i'm only 17, and i began cycling because running was to much for my knees. i have been biking for seven months without any real problems until the last week or two. the pain is under my knee cap, in the pattelar area. it's worse if i climb or push a big gear, but it's never bad neough to force me to quit, just bad enough to notice. i know a professional level fit is a good idea, and i'm looking into a new bike, so i would do it then. i want to know if anyone has any insight to what this sounds like it may be before i go see a doctor as we are uninsired for about the enxt month. when i take alieve beofre i ride, it helps alot. i also have some topical pain killing gel that i will use if it is bad. i have recently started wrapping the area with hot towels, and it seems to be helping as well. i was wondering if there is gerneral seat position that this sort of pain is associated with (seat too high, too low, etc. . . ). it kind of sound like tendonitits to me, but i'm not sure. also, any stretches that will help or any foods that help out with tendon and cartlidge care? i would kind of like to stay away from supplements. thanks
" i have recently started wrapping the area with hot towels..."
-- I'd avoid heat. Cold should help keep the swelling down. Don't use a compression wrap your knee while sleeping.
If you're insured next month, just take it easy until then. Spin at a higher cadence (easier gear) should alleviate the pressure. If you can't find a fit -- see http://peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm for example -- that alleviates the problem, then see your doctor.
I'm experiencing the exact same symptoms. I've been racing for 2 years, this will be my third season. I've been doing a lot of riding recently (8-10 hours week), and my left knee has been annoying me for several weeks now. I've heard a lot of other cyclists talk about this experience, and it seems common among cyclists. I'm not sure how to cure it except ride at a higher cadence, avoid big hills, and recover. Time may be the biggest factor in healing. I don't think it is too serious, but our body is trying to tell us something. Maybe I should go to the doctor and see what he has to say. My bike has been fitted to me by local shop, and it feels comfortable, so I don't think it is the bike fit. But a bad I'm sure would contribute.
Check out the "Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!" thread. It talks about the knee pain.