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Knee pain(16 posts)

Knee painRob March
Mar 3, 2003 8:39 AM
Good morning all,

I've been trying to get myself ready for my first century (Solvang on March 8). Last Saturday, I rode about 60 miles with the Channel Islands Bike Club. Knowing that my knees seemed to be my weak point, I tried to keep myself spinning more than anything else. However, for the last 10 miles, the group got really small as people split off. It's my fault really, but I didn't want to get dropped, so I rode harder than I really should have (or intended to). So, for the last few miles, my knees seemed a little achy. Nothing too bad, though. Anyway, I got home, and then rested for about 3 hours.

After that, I drove to L.A. at 5pm, and returned at 10pm, about an hour each way. After the drive, my right knee started to really ache much more than I felt earlier that day. It still is pretty achy (I believe less so than on Saturday & Sunday), although I'm taking ibuprofen, and trying to ice it a few times a day.

Should I pretty much give up the planned century or give myself the week off to heal (I had planned to commute twice this week, 15 miles round trip) and then give it a go? Should I consider a pro bike fit? My friend at my LBS told me that he thinks it is overkill right now, and he did a very thorough fit without putting me on the special fitting frame.

Thanks for the help.

Rob

P.S. There is no visible swelling.

P.P.S. I hate the fact that my muscles are getting stronger than my joints!
check again on fridaymohair_chair
Mar 3, 2003 8:52 AM
Don't abuse it as best you can and see what happens. If nothing has changed much on Friday, maybe it's best not to do the century. I wouldn't cancel my plans until then.
re: Knee painWoof the dog
Mar 3, 2003 9:19 AM
do you use pedals with small amount of float?
does this happen to your knees often?
do you have a background in running?
do you stretch?
do you go to the gym?
where does it hurt in the knee?

I don't think it matters how much a person has ridden before, any increase in milage should not have an effect upon your knees like that. That is bad. If I go out tomorrow and ride 200 miles, my knees will probably be fine. would yours?

you can't really make joints stronger by themselves. You can keep the muscles balanced and pulling on the joint properly and then your knees will be happy.

woof.
re: Knee painRob March
Mar 3, 2003 9:26 AM
I use Shimano SPDs.

It happens to my knees when I push myself too hard. I first encountered this when I had a 10 day break from riding, and then rode 50 miles with some good climbing. I pushed myself pretty hard, and that was the first time I had any knee pain beyond some mild tendonitis. That ride was on 9 Feb.

I do not run.

I stretch often during the ride. Pretty much after 10 miles or so of warmup, I stretch. I'll then stretch again at about the halfway point, and then again when I get home.

I do not go to the gym.

And the pain is in the front, just below the patella.
re: Knee pain > Patellar? > Seat too low?...Spunout
Mar 3, 2003 9:35 AM
Cut from http://www.cptips.com/knee.htm

Causes
pushing BIG gears - cadence too low
saddle too low or too far forward
foot too far forward on the pedal
crank arms too long
leg length discrepancy with seat set for shorter leg
Possible solutions
ride at 75 rpm or higher
raise seat (in small increments of less than 5mm) or move seat back
move cleat forward 1 to 2 mm
shorten crank arms by 2.5 cm
set seat for longer, not shorter, leg with correction for the shorter leg
re: Knee pain > Patellar? > Seat too low?...Woof the dog
Mar 3, 2003 9:47 AM
I thought he said he was fit in a bike shop and his friend thinks his position looks pretty good.

woof.
shorten crank arm by 2.5CM???Woof the dog
Mar 3, 2003 9:51 AM
it must be milimeters.
re: Knee painWoof the dog
Mar 3, 2003 9:44 AM
gym is very important in strengthening your knees. I had some naggin knee pain on the inside front of the knee by/under the patella. I went to physical therapist and she said I had patellofemoral syndrome where patella rubs on the groove of the femur. The only way to take care of that was through strengthening and stretching, in my understanding, so I went to the gym probably 5 times and the problem went away. I can still feel it a little bit, but thats because I don't go to the gym more than 20 times a year! I hate gym anyways.

