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Knee Trouble.

Old 08-30-22, 09:20 AM
  #1  
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Knee Trouble.

My left knee periodically aches. Nothing terrible, just annoying. Lasts for a few days usually. It's never been bad enough to bother a Doctor with. Maybe a 2 or 3 out of 10 on the pain scale.

Will cycling make it worse do you think? [I just bought a folder on eBay after a long break from cycling.]

I think this problem originates with an Audax I did about 20 years ago with cleats I had never used them and the alignment wasn't 100% my knees are happier with the toe-end of my feet pointing outwards and these cleats didn't have enough adjustment in them.

Anyway, thanks for any info.
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Old 08-30-22, 11:36 AM
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Ride flat pedals with NO ATTACHMENTS so your feet and knees pointing as they want and see how things go.
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Old 08-30-22, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Ride flat pedals with NO ATTACHMENTS so your feet and knees pointing as they want and see how things go.
Thanks. Yes — I learnt to avoid cleats and toeclips when the knee originally started to be problematic.

Most I plan on doing with this new bike is tootling round the park though, so hopefully the knee is not going to be a major issue.
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Old 08-30-22, 11:57 AM
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sometimes tight quads can cause knee aches.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RB1-luvr View Post
sometimes tight quads can cause knee aches.
Thanks for that. Not sure if that's my problem or not. Feels more like some sort of old damage maybe ligament / cartilage. Dunno. If it gets significantly worse I suppose I'll see if I can get a diagnosis.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:06 PM
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I suffer from chronic knee issues. Have had multiple procedures on my left knee including a high tibial osteotomy and microfracture. Most of the time it is tolerable. I no longer run or jump, and walking downhill sucks. On my worst days, I can hardly bear any weight on my left leg.
One constant is that I always feel good in the saddle. Even on a real crappy day, I can go for a ride and feel mostly normal. I ride clipped in with SPD pedals and put out a good effort - and riding hills really seem to keep the knees feeling good.
I can't say this will be your experience, but keeping the leg strength up and keeping the joint in motion really seems to help me. I have medial compartment degeneration, especially in the left knee, but riding seems to focus the knee strain in a different part of the joint, and is very comfortable for my knees.
Good luck!

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Old 08-31-22, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
I suffer from chronic knee issues. Have had multiple procedures on my left knee including a high tibial osteotomy and microfracture. Most of the time it is tolerable. I no longer run or jump, and walking downhill sucks. On my worst days, I can hardly bear any weight on my left leg.
One constant is that I always feel good in the saddle. Even on a real crappy day, I can go for a ride and feel mostly normal. I ride clipped in with SPD pedals and put out a good effort - and riding hills really seem to keep the knees feeling good.
I can't say this will be your experience, but keeping the leg strength up and keeping the joint in motion really seems to help me. I have medial compartment degeneration, especially in the left knee, but riding seems to focus the knee strain in a different part of the joint, and is very comfortable for my knees.
Good luck!
Thanks for that. Sounds like you've been through the mill.

I hope to enjoy this new bike I just bought without knee pain. [Another poster on this site suggested not using SPDs or toeclips I think he's right.]
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Old 08-31-22, 04:46 AM
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cycling could make it worse - or cycling could make it better

be sure to warm up properly before climbing or pushing tall gears

be sure to cool down properly - and allow for sufficient time for recovery

proper seat height / fit is important
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Old 08-31-22, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p View Post
cycling could make it worse - or cycling could make it better

be sure to warm up properly before climbing or pushing tall gears

be sure to cool down properly - and allow for sufficient time for recovery

proper seat height / fit is important
Thanks.

I'm hoping cycling will at least not make it worse. As you say, it might even make it better. We shall see.

As for seat height etc. this bike looks to have a fair amount of adjustment available [Birdy World Sport]. My old Brompton fit me reasonably well and it had less adjustment in it.
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Old 09-05-22, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by stephenmcateer View Post

I think this problem originates with an Audax I did about 20 years ago with cleats I had never used them and the alignment wasn't 100% my knees are happier with the toe-end of my feet pointing outwards and these cleats didn't have enough adjustment in them.

Anyway, thanks for any info.
I've never used cleats either, on road bikes or gym bikes. My right foot is splayed out naturally, or through prolonged bad running techniques but I've had no leg probs yet apart from a recent bursitis (left,"house maid's knee") which shouldn't stop me totally. Use toeclips on your bike; they're nearly as good and permit flexibility of feet position too.
The bike should help your knee. I used to have clicky gravelly knees which are now sound through cycling. I'm nearly 74.
Squats too, may help, but be careful with them!
Best wishes from an old Sassenach . ..
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Old 09-05-22, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
I've never used cleats either, on road bikes or gym bikes. My right foot is splayed out naturally, or through prolonged bad running techniques but I've had no leg probs yet apart from a recent bursitis (left,"house maid's knee") which shouldn't stop me totally. Use toeclips on your bike; they're nearly as good and permit flexibility of feet position too.
The bike should help your knee. I used to have clicky gravelly knees which are now sound through cycling. I'm nearly 74.
Squats too, may help, but be careful with them!
Best wishes from an old Sassenach . ..
Thanks Peter. I never liked cleats. You mention bursitis in your knee I had it in a muscle in my hip once and it took a long time to go away. My own knee problem is only minor at this point, so I'm more thinking about not making it worse than actually making it better.

