my butt stays firmly planted on the saddle. Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nik
    I noticed he seemed to disregard the whole KOPS idea and suggested positioning the saddle to a point at which you don't feel like you have to hold yourself from sliding forward
    If you have to hold yourself from sliding forward, then the frame is too big, seat post too high or too far backward. Holding yourself from sliding forward often causes numb hands after 15 miles or less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vadopazzo
    I had to replace the saddle on a bike I just bought because the saddle that came with the bike couldn't go far enough FORWARD (short rails and a suspension seatpost combined problem). I would have left the saddle on but I got the achy knee from it. New saddle, new fit - no ache.
    Agreed.

    My Jamis Aurora had a horrible saddle and since the frame was one size too big, I kept sliding forward. I replaced the saddle with a better one that allowed it to go enough FORWARD to prevent me from sliding. This made all the difference in the world.

  17. #17
    Bag it baby
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    Not sure if you will heed this information but here it goes. I ride a lot in my LHT with a ton of weight usually on it. I never have had problems riding in the past 6 years that I have used clip-in style pedals. MY position has almost never changed nor has my riding style. Well beginning of this last summer my knee started to ache an I had no idea why. I gave it about 3 weeks and it just got worse to the point of having a hard time walking. I went and had a MRI done, and the doctor was sure of the fact that I had torn my Meniscus. We got the MRI back and it was fine, it was just inflamed. Well I still couldn't understand why it was hurting, but I also was still riding my bike *I am stubborn* Well I flipped my sandals over one days to make sure the cleats were tight and something just didn't look right. Upon closer inspection.... My cleat was off just a hair from center *where mine usually are* at first glance you can't even tell. Well After I fixed that... it worked like a gem. Knee pain was gone in a couple days and all was better. So it may be something you want to look into.

    Cheers,

    Coconut

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