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Horrendous Knee Pain please help

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Old 10-10-18, 08:52 AM
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rabsaque
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Horrendous Knee Pain please help

Hi guys nice to be part of this group with so many people that love bikes as much as I do, I'm writing cause I'm facing an issue and haven't found conclusive data about it.

Recently I got a new job about 7 miles from home, so I decided to ride to it every day that makes it 14 miles 5 days a week.

I had to move from my home country Venezuela to Peru due to economic an political crisis, same crisis that made me sell my bike so I didn't ride for like 2 years so first thing i did on Peru when i got my paycheck was to buy me a new bike, but ooo dear did i was rust!!!

first times riding were ok but as i get close to my first 3 months of biking to work i'm starting to feel a horrible pain on my knees is sooo bad that i need to use my arms to sit on a chair or anywhere cause the pain is horrendous some other commuter friends told me that it migth be my pedaling technique or my saddle height i m 1.85 cm tall guy but last time i tried to ge my saddle height right pain just got worse, what can i do to ease it it might get worse?


share your knowledge with me, please.
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Old 10-10-18, 09:12 AM
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The guideline I use for seat height is that when sitting on the saddle my heel should just reach the pedal on the downstroke. The reason behind this is I put pressure on the pedal with my leg less bent which stresses the knee less. Too low a saddle feels like walking in a crouch which does load my knees a lot more than a straghter leg position. I also find that the front and back position of the seat also affects the way my knee engages, and on a new bike I start with the saddle set so that if the back of my elbow touches the front of my saddle my fingertips just reach the handlebar. Since not all saddles are the same length and some bikes require a more or less bent over position I adjust from there. However, this does not mean you havent damaged your knees and don't need to see a doctor.
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Old 10-10-18, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rabsaque View Post
Hi guys nice to be part of this group with so many people that love bikes as much as I do, I'm writing cause I'm facing an issue and haven't found conclusive data about it.

Recently I got a new job about 7 miles from home, so I decided to ride to it every day that makes it 14 miles 5 days a week.

I had to move from my home country Venezuela to Peru due to economic an political crisis, same crisis that made me sell my bike so I didn't ride for like 2 years so first thing i did on Peru when i got my paycheck was to buy me a new bike, but ooo dear did i was rust!!!

first times riding were ok but as i get close to my first 3 months of biking to work i'm starting to feel a horrible pain on my knees is sooo bad that i need to use my arms to sit on a chair or anywhere cause the pain is horrendous some other commuter friends told me that it migth be my pedaling technique or my saddle height i m 1.85 cm tall guy but last time i tried to ge my saddle height right pain just got worse, what can i do to ease it it might get worse?


share your knowledge with me, please.
Describe the pain: sharp, dull, stiff, achy, throbbing, etc. Also what makes it worse/better? Also, when does it occur, and how long does it last?
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Old 10-10-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by rabsaque View Post
Hi guys nice to be part of this group with so many people that love bikes as much as I do, I'm writing cause I'm facing an issue and haven't found conclusive data about it.

Recently I got a new job about 7 miles from home, so I decided to ride to it every day that makes it 14 miles 5 days a week.

I had to move from my home country Venezuela to Peru due to economic an political crisis, same crisis that made me sell my bike so I didn't ride for like 2 years so first thing i did on Peru when i got my paycheck was to buy me a new bike, but ooo dear did i was rust!!!

first times riding were ok but as i get close to my first 3 months of biking to work i'm starting to feel a horrible pain on my knees is sooo bad that i need to use my arms to sit on a chair or anywhere cause the pain is horrendous some other commuter friends told me that it migth be my pedaling technique or my saddle height i m 1.85 cm tall guy but last time i tried to ge my saddle height right pain just got worse, what can i do to ease it it might get worse?


share your knowledge with me, please.
This is normally from too low a seat position. But it can also be caused by cranks with the incorrect length. Usually too short but occasionally too long for someone with short legs in relation to their body height. Unless you are riding steep inclines one way or the other the distance you are traveling shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 10-10-18, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Describe the pain: sharp, dull, stiff, achy, throbbing, etc. Also what makes it worse/better? Also, when does it occur, and how long does it last?
Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Describe the pain
Mostly dull a bit sharp.

Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
what makes it worse/better
Getting: the saddle lower make it worse but getting it higher gets me pain on my privates.

Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
when does it occur
Everyday i ride

Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
how long does it last
4 or 5 days as long as i don't get on the bike again
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Old 10-10-18, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclintom View Post
This is normally from too low a seat position. But it can also be caused by cranks with the incorrect length. Usually too short but occasionally too long for someone with short legs in relation to their body height. Unless you are riding steep inclines one way or the other the distance you are traveling shouldn't be a problem.

I'm thinking it might be that but my saddle is also very uncomfortable, when I get it higher my privates hurt.
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Old 10-10-18, 10:51 AM
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You have a lot going on there! Best would be if you could take (and post) a picture of you sitting on your bike but it's hard to diagnose fit issues over the internet.

Is your saddle level? What kind of bike are you riding and what kind of saddle? I'm inclined to think you need to raise the seat and figure out why your privates hurt.
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Old 10-10-18, 10:56 AM
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1.85 cm tall guy?

P.S. Double posting in frowned upon.
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Old 10-10-18, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rabsaque View Post
i m 1.85 cm tall guy
I'm guessing that should be 1.85 meter (not centimeter), which would be very short, even in Peru.

You describe the bicycle as rusty. Is it possible that there is a lot of resistance in the bottom bracket or drive train?

The pain you describe is not at all normal, so something with the bike must be seriously wrong (either how it fits, or its mechanical condition). If the drive train is rusty, or the crank, pedals, or wheels don't turn freely, that could be at least part of the problem.

I assume from your description you didn't have this pain before starting to ride the bike?
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Old 10-10-18, 11:07 AM
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If the area you are in is significantly hillier than where you were, accompanied by the break from cycling you may just be overdoing it a bit.

Usually seat height pain can be verified both by which side (front/back) of knee is hurting, as well as a change in it with small adjustments.

Without knowing anything else about you, age, health, etc. The first thing I would suggest to you is to raise seat right to highest level that doesn't hurt privates. Drop a bob line off your knee at the "3" O clock postion to check your fore and aft. You basically want the knee to be in line with the ball of your foot/pedal shaft give or take a touch. See that your knee has a slight bend in it at the furthest extension, you don't want it straight.
After that, select gears (if applicable) that allow you to have a higher cadence while climbing or under load. If you are having to 'push' the gears you may be hurting your knee that way as well.
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Old 10-10-18, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post

You describe the bicycle as rusty. Is it possible that there is a lot of resistance in the bottom bracket or drive train?
He was describing himself as rusty
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Old 10-10-18, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
If the area you are in is significantly hillier
It's Peru. Isn't that as flat as Kansas?
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Old 10-10-18, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Brofessor View Post
He was describing himself as rusty
Ooops.
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Old 10-10-18, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
It's Peru. Isn't that as flat as Kansas?
Lol, c'mon guy. I can't make some assumption that he does or does not actually live on the side of a mountain there, or didn't in Venezuela.
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Old 10-10-18, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rabsaque View Post
Mostly dull a bit sharp.



Getting: the saddle lower make it worse but getting it higher gets me pain on my privates.



Everyday i ride



4 or 5 days as long as i don't get on the bike again
That helps, but what I was trying to get at was any pre existing issues that go beyond just cycling. If its solely a cycling thing the type of pain helps narrow it down significantly. Knee issues are age dependent so they usually crop up (arthritis) even if you never ride.

One more thing, is there any noise such as cracking or popping? And do you take any pain relief meds., e.g. Rx or OTC? I have knee issues but thankfully my cycling has no negative effect on them whatsoever. However, it did at one point with my old Trek when my seat was too low. Mine was a burn pain that would linger for many hours after my ride. However, I was also walking a lot more too.
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Old 10-10-18, 11:48 AM
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You could have a condition called chrondomalcia patella where the kneecap doesn't track properly over the knee itself. Some of us seem to be prone to this and when we do something that triggers it, it shows up. Not riding, then riding with no build up could be that trigger.

I have dealt with this condition the past 40 years. It doesn't stop my riding but i do have to ride with the limits set by my knees. I was diagnosed correctly 4 days after my first symptoms by an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine (for free in the back of a cold van at a race in March in New Hampshire). That doctor told me things i needed to do that I never saw again in print for decades and to this day, I have never seen al he told me in one place. SO I wrote up that I learned years ago on another forum. I'll post it again here. (I am not going to say "I hope this helps" because if it does, you may be in this a long time.Chrondomalacia patella. Yes, I can tell you a little about it. I was diagnosed in ’78 and given very good advice by the doctor (an orthopedic in sports medicine. He was also a novice bike racer, so he had more understanding of the cycling aspects of CP than most). I will do my best to pass on what he told me.In CP, the kneecap is not aligned with the knee under it, hence there is chafing as the knee is moved. This causes wear, first to the cartilage, then to the bone under it. The wear accumulates with number of repetitions and pressure. At some point, the wear can cause permanent damage.

