ive been experienceing occasional knee pains, sharp, followed by diminished capacity to do work with that knee. if my problem is that i need to strengthen my hamstrings(i've been cycling almost excusively(100 plus miles a week) for a year or so), should i do leg curls til i restore the approximate appropriate ratio?10:6 or 7? i'm going to give it a try most likely within a week or so. any thoughts? thank you so very much for your time and input.
no replies yet. well, it's only been a day. i'll keep checking. any input would be appreciated. this is a serious issue for me, and, since i cannot afford to get professional help, i'll hope for your replies. this is not your problem, yes, i realize, but this is, apparently, a reputable place with lots of knowlege and experience. i think i'm in the right place. thanks again.
Sorry to hear about this issue. My first thought was cleat/shoe position. Make sure you have your shoe/cleat in ideal position, if its off by even a few mm it could cause pain due to repeated rubbing and friction between bones and ligaments. My second thought was, nerve damage or a bone spur. These two issues could be a result of improper cleat position or it could have happend from any number of things. Write me back with your thoughts on what I suggested. Hope this offers some food for thought.
Sorry to read about your issues with pain. Pain is not a good thing but it tells you something. Figuring out what that is is the issue. Stranger is getting to the point but I want to step back one step and tell you that from my experience most people have pretty bad feet which usually means there is a pronation issue. Therefore a footbed/orthotic device inside the shoe will serve to correct your alignment upon each downward pedal stroke. After that, cleat/pedal alignment may need to be corrected but may already be okay. Without seeing your foot it is not easy to say BUT in my experience as a bootfitter for skiers I'd say that 98% or more of the feet I see would benefit from an alignment correction and I see no reason why that does not hold in cycling. If the foot pronates, among other things, it causes several actions of the foot which compromise power and stresses the knee and possibly the hip or back. When the foot pronates the heel tends to turn outward. Rotational cleats take some of the pressure away but do so at the expense of decreasing power into the pedals. So, securing the foot in a strong position is key. Two years ago I took out the "custom" footbed I had in my bike shoes and put in a product called "ALINE" which I had been using in my ski boots. To my astonishment I realized that I was experiencing a cleaner pedal stroke and added power and that was over a custom footbed. Alines support the transverse arch of the foot and enhances power to the pedal. In effect I liked them so much I became the only dealer for them in Michigan. Check them out at www.Aline.com. They are not particularly expensive and are guaranteed by most who sell them. I do. Let me know if you would like a pair and I'll help size you. You can contact me here or go to my personal email if you wish.
Start from the primary interface which is your foot to the shoe. Then your shoe to the pedal and that could be fore/aft position on the pedal and up through to fore/aft postion of the saddle and height. Remember moving the saddle up moves it back.
Does your knee hurt when doing other activities? Do you need to see a doctor? Where is the pain specifically?
Good luck and let us know what is going on.
thank you so much for your reply. i used to run quite a bit 30- 40 miles a week. i wear brooks gts 7's, which were recommended by the shoe store i buy my running shoes from. they know what they're talking about so i'm sure i have the right shoe for running and walking. getting back to my cycling, and i wear the same brooks sneaker for when i ride, a hybrid bike, and everything was fine for a couple thousand miles. one day i just felt a sharp pain in my left knee as i was pedalling up a small hill and ever since i've had to pedal carefully up hills so to not experience the same. kind of felt like it was around me kneecap but not on or in it. when this has happened since then, i take it easy the rest of the ride and a day or two, and i'm ok, but i always have to be wary of how i'm taking hills, or in heavy gears. i've heard of imbalances between the yhams and the quads causing the kneecap to go places its not supposed to so i thought i would try ham curls for a week or so then see how things are. i don't know what else to do. rest has not helped, i don't think, but i think walking has made my rides following better. meaning it doesn't feel like i have to be so cautious. squats are ok if i keep good form, but not standing up sometimes, with my upper body to far forward above my ankles and not behind, like after i aggravate it riding. walking is usually ok, but i have to bee cautious to keep weight on my hams. this is about all i know. i think my seat position is approximately correct. and since i don't clip in my feet position i can approximate without worrying if i 've got the seat heght perfect. sometimes i;m pedalling more on my toes and others on the balls of my feet. since the walking helped as it did, i thought maybe the curls too would be beneficial, or ever correctative. i don't know what else to try right now. like i said i'm not sure the rest will do anything. of course that is because i'm putting my eggs in the quad/ham imbalance scenario. i don't think it could hurt. by the way i went to see a doctor, had a few exrays and he said everything lookked ok, maybe some tendinitis, but thats all. so, i don't. it hasn't been totally debilitating. i can still ride, lite. i can still walk and jog a little, but i want to be able to ride hard and run hard again. if, and likely even not if, i get some positive feedback on whether or not i should start my ham strengthening i will try this first. but, to answer you question, the people i buy my running shoes from are experienced, and for running purposes, its definitely the right shoe. thats all i can say. thank you very much for your response, its definitely food for thought and gives me some other things to research and learn mort about. ae
I'm a bit confused as to whether you are wearing bike shoes at all or just gym type shoes. You mentioned "not clipping in" but from your letter I'm still not convinced that alignment is not the issue or the initial cause. In effect now, however, you have some sort of injury which needs to be properly diagnosed and your doctor didn't come up with one. We know you are in pain and weak when prior to this you weren't. THEREFORE, there is something wrong and we need to get a diagnosis. If you were here in the Detroit area I'd be referring you to a cycling physiatrist pal of mine http://M.D. and go from there.