This new [To me] bike should be here in the next day or two. I plan on just using open pedals for knee reasons and also in case I lose my balance and have to put a foot down in a hurry [See also: Joe Biden].

Cheers.
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Old 09-05-22, 03:50 PM
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I've had knee issues for years but I can still comfortably ride with MTB clipless pedals and cleats.. What I do is sit on a barstool or a countertop edge and let your feet hang freely. You'll be able to see each foots resting position. From there just adjust the cleat so it allows the proper angle for each foot.

Also check seat height and make sure it's not to high or to low.

If you use clipless make sure the cleats are properly aligned with the pedal shaft and the ball of your feet.

Here is a descent video to watch on cleat placement..

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Old 09-05-22, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by raqball View Post
I've had knee issues for years but I can still comfortably ride with MTB clipless pedals and cleats.. What I do is sit on a barstool or a countertop edge and let your feet hang freely. You'll be able to see each foots resting position. From there just adjust the cleat so it allows the proper angle for each foot.

Also check seat height and make sure it's not to high or to low.

If you use clipless make sure the cleats are properly aligned with the pedal shaft and the ball of your feet.

Here is a descent video to watch on cleat placement..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTGBgS2oF6g
The barstool idea sound useful. Hopefully this bike will have enough adjustment in it to set the seat to the correct height it's a Birdy folder. I'll go and watch that video thanks.
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Old 09-05-22, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by stephenmcateer View Post
The barstool idea sound useful. Hopefully this bike will have enough adjustment in it to set the seat to the correct height — it's a Birdy folder. I'll go and watch that video thanks.
Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you.

For me, if I don't use clipless I get more knee pain. I guess my feet and knees move and wobble around more when not clipped in..

With clipless, once you get the placement and fit dialed in, they are pretty darn good at keeping your feet and knees in a good comfortable spot.
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Old 09-05-22, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by raqball View Post
Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you.

For me, if I don't use clipless I get more knee pain. I guess my feet and knees wobble around more when not clipped in..

With clipless, once you get the placement and fit dialed in, they are pretty darn good at keeping your feet and knees in a good comfortable spot.
Thanks for the good wishes.

It hadn't occurred to me that clipless would help with keeping the foot in position on the pedal.

[It's entirely possible I didn't know what I was doing when I fitted the SPDs to my Audax bike but it was twenty years ago / pre-youTube.]
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Old 09-05-22, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by stephenmcateer View Post
Thanks for the good wishes.

It hadn't occurred to me that clipless would help with keeping the foot in position on the pedal.

[It's entirely possible I didn't know what I was doing when I fitted the SPDs to my Audax bike but it was twenty years ago / pre-youTube.]
Clipless pedals will have some float in them which allows your feet to move slightly before engaging the disconnect point. Different cleats will have different amounts of float. There are a lot of video out there on proper cleat placement.

Once you think they are right go for a ride and bring the proper Allen key to make micro adjustments on the fly. Once you get them dialed in take a perm marker and outline the cleat position on the bottom of your shoe. That way when you need new cleats there is no need to repeat the fitting. Just remove the old and plop the new ones in, aligned with your markings.

I would not completely discount clipless but the cost for some might be prohibitive as you need special shoes, special pedals and the cleats need to be replace every so often..
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Old 09-05-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by raqball View Post
Clipless pedals will have some float in them which allows your feet to move slightly before engaging the disconnect point. Different cleats will have different amounts of float. There are a lot of video out there on proper cleat placement.

Once you think they are right go for a ride and bring the proper Allen key to make micro adjustments on the fly. Once you get them dialed in take a perm marker and outline the cleat position on the bottom of your shoe. That way when you need new cleats there is no need to repeat the fitting. Just remove the old and plop the new ones in, aligned with your markings.

I would not completely discount clipless but the cost for some might be prohibitive as you need special shoes, special pedals and the cleats need to be replace every so often..
I didn't realise they had float. And thanks for the tips on marking etc.
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Old 09-23-22, 05:06 AM
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same problem
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Old 09-24-22, 06:01 PM
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Where in or on the knee does it hurt? Front or back, inside or outside, or maybe inside right in the middle?
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Old 01-03-23, 03:53 PM
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Opening this thread up again as I'm getting knee problems as well and it's starting to impact my exercise. I stopped running a few years back as I figured it was not helping my problem and when I would see my doctor about it, his reply was the cartilage between the joints has worn out and so the bone rubs more along the nerves. Part of getting old! I was fine most of the summer but i started back up playing hockey in October and that seemed to flare it up again. The weather has been cold and damp pretty much since then and that seems to bring it up another level.

I can still pedal and skate around but when I try and put any force on the knee, like push hard on the pedal to sprint or go up a hill it becomes a sharp pain. Is there something people take to try and help build up the cartilage again or stop it from continuing to wear?

