Cycling is regarded as one of the safest sports for avoiding injury. However, is the world of cycling knee pain is relatively common. As with most sports, the more mileage you do, the more close to perfect biomechanics you need to be to avoid injury. As cycling is a non-contact sports knee pain from cycling stems from poor biomechanics, muscle imbalance, poor flexibility or poor bicycle set up.
The top three areas to examine when trying to fix your knee pain is training errors, technique errors or bike set up errors.
1) Training errors.
Developing muscle imbalances around the knee is straightforward. For example, you may overdevelop the quadriceps compared to the hamstrings. Hamstrings and calves commonly get tight and can adversely affect knee alignment. Some cyclists also develop imbalances within the quadriceps muscle resulting in a stronger lateral side versus medial side. It is essential you talk to your physiotherapist or coach about your training protocol and address any underlying imbalances. Further training will merely exacerbate the problem.
2) Technical errors
Pushing excessively high gears with slow cadence can place more stress on the knee cap. If this heavy power work is implemented too early in the season, you will risk wearing out the back of the knee cap.
The other common error is cycling with the knee turned in which causes a massive lateral force on the knee cap aggravating the knee pain. Get someone to cycle behind you to check your alignment as you ride along. Make sure the knee is moving up and down with the knee over the foot and not wobbling around or turning in.
3) Bike set up and maintenance
Even if you are training correctly and have perfect cycling technique, knee injuries while cycling can still be caused by poor bike set up. If you have not had your bike fitted to you and are doing high mileage, this is a good investment. always pay attention to Bike Chain Cleaner review before using existing maintenance tools. this minimizes the risk that exists.
Check the crank is not too long, check the cleat alignment, check the distance of crossbar from seat to handlebars.
The seat height is important as well. The easiest way to check is to allow one pedal to drop to the 6 o’clock position and observe the angle of the knee joint. There should be a 25-30 degree flexion in the knee when the clutch is at the bottom most point. Another is to measure your inseam (in centimeters) and multiply this measurement by 0.883. This should be your distance from the top of the seat to the center of the bottom bracket. If you place your heels on the pedals, have someone else hold the bike, and pedal backward, your hips should not rock back and forth. Likewise, if your hips sway when you are riding, then lower your saddle until you achieve a smooth pedal stroke.
The majority of people suffering from knee pain while cycling will need seat position adjusting. Once this contributing factor has been corrected, then treatment will be useful.
Physio treatment may be required to loosen off tight structures, knots or scar tissue within the muscles. A good sports physio will also advise you on specific strengthening exercises to address any muscle imbalances.