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Knee pain and cleat positioning.(10 posts)

Knee pain and cleat positioning.TommyRides
Aug 6, 2002 11:51 AM

Just completed only my second ride on my new road bike..about 15-16 miles at lunchtime. I've ridden SPD"s on my mountain bike without significant knee pain, but noticing on my road bike, using look's with 9 degrees float, I have pain in my left knee.

My LBS did the plumb line thing to install the cleats, but my left foot feels like it want's the cleat moved slightly forward in the shoe moving my left foot back.

I'm still working on correct saddle position and am making subtle adjustments on each ride, but just wanted to know anyones take on the cleat thing. I'm also not used to pretty much pedalling for long stretches at a time and make sure I stretch properly before and after..etc..

Any thoughts/ advice appreciated!
re: Knee pain and cleat positioning.LLSmith
Aug 6, 2002 4:26 PM
Try moving your saddle back a fuzz.You wont have the ideal knee over pedal position, but it will be alot more fun to ride pain free.Keep off the big gears as much as possible until your knee feels good.
re: Knee pain and cleat positioning.komatiite
Aug 6, 2002 7:02 PM
i have a similar problem, though its only associated with my right knee. ive been riding since last summer and have really been adding up the miles this summer; about 100-150 per week. somehow between taking a week off and gettig back in the saddle, ive developed a somewhat bad ache in the knee. ive tried adjusting the saddle, adjusting the cleat and still am having problems. today i went out and it was killing when i got back to the haus. im kinda worried and am thinking about taking time off [the bike] til i get this straigthen out.
as far as i can figure, it started when i moved both cleats back about 3/4", positioned so that the ball of my foot is over the spindle. my left knee is fine. anyone have any suggestions?
re: Knee pain and cleat positioning.komatiite
Aug 7, 2002 5:25 AM
mine mostly hurts a little below the kneecap, as well as on the inner side. i noticed that before i adjusted my cleat, it was both places, though i think i ironed that issue out recently. it no longert hurts on the inner position; its mostly concentrated now in in front, lower part of the kneecap or just right below the kneecap.
Exactly where does your knee hurt?hayaku
Aug 7, 2002 2:26 AM
Back/Inside/Outside/Front/Top of Patella/Joint?

Any more advice would be helpful.
Exactly where does your knee hurt?TommyRides
Aug 7, 2002 4:13 AM
My knee is hurting right at the inner boney part on top of the knee. NOT the kneecap area, but to my right just slightly, of the kneecap as I look down at the knee. I don't know if that decribes it.

I also have a bakers cyst on the back of that knee and cut it open pretty bad when I was a kid. The cyst has never affected my cycling however and neither has the old wound.

I really think it's positioning of the cleat..almost feels like that foot is a little too far forward as compared to the other. Kind of imbalanced feeling in my pedal stroke. Just not being used to such a stiff shoe, new bike, getting it dialed in, etc..I imagine are all factors here but looking for ANY constructive input.

To the person that suggested moving the seat, wouldn't it be easier to move just the cleat that seems misaligned?

Thanks again all!
Yes it would be easier to just move the cleat.LLSmith
Aug 7, 2002 5:46 AM
If that does not work try the seat next.Unless your feet are really different in size you will be moving the ball of your left foot away from the center of the pedal position by moving the cleat.Also, look down while riding and see if your left knee is pointing in toward the top tube. If so try keeping it parallel with the top tube.Good Luck
I have had many types of knee pain.hayaku
Aug 7, 2002 7:12 AM
I have found that the sides of my knees hurt when there is not enough float or an unstable platform. The top of my knee cap hurts when my seat is too low and I use a very slow cadence up hills. The back of my knee hurts when my seat is too high. And finally the top of my calf hurts when my cleats are too far foward.

I'm no doctor but I recommend moving you cleats foward, and maybe move your seat up. You may not need to move them much at all, 5mm is a long, long way when repositioning cleats so don't do anything too drastic.

I had a heat attack after I developed pain riding my newly purchased Speedplays, but messed around with my cleat position and seat height and now my knees feel... well I don't feel anything, great! If you have just changed your ride, you may need to dial in things that seem to be constants.

Play around with the set up, and as a precaution it may pay to lay off tough hill sessions until you get thing sorted.
I have had many types of knee pain.TommyRides
Aug 7, 2002 11:06 AM
Thanks for your reply! Could it be that the raised platform of the LOOK cleats/ pedal combo could be giving me trouble as well?

I'm going to adjust the cleat, and actually have moved the saddle a little forward and lowered it a touch as well. I think it's just going to take some time to get it exact. It's a new bike so I guess it'll just take time and riding!

The pain comes mostly while I'm in my cadence and spinning. Don't notice it out of the saddle climbing so I've narrowed it to the cleat position/ seat position combo.

Thanks again!
re: Knee pain and cleat positioning.sengert
Aug 9, 2002 9:56 AM

I've just gone through a total re-do of my positioning according to the methods posted on It felt great at first but by the end of a century, the outside of my left knee (right on the bony part and then shooting down onto the shin muscles) was really twinging with pain! So, I too am asking about cleat position and butt position... I also can't help but wonder about float in my red look cleats and wonder if it's more a matter of twisting my heal forward while really laying on the uphill power!?!

I guess what I'm wondering most is can anyone post a summary of cause/effect for things like "knee farther over toes" or "knee behind ball of foot" or "riding heals in" or "riding heals out" ect. ect. ect.

Thanks! keep on spinning!