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Knee cap hurting after rides

youraddsyouradds Posts: 22
Hi,

I had a ride a few weeks ago, and have been having issues with my knee ever since. It wasn't a huge ride (18 1/2 miles), but it was after a break of 3 weeks due to having minor surgery on the back of my leg (meaning I wasn't allowed to do any exercise for a while).

Anyway - I did the ride and felt OK. I then went out for another one the next day, but this time only 10 miles. I felt something behind the back of my knee cap starting to get a bit tight, and by the end of the journey it was really hurting.

What happening for the next 2 weeks was a pain every time I bent the knee. I went to a GP about it, and he said it sounds like I had sprained the mussles (that join behind the knee cap?)

Today I felt like it had finally got better. I went out for a 10 mile ride, and now its back again (not quite as bad as before, but still hurting)

So my question: What should I do about it?

Thanks for any suggestions 8)

Andy
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  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,238
    Change your doctor.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • He isn't my doctor ;) He was just a general emergency GP at an event I was at.
  • General advice regarding knees - pedal faster, not harder.
  • Stay in the saddle as much as poss.

    Keep the revs high... Grind your gears not your knees!
  • Thanks for the advice guys. I never would have thought about pedalling faster, and not pushing harder). I tried that out yesterday, and it did seem to help a bit. I'm still a bit sore on the knee cap. Not sure if I should fully rest it (until it stops hurting), or just work back into cycling a bit at a time. I'm doing a little bit of swimming on and off, to see if that helps get it back to full fitness.
    Stay in the saddle as much as poss.

    Another interesting point. I do tend to stay in the seat, but occasionally lift myself up (when going over some bumpy ground, it sometimes helps you backside lol)

    Thanks again

    Andy
  • Thing is dude, you've had surgery. I'm no doctor, but you'd have thought the fact you've been under the knife will have some sort of effect on you in terms of recovery.
  • I only had very minor surgery (a small biopsy taken - like 2mm - on the calf muscle at the back). I didn't do any exercise while it was still healing up (and its fully healed over now)

    :)
  • People who get plenty of exercise heal faster. Nothing wrong with that.
    For instance, when I really push myself way over the limit and feel like my legs are going to fall off the next day, I favor doing short, slow rides and some stretching. Also, going for a stroll is never a bad idea. Keeps the legs moving and isn't demanding.
    If your knee is still hurting, I'd probably recommend doing really light rights. Like below 60% effort slow weekend kinda rides. Enough to keep it moving but not enough to strain it any further. Maybe only putting in more effort at the end of the ride, right before you're about to get back home.
    This is also a good practice during longer rides. Ride constantly but at low effort for at least 30 minutes before you get more aggressive.

    As for the pedaling habits, I really recommend getting used to pedaling faster. Always. Not just when your knee is hurting.

    Oh, and getting up from the seat every once in a while, but staying put for most of the ride is a good idea. You shouldn't stay in a fixed position for too long.
  • Thanks. I did build myself up slowly, but after the surgery I had about 4 weeks out of action. I then stupidly went and did a 18.5 mile ride (1st one in 4 weeks), and I think this is where that has stemmed from. Guess I just need to work myself back into it slowly (at least the weather's gone censored now, so not quite as enticing to go out for a ride ;))
    Also, going for a stroll is never a bad idea. Keeps the legs moving and isn't demanding.

    Yeah - that's something I need to get back into doing. I live ride next to the woods, so its a decent area to take a walk.
    If your knee is still hurting, I'd probably recommend doing really light rights. Like below 60% effort slow weekend kinda rides. Enough to keep it moving but not enough to strain it any further. Maybe only putting in more effort at the end of the ride, right before you're about to get back home.

    That's kinda what I've been trying. There is a beast of a hill on one part of my ride, so I walked up with the bike for that. The rest are pretty gentle, so not too hard to take it easy. I guess its just going to be a case of building myself back up again. I've also got an fixed indoor bike, so can have a play on that to build up.
    This is also a good practice during longer rides. Ride constantly but at low effort for at least 30 minutes before you get more aggressive.

    I think thats part of my problem :) I tend to go all out at the start, and then suffer later. Just need to get a bit more self control, and do some proper warm up. Speaking of warm up - are there any good videos that show you the best ways to warm up before a ride? I'm pretty rubbish at them TBH!
    As for the pedaling habits, I really recommend getting used to pedaling faster. Always. Not just when your knee is hurting.

    Thats what I'm going to aim for :) I assume you would also burn off more calories if you are pedaling faster?
    Oh, and getting up from the seat every once in a while, but staying put for most of the ride is a good idea. You shouldn't stay in a fixed position for too long.

