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Bike fit hurting front of knees of 27 year old male

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Bike fit hurting front of knees of 27 year old male

Old 08-14-22, 06:57 PM
  #1  
lambomets
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Bike fit hurting front of knees of 27 year old male

I am an active 6 foot 27 year old who has skiied for a month straight with no issues. I have never been able to ride with my knees feeling comfortable on my bicycles on clipped in pedals (one is an aggressive bike, the other is more upright). I went to 2 bike fits which didn't solve the problem. I tried putting the cleats all the way back, I tried all shimano cleats, tried positioning the cleats so that my toes point a bit more out, tried 175,172.5, and 170mm cranks, tried increasing Q factor, different seat heights, fore aft positions, etc. The only thing I have not tried is cleats with more than 6 degrees of float and a midfoot cleat position. Do you think I should pay the money to try this? Is there anything else I can try?

The aggressive bike is merida scultura 8000e size L
upright bike is Trek Sport Fx4 size L

32.2 inch inseam

1st fit at endurancewerx in westchester

2nd fit At Ride Brooklyn
I do between 1 to 3 laps in central park 2 to 3 times a week. Each lap is 6.1 miles. My knees have been a problem from the first ride til the last. I have not increased my riding
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Old 08-14-22, 08:23 PM
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so you're saying that when you ride with 'flat pedals', your knees don;t hurt ? (Whatever it is that 'hurts' - there's no way for anyone to have any real suggestions if there's no specific info how the knees 'hurt' and where it is...)
Have you gone back to the 'fitters' and commented or asked for their thoughts and recommended adjustments? What did they say?
Ride On
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Old 08-14-22, 10:05 PM
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The midfoot cleat position may not solve your problem. I went mid foot for a year but eventually returned to the ball of the foot.

Midfoot resulted to less smooth pedaling and lower cadence and other issues. For a time, it felt easier due to more leg extension and easier on the ankles when standing on the pedals. But those advantages were only temporary as my ankles became stronger and more flexible, I was able to position at the ball of the foot just fine.
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Old 08-15-22, 09:01 AM
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Are you pushing really hard on the pedals? Shift to a lower gear if you are. Pedaling should be easy and not require a lot of strength or muscle until you run out of lower gears.

I think you should go back to the people that fit you and ask them what's up. IMO, if fitters don't take you back for issues that don't get corrected, then I guess I'll never go to a fitter for issues.
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Old 08-15-22, 09:49 AM
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"Where" on your knees?

In the joints themselves, like the actual pivoting part?
Or right at the top of the knee, jut behind the patella?
or general "huts" of the whole knee?

does anything else start to hurt before or after or simultaneously?



How much salt per day?
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Old 08-15-22, 10:13 AM
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Are you sure the seatpost didn't slip, causing the saddle to be lower than where it was when the fitter set you up? Whenever I have knee pain after a ride, my first check is always to measure center of BB to top of saddle and make sure it hasn't moved (but that's only because my seattube is ever-so slightly too wide for my seatpost and carbon grip paste only helps so much.
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Old 08-15-22, 11:18 AM
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The problem may be your knees, instead of the fitting. The muscles of the quadricep must be in balance, if not, the kneecap will pull to the side rather than track in the groove it was intended to ride in.

When I started bike racing, I did real well with little training. As I trained more, I became slower and slower. I went to the college health clinic and they told me I had Chondromalacia patella. Which means that my knee cap was not tracking right and the addition of the miles and harder training meant more problems.

That may or may not be your problem but it is something to consider. An orthopedic specialist should be able to diagnose the problem.

For me, I found that cross training or exercises aimed at balancing the muscles helped. I also quit bike racing and pursued other sports.