The point is, people and dogs like me will tell you all about their problems. If anything they will scare you and give you too much to worry about. In your head you will be running through all the possibilities. Hell, we could even have some physicians here tell you something, but who would really know for sure? What you should really do is go to the doctor. He'll check your flexibility, check the way you walk, etc. You can't really diagnose without seeing it in front of you. Whats it worth to you, healthy knees or extra cash in your pocket that you gonna spend on a new bike part anyway? So back out of that century ride, go see a doc, fix a problem and eventually you'll ride hundreds of miles a day.

Sincerely

Woof the dog.
Be careful with thisColorado Ron
Mar 3, 2003 9:44 AM
That's just where mine started out. It turned out to be patella tendonitis and it grew into severe patellar tendonitis. I finally saw a DR and after a MRI ended up in a full length brace which allowed no bending at all for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks it was no better, so I had to have a Patellar debridement and now am out for another 6 weeks in the same brace with no bending of the knee whatsoever. After that it's 6 weeks of gradual increase. Should be about able to go in mid May.

Bottom line is to be careful and seek medical advice. Do not ignore the pain and think it will just go away, or try to tough it out. If it is tendonitis it's not as difficult to treat in it's early stages.

Good Luck
re: Knee painRob March
Mar 3, 2003 10:35 AM
Okay, I'm convinced. First, I'm going to my doctor to check up my knees (because both have actually troubled me at different times, it's just that the pain has never been extreme). Second, I think I may get the pro fit anyway. I'd rather spend the ducats for the fixes now than need to worry about it later. Thanks for the advice.

Rob
Hey Rob....russw19
Mar 3, 2003 9:47 PM
Hey Rob, just some quick little advice to throw in between now and the doctor's visit...
Take plenty of anti-inflammatories, even if you can not see visible swelling. Asprin, Ibuprofin, or Naproxin (Aleve) any will work. Keep the swelling down. Also it won't do any damage to ice your knee for 20 minutes at least 3 times a day. When you sprain any ligament or tendon in your body, 70% of the damage is actually done post-trauma by the swelling of the joint. You can help prevent most injuries if you ice IMMEDIATELY after the injury, and use anti-inflammatories to help.
This may help to not only lessen your pain, but prevent further damage as well.

Russ
Hey Rob....Rob March
Mar 4, 2003 7:43 AM
I've been taking ibuprofen on a regular schedule, and icing once a day (all I can fit into my schedule unfortunately). I had to cut back on the ibuprofen (I normally take 2, 3 or 4 200mg tablets per dose) because of an unwanted side effect. But thanks for the advice. I'll let people know how my visit goes, if they are interested. I've just got to make the doctor realize that rest and anti-inflammatories are not the answer I am looking for. I need to develop a proper training (and I use that term loosely, as I just want to continue getting into good shape without doing myself any damage) regimen.

Rob
Doctor visit reportRob March
Mar 4, 2003 3:18 PM
Okay,

So I went to my general practitioner today and described what was going on. He prescribed me 4 sessions of physical therapy, which I hope will point me in the right direction. However, he also told me that he didn't see the point in me trying to go overboard in my fitness program as I'm not a racer. He encourages me to exercise, but not to go nuts, and it seems that my current regimen of 60-100 miles per week seems a little nuts to him. Hrm. He thinks that excessive exercise could lead to considerable physical ailments later in life, if a person works through pain (which I am not proposing to do).

Also, I asked him about using glucosamine as a supplement, and he indicated that he has read nothing indicating that it helps keeps joints healthy or helps prevent injuries from occuring. Does anyone have anything from a reputable medical journal indicating the effectiveness of this as an athletic supplement? I would like to get his approval before I start to take it.

Finally, I just bought the Armstrong/Carmichael training book, in hopes that it may help me back off and reapproach my cycling a little more intelligently.

