Cycling Knee Pain and How to Avoid It

2021-05-05
Cycling Knee Pain
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Cycling is a sport whose practice may cause body ache or pain. The most common of these, especially for amateur cyclists – who tend to adjust their bike at sight, without taking biomechanical data into account – is knee pain. Knees are very complex joints that are making a continuous effort when pedaling, and where most injuries tend to appear.

We often think that knee ache is caused by too much training, but that is hardly ever the cause. In most cases, the cyclist’s knees are affected by a component’s misadjustment. It’s important to know what kind of pain you’re experiencing, in order to adapt your position on the bike so that it disappears.

At Santafixie, we care about your health and comforto, so that you can cycle with ease and without injuring yourself. In this post, we will list the most common causes of knee pain in cyclists, and offer some advice to getting rid of them or, ideally, prevent them.

Different kinds of knee pain

If you feel pain on your knees’ sides, your collateral ligaments may be swollen. This is one of the most common pains you can experience as a cyclist, especially if you use automatic pedals and cleats are wrongly positioned regarding pedals. The issue may be coming from elsewhere, but this is the most plausible cause.

knee pain zones

1. Side knee pain

If you feel pain on your knees’ sides, your collateral ligaments may be swollen. This is one of the most common pains you can experience as a cyclist, especially if you use automatic pedals and cleats are wrongly positioned regarding pedals. The issue may be coming from elsewhere, but this is the most plausible cause.

Your knee ligaments have born too much stress whilst you were pedaling, and you have repeated the rotative pedaling movement a great number of times. Due to this constant wrong repetition, your knee side ligament may have swollen.

In order that you know how to correctly place your shoes’ cleats, sit on a table and fully relax your legs. With your feet hanging above the ground, take a look at their position – this is their natural position, and thus the one you’ll have to adopt when you hop on your bike. Adjust your cleats to it and you’ll prevent many problems.

Lateral knee pain

2. Front knee pain

As we have previously discussed, knees are a very complex body part. When you feel pain on the frontal part of your knee, it’s mostly due to overtraining, tiredness or exhaustion. However, it can also be caused by your seat being too low or too far forward, or by incorrectly-sized crank arms.

When the pain extends to your whole knee, it’s important to find where it hurts the most. It will probably originate from the patellar tendon, which joins the kneecap to the quadriceps. Each time you apply force to the pedals, that tendon sends that force to the kneecap joint.

This kind of pain tends to appear after having ridden, once your body has cooled down and relaxed.

3. Back knee pain

The main cause for back knee pain is a saddle placed too high or too far back, causing your legs to extend too much. This pain is not common amongst cyclists, as most of them carry their saddle lower than it should, but it’s equally disturbing and shouldn’t be ignored.

So, if the back of your knee hurts, it will normally be due to your saddle being too high or too far back. Keep in mind that slightly flexed knees make pedaling easier, and that it must never extend over your toe tips while you cycle.

If you experience any ache or pain or your knees, make sure to locate where it’s coming from, and keep reading to find ways to overcome it.

Pain at the front and back of the knee

Source: solobici.es

Tips to prevent cycling knee pain

Here are some basic tips in order to prevent knee pain when cycling.

1. Adjust your bike using tools

It’s advisable to always keep some tools at hand in order to correctly adjust any component of your bike. As we have discussed earlier, knee pain usually comes from a bad riding position, so it’s essential that the whole bike is adjusted and fitted to your anatomy. Knee pain is normally caused by swollen tendons or ligaments on the knee area. If you see pain doesn’t go away once you’ll have adjusted your bike, put some ice on it in order to reduce swelling, and don’t cycle for a few days.

Correct bike fit to avoid knee pains

2. Stretching before and after cycling

It’s also worth noting that a correct position is not a universal remedy for aches or pain. Pain can come from fatigued leg muscles. Stretching is essential for cyclists, in order to loosen your muscles and relax after every training session.

4. Go see a specialist to have your bike properly adjusted

If you still experience knee pain after trying some remedies, our advice is, go see a specialist in order to undergo a biomechanical bike fit and have your bike adjusted down to the millimeter. Alternatively, if you train or cycle very frequently, go see a physiotherapist – it will be worth the visit!

We hope that thanks to these tips your knee ache will go away. You’ll see that, making small changes to your position on the bike, you’ll avoid future inconveniences. However, keep in mind that if your pain doesn’t go away after having fitted your bike it is very recommendable to go see a specialist.

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