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Need help with knee/cleat alignment.(4 posts)

Need help with knee/cleat alignment.komatiite
Aug 14, 2002 12:56 PM
i have been riding for about a year now, slowly working up intensity, as well as mileage. about 4 weeks ago i changed my cleat position [spd's] about 1" backward, as i was having intense cramping in my calves and lower quads from too far forward a position. as soon as i moved the cleats, i noticed a dramtic change, in power [more] and nearly no cramping. about two weeks ago, i started to notice a slight pain in my right knee, mostly below the patella on flats and the inner knee on climbs. i thought i was riding too hard so i just left it at that. my last ride, 10 long days ago, i had such an intense knee pain that i didnt think that i was going to make it home.

so, i have been off the bike since, and went to a specialist {phy therapist] who said that it didnt look too bad. i am to see him next week.

what i need are some suggestions on cleat position, and i guess more importantly, proper knee alignment, which should be related to the cleat postion, right?

any info would be appreciated. oh, tech stuff: i worked up to about 100 miles a week, averaging 19mph and have a cadence around 100rpm. am 5'10" 158lbs
Tough Questionfunknuggets
Aug 14, 2002 2:06 PM
ONE INCH??? That is a dramatic change regardless of how you look at it unless you have feet like Shaquille O'Neal. I'm not shocked to hear that your knees are suffering. Typically, if needing to move cleat position, I would work by about .5cm - 1cm at a time to find what feels right. I would think that you may need to adjust your saddle position slightly as your femur likely did not get any longer, yet your knee position relative to the pedal likely changed. If I am not mistaken there is an old rule of thumb that I have seen repeatedly on this board. If you have knee pain in the front of your knee, move your seat back, if it is in the back of your knee, move it forward. I would suggest you look in previous threads before you take my opinion, though. There are much more knowledgeable riders here than I... but from here on out, make small adjustments.
re: Need help with knee/cleat alignment.rob45
Aug 14, 2002 2:10 PM
It is possible that the pain you experienced was the result of making a large change in position--an inch is a pretty big jump. The standard neutral position is with the ball of your foot over the spindle. One thing I do in setting up a new shoe is draw a line from the widest point of the toe box (that is approx where the ball of your foot will be) along the sole of the shoe with a marker. Then with your bike on a stationary trainer adjust the cleat, snap it into the pedal (you might have to do this with your foot in but undo the shoe when it's engaged and get down) and eye that line with respect to the pedal spindle (tighten things up enough so there's no movement when you remove the pedal). Once you've roughly intersected that line with the spindle when it's engaged, put the shoe on and ride on the trainer to see how it feels. You can usually tell when the ball of your foot isn't over the spindle. Play around with it until it feels right, but be cautious about deveating too far from the reference line you drew. If you can't get it to feel right after trying, see if your LBS can help you. A good pro shop usually can help with cleat position. ONce you have the new position, take it easy the first couple of rides.
Change can be painfulKerry
Aug 14, 2002 5:00 PM
And you made WAAAAAY too much of a change in one swoop. Per another post, you should think in terms of less than 5 mm at a time. In fact, I can hardly believe you were able to make this kind of change - I don't recall seeing a shoe with slots that long. I guess if you had the cleat all the way forward (shoe slots plus cleat slots) and then moved it all the way back . . . A bit like raising/lowering your saddle 4 inches and then being surprised you got sore knees. The other thing to check is whether you kept the same rotation angle of your foot relative to the pedal, though with this much change it probably could be argued that the angle should change some too. I'd go back to the original cleat position, get rid of the pain, and then start making slow changes. The ball of the foot should be directly over or slightly in front of (if you get "hot foot") the pedal axle.