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Fixed gear & ACL damage

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Fixed gear & ACL damage

Old 06-03-06, 12:52 PM
  #1  
macaroni steve
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Fixed gear & ACL damage

Interested in trying out fixed gear cycling. My friend told me that he was advised by his LBS against it because of possible ACL damage that can occur.

Does anyone know anything about this? Is ACL tearing a common accident with fixed gear riders? What about fixed gear cycling can cause this?

thnks
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Old 06-03-06, 01:04 PM
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I tore my ACL riding BMX, and riding a track bike has made my leg much stronger. It hurt at first, but then it was fine after I built up strength.
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Old 06-03-06, 03:58 PM
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a friend of the pirates tore her ACL in a collision, she wasnt riding fixed, and it was the impact of the collision not riding style/stresses. she had to have intensive sugery and was off her bike for a few months but shes healed up now.
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Old 06-03-06, 04:05 PM
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iver had acl surgery and fixed is just fine...although i fully believe that all the fixed talk being bad for your knees is hooey..if youre not pushing an impossible gear, and pedeling and stopping with your muscles, not your knees.. all it does is make your knee muscles stronger, which is the main ingredient to avoiding acl tears
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Old 06-03-06, 04:51 PM
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yeah, i've had ACL surgery and i'm fine on fixed. if anything it builds up the muscles necessary to stabalize your knee, making it more secure.
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Old 06-03-06, 08:07 PM
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Agreed , I had an acl reconstruction about 2 years ago and feel ok .
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Old 06-03-06, 08:20 PM
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I've got a bad knee myself. Initially just tore the ACL in '98 and had it repaired surgically, but have re-injured the ACL repeatedly since then in off-bike endeavors and now have chondromalacia patella, a loss of cartilage on the inside of the kneecap, due to the altered movement. I did some research on it and talked to some PTs, and while mashing will mess up your knee more, spinning at a lower ratio can strengthen the muscles around your knee reinforcing the structure. I'm pretty happy on my fixie, and ride 39x16. I don't go quite as fast as other people, but I get a good enough speed and my knee feels great.
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Old 06-03-06, 10:01 PM
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my knees have just started to become sore, but the past several days I've been riding like a madman with this crazy weather.
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Old 06-03-06, 10:47 PM
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I had pain and general soreness in mine when I first started skidding, but have since been just fine.
I started a thread about it a few months back, and the stretches and info that these cats on here gave was extremely helpful. check the "find all threads started by moximitre" I'ts the only one I ever started.
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Old 06-04-06, 12:14 AM
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I will let you know after my 3rd surgery and no not track related.

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Old 06-04-06, 01:41 AM
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I was hit by car in '94 and was diagnosed with chondromalacia patella too. I've logged thousands of miles on my road bike - less so than my fixed gear which I've only had for 3 or so years and I have been fine. I run a 40x16 to get me up the San Francisco hills - which even in that low gear sometimes still requires a stand and grind. I do some occassional running when I don't have time to ride and that seems to aggravate the knee the worst. I read somewhere that cyclists suffer from softer bones as opposed to runners. Something like there isn't enough pounding on the bones in cycling which doesn't toughen them up. But I digress. Net-net, whether it's cycling or running - it's better than sitting on my couch w/ the remote and chips.
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Old 06-04-06, 02:03 AM
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damn that was a serious gear
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Old 06-04-06, 02:22 AM
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Tore my ACL playing Ultimate when I was 25 and had it reconstructed, along with 3 stitches to the meniscus, when I was 26. I was told unlimited biking 30 days post-op, and took that seriously.

I stopped doing stop-and-cut sports and pretty much stuck to cycling, including track racing, and the biking has helped keep my leg stable and the knee smooth inside-- it actually gets more achy if I don't ride regularly (which isn't very much)-- I took some time off track racing (but still rode all the time), but am back at it full blast (at the age of 40) for the past couple years, and I haven't even noticed any kind of strain that might reinjure it. I've put strain on it skiing, and doing yoga, but cycling has been great, including the track.
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Old 06-04-06, 04:32 AM
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My knees have gotten considerably better since I started riding fixed...
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Old 06-04-06, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Fugazi Dave
My knees have gotten considerably better since I started riding fixed...
Same here. I procured an ACL problem skiing. Since then, I have started riding fixed and it went away, to the point that when I played some serious beach volleyball yesterday for the first time in 15 years, my knees and legs felt younger than when I stopped playing all these years ago.

Caveat - hard city riding might be different to what I do (10 mi one way commute, hills, no frequent stops on the way, 50x18)
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Old 06-04-06, 05:42 AM
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OK, I seem to be the only one here without a clue... can someone tell me what ACL is?
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Old 06-04-06, 06:23 AM
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ACL = anterior cruciate ligament.