Keep us up to date on how things go with you. If you solve this with getting the correct fit or if it is a problem with your knee or something else.
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Old 08-15-22, 11:54 AM
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Been fitting for 12 years and have written several articles in lermagazine.com on this topic. As mentioned below, there is A LOT to figuring out the problem. You need to choose a bike fitter that knows what they are doing. I actually teach the bike fitters how to bike fit. My course is accredited by CPTA for physical therapists to be able to get CEUs for bike fitting. Need to find a bike fitter that has taken courses in anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, and physiology, and understands how to apply this to bike fitting. My partner (daughter) is a certified doctor in physical therapy, and helped in getting us to IBFI level 4 fitter status. Im in SoCal if you are near, if not, find a fitter that has the above education and knowledge.
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Old 08-15-22, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
For me, I found that cross training or exercises aimed at balancing the muscles helped. I also quit bike racing and pursued other sports.
What would take the pressure away from the knees and somewhere else is learning to engage the glutes (butt muscles) in pedaling. That will allocate some of the pressure to the pelvic region and the core muscles.

That's exactly what cross training does like running or climbing steps or even squats that is help make your glutes stronger and develop muscle memory to engage the glutes.

I did exercises like running / jumping up and down the stairs, squats, and jumping as high as I can when I first started riding at a young age. Track sprinters also do the same set of exercises. But what's really important is adopting a pedaling technique and developing muscle memory that allows you to engage the glutes in cycling without having to do any cross-training. It can remove up to over half of the pressure from the knees if barely used your glutes in cycling before.

Many wonder how could some runners run for hours and not hurt the knees. You can adopt a very similar muscle engagement technique in cycling.
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Old 08-15-22, 09:02 PM
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I am in Manhattan. Moving the cleats back is supposed to result in more glute use, but this didn't solve the problem. Seat tube doesnt move, I torque it to the right amount. The front of my knees at the kneecap (probably the patella) just feel that they are being pulled/pushed in a way it doesn't want to go, it isn't pain, it is discomfort, lack of smoothness and power. Sometimes it is only my left knee, sometimes only my right knee, and sometimes it alternates (5 mins each) during the ride, but it is never both knees at the same time during 2 pedal strokes. The brooklyn fitter said he increased the Q factor on my cleats and that caused a lot of discomfort at the lower part of both of my quads near the knee so I had to put the cleat Q factor back to normal. The knee discomfort increases when I try to push harder on the pedals. I never had these knee issues when running for exercise or sprinting 100% and pushing very hard in a baseball game. I never had any problems with flat pedals. I wanted to use clipped in pedals to be able to go faster. Fitter didn't respond to my email.. I don't eat much per day, maximum 2 meals, sometimes 1.
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Old 08-15-22, 10:23 PM
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Put the flats back on the bike. Put a couple layers of duct tape on your shoe soles (arch to toe) - ride where you ride and with feet in position you think feels best. Don;t make any other changes to the bike or your position or posture. Use the same gearing at the same points (I know Central Park...) on the ride/loop you're doing. If you are varying the gearing now with the flats, that introduces another important variable - which you don;t want to do - but if you do, may point to gear use as part of the issues.
If you have older style rat-trap cages or newer pin style - both will/should leave a predominant mark of where the pedal cage/platform was and how it was oriented during the ride.
set up the clipless to mimic the same foot positions - there will likely be a difference between the right and left... You may have to take the pedals off the bike and hold to the shoe sole to be certain you have the clipless shoe in the same position as the shoe used with flats.
if you still feel 'not as good' with the clipless, then there likely is something in your pedal stroke technique which might be a focus for that.
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 08-16-22, 10:58 AM
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The bike fitter(s) should know this, but:

Are you moving the seat forward OR upward?

You need to do both.

for a 72 degree frame, I would recommend moving seat forward 10mm, and upward 1.6mm.

Try this with no other changes.

You seem hypersensitive to positioning, so I am steering you towards being very precise.

===================================================

One other thing to try, just for kicks, is to move the seat up (stretch your legs) until your butt starts to hurt or until you can feel yourself rocking back and forth too much, then go back down about 5mm. This means ignoring the bike fitters and listening to your butt, LITERALLY adjusting the bike by the seat of your pants.
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Old 08-16-22, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post

One other thing to try, just for kicks, is to move the seat up (stretch your legs) until your butt starts to hurt or until you can feel yourself rocking back and forth too much, then go back down about 5mm. This means ignoring the bike fitters and listening to your butt, LITERALLY adjusting the bike by the seat of your pants.
That's how I did it when I first got my positioning.
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Old 08-16-22, 01:49 PM
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^ Yeah. "Pain in front of knee, raise saddle. Pain in back of knee, lower saddle." That's quoted from the gospel.
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Old 08-16-22, 02:31 PM
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I previously raised my saddle a lot, which didn't solve the issue (there was still discomfort in the front of my knees) and one time when my seat was only marginally higher, I pulled my hamstring near the back of my knee when I was doing a sprint up a hill.
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Old 08-17-22, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lambomets View Post
I previously raised my saddle a lot, which didn't solve the issue (there was still discomfort in the front of my knees) and one time when my seat was only marginally higher, I pulled my hamstring near the back of my knee when I was doing a sprint up a hill.

