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Thread: Oh my knees!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Ventura County CA
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    605

    Oh my knees!

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    I built up my cardio and legs for 8 weeks before hitting the trails. Now after a month of riding mtb I am having patello-femoral pain, mostly my left leg. I think I have always had an issue with my pf joint because I can never stand up after sitting at the theater for two hours.

    I know seat height/ position/ cleat position and all that are important, but all those variables which are easier to adjust for road riding go out the window on a mountain bike. As I ride I move forward and back, adjust the seat for downhills, standing through technical areas, etc.

    I've read that I should work on strengthening my vastus medialis obliquus muscle and stretching my iliotibial band. Right now I am in the ice and rest phase.

    Any one have this problem-- and how to deal with it? Will a full suspension bike help? I don't want to give up dirt!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
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    1,940

    hmmm

    I had that early on when I needed to rest my quads. My doc explained to me that when the quads get over worked, they get...well, rigor, for lack of a better term, and clamp down on those tendons and bands. rest, stretching, icing, all helped.

    How mcuh are you riding a week????

    Ruth

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ventura County CA
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    I've been riding four days at least a week. I think I have been riding too hard- makes sense my quads would be tight. All the trails in my immediate area are climb, climb, climb. When I first noticed soreness I had ridden 20 miles (8 on the trail) one late afternoon and then the next morning did a killer 13 mile all fireroad/ single track with lots of elevation gain (1800 ft). And I am one of those lazy people who never made it a habit to stretch before or after exercise. So- rest, ice, slow down, strengthen, and stretch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
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    1,940

    hmmm part two

    That is a lot, at least to me. I have to drive at leat 45 min to ride, so I usually ride twice a week, 2 hours a session, usually pretty hard because we have to plan to get there.

    Then I cross train by trail running two days a week, and I lift twice a week to strengthen upper and lower body.

    I am no expert, but that seems like a lot. Mt biking is tough on the old quaddies if you are doing lots of climbing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    1,080
    I never have knee pain when road riding (I ride anywhere from 15-20 hours a week). I've been doing a lot of mtb riding this week (3 hours racing on Sunday, 2 hour very technical ride on Wednesday, and a 1.5 hour not-too-technical ride yesterday). I've noticed just a bit of knee pain lately and it has nothing to do with strength or flexibility or bike fit. It has to do with how we use our joints (hips & knees) when we mtn bike. For more technical riding, we put a lot of stress on our joints as we steer the bike around switchbacks and on climbs & descents. The sport is much more demanding on our joints than road riding where you track in a straight plane.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    680
    personal experience:
    on a mountain bike we must get back-off the saddle more often therefore the saddle is usually a little lower...on LOOOOOONG climbs i will raise my saddle to ease knee issues.
    since doing this my knees have stopped yelling at me...just remember to put it back down BEFORE you hit the techy downhill section!

    i noticed you said you do alot of climbing...i know this method is a pain in the katoosh but your knees will thank you!!!

    try this if you don't have one already:

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=26050

    my $0.02
    I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ventura County CA
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    605
    Thanks girls. I do adjust my seat- on my climbs I have her up just like a roadie for good leg extension. And I drop it for the downhills. We do use our whole body more and I'm sure that's part of it. I am thinking that getting off this hard tail and onto a full-sus bike will help to take some of the stress.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    70
    There are a number of bike set-up factors that may result in the pain you are experiencing, including incorrect seat height, seat position, cleat position and reach distance.

    I would have a look at where your knee is positioned having a pedal at 3 o'clock. The front of the knee should be close to the centre of your cleat position. If it is not I would play around with one of the factors mentioned above until it feels right.

    Generally speaking you should not have to get off an adjust your seat height during a ride. Your mountain bike seat height should be approximately 1-2cm lower than your road seat height otherwise you are not allowing your body enough extra mobility to deal with the extra stresses that mountain biking requires. I know it probably feels more comfortable having your seat up high on the climbs, but if you lean slightly forward when climbing you will unload the back wheel just a much.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    10,576
    FBG: you can mobilize your own kneecap to make it easier for your muscles (VMO and friends) to hold it in the right position. Mobilization will also ease up the pressure from the IT Band fibers that join into the retinaculum that wraps your knee.

