Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

My knees need to crack...

Notices
Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

My knees need to crack...

Old 09-17-20, 01:33 PM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My knees need to crack...

For as long as I can remember, I have needed to periodically extend my legs to "crack" my knees, and I think it's hindering my ability to ride. Has anyone ever had this condition? If so, what's the answer?


When I say "crack", I don't mean like crack your knuckles. It isn't audible, but it's a similar sensation. I'll ride for a few strides (literally one or two), and then I feel the need to fully extend my legs, as if there is some sort of air or liquid build up in my knees. When I do, there's a "click" I feel in my knee, and it relieves my urge to extend my legs--but only for one or two more strides. Then I need to repeat it.


Why is this a problem? Because I need to keep my saddle a little higher than where it should be. It means that almost ever "stride" I take, I fully extend my legs. I've seen all kinds of videos on why it isn't good to ride with a saddle that's too high. It puts undue stress on your knees, and you're not using the correct muscles. I did it for a few months last year when I first started riding regularly, and I didn't feel any issues. I knew my saddle was too high, but figured that since I didn't feel any pain, it was all right. Last March, however, (just before the shelter-in-place) I purchased a gravel bike (should have gotten a road bike) and started cycling much more often. Still, for several months, I didn't have any issues. I even started riding steep hills and lengthy distances (at least for me), going about 25 to 40 miles at a time, with elevation increases in the 2500's. It was great..


However, in July, something went wrong, and I started feeling significant pain in both knees. I hadn't changed anything in my rides or stretching. In fact, I had pulled back a little. It hurt to walk for several weeks. And now, it's been a couple months. I feel fine, but haven't ridden since. Has anyone ever had a similar experience or someone who has? Do I have water in my knees? Is there an operation I can get? I would assume that if I can solve the knee click issue, I'd be able to lower my saddle to the proper height and ride without any problems, at least that's my goal.


Thanks in advance.
TVR80 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 03:51 PM
  #2  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,931

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6163 Post(s)
Liked 4,782 Times in 3,300 Posts
Is pedaling very easy? Or are you using some muscle when you pedal?
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 04:32 PM
  #3  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01
Is pedaling very easy? Or are you using some muscle when you pedal?
Definitely using muscle.
TVR80 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 04:50 PM
  #4  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,931

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6163 Post(s)
Liked 4,782 Times in 3,300 Posts
Pedaling should be easy. Shift to a lower gear. If you have gotten used to putting a lot of muscle into pedaling, then you might be blowing your knees to all to heck.

Once your knees get to feeling better, get your seat back down to where is should be. To guess at a place to start, sit on your saddle as best you can and put the heel of your shoe (with your foot in the shoe) on the pedal and put it in the furthest locataion from you. If you don't have a very slight bend at your kneee then lower or raise your saddle till you do.

Go for a ride. It will feel stupid, but stay in a gear that is low (easy) enough to pedal with no effort what so ever. If you ever feel like you are using any leg muscle, then shift to an easier gear. After you've ridden for a time, how do your knees feel?

If they don't bother you, then keep using the easy gears to pedal in till it doesn't feel stupid anymore. After that you can graduate to using a little muscle and harder gears briefly as you accelerate rapidly.

Whether your knees actually have some issue that need a medical professional to look at is on you. So consider if you need to go to one.

Last edited by Iride01; 09-17-20 at 04:53 PM.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 05:04 PM
  #5  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01
Pedaling should be easy. Shift to a lower gear. If you have gotten used to putting a lot of muscle into pedaling, then you might be blowing your knees to all to heck.

Once your knees get to feeling better, get your seat back down to where is should be. To guess at a place to start, sit on your saddle as best you can and put the heel of your shoe (with your foot in the shoe) on the pedal and put it in the furthest locataion from you. If you don't have a very slight bend at your kneee then lower or raise your saddle till you do.

Go for a ride. It will feel stupid, but stay in a gear that is low (easy) enough to pedal with no effort what so ever. If you ever feel like you are using any leg muscle, then shift to an easier gear. After you've ridden for a time, how do your knees feel?

If they don't bother you, then keep using the easy gears to pedal in till it doesn't feel stupid anymore. After that you can graduate to using a little muscle and harder gears briefly as you accelerate rapidly.

Whether your knees actually have some issue that need a medical professional to look at is on you. So consider if you need to go to one.
So that's the issue actually. When the seat is where it should be, it's extremely uncomfortable due to my constant need to fully extend my legs. I can't possibly ride in that position. I'm hoping someone has had to deal with this or a similar issue or found a way to deal with it... For example, even when I'm just driving my car, every few minutes, I need to take my foot off the gas for a second, fully extend, and then put it back, definitely not as often as when I do when I'm cycling... As for the use of muscle when I'm riding, I should have been more specific. I use muscle when I'm climbing. When it's just normal flat riding, it's super easy... Perhaps the hills aren't such a great idea though if I need to put muscle into it?
TVR80 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 05:24 PM
  #6  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,931

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6163 Post(s)
Liked 4,782 Times in 3,300 Posts
Have you ever talked to a doctor or medical professional about it? Are there other odd things you have to do that others don't for other activities?
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 05:55 PM
  #7  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01
Have you ever talked to a doctor or medical professional about it? Are there other odd things you have to do that others don't for other activities?
Not yet. I was hoping that this wasn't such a strange thing and that someone else on here might have experienced it too. Otherwise, a health care provider / cycling specialist would probably be ideal.
TVR80 is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 10:17 AM
  #8  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,931

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6163 Post(s)
Liked 4,782 Times in 3,300 Posts
I don't know if you do or don't. It just seems you are saying stuff works for you that goes opposite of what I'd expect. The "cracking" your knees to me implies you are nearing or in the point of hyper extension of that joint. Which is something you would lower the seat to avoid. But you seem to go in the opposite direction and need to experience it to keep from having pain if I read you correctly.

