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Knee Pain - 40 miles - clipless

seajaysseajays Posts: 330
edited October 2014 in Commuting chat
OK - so I did my longest ride last week, managing 40 miles round trip. Everything going really great, felt good, however about 2/3rds started to get pain on the outside of my knees. Buy the end of the ride this was quite painful, and took a couple of days rest after to get back to normal again.

I got click-r SPD clipless pedals a few weeks back. Now when I first started with them I had them fairly straight, and immediately got some pain on the outside (particularly in my right knee) on my 6 mile commute. Reading up about them it seemed this might be to do with the angle so I adjusted the cleats so my heels were more inwards, the right one had to be as far as the cleat would allow. This seemed to sort it for the commute - no knee pain since.

Since the long ride last week though I read some more, and some suggest pain on the outside of the knee (Iliotibial Band?) could also be to do with saddle height - so I have lowered in about 7/8mm, though haven't tried anything like the distance since. The commute was fine this morning though.

If however this doesn't work on longer journeys is there anything else I should look at/adjust? Should I try lowering the seat further still?
Cannondale CAADX Tiagra 2017
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Posts

  • It's hard to say whether the pain is caused by foot angle, seat height or seat fore-aft without more detail. It *could* be any of these things. It could also be that the tendons in your knees are still a little weak for a large step up in distance. If you're planning on doing a lot of miles, a proper bike fit may be the way to go, or at least giving the Competitive Cyclist fit calculator a run through:

    http://www.competitivecyclist.com/Store ... orBike.jsp

    You'll need a good friend to do the measuring.
  • I suffered knee pain the first time I tried SPD pedals and quickly went back to flats as I was worried it would impact my football. I used flats for about a year before being talked into trying SPD's again, this time with a bit of friendly advice on how to set them up.

    Of all of the upgrades / amendments I have ever made to my bikes, clip in pedals make the biggest difference (by a long long way) so I would encourage you to persevere with them, make the odd adjustment here and there until you find something that works for you.
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    To begin with, set yourself up with as much float (ability to rotate your foot without encountering any resistance) as possible. Your feet are used to finding their natural position on flat pedals, and this will allow them to do the same with cleats. Depending on the pedal system this is done either by adjusting the pedal, by adjusting the cleat, or by using different cleats.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • dyrlacdyrlac Posts: 743
    Experienced the same thing with similar pedals. Probably worthless advice given that we're all articulated differently, but I found that it was mitigated by getting the cleats as far back (toward the heel) as possible, consistent with the angle you're trying to achieve (which in my case was slightly heels-out) along with--as you've already done--sacrificing some seatpost. Only real way to tell is trial and error.

    I don't believe there's any float to speak of on the clik'r ... the point of that pedal is to ensure *very* easy unclipping, such that the slightest twist will let you go (in my view a more important consideration for the novice who is primarily a short-distance commuter). For longer rides, the real answer here is speedplays. But down that way lies madness.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Experiment with saddle height/fore/aft.

    That said i cured my knee pain by moving to Speedplay Zero pedals...
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  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 6,257
    One word; float (probably). I'm another Speedplay devotee with historically censored knees. But they aren't for everyone and plenty of people with censored knees use other pedal systems perfectly comfortably.

    All of the suggestions here are sensible, but I'd suggest talking to a sports physio first, before you risk doing something odd to your cycling position to work around a problem (heels pointing in sounds a bit odd to me already).
  • seajaysseajays Posts: 330
    All of the suggestions here are sensible, but I'd suggest talking to a sports physio first, before you risk doing something odd to your cycling position to work around a problem (heels pointing in sounds a bit odd to me already).

    Cheers for all the suggestions guys. I'll try out that bike fit calculator first just to make sure there's nothing major wrong with the positioning. Heels in seems to be how I go naturally on flat pedals (even if I try to keep my feet straight!). I do work next door to a sports centre though that offers physio, so may make an appointment there (plus I get staff discount!)
    Cannondale CAADX Tiagra 2017
    Revolution Courier Race Disc '14
    My Strava
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    I have shot knees (car accident at the age of 7), my SPD (not SL) cleats are set slightly off straight to mimic where I put my feet naturally so that I have equal float both ways, running stock M520's I have more float than I can comfortably use, only downside is though I have to twist a little further to unclip.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Gonna ask my LBS to check my cleat position - seem to have a bit of "attachment tendinopathy" at times in the left knee and wonder if this is caused or aggravated by lower leg rotation perhaps. Only affects me when putting alot of load through the joint in the first 4-5 miles, before it has warmed up or when kneeling or sitting and then standing up putting load through the knee. According to their website, the LBS do cleat adjustment for £10 so seems worth a punt.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Remember to warm up/down and stretch, before/after a ride. Warming up probably more important. Touch your toes etc...

    Also - check the shoes are a decent fit.

    When I first got SPD pedals I wanted to pull up all the time, just because I now could. I'd advise doing this too much ;-)
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Daddy0 wrote:
    When I first got SPD pedals I wanted to pull up all the time, just because I now could. I'd advise doing this too much ;-)
    Definitely. The point of clipless pedals is *not* so that you can pull up on them. Think of them as allowing you to apply power in the way you already do, but without your feet moving around on the pedals. If you want to improve your technique, think about pedalling faster (easier with your feet properly attached to the pedals) rather than pulling up...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Simple test is if you had no problems on flats you can be sure where the problem lies.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    My problem is Quads tendon - i.e. when extending the leg or pushing down. Have only ever used clips since I started doing lots of mileage. I think I have overtrained and done too many hills too hard this year and probably dont warm up/stretch enough and its caused a little damage. Seems to not be a problem if I wear knee warmers, which I have tried the last couple of weeks, and less of a problem in the summer when its warmer - or that could be my imagination.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Could just be old age :)

    Up to the age of about 40 I could ride in any weather with no problems. Now I have to make sure my knees don't get very cold or they can be a bit sore. Apart from that I have no injury problems from intensity or distance.
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