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    I've got knee problems.  Any suggestions?  
    Knee problems:

- stretch before and after riding
- ice after riding
- stand on hills more
- make appropriate offerings to deity of your choice

Michael McSwiggen

Also, on long downhills - especially in the morning - that knee will get VERY cold and hurt a lot. Protect it from wind chill. Leg warmers were not enough. I don't know what the EMTs suggest for this, but they do have a definite solution because they were asking people with knee problems to see them before we did the big downhill from Diamond Lake last year [CO 11].

Rox Heath

On CO 7 when we did Goolaway Gap the first time and also went over Bear Creek summit (truly a bear!), my knee started really hurting on about Day 3, very similar to the type of pain that you are describing. I tried to tough it out but it became much too intense so I finally went to the medics and they taped my knee both above and below. I was skeptical, especially when I asked them why it worked and they said they didn't really know (I'm sure someone knows---it must hold the tendons/ligaments in place), but the relief was immediate and total, so I didn't care why, I just knew it did. I taped up every day thereafter, and also did the post-ride icing and massive Advil both before and after. I had no problems for the rest of the ride.

It's not bothered me since so I can't tell you what caused it or how to prevent it from happening but don't be afraid that it will stop you from doing the ride. That's not to say you should ignore it, by all means go to a doctor and/or masseuse; you might also take your bike and body to Bike Gallery and have a Bikefit done--- it's definitely money well spent. Just don't be overly discouraged, and if you do need to get your knee taped, consider it a badge of courage. Cycle on!!

Candace Reed

I had the fit kit done at Bike Gallery right before Larch but still had the knee pain. It is not BAD pain. I just want to do all I can to prevent it from becoming bad.

Janice Nelson

Take your bike back to BG. My little knee problem happened after a bike fit. Aaron then suggested pushing my seat a little forward. Fixed problem.


First, the disclaimer: I'm not a knee or muscle expert. But there are a few obvious things to check if you are having knee problems. Some of them have already been covered, but I think that it's worthwhile to create a comprehensive list. (Additions welcome!)

1. Most obviously, check saddle height and saddle position (fore and aft). If you haven't had an appointment with someone who really knows about bike fit, at least take a look at the fit pages on the Colorado Cyclist web site .

There is one piece of advice in the Cycle Oregon handbook about which the fit specialists go ballistic! It says in the handbook to vary your saddle height up and down a quarter of an inch. The advice that I received is the opposite: set the saddle height _correctly_, then scribe a line on your seatpost and make sure that it always goes back to _exactly_ the same spot.

Another reason not to move your seat: last year at Crater Lake I met a chap on a beautiful bike in one of the viewpoints, admiring the lake. He had decided to adjust his saddle height, had stripped the treads on his seat clamp bolt, and was waiting for a sag wagon to come past.

2. A bent pedal can really wreck your knee. This is easy to check; unscrew the pedal from the crank a few turns while holding the pedal platform itself still. The end of the pedal furthest from the crank should be _stationary_. If it describes little circles, the pedal spindle is bent. Throw the pedal away and get a new one -- your knees are worth the price of a pedal.

3. Are you wearing anything on your back? The one and only time that I have every had knee problems, I was wearing a backpack. The pressure on my spine affected my knee. Amazing but true.

4. Failure to warm-up and stretch out your leg muscles and joints before and _after_ riding. Honestly, I have not noticed this personally, but its a big deal to my Physical Therapist. As has already been pointed out, keeping your knees warm on long descents is related.

Andrew Black

I've had similar problems in the same spot, which was diagnosed as tendonitis due to overuse. you'll probably hear lots about getting a fit, and perhaps Speedway Frogs for your pedals. I'll just fill you in on what I've done and the advice I've gotten.

1. Tendonitis is not a no pain, no gain situation per my PT. Back off if it hurts, and ice your knee after riding for about 3 minutes or so. After giving the tendon some time to heal up, start doing some strengthening exercises. My PT recommended something called Stannish exercises. Basically stand straight and then buckle your legs as if someone hit your knees from behind. You end up using your knees to catch yourself, and this strengthens the tendon.

2. Stretch out your quads, this puts less strain on the tendon when you flex your knee (again from my PT)

3. Stand up and pedal every now and then. This uses different muscles and, while harder on the cardiovascular system, is easier on the knee. I also find it gives my butt a much needed rest.

4. Pace yourself. I work really hard on my training rides, and this tends to aggravate the knee. I have been backing off lately, and will do so even more for CO.

5. Consider getting a smaller granny gear. I replaced my 30 tooth ring with a 24. Haven't had any trouble with shifting, and the lower gears are nice to have on the big hills or just at the end of a long day of riding. I am finding that 24 may actually be too small for me, and will consider going up to a 26 for better overlap with my middle crank gears.

I hope these suggestions help. I was really sore after the torture 6000 ride weekend before last, but for the most part this seems to be working for me. I've done rides of 26, 40, 40, and 44 miles this week, including Larch Mountain today, and the knee has been pretty good. I get some transient discomfort, but I just back off and it seems to go away.

Bill Vollmer

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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
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