Help Knee. Am I out?

Mar 8, 2015
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#1
So I just started practicing for my 120km race and I'm wondering if I'm out.

On Wed. I went out and did 71 km. At about the 55 km I felt inflamation, pain in my right knee, around the patella. So I had to call it a day and road home... The pain was on and off on the ride home.

I rested it on Thursday. I just went out today, Friday, to test out this cream Andy recommended and a new saddle position. About 3 km into the ride the inflamation/pain came back. It's really strange, if i rest it, I can go for a bit... or if i have my leg in the perfect position while peddling, no pain.

I'm walking around fine.

Has anyone went through something similiar? or any advice? The race is 1 month away. How long do you think this will put me out for? Is this something that KT Tape/Knee Brace is good for? Any help is way appreciated. I'm frustrated that I just got back on for this... ahhh
 

Musashi13

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
1,778
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Ichikawa, Chiba
#2
For me knee pain was sorted with cleat position for others it hasn't been so easy.

It seems very easy to make it worse.

If you have a month I wouldn't say you were out but you do need to isolate the cause and fix it fast.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
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#3
Sounds very similar to the conditions I suffered under when I first started cycling. I changed from spd pedals to speed play, moved the cleats back, and lowered the seat a bit and the pain was gone never to return. I put it down to the lack of a solid lateral platform with the spd pedals. Best of luck.
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,040
632
133
Tokyo
#4
What kind of pedals are you using and do they have degrees of freedom? I guess most do nowadays. Possibly cleat position could be one factor. Another would be regarding cadence. If you grind a low cadence such as climbing without building up the proper strength etc, it can cause knee pain. Of course its more complex than that but a bad bike position can cause a problem quite quickly. Just imagine how many times you pedaled on that 70k ride and how that could cause strain by repetition alone.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
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#6
So I just started practicing for my 120km race and I'm wondering if I'm out.

On Wed. I went out and did 71 km. At about the 55 km I felt inflamation, pain in my right knee, around the patella. So I had to call it a day and road home... The pain was on and off on the ride home.

I rested it on Thursday. I just went out today, Friday, to test out this cream Andy recommended and a new saddle position. About 3 km into the ride the inflamation/pain came back. It's really strange, if i rest it, I can go for a bit... or if i have my leg in the perfect position while peddling, no pain.

I'm walking around fine.

Has anyone went through something similiar? or any advice? The race is 1 month away. How long do you think this will put me out for? Is this something that KT Tape/Knee Brace is good for? Any help is way appreciated. I'm frustrated that I just got back on for this... ahhh
Adding to what everyone else has said; this sounds like Bursitis. Without looking at your position it is impossible to really say if this is the case, but it sounds like it. It is a kind of 'fatness' feeling inside the knee, right?

Now, this may be due to all manner of things, but usually it is because your knee is too far forward when you reach the down part of your pedal stroke. So, you need to move the seat back ever so slightly, to shift your whole body, including the knee backwards on the bike. You should also move the cleat back away from the front of your shoe, effectively moving your foot forward on the pedal. Do these adjustments by 1mm each time and use tape or a pen to record the adjustments.

You might find that even a tiny adjustment can fix things.

Also consider your Q-Factor (stance width). Are your cleats set so you legs are really wide apart, or too narrow? If so, adjust that too. But do the back and forth, and seat position first.

And don't go hard on it at ALL until you fix it. It is make or break with these problems and you are right on the edge of either dealing with it, or shagging yourself rotten.
 

George5

Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
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#7
What was the build up prior to Wednesday like? It may just be too much too soon. Rest it and then slowly start building up fitness levels and strength. You can still do cardio-vascular in the pool or at the gym rowing if it doesn't hurt, but pain means swelling so give it time to subside. Turn the race into an event and you can still enjoy the comradery e.t.c.
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#8
It must have been too much too soon. I often do that to myself... It's really disappointing. This was my first time back on the bike in a good 6 months... That being said, I was only training for sprint triathlons when i did ride. I never rode the bike over 50 km... I also fit myself to the bike, which definitely could be the issue...

I have Shimano 105 pedals with dhb t1 triathlon shoes... My cleats are set right in the middle. My seat is set all the way forward. I also have the seat set pretty high... in the down position my leg is almost completely straight.

Now I usually unclip with my left foot. Which generally adds some lateral pressure to my right knee at times. Could this also be the cause? I'm wondering why my left knee is solid and fine? How long do you think this inflammation lasts?
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#9
So the advice that I can roll with so far is:

1. Move my seat down a little
2. Move cleat back away from the front of my shoe
3. Move my seat back some

and tweak these till it feels good. Anything I'm missing?

Should I wait a few days to try this or a week or two?
 

George5

Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
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#10
So the advice that I can roll with so far is:

1. Move my seat down a little
2. Move cleat back away from the front of my shoe
3. Move my seat back some

and tweak these till it feels good. Anything I'm missing?

Should I wait a few days to try this or a week or two?
yeah, rest it till the pain goes away. Start slowly. How long to wait till the pain has receded.
Forget these
1. Move my seat down a little
2. Move cleat back away from the front of my shoe
3. Move my seat back some

and get a good fitting. Take all advice from non-qualified people with a huge rock of salt. Good luck.
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#11
After I got off the bike until now... I've been walking around without any noticeable pain in the knee...

I definitely agree that I should get a good fitting as a few of you have suggested. It will be a priority of mine and something I need to budget for. I read that the price is around 30,000 which is out of my range right now, unfortunately.

