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Lateral Collateral ligament pain

EyonEyon Posts: 623
edited January 2011 in Health, fitness & training
Hi All,

Long story here, so bear with me.

I started riding about 4 months ago, cycled on a hardtail bike with small platform flats (bike was given to me, not the greatest gear on it) for 2 1/2 months before getting my Anthem a while ago. to treat my new bike, I bought some Shimano M540's and some Shimano M076 shoes. Great I thought, being clipped in feels nice when riding, a lot more controlled.

However, after covering about 20-30 miles clipped in, I started to get pain in the outside of my right knee, which I read into being my Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). Now when i was on my flats knee issue wasnt the issue for me, I simply didnt do the miles to start out with to worry about them, but with the Anthem I've started 25+ mile rides at higher speeds.

So I assumed it was my Shimano pedals as they are quite restricting, limiting me to maybe 5 or 6 miles before the pain was too much to carry on, and limiting my knee movement for a few days after. A quick re-align of the pedals I managed to get a few more miles out of my knee before it started playing up. So, I gave up on the Shimano pedals and got some Time Freeride pedals, more float, larger supporting platform, and It has improved matters, I did 24 miles the other day and recently did another 20, but still with a lot of pain near the end.

So, I've redone my bikes fitting, so now its brilliant, everything lines up and I spent a lot of time getting it right, leg is extending the correct amount, knee over spindle etc etc. But still not much an improvement.

So after all this the daunting fact of having to return to flats looked the most likely thing, sadly as i do prefer to ride clipped in. However, today in the gym i thought I'd crack a few miles out on the bike as I havent managed to get out recently, and even with a normal exersise bike after 15 mins my right knee was playing up.

So, looks like, after all this, its my knees not my pedals!

So the question is, what particular exersises or stretches would i be best doing to somehow stengthen my knee up to cope with cycling? My legs themselves are strong in the amount of weight they can lift, but obviously strength doesnt relate to cycling type movements. Also, I am quite duck footed, and I wear orthotics to correct some calf muscle issues I have had. Knee issues are same with or without orthotics.

Anyway, please help, its really hindering my cycling progress!



  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Are you doing plenty of stretching. I go through a routine at least twice a day to keep my knees and legs working.

    Are you warming up and cooling down for your ride.

    Massage around the knees helps.

    Could be poor pedalling technique that caused this and now every time you ride it flairs up.

    Go see your doctor if it persists.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • EyonEyon Posts: 623
    Stretching, I'll admit, im lazy, I give my quads a good stretch but not really my calves or hamstrings. Quads are the only muscle I tend to feel the "burn" in once cycling, as I assume they do the most work.

    Warmup, well, sort of. The start of the ride is normally always downhill for me and its a few miles before I get to anything taxing, so the beginning is easy. As for cooldown, not really.

    I suspect possible poor pedalling technique. My legs are quite strong and I have no issues cycling at a lower cadence which feels more comfortable than i higher one. I dont have anything to measure with but it feels low. Perhaps a lower gear and faster cadence would lessen the strain on my knee?

    I have to go to a physio soon because of an arm injury in the gym, I might try to get them to take a look.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    MTBing uses a lot more muscles than nearly any other sport, so I would try more stretching.

    Raise your cadence to take the load off your knees and make sure that your knees are close to the frame, bow legged riding canes the knees.

    It's easy to measure your cadence all you need is something to measure a minute, watch, phone, HRM etc, then see how many times you turn the cranks.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • ollie51ollie51 Posts: 517
    Have you tried different shims and insoles in your shoes, I had same problem as you but in both knees, it sorted the right knee, but not the left; but I put that down to tearing three of the four major ligaments. It's really to do with the foot being too low down or too high up and putting unnecessary stress on the ligament.
  • EyonEyon Posts: 623
    Ollie, one of my not so local LBS's can shim and wedge my shoes to fit, might get that done before the next move.

    I'll also try upping cadence, but fortunately with the time pedals they keep the knees close to the TT, with the Shimanos with Multi release cleats my knees would go out quite a way.

    Was at the gym tonight and the guys recommended using a bosu ball and doing very gentle squats to bring the strength up around the knee + deep heat + massage deep into the knee.

    all this effort to enjoy my bicycle :D
  • ollie51ollie51 Posts: 517
    Don't use any painkillers all you will do is mask the pain and make it worse and you won't know, see a physio and check if there's any lasting damage if not use deep heat it works well, but don't be in the situation that you wouldn't do the activity if you didn't have the deep heat use it to avoid discomfort not to mask an injury.
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