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Saddle height for cycling induced Tendonitis(5 posts)

Saddle height for cycling induced Tendonitismannyc
May 20, 2001 11:01 AM
What's the recommended saddle height for a person with tendonitis on the knee from cycling.I look up and read up and only foung that for IT band friction the saddle should be lowered,and for Chondromalacia(wearing out of cartilage under the knee cap)it should be higher.Any input on how you treated your tendonitis is also greatly appreciated.
re: Saddle height for cycling induced TendonitisDINOSAUR
May 20, 2001 3:51 PM
I experienced an episode with achilles tendonitis years ago. No change in my saddle height, however my Doctor recommended not standing when climbing. I learned to pedal flat footed and I seldom stand to this day. I use orthotics, which provide me with something to push off against. I went through several custom made orthotics until I discovered Superfeet, who manufacturer over-the-counter arch supports and orthotics. Mine are actually just arch supports, but they work fine for my problem. You can see a podiatrist or expirement, but if you have tedonitis I would recommend consulting with a sports-minded podiatrist, hopefully one that cycles and understands your problem. Whatever you do you, don't want to tear your tendon, then you are looking at possible surgery and a lengthly recovery time. Did your Doctor recommend any stretching? Tendonitis is usually a result of overuse and the lack of stretching. Again I want to emphasis DON'T TEAR YOUR TENDON, you could be stuck with a lifetime injury.....
re: Saddle height for cycling induced TendonitisRich Clark
May 21, 2001 12:00 PM
My own experience probably has no relevance to you, but here it is anyway:

What fixed me up was to (1) go to shorter cranks (from 175 to 170), which reduced the amount of bend in the knee at the top of the stroke and (2) move the saddle back some more, getting my knees a little bit behind the pedal spindle at the front of the stroke.

The only changes to saddle height were those required by these other changes to keep it optimal.

I'm not a competitive rider, but I do ride 100-150 miles a week year round. These fixes probably would reduce a racer's efficiency, but for me they restored my riding to pain-free status.

While I still believe that medical advice you get from posters on the Internet is worth even less than what you pay for it, and that you should always seek competent medical advice especially for joint problems, which can plague you for the rest of your life if you don't treat them properly, I'll still mention this: I *did* go to a doctor. The X-Rays *did* confirm the diagnosis of tendinitis in both knees. I *was* referred to a sports doctor, and I *did* go through the physical therapy that was prescribed. And none of it worked.

Why not? Because nobody in that whole sequence of events really understood the mechanics of cycling. "Sports medicine" isn't specific enough. I ended up figuring it out on my own.

Oddly enough, when I went back to my primary care physician months later, who happens to be a cyclist, and ran down everything that had happened, she said "oh, of course, it's obvious now that you point it out." She was surprised that the sports docs and PT's missed it, and followed up to make sure they got the message, but too late for me.

Crank length followup question...JL
May 21, 2001 2:48 PM
Is that 5mm really that significant? I recently bought a new bike and went from 170 to 175mm (I'm 6'). I didn't change a thing from stock on the bike. I have Campy Record (older look-style) pedals that I bought from one of the guys at the bike shop.

Anyway, on Saturday I couldn't ride due to prior obligations, but I felt a twinge occasionally in my in my right knee. I wondered if I had overdid it on a fairly steep hill on Friday. I don't know the grade but it was probably the steepest I've been on all year. Felt Ok yesterday morning before I went on a 50 mile ride (mostly flat) and felt fine until about the last 10 miles (the hilliest part). The right side of my knee (maybe IT Band?) started to hurt. I was wondering if my newly "fitted" bike has the seat set to high, or are the cranks really part of the problem? Like before, is 5mm that signicant? Just wondering.


Crank length followup question...Rich Clark
May 21, 2001 3:07 PM
Well, it was significant to me. And it's a 10cm difference -- almost 4 inches.

Think about it with the pedals at 6 and 12. Going to 170's from 175's you raise the 6 o'clock pedal 2 inches higher off the ground. Your saddle has to go up those same 2 inches to maintain the same leg extension at the bottom of the stroke, and of course it's now also a bit farther behind the bottom bracket than it was. Meanwhile on the other side, your 12 o'clock foot is not only 2 inches lower due to the shorter crank, but it's even lower relative to the new saddle height.

Big difference in how much you bend your knee. The shorter your legs are, the bigger the relative difference is.

I'm not suggesting shorter cranks as a panacea for knee pain. But it's something often overlooked.