Thanks for reading,

Rob
Doctor visit reportrussw19
Mar 5, 2003 5:56 PM
Rob, I just reread this whole thread and one thing jumped out at me that I don't think I caught the first time. You say you are riding 60 to 100 miles a week, right? But you had pain after a 60 mile ride. Are you riding once a week? Or was that just a particularly long ride?
I am trying to see if I can figure out a reasonable answer to your problem that is not the obvious like improper fit or lack of float in your pedals... that sort of thing. And if you are only riding 60 miles a week, and trying to get back into shape, you may need to ride less miles more often. I know sometimes what we want to ride won't always fit the schedule, but if you are going on a 60 mile ride, that's a long ride for all but very fit cyclists. That's like a non runner putting in a 15K every week. It's rough if your body is not used to it.
I also got the impression the second time I read all this that you are getting back into shape, but aren't quite there yet? Is this the case? If so, you may just be pushing a bit too hard and your body is trying to find a way to tell you to slow down.
I would recommend you try a few short 10 to 15 mile rides a week on relatively flat ground (if that's possible where you live) and only use the small chainring. Just go on a relaxed ride and spin the gears like a recovery ride. But keep the rpm's high and the speed low. Don't even take a computer with you if you use one, so you don't feel like you need to ride faster. But maybe go for an hour at a light pace and just spin the pedals, nothing hard, and try that ride 3 times a week. See if that makes any difference, and obviously if your knee hurts, your body is telling you something is not right.
As for glucosamine, I have never heard of any real evidence that it is anything more than psychosomatic. I have heard many nutritionists tell me that any vitamins you take just go undigested in your body and are passed anyways. But then I regularly take B-12, so who knows.
I too am trying to re-establish my fitness after a bad knee injury playing hockey, and I find I do much better if I ride short easy rides. I am lucky in that as a student, I have a very wide open schedule to ride, and I live in Florida where it's 70 degrees already and my rides are all pretty flat. I like to ride a rails-to-trails path right now that is 30 miles round trip. It is the perfect length for me right now, and is out of traffic so I don't feel like I need to ride fast to stay with the flow and out of danger.
So anyways, I just wanted to pass that little bit of advice on and see if you could use it. I hope you can and you get back up to speed soon... the world needs more people on bikes and less in cars. Good luck in your recovery. Hope all is well soon.
Doctor visit reportRob March
Mar 6, 2003 7:57 AM
My general riding habits have been as follows:

2 15 mile roundtrip commutes to work each week
1 long (50-70 mile) ride on the weekend

This has been my habit for about 3 months, prior to that I was still commuting, but limiting my weekend rides to 35 miles or so. I bought my road bike in 9/2002, but I had started commuting a couple times per week last April.

So, I guess in saying that I was getting into shape was mostly in comparison to the other folks in my bike club. However, I think that the club made me feel competetive, so I was riding harder than I should have. My friend at the LBS advised me to try some 25-30 mile easy rides for a while. So, this Sunday (after an 8 day rest), knees willing, I will ride 30 miles by myself along the coast, so I have minimal hills, and I will let my bike do most of the work (dammit!).

Thanks for the advice.

Rob
Doctor visit reportRob March
Apr 7, 2003 1:43 PM
If anyone is interested in an update, here goes. It looks like I haven't actually injured my knees, just seeing symptoms of overuse. However, the physical therapy was a little too robust (squats, steps, stationary bike with higher resistance than I would ever use) and just made my knees hurt more. Basically, I have ridden once for 30 miles and once for 15 in March. I had minor knee pain both times even when I kept myself spinning at a pretty high cadence (estimate about 90). But, for the entire week after the rides, my knees (right mostly) ached (off and on over the course of the day/week). I think I basically have to take time off from any sort of exercise that would stress my knees for a considerable length of time (hopefully not more than a month). Ah well, I just needed to unload the information someplace where people would appreciate my situation. Thanks.

Rob