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Knees

redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
I seem to rely on my left leg too much for my cycling. My left downstroke seems to have a lot of power, but recently my knee has started to ache and even hurt when on the bike.

Are there any exercises, to get my right leg to take more of the work? When I try to use my right leg more I slow down to a crawl, and subconsciously go back to using my left leg more. I can forsee getting problems with the knee if I don't sort my technique out soon.

Any ideas?
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  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Sounds like you have a BIG problem. You need to check your body - see a sports physio? and your bike - is it set up right for you?
    I would do body first, perhaps you have uneven length legs, tilted hips or soemthing.
    Your bike is unlikely to cause such major probs but get your position on it checked by somene who knows what they are talking about - (pay if necessary - but only after you've checked body!)
    And yes do get it sorted - it may take some time - cos you only have two knees and when one packs in it aint funny.. :)
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,546
    How would you get your position checked (just out of interest)? Would a trip to the local bike shop and a go on a turbo do the trick?
  • sjensjen Posts: 1
    I suggest a trip to a professioanl bikefitter. In my experience you won't get much help at the local bike shop. I made the effort to go to Cyclefit in london. It costs but they are bloody good. It hasn't instantaneously solved my knee problem but through their advice whch includes a full asessment of biomechanics and fit on the bike I'm woking towards it

    Stuart
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    A pro bike fitter may well be a good idea but I would adress body issues first otherwise a problem that could be dealt with by specific stretches etc will be accounted for in a bike fit but not go away and cause potenial problems in other parts of life :)
  • BlondeBlonde Posts: 3,188
    Most people favour one side more than the other and are stronger on that side. This is normal. If you are really noticing it to this extent, you may have a more significant imbalance than most people or you are just very perceptive! It is possible that your cleat position or saddle position aren't quite right. (note that each of your feet is not the same, and the angles you make with each leg when pedalling will not be the same so it is normal for the cleats not to be in the same place on each shoe) and that you are compensating for this, by using one leg more than the other, which in turn is making the situation worse. It is equally possible that you already had this imbalance due to an old injury (have you ever broken or sprained the ankle or leg?) or an existing muscular or skeletal imbalance. You can do single leg pedalling excerises with the weaker leg to strengthen it, if it is simply a muscle imbalance - unclip the 'good' foot and pedal with the other leg only, on a flat road for a minute, clip in and pedal as normal for two minutes then repeat. Off the bike you can do single leg squats (back agaisnt a wall) to help strengthen it and if you use a gym you can do squat presses concentrating more on the weaker leg. You may want to investigate otho wedges or footbeds in your shoe(s) (I'm afraid it's not a cheap option) which can help correct this type of problem. I think the wedges really only work for a few people who have significant skeletal differences (for example, different bone lengths in the legs) and many imbalance problems can be better addressed by going to see a qualified sports physiotherapist. You can use the CSP website to find a registered one in your area. http://www.csp.org.uk/ I agree that a good place to start and to find out the root cause of this issue is to have a cycle fit : http://www.cyclefit.co.uk/index.htm and going from there. NB - A 'bike fit' does not have anything to do with accounting for problems or ignoring them. Perhaps the term is misleading - It is not a fit for the bike but a fit for the rider! It will tell you what is causing the problem though video of the rider and computer analysis of the pedalling and other body movements, amongst other things. It will tell you where you are putting the weight in your body/on the bike - this is very unlikely to be symmetrical. They will for example, be able to tell you if one hamstring is shorter than another and that is why you don't stretch one leg as much as the other and that is why it is not so strong etc.. of coure a physio can also tell you this - by a different method. Both methods will then try to address the the cause of a problem by specific excerises and/or stretching first, then bike set-up and aids such as foot/shoe wedges, only if appropriate.
  • pw1brownpw1brown Posts: 243
    My own experience backs up what Blonde says: you should do exercises to strengthen your weaker leg. My left knee got sore when cycling, so I did most of the work with the right leg, my stronger leg anyway, thinking I was protecting the sore knee. Months later it was just getting worse so I went to the physio. She pointed out that the muscles around the sore knee had actually become much smaller than on the other leg because I wasn't working it, and this meant the knee had less protection from jarring, so was more easily damaged. In general, you need to keep the weaker leg working.

    Don't force it when it's actually painful, though - let it recover a bit first.
  • binlinusbinlinus Posts: 305
    You need to train yourself to spin the pedals more efficiently and with both legs.

    Do these workouts:

    On a slight downhill or flat road pedal in low gear at a very high cadence. Spin away in as low a gear as possible until you start to bounce on the saddle, then ease off so that you are pedalling very fast but not bouncing. Try to keep this up for 30 secs or more. Recover then repeat several times. Build up to 2 or 3 minutes at a very high cadence

    Ride out of the saddle on the drops in a low gear turning the pedals quickly for 30 secs. Recover then repeat several times. Build up to 60 - 90 secs.

    With both these workouts you should be concentrating on leg speed not force on the pedals. The emphasis is on bike handling not speed on the road. However your legs will feel like they've had quite a pounding despite the low gears.

    You should gradually see an improvement in your normal 60-80 rpm cadence and your pedalling should be smooth and balanced as a result.

    Bin
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