    Indeed.

    Cheers

    Andy
  • youradds wrote:
    I think thats part of my problem :) I tend to go all out at the start, and then suffer later. Just need to get a bit more self control, and do some proper warm up. Speaking of warm up - are there any good videos that show you the best ways to warm up before a ride? I'm pretty rubbish at them TBH!

    Yeah, I totally get you there. I'm struggling with that too, because I feel weird when going at low effort. But from my experience, warming up does get you a better mileage.

    There are some "proper" warm ups on youtube (just search "MTB warm up") but I think they'll probably contain stuff you do at home before you actually ride. Mind you, I do actually work out and stretch at home, but when it's time to ride, it's time ride RIGHT NOW and I can't be bothered to do any of that. I just warm up on the bike.

    It's all very individual, depending on what your nominal effort is. For instance, I normally ride around 24-27km/h over stiff easy terrain or gravel and up to 33 on asphalt (that's my nominal speed, i.e. the effort I put up for majority of the ride). This doesn't factor in wind BTW. So when I'm warming up on asphalt, i try to stay below 25km/h for about 30 minutes. When I'm getting faster than that, I shift into a lower gear to not be able to go any faster. It also takes me roughly those 30 minutes to get to the nearest off-road sections, so that's when i put some force into pedals.

    That said, I'm used to doing several 70+km rides a week, so I don't even bother warming up if I don't expect to do more than 30km. Like I said, it all depends on what you're used to. For instance, if you're only going to be riding for 90 minutes, it would seem to me a waste of time to spend 30 minutes warming up. A more serious person would probably suggest getting a heart rate monitor or something, to really get an idea of how hard you're riding.
  • Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I'm not quite up to that level yet :) (20 miles if about my limit, but I'm working on that obviously). I like the idea of taking it easy for the first 30 mins. As you said, its tricky (as you want to get going), but it it stops injuries then it's gotta be worth it.

    I'll have a look on YouTube for warm up videos - thanks. My average speed is only around the 11mph mark currently, so going much slower than that feels rubbish haha
    A more serious person would probably suggest getting a heart rate monitor or something, to really get an idea of how hard you're riding.

    I actually have one already (Wahoo), but I'm rubbish at using it LOL. I'll try and remember to put it on next time, and then keep an eye on my heart rate (it has a phone app, so I can keep an eye on it and also track the ride)

    UPDATE: For anyone reading this in the future, this was a good video I found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUnzfqp5viQ

    Cheers

    Andy
  • youradds wrote:
    My average speed is only around the 11mph mark currently, so going much slower than that feels rubbish haha

    Well the average speed is bananas. It's always going to seem low, because you can't just ride at a constant speed all the time, you gotta slow down or stop in certain sections and that affects the average speed significantly.
  • Yeah I guess so. Well to be fair, I did a 15 mile ride last Thursday, and took it slow to start with (first 20 mins). I also did some basic warm ups. I'm happy to say, no knee joint pains during or after the ride ... and better yet, I only had a little bit of "good" pain in my upper leg, but that subsided by the morning :)
  • Glad to hear the knee is fine. Keep it up :)
  • Glad to hear the knee is fine. Keep it up :)

    Thanks. The next thing is keeping up the momentum during the winter ;) haha
  • I had a similar thing, foam roller on my calf and IT band made all things good again.
  • I had a similar thing, foam roller on my calf and IT band made all things good again.

    Foam roller and IT band?
  • Not sure if serious but....

    Foam roller on my calf and foam roller on my IT band.
  • vulva65vulva65 Posts: 118
    Glad to hear that the knee seems to be on the mend. My gf has been having similar problems but hers is in the front of the knee cap and only seems to happen when cycling. I had a quick look around and found a few articles saying that it could be down to the position, the saddle may need to be brought forward slightly so that the bottom of your knee lies directly over the ball of your foot when your leg is straight. They also mentioned that its beneficial to put it in a slightly easier gear so that you don't put undue stress on the knee.

    Worth looking into if the pain continues.
  • vulva65 wrote:
    Glad to hear that the knee seems to be on the mend. My gf has been having similar problems but hers is in the front of the knee cap and only seems to happen when cycling. I had a quick look around and found a few articles saying that it could be down to the position, the saddle may need to be brought forward slightly so that the bottom of your knee lies directly over the ball of your foot when your leg is straight. They also mentioned that its beneficial to put it in a slightly easier gear so that you don't put undue stress on the knee.

    Worth looking into if the pain continues.

