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My knee's hurt(13 posts)

My knee's hurtavitar
Jun 5, 2002 4:48 PM
I am 40 and a month ago started riding again after many years off. . got a new a pretty good bike and bought speedplay pedals. This is my first pair of clip-ins. Lately I have been trying to use the whole pedal cycle .. (not a good explaination) but I am trying not to just push down like you would with non-clipins. My knee's are really starting to hurt, I think I could raise the seat a bit.. would that help? Move the seat forward? I am starting to like sitting further back in the seat, but then my knee is probably not over the pedal???
Please tell me where to start.. today I had to stop after a lap and a half in the park (~9 miles)
re: My knee's hurtPaulCL
Jun 5, 2002 4:54 PM
Could be all of those things...


1. Saddle needs to be raised. Check out Sheldon Brown or for proper fit ideas. You should have slight break in the knee angle at the base of the stroke where your foot is parallel to the horizon.

2. Are you a masher??? You should spin at an average cadence (rpm) of between 80-100. Any lower and it puts a lot of pressure on the knees.

3. I would get myself and my bike to my LBS for them to go over your fit. While your something from 'em.

Good luck. Paul
re: My knee's hurtavitar
Jun 5, 2002 5:13 PM
Thank you for the sites to check out,

When my bike arrived it needed assembling. I did go to my LBS and bought pedals, shoes, pump, helmet, Mity3 computer etc. They did the fit ... some... they took a plumb-bob from my knee to pedel.. etc. There is not much more than a slight break as you speak. I do not think I can pedal much faster than you say.... but do not know what 80-100 means... is that per minute?
re: My knee's hurtishmael
Jun 5, 2002 5:45 PM
Maybe its all too new for the body and you have to work your way in easy. All that pulling and such on your knees is new and maybe your overdoing it. But make sure your seat height is correct too, an easy aproximate set-up is distance between the center of seat to crank bolt ten centimeters lower than your inseam
Jun 5, 2002 6:52 PM
Are you supposed to consciously pedal on the upstroke, or do shoes/toe-clips just give a little extra force on the upstroke as a side effect of being attacked firmly to your feet?

I think I've tried to forcefully up-pedal in the past, but it has not felt comfortable and did not seem to increase my efficiency in any way at all.
Jun 6, 2002 7:11 AM
Im pretty sure you can pull like an ape but your knees need to get used to it. The amount of repetative motions done while riding is a lot, I think at first you should take it easy.
Jun 6, 2002 7:07 AM
80 - 100 cadence means pedal strokes per minute. If you want to count them, go from the top of the stroke to the top for the same foot.

Easier to buy a cyclo-computer with a cadence function. Personally, my computer is always on the speed/cadence screen.
Some Thoughts...jromack
Jun 5, 2002 6:25 PM
If you purchased it from a real bike shop, ask them to perform a fit to the bike. Pay attention to what they do because you will probably need to "tweak" a few settings.

I also suggest you read "Andy Pruitt's Medical Guide for Cyclists" available at Lots of helpful information, including a whole chapter on knees!

Where exactly does your knee hurt? Are you icing them after riding? Also take an NSAID.

If you don't want to get fitted, at least raise the seat slightly and try to spin in an easier gear with a higher cadence as you ride.
re: My knee's hurtmeininga
Jun 5, 2002 6:34 PM
Where does your knee hurt? In the front of the leg beneath the kneecap is patellar tendonitis. On the outside of the knee could be iliotibial band syndrome. Or it could be internal. Does it hurt doing any other activities? ie: stairs up or down, running, walking, walking downhill, long seated periods. These symptoms change the diagnosis/treatment. Did you gradually increase mileage when you started riding? Or was it a jump from sedentary, low activity to heavy riding?

As for bike fit, I like this:
Measure your inseam by holding a ruler or even better a level between your legs beneath your crotch. Near a door frame or wall mark your inseam and measure. Take 90% of that number as your seat height from the center of the crankbolt to the top of the seat. Next the seat should be fore/aft positioned so that at 3-9 o'clock postions the 3 o'clock knee is in a vertical plane above the crank arm. In otherwords, use a level or a plumb bob from your knee cap to the end of the crankarm, not the pedal by the way!

