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Old 03-15-07, 05:46 PM   #1
blueskytheory
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quadricep soreness near knee only

after riding hard (lots of hills, standing and climbing, sprints etc) I feel sore in my quads, but only the lower half near the knee--the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis I think. I almost never feel sore in my upper quadricep closer to my groin, the rector femoris.

my question is: is this normal? or does it suggest a fit problem? (ie using only one part of my leg while cycling.) I have had some knee problems in the past so I'm curious if the lower-quad-only soreness is somehow indicative of why.
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Old 03-15-07, 06:57 PM   #2
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I have no experience with the normalcy. I can say, however, as a new bike rider, I am constantly fighting tightness and soreness in the same location as well as in my IT Band along my lateral leg closer to my hip.
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Old 03-15-07, 07:48 PM   #3
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Probably one of three culprits or a combo thereof. Culprit # 1 is fit. Best thing to do is go to an expert local who can look at how you are fitted to the bike. Culprit # 2 is pedal mechanics. Do you grind/mash (lower than 70 rpms) the pedals, or do you spin (80+) and does your gearing enable you to spin (compact or triple on the bike?). Culprit # 3 is over-reaching given current level of fitness. Do you regularly ride hills or was this a one-off ride or the start of a more strenuous hill routine? You may have over-reached and are suffering the consequences (day 2 always being the worst).

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Old 03-15-07, 07:50 PM   #4
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Raise your seat an inch.
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Old 03-15-07, 08:53 PM   #5
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Raise your seat an inch.
Negative.

Raising your seat an inch is huge. Move it up in smaller increments, say 5mm at a time, to get acclimated to the new height.
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Old 03-15-07, 09:11 PM   #6
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Ok, 5mm over five days. Except the OP is already hurting. So how about a half inch?
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Old 03-15-07, 09:59 PM   #7
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If the pain is in the muscle and not in the joint, then yes, it is normal. Don't adjust anything ... yet. It sounds like a pain I get when I've been on a ride with A LOT of hills (more than I'm used to), and I end up mashing instead of spinning a bit more than I should. It usually goes away in a couple days, especially if I go out for a short recovery SPIN (not mash).

However, if you do the recovery spin, and take it easy over the next couple days and it doesn't go away, then you might want to assess if the pain is really in the muscle, or if it is in the joint.


BTW - raising your seat, especially if you are in an area of the world where you do a lot of climbing, can cause achilles tendon problems. Take if from me, I would MUCH rather deal with the lower quad soreness than achilles tendon problems!! If you do think that might help, before you do any adjustments, go an LBS and get them to have a look at your positioning, or have a cyclist friend watch you ride and offer a critique on how much knee bend you have, etc., or at the very least watch yourself in the mirror, or video tape yourself.
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Old 03-15-07, 10:33 PM   #8
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hey all, thanks for responses. i guess i should say that its not really "pain" in my quads--just soreness in one location specifically (lower quads). I'm mostly curious if this is typical, or if after a hard day of riding, I should be sore *all over* my quad, including the upper part. I feel like my lower quad, closer to my knees, is doing all the work--at least according to my soreness the day after.

ive had the bike fit, but it was a little too small to begin with, so it was a bit of a compromise. my seat height seems right, though the seat fore/aft position (using the plumb drop method) is not perfect. not sure if fore/aft position would affect my knees?

as for spinning v. mashing, i used to always spin up hills in my granny. but, recently ive started standing and climbing in a 42x26-ish gear most of the way. actually, standing seems easier on my knees even in a big gear--its the sitting back down momentarily and mashing (without downshifting) while i catch my breath which seems pretty tough

ps--i was doing a lot of hills that day. so maybe its just hill-climbing which works out lower-quads intensely? thanks to all's insight.
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Old 03-15-07, 10:40 PM   #9
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Let me reiterate what mac said. Is the pain/soreness in the JOINT or the MUSCLE? If it's in the joint, you've got problems. If it's in the muscle than it's a matter of fit or fitness. You want to make DARN sure which is which.
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Old 03-15-07, 10:44 PM   #10
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ok--i thought i was clear by specifying the quad muscles in my first post, but it is in the muscle i do occasionally get medial knee pain in one knee, but im pretty sure thats from overuse (and besides the point no less)