    Ah thats interesting. I've got a trainer now (smart one) where I put my bike on it. I've been doing some decent length rides (training for a 62 mile off road in Feb), and I've noticed my right leg hurts a bit still. Could be worth trying the re-positioning of the seat (the beauty of having it on the trainer, is that you can play around with it during the ride, to get it at optimum spec for the "real world" rides :))

    With regards to the gear - yeah thats true too. One of the biggest things I find, is getting caught out with a hill. You are going full whack, and then suddenly it goes from 0% gradient, to 5 or 10%, and it whacks you knee. I guess you just get better at predicting the road, the more you ride
  • vulva65vulva65 Posts: 118
    youradds wrote:
    Ah thats interesting. I've got a trainer now (smart one) where I put my bike on it. I've been doing some decent length rides (training for a 62 mile off road in Feb), and I've noticed my right leg hurts a bit still. Could be worth trying the re-positioning of the seat (the beauty of having it on the trainer, is that you can play around with it during the ride, to get it at optimum spec for the "real world" rides :))

    With regards to the gear - yeah thats true too. One of the biggest things I find, is getting caught out with a hill. You are going full whack, and then suddenly it goes from 0% gradient, to 5 or 10%, and it whacks you knee. I guess you just get better at predicting the road, the more you ride

    Just out of interest, what 62 mile off road are you doing? I'm looking at doing some sort of off road event this year, although Feb might be a little too soon for me.

    With regards to the gears, it is experience that helps for sure, I used to get caught out all the time, would be cruising along and next minute my momentum is gone and I'm in completely the wrong gear. I tend to try and keep a decent cadence going and the second I feel it start to slow I'll shift down a gear.
  • This is the one I'm doing:

    https://www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/event ... -sportive/

    Just down the road from me (which is nice, as I normally have to travel miles!). The downs link around here is reasonably flat, so hoping I can manage it. Did a 42 mile one before, but that was around Surrey Hills... and OMG that was killer!
    With regards to the gears, it is experience that helps for sure, I used to get caught out all the time, would be cruising along and next minute my momentum is gone and I'm in completely the wrong gear. I tend to try and keep a decent cadence going and the second I feel it start to slow I'll shift down a gear.

    Yeah - I don't have any way of viewing my Candace in the real world though, as I'm just using Strava for the ride (no sensors on the bike)
  • vulva65vulva65 Posts: 118
    youradds wrote:
    This is the one I'm doing:

    https://www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/event ... -sportive/

    Just down the road from me (which is nice, as I normally have to travel miles!). The downs link around here is reasonably flat, so hoping I can manage it. Did a 42 mile one before, but that was around Surrey Hills... and OMG that was killer!

    Looks like a pretty good event, is it all on road though? I did the London to brighton off road last year which encorporated the south downs, was an amazing ride with incredible scenery so imagine yours will be similar. good luck.
  • I think this one is all off road (on the downs link). The last one I did (December), was a 60/40 split with on-road/off-road, which was quite nice. If its really boggy I may re-think (as with cleats on it makes it really hard to react quick enough when the bike comes out from under you :D). I'm hoping it will be a nice day. Even cold I can deal with - its just rain I don't like riding in <G>
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    How did you set your saddle to the correct height, so that can be ruled out.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • I've absolutely no medical knowledge regarding your situation. Depends on your running technique of course, but I think people would generally use a wider range of movement while riding, which could explain why you can run but can't ride. So a solution might be regular exercise and stretching.
    Basic stretching every morning might be a good start, maybe even look into some yoga poses for legs.
  • I've had trouble some knee pain for years, too much footy in my youth!

    Having your bikes set up correctly is the first thing, My saddle slowly looses height over a few weeks and I know if my knee's getting sore on a short ride its probably time to adjust the saddle.

    If I ride +2 hours I used to know it would result in knee pain but I've started using kinesiology tape on both knees before any distance riding and pretty much get no pain at all. I usually leave it on for a day or 2 after riding as well.
  • I also use ibuprofen rub before any after any distance riding and have some in my pack in case I get any pain on the trails
  • OMarkOMark Posts: 23
    I've heard, pain in front of knee = saddle to low. Pain in back of knee = saddle to high
  • vulva65vulva65 Posts: 118
    OMark wrote:
    I've heard, pain in front of knee = saddle to low. Pain in back of knee = saddle to high

    I was reading the bikeradar piece on ITBS last week and it sounds a lot like the pain in the front of the knee could be down to this, a couple of suggestions I have read to counter this are obviously rest, but with regards to position they advised moving the saddle forward slightly and if this still does not ease it then dropping the saddle a little, this would obviously lose a bit of power but is supposed to help with the ITBS problem.
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