Good luck, and I suggest a visit to your local orthopedic surgeon (LOS) for a referral to physical therapy- some exercises, stretches and heat/ice could maybe help.
the painavitar
Jun 6, 2002 2:44 PM
is under my knee cap in the front. Its much more of an ache than anything sharp. It does not hurt doing anything else. The most (knee) stressful other activity I do is waterskiing. They never have bothered me from it. I took my inseam measurement and based on that (using either the inseam -10cm or x .883 which are very close) my seat was 2-3cm too low EXCEPT that on the coloradocycle web site is said to subtract 3cm for cleats, which means it was about right, anyway I raised it 2cm and will see how it feels.. its raining tonight so I will try it tomorrow.

Thank you for your help and suggestions, this board is great!
re: My knee's hurtWoof the dog
Jun 5, 2002 10:39 PM
pedal triangles, not circles. Where do they hurt? pain behind the knee = saddle too high, in front = saddle low. I think its better to have the saddle further back rather than further forward because you stress your knees more when they are forward of the spindle. A lot of times climbers or power riders have their saddles way back for more power, and their knees can take it. Maybe, your knees also may not like these pedals. I wouldn't say speedplays are the best clipless for a first timer, they'd be just plain weird to get used to. I would ride spds for a little bit, or get zero version of speedplays. Make sure your cleat is under the ball of your foot. I find that in order to get the correct cleat position, I have to move the baseplate (three screw one) all the way back.

What type of sport did you do before? I know some people who have really bad knees because of years of stressing them with basketball, baseball, running, etc. For them, them chondro-something??? (don't remember the name) pills are the solution, sort of.

If you think its patella related, it could be patellofemoral stuff that I had... in that case you need to strengthen your knees with weightlifting basically. but i don't think its your problem. New bike, new pedals is probably it.

Another thing on pedaling. I don't think you should consiously pedal circles. When I do it, i do it up a climb for a very short time. After that, my muscles are just too tired to continue. Some say that you really don't pull up on the upstroke, but rather make it easier for the opposite leg to push down. I dont' completely agree with that because sometimes i definitely pull with my hamstrings, like on a climb, timetrial or starting a sprint or other stuff. Basically, you can't develop an efficient stroke too quickly, you need time. Just concentrate on pushing down and back. I noticed that over time I started adding power through the top of my stroke, and my calfs don't cramp up any more. If you think "pedal triangles" you will be able to simulate a better pedal stroke. I heard it somewhere and it works.

I would search google for articles on bike fit, look at your position in the mirror or have someone else do it for you. I know its a pain and you just wanna ride your bike, but you gotta get through this whole hassle to be a pain-free man (woman?).

I haven't read what others have said, so maybe I am repeating someone here...forgive me.

Good luck

Woof the dog.
re: My knee's hurtbm
Jun 5, 2002 11:56 PM
may not help, but i had a similar story

i started riding seriously around february to train for a sprint triathlon. then doubled my distance from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. was a bad move. took off until my knees recovered than started up again. when i came back, i realized i had been sliding down the saddle when my arms got tired.

my history is running. i did 2 marthons and cross country. i developed a "runners' knee" . . . a condition known as chrondomalacia, which involves cartilage buildup and weakening or softening of the kneecap bone. not necessarily bad unless there's pain.

i just got a book called bicycling medicine by arnie baker, which describes such issues as cycling injuries. it had a description for just the pains i had. i suggest at least looking at these kinds of books for pictures and/or descriptions of your condition

all the other posts are correct - seat position, bicycle measurements, cadence, etc - are important to the diagnosis. right now . . . my seat's a little more forward than it used to be, i spin in higher cadence in the lower chainring, and i try to stay off extreme hills if i can.

i suggest you seek a specialist who measures more than just the standover height. you also need torso length and shoulder lengths for instance. takes your measurements and gives you bicycle sizing recommendations.

good luck
re: My knee's hurttarwheel
Jun 6, 2002 5:58 AM
If I were you, I would take your bike into the shop and ask them to check your fit. You may have to pay someone to do this if you didn't buy the bike from them. It could be a number of things causing your problem -- seat to high or low, improper knee over pedal position, cleat placement on shoe, etc. It also might be that you're trying to do too much, too fast. If you just started riding, you may need to gradually increase your mileage and alternate low-mileage weeks with higher weeks.

FWIW, I have never had knee problems from cycling or running going back a number of years. However, I started developing pain in my knees after switching from Look pedals to Speedplays back in April. When I removed the Speeds and went back to Looks, the pain went away. Many people with knee problems, however, swear by Speeds. It's just that there's no system that works best for everyone -- just like with saddles, frame geometry and everything else. In my case, my problems with the Speeds may have been due to improper cleat placement or saddle height, but it just wasn't worth fooling with. I didn't want to risk a knee injury when I knew the Looks worked fine.