Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I ride a road bike, mainly on flat terrain. About two years ago following a 100k ride I had major pain in the front of my knees, just above the patella. The pain did not subside, was present during the following rides, and I have not been riding (due to a number of unrelated health issues) at all frequently or for any real distance since.

This is the third road bike I have owned - and I have been cycling seriously for about 10 years and have previously completed a couple of century rides. I do not ride competitively.

I have had two professionals fit and adjust my bike for me - but this was prior to my injury. I now have little faith in their methodology: After all, I wouldn't be injured if the fit was perfect, right?

My preferred course of action, to ensure I don't repeat the injury, is to make small adjustments to my bike to find a pain-free riding position: I am currently feeling tweaks in my knees, in the same location, even though I am starting out slowly by only doing 20 to 30K rides.

Can someone provide me advice on how to move forward with this? Please let me know if you need more information from me. Thanks

share|improve this question
2  
Do you use clipless pedals? –  Carey Gregory Aug 19 '13 at 18:09

4 Answers 4

The pain at the top of the kneecap is classical patellofemoral pain syndrome -- the most common knee problem. The most direct treatment is simple strengthening exercises for the secondary muscles supporting the knee joint so that the kneecap remains properly positioned -- such exercises can provide relief in 48 hours or less in some cases.

But you should probably consult a sports medicine doc first.

(My personal experience has been that some sort of toe clip or clipless pedal arrangement helps this condition, vs plain pedals, though there are probably arrangements that can make it worse.)

(And probably the easiest way to make the condition worse is to lower your seat too low and pedal too slowly, in too high a gear.)

share|improve this answer
    
Could you list the any such exercises? Thanks! –  mtahmed Jul 2 at 3:39
    
The simplest exercise is to lay on your back and do leg lifts, holding your knee completely straight. (Yes, I know that doesn't make sense, but that's what you do.) But you really should be instructed on this and other exercises by a medically-qualified therapist. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 2 at 11:26

I think you need to start shorter than 20-30k. That seems pretty far for someone unaccustomed to riding and with health issues.

Fit is important but to assume you will not be injured because your fit is good is wrong. Your body needs to be ready for a 100k ride and still freak injuries could occur. Also they likely fit you for maximum power or speed rather than comfort or to protect your knees. I am not saying that their fitting method was correct either.

share|improve this answer

The clipless pedals comment needs to be answered. It may be that your feet are at a bad angle compared to your knees.

For example, when my knees are pointing straight ahead, my feet stick out at 5-15 degree angles rather than straight ahead. It caused enough problems that I had to get custom Speedplay pedals in spindle lengths long enough to accommodate that splay, and not lock down the float. One thing you can do to check this is sit on a bench that is high/wide enough that you can have your knees right at the edge of the bench and let your feet dangle. See which way your feet point.

You could also need shims under one of your cleats to adjust for leg length not being the same, your seat may be causing you to rock, or it simply may be that you jump from a 20-30k normal range up to a century, which is quite a difference.

share|improve this answer

Since your pain is in both knees, the first ting I would suggest doing is going to a chiropractor and have them diagnoss any potential problem with your knees. There may just be a weakness in the knee joint that was brought to light after years of cycling. If the chiropractor finds nothing wrong with the knee joints, they may have a suggestion about something that can prevent the pain from occuring, either a strengthing exercise(s), knee braces or a different setup as far as pedals are concerned. If you use clipless pedals, the angle may be setup wrong. Maybe a short video taken by someone of you riding the bike would help with a diagnosis. If the chiropractor finds nothing, then you're back to bike adjustments. Sure hope you can find the cause and a solution quickly.

share|improve this answer
5  
I would have a lot more faith in a sports medicine doctor than a chiro. –  Carey Gregory Aug 19 '13 at 17:55
3  
Actually I think that chiropractors require more faith than an a good doctor. –  Ritch Melton Aug 20 '13 at 11:42
    
Most chiropractors are associated with sports medicine in some ways. The chiropractor I go to is also the doctor for our local high school football team. The body takes all kinds of hits from different angles on the gridiron. The chiropractor can be kept busy during a game keeping shoulders and knees in proper alignment. I've taken a blow to the knee at work just several days before a hiking vacation in the Smoky Mountains. Could hardly walk let alone hike up steep trails. One trip to this doctor before the vacation, and my knee was good as new with no pain, and the hiking was normal. –  Lucky Aug 20 '13 at 18:42

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.