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Author Topic: Cycling knee problems  (Read 2195 times)

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Offline Milese

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Cycling knee problems
« on: April 01, 2010, 11:23:05 PM »
I've got a sore knee and am looking for some help.

I could right a short story about my knees so I'll try and keep it snappy.

About 3 years ago I started running and training for a half marathon. I got to about 10 miles but stopped due to anterior pain in both knees. Diagnosed by different people as tight ITBs or calves with no conclusion, but concencous that it was a tracking issue, but a major factor has to be going from virtually nothing to too much too quickly.

Tried running a half dozen or so times since and all is fine til I hit an apparent threshold of 3 miles, after which they start to feel a bit sore. I tried this about 8 weeks ago (before pain on bike) and its still true.

Cycling has generally been fine, but recently has changed. It started coming on 40 odd miles into longer rides, but has gradually been coming on sooner and now starts on my 7 mile commute.

I had started increasing mileage and intensity. Weekly mileage is generally 60-150 miles.

I gave it a complete week off everything, but it came straight back half an hour into a ride this weekend, even with trying to spin easier gears than grind bigger ones. 2 short rides later and I can feel it off bike, more on stairs etc.

My sister is a newly qualified sports therapist (with pretty much zero experience), and has been giving it ultrasound treatment, massaging my legs and reckons no muscles are particulary tight.

Pain is a building dull ache, never a sharp pain. Its always at the front of the knee around the lower knee cap. Whenever I think I've pinpointed the location it seems to move.

Both knees click a lot. Sometimes you can tell that they need to click free, and they always do painlessly after a few openings of the knee joint. I get a bit of swelling above the knee on the inside.

I've never had a proper bike fit or used any science in setting up my bikes. I've tried playing with saddle height and position with no change. Get pain on both bikes.

Whilst one knee is sore now, I dont think the other one is far behind. I've started icing them both a couple of times a day and popping glucosamine and cod liver oil.

I'm 26.

Can anyone recommend a physio with experience of knee injuries in the the Plymouth area of the UK?

Any attempts at a dianosis and advice on recovery? Am I going to benefit from a knee brace?

All help gratefully appreciated.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 11:41:29 PM by Milese »

Offline Milese

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Re: Cycling knee problems
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 08:02:52 PM »
Am I asking the wrong question or asking it in the wrong place?

Any advice would be great.

Offline weirdknees

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Re: Cycling knee problems
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 12:45:48 PM »
It sounds very much like a tracking or alignment problem, which is common amongst many cyclists and runners.  The problem might not be due to tight muscles, but could be a number of things, for e.g. a muscle imbalance.  I have a tracking problem with my kneecaps and I find cycling to be pretty painful.  The dull ache and the fact that the location of the pain moves are quite typical symptoms of a tracking problem.  The pain could also be due to how you cycle, it's important that your knees line up with your toes and that you push down with your heals.  Sadle-height is also very important.  Physio would probably help, make sure that it is a physio for sports injuries.  I don't know about a brace, they do sometimes help the pain, but they are not a good long term solution as it is more important to keep the muscles in your thighs strong (especially the muscles on the inside).

I hope I've helped!
knee pain since very young
2008 - diagnosed with patella tilt
2010 - partial meniscectomy

Offline Milese

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Re: Cycling knee problems
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2010, 05:56:48 PM »
Thanks for the reply.

I saw a physio today who did an assessment and recommended some exercises.

She identified that I've got a weakness in my left ankle that has led to a reduced range of movement, and worse balance. I've sprained that ankle maybe 4 times in the last couple of years without any proper rehab.

Apparently nothing is actually 'wrong' with me, I just need to focus on some strengthening.

I've also need to work on strengthening my glutes and quads.


Heal lifts off a step
One legged half squats (with eyes open and eyes shut)
Full squats with back to wall
Balance board work
Lying on your side raising your bum off the ground

Am I going to get enough strengthening from this sort of thing? Any reccomendations on other worthwhile exercises would be good.

Bike fit booked with Specialized on Monday.

I only had a 30 minute appointment so

Offline Snowy

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Re: Cycling knee problems
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2010, 09:04:48 PM »
It sounds a lot like tracking problems to me too. If that's the case then all the exercises you've been given should help (one of the keys to tracking problems is strengthening the muscles around the knee) but it might be worth getting a couple of cheap knee braces too and seeing if that helps. It's a small investment and I found they really helped with my PFS, which was coming from tracking issues. The braces with the donut hole for the patellar are the ones that will help if it is a tracking issue. Can't hurt to give it a try. I found that braces, custom orthotics and ultimately, a lot of strengthening exercises were key to getting things feeling better, along with some NSAIDs to help settle down the inflammation while I worked on the exercises.

Good luck!
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline mmrocker13

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Re: Cycling knee problems
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2010, 09:36:30 PM »
Go get a bike fit. Explain the issues you are having to them, and have them fit you.
89: Pat. dislocation, lat. meniscus tear, femoral OCD lesion
89: debridement, chondroplasty, lateral partial menisectomy
02: partial lat. menisc., debride
02: mfx
09: subtotal menisc., debride, c'plasty
10: scope/debride
10: varus DFO
13: HWR
15: total menisc., debride, c'plasty, notchplasty