Some people are more prone to CP than others. It can be triggered by exercising in cold weather, exercising without adequate stretching of the hamstrings, i.e. touching your toes or less extreme stretches of the same tendons. It can be brought on by exercising without adequately strengthening the small quadriceps muscles just above the kneecap.

I brought on my CP by training to return my body to racing form after a very serious accident. (I was weak enough after my hospital stay that I was no match at 24 years old for any 7 yo.) The accident was in November, and I returned to riding miles in March. I did nothing to keep my knees especially warm and did no stretching exercises (rationalizing that since my leg never extended to anywhere near straight, there was no chance of injury, hence no need to stretch). I was wearing just full tights and thermal underwear under them in Boston. The temperature was probably not much above 30. The ride that started it was 100+ miles on my racing bike, my first outdoor ride on that bike. It had 175 cranks. My trainer, with fixed gear and very low BB, had 168’s. After the ride I had a dull pain in my mid to upper knee in front. That Saturday was the first race of the season. I was forced to drop out, my knees hurt so much.

After that race, the race promoter introduced me to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed me in the back of a cold van. He laid out for me then and in later phone calls a plan that I will pass on here.

He first stressed that I had to stretch my hamstrings, touch toes or lean forward against a wall or post with one leg back and straight and stretch that hamstring or sit and touch toes. I now prefer the lean forward method. Very specific and hard to hurt yourself. (I am now a 48 yo, I damage if I am not careful.)

Second, he had me sit on the floor and do leg raises. He had me raise one leg at a time and hold it several inches off the floor for a while (I don’t remember the time, but 15 secs should work. Important – while the leg is raised, tense up your quads big time and tense up those little quads just above and beside the kneecap. Feel for them and get to know them. It is those little guys that keep you kneecap aligned. If you are in riding shape, you can do this with say 5 pounds on your ankles, but the tensing up is much more important than the resistance.

Third, KEEP YOUR KNEES WARM WHEN YOU RIDE!! For me, this is critical. I wear these dumb looking “knee warmers” for most of my rides, always below 70 degrees, often under tights. Since keeping the hamstrings loose is important, I had to stretch the elastic. To keep them from falling down, I sewed on garters that I clip onto my shorts.

Fourth, back off riding until you have been doing these two things long enough to make a difference. Keep up the exercises and especially the stretches after you resume riding. Build up your riding slowly. The doctor stressed this to me and it has been very true. My ability to come into real form and resilience on the bike is limited more by my knees than by my lungs/muscles.

After rides, take aspirin or Ibuprofen to speed recovery. I personally think aspirin is better, that my knees recover more with it. I disagree with the ice. I have always felt that moving my knees when they are cold is causing the damage I am trying to avoid. Perhaps ice speeds recovery, but I feel it also continues the damage (at least in my knees).

Big gears are the enemy of CP knees. I love to climb hills standing. I love to ride hilly country on fix-gears. It is a fact of my life that I can only ride certain not-so-steep hills on my commuter and that I have to have and use a granny ring on my custom. It is a fact that there are days, weeks and months when I have to let whippersnappers blow by me on hills where I know I can humble them.

Lastly, what you did not want to hear, but again what the doctor told me. Get used to the idea of CP. If you are at all like me, it will be a fact of your cycling life for a long time. 23 years later for me and I am feeling my knees now because of a very easy ride I did in street clothes without knee warmers at noon today.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can still do a lot of riding. I raced that season (I already knew it was my last) and have done 60,000 (?) miles since. I still commute, but only on alternate days. (But for the first 7 years with CP, I did not own a car and rode everywhere.)

I took the time to spell all this out because in the 23 years I have had CP, I have never seen all of this in one place. In fact, I have only heard about the importance of keeping the knees warm from that one doctor. That is the single most important aspect of the program for me. Thank you Dr. Kish, wherever you are. I will probably ultimately need those carbon fiber knees, but by following the regime, I figure I can wait until a) the product improves, b) the price comes down and c) I’m old enough that my cycling level will be within the abilities of those knees. I hope to delay another 10 years.

