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Girlfriend's Knees...(12 posts)

Girlfriend's Knees...JBurton
Mar 31, 2002 9:20 PM
Well, she's having a problem with them. She has just started cycling and is very much a novice. We go on slow rides together of no more than 12 miles or so. After a certain period of time she complains of knee pain equally in both knees. She says that it feels like she needs to "pop" her knees similar to popping her fingers. She has also described it as "my knees feel like they are going to pop off", but I explained that that wasn't exactly specific enough. She went on to say that the pain is directly under her kneecap. I can tell when she is starting to hurt when her knees start angling outward. Cadence doesn't seem to matter one way or the other. After they begin to hurt, slight hills or headwinds of any kind kill her. She runs moderately and has never had a problem with her knees before. It seems strange to me that they would hurt so badly on the bike, but not on a run, or any other time, for that matter.

This may require a female perspective, I don't know. I don't have any personal experience with knee problems, but I am doing my best to find out the reasons for them. Her bike fit seems fine. Her forefoot is directly under her kneecap, with the pedals at three/nine o'clock. She pedals a bit jerky, but that's understandable being a beginner. She naturally has a cadence of about 90-95. She does her best to avoid pushing big gears at all. She lifts moderately at the gym, and since starting this, has been able to ride for longer without pain. Her knees are generally a bit sore after a ride, but nothing debilitating. Spin classes at the gym don't seem to bother her knees as much either (maybe the controlled atmosphere?).

Any help/advice would be appreciated by us both.
re: Girlfriend's Knees...mtnpat
Apr 1, 2002 8:58 AM
My initial thoughts are for her to cut out the weight lifting and running, both are rather high-impact.

Another thought in reference to "pain is directly under her kneecap" is to check out this website. A lot is mentioned about a certain knee pain syndrome, and the need to have a 'balance' within your leg muscles/tendons.

or maybe this one

good luck
Just begs for a piggish response. . .js5280
Apr 1, 2002 9:24 AM
but I'll refrain. I'm disappointed Spirito hasn't jumped in w/ one already ;-)

I would think it's position and maybe a little bit of conditioning. Even though she's active, I think the dynamics of pedaling on a real bike stress muscles differently than running, spinning, etc. I've had some minor knee trouble here recently, switched shoes and pedals, so I've been experimenting w/ the position of the cleat and making some headway. However, if she's new to cycling, she's probably not quite dialed in 100% yet and doesn't know what changes will make things better/worse. I think you learn this through experience. Can you compare against her setup when spinning? If it's different, consider changing the bike setup to match it more, even if it's a little out of the ordinary. Check out cleat/foot position, I'm finding it can stress the knees. I noticed big time rubbing on my cranks and my knees were achier than usual so I re-angled my cleats to let my heals stick out more and it seems better now. It might be worth it to have a professional fitting if your testing doesn't yield the results you're looking for. Always great to have your S.O. interested in cycling as well. Good luck!
OK - here goes....grzy
Apr 1, 2002 11:41 AM
Have you tried spreading them apart? ;-b

I apologize profusely in advance.
LOL!... my lips are sealed (on this matter) ;-() NmSpirito di Finocchio
Apr 1, 2002 12:22 PM
Touche'...guess I did set myself...and her... up for that one...JBurton
Apr 1, 2002 12:30 PM
This is a doctors area of expertise...Lone Gunman
Apr 1, 2002 11:33 AM
but what it sounds like to me is that something under her knee is not tracking correctly and that is caused by one group of muscles being stronger than another set of muscles, most likely the muscles on the outer thigh are stronger than that muscle on the inner knee cap area. So she may need to strengthen those muscles by doing the seated weight lift, knee bent a 90 degree and straighten out the leg and lower slowly and repeat. Just a guess from my experience with the described knee pain.
Apr 1, 2002 12:10 PM
...what I was getting at.

patellofemoral pain syndrome is what you just described to the T.
Can you recommend...JBurton
Apr 1, 2002 12:27 PM
a site that would detail the therapy used to treat this syndrome? Could cleat position be a factor here?
Actually, I just answered my own question...JBurton
Apr 1, 2002 12:42 PM
If there are any of you out there who would like information on this condition, go to and type keyword "Patellofemoral Syndrome". There are many sites dealing with this ailment
This is a doctors area of expertise...JBurton
Apr 1, 2002 12:25 PM
Would this be the reason that her knees fall outward when they are in pain?

The exercise you are you mean leg extensions??
I guess you could call them that, leg extensions..Lone Gunman
Apr 1, 2002 3:31 PM
Used to do them on the nautilus type machines, to get an idea of the muscle group to work on, sit in a chair, left hand on your right inside knee and extend the right leg till it is straight out, that muscle that flexes is weak and the knee cap is not tracking correctly. This is sometimes refered to as "Spring knee", an overuse of the joint/muscle caused by using/going too much too early. The angling outward is an attempt to avoid the incorrect tracking of the knee cap.

If it gets too bad, she should see a doctor. Chances are they will suggest an anti inflammatory and ice and rest. That cures the symptoms but will not prevent a return of the problem, and that is where the exercise comes in.