View Full Version : Push thru, bike fit, or visit the doc?

05-29-2007, 11:31 AM
Hi all!
I'm brand new to this forum - been reading around a lot, but this is my first post. I'm so glad to have found you all!
Real quick - we (hubby and I) bought our bikes in the end of February. Since then we've put a little over 500 miles on them, and are LOVING cycling. We're hoping to do STP in July....(the 2 day version!)
On our last organized ride (we did the 70 mile route), the last 20 miles were in the pouring rain, it was cold, and my rear tire kept going flat. There' more to it than that, but that's the bare bone details. Anyway - we stopped at mile 68.5 to fill my tire, and when I got back on my left knee hurt like nothing I've ever felt before. Sharp pain, interior towards the front, only on the push down part of the pedal stroke. UGH!! Add to it sore girly parts, and I was a joy to finish with!
After a week off of the bikes, we went on our first ride yesterday. At first, the right knee was sore, but that eased up. Then my back (right side) started to spazm and tighten up. Worked through that OK. Finally, after stopping to get some water, we got back on and my left knee gave me the same problem as before. Grrrr.....
We got up again this morning to get some miles in, and from the start that left knee was screaming. We made it about 1.5 miles before we turned around to come home.
I also decided after our last organized ride that my saddle just wasn't doing it for me. I have a Specialized Dolce Elite, and it's the saddle that came with the bike. After lots of lurking here, I measured my sit bones, and bought a San Marco Glamour. So far I like it - but the knee thing is priority at the moment.
So - what do you think - so I go back to the LBS and get a more accurate fit done (they can and will do this), do I see the doc and have him tell me to slow down (Slow down? We have the STP to train for??), or is this something that I just have to push through?
I'm thinking to try and tweak the fit and see what happens. Then I guess see the doc if the problem persists.
Nothing more frustruating that wanting to get out and ride, and then not be able to.....
THANKS to all in advance for your thoughts!!

05-29-2007, 11:41 AM
hi Orcoz

The way you are describing pain, I'd be wondering about the doctor. but go and get a professional bike fit. Don't wait. You COULD damage your knee and never be able to ride without pain.
Make sure the person who fits you knows what he's doing. I recommend Erik Moen, he's a Pt person and specializes in bike fit. If you have a cool doctor they can send you a referral to see Erik. GOod luck
and don't over train for STP it's not THAT hard.

ps welcome to TE!

05-29-2007, 11:47 AM
It almost sounds like a torn meniscus but that seems an unlikely injury in cycling. Did you do any sudden movements that would affect you knee?
You should probably have an MRI. A knee injury if left untreated can eventually affect your whole body.

05-29-2007, 12:05 PM
With the description of "my knee was screaming in the first 1.5 miles of the ride", after being off the bike for week, I would be pretty concerned about the knee and I think I would be going to the doctor to have he or she look at it.

Could be Chrondolomacia (sp?) that is more under the knee cap though so it is hard from your description to tell what it is. Usually, you do not injury your knee too badly while cycling, but it could also be tendinitis??? Anyway, just thoughts.

Sometimes a knee will just need warming up and stretching when you are experiencing one of the two maladies above, and then will get a little better as you are warmed up.

Did you push really hard on the ride you went on? i.e. were you pushing bigger gears or feeling fatigued and at that point did it feel like you were pushing a bigger gear when you weren't? You could have fatigued your knees pretty good since you have just started riding this year.

But, I think if you have "screaming" pain, you should go see a doc. If it is nothing serious, at least they can send you to a PT where they can give you stretching, strengthening, etc. exercises to help you work through these issues with your knee.


05-29-2007, 01:08 PM
I also recommend going to Erik Moen. Since he's a PT, he will understand what's going on and will make changes when he can and recommend other changes if they require parts.

I'd also say to do it as soon as possible. Not only could you be damaging something but if you're going to ride STP, you want to be comfortable with the new adjustments by that point. There will be changes and he recommends doing short rides for the first week to get used to them.

05-29-2007, 03:51 PM
Hey all! Thanks for the input! I'm looking for a good doc to check it out, and I'm also looking up Erik.
I've been pretty active all my life. Lots of swimming, jogging, hiking etc. with no major injuries. No surgeries or anything like that. I think a twisted ankle is about as serious as it got.
On the 70 mile ride we went on (on the 20th) I was feeling pretty good. The last 20 miles I had a flat in my rear tire that we had to keep stopping every couple miles to fill up. (Forgot the tool kit on the dining room table) The SAG wagon finally showed up <1.5 miles from the end. I was determined to finish by that point. I just stepped off the bike and stood there while DH filled the tire. No precipitating event to cause the injury, but yes, I know I was pushing harder than usual with the relatively flat tire. Middle ring though, and it was a relatively flat ride.
Even yesterday's ride I was feeling OK (after the Other knee and my back worked itself out) too. Then we stopped for water and bang, that left knee decided to reappear when I got back on. I finished that ride, but I was sore.
Now this morning just hurt from the get go, so we turned around (thank DH for that one, I would have kept going to see if it worked itself out). This afternoon the knee is a bit sore, but I can do stairs, walk, jog, etc. with no pain. But put me on the bike and yowie!
I know STP isn't THAT hard, but I'm kind of self-driven that way. Don't want to be back with the folks riding their big-wheels.
You're all awesome! If you have further thoughts I'm all ears!