I'm only 54 and the thought of no longer being able to enjoy either sport in 10 years has me worried.
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Old 01-03-23, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Opening this thread up again as I'm getting knee problems as well and it's starting to impact my exercise. I stopped running a few years back as I figured it was not helping my problem and when I would see my doctor about it, his reply was the cartilage between the joints has worn out and so the bone rubs more along the nerves. Part of getting old! I was fine most of the summer but i started back up playing hockey in October and that seemed to flare it up again. The weather has been cold and damp pretty much since then and that seems to bring it up another level.

I can still pedal and skate around but when I try and put any force on the knee, like push hard on the pedal to sprint or go up a hill it becomes a sharp pain. Is there something people take to try and help build up the cartilage again or stop it from continuing to wear?

I'm only 54 and the thought of no longer being able to enjoy either sport in 10 years has me worried.
My orthopedic surgeon told me at the tender age of 66 that I was SOL and just had the knees of a 66 year old man and all I could do was to try to slow the inevitable. Cycling actually makes them feel good. Another thing I stumbled upon is tart cherry juice. A few ounces a day really helps to relieve the pain. But my knees apparently are way beyond yours as I could not fathom/risk playing hockey. In fact, I have also given up my dream of playing for the NBA as well.
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Old 01-04-23, 07:51 AM
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Thanks HelpSingularity for the tart cherry juice suggestion. Healthy and drug free which I like. i wasn't really in any pain over the summer with just cycling but noticed it when the hockey started again but it could have also been the colder, damp weather. I hate the idea of giving up hockey because it's a great activity in the winter but if I have to make a choice, the cycling will trump the hockey as it doesn't cause as much pain.
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Old 01-04-23, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Thanks HelpSingularity for the tart cherry juice suggestion. Healthy and drug free which I like. i wasn't really in any pain over the summer with just cycling but noticed it when the hockey started again but it could have also been the colder, damp weather. I hate the idea of giving up hockey because it's a great activity in the winter but if I have to make a choice, the cycling will trump the hockey as it doesn't cause as much pain.
It was weird because I originally started adding a little tart cherry juice to my water to help relieve sore muscles, which it did totally help. I had surgery in August so I had been off my bike. So starting to ride again was somewhat of a struggle. The most amazing thing was about a week, ten days after I started with the tart cherry juice I woke up one morning, got up, and boom, no knee pain. Now my knee is still a little janky, with a little snap, crackle, pop, but overall feels good. Highly recommend it.
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Old 01-08-23, 06:55 PM
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Before the pandemic slowed medical services to a crawl and limited it to necessary procedures only, the VA did full body imaging to assess my injuries after having been hit by cars twice in less than 20 years (2001, 2018), with various chronic aches and mobility issues.

My back, neck and shoulder were a mess, but, luckily for me, my hips, knees and ankles were fine, remarkably good for a 60+ y/o guy with a history of indulging in reckless sports in addition to a penchant for being hit by errant drivers. All my serious injuries were above the waistline. Brain scans showed nothing, which explains the echoes and rattling around I was experiencing upstairs.

So now whenever my hips, knees, ankles or feet hurt, I know it's soft tissue stuff. I just need to rest or at least ease up off the effort, and do my physical therapy stuff. I tend to neglect the recommended stuff like foam rollers, using my percussion massagers, manual kneading and making dough out of muscles I can reach with my hands, etc. And the usual stretching and strengthening stuff to build up and maintain the core, leg stability and balance, etc.

Like many active folks who still think they're teenagers or 20something at heart and in their minds, I tend to just want to jump on the bike and ride, or pull on my shoes and run. And I can get away with that just often enough to encourage bad habits. But it'll catch up with me and I'll have issues like the persistent aches in my left hip and lower back, radiating down past my left knee. And it's just sore muscles and soft tissue stuff. As soon as I rest or do easy active recovery, use my percussion massagers, TENS unit (TENS and EMS devices are terrific for therapy on muscles we can't easily reach with our hands, especially if we don't have the luxury of a masseuse), soaks in a hot bath with Epsom salts, etc.

My occasional knee twinges always turn out to be referred pain from tight, achy quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, etc. If I take a rest and active recovery day to just do the physical therapy stuff, it'll feel fine in a day or three.

But if I keep pushing despite the pain, my form and posture degrade and I risk worse injuries by cycling or running lopsided, pushing harder with one leg to compensate for the other, etc. And that can eventually lead to joint damage.

Since the pandemic started in 2020 and I did mostly solo rides and workouts rather than group rides with friends, I had more time to fill. So I watched a ton of YouTube videos on physical therapy, fitness, conditioning, etc., related specifically to cyclists and runners. There are too many junk videos out there, or some from well meaning physical therapists and coaches who know what they're talking about, but can't seem to condense 30 minutes of rambling anecdotes down to a 3-5 minute video... pretty much like how I write posts online.

But some are very good and helped me reinforce better training habits to avoid injury and encourage patience. I have a bad habit of pushing too hard every workout. Cutting back on the fast competitive group rides helped me work on my own fitness and technique, appropriate for my age rather than trying desperately to keep up with guys and gals in their 20s-40s.
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