Joint pain from climbing
I have moved to a neighbourhood with a lot of small hills and steep climbs. After spending the last couple of years in a relatively flat area I love climbing the hills. Most of them are not very long, but they are steep. Most of the short climbs have gradients between 12-18%. A longer climb that I love is around 2 miles long with a gradient largely around 10-12%, but reaching 22% in a short segment. On my road bike I cannot maintain a high cadence on these climbs and just smash them up. I do not notice any problems on the bike, but get joint pain off the bike that can last for a number of days. It is mostly the nagging pain in the knees and hip joints that bothers me, forcing to even take painkillers. Will I ever get used to riding these hills or is there anything that I should do differently? I'm 34 yrs and generally rather fit. Thanks for advice!
Get some easier gears. What is the number of teeth on your small chainring and large cassette?
Mashing should not cause problems unless there is already a problem with the joints or you have muscle imbalances. Think most everyone mashes a bit at 22% on standard road chain rings.
How is your strength, how is your mobility?
Let's define strength, though it is arbitrary. What is your bodyweight? How much can you squat for 5 reps?
Mobility: can you squat ATG?
Are you fairly flexible? Do you stretch enough before and after sessions? Where in the knee does it hurt? Can simply be an IT band issue that you can solve by getting a foam roller. However, if it's shooting down your leg, could be a pinched nerve that you're aggravating during a ride...maybe herniated disc.
My savior was Cissus when it came to discomfort in my elbow and a rehabbed shoulder from a nasty dislocation. Maybe something to consider so you're not munching on painkillers all the time.