Advice for a newbie!

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
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#1
A bit of background first, I started cycling about a month ago. (Although I have spent all my life on two wheels of one kind or another)

I cycle each way to work 4 days a week (15km each way) and have been trying to do a longer ride on the weekend. trying to build up strength and endurance so I can join some group rides.

I ride a 21inch mountain bike. With my seat set a bit forward and I am pushing close to a straight knee. My average flat speeds range between 25km/hr to 30km/hr, depending on headwinds. And I push fairly hard.

From the start of my riding I experienced some knee pain, as I have progressed that has disapated so that now on my office runs I feel totally normal on my arrival and for the rest of the day.

This morning I went out and wanted to do 50km along arakawa river. All was good for the outward leg, I stopped had a short rest at kagoe and turned around. My speeds coming back were around 30km/hr. At my exit from Arakawa I took another short break . When I got back on the bike I straight away experienced a severe pain in my right knee. I thought it would abate with a bit of pedalling but it didn't.

I had a few short hills to navigate. I had to walk up them. The strange thing is after walking up I could get back and ride with no pain for about 50 m then it would come back. It felt like someone sticking a knife into the side of my knee, and there was some pain going up the outside of my leg.

Each time I stopped and walked for a bit (no pain) and got back on I would be fine for about 50 m.

I got home. Had a shower now everything seems pretty fine. I can walk up the stairs and squat down with almost no pain, but if I bend my lower leg from the knee I can feel it.

It doesn't seem to make sense to me, I have had numerous sporting injuries mostly based around crashing motorcycles and I am used to the fact that if you are injured you are injured all the time!! not just in a specific set of circumstances.

Anyone had any experience with this kind of pain? Is it something I will just have to work through? Or should I be off to the knee man? (Last resort, to lazy and cheap to go to Doctors!!:D)

I appreciate any advice or experience you may have to share.:)
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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#3
Where in the knee, inside, outside? Almost a straight knee? Is that with you eyeballing from on the bike?

Get someone who knows what they are doing to eyeball you on the bike. Are your legs different lengths after those moto crashes? something like that could be doing it. Right knee been smashed up in the past. Maybe you have a funky pedaling style, a badly adjusted cleat, could be anything.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
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#4
Best is to play safe and have a professional check your bike fit.

Having said that, since a fall down a slope (while carrying my cyclocross) earlier this year, I also have periodic instances of pain in one of my knees. It can be quite painful, though it doesn't make me get off my bike and walk. I had a specialist examine me (including X-rays) but he couldn't find anything wrong, so thought I should not worry.

As your pain started so soon after starting cycling and doing quite short distances, it is quite likely it's because of your bike fit, so should also be quite easy to solve with the help of an expert.
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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#6
If you`ve only been cycling a month, then it could just be a case of `too much, too soon`, possibly exacerbated by fitting issues. Just rest for a while, get a proper fitting and if pain is still there, seek proper medical advice.
 
May 22, 2007
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halffastcycling.com
#7
Where do I get expert help on bike fit?
There are some fitters on this forum. I've seen Chuck (ProRaceMechanic) in action over the last two days. He's very thorough and highly skilled, but a long way away in Ina.

This chap did my fitting, and many others. Very professional. English not a problem.

Hiroshi Aoyama
Sports Bike HiRoad
http://www.geocities.jp/bikehiroad/english/index.html
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
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#8
I got out on the bike today, for my commute. After poking around my knee I pinpointed the source of all evil. That being under the outside tendon.
Anyway after a ginger start I cranked it up and everything was good. So Maybe it was a case of too much too fast.

I rode for the first time with cleats today, that was nice. I also noticed that my feet had a tendency to push on the inside heel of the boot. So maybe I have been riding around duck footed all this time:cool:
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#9
Personally I think people are far too sensitive about their knees. It's quite <normal> for some knee pain to occur when starting cycling - it takes time and LSD to get the lubricative conditioning of the meniscus and supporting muscles in shape. Same as any other part of your body - it will hurt when you start excercising.

Knees heal. Period. I speak from direct experience. I had a knee injury that would probably make you puke. Imagine a 150kg 'bike' spinning like a top, come crashing down on your leg and bouncing off. Well, that's what happened to me! Leaving my left leg cleanly severed right at the knee joint with the exception of the skin. So - it was like one of FE's fine sausages dangling in the breeze. This is why you wear leathers! Well, too make a long story short - I REHABBED my destroyed knee WITH A BIKE! At the last decision point of either getting a Total Knee Replacement or a lifetime supply of Oxycontin , I decided to take one last spin on my muletto. it hurt like bloody hell. But it hurt in a GOOD WAY so I continued. And continued. And continued. Now, my knee STILL HURTS. But it is consistent and maintainable. And as LONG AS I RIDE, it actually feels better.

The moral - there is WAY TOO MUCH negative press about cycling and knee stress and injury. Setup your cleats as straight as you can, pedal for a few hundred KM as light as you can, THEN start tweaking with positioning, fitting, power, etc. DONT GET ALL PARANOID! The most common issues are easy to solve:

1) Saddle too high or too low. Set the saddle so your hips don't rock (too high) and you get nearly full extension without a bent leg (too low)

2) Set your cleats so your toes will be parallel or slightly toe-in.

3) Set your cleats so you are well over the axle of pedal. Meaning its better to have your feet too far forward than too far back.

4) Use cleats that allow for decent amount of float until you get perfectly accustomed to the position.

5) Position your saddle somewhat forward of what you imagine as 'perfect' and keep a higher cadence then you imagine is 'ok'.