Since I wrote this a year plus ago, my physician has recommended that I take glucosamine. He was very specific, that I should take 3000 mg/day in the form of glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydroxide, but to avoid chrondroitin. This I did faithfully for 9 months. Between riding steadily starting two years ago and the glucosamine, my knees never felt better than they did last summer. I was passing whippersnappers uphill. Then my riding tapered off, I tapered down on the glucosamine and got sick so my riding and conditioning dropped. Thanksgiving I rode 50 miles with 2500’ of climbing on a cool day. My knees hurt. How many of those rules outlined above did I break?

Ben
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Old 10-10-18, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
Lol, c'mon guy. I can't make some assumption that he does or does not actually live on the side of a mountain there, or didn't in Venezuela.
I don't think there is a single flat point in Peru, apart from the summit of Machu Picchu.
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Old 10-10-18, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rabsaque View Post
I'm thinking it might be that but my saddle is also very uncomfortable, when I get it higher my privates hurt.
That's probably where you should concentrate your efforts first.
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Old 10-10-18, 01:04 PM
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If you are riding in too high a gear ratio, then you might well have knee pain even if you ride on completely flat roads. You shouldn't have to use very much leg muscle to ride a bike. Muscle is only needed if you have to accelerate very quickly or for the very steepest grades you encounter. If your bike doesn't have the gearing to let you pedal with ease for most all of your riding, then you need to consider getting something with more appropriate gearing.
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Old 10-10-18, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 12boy View Post
The guideline I use for seat height is that when sitting on the saddle my heel should just reach the pedal on the downstroke. The reason behind this is I put pressure on the pedal with my leg less bent which stresses the knee less. Too low a saddle feels like walking in a crouch which does load my knees a lot more than a straghter leg position. I also find that the front and back position of the seat also affects the way my knee engages, and on a new bike I start with the saddle set so that if the back of my elbow touches the front of my saddle my fingertips just reach the handlebar. Since not all saddles are the same length and some bikes require a more or less bent over position I adjust from there. However, this does not mean you havent damaged your knees and don't need to see a doctor.
that is an interesting suggestion, I shall try that.
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Old 10-10-18, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you are riding in too high a gear ratio, then you might well have knee pain even if you ride on completely flat roads. You shouldn't have to use very much leg muscle to ride a bike. Muscle is only needed if you have to accelerate very quickly or for the very steepest grades you encounter. If your bike doesn't have the gearing to let you pedal with ease for most all of your riding, then you need to consider getting something with more appropriate gearing.
Thing is, so many things can cause knee pain especially since half the population has it (at some time or another) even without taking up cycling. That's why its so important to isolate the type of pain and times that it occurs. For example, my knee pain is internal. So I don't feel any pain due to sensitivity to touch.


Sometimes it not necessarily the activity (singularly) that is the cause of the discomfort, but it may be the catalyst that brings it to the next level. I say this because a similar phenomenon happens when people start weight training for the first time. Its not the squats that cause the back and/or knee pain but their poor form or too much weight too soon. There is also the possibility that OP can simply be out of shape and cycled too much too soon? I've had times when I took a few days off and came back and no pain.

All I'm saying is it gets tricky sometimes, so its best to get the ideas first, then get a check list and cross off all the possible causes that don't apply. Sometimes that easy like hill climbing -- you'd know if you climbed hills or not. While other times it can be a lot more complex especially when things happen simultaneously. Still, I have to agree that when it comes to knee pain, the seat is usually a good place to start.

Last edited by KraneXL; 10-11-18 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 10-11-18, 08:38 AM
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Could be you have a medical problem, not a bicycle problem. Have you sought any advice from a medical professional?
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Old 10-11-18, 05:24 PM
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Seat height can cause issues, but so can foot angle on the pedals. IOW, improper toe-in or toe-out, or even riding with knees splayed, can cause the knee to be mis-aligned.
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Old 10-11-18, 06:07 PM
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Shift the seat to the rear more, lift it 1cm at first, ensure your cadence is staying in between an average rate for your current size, & lastly, get a new seat that is more comfortable.
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Old 10-12-18, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Seat height can cause issues, but so can foot angle on the pedals. IOW, improper toe-in or toe-out, or even riding with knees splayed, can cause the knee to be mis-aligned.
+1 For me, seat height is a secondary factor but improper cleat angle is a knee-killer. What's more, the pedal should force my feet to more toe-in than they take naturally. So my knees do far better with cleated pedals - but those pedals must be locked in angle-wise; ie "no float". (Old fashioned toe-clips and the slotted aluminum cleats on the shoes work very well for my knees. No-float clipless are lighter, easier to get in and out of but no better for my knees.)

I'm not saying this is what you, the OP, should do, but keep your eyes open (and listen to your knees - they well tell you what they like).

Ben
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