Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Excessive knee pain after cycling
  • Premier Icon officerfriendly
    Free Member

    Hiya folks. I’ve been experiencing this knee pain after cycling and I’m quite at a loss of what to do, so I thought I might ask to see if any of you have had the same experience.

    I’ve never had knee pain before from cycling, I’m quite young (in my 20s) but all of a sudden, after two rides I did, I’m experiencing excessive pain in both knees 2 weeks after. I was kind of hoping it would just go away but it hasn’t, and if I’m honest I’m quite worried about it, and if it’s still safe to cycle. The pain is to the point that it hurts to go up stairs.

    I did one 100km ride, and then a 45km ride a few days later. Only thing I did different on these rides is that I moved the position of the cleats in my SPD shoes, further back towards the middle of the shoe. As someone mainly into MTBing and used to flat pedals, having the cleats further in felt like a much more natural position, and it felt easier to apply power to the cranks, despite having theoretically less leverage. But I wonder if this has caused the problem as I have never had any knee pain before.

    Anyone got any ideas of what it could be/what to do? Would really appreciate any input (:

    Premier Icon oikeith
    Full Member

    Move the cleats back? I use SPD on road and MTB, they are not the same position. ball of foot for road and slammed for MTB.

    Premier Icon swanny853
    Full Member

    Moved cleats back without adjusting saddle height? Might mean you’re reaching for the bottom of the stroke?

    Premier Icon imnotverygood
    Full Member

    Stretch out your quads

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Saddle too far forward?

    Saddle too low?

    Did your two rides represent a sudden increase in mileage?

    Have you been stretching/rolling your quads?

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    Is it a new bike?

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Generally when I’ve suffered knee pain it’s been because I’ve increased mileage or intensity too much, too soon and without requisite strengthening work.

    I’ve also given myself wee aches and pains doing squats with poor form, either letting knee drift too far forward of toes or because I’ve tried a squat (pistol squat…) that I wasn’t ready for and didn’t have necessary form or strength.

    Premier Icon officerfriendly
    Free Member

    I think I might have to move the cleats back even though it seemed more comfortable. The position was previously on the ball of the foot.

    That makes a lot of sense actually, and might explain why my knees are in so much pain all of a sudden. Didn’t think such a minor adjustment would make such a big difference. Will try moving the cleats back. Hopefully this knee pain will go away (I haven’t ridden since), but it doesn’t show any signs of it.

    I’ve never had this problem before, done similar mileage a week before these rides (also 100km) without any issue. Same bike I’ve had for years, just started to get into road cycling a bit more. I think it might be as swanny said, my knee reaching and extending too much for the pedal stroke to accommodate for the reduced distance. Funnily enough though I didn’t seem to feel any pain while riding – generally if something is off you can feel it.

    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Premier Icon trumpton
    Free Member

    Try putting frozen peas on your knees followed by a hot flannel then frozen peas again and so on if you have hurt the ligaments.this may well help recovery.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    Cleats back is a good idea for most – obv we all have our own shapes and sizes but the only time you really benefit from a forward cleat position is for explosive acceleration, like racing a crit or something. The old school idea of cleat on the ball of your foot isn’t grounded in any particular sound principle.

    Premier Icon tinribz
    Free Member

    Seat height is most likely explanation, need to know which part of knee, front or back.

    Premier Icon crikey
    Free Member

    The old school idea of cleat on the ball of your foot isn’t grounded in any particular sound principle.

    It is, however, grounded on 50-60-70 years of actual experience. There have been various trials of a mid foot cleat position and guess what…none of them have been grounded in any particular sound principle either.

    Changing your cleat position and then riding 145 km and getting knee pain as a result really should give you a clue as to what you’ve done wrong.

    Premier Icon bikesandboots
    Full Member

    I’ll share my experience in case it helps anyone.

    Before lockdown I walked for daily routines, hiked regularly, and biked occasionally. During lockdown I dropped the walking and hiking but ramped up the biking, with no issues. After my first post-lockdown hike, had pain in the sides of the knees when lifting weight off. One knee, then both, then just the other one. Fine for biking, but I stopped that just in case.

    Did the NHS runner’s knee frozen peas and stretches for 2 weeks and slowly it mostly sorted itself out. Small walks ramping up slowly seemed to help. Did a few hikes all fine, but then came back again after a steep downhill hike, cue another week of slow recovery. Then one day walking up the stairs had a huge sudden pain, as if something slipped back into place, and since that moment it’s been fine.

    Think it was a combination of knees adapting to cycling without walking, and ramping up too quickly.

    Premier Icon zezaskar
    Free Member

    Both KOPS and the knee-forward-of-toes squat thing hold little water nowadays, IMO.
    Whenever my patella tendons ache, slow pause squats with proper form do the trick, like clockwork

    Premier Icon Teifiterror
    Free Member

    After having a sikilar problem but ton a slightly lesser degree with a general knee ache after an intense period of cycling I would strongly advise getting a bike fit done by someone who does it a lot. How things should be adjusted or angled is very dependant on you specifically and its best to get someone who knows how to correctly adjust the whole to make sure everything is right, most good bike fitters will have an option for cleat alignment also.

    If your near Warwick I can recommend but if not his website has lots of useful information anyway.

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    I often get hot knees after a long cycle. Since lowering my saddle and upping my cadence they get less hot. Also try riding spinning a low gear when going out on your bike for the first 10 minutes to get your legs nice and warm and your knees nicely lubricated (they self lubricate).

    Try doing squats (check YouTube for correct squat technique), you could have a weakness/imbalance in your muscles which has now beeen made worse by both upping your mileage and altering your position for the worse.

    Lay off the cycling for a bit and walk a bit more, walking seems to help correct my poor posture from sitting all day.

    Hope you’re fighting fit asap!

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    Get a massage and take up yoga. Seems to be my wife’s response to every ache and pain I get.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    Making a diagnosis of knee pain without knowing whether it is front, back, inside, outside is pretty meaningless. Changing cleat position and going out for a long ride is a recipe for disaster

    Premier Icon munrobiker
    Free Member

    I had knee pain after a couple of months in lockdown – I’d not increased your mileage massively but banged my stem with my knee then later in the week my saddle dropped almost 50mm over a ride and that really made it flare up. Same level of pain, it hurt to go up stairs.

    I ended up getting an online video appointment with a physio. Without anyone seeing your knee, and without knowing exactly where in your knee the pain is, all the suggestions are just possible solutions. Mine took over 8 weeks to get back to full riding strength. Apparently over use injuries (which if you’ve just ramped up your road riding is a possibility, as is cleat position, saddle position, other stuff you’re doing – all sorts of stuff) were very common at the start of Covid!

    I used Tweed Valley Physiotherapy, who deal with masses of cyclists. The consultation was only about £40, which is better than you moving your cleats and saddle around without knowing exactly what problem you’re trying to solve and losing even more time to it.


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