Knee pain after cycling
Knee pain after or during cycling is a complaint common among cyclists. Cycling is a very one-sided movement. As a result, the pressure on some structures in the knee is high compared to other parts of the knee. In this blog, we will tell you more about its causes and treatment.
Types of knee pain after cycling
There are different types of knee pain you can experience after cycling. We explain these types below:
Pain at the front of the knee usually comes from the kneecap or the tendon under the kneecap. This pain can be caused by prolonged incorrect cycling posture. If your saddle is too low, you have to bend the knee more. When applying force, this causes more pressure on the kneecap. If you do this over a long period of time, the kneecap or the tendon underneath it can become irritated.
Pain at the back of the knee, in the hollow of the knee, is usually related to an overstretching or hamstring attachment. These can become overstretched if you do a lot of pulling instead of pushing while pedalling. Also, if you cycle too much in a fixed gear, you use the hamstrings when you need to slow down the pedal stroke. Eventually, this can lead to a tendon injury in the hollow of the knee.
Pain on the inside of the knee is usually related to increased pressure towards the inside of the knee. This can cause irritation of the inner ligament or meniscus. This can be due to the knees not moving in a vertical line, but instead leaning inwards with the application of force. This is especially common if you cycle in too low a gear and thus apply a lot of force. The knees can also give way inwards if your cleats are placed too far on the inside of the shoe.
Usually, complaints on the outside are caused by friction of the tendon plate with the side of your thigh-bone. You usually feel this stabbing pain when applying force at a certain angle of knee flexion. Not properly aligned cleats or incorrect posture can cause the pressure on the knee to shift too much to the outside, which can cause this pain.
Causes of knee pain after cycling
There are several causes that can lead to knee pain during or after cycling. For instance, incorrect posture can cause you to get pain at the front of the knee. In addition, the symptoms can occur because you did not train properly. If you return to cycling briskly too soon, your muscles and ligaments may not have had enough time to get used to it.
An imbalance in the muscles can also cause an incorrect position of the knee. Think of muscles that are too short or too weak. Finally, it could also be that your body is simply overloaded due to too many training hours or too little time for recovery. This usually causes fatigue and knee problems in the first place.
There are several things you can do to reduce knee pain after cycling. Firstly, it is important to critically analyse your posture and discuss this with a specialist. First, see if you have the right bike size. Next, it is important to look at saddle height, saddle position, handlebars, pedals and cleats.
In addition, make sure you have a good training structure with enough rest between workouts. You can also strengthen the leg muscles and torso with targeted exercises. Stronger muscles are less prone to strain and can better maintain good posture during a bike ride. There are also targeted exercises to restore the balance between muscle groups. These are stretching and strength exercises.
Finally, it is sometimes necessary to visit a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can examine your knee and assess what can help you recover from your knee problems as quickly as possible. Furthermore, wearing knee support can reduce the symptoms.