Sudden knee clicking

I've 55, I've been cycling for the past 30 years or so and my annual mileage is usually between 7-10k.

Never, not once, whilst I've been cycling have I ever experienced any sudden problems with joints....until yesterday.

Completely out of the blue, and on the flat, so it's not as if it was during any effort or anything, my left knee started "clicking" on every downward stroke. No build up, no warning, no pain or anything. It just started.

It was extremely noticeable. After about 10 downward clicks I took my left hand off the bars and put my fingers on my knee and I could feel it even more. I pulled up, clipped out, and just stretched my left leg a bit, and then carried on. The click seemed to have gone.

Then once in a while, again, not necessarily during any effort, it would start again. I clipped my left leg out several times during the ride and a quick stretch of the leg would solve it...for a short while.

What could this be? Is it cartilage related? Could it be serious or just one of those growing old type things. There are a lot of middle aged cyclists on here who do hell of a lot more annual kilometers than I do. I doubt very much I'm the only one who's experienced this.

Comments

  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,492
    Any change is set up recently? New shoes, cleats? Anything?
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 15,183
    It's a ligament.
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277
    I've recently got a new bike, and I was on it yesterday. I've done around 300 kilometers on it so far with no issue, until yesterday.

    Everything would point to my positioning on the new bike not being quite right but this bike, a Merida Reacto, feels so damn comfortable. Due to this I pretty much dismissed that it was the bike! Maybe wrongly so.

    I do realise that the margins in bike positioning, between the perfect set up, and a set up that can give you issues, are marginal, millimetres even.

    Maybe I need to ditch the Merida for a few rides and go back to my old steed, on which I never had issues at all. That would tell me outright whether it's my new bike or not.

    Is it as easy as getting a tape measure out and measuring a few distances between critical points on each bike?
  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,492
    I’d check your Q factor, pedal/cleat system is exactly the same as your old bike. If it is the new bike, it could be as simple dropping the saddle a couple of mm.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277
    I've looked into this in a bit more detail. There's a lot to look at! Saddle height/fore/aft position, and cleat fore/aft/lateral position will be obvious starting points I think.

    It could take some time. A tweak here and there followed by an exploratory ride to assess any improvements.

    I just hope I can figure this out!
  • My knees intermittently click, pop, grind, occasionally hurt. All sorts of things that come and go with seemingly no clear and obvious cause.

    I saw an orthopaedic surgeon years back and had MRI scans as I had left knee pain that persisted for a few months (eventually subsided).

    I had minor ailments in both knees, slight tears, bit of minor ligament damage, kneecaps that don't actually sit correctly in position (this was a first for the surgeon).

    His advice was as long as you are fit and active and it is not impacting your daily life, carry on as normal and don't worry about it.

    I have taken that approach ever since!
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277

    My knees intermittently click, pop, grind, occasionally hurt. All sorts of things that come and go with seemingly no clear and obvious cause.

    I saw an orthopaedic surgeon years back and had MRI scans as I had left knee pain that persisted for a few months (eventually subsided).

    I had minor ailments in both knees, slight tears, bit of minor ligament damage, kneecaps that don't actually sit correctly in position (this was a first for the surgeon).

    His advice was as long as you are fit and active and it is not impacting your daily life, carry on as normal and don't worry about it.

    I have taken that approach ever since!

    Yikes, sounds like your knees are shot at! Have you ever, or still do, any running as part of your fitness regime?

    A couple of years ago I started running during the darker more miserable winter months to keep on top of my fitness (hate indoor turbos). I loved running, but my legs didn't!!

    I had a few slight knee and shin problems, which cleared up quickly, but I once aggravated my Achilles, and that was tough. No running or biking for a whole month when I upset that.

    I don't do any running at all now, I daren't.
  • You'd be surprised, the surgeon said most people (particularly past 30) will have some kind of tear or damage to kneecaps, ligaments etc. but it often only tends to manifest itself as pain or discomfort in fairly active people.

    I used to cross country run in my teens and early 20's. Haven't done any for years but occasionally do the odd jog and don't get any issues if I do.

    Due to the kneecap issue I am apparently a prime candidate for knee dislocation but he said don't worry you are so active if it was going to happen it would have done so by now!

    I genuinely don't worry about it, I don't have any major issues and until I do I'll keep on cycling and being as active as possible.

    Yes, if I had something like an achilles issue I'd definitely be mindful of high impact stuff.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,787
    Could be the patella tracking - maybe a tight muscle pulling it too far one way.

    Try stretching your quads daily for a bit and some seated full knee extensions concentrating on the last bit of full extension - possibly with a light ankle weight if you have one or wear a heavy boot.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • Could be the patella tracking - maybe a tight muscle pulling it too far one way.

    Try stretching your quads daily for a bit and some seated full knee extensions concentrating on the last bit of full extension - possibly with a light ankle weight if you have one or wear a heavy boot.

    Yep, I do kettlebell knee stretching for this(since I have one for that matter). I'd say try to do a small platform single leg raises(slight bend in the knee while one leg touches the floor from a small platform, helps strengthen the knee a lot).
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277

    Could be the patella tracking - maybe a tight muscle pulling it too far one way.

    Try stretching your quads daily for a bit and some seated full knee extensions concentrating on the last bit of full extension - possibly with a light ankle weight if you have one or wear a heavy boot.

    The last time I was on the bike, when the "clicking" started, was Sunday morning. I haven't been near it since, so almost 3 days to recover.

    It's going ok so far. I have been stretching a lot, and also I touch my knee in various places whilst bending it to check for any clicking, knocking or grinding. It feels quite smooth, no discomfort or anything so things are looking promising.

    I'm going to remain off the bike until weekend and then tentatively get back into it. I've made a few small changes on the bike, nothing drastic.

    After putting a bit more thought into it I should have almost expected this problem instead of being surprised. A new bike, with a more racing geometry as opposed to my other one.

    I can't understand though why my knee started playing up on Sunday, and not earlier. As mentioned, I've had the bike a few weeks now and have rode about 300km on it. No problems on earlier rides!