I didn't expect this to happen, especially since I've had the bike and practiced extensively on it for short sprint triathlons. I guess the distance makes a big difference and fit plays a more important role.
 
Likes: George5

timefleas

Maximum Pace
Nov 30, 2013
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#13
All kinds of useful (and not so useful) advice, but I'll add my two cents, as I have bad knee for many years and have tried many of the things suggested. I had an ACL several decades ago, and at this point no cartilage in my left knee, no cushion whatsoever--I should have a joint replacement but my sister had both, and I just don't want to go that route. Often just walking downhill can be painful. I have had cortisone treatments, drainings, shoe inserts, braces, physical therapy, many times and in many forms over the years. Once damaged, as you age, it gets worse.

The comments about getting a pro fit of course make sense. But so do a few of the other things--certainly lower the seat--as pointed out above, you definitely don't want a straight leg on the down pedal. Whether moving the seat back or forward makes a difference is certainly worth exploring, as well as cleat positioning on the shoe. I found that once I had the right stance set, the single biggest difference was choice of pedals. I have used Shimano, Look, Crank Bros, and others, but what worked best for me were the Speedplay X series--if you research a bit, you will see folks with bad knees often favoring these. Now, the only time my knee DOESN'T hurt is when I ride my bicycle!! Take it slow--even in the best of health, venturing out after not riding for 6 months and then racking up 70 km in a single shot does not make much sense. Best of luck, but be warned, any damage you do now will likely come back to haunt you.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,714
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Niigata
#14
Getting a proper bike fit is the best way to reduce the chance of injury from riding alone.

@ProRaceMechanic can do this for you.

Failing that, having an experienced fitter like him or an experienced bike builder to set your "basic position" is the cheap option.

Any changes after that should be 1 to 2 mm with a week inbetween so you can adapt/appreciate the changes.

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#15
Thanks for all of the helpful advice. I do appreciate hearing about your experiences and where I can go from here. As you've mentioned, the bike fitting is the number 1 best way to insure non-injury and best performance. This is something I'm going save for and budget into my future cycling safety.

As for now, I'm just itching to get back on the bike. I'm walking around fine with no noticeable pain in the right knee. There still could be inflammation in a part where the cycling movement captures. I know the best move is to probably rest it a little more, but I hate that idea.

I agree that I probably shouldn't have ventured out for such a long distance. I was actually recommended to take 120 km at a slow pace and see how I felt. That was cut short at the 55 km mark with the knee thing, had to bike 15 km to get back home.

It's definitely my own fault. As my wife says, I take things to the extreme and always push for more... I need an off button and a better plan. Especially if I want to even ride in this upcoming 120 km race.

Once again, thanks for the advice and support. I'm finding all of you cyclists and this group encouraging. I'd love to get out with you guys on a group ride.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
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#16
At this point, I reckon you should get on your bike and get it into as good a position as you can because from what you describe, it is really wrong.

Use a mirror or a webcam to check.

Read and follow these...

1. General position;

http://www.bikeradar.com/beginners/gear/article/how-to-get-your-road-bike-position-right-39738/

2. Seat Height;

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/how-to-get-your-seat-height-right-14608/

It ain't rocket science, and I found those links after a single 0.00001second Google effort.
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#17
Status report:

So i checked out those websites and a few youtube videos: It came very clear that my positioning and fit were way off.

I had my wife help me with all of the measurements for adjustments. Here is what I had to do:

1. Lower my seat 8 cm
2. Position my cleats outward. My feet aren't naturally straight.
3. Set my seat from all the way to the front to all the way to the back. Using a string and weight to measure from the top of my knee to hang down and align to the bottom of the peddle arm.

So after those adjustments. I took it for a spin around my neighborhood for about 10 minutes. I definitely felt lower but it felt good. I didn't notice any knee pain.

This definitely was good to find out and fix. As for the knee, there still may be inflammation or damage from the long ride and terrible positioning... As much as I want to go out for a long
ride. It may be better to wait a few days and start really slow.

I got to thank everyone again for their experience and help!
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
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Tokyo
#18
8cm! Christ yeah your fit was well off.
I'm guessing you're in the right ballpark now, but for a modern take on saddle height, you just need to use a goniometer app on a smartphone. Put your bike near a wall,sit on the saddle with your leg extended as far as possible (crank arm pointing down) and hold the position by putting a bit of force into the cranks with the brakes on, then just use the wall for support. Get your missus or a friend to use the app to measure the angle of your leg. The range that most (but not all) people find comfortable is 25-35 degrees, with most road cyclists being better closer to 25. Under 25 degrees and you're likely to be putting a lot of strain on your hips and the back of your knee.
 
Likes: TCC
Dec 31, 2009
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Matsumoto
#19
I will be in town (Tokyo) doing bike fit April 11th if you want to try sorting it out with me. I offer a TCC discount and if you need you can pay in two installments. The cost is 25000 for TCC riders.

Have you tried SMR to relax your muscles? Lots of pains come from the muscles becoming too tight pulling tgings out of place. Loosening up the quads, hams, glutes, calfs, tibialis anterior may be a great place to start if your fit is dialed and your still in pain.

One thing I do is watch how the knee trails from the front. Is there lateral movement? Wedges and or Q factor adjustment can sometimes dissipate lateral movement. You don't want to hold your knees in when pedaling, rather be adjusted the equipment on your bike so that a verticle plane of motion is naturally achieved. Some folks have different size legs as well so it takes putting a shim under one cleat to get them to be sitting square on their saddle to achieve desirable knee trail.

The list could go on.

Do let me know if I can answer any specific questions.

Cheers