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Thread: Knee pain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    10

    Knee pain

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    So here's the deal, I got my first road bike in June and was immediately and hopelessly addicted to cycling. I was trying to take things slow to give myself time to break everything in (saddle, muscles, flexibility...) and was generally riding about 15-40 miles a week. In mid July I began to have slight knee pain and by the end of July my knee was screaming. I stopped riding and made an appointment with a local bike fitter and physical therapist. He tells me I have weak hips and a tight IT band and with daily use of the foam roller and exercise I should be able to be back on the bike in 10 days. So I RELIGIOUSLY roll around on this self-inflicted torture device multiple times everyday knowing that I will reap the benefit once I start riding again. The day finally comes and as soon as I start riding the knee pain immediately comes back. That was three weeks ago. I have used the foam roller every day and when I ride I keep a nice easy cadence and avoid hills or anything that causes too much force on the pedals...but I'm still in pain.
    The only other thing I can think of is my shoes. I'm riding with tennis shoes and platform pedals with a cage that's too big for my feet. Generally when I ride my feet are sliding all over the place and I'm wondering if that's causing some misalignment. My bike fitter told me that my knees stayed pretty straight when I peddled but that he would need to add 3 mm of shims to my right shoe (when I get clipless) because its natural rotation was slightly off.

    So I'm in the process of purchasing shoes and pedals and should have them installed within the next couple of weeks...but I know there's a chance it won't fix the knee pain. Do you think there's something I'm missing or do you think clipless should solve the problem?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,821
    Sounds like shoes to me. I ride clipless, and every year or so I get knee pain pretty suddenly, which is easily fixed with new insoles. So I wouldn't be surprised if your too soft shoes are not giving your arches enough support.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, England
    Posts
    14
    Hi.
    For a moment I thought you were my sister in law posting. She has exactly the same problem, which only started after we did a 100 mile ride when she was on her new Cannondale Super Six. She was assured it was not the bike, although we had done this distance many times before when she had a Giant. On advise she bought new shoes, Specialized somethings! as they have a built up bit inside which supports the foot. She has been fitted to her bike and is currently having physio, she is ok on short rides and Wednesday training but suffers over 50 miles.
    I can imagine it is totally frustrating and wish you luck in resolving it. Have you tried another bike though just in case?

    Dizzie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    575
    Are you doing any exercises for your weak hips? I also had knee pain but it was off the bike. I used a foam roller every day for a couple of months with little improvement. My physical therapist gave my some exercises to strengthen my weak hip rotators, (she says that most cyclists have very stong hip flexors and weak rotators). I've been doing the exercises for about 3 weeks and they're helping more than the foam roller did. The PT is also a cyclist and she does the same rotator exercises as part of her normal fitness routine.
    LORI
    Pivot Mach 4 / WTB
    Updated Vintage Terry Symmetry / Bontrager InForm RL WSD

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    I HAVE to clip in on the road or my cranky knee complains, but that is likely a different issue from yours - my knee is a bit compromised. Foam rolling may not be much fun but it serves an important purpose - especially if you have tight IT bands.

    Did the fitter/physical therapist give you exercises for your hips and/or stretches to go along with the foam rolling?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks for all the feedback, ladies. My PT did give me some hip exercises to do but I haven't been as diligent in doing them as the foam roller. I think I'll start doing those every day and see if it starts to help. I have not tried riding any other bikes. My cycling budget is already pretty maxed out and it will be a long time before I'm able to increase my bike inventory.
    I'll keep you all updated as I get my shoes and pedals. My PT/bike fitter told me to come back for a cleat fitting as soon as I get 'em. Hopefully within a couple of weeks...sooner if I can talk my DH into a cash advance

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,505

    Cadence

    Make sure that you are not mashing on your pedals. Your cadence should be around 90RPM. You can easily check this by counting one down stroke, usually your right foot while cycling on a flat.

    Newbies often push gears that are way too hard for their knees. The muscles, tendons & ligaments all need time to become adjusted to cycling. Go easy on yourself.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

    Trek Project One
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    100
    You can always get a set of shorter cranks. I cannot recommend them enough for working through knee pain and strengthening the muscles + tendons. I have used them for beginning of the season cranky/weak knees and also for rehabilitation. With short cranks, you naturally spin instead of mashing.

    http://www.bikesmithdesign.com/Short_Cranks/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    10
    Update:

    Things are looking up in the knee department. I purchased shimano road pedals and a pair of bontrager road shoes and there was instant relief with the first use. I've continued to do hip strengthening exercises and foam roller on the IT band, and with the addition of the clipless, I was able to do 150 miles last week virtually pain free. I still am having some twinges here and there but I think once I go back to the fitter and get my cleats shimmed and adjusted I can kiss this knee pain goodbye. SO, SO happy about that!

 

 

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