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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding for about a year now......I'm a Clydsdale 6'3 210 lbs. I push myself very hard ..... maybe a little too hard but I cant help it.. I know the rule of thumb Crank length . 170's for shorter than a 32 inseam, 172.5's for 32 to 34 and 175's for above 34.. I've been experienceing alot of knee pain on top of my knee cap's (where you put your hands if your seated with hands on knees). My inseam barefoot floor to crotch (t'aint) is 34.5 inches, I use 175 cranks, could my cranks be too long and cause this type of pain?
It usually hits me about 30 to 40 miles into the ride and will last for about a day afterwards.
Please help,
Thanks,
G-dub
 

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Endorphin Junkie
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It could be crank length, but...

G-dub said:
I've been riding for about a year now......I'm a Clydsdale 6'3 210 lbs. I push myself very hard ..... maybe a little too hard but I cant help it.. I know the rule of thumb Crank length . 170's for shorter than a 32 inseam, 172.5's for 32 to 34 and 175's for above 34.. I've been experienceing alot of knee pain on top of my knee cap's (where you put your hands if your seated with hands on knees). My inseam barefoot floor to crotch (t'aint) is 34.5 inches, I use 175 cranks, could my cranks be too long and cause this type of pain?
It usually hits me about 30 to 40 miles into the ride and will last for about a day afterwards.
Please help,
Thanks,
G-dub
before you go switching parts, try moving your saddle up just a touch. Sometimes that's all it takes to relieve pain in that location. Go in small increments, like 1-3mm. Too much sudden change can cause pain in other parts of the body that have adapted to your current position. If up doesn't work, try moving the saddle fore/aft to see if that helps. Always mark your current locations so you know where you started from. A little bit of electrical tape is what I use. If that fails, then you might try the shorter cranks. Good luck.

Kathy :^)
 

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Saddle position and other stuff...

I have the same inseam, although I'm not sure if I'm 34.50 or 35.00, depending on which measurement I want go with and I use 175 cranks.

Your knee problem could be caused by a whole bunch of stuff, or one little thing. Saddle position (pain in front of knee usually points to a saddle that is set too low), pushing too big of a gear (which big guys tend to do). Have someone check your KOPS position, or what ever method you use to position your saddle. Cleat position- I presume you use pedals that have a float.

Did you pain start at all once, or over a long period of time? Do you cover your knees when you ride (I keep mine covered under 60o temps).

Do you take the time to warm up for the first couple of miles spinning using high gears? This is really important during the winter.

I've read that a high saddle position is better for the knees. A low saddle puts more pressure on the knees.

Giving medical advice over the interent is not my bag, but I'd start with saddle position, try raising your saddle a couple of mm's for starters.

Also if you have anyone that is knowlegable about bike fit, have them check you out when you are riding.

But, like I said, I'm not expert- did you change your crank lengths recently? They say that knees don't like changes.

And it could be something else that is going on, hard to say. Knock on wood, I've never had knee problems. If it continues I'd seek medical advice from someone who specializes in sports related injuries. The few cycling books that I use have whole chapters related to knees...
 

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I have an inseam of 34.65 and ride 175mm cranks without any problems. I doubt they're the cause of your knee pains. As others have suggested try slightly increasing seat height and perhaps a bit more forward as well.
 

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Stretch you quads

Good advice above about adjusting your saddle position. I also encourage you to stretch your quads. 30 seconds each leg twice a day and before and after each ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
75 miles tomorrow

I've already raised it up and I don't feel me wiggleing while peddleing around the neighborhood. Im riding 75 miles tomorrow and I'll post what i find. Thanks for all the imput guys & gal. I'll have my y-wrench close.
G-dub
 

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How's your cadence?

It sounds like you're describing the typical injury caused by pushing too big a gear. Try working on your cadence, in addition to the other good advice you've gotten hear. Your statement that you can't help pushing hard seems like a glimpse of the masher. Stop it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A noticable improvement!

I put in 70 miles today. I raised the saddle 3 times and it still feels like im not rocking back and forth.....I may try to raise it a little more. I tried not to push the big gears too much and there is a noticable improvement! I'm so thankful for the advise i received from this forum..THANK YOU....THANK YOU.
I still have a little bit of knee soreness but it's liveable. I'll keep treakin' the saddle and try not to mash the big gears so much.
Thanks-
G-dub :cool:
 

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what I read in a chris carmichael book

I dont mean to "name drop," but this what worked for me in the battle against knee pain...

Move your saddle up (I used a goniometer to measure my knee angle -- btwn 25 and 35 degrees -- so that I would know the correct height, even though that is a fairly large range. I used 32 degrees, his recommended starting point; the lower the number the more flexiblity required.)

Adjust the fore-aft position of your saddle. If you take a piece of string and tie something heavy, but small, to one end... like a fishing wieght... and then hang it from the bottom of your knee... like where it meets your shin bone... it should hang down to the pedal spindle (which, incidentally, should be under your third metatarsal head -- the base of your third toe).

I am hardly a professional here, and my measurements certainly arent perfect, but they put me in the ball park and my knees have been feeling much better.

Proper warmups and regular stretching are also key to a painless workout, well, at least bad-painless.
 

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100% of the off and on knee problems I have had over the course of the years have come from the wrong saddle height and improper fore/aft position. Before I became meticulous about fitting myself on a new bike, I'd set the height (more or less), clamp the saddle in the middle of the rails and ride on. All too often, that lack of precision resulted in a pair of sore knees.

I honestly don't think crank length has anything to do with what you're describing. I ride both 172.5 and 175 and with a properly set-up bike, I cannot tell the difference.