So, minimally, I think you should be wearing a bike shoe which has a rigid sole! A sneaker is a poor choice for cycling. You don't realize it but you are inadvertantly holding your foot in a rigid position making up for the fact that the shoe itself is not rigid. Minimally a stiff soled hiking shoe would be an improvement. Secondly, I think that the shoe should have a good footbed in it. I addressed this earlier. Third, I'd be seeking a second medical opinion. Fourth, as your hybrid is upright, the dynamics fo the bike are not really geared toward climbing. It sounds as if you push yourself which is good but you describe your foot position as all over the place. Getting properly fit can be subtle where it really counts. Go to www.OutdoorAthlete.com to see the current issue with a feature article on fitting called, "Does This Bike Make Me Look Fat!" Chad Johnston, mentioned in the article but who really wrote it, is my colleague. Many shops claim to be fitters and many can eyeball a good job but you need the real deal with video assessment with someone who is properly trained. Your concerns about the hamstring/quad strenth ratio may be pertinent but as I'm of a sprinters build, it has been less of an issue on the bike than when running though it is an interesting question to consider. Minimally, get a better shoe. Please consider a footbed, if in the near term you don't improve from the discomfort, seek additional help Re: too much cycling...i think(ham to quad ratio and proper restoration)???
Have a good holiday. I'm going to ask around.
Below is a quote from my buddy Rob who is a dynamo on a mtn bike and my only hope is I can get to Moab with him again soon for our fifth trip. It has been way to long and oh my, what a slice of heaven for a cyclist. Heck, its the whole pie. Anyway, Rob is a physical therapist and has even been with the National Team to the World championships. I gave him an email and below is his response. His take on it did confirm that it is probably not a ham vs. quad issue...
Lot's of things can cause anterior knee pain in
cycling. I am betting he was probably pushing too high of a gear and
caused some inflamation behind the patella, or in combination with his
seat being to low. The fitting and learning to spin would help. The
ham/quad question for anterior knee pain is more related to tight
hamstring or quads or both and in addition a tight ITB. Flexibility
work on these three areas would also never hurt. I doubt it is a
question of ham vs. quad strength. Rob.
Let me know about your shoes and footbeds and so on. Lets get you healthy and happy and faster!
Super smart stuff Motive
To the crux of the matter;
"Flexibility work on these three areas would also never hurt. I doubt it is a
question of ham vs. quad strength. "
My trainer would ask, "how often do you stretch?" You need to engage in active stretching EVERY DAY. If you aren't doing that, then don't be surprised when stuff starts hurting.
good news, all. i decided to try a pair of racing flats for a change tonite. i hadn't worn them in a while( at one point i was training for miles and 5k's) and i thought maybe the lack of compensation could help. it took me a while to come around to the idea of a fitted running shoe for my unique needs, as well. hopefully this is what i need to continue my biking. everything felt a lot better. i felt like i could just ride, without worrying so much about alignment or my kneecap going places it shouldn't and whatever else may be going on. that is a risk i didn't think to much about when i started, not knowing what i am and how i might be negatively effecting everything. it's a good thing our legs are made to endure and adapt to such rigors. i suppose it would be a good idea to make some friends locally, smart people like you guys, to help me through these issues in the future. i just never anticipated, and some people just don't i guess, anything going wrong because of an inch or two in seat height or the type of shoe i was wearing. i'm sure i'll do it again in other walks of life, then maybe think of these times. also, and one issue i don't think i'll neglect to much longer is getting a pair of stiff soles to put in my racing flats. hopefully, and by the way, i don't want to neglect the seriously awesome nook of cycling smarts that found me here, so i'll say thaaaaaaank yooooou so very much for prowling the web like you do and making time to help fools like myself who should just be left to fumble around in ignorance. kidding, but seriously, you guys are really good for doing it. really good. anyways, what i was going to say was, hopefully this will start the rectification process and smooth sailing ahead. so, i now know, good riding shoe, proper seat height, and stiff sole...more important than i thought. realllllly good, you guys. andy in dillsburg, pa
Now, if you are sans bike shoes may I suggest using a hiking shoe instead of racing runners. Stiffer is better. Where have you heard that before?
Anyway, in Philadelphia there is a shop called CADENCE which has a reputation that covers a lot of territory. Two differernt riding pals suggested it. One, a fromer US Team racer knows several of the guys there and considers them knowlegeable and helpful.
You have a base of understanding. Good luck with your riding! Oh yes, and running too!