To clarify the verbiage:

Were you "doing a sprint up a hill" standing up or sitting down?
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Old 08-17-22, 12:47 PM
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I sprinted up the hill fully seated when i strained/pulled the bottom of my hamstring
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Old 08-17-22, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lambomets View Post
I sprinted up the hill fully seated when i strained/pulled the bottom of my hamstring
And is this when your knees begin to hurt you or do they hurt anytime you ride the bike even without sprinting up hills..

And as I ask before are you pushing a big gear ratio at a low cadence or in a low gear ratio at a high cadence?
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Old 08-17-22, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by lambomets View Post
I sprinted up the hill fully seated when i strained/pulled the bottom of my hamstring
Sort of cool. That says that you aren't just pushing down. I've also pulled a hammy when working it too hard, too much extended.

Do you have cadence on whatever you use for a bike computer? If so, what's your normal cruising-on-the-flat cadence, what's your normal climbing cadence?

I don't we've asked yet where in the knee the pain is located, and if it's in the same location on both knees. Options would be: at the bottom center of the kneecap, at the top center of the kneecap, on the inside of the kneecap, on the outside of the kneecap, dead center in the knee cap, way off to the inside or outside of the knee i.e. not near the kneecap and on which side, in or out.

Does your current pedal/cleat combo have float? If so, a guess at how much to either side of center? And if so, are your cleats adjusted so that they are normally positioned in the middle of the float throughout the pedal circle?
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Old 08-31-22, 03:20 PM
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I know a different gospel than others here. Went to different schools. Pain in back of knees - saddle too far back. Pain in front of knees - saddle too far forward.

Pulling a hamstring sprinting is unusual. More common would be throwing out your lower back. In fact sprinting causes lots of problems of which a hamstring pull barely makes the list. OP sounds like a very active person used to playing hard. >Cycling Is A Technical Sport.< Yes, you can just hop on a bike and go for a ride. Going for a hard hamstring-pulling sprint with uncertain equipment and not much warmup, yeah, that could cause problems. Three laps of Central Park is barely a warmup even if you structured it just so.

Knees heal real slow. Pulled ham is not a quick one either. Give yourself a break. Instead of asking online find someone to ride with. Maybe someone older with race experience. You are having too many problems and sounds like time to start over from scratch.
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Old 09-01-22, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
The midfoot cleat position may not solve your problem. I went mid foot for a year but eventually returned to the ball of the foot.

Midfoot resulted to less smooth pedaling and lower cadence and other issues. For a time, it felt easier due to more leg extension and easier on the ankles when standing on the pedals. But those advantages were only temporary as my ankles became stronger and more flexible, I was able to position at the ball of the foot just fine.
My guess as to why midfoot resulted in less smooth pedaling, and a lower cadence is because it effectively raised your seat height, because when you have the cleats on the ball of your foot, you probably pedal toes down. If you move the cleats back and slightly lower your seat, you would probably be fine and have the same smooth pedaling arc. As long as it all works the way it is now though, there is no need.
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Old 09-26-22, 11:20 AM
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My knees are of and on a mess. If I sometimes pedal hard while lifting my heel, my knees can hurt behind the knee cap. When I drop my heel to level, it is all good.
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Old 09-28-22, 09:44 PM
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Do you stop pushing the pedals down when they won't go down any further? Are you trying to push 400 watts with a cadence of 70 rpm? Are you trying to push 400 watts without a sufficient warm-up? Are you trying to push 400 watts without sufficient low- to medium-stress mileage on your legs? I'm asking these questions because they relate to knee pain and they haven't been addressed.

Last edited by oldbobcat; 09-28-22 at 09:48 PM.
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