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Will cycling destroy my knees?

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Will cycling destroy my knees?

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Old 12-18-09, 04:03 PM
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thermador
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Will cycling destroy my knees?

Need some wisdom from older cyclists here.

I am in my mid 20s (no major knee issues yet). I don't ride track bikes / fixed gear and I live in a hilly area, so my bikes are all triple chainrings. So that is good I guess.

Do cyclists have a higher rate of knee problems, lower, or about the same? (Edit: versus the general population of non-cyclists.)

Last edited by thermador; 12-18-09 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:05 PM
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Nope. Not at all. As a matter of fact cycling is what runners do once running has destroyed their knees.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by thermador View Post

Do cyclists have a higher rate of knee problems, lower, or about the same?
Higher or lower than who? We have less knee issue than runners and I would guess more than stamp collectors
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Old 12-18-09, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
Higher or lower than who? We have less knee issue than runners and I would guess more than stamp collectors
Haha yeah. Cycling is almost a zero impact sport (at least road cycling) should you have enough ability to do it correctly (avoid bumps)
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Old 12-18-09, 04:09 PM
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More than swimming, less than tennis and running.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by zeo_max View Post
Haha yeah. Cycling is almost a zero impact sport (at least road cycling) should you have enough ability to do it correctly (avoid bumps)
Improper fit can and do cause a host of knee issues. Cycling is low impact but if done wrong it can hurt the knees. To slow of a cadence, to low seat height, to high seat height, improperly adjusted cleats....etc....the list goes on.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:11 PM
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I heard (from BF) for best results you should also keep your cadence high (90+). Higher is better, causes less stress on the knees. I dont know if that's true, or a myth. I'm just repeating the gospel I heard. And it may help you.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:14 PM
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Did you run or bike in high school? I don't mean biking to school.

I had ITBS every year in cross country in H.S., but at the time I had no idea what it was, I just had to run it off. which obviously didn't happen until the end of the season (when I'd stop running, and lose most of the gains )

Basically if you already do distance you'll know if you are prone to getting similar repetative motion problems. the main thing for me is prevention: Stretch a lot. mainly, some people like me have to ice their knees after any sort of cardio. Or just turn the shower ice cold and run them over your legs. If I don't stretch and use the rollers and use cold therapy after a few months i'll get a crippling bout of itbs.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
Improper fit can and do cause a host of knee issues. Cycling is low impact but if done wrong it can hurt the knees. To slow of a cadence, to low seat height, to high seat height, improperly adjusted cleats....etc....the list goes on.
This.

Another issue is that since cycling is so non impact it can contribute to a loss of bone density.
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Old 12-18-09, 04:23 PM
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Life will destroy your knees...

You have two options...
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Old 12-18-09, 04:40 PM
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i F'ed my knee in other sports. had to have surgery. the knee surgeon told me i should never take up running or too much sports requiring running and to stick to swimming or cycling.
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Old 12-18-09, 05:11 PM
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If your in your mid 20's you really shouldn't be worrying about your knees
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Old 12-18-09, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tristan86 View Post
If your in your mid 20's you really shouldn't be worrying about your knees

my knee surgery was at 28. being careful young is good. if i had been caeful, i wouldnt be stuck on a bike.
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Old 12-18-09, 05:20 PM
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I've seen far more of the "stamp collector" type (your not-so-average-size folk) with knee surgery scars than the running/cycling type. Just remember that if your knees hurt while cycling, you are doing something wrong. Most of those wrong things have already been mentioned in this thread.
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Old 12-18-09, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tristan86 View Post
If your in your mid 20's you really shouldn't be worrying about your knees
Dad just had knee surgery, it's on my mind lately I guess. Mainly I've heard about people ruining their knees by riding fixed gears with big chainrings/small cogs and no brakes.
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Old 12-18-09, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
i F'ed my knee in other sports. had to have surgery. the knee surgeon told me i should never take up running or too much sports requiring running and to stick to swimming or cycling.
same with me, I'm 30 and starting to have arthritis, doctors and physical therapists said (verbatim) "don't walk, don't run" (which I take to mean: minimize walking and don't do sports that require a lot of running, but yes, do run from that sabre tooth tiger) but do more cycling and swimming.
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Old 12-18-09, 06:14 PM
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My knees suck and riding seems to have made them stronger. Hills sometimes are a pain, but only if I'm stubborn about shifting down.
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Old 12-18-09, 06:19 PM
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I think the conventional wisdom is that cycling (with good form and on a properly fitted bike) is good for the knees because it strengthens the muscles surrounding them.
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Old 12-18-09, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
i F'ed my knee in other sports.
Soccer?
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Old 12-18-09, 06:37 PM
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i started cycling because i had bad knees. now my knees and legs feel better than they did when i was a teen. i ride fixed and skid at times too...
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Old 12-18-09, 06:41 PM
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Every thing I have read stresses rapid cadence as a way to avoid knee injuries. Also, maintaining the same level of effort when encountering hills rather than the same speed. This of course does not take into consideration racing all out but even then it was wonderful to watch Lance Armstrong remaining in the saddle for so long during the climbs through the alps during his first Tour de France win. Maintaining the same level of effort means shifting down for hills.
Joan Benoit, who won the first Women's Olympic Running Marathon, has had to deal with arthroscopic knee surgery if I remember correctly.

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Old 12-18-09, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
my knee surgery was at 28. being careful young is good. if i had been caeful, i wouldnt be stuck on a bike.

Lol. My first knee surgery was at 20 with the first dislocation at 12 years old. My left one's been repaired twice and my right one is just as bad as the left. After pounding on my body for years (I'm 43 now) skiing, mt. biking and coaching wrestling, I finally decided to give up the pain and get into road biking. I don't look at it as stuck though. I look at it as being fortunate enough to wake up some mornings not in pain . Of course I wouldn't change a thing though. You only go around once.
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Old 12-18-09, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tristan86 View Post
If your in your mid 20's you really shouldn't be worrying about your knees
I am 20 years old with knee pains that bother me enough to wear a brace everyday. I recently started biking to and from school and for excercise (averaging maybe only 5 miles a day). I must say that me knees do feel a bit more at ease, although the brace is still necessary.
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Old 12-18-09, 09:30 PM
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Just use your head and take care of your knees. Be sure your fit on the bike works for you, down to the cleats. If it starts to hurt, get it solved. And yes, a higher cadence wiill usually help save the knees.
Cycling is somthing you should be able to do your whole life. I'm 55 and over 200 pounds and I do lots of climbing rides and I've had pretty good luck with my knees so far.
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Old 12-18-09, 10:44 PM
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I'm the bad knee expert here.

But I don't answer questions in the 41 or the 33 anymore. There's a thread for that. If you can find it.
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