Novice rider: knee pain

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Novice rider: knee pain

Postby rider007 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:34 am

Hi,

Recently bought new hybrid bikes for me and my wife and really got hooked by cycling bug. :)

Problem is that out of the blue my wife started feeling knee pain (in both legs) when going up to hills. She never had this issue on old crap bike, but then she only did one longish ride of ~60km on old bike so hard to compare with the new one.

I suspect her new bike maybe not setup properly as LBS didn't measure much when we bought the bike. Bike is "Merida S-Presso 700-D", frame size 50" (mens).

We want to gradually increase our distances each ride (now averaging 40-60km) up to 80-100km, but if pain persists she has to stop cycling altogether, which is a shame.

So what are our options? Go back to LBS and ask for assistance? Google for proper setup and DIY? See a bike specialist (will be expensive and we are not pro's)?

Any help is really appreciated!
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by BNA » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:52 am

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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby Chanboy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:52 am

Getting fit properly to the bike would of course be a good start... though from my own experience I tend to get sore knees when my seat is too low. Raise it so that her legs can be fully extended when the pedal is at the low position.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby Tim » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:28 pm

Obviously a good bike fit is very important, but I'd suggest that these are big distances for relatively new riders.
I leapt back into the saddle after a ten year break and took on 30 odd kilometer rides daily and consequently suffered sore knees.
I started again with timed rather than distance rides of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, then increased each weeks time by 10 percent until I was riding for about 1.5 hours per day. I included easier days (and weeks) in these times. I now ride up to 1.5 hours most days but vary the speed, hills and intensity depending on how I feel. I don't much bother with distance or average speed measurements, I just go out and enjoy getting fit/fitter.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby Tim » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:35 pm

Another tip is keep the legs spinning at a fairly high cadence in easy gears. Avoid using the big chainring unless going fast downhill. The pain in your wife's legs is probably from grinding up big hills. Take it easy to begin with. It would be a shame to loose interest just because of poor technique.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby twizzle » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:51 pm

rider007 wrote:my wife started feeling knee pain (in both legs) when going up to hills.


Where exactly?
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby rider007 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:18 am

Thanks for your help guys!

Tim, I think you might be right here, we might be pushing too far too quick and we are not 20 year olds anymore. :shock:

twizzle wrote:
rider007 wrote:my wife started feeling knee pain (in both legs) when going up to hills.


Where exactly?


She said right in the middle of the knee cap. Once we get to the flat area, pain disappears.

She wasn't very good with gear changing at first, so for example if she didn't manage to change gears before the hill she would continue in that same gear all the way up! She is getting better at this, maybe this will help with knee pain as well.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby Tim » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:48 pm

A very basic rule of thumb is pain in front of knee, seat too low, pain in back of knee, seat too high.
Not too sure the experts would agree but it's just a pointer that has been around for years.
Of course there are lots of other bike fit and body alignment considerations all of which someone else more qualified than me can advise on.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby twizzle » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:05 pm

Hmmm - I did a post, it went missing.

Sounds like chondromalacia to me, but worth following up with a physio to see if it's caused by some misalignment issue (tight ilio-tibial band for instance). Better to be safe than to be the recipient of an artificial knee. :)
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby rider007 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:50 am

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

Organized bike setup in LBS where we bought bike from, this will at least eliminate incorrect bike setup.

If pain persists will look into other options like physio etc.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby elStado » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:18 pm

Hope it's OK to hijack, but I have been experiencing pain in my medial collateral ligament in my right knee for the past two days.

I have been riding a bit more than I usually do, but still not very long rides, only 12km today and 11km yesterday at a moderate pace.

My LBS fitted me to the bike when I got it about 18 months ago, but does anyone think it would be worth playing around with the seat height? I've also been smashing a few hills but always tried to make sure I would get into the correct gear before it got too steep.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby twizzle » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:59 am

LBS bike fits are usually crap. I bought my wife a bike last week, their 'stand over' and 'heel on pedal' was total BS and I raised the saddle by another cm after eyeballing her knee angles on the trainer. Knee-over-pedal-spindle is another of those daft rules-of-thumb. My knee pain issue with my right knee was only solved with a 20mm spacer between the crank arm and pedal.