From the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, ACL Reconstruction page:
Ligaments are tough, non-stretchable fibers that hold your bones together. The cruciate ligaments in your knee joints crisscross to give you stability on your feet. People often tear the ACL by changing direction rapidly, slowing down from running or landing from a jump. Young people (age 15-25) who participate in basketball and other sports that require pivoting are especially vulnerable. You might hear a popping noise when your ACL tears. Your knee gives out and soon begins to hurt and swell.

A bit more detail on one of their other pages ACL Injury: Should it be fixed?

Please don't take this as professional medical advice on my part, but I do recall in college that those that had ACL surgery as part of their rehab were put on a stationary bike. It was one of the first activities they did. At first it was done slowly, to test their range of motion and it was done before any other weight bearing activities. In fact it was often done before they even started walking.

Just my opinion, but I can't see how riding fixed can lead to ACL injuries. If people want to claim that it leads to other knee damage, it is tougher to argue with, but ACL injury, I just don't see it.

Last edited by acavengo; 06-04-06 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 06-04-06, 06:35 AM
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I can see further damaging an ACL by mashing on too high a ratio or trying to stop by applying backpressure too hard. I've certainly felt it when slowing too much with my feet.
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Old 06-04-06, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by soze
I can see further damaging an ACL by mashing on too high a ratio or trying to stop by applying backpressure too hard. I've certainly felt it when slowing too much with my feet.
yeah. i had discomfort in my knee over the winter when i was riding 49X15 as my street gearing. i dropped back to 48X16, 48X17, and 49X17 on my bikes. the discomfort subsided within a couple of weeks and hasn't yet returned.
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Old 06-04-06, 08:25 AM
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I tore my ACL and messed up most of the cartilage around my knee (before I rode bikes every day). I never had surgery but went for phys therapy and yoga instead. I still get knee pain every now and then, but I am really careful and hyper-aware so that I take a break as soon as the pain gets serious. Whenever it hurts I just take a few days off, stretch and take it easy. And really, that knee sometimes hurts for no apparent reason so it's not always biking related.

I think it is becoming generally accepted that running a lower gear (so you spin more and have less pressure) is the best way to go until your leg gets stronger. Then after that just pay close attention to it and do everything in your power to keep your leg from twisting - ever. Straight leg motions are the best.

Good luck. Get riding!
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Old 06-04-06, 08:48 AM
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Here you go! It is the view of the left knee.

S/F,
CEYA!
Attached Images
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Old 06-04-06, 09:31 AM
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Like a few people I tore my ACL. But I also managed to tear my MCL and Pateller. Once all the swelling had gone and I was able to ride a regular road bike again I was told to switch to a fixxie with a easy gear. I rode a 40/16. (69" I think) Spend hours and hours just riding around, Commute on it too. Do as much riding on your fixxie a you can. Dont worry about "perfecting" your spin. It will come. Without knowing it you will build an amazing set of stability muscles in your legs. A good chunk of the time I would ride with guys on theire road bikes and just spin my brains out. I still do that. Funny how what was a "rehab" from a bad downhill crash turned me into a trackie.....

The 2 biggest things again are 1. Light gears! 2. Get your saddle position absolutly perfect.
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Old 06-04-06, 09:59 AM
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I have a partially torn right acl (had the mensicus trimmed after getting a flap tear). The cruciates act to limit front to back shear in the knee. If you take your hand and cross your middle (signalling) finger over your index finger and put your hand on you knee (same side) the topmost finger is the anterior cruciate, the backmost the posterior cruciate. The anterior cruciate is tightest with your knee straight. In fact the last few degrees of extension, your lower leg actually turns outward a bit because of the tightnes (screw home mechanism). Strengthing the muscles that cross your knee also help stabilize the joint. The quads stress the ACL, the hamstrings don't.

Riding fixed may cause some stress on the ACL, because your quads would be active during resistance but I'm not sure how much would actually be a problem. Someone who is more math inclined than I may be able to figure it out; a healthy ACL fails at 1725 N.
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Old 06-04-06, 10:45 AM
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I partially tore my ACl and MCL riding BMX and instead of being out of commision for 5-8 months, I went to rehab, during the session the guy told me that riding a bike with clipless pedals would build up the muscles around my knee. So I bought a fixie like 3 years ago and all my knee pains went away. I ride a 48x18 and work as a cook standing up for sometimes 12 hours a day and my knee has been fine. But my bike got jacked about a month ago so I haven't been riding...the knee pain is slowly creeping back....
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Old 06-04-06, 09:49 PM
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Not a single post about riding fixed actually messing up knees. This is excellent.
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