It will take some experimentation, but I think it's possible to solve your problem by adjusting the height first (slight bend in the knee when clipped in at the bottom of the stroke) and then fore/aft. I ride with my knee a couple of cms behind the pedal, and the biggest knee ache I've ever had came from setting myself up too far forward.

Mess with height/position and see if your problem doesn't disappear.
 

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Sorry to come in on this late, I agree with Kerry Irons and terryb.

I ride 172.5 and 175 cranks on different bikes and cannot tell the difference. I'm not a racer and only ride a couple of centuries per year. My typical rides are around 30 miles and approx 2 hours in duration so maybe that's why I haven't suffered knee pain (or other ailments). If your knee pain doesn't start til "30 - 40 miles into the ride" and goes away in just over a day then you're probably not doing anything wrong, short of riding beyond your conditioning level, the "stop mashing" advice is spot on.

glad the problem seems to be fixed.
 

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Long jPost on Knee Pain

There have been many discussions on various message boards regarding knee pain. Thought I would provide a summary of what I found and what worked for me.

Being a member of the human race, a solution to all is difficult (e.g. one size does not fit all).

A little about me. I am 54 years old and own a recumbent trike, a Catrike Road.

I experienced knee pain with my DF, but is more profound with my new Catrike this year.

I spent exorbitant monies on a SRAM 81 speed and rotor cranks on my Catrike. Knee pain is still there, but much less.

Just bought knee savers for $46.00 and pain is again less. There are three sizes. I bought the 30mm (biggest size) only cause I am 6'4" tall and everything should be bigger to fit? They essentially move your foot/leg further away from the pedal. Details are at www.kneesaver.net/

Another less expensive solution is increasing your RPMs, cadence, higher number of revolutions. This is often called spinning (e.g. avoid single speeding) at a higher rate or from a "masher" to more of a spinner. The easier exertion on the knee, the better. I use this process.

Those who ride with shoes with cleats profess if cleats are all the way to back of shoe, then knee pain is less. I did this also.

Buy good shoes and pedals. Seek medical advice if no improvements.

Another inexpensive way is have a professional fit you to your bike. And, stretching prior to and after riding is an excellent way of reducing and preventing knee pain. Stretch calves, quads and hamstrings and flex and rotate your knees before you get on your bike.... every time. Leg weight training; leg presses, extensions and hamstring work on the circuit machines can be very tough on knees. Plenty of stretching and some core exercise (without weights) should help the glutes and lower back, but you have to go slow and not overdo these either.

Doctor says is attributed to growth and told me to take some supplements that lubricate the joints and supposedly help them heal. The supplement was chondroitin+glucosamine with hyaluronic acid.

Did you pain start at all once, or over a long period of time? Do you cover your knees when you ride (I keep mine covered under 60o temps).

Do you take the time to warm up for the first couple of miles spinning using high gears? This is really important during the winter.

I've read that a high saddle position is better for the knees. A low saddle puts more pressure on the knees.

There are probably many ideas to solve knee pain as there are riders.

Recommend you start with the least expensive and move up from there.

More at this link….http://www.roadcycling.com/training/kneepain.shtml


Catrike Road #116
"Cats just don't feel safe on a moving bicycle, no matter how much duct tape you use"--Author unknown
 

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The reply about pushing big gears is germane I think. Big gears tend to cause knee pain.

What you're describing sounds like -- and take this with a grain of salt, I'm no orthopedist -- "chondromalacia patella." And you can search google on this term. Google provides some 29,000 links.

This is a typical injury/problem in runners, but occurs in bicyclist who push large gears.

First, extend your leg and sight down along the front -- Look at the position of the knee cap and the line from the knee cap through the alignment of the foot. Typically, the foot turns outward from the knee cap.

Now, you take all these joints in the leg and strap them into a crank and pedal linkage that just runs in a flat plane and you have alignment problems in the knee. The knee cap runs in a slot over the underlying bones. When the bones are mis-alined, the knee cap (patella) grinds along the side of the slot, causing wear/tear, and pain.

Lower gears help. Warm joints -- cover those knees! Warming up is important. Riding position is something to consider, but I'm not a consultant on riding position -- I just know what works for me.

What is most often suggested as an "equipment fix" for knee pain is to find shoes that allow lateral movement on the pedal. Clipless shoes offer this. But I've seen rat traps, toe clips, and shoes that offer some adequate movement.

But my first suspicion is hammering hard on too large a gear. You suggest that you're large, "beefy" (heavy, not fat) and likely strong . . . That's a recipe for hammering large gears and tearing up knee joints.

I suppose I should disclose here that I'm 57 and have been riding/racing since about 1962. A lot of what I know, understand is "old school" -- But my experience with my own knee pain derived from high gears, poor joint alignment, stiff shoe position, and pushing too many miles too early in the conditioning program. Ohhhhh yeah, and shorts in weather where the knees should have been covered.

I'm clueless about crank length. The "old school" says longer cranks for road racing and shorter for track racing.
 

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a thought on crank length

I think the advice given so far will be enough to resolve what knee pain remains after your last adjustment... but I was thinking about the crank length question, and, while I dont think it is nearly as significant as the other factors identified, would not a longer crank emphasize a low pedaling cadence and perhaps tend toward gear mashing (by increasing torque)?

I recognize that the differences between standard cranks are very small, and I am asking this more as a question than attempting to state anything about crank length...

I have read about a thousand posts on this forum about crank length, and I know that there are people reading this who ride every conceivable crank length in all combinations of pedaling style...

my point is mainly that for those of us prone to knee pain it may be better to experiment with shorter cranks...
 
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