How to avoid knee pain whilst cycling

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 By Physiotherapist Tracey DiMatteo

knee-pain-when-cyclingLiving in London we are privy to some of the best cycling routes so it is no surprise to learn that cycling is dramatically on the increase as a form of leisure or fitness activity.

But despite it being a low impact form of exercise, the repetitive nature of cycling can cause problems.

As a physiotherapist I see many patients suffering knee pain whether cycling for leisure, racing or commuting– it is very common and can be avoided.

 How can you avoid knee pain whilst cycling?

knee-pain-when-cyclingConsider the following three areas: Anatomy, bike set up and over training.

 1] Individual anatomical factors / bio-mechanical alignment

•    Leg length discrepancy

•    Internal  tibial rotation

•    Muscle weakness or imbalance –especially in the quads , hamstrings and gluteal muscles

•    Muscle tightness –especially in the hip flexor muscles and ITB

•    Spinal stiffness

•    Foot posture problems

Bio-mechanical assessment can establish if you have any of these issues and give advise on correction. Eg  physiotherapy or chiropractic.

 2] Bike set-up

•    Wrong seat height –Too high /too low

•    Seat tilt

•    Foot clip or cleat position

•    Frame size

These issues can cause extra load on the patella-femoral joint, leading to excessive wearing of the joint and pain. A reputable bike shop will set up your bike to yuor correct size.

 3] Training errors / overtraining

•    Sudden increases in training as the weather improves or at the start of the competitive season

•    Changes in terrain , especially hill climbs

•    Lack of preparation – no warm up/cool down

•    Little or no out of season training

•    Lack of varied training such as strength , conditioning and flexibility

Ideally, think about your training and consider making changes which incorporate some variability in your exercise

Most of all, don’t let aches and pains hold you back. There is plenty of help and advice that can keep you pedalling comfortably. So enjoy your cycling!

Are you suffering knee pain? If you are feeling pain arising from the kneecap and its surrounding tissues it may be caused by incorrect movement of the kneecap. Earlier treatment is recommended – physiotherapy will help.

For an appointment with one of our physiotherapy team telephone 020 8943 2424

Read Physiotherapist Tracey Di Matteo personal profile

Tracey DiMatteo

Tracey DiMatteo Physiotherapist Waldegrave Clinic

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