Knee pain...hours after riding
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Knee pain...hours after riding

    Kind of a strange (to me) knee pain question for you all. My fiancee is just getting into riding, new entry level road bike and all. After our second ride, about six or eight hours after, she experienced sudden pain at the top and inside of her patella. So we RICE'd it, she was easy on it for a week, then the knee pain was all gone (got better quick, too). Today we go for another ride, and again, eight hours after the ride her knee pain is back, and worse, but still focused on the top of the patella. She is limping around and in a lot of pain.

    Have you ever seen/experienced this? She feels great on the bike, no pain at all. It's only hours after that it comes on. We've checked her fit (saddle height and position, knee over pedal spindle, etc.) and it all seems like it's right.

    I guess the part I really don't get is that it appears long after she's off the bike. Shouldn't it hurt while riding if it's cycling related (I'm kind of hoping it's NOT the bike)?
    Any advice is appreciated.


  2. #2
    BS the DC
    Reputation: bsdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    My thought is patellar tracking disorder. This occurs when the kneecap rides in the groove wrong due to various imbalances of the knee. During the ride it's OK because the pumping action of the knee manages the initial inflammation. After the ride, without the pumping action, the knee continues to swell, the adrenaline wears off and the pain slowly accumulates.

    This can often be managed through basic therapy and taping of the knee. Don't let it go too long. It can be difficult to treat if excessive tissue damage occurs.
    "The team wasn't just riders. It was the mechanics, masseurs, chefs, soigneurs, and doctors. But the most important man on the team may have been the chiropractor."

    - Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2003

    perfect position isnt for everyone

    I too had perfect positioning on the bike and yet still had knee pain. It turned out that to make my knees happy I have to have the seat back on the rails about another 1/4 inch and no pain. Doing hills in too high a gear will still cause pain the next day.

  4. #4
    Alien Musician
    Reputation: aliensporebomb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Lightbulb Thought....

    My wife has been riding more this spring than before having lost a lot of weight (47 lbs)
    and she's liking riding a lot more but up until last week had been complaining of knee

    After I took a look at how she was riding (she rides a recumbent) I noted her seat was
    too far back away from the pedals - her leg was out straight with no slight bend at the

    After making this change we've gone on a couple rides after that and she's been much
    happier since the knee pain is pretty much gone now.

    It could just be a matter of adjustment. But perhaps not - the responses above are
    more likely the culprit.

  5. #5
    scruffy nerf herder
    Reputation: funknuggets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    As a Juliard Trained Dermatologist....

    The fact that she is just starting is probably an issue, and getting "dialed in" even before her body has become accustomed to the different stressors is a painstaking one. I think you guys are doing the right thing with the RICE. If it were me, I would take it easy on the pain/inflammation relievers as they can negatively impact recovery..

    I will speak in general terms, but I am going to just suggest that you try and check her seat height again. Pain on the interior/exterior are "typically" caused by seat height problems or improper cleat positioning. Try this. With her shoes off, have her sit on the saddle and let her legs dangle on the sides. Make sure her hips are even (parallel to the floor). With "most" shoes, the angle of the sole and cleat will make it so that if her heel just "brushes" the top of the pedal in the 6-oclock position. This is a good general rule. Check that first. Straighten up the cleats and give the KOPS method a spin and you should be close.

    Best of luck and keep us posted if this doesn't work and you have any questions or comments.
    so sayeth the funk....


    "The RBR Lounge. You won't ever find a more wretched hive of scum and villany. We must be cautious."

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    thanks for the input

    I appreciate all the advice. I checked around archived discussions and we've rechecked her fit. We increased the saddle height a little and went for a really light, short spin this morning, and she felt better with a higher saddle.

    It's so complicated, being a new rider, on a new bike, and to top it off she's a dancer (not the greasy pole kind, but an Irish step dancer) so she's got years of unnatural abuse on her legs. SO, I keep feeling like we need more data and can't blame the bike yet, but we can't ignore it.

    I guess the most confusing thing is that it's come on suddenly, and she has NO pain while riding. But, riding is the only thing different about the days she's been hurt, so I can't rule out the bike.

    We're hoping cycling will be a good way to have fun together and maintain fitness without destroying her legs. Hopefully it'll pan out. I'll keep the board updated, and thanks again for all your input.


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