Knee pain. Something I've done or overuse?

rc856 Posts: 1,144
edited March 2011 in Road beginners
Hi folks,

Looking to see if anyone has any ideas regarding recent knee pain?
Apologies for the long post, just trying to give the full picture.

I've had the same bike for about 7yrs. Same set up.
Been to the Alps and Ventoux with it, no problems..circa 2004/2006

Had been off the bike for a while and after a long ride in 2007, developed patellar tendonitis in my right knee. Had about a year off the bike after that.

Getting back into it a bit after that with no changes to the bike. No major miles or frequency until the end of last year.

Had a Specialized bike fit at this point where mostly it was ok but my saddle was raised a bit.
I didn't find this too comfortable so lowered it again, somewhere in between where it had been and where the fit took it.
Still no problems.

Found myself pushing myself back on my saddle so I've moved it all the way forward and it's felt fine. Comfy sit bones.

Felt some knee twinges around the right knee about Dec last year but didn't feel too bad. A few weeks ago I fitted a new chainset, moving from 170 - 172.5mm.
Didn't initially lower the saddle but did a couple of 50+ rides and it was generally ok unless pushing uphill.

Out yesterday for 65miles and it was only when I got home, had crouched down and stood up that I got a shooting pain across my kneecap just like it was back in 2007.

I can't pinpoint if it was the saddle moving which took my knee a bit over the pedal spindle or the longer cranks...if either of those at all?

Joined a club in November to get me out more in preparation for the Pyrenees in June and I have been working hard on the turbo...different bike.

Have I just been overdoing it...I was previously doing no turbo and infrequent 30 odd mile rides...or is it down to one of the small changes?

Looking for any thoughts/experiences as I don't want to see my Pyreneenes trip go to pot! :(

And yes, I will see a physio at some point but based on my previous experiences, I know what exercises I can be doing etc.

Thanks for reading. :)


  • john74
    john74 Posts: 254
    have you ever suffered ligament damage?

    i had bad medial ligament damage through playing football about 5 years ago had physio etc and it healed fine after a few months but i still get shooting pains across my knee cap as well. especially when i kneel on the floor and when i finish a ride of over 30 miles or so.

    i tried my saddle at different heights and nothing worked. I then went to get a profesional bike fitting for £100 and although i still get the pain, it is very rare maybe 3 or 4 times a year rather than every ride.

    also my physio showed me how to massage my knee to break up any scar tissue, you have to dig your fingers into the sides of your knee quite vigorously and it does hurt but it did seem to help.

    not sure if this is at all relevant to you but its all i could think of.
    2010 Forme Reve
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  • mattshrops
    mattshrops Posts: 1,134
    what about new shoes/cleat position changes? worth looking at, hope you sort it.
    Death or Glory- Just another Story
  • bobgfish
    bobgfish Posts: 545
    I suffered with knee pain on the right side for several years. Some rides absolutely fine and others just very painful. After trying various things overs years like seeing doctors, Physios, Osteopaths and sports massge I had almost given up hope. I could never put my finger on the exact cause and why some rides hurt and other didn't. I tried various postions and moving cleats and footbeds and all that type of thing. I would change one thing and ride for six weeks to see if it improved Sometime I would think that is better but by the 4th week it would come back.

    I finally went and got a professinal bike fit done and it made a huge differnce. No more knee pain at all. The changes were so minimal I actually wondered what I'd paid for but has made a huge difference. Best money I ever spent. The seat was put down 3mm, backwards 3mm and the handlebars dropped 5mm as well as cleats moved about 5mm forward.

    Very happy with result.
  • rc856
    rc856 Posts: 1,144
    Thanks for the replies.

    John - never had ligament damage (I'm assuming I'd know about it!). Before now, the only real pain was back in 2007 when I did an 85 miler...having not been anywhere near that mileage for years.

    Matt - when I had the Spesh bike fit, I was told my cleats were in the correct position.
    They did add the Spesh inserts which I felt made everything more comfortable. I go back to the start? Take out the inserts, move my saddle to where it was before the bike fit?
    Everything did initially feel fine apart from the saddle being a tad high and I had been on a few rides with no problems before the pain appeared.

    I'm hoping it's just because of the intensive turbo sessions after not really doing that for a while.

    Crouching down again now, the pain has gone.
    Couple of weeks off the bike then keep in lower gears/a bit lower mileage?

    Thanks again
  • alistaird
    alistaird Posts: 290
    My knees hurt when I have been doing a lot of exercise. With me it is due to increasing the muscles and not bothering to do enough stretching to compensate. I find that when I then stretch front, back and sides of the thighs daily, then this reduces the pressure on the kneecap and hence reduces the pain.

    If you're not doing so already, then I would try regular stretching for a few days to see if this eases the knees...


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  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Patellar tendonitis is typically a chronic inflammation as a consequence of over-use - easing off to allow recovery and changing position to reduce the strain on the tendon are critical. I'd suggest you speak to a physio who can advise on both exercises you can do to reduce the strain on the tendon e.g. stretching / weights as well as what changes in bike position will help. Raising the saddle a little might help as it generally reduces the strain put on the knee, but you need to avoid going too far as that creates other problems.
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  • rc856
    rc856 Posts: 1,144
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Raising the saddle a little might help as it generally reduces the strain put on the knee, but you need to avoid going too far as that creates other problems.

    When I'd been riding, albeit lower miles, without any problems and then had the Spesh fit, my saddle was raised by a good 10mm or so.
    I didn't feel comfy so dropped it a wee bit.

    After fitting the longer cranks, I lowered it a tad more so it's nearly back to where it was before the Spesh fit!
    The bend in my knee is maybe nearer to 35degrees rather than 25/30.