So you have knee pain with Cycling?
Knee pain also known as patello-femoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is highly associated with Cylists. There are multiple diagnosis and potential contributing factors which cause knee pain on the bike. If you are new to cycling and are experiencing knee pain it is most likely due to your recent bike set-up. The most important thing when diagnosing your knee pain is to ensure that you know exactly where you are experiencing your pain.
Common Knee Injuries and contributing factors:
- Patella Tracking occurs when there is an unequal balance in muscle strength and muscle length especially in the quadriceps muscles. Generally there is a lack of strength on your inner quad muscles whilst the outer quad muscles are tighter. This causes the knee cap to pull towards the outer side of the knee.
- Patella tendon injuries generally occur from a combination of increased tension loading of the knee and poor set-up causing increased knee bending during pedal stroke.
- ITB friction Syndrome is caused when the ITB (band on the outside of your leg) is rubbed up against the side of your knee for long periods. This is caused by excessive tightness of the band and poor gluteal muscle function. Cleat and seat positioning can also be a contributing factor.
- Chondral defects occur when there is excessive wearing of the chondral bone (Bone under the knee cap). These injuries are due to repetitive overuse of the knee cap in the presence of any knee condition. This condition is irreversible and can cause severe pain and swelling in a severe case.
- Pes Bursitis occurs when the inner thigh muscles around the knee pull tight on to bursa (thin sac of fluid under the muscles). This creates an irritation of the tendon and the bursa causing it to become inflamed and painful. This is generally due to poor gluteal muscle strength and poor set-up of your bike forcing your knee to turn in towards the top tube.
Treatment and Prevention strategies:
If you are suffering from any type of knee pain you must seek treatment from your local Physiohealth Physiotherapist. If knee pain is left untreated it can become worse and force you to take time off cycling. As there are many different types of knee conditions, having a definitive diagnosis is crucial in solving your problem. Key injury prevention techniques that should be ticked off your list should include;
- Foam rolling each muscle group every night
- Stretching each muscle group every night
- Having a profession bike fit
- Cycling specific gluteal and core strengthening program
If you have not completed any of the above please call your local Physiohealth Physiotherapist.