    Ask your PT to show you how. I try to do mine when I'm watching TV, cuz then I can hold my kneecap in the position longer without suddenly remembering something really important I need to do instead.

    Your PT will also show you how to know when you DON'T need to mob anymore.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ventura County CA
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    605
    So many variables! But I really don't think I can keep my saddle at one height! I would endo on the downhills.

    I guess I should call my PT friend. Or I might just have to make an appointment with my primary care- get a referral- yada yada yada.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    3,387
    Quote Originally Posted by rocknrollgirl
    I had that early on when I needed to rest my quads. My doc explained to me that when the quads get over worked, they get...well, rigor, for lack of a better term, and clamp down on those tendons and bands. rest, stretching, icing, all helped.

    How mcuh are you riding a week????

    Ruth
    Wow, that's interesting! I've been having this off-and-on knee pain, in that ?tendon? directly above the patella. It first appeared a couple days after Three State Three Mountain, which was definitely a quad-buster. So now I always worry about the pain, and if it's from overuse, and if I'm making it worse. I especially worried during my 200k, because there were some hills at the beginning, but then they never hurt and haven't hurt since...Weird.

    Nanci
    ***********
    "...I'm like the cycling version of the guy in Flowers for Algernon." Mike Magnuson

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    680
    Quote Originally Posted by mellic
    There are a number of bike set-up factors that may result in the pain you are experiencing, including incorrect seat height, seat position, cleat position and reach distance.

    I would have a look at where your knee is positioned having a pedal at 3 o'clock. The front of the knee should be close to the centre of your cleat position. If it is not I would play around with one of the factors mentioned above until it feels right.

    Generally speaking you should not have to get off an adjust your seat height during a ride. Your mountain bike seat height should be approximately 1-2cm lower than your road seat height otherwise you are not allowing your body enough extra mobility to deal with the extra stresses that mountain biking requires. I know it probably feels more comfortable having your seat up high on the climbs, but if you lean slightly forward when climbing you will unload the back wheel just a much.

    yes...generally speaking! i got the impression fbg was doing some major climbing (1800' in 13 miles...i have to assume you went up then down...meaning you climbed 1800' in approxiamatly 6.5 miles) where i am we also climb thousands of feet in a fairly short distance...and i am talking constant climbs...not rolling hills!

    now if i were to climb these hills with my seat at a height i am comfortable going downhill clearing 1-3 foot drops, manuevering 1-2 foot log-overs, desparatly trying to clear switch backs i would end up rubber-side-up more than rubber-side-down....

    where i learned to mtbike was relatively flat and i never moved my seat...it actually was probably somewhere between the 2 positions i generally ride with it now...

    as for the "moving the saddle position" it is all relative to comfort, riding ability, terrain, and preference...
    I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    La Crescenta, CA
    Posts
    39

    Yeppers

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbottomedgurl
    Thanks girls. I do adjust my seat- on my climbs I have her up just like a roadie for good leg extension. And I drop it for the downhills. We do use our whole body more and I'm sure that's part of it. I am thinking that getting off this hard tail and onto a full-sus bike will help to take some of the stress.
    It did for me anyway. And once I got on a FS rig that was dialed in right for my body type the knee pain vanished I hope you can find a bike shop that can help you with the whole package. I know there is a woman in Orange County that is an expert at fitting ladies to the right bike geometry. I know that knee pain is really frustrating when all you want to do is get out there and ride!

    Best of luck to you,
    d

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ventura County CA
    Posts
    605
    I went on a teeny ride today- just six miles on the streets. One short hill - 2nd ring. Knee feels great. Planning a small trail ride Thursday- climbing but easy. Friday a shuttle ride which means downhill for nine miles-- wheee!

    I've been icing/ ibuprofen/ started taking glucosamine. I am also going to experiment with pulling my knees in closer to my midline.

    Yeah, my trail climbs had been gruesome. It's not a matter of "leaning forward slightly" but practically kissing the bars, elbows at less than 90, trying to keep the front tire down without losing traction on the back.

    I have a great LBS- the owner is a woman and a killer mtb'er. She will hook me up real well. When the day comes...

 

 

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