Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   General Cycling Discussion (
-   -   Knee pain (

LittleBigMan 04-26-01 12:39 PM

I have some serious questions about knee pain. I have experienced it, but not very seriously yet. But that could

For those of you who have had knee pain, please tell me your experience, if you would like to. Also, I have a few
questions to ask. This is a serious topic, so don't kid me (even though I more than deserve it).

1) Was your pain in one knee only, or both knees?
2) If only one knee, which one?
3) Are you left or right handed? Is your painful knee on the same side as your "good" hand, or is it opposite?
4) What is your pedaling technique?
5) Do you ride a recumbent?
6) Have you found any adjustments to your bike to help the pain? What kind of adjustments do you prefer?
7) How fast do you ride? What is your normal cadence?
8) Are you short, tall, or what?
9) How many miles do you ride daily/weekly?
10) What kind of riding do you normally do? Long distance? Short hops? Commuting? Racing? MTB?
11) How long have you been cycling?
12) When do you feel the pain most often?

I'm just doing a little research. :)

Thank you!

JonR 04-26-01 01:59 PM

1. My pain was usually worst in one knee.
2. The left knee.
3. Right-handed. The painful knee was opposite--but more to the point, my left (painful) leg is almost 1/2 inch shorter than my right (not too unusual, though most people don't realize it. This is why--no kidding--people lost in a forest without a compass almost always end up walking in circles).
4. I try to spin at about a 90 cadence, but usually end up a little short; and I try to "ankle" as described by Greg Lemonde--heel dipping down at the bottom of the stroke, etc. This adds a lot to my comfort WHEN I THINK TO DO IT.
5. No.
6. Yes. Getting the seat height just right for me (which is not necessarily what the books recommend!) and the seat absolutely level in the MIDDLE of it (not the nose, not the tail) are the two really important adjustments that help me.
7. See (4) above. I average 10 to 10.5 miles per hour, actual moving time, in city traffic. OK, but I get there.
8. I'm 5'9" (175.26 cm) tall. It's about average for me. :)
9. When I was commuting daily, I rode at least 10.4 miles per day, and usually 30 to 60 miles on the weekends. I'm starting in again after a long layoff so present figures don't mean much.
10. Short hops and commuting, with a few 20-30 mile trips thrown in.
11. Cycling in a "real" way since 1991, with two layoffs. Thirteen thousand city-street commuter miles, which means about 650,000 broken beer bottles under my tires.
12. I would feel the knee pain most often after a longish ride, or anytime I had failed to get the seat height and levelness just right.

Pete, I should be using some kind of shim to raise the left foot, but it's all so complicated and potentially expensive I just have never even tried. I get by OK with the adjustments I mentioned.

I have had to use an elastic (Ace-type) bandage on my knee many times. I've also had to use elastic bandage or that miraculous self-adhering "sports tape" (spongy fabric that stretches and sticks only to itself) on my ankle(s) various times.

I hope some of this helps your research.

Hunter 04-26-01 06:53 PM

I hope this helps.

1. None
2. None
3. Right, and N/A
4. Pull up with one leg push down with the other.
5. No
6. N/A The adjustments I prefer are: Legs slightly bent at the knees to the bottom of the pedal stroke. Elbows plumb with the toe of the foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
7. I do not know, and I do not know
8. I am 6' 2"
9. I do not know
10. MTB and it depends on how I feel typically distance.
11. 24 Years
12. N/A

I get sometimes pain in my right ankle but this is from a DH wreck when I broke my ankle. There are bone chips in my elbows and knees from similar events that sometimes give me problems when it is cold and humid.

aerobat 04-26-01 07:57 PM

Hi Pete, hope this helps:

1-3) Occasionally left knee, I'm right handed.
4) Normal technique, no special movements, but I try to do some spinning
especially if I am feeling some pain in the knee.
5) No
6) Seat height seems to be the main one, I've seen in some books (Arnie Baker's Bicycling Medicine)
that it depends where the pain is in the knee (front or back) whether your seat
should be higher or lower.
Also if you use clipless pedals and have toe in or out unnaturally, you may experience pain
in the side of the knee, indicating the cleats in the shoe need to be aligned differently.
7) I try and pedal at 80-90 RPM's, unless I'm spinning intentionally faster (see 4)
8) I'm 5'7" and slowly shrinking! (I'm told it's an age thing)
9) In "season" I usually put on about 100-200 miles per week, but that varies with the occasional
long day trip boosting that up a bit, or bad weather unboosting it!
10) Mostly commuting with additional miles added on, with the longer run once a week or so, and
some MTB in summer. (here that will start in a month or so, when things dry up sufficiently)
11) On and off all my life, more seriously the last 6 or 7 years, mostly the last 3.
12) No particular time, maybe if I push it more than usual, or the seat goes out of adjustment.

Again I hope this helps, there's nothing worse than wanting to do something active and not being able
to because of some injury or chronic condition. I've found that the average GP knows nothing about
athletic injuries and will only tell you not to do whatever you've been doing. A specialist and especially
physiotherapists are a lot more knowledgeable.

I'd also suggest you check out Bicycling Medicine, he has a whole section on knee pain, the causes and
suggested remedies with explanations and diagrams.

Good luck :thumbup:

LittleBigMan 04-30-01 09:16 AM

Thank, folks--just keep those replies coming!


claude 05-03-01 03:57 AM

Hi Pete,

only noticed this post today. Sorry if I'm late :)

1) Both
2) Pain shifts from one knee to the other
3) Right Handed
4) See note below
5) No
6) See below
7) See below
8) Approx 5'8
9) 100KM approx weekly
10) Commuting/MTBing on country roads (not hardcore stuff)
11) 15 years with a huge gap in the middle. Restarted approx a year ago.
12) Almost gone now (see below)

The note :

Pete, I had huge problems with my knees, the following factors all contributed to less and less pain until it almost disappeared. Nothing new under the sun - most tips I actually got from this forum itself.

1. Switched to clipless pedals - I chose speedplay frogs due to their knee friendly free float feature.
2. Adjusted my seat height/position exactly up to spec. See some of my previous posts on this topic.
3. Made sure I'm using my correct crank lenght.
4. Started pedalling faster 90/100 RPM with less pressure.
5. I found a pedalling technique (this I found through personal experience and did not consult anybody about it - as far as I know, I could be wrong) where I use my ankles to help my strokes.
6. Stretch (just a short basic session) before I cycle.
7. Sometimes I do straight leg raises. Apparently cycling overdevelops a particular set of muscles and virtually ignores another set (don't ask me which ones though!) - and straight leg raises builds up those muscles. The imbalance can cause leg pain - according to my orthopedic doc.

good luck,


riderx 05-03-01 06:28 AM

1) One
2) Depends on which cleat is not adjusted properly
3) Right, see #2
4) Lots of mashing followed by lots of spinning. I ride my single speed MTB most of the time. Also do some geared MTB and fixed gear road riding.
5) No
6) Get my cleats set up correctly and I don't seem to have problems
7) Usually as fast as I can. Not sure of Cadance
8) 6-00
9) ~60 weekly on the trail
10) MTB - 13 -18 miles 4x/week
11) 18 years
12) See #2

Chris L 05-04-01 06:12 PM

I'll just summarise my knee problems in general format as they don't happen anymore. It was in my left knee (I am right handed), I am not particularly tall or short, I have no idea what my cadence is. I normally ride at around 30km/h.

I stopped having knee problems after I started warming up properly on rides (meaning that I started by spinning a lower gear for the first 500 metres or so).

Hope this helps.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:51 AM.