05-29-2007, 04:11 PM
Hi, orcoz!

Well, I think that since the pain is *only* when you are on the bike, it could be a bike fit issue - anything from saddle height and position, to the cleat position in your shoe. Check it out, and check it out soon - bad fit can cause physical problems that you might always have to live with!

I usually tell everyone to run to the doctor first. If you have to wait a long time to see a doctor, set that appointment up too....try to make it a few days or a week after getting the new fit done. If you find the better fit cures it, you can always cancel the doc appt.

Nothing more frustruating that wanting to get out and ride, and then not be able to.....

Believe me, I really do know how unpleasant that is!

Hugs and soothing butterflies,

05-29-2007, 08:54 PM
I also decided after our last organized ride that my saddle just wasn't doing it for me. I have a Specialized Dolce Elite, and it's the saddle that came with the bike. After lots of lurking here, I measured my sit bones, and bought a San Marco Glamour. So far I like it - but the knee thing is priority at the moment.

Did your pain begin before or after you changed saddles? Did you adjust your saddle height to compensate for the difference in "thickness" of the two different saddles? You should measure the total distance from the top of the saddle (using a clipboard on top of the saddle) to the center of the botom bracket. Depending on the design of the saddles, you might need to move your seat post up or down with the new saddle.

At this point, I would recommend getting re-fit. And I have to endorse Erik Moen as well -- he's the best in the business in the seattle area.

05-29-2007, 09:19 PM
I also say go to Erik Moen. He is one of my heroes!


05-29-2007, 10:06 PM
Hey there!
I've got a message in to Erik. Hopefully I can get in with him soon....;)
The problem started on my old saddle. Between the ouchy girly parts and the ouchy knee I bought the new saddle - it was just put on a few days ago. I did compensate for the difference in height, but I'm convinced with you all thinking the bike re-fit is going to be key.
Blech - I'm going to have to run for the next couple days instead. It seems so SLOW now....
I love this forum - so glad to have found it!!

05-30-2007, 11:09 AM
definitaly go to a ortho and have the knee checked out!! besides having a bike fit done.

I had very similar pain to what you are describing!!! and I ended up needing knee surgery(mri showed the issue), but I was lucky and was back on the bike within a week of the surgery(but it took me almost 2 months to get it looked at, so I was off the bike off and on for those months).

Just have your bike fitted! make sure your saddle and peddle(ahhh spelling is not looking right but i am having a brain fart) positions are correct, even being off a mm can make a huge difference!

05-31-2007, 08:08 PM
Being knock-kneed and twitchy butted all my life, I never knew that this condition made it unlikely that I would be athletic. I had always assumed I was " just being lazy." Well, turns out cycling brought out the worst of it. Walking, I can compensate for the odd angle at my knee but when my hips are stationary on a bike seat, the knee is on its own. Being a flat footed/severely pronated walker adds again to the problem. SO the knee isn't going to get better till I get the pedals canted on my bike and I get a custom insert for my shoes AND do some exercises cuz one of my hips just stopped rotating when I walk to (again) compensate for all the other stuff. Some of my clumsiness was also explained as a side effect of all this stuff.

06-04-2007, 08:32 PM
Hi all!
A quick update for you -
Last Friday I took my bike into the LBS to fit the bike. (Granted, they did this as well when we bought the bike, but hey, I'm ready for anything which will help) They wound up raising my seat over an inch! They adjusted my cleats, and moved my seat back a bit.
I couldn't wait to give it a try! On friday we went out for a short ride - I really worked on keeping my cadence up and feeling like I was "floating" on my pedals - no hard pushing.
While I felt my knee get tight after the first couple of miles, there was no pain!
We went for a bit longer ride yesterday with no problems, and I rode again tonight with no problems -- well my bottom/girlie parts hurt, but that's a different issue....
I'm still planning to see Erik, and then if the problem recurs I'll see the doc.
Yeah! I'm optimistic it's going to work out!

06-05-2007, 06:34 AM
Great news, Orcoz. sometimes it takes just a little bit of an adjustment.
Glad they helped you.

06-05-2007, 06:06 PM
Just seeing this thread for the first time, but I had terrible knee pain the first week of cycling and it turned out to be the seat was too low and also too far back. Seat placement is really simple if you're a professional, so I'm surprised your LBS didn't get it right the first time! I bought my bike over the internet, so had to figure out all the fitting stuff myself through trial and error and lots of internet info.

Hope the pain doesn't return for you! :D

06-17-2007, 10:43 PM
Just a quick update -
Rode in a century ride yesterday. Only made it 82 miles, but that was due to another in our group having a horrible allergy attack.
Anyway, not a bit of pain in the left knee! My right knee is killing me, but that's a result of me tipping over like a cow. Rode the whole way without lube in the shorts and could have kept going. YEAH!!
By the way, the LBS did fit me originally, and I think something must have happened along the way where the seat was lowered and I didn't realize it (maybe during a tune up, or even when I was cleaning the bike). But since the adjustment it's been night and day!!
DH went in and had his bike fit tweaked a bit too. We're really excited to ride tomorrow!!