Knee pain when cycling and how to fix it!

Knee pain when cycling can be caused by a number of things.
The most common are.

  • Pronation
  • ITB Band issues
  • Incorrect Saddle height
  • knee alignment issues

Pronation is the probably most common cause of knee pain when cycling

Generally the more a person pronates then the more pressure they are likely to push down on the inside of their knee when pushing down on the pedal stroke.

Around 86% of the worlds population pronate.

It is very important if you pronate that you seek some kind of foot support when cycling. Footbeds (orthotics) are the easiest and most common way to help with pronation.

Incorrect Saddle height

I would say about 90% of people i see have been riding around for a long period of time with a saddle that is far to low. This not only loses you a phenomenal amount of power but also puts a huge amount of stress on the knee joint. An ideal knee angle is around 30% when your foot is at the lowest point on the pedal stroke. Seems very simple but there are a few factors that need to be taken into account such as how do you pedal?? Are you a toe pedaler or do you pedal fairly level footed?? If this factor is not taken into account when setting your saddle height then you will likely set your self the wrong angle and ultimately be placing excess stress on your knee joint.
If you believe that your saddle is at an incorrect height do not hesitate to drop by the studio to get a free check.

There are three main Foot types – See Diagram on the left

Even people with a Normal or high arch can severely benefit from the use of an orthotic. A persons weight can be spread more evenly when a larger area of the foot is supported. Reducing the chance of developing numb feet and generally just increasing comfort.

Please note: It is also important to have your feet checked for Forefoot tilt which is also a form of pronation and is very common, If you do suffer from this then your cleats may need to be correctly wedged to adjust the degree of tilt that your foot has developed.

ITB Syndrome

Learn how to Treat and Prevent Knee Pain and Iliotibial Band Syndrome!
Knee pain and knee injuries, as a result of Iliotibial Band Syndrome, can be an extremely painful and frustrating injury that puts a big strain on both the knee and hip joints.
Knee injuries are very common among cyclists. However, they don’t usually occur in an instant, like a hamstring strain or groin pull, but commonly start off as a twinge or niggle, and progress quickly to a debilitating sports injury that can sideline the you for weeks.
What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome? For those who aren’t familiar with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, let’s start by having a look at the muscle responsible for the problem.

The iliotibial band is actually a thick tendon-like portion of another muscle called the tensor fasciae latae. This band passes down the outside of the thigh and inserts just below the knee.
The diagram to the right shows the side view of the right thigh muscles. If you look towards the top left of the diagram, you’ll see the tensor fasciae latae muscle. Follow the tendon of this muscle down and you’ll see that it runs all the way to the knee. This thick band of tendon is the iliotibial band. Or iliotibial tract, as it is labelled in the diagram.
The main problem occurs when the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band become tight. This causes the tendon to pull the knee joint out of alignment and rub against the outside of the knee, which results in inflammation and pain.

What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

There are two main causes of knee pain associated with iliotibial band syndrome. The first is “overload” and the second is “biomechanical errors.”
Overload is common with sports that require a lot of running or weight bearing activity. This is why ITB is commonly a runner’s injury. When the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band become fatigued and overloaded, they lose their ability to adequately stabilise the entire leg. This in-turn places stress on the knee joint, which results in pain and damage to the structures that make up the knee joint.
It is very important that you see a Good Physio if your problem does not sort itself out.