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Knee pain? I got knee pain? Trike question...

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Knee pain? I got knee pain? Trike question...

Old 09-11-14, 04:19 PM
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etsisk
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Knee pain? I got knee pain? Trike question...

So I was out riding my touring bike and I came upon this guy riding a 'bent trike... well, eventually I came upon him. Damn thing was faster than me (but wipe those smirks of yer faces... everything is faster than me). I asked him about it and he offered to let me ride it. Cool! He took my bike and I got on his contraption.

1. underseat steering... really kind of a general thing, not specific as in "I didn't really go specifically where I had in mind". But generally speaking, I did ok. He was riding next to me and never the twain did meet, so that's good enough for me. It got better with practice and I didn't veer off into the ditch suddenly without warning (the possibility of which was certainly a concern in the beginning!).

2. KNEES HURT - after 3 or 4 miles my knees were hurting. I expected my legs to hurt - whole different set of muscles. But I didn't expect both knees to start hurting. Is this normal? Does one get over this? I'm interested in recumbents but I'm not interested in spending thousands of bucks just to have sore knees. I could go back to backpacking and do that for just a few hundred dollars!

3. Seat - It was comfy and while I thought my neck would hurt, it did not. I was wearing bike shorts and kept sliding down the seat, which was aggravating.

While things were good, I was having fun! Got moving after a mile or so, and it was nice! Is my experience common? What's y'all's collective wisdom say about this? Thanks!
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Old 09-11-14, 04:25 PM
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You use different muscles riding a recumbent and the extra force you can put into those pedals can put a great deal more stress on your knees... and this is with a proper setup / fit which you probably did not have.

The rule is to keep spinning and avoid high load situations... this is why most 'bents have such low gearing as although you can climb rather well your knees can take a beating.
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Old 09-11-14, 04:40 PM
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The knee strain/pain you mention could have been related to improper seat-pedals distance, just like a poor fit on a DF. Also, that distance will vary based on the recline angle of the seat and the height of the bottom bracket in relation to YOUR seat(bottom). I can specifically reference the difference in seat-pedal distance on my old trike and my Dad's current TerraTrike Rover - the former was more reclined than the latter and I sat slightly further away from the pedals for best efficiency and greatest comfort.

The other thing to consider is that your muscles were not conditioned for "recumbentry". I will also tell you that not all recumbents use the same muscles in the same way - for instance, moving from my trike to a Bacchetta Corsa high-bottom bracket 2-wheeler took another period of adjustment despite both being recumbents. Some people say that it takes 500 miles, 1,000 miles or even a year's worth of riding your recumbent to fully acclimate and train your muscles to be as efficient as on your DF --- I felt I'd made the adjustment from DF to trike in 500 miles, but from the trike to the Corsa took another 500 easily.

As always, YMMV.
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Old 09-12-14, 02:36 PM
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Unless you were approximately the same leg length (recumbents use the term X-seam for comparing) as the owner of the trike you will not get an accurate assessment of how you will do on a trike. It may be normal for leg muscles not used in riding a regular bike to get fatigued the first time your ride a recumbent but knee pain is not common if you have a properly adjusted trike. Sometimes mashers (vs spinners) who use too high a gear get knee pain but that is easily fixed by using lower gears. Try riding one that fits.
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Old 09-12-14, 02:51 PM
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I'm thinking we were about the same leg length - he was able to ride my bike without any obvious signs that it was out of fit for him. I was able to pedal to near extension, my leg not quite straight...
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Old 09-12-14, 07:51 PM
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I've known of recumbent riders with knee issues, but it's not a normal thing, not any more than upright bikes.
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Old 09-12-14, 07:55 PM
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I was kinda hoping it would be LESS of a problem than with upright bikes... :/
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Old 09-12-14, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
I've known of recumbent riders with knee issues, but it's not a normal thing, not any more than upright bikes.
My doctor informs me that knee problems are pretty much just a matter of time for most cyclists. I am sure he says the same for joggers as well.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 09-12-14 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 09-12-14, 09:05 PM
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I had never had knee problems when riding my DFs. When I transitioned to my first recumbent I was having knee pain in my left knee. Took a couple weeks to get the "fit" perfect but still had some pain. Now, 2,000 miles later I have no knee pains. No it didn't take 2,000 miles to get over it. It was more like 750. When I ride my EZ Sport I have no pains other than tire legs. I don't ride the Corsa as often, so when I ride it, my calf's get soar and ach. It's just an example of the difference in muscle use from one bent to another. On a bent, if your knees hurt, it's a sign of needing to fit the x-seam or you're using the wrong gear. Remember, on a bent you can't stand on the pedals for extra power. It's all in the legs and with the seat behind you, it's too easy to mash on the pedals. Odds are it's one of the two causing the problem, but, I would never tell you that it's not a physical problem in the knee. Only your doctor can tell you for sure.

