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Knee Pain

Old 11-15-05, 08:41 AM
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mooklekloon
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Knee Pain

I just switched my commuter to a 2005 Specialized Sirrus Elite about a month ago. For the last 2 weeks or so my knees have been really bothering me. They feel really week with pain around the front of the knee. Any ideas what is causing this / how to fix it? I know the whole spin vs mash thing. I used to ride an old chromo MTB and my knees were ok, and I didn't really change my riding style when I changed bikes. I'm 21, and in good shape, so this isn't an age thing.
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Old 11-15-05, 08:47 AM
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As a general rule, if you have knee pain in front then you should raise your seat height and if you have knee pain in back you should lower your seat height. I would start there.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jbone
As a general rule, if you have knee pain in front then you should raise your seat height and if you have knee pain in back you should lower your seat height. I would start there.

Or just take it to LBS and get a proper fit.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:31 AM
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here's something funny
after two knee surgeries over the last 20+_ years, I'm always on edge for pain... BUT I note that it hurts MORE during the weeks when I AM NOT RIDING

go figure
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Old 11-15-05, 09:35 AM
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Ms Huhenio suffers from "not riding knee pain syndrome" too. She is getting that checked via MRI soon ... or she will never get to ride a 15 pound bike.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Sigurdd50
here's something funny
after two knee surgeries over the last 20+_ years, I'm always on edge for pain... BUT I note that it hurts MORE during the weeks when I AM NOT RIDING

go figure
The muscles are looser when you aren't riding maybe? I've noted mine hurts more when I don't ride too
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Old 11-15-05, 09:57 AM
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There's lots of info out there about proper fit if you don't want to go to a shop. A shop will probably charge you around $40 if you're not being fit in the run up to a sale. The short version in this case is that you want to start with your saddle position such that your kneecap will be directly over the ball of your foot which is, in turn, directly over the pedal spindle when the crank is in the 3 o'clock position. The heigh should be such that your leg is nearly fully extended when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke, just a slight bend at the knee.

Adding in a foot retension mechanism such as clips and straps or clipless pedals will allow you to develop better form as you can input power throughout the full crank rotation and without having to worry about keeping your foot on the pedal. This will also help prevent bottoming out on the stroke which will cause problems in the same way that having the saddle too low does.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:57 AM
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Sounds like patela (patelar sp?) tendonitis. Is it just below/kinda behind the kneecap? I get it off and on. Start with bike fit, especially your pedal/cleat position. Also stretch it often. Finally, this type of tendonitis can be aggrevated by cold knee joints so keep your knees covered in cold weather. Although the rest of you leg may feel warm, you have next to no insulation over that tendon and cold tendons injur more easily.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:03 PM
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I'm in the "it hurts when I don't ride camp" too. Thought it was just my dodgy knee, kind of nice to hear that I'm not alone.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:23 PM
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Saddle height is key. Once you're dialed in, you should feel better very soon. I know where I need to be from experience, so I can get myself set up pretty quickly. For me, I should be able to lock my knee with my foot cocked only a little up. Normal position leaves a slightly bent knee. Your knee is a complicated structure, and it works best with a balanced load. When you've been riding a while and are warmed up and comfortable, check your foot position. Is the ball of your foot directly over the pedal spindle? Are you splay footed? For many riders, a foot parallel to the direction of travel or even slightly pigeon-toed works best.

And finally spin-spin-spin, but you knew that. I try to keep it above 80 rpm on my commuter, faster on the road bike(s).
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Old 11-15-05, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bostontrevor
There's lots of info out there about proper fit if you don't want to go to a shop. A shop will probably charge you around $40 if you're not being fit in the run up to a sale. The short version in this case is that you want to start with your saddle position such that your kneecap will be directly over the ball of your foot which is, in turn, directly over the pedal spindle when the crank is in the 3 o'clock position. The heigh should be such that your leg is nearly fully extended when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke, just a slight bend at the knee.

Adding in a foot retension mechanism such as clips and straps or clipless pedals will allow you to develop better form as you can input power throughout the full crank rotation and without having to worry about keeping your foot on the pedal. This will also help prevent bottoming out on the stroke which will cause problems in the same way that having the saddle too low does.

If its just a saddle height and not a full fit you may find shops do it for free..not all but most will...thats like 30 seconds
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Old 11-15-05, 02:13 PM
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My Sirrus Sport Disc bothered my knees. Figured out it was a combo of high gearing and the caged pedals.

How was your last bike geared,and what kind of hills do you pull? Is this your first time with straps? Follow the above advice to make sure the bike is dialed in correctly,but if you still have probs I'd say check your gearing and pedals.
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Old 11-15-05, 02:26 PM
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Besides the advice that your saddle is likely too low and that it's important to gear down and spin (these people are right) you should think about your crank length.

You shouldn't have to rock your hips to ride. In my opinion, you should barely have to rotate your ankle. (Rotate it enough to keep the bottom of your shoe more or less parallel to the ground; no pointing your toe up at the top of the stroke or down at the bottom of the stroke.)

Your knee shouldn't be tightly bent at the top/front of the pedal stroke- human knees are not adapted to withstand stress in this position. Also, if your knee must be tightly bent at that point in the stroke, the upper leg (which is a heavy part of the body) has to move back and forth more, which makes it more difficult to keep up a fast cadence while actually producing power. If your knees are swinging up and down madly while you pedal, you probably can't get much power without mashing at about 60 rpm.

In my opinion this means that 170mm cranks (very common) fit a man of average proportions who's about 6ft tall, 175mm cranks fit a man of average proportions who's about 6'2". (I'm 5'10" using 165mm cranks, which are not common these days.) People intuitively think that longer cranks mean more torque and therefore are better, but that only applies if the crank length doesn't interfere with your ability to produce a force on the pedal due to its being too high or too low. (or too far forward/backward?) Also, longer cranks are appropriate for riding standing-up, which is what on-road bicycles should not be set up for.
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Old 11-15-05, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder
My Sirrus Sport Disc bothered my knees. Figured out it was a combo of high gearing and the caged pedals.

How was your last bike geared,and what kind of hills do you pull? Is this your first time with straps? Follow the above advice to make sure the bike is dialed in correctly,but if you still have probs I'd say check your gearing and pedals.
Thanks everyone for all the help! I will check the fit thoroughly.

My last bike was an MTB so much lower gearing than the sirrus, but it did have toe clips/straps. The gearing on the sirrus is pretty high I find. My commute is about an hour/14mi/22km, with a general uphill grade on the way home/downhill on the way in. About 2-3 pretty big uphills/downhill too. The route is by no means flat.
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Old 11-15-05, 02:32 PM
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If its just a saddle height and not a full fit you may find shops do it for free..not all but most will...thats like 30 seconds
I think it's best to learn to adjust your own seat height. A bike shop may well get it right. But if something feels wrong, don't assume the bike shop person could really tell what height will work for your body.
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Old 11-17-05, 11:38 AM
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I found that toe clips helped
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