Re. 'medial collateral ligament', is that an assessment from someone who knows what they are talking about? If it is - they should have told you what you need to do, and if not then you need to find a physio who known cycling and can work out why your knee is hurting.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby elStado » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:11 pm

twizzle wrote:Re. 'medial collateral ligament', is that an assessment from someone who knows what they are talking about? If it is - they should have told you what you need to do, and if not then you need to find a physio who known cycling and can work out why your knee is hurting.


No, it's a self assessment. Basically I looked up a diagram of a knee structure and identified where it was hurting.

Was hoping someone else had the same issue and could offer advice. Apparently pain around this area is quite common, even for young, fit people.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby twizzle » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:07 pm

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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby thomas_cho » Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:33 am

twizzle wrote:LBS bike fits are usually crap. I bought my wife a bike last week, their 'stand over' and 'heel on pedal' was total BS and I raised the saddle by another cm after eyeballing her knee angles on the trainer. Knee-over-pedal-spindle is another of those daft rules-of-thumb. My knee pain issue with my right knee was only solved with a 20mm spacer between the crank arm and pedal.

Re. 'medial collateral ligament', is that an assessment from someone who knows what they are talking about? If it is - they should have told you what you need to do, and if not then you need to find a physio who known cycling and can work out why your knee is hurting.


I agree with Twizzle about LBS and fittings. Not many know what they are doing, stand over clearance is complete bull crap. Most will not even offer to change stem lengths to find a correct one.

I have incurred a knee injury recently, and each year I seem to pick up injuries once I have covered about 4000km on the bike, and this often happens just as I am about to ramp up the milege in preparation for Fitz's challenge in Canberra. This had been happening for the last 3 years. This year I decided to look for a physio and people who actually know about bikefit. Turns out I had a slight leg difference (estimated 5-10mm), and my bike posture was suffering because of that. All my injuries were taking place on the left side of my body. My knee injury was a direct result of hrs spent on the bike with my leg trying to compensate for the leg length difference, the result was a tight ITB which pulled my petalla out of alignment.

Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, an incorrect cycling action repeated 1000s of times during a ride, can quickly result in injuries. So look for a bikefit professional, or physio who knows cycling. my bike setup has changed a lot since the bikefit, saddle moved back by 2cm, stem increased by 4cm. It will take me time to adjust to the new riding position. I have been introducing the changes slowly to allow my body to adapt to them. If you have been riding in a position for a while, make the changes gradually.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby elStado » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:46 pm

thomas_cho wrote:This year I decided to look for a physio and people who actually know about bikefit. Turns out I had a slight leg difference (estimated 5-10mm), and my bike posture was suffering because of that. All my injuries were taking place on the left side of my body. My knee injury was a direct result of hrs spent on the bike with my leg trying to compensate for the leg length difference, the result was a tight ITB which pulled my petalla out of alignment.

Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, an incorrect cycling action repeated 1000s of times during a ride, can quickly result in injuries. So look for a bikefit professional, or physio who knows cycling. my bike setup has changed a lot since the bikefit, saddle moved back by 2cm, stem increased by 4cm. It will take me time to adjust to the new riding position. I have been introducing the changes slowly to allow my body to adapt to them. If you have been riding in a position for a while, make the changes gradually.


Looks like I might have to have a look around to find someone. My right knee has been sore every day for the past week, even if I am only riding 10km a day.

I am worried that I'll cause more damage if I do longer rides, however I have been wanting to step up my riding distances.
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Re: Novice rider: knee pain

Postby elStado » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:49 pm

Just an update.

I adjusted my seat height a bit (lowered it by about 7mm) and scaled back my weekly KMs and my knee has been pretty much pain free since then.

With this new seat adjustment I will slowly scale up my KMs again and see how it fares. So far so good.
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