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Old 09-12-14, 10:03 PM
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the knees are a problem, for sure - but they weren't hurting on the upright (what's "DF"??) and then, after a few miles on the recumbent, both of them were hurting.

It's probably a fit problem - I'm sure y'all are right.
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Old 09-13-14, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by etsisk View Post
(what's "DF"??)
DF = diamond frame or what you are probably thinking of when you say "the upright". You know, a "normal" bike, not a recumbent.
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Old 09-13-14, 06:55 PM
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Thanks!
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Old 09-15-14, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
My doctor informs me that knee problems are pretty much just a matter of time for most cyclists. I am sure he says the same for joggers as well.
Really? My osteo told me that cycling was the best thing I could do for my knees. As long as I keep riding the knees feel great.

Jogging/running is different (shock loading) and is a no-no for people with arthritis.
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Old 09-15-14, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
Really? My osteo told me that cycling was the best thing I could do for my knees. As long as I keep riding the knees feel great.

Jogging/running is different (shock loading) and is a no-no for people with arthritis.
I have arthritis myself. Strength training and just keeping moving seems to work best for me.
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Old 09-17-14, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
My doctor informs me that knee problems are pretty much just a matter of time for most cyclists. I am sure he says the same for joggers as well.
Front foot style landing or barefoot running is the solution for running related knee issues.
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Old 09-17-14, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
Front foot style landing or barefoot running is the solution for running related knee issues.
I have a friend that is a big proponent of bare foot running. I've been convinced of it's potential benefits... although I've never tried it myself.

For me and maybe many other of my also [advanced] aged friends... I think weight [as in over-weight] is our biggest hindrance. I know cycling is easier on the joints because of it's a low-no impact exercise. But extra weight still requires extra effort.

I was a runner decades ago and still do a little walk/run before breakfast some mornings. I also believe the heel-first style of jogging seems hazardous. I guess there is always that fine line between the benefits of exercise and the harm that can be done with any activity.
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Old 09-17-14, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I have a friend that is a big proponent of bare foot running. I've been convinced of it's potential benefits... although I've never tried it myself.

For me and maybe many other of my also [advanced] aged friends... I think weight [as in over-weight] is our biggest hindrance. I know cycling is easier on the joints because of it's a low-no impact exercise. But extra weight still requires extra effort.

I was a runner decades ago and still do a little walk/run before breakfast some mornings. I also believe the heel-first style of jogging seems hazardous. I guess there is always that fine line between the benefits of exercise and the harm that can be done with any activity.
Yes I suppose it's best to take it easy and slow when trying out new things.

I am also a big proponent of front foot running and recommend it every chance I get. I've been doing it for around 4 years now (I'm 31) and running has become painless and even a joyful experience.

If knee impact is a serious concern I actually think front foot runners might suffer less knee stress than cyclists. This is because the impact force is distributed to the leg muscle groups (calves, thighs etc.) and the various joints and bones are spared in the process. In fact the bones and joints would only hold the leg structure in place and sort of stay suspended like in air as you run.

Whereas with cycling there is constant pressure on the bones leading up to the knee, as you would be pressing the pedals with the whole foot including the heel. The knee is therefore under some constant stress. But of course cycling would be much safer for the knees than running with conventional running shoes.
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Old 09-17-14, 11:22 AM
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as a diabetic with knee pain, ain't no barefoot running gonna be happening, here! though an ultra-runner (100+ miles at a go!) friend of mine fooled around with it at one point. I think now she uses "barefoot shoes", ultra-lightweight runners...
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Old 09-17-14, 04:36 PM
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Read some of the threads on knee pain at Bentrider ('BentRider Online). You can put more pressure on your knees with a 'bent as opposed to an upright bike, which is why most will recommend spinning rather than mashing. But knee pain is far from inevitable, and there are all sorts of causes: pedals too far away, pedals too close, foot position on pedals, etc. Most of it does boil down to fit, which sometimes takes a while to get dialed in.
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