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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For some reason I have gotten it in my head that I need to suffer through a long steep climb only seated. I come from a triathlon background and my roadie friends make me feel like standing is poor form. When I stay seated all the way up a climb, the upper, lateral corner of my left knee cap starts to click/grind and feels really uncomfortable. If I stand up on the climb my legs may burn more and my heart rate shoot up but at least my knee doesn't start this pain. Today I had to hop off the bike after only an hour cause my knee cap was popping every revolution. Sometimes after long runs I get ITB problems in the left knee, but this is much more my knee cap and a different feeling than the ITB after a run.
Do you think this is a poor bike fit? I have Speedplay pedals, so there is plenty of float. Should I go to the weightroom and do some leg presses to develop more strength? Please help. It really sucks when I have to hop off the bike cause my knee hurts but I'm not tired at all.
 

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hmm...

that sounds like an injury, climbing out of the saddle is great but i think u need to see a doc


BhamBike said:
For some reason I have gotten it in my head that I need to suffer through a long steep climb only seated. I come from a triathlon background and my roadie friends make me feel like standing is poor form. When I stay seated all the way up a climb, the upper, lateral corner of my left knee cap starts to click/grind and feels really uncomfortable. If I stand up on the climb my legs may burn more and my heart rate shoot up but at least my knee doesn't start this pain. Today I had to hop off the bike after only an hour cause my knee cap was popping every revolution. Sometimes after long runs I get ITB problems in the left knee, but this is much more my knee cap and a different feeling than the ITB after a run.
Do you think this is a poor bike fit? I have Speedplay pedals, so there is plenty of float. Should I go to the weightroom and do some leg presses to develop more strength? Please help. It really sucks when I have to hop off the bike cause my knee hurts but I'm not tired at all.
 

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what do you have on the back?

One key piece of this equation is what gearing you use. Whether I need it or not, I always train on a 12-27 cassette these days, and that seems to help the knees. Keeping cadence in a reasonable range, and placing the strain on your heart more than your quads and knees is the best way to stay happy on the hills. I don't think leg pressing is going to do you any good, as it's not your quads that are going to help you fly up mountains. I think at some point we all run into a little click or grind with the knee cap, but if it persists, I'd recommend going to a doc, the advise given here with so little information, will be spotty at best, because no one can tell you about fit or knee pain with out more information.
 

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Have you tried riding with a patella band around that leg? I'm not sure it will help, but it makes such a drastic difference while running, it might be worth a shot for cycling.

And standing up on a hill is perfectly acceptable. In fact, learning to do it efficiently can help a great deal on long climbs since you can vary which muscles are being exhausted.

It does sound like perhaps your gearing is too high. Are you able to maintain a comfortable cadence up the hill while seated?

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
answers and thoughts

Well, I am already in 39-23 straining up the hill. This afternoon, I've convinced myself it is a bike fit issue. When I am standing up I have a greater range of motion and freedom to move my body. When I am seated I have a much more limited, forced range of motion dictated by the geometry, saddle height, crank length, etc. I bought my bike at the LBS, and they just sort of glanced at my position on the trainer for about 5 minutes... I think this week I'm going to roll in and demand attention!
 

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Unfortunately, it sounds like you may suffer from malalignment of your kneecap. When this happens the cartilage under your kneecap can get worn out ("chondromalacia") causing pain each time you climb a hill or eventually each time you turn your pedals over. I know this because I just had surgery (lateral release) this past Monday to hopefully correct the condition. The non-surgical remedy is usually raising your seat and doing lots of stretching. I highly recommend going to a sports medicine doctor and getting it checked out. I spent four months off the bike hoping it would go away, but it didn't. I also recommend checking out www.kneeguru.co.uk. Good luck.
 

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If you are straining, that's where you should look to make a change. I have a 39-25, and I can more than hang with my buddies who only have a 23 in back. But I'm not putting as much pressure on my knees as they are. Don't hesitate to get lower gears. You may be more comfortable spinning lower gears faster. There's nothing wrong with having a 29, either.

You may have a bike fit issue. But if you have a knee that is prone to injury or pain, getting lower gears will probably be necessary.

Paul
 

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Kneecaps

You've described the same kind of knee problem I've always had. Besides seeing a good orthopedic sports doctor I'd also recommend checking your saddle height. Try raising it to a position where your leg is nearly straight with the foot at 6 o'clock. Use a cadence meter and a gear low enough to keep your cadence above 85. The best climbers alternate between sitting and standing. Off the saddle you should use a gear or two higher than when sitting. Keep it up, cycling is good for knees. Concentrate on exercises that develope the vastus medialis muscle, lift weights or pull weights with the leg nearly straight. Developing this muscle will help keep the kneecap where it belongs.
~Al
 
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