Even climbing hills your gearing on the bike should let you pedal somewhat easily up all but the hardest of your normal routes. So even if you are not using muscle to pedal while straight and level, then using an obscene amount of muscle to get you up any and every hill will still leave you, me and many others with knee issues. If your bike isn't appropriately geared for your fitness level and the terrain you ride, then something needs to change.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-19-20, 08:38 PM
  #9  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,521

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3880 Post(s)
Liked 1,932 Times in 1,379 Posts
Google "heel on pedal saddle height.". Read a few of the results, then apply.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 02:49 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,818

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX Single Track 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 614 Post(s)
Liked 563 Times in 427 Posts
Originally Posted by TVR80
For as long as I can remember, I have needed to periodically extend my legs to "crack" my knees, and I think it's hindering my ability to ride. Has anyone ever had this condition? When I say "crack", I don't mean like crack your knuckles. It isn't audible, but it's a similar sensation.
I feel that sort of "cracking" when I occasionally straighten out the legs. Have had it for as long as I can remember. But it's never encumbered me during exercise. Feels better after the straightening-out, to be sure, but only on a handful of occasions has it felt uncomfortable enough to straighten it while I've been doing things.

I notice it while driving a motor vehicle, too. The comfortable seating position is at a spot where the legs are bent at an angle somewhat greater than when cycling at nearly full extension on the stroke. Often, during long drives, I straighten-out a leg, then the other, then it feels fine for the next half hour to hour.

Never was serious enough to even mention it to the doctor. So, have never done anything about it.

I always figured it was some misalignment or minor growth in the cartilage area of the knees, or some interference with the ligaments or tendons in that area occasionally "snapping" over some protrusion. Though, obviously that's a guess. I've experienced it on rare occasions cycling for long periods, running longer than an hour, sitting driving in a car for an hour+, etc.

Don't recall ever hearing from another person of a similar thing. Although, people to stretch out during all sorts of activities, so it's a likely bet that many have minor instances of this from time to time.

Last edited by Clyde1820; 09-21-20 at 07:05 AM. Reason: spelling
Clyde1820 is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 07:10 PM
  #11  
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24,385
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 3,685 Times in 2,509 Posts
I have this problem, mostly with my right knee. I am pretty sure for me it is a patella tracking issue caused by muscle imbalance.

I use kt tape when it gets bad. Look up "kt tape for it band" on utube.

When I have similar problems with my left knee, I generally have to use less pressure or the tape pulls the tracking out
unterhausen is offline  
Old 09-22-20, 10:46 AM
  #12  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cubewheels
I'm not sure what is going with you now but studies have shown that excessively high saddle is worse than too low saddle. You may have put too much strain on your knees in climbs with the high saddle.

I also need to stretch my legs straight from time to time in the bike as I do lots of climbs everyday. But I do it with the correct saddle height. How I do it is bend my ankle down while pedaling OR pedal out of the saddle at high gear. You don't have to do that for long periods. Several seconds is enough.

I also take 1 tablet of Calcium with Vitamin D everyday. Strong bones is crucial in cycling.
OK. This sounds promising. My saddle height is where it should be (and has been this whole time) according to the bike shop and a friend who rides semi-pro. But I do *almost* exactly what you do. I bend my ankle down while pedaling--but more frequently than what you describe. I just figured that since I was able to do that, it wasn't really at the right height. This begs the question then: what did I do to screw up my knees? I suspect I put too much strain on them when climbing hills. While hills are my absolute favorite aspect of cycling, I'm going to start riding again, but stay away from hills for a while, and see what happens. I rode for almost 8 months with zero pain. It didn't happen until a couple months after climbing hills.
TVR80 is offline  
Old 09-22-20, 04:23 PM
  #13  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,521

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3880 Post(s)
Liked 1,932 Times in 1,379 Posts
Originally Posted by TVR80
OK. This sounds promising. My saddle height is where it should be (and has been this whole time) according to the bike shop and a friend who rides semi-pro. But I do *almost* exactly what you do. I bend my ankle down while pedaling--but more frequently than what you describe. I just figured that since I was able to do that, it wasn't really at the right height. This begs the question then: what did I do to screw up my knees? I suspect I put too much strain on them when climbing hills. While hills are my absolute favorite aspect of cycling, I'm going to start riding again, but stay away from hills for a while, and see what happens. I rode for almost 8 months with zero pain. It didn't happen until a couple months after climbing hills.
Well then, try these stretches: IT Band pain (during ride)
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 09-25-20, 04:21 PM
  #14  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,521

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3880 Post(s)
Liked 1,932 Times in 1,379 Posts
Originally Posted by cubewheels
You might have pre-existing issues if you need to extend your legs more frequently.

Although over-extension might feel okay or easy with the muscles, they're pretty harsh on the joints. Pro cyclists seem to avoid it as much as possible and compensating with the ankles (pointing them more than bending).

I also experience if I over-do it in the trainer in the form of pain behind the knees. It gets worse with higher effort such as when climbing. For me the pain goes away quickly and I'm okay the next day. I'm also making adjustments to my training to avoid over-extension as I only encounter it when pedaling out of the saddle.
OOS, pedal like Pantani:

Notice how he pulls his relaxed foot over the top with his knee, how is butt hardly goes up and down at all, how his knee bend at the bottom of the stroke is exactly what it would be were he in the saddle, and that he always rides OOS in the drops. I can't ride OOS at anything like his cadence, but I try to model my motions after his. When I do it right, it feels great. I think it is easier to ride OOS from the drops,
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.