so by fit or fitness, you mean to say that: other cyclists do "feel the burn" or soreness in their upper thigh after riding hard?
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Old 03-15-07, 11:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskytheory
ok--i thought i was clear by specifying the quad muscles in my first post, but it is in the muscle i do occasionally get medial knee pain in one knee, but im pretty sure thats from overuse (and besides the point no less)

so by fit or fitness, you mean to say that: other cyclists do "feel the burn" or soreness in their upper thigh after riding hard?
I rarely feel the burn in my upper thigh, the rectus femoris is a very strong muscle and it takes a lot to overwork it. But the vastus muscles aren't quite so strong, so if you aren't used to the amount of climbing you did, they will hurt. What you experienced is normal. As you get fitter, and more used to the climbing you did, none of your quads should hurt. You should be able to ride hills without pain (until you up the intensity again).
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Old 03-15-07, 11:13 PM   #12
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thanks machka! i suspected as much from my experience with running and weight lifting, but i wanted to hear other cyclists' thoughts (especially since i did have fit issues on this bike before.) i usually dont feel any soreness in my quads at all, but ive been pushing myself pretty hard lately.
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Old 03-16-07, 12:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
I rarely feel the burn in my upper thigh, the rectus femoris is a very strong muscle and it takes a lot to overwork it. But the vastus muscles aren't quite so strong, so if you aren't used to the amount of climbing you did, they will hurt. What you experienced is normal. As you get fitter, and more used to the climbing you did, none of your quads should hurt. You should be able to ride hills without pain (until you up the intensity again).
+1

I passed out after posting my first response...I was way under my caloric need.

I'm experiencing similar pains to the OP simply because I'm new to the bike...as he is new to hills. It is normal.
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Old 03-16-07, 04:01 PM   #14
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I dealt with the same pain after pushing hills late last season, I wanted to go into the winter strong.... I spin up hills but I did stand for some very steep sections. I soon had the pain at the bottom of the knee cap at the point of attachment as well. My issues were intermittent, i.e. the pain would be there one day and not the next - never during the ride, long story short - it developed into patellar tendonitis, a real beatch! As others have stated, have your fit checked and lay off hills and big gears if you are hurting on a semi-regular basis. Also, ice the knee after hard hill rides, this helps to quiet inflamed tendons and could have helped to forestall my problems. I am just relaying my experiences so others do not make the same mistake I did. Make sure your pain is muscular not tendons.

Good luck and be careful, I'm in week 6 off the bike and I do not know when I'll be able to get back on.

A good guide to knee pain:
www.cptips.com/knee.htm
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Old 03-16-07, 04:33 PM   #15
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Make sure your pain is muscular not tendons.
They're basically one in the same. You may mean ligaments. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Ligaments connect bone to bone...generally at joints. If a muscle is tight, the tendon will be tight. If the tendon is tight, you loosen the tendon my stretching the muscle or massaging it. One in the same.
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Old 03-16-07, 06:36 PM   #16
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True - but - with tendonitis the tendon is inflamed, or more accurately the sheathing of the tendon. The muscle is not involved. A tendon is much like an n eraser is to a pencil attached and part of the whole but morphologically a separate entity. Over worked muscles may ache for a number of reasons but they resolve themselves relatively quickly where as an inflamed tendon will not and remains irritated for a long time. And, yes stretching is a big part of rehab for tendonitis.
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Old 03-17-07, 08:33 PM   #17
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True - but - with tendonitis the tendon is inflamed, or more accurately the sheathing of the tendon. The muscle is not involved. A tendon is much like an n eraser is to a pencil attached and part of the whole but morphologically a separate entity. Over worked muscles may ache for a number of reasons but they resolve themselves relatively quickly where as an inflamed tendon will not and remains irritated for a long time. And, yes stretching is a big part of rehab for tendonitis.
You are correct.
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