3 Kinds of Knee Pains Every Cyclist Should Worry About

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The knees’ condition can often be aggravated by the repeated motion of cycling, mainly if one does it too much too quickly or if the bike setup is wrong. The most common causes of knee pains include changes to riding patterns, setups, and biomechanical oddities that everyone cycling has had to some degree.

knee pains

A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that over 1,500 cyclists undertaking the Cycle across Maryland ride in the United States are reported to have some form of knee pain. The research details the inexperience and lack of preride preparations for many of the overuse injuries mentioned, those not caused by accident or triggered by direct trauma. It is crucial to create this distinction, as harrowing injuries frequently result from a very unusual mechanism and are treated differently.

Specific common injuries, or knee pains for this matter, arise from a combination of factors across three broad categories: those specific to cycling, to bikes, and to cyclists. Read on to know more about them.


Cycling-Specific Causes

Such causes can be defined as training changes that overwork the body’s capacity. These include an increase in distances traveled and the duration of rides, an abrupt increase in the intensity of training, cycling on steep slopes, and using high gears and low cadence. Regrettably, one’s cycling passion is to blame here.

Cyclist Knee Pains

Drastic changes in distance, speed, intensity, tough gear, or terrain without any measured acclimatization will most likely result in serious trouble. If the envelope of function is well-worn, then so are the knee joints of the person.

Even shifting from long, steady base training to shorter, sharper rides can instigate problems. The only explanation for this is, if the body is unaccustomed to a kind of exercise, it immediately interprets this unfamiliar gesture as a drastic change. To prevent this, consider traveling reasonable distances at moderate speed.

Bike-Specific Causes

Bike-specific knee pains occur when there are changes in the equipment or a biking position that the body is not used to. Examples are the height and setback of the saddle, the length of cranks, the cleat position, or unnecessary wear.

Like those mentioned in the cycling-specific causes, if extreme changes are created, problems are also likely to happen. The primary measurements upsetting the knee are the saddle height and setback.

If one is new to cycling or a particular bike, a shortage of a frame of reference will make it challenging to locate where the problem is. There is no universally agreed, precise way to set up the bike, so a trip to reputable bike shops will undoubtedly be of help.

Cyclist-Specific Causes

These particular causes, on the other hand, are biomechanical irregularities that mix cycling- and bike-specific causes. These include anatomical discrepancies like the leg length, the legacy of previous injuries, stiffness and muscle tightness, and muscle weakness that typically involves core muscles. These pains are causes coming from within the body, rather than external triggers.

As such, these often show up quite stealthily, contributing to both cycling-specific and bike-specific causes. Moreover, the training load can also be the reason many avid cyclists are troubled by knee pains. Anatomical differences, like leg-length inconsistencies, may contribute to difficulties in one leg in terms of performance.

Every person’s body has had a share of a lifetime’s tumbles, scratches, and more graver injuries. Damages to one or both knees can be caused by the cyclist, the mechanical workings of the bike, or how the person has learned to cycle.

There are countless reasons for these injuries, but the collective effect of all these can upset the right balance of forces the knees are expected to deal with. This coping with the energy transferred into the joint is primarily due to the muscles and the tendons.

Tips and Other Things to Consider

With nonstop overtraining, unfavorable symptoms are bound to set in, and it will only be a question of time until small badgering pains become severe chronic problems. To avoid this, there are several things you can follow.

  • Monitor performance. Invest in a high-quality power meter to measure the power or torque you generate when turning the pedals. This will give an idea of how much more you can push yourself.
  • Wear the right attire. Just like any physical activity, what you wear carries a huge factor in your performance. Choose something that will allow proper breathing and movement.
  • Use the right gear. Safety and functionality should be top priorities, so it’s always wise to check your bike regularly. Only use gear and accessories that are perfectly compatible.


Listen to your body. Sometimes, all you need is to pay more attention to what can or cannot be done at the moment. There is nothing wrong with taking a step back to ensure you’re entirely ready to pedal on.

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