6) Ride at least every other day - even for a short distance. Build up some LSD (long Slow Distance) rides so you have a history of reliability with your body and machine. Nothing super stressful.
 

Sikochi

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#13
Personally I think people are far too sensitive about their knees.
Glad you recovered from your injury but this is why I would never advise someone with knee pain to just HTFU and keep pedalling. ITB Band issues aren`t necessarily solely due to poor fitting, they can be bio-mechanical. For the OP, toes that aren`t straight can be an ITB Band issue.

"Cycling emphasizes use of the leg muscles, and the iliotibial band, or ITB, is a muscle that is at risk for injury and overuse...

Treatment for ITBS

If you develop ITBS, it is important to have it treated so it does not become worse. Until it is fully treated, your doctor or physical therapist may want you to refrain from cycling or exercising. Returning to activity too soon can lead to permanent damage. According to the University of Southern California, the treatment of ITBS will depend on the underlying cause, and can include rest, heating and/or icing, taking anti-inflammatory medications, stretching under supervision, learning correct cycling techniques to prevent injury, using orthotics, and in severe cases, surgery."
http://www.livestrong.com/article/336256-cycling-iliotibial-band-syndrome/

Btw, that`s my highlighting for emphasis.
 

Badar

Warming-Up
Sep 24, 2010
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#14
Anyone had any experience with this kind of pain?
Hi Blob (and everyone else, 久しぶりですね),

I think I have suffered from the same problem. Last October I bought myself a new road bike and was soon started putting up serious miles. Winter seemed so good, I found I was quick and did some cycling tours too. By January I had already put up ~4000km on the odo. Then I went on to an epic tour doing 275km in a day with 2400m climb.. well all was ok after the ride though a bit tired for 2 days but I could easily continue my daily 30km commute. After 5 days when I was returning from college around less than half way I sensed some pain in my right knee and initially it wasn't acute but was irritating and was increasing by every pedal stroke. By half way point it was so scute that I just couldn't pedal.. I used my left leg to push me the remaining distance.
Next day all seemed ok but still I thought it better to take train to college but to my horror when I reached the stairs of the station I just couldn't put any pressure on the right knee to climb the stairs. The pain was acute and I used my left leg to climb. I rested for few days (~ a week) and it was gone, I could climb stairs easily. I started cycling again but a week of cycling and it struck back. This time I left cycling for a month but again when I took back to cycling it reappeared in 2 weeks.
I went to a doctor (sports specialist) and he said I don't have any issue, its just some inflammation.. I should carry on cycling and instructed some exercises. But the pain didn't go and I just couldn't pedal.. worse even, I couldn't even run for more than 10 mins now!:eek:uch: I rested and rested but nothing seemed to work.. for 7 long months I have been off the saddle :(.

Recently I visited a knee specialist (http://ar-ex.jp/meidaimae/) and the doctor said that I have 'Iliotibial Band Syndrome' (ITBS), he suggested some stretching to be done 4 times a day and visit to rehabilitation centre once every week. 1.5 weeks into it and it feels little better. I even went to college by bike two days back, though the pain still seems to be lurking inside but better than before...
...or is it placebo?! Only time will tell... wish you a better luck than mine!
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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#15
ITBS is one of the cyclists' achilles' tendons! I agree your doc - you need fascial tissue release and lots of slow stretch and reconditioning to get back to form. Also - check your fit and readjust to transfer the muscle action more to quads and less to your hamstrings and gluts - a little contradictory - but if you want to ride ... ?? 7mo is quite long. And you're in college? 20's ? Insane! It sounds like you did some actual tearing of the ligament and it never healed properly. Why are there not properly educated orthopedists in this country!
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#16
a little contradictory - but if you want to ride ... ?? 7mo is quite long. And you're in college? 20's ? QUOTE]

Mate listen to the Doctor and not us internet jockies.... I didn't and it basically resulted in having to leaving the cycling scene for 4 years.

However I would suggest going and seeing a sports physician letting him know exactly the amount of training and riding you do and seeing what they say as ordinary doctors will normally lean on the cautious side.
 

kiwisimon

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#17
Why are there not properly educated orthopedists in this country!
Mate, one of our family friends is an orthopedic surgeon, he travels the world attending conferences and giving presentations, has had articles published in many peer review publications internationally and has sports folk coming to him from all over Japan for treatment. He's a shoulder guy, mostly working to repair baseball pitchers' blown out pivots, and teaching coaches about correct mechanics and rotation of young athletes so he isn't seeing the bad results . His workmates are likewise equally well educated and qualified. I would trust any of them with my children, if the need ever arose. (Touch wood). Each one of them has a specialty and they are very good at them.
I think the same holds true in Japan as it does in any country, get a second and third opinion!
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
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#18
I wish I could back this up with data or my own experience. In fact, both orthopaedists I have seen about my back problem have been clueless, yet refuse to refer me to someone who might know better. I'm in the process of making an appointment for minimally invasive surgery abroad.
 

Sikochi

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#19
I went to a doctor (sports specialist) and he said I don't have any issue, its just some inflammation.. I should carry on cycling and instructed some exercises.
I can`t believe he gave you that advice. If you want to head over to Slowtwitch, there are loads of threads on ITBS e.g.
http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/Question_for_those_who_have_recovered_from_a_tough_ITB_case_P3608624

Sorry to hear you are still having problems. Like FarEast said, rest! Don`t mess around with these things. Your knee specialist seems to know what he is doing, so let him dictate when you can/should ride. Remember, being off the bike for another 3 months might seem like a lifetime, but it is just a drop in the ocean if it means you can then resume normal duty for the rest of your life.