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Back of the knee pain

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Back of the knee pain

Old 10-08-15, 03:55 PM
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Back of the knee pain

Hello,

Grateful if somebody can give me a hint:

Symptoms: A pain on the back of right knee, gradually increasing at pedal stroke, after some 30-40 km of riding, accompanied by a feeling of crack (no audible noise, just a feeling). No swelling, no change in color. I can’t detect any point of pain or other sign while pressing the region with the fingers. A few hours after the ride, the pain gradually reduces almost to zero, but the feeling of “silent crack” when bending the foot still remains.

I started riding (road bike) 2 months ago, after many years of break. During the first 6 weeks of riding I continuously felt that the saddle height became to low, so I gradually raised it with around 4 cm (5-10 mm at once). My inseam did not increase, of course , but week after week I had an increasing need to pedal with the toes lower and lower – that is my comfort zone. The actual angle of the feet with pedal down look normal (feet are a little bent). I still feel the need to raise the saddle with some 5mm, but I did not do it because of the pain. Overall, I feel the bike reasonably comfortable now, apart from this pain and a little need to increase my flexibility in order to deal with a handlebar that is around 5cm below the saddle.

My average cadence is around 85 and I use MTB cleats that allow some rotation (e.g.: I can easily touch the cranks with my heels, if I want).

Does anybody have any recommendation for me at this stage, other than medical investigation or lowering the saddle (which, in fact, I would feel more comfortable to raise a bit)?

Thanks,
R.
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Old 10-08-15, 04:09 PM
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Your saddle could be too high or too far back. That will cause back of the knee pain by overstretching the tendon.
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Old 10-08-15, 04:21 PM
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Is your right leg shorter than the other? I shimmed my right shoe and that got rid of the pain and required nightly icing.

Keith
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Old 10-08-15, 04:23 PM
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As suggested above your saddle could be too high or too far back but your cleats could also be too far forward or you might need cleat wedges. There are too many variables for us to troubleshoot your problem online so I suggest you get a bike fit.
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Old 10-08-15, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
Your saddle could be too high or too far back. That will cause back of the knee pain by overstretching the tendon.
Thanks.
Saddle too far back would not match; as a matter of facts, I have the saddle close to maximum fore.

I keep the alternative of lowering the saddle as a last alternative, if there is nothing else I can do; that's because I feel it comfortable now (in fact, I feel the need to raise it just a little bit, but I don't raise it because of the pain).
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Old 10-08-15, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Thanks.
Saddle too far back would not match; as a matter of facts, I have the saddle close to maximum fore.

I keep the alternative of lowering the saddle as a last alternative, if there is nothing else I can do; that's because I feel it comfortable now (in fact, I feel the need to raise it just a little bit, but I don't raise it because of the pain).
It's comfortable but it's causing you pain?
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Old 10-08-15, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Thanks.
Saddle too far back would not match; as a matter of facts, I have the saddle close to maximum fore.

I keep the alternative of lowering the saddle as a last alternative, if there is nothing else I can do; that's because I feel it comfortable now (in fact, I feel the need to raise it just a little bit, but I don't raise it because of the pain).
Yeah, not everyone has the same flexibility. You'll even see some pros with their saddle pretty low and a lot of knee bend.
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Old 10-08-15, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
It's comfortable but it's causing you pain?
No. It is comfortable because if I lower it, the angle of the legs with pedal down is visibly low and I feel pain in the muscles close to the knees at both legs and still, not sure that this is the cause. So, I simply try to avoid it in order not to jump into another issue, but I coult try it just as a last experiment. Unfortunately, there are no "bike fitters" in my area, so I have to solve it by myself, via experiments.

I didn't find differences between the legs length, by empirical measurement (I ignore a few mm differences because they could come from measurement errors).

The cleats are, indeed, close to the maximum fore on the shoe, although I thought they match my toes with the center of the pedal. I think I shall test them - say 5 mm back - would it make a difference?
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Old 10-08-15, 05:05 PM
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Bike Fitting Specialists - Cycling Knee Pain
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Old 10-09-15, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
No. It is comfortable because if I lower it, the angle of the legs with pedal down is visibly low and I feel pain in the muscles close to the knees at both legs and still, not sure that this is the cause. So, I simply try to avoid it in order not to jump into another issue, but I coult try it just as a last experiment. Unfortunately, there are no "bike fitters" in my area, so I have to solve it by myself, via experiments.

I didn't find differences between the legs length, by empirical measurement (I ignore a few mm differences because they could come from measurement errors).

The cleats are, indeed, close to the maximum fore on the shoe, although I thought they match my toes with the center of the pedal. I think I shall test them - say 5 mm back - would it make a difference?
This sounds like your problem.

Most peopld like to have their cleats just behind the ball of the toes. I have my on the downslope of the ball of the foot (just behind the ball of the foot).

Remember that this may change some of your other contact points. But try doing this. It will probably stretch you out a little, and you may have to lower your seat some.

Here's a good article on cleat position by Steve Hogg.

GH
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Old 10-09-15, 09:43 AM
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I had some pain behind my left knee in a similar manner. I moved my cleats as far back as they go on my shoes and added a spacer under the left cleat as I assumed the pain was related to a slight leg length discrepancy. Problem solved.

I haven't ever had a "real" fit, but with trial and error over the last 5 years I've reached a place where I don't have any pain even after 12+ hour weeks. I've also noticed that rotating the saddle a few degrees to one side can help with knee pain, just have to find what works for you.
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Old 10-09-15, 10:13 AM
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Your seat may be at the maximum fore, but that doesn't mean it's doesn't need to be more forward.

I have a bike that's too big for me and I'll have to find a way to get the seat more forward. Either flip the seat post around or get a different one.
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Old 10-09-15, 10:27 AM
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Your fit is pretty easy to check.

Saddle height and setback are also easy to measure.

https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...e-you-buy.html

This is a thread I started for people who ask what size bike to ride. Not all is applicable to you, but the saddle height and setback measuring parts are. Just spend a few minutes and see if you are in the ball park. This calculator doesn't involve shoe size, cleat position, or crank length, but it will give you a really good idea if you are too far up or back.

Behind the knee pain is almost always from over-reaching. The reason you are over-reaching can only be saddle height or foot position related.
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Old 10-09-15, 12:06 PM
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Whoa.

Sounds to me like you got your saddle into an extreme position without a good reason, and I think you need to reset and then slowly start over. It is very common for advanced beginner cyclists to set their saddle too high and too far forward, in order to get into a position that feels more like running, or walking up stairs, but that is not the optimal position for cycling. I would suggest you to set the saddle height so that you can pedal with your heels without your hips rocking, and set the setback so that the bony protrusion at the top of your tibia is above the pedal spindle*. Also move the the cleats back to a more neutral position. Give it some time to get used to it and then start with small adjustments from there.

*Yes, I know KOPS is not the be-all-end-all for saddle positioning, but it is a good start. Definitely better than slamming the saddle forward and as high as it can go.
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Old 10-09-15, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for the answers.

I think I set the saddle just a little too fore to improve reach, due to some low flexibility of my body. I shall first try to move the cleats 1 cm back, then compensate a little with the saddle height if necessary. Maybe it will work. Then, I'll try moving the saddle if necessary.

I’m amazed to see how difficult is now to fit a bike. When I was much younger and ride for a club, the coach used to fit the race bikes in 10 minutes, only by static visual observation. The cleats were fixed on standard shoes and we used straps. I was never in pain and nor were my colleagues, despite the fast fitting. It looks that something radically changed in bikes geometry, so that fitting a bike today became a science…

Thanks,
Red
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