Cycling Knee Pain: Causes and How To Fix It | KBO Bike

Cycling Knee Pain: Causes and How To Fix It | KBO Bike

Your knee is the part of the body that moves the most when you cycle your ebike. This implies that any form of pain or tightness in the knee would affect your general cycling process. Aching knees can be linked to the various body and multiple factors that include incorrect equipment and bike positioning. In light of this, it is best first to decipher the kind of knee pain you have, as this will help to know why the inside of your knee hurts and how to relieve the pain and make it feel better for an improved cycling experience.

A lot of cyclists, irrespective of their years of experience, ask, 'why does the inside of my knee hurt.' They go through interior knee pain and aching knees very frequently. The knee pain is often an indication of a more complex health issue somewhere in the body, but there are also instances where the pain and tightness in the knee resulting from biking. It would be beneficial to state that having a proper and well-fitted e-bike in the first place would help you avoid all types of knee pain you could get from biking. We would be discussing 5 major types of cycling knee pain

  • Posterior knee pain
  • Anterior knee pain
  • Lateral and Medial knee pain
  • Spring Knee Pain
  • Knee pain caused by a weak core

These types of cycling knee pains are different and are caused by factors that are similar but at the same time different.

why my knee hurt?

Posterior Knee Pain

This type of pain occurs at the back of the knee. When compared to anterior knee pain or pain above the knee, it is not common in cyclists. Overextension causes posterior discomfort. When you have to stretch your knee too much, it means your saddle is either too high or too far back. Reduce the height of the saddle or move it forward concerning the handlebars.

This pain is also more common in cyclists who ride fixed-gear bikes frequently. As you ride, you utilize your hamstrings to reduce your pedal stroke's speed, which overworks the bicep tendons and gives you pain under the kneecap. When you ride an electric bike with an excessively high saddle, the muscles become extremely tight, and the knee is unable to cope with the flexion as it places a lot of load and strain on the sensors. The quadriceps are being tugged, causing pain in the hamstring and tightness in the back of the knee where the muscle inserts.

How to fix it: 

The major cause of tightness behind the knee has a saddle that is too high or too far behind. It is best to look out for the level of your saddle if you are experiencing pain or tightness behind the knee. But above all, I would suggest that you get a bike that fits you perfectly or change your saddle completely if you have to. If you are suffering from a saddle sore and don't know what to do with it. Check out 'How To Prevent and Treat Saddle Sores' here. 

Anterior Knee Pain

In contrast to posterior cycling knee pain, anterior knee pain is felt in front of the knee. Most cyclists complain of experiencing anterior knee pain. Most times, pain above the knee is associated with riding with a saddle that is too forward and cranks that are overly long. A combination of this will cause strain and give you sore knees. In the downward stroke, cyclists use their quads the most, putting a lot of strain on their knees. This strain often leaves them with interior knee pain, upper knee pain, aching knees and pain on the outer side of the knee.

If your knee is kept in an incorrect position for an extended period, it can strain the tendons below the knee cap. It will cause very significant pain as the tendon has become inflamed, which can spread across the knee. Incorrect bike fit might also cause anterior knee pain. The pedaling action is affected by tight quads. The quadriceps have been overworked to the point where the muscle is short, and the only way to get the leg to pedal properly is to pull it out.

How to fix it: 

To know if your saddle is at the proper level, the tibial tuberosity, or bony portion below the kneecap, should be directly above the ball of the foot, and that in turn should be precisely above the pedal spindle. Also, keep your riding position in mind because your posture during cycling also matters. Strong sprinting or cycling for too long or too far on your bike if you're not used to it can place undue stress on the knee, thereby creating pain under the kneecap and upper knee pain. It should be avoided. Pain can be lessened quickly if treated early. However, if left unattended, it might result in long-term damage.

Lateral and Medial Knee Pain

Lateral and Medial knee pains are gotten from biking. Lateral pain is pain on the outer side of the knee, while medial pain is anterior knee pain. It is felt inside the knee. Cleat positioning is a very common cause of lateral knee pain and medial knee pain. Outside-the-knee pain is prevalent, and the culprits are often the feet or improperly adjusted pedal cleats. As a result, such pain is felt during or after the first ride with cleats and new shoes or replacement cleats.

The collateral ligaments, which sit on the outsides of the knee joint and prevent it from bending in the wrong direction, are the structures generating the pain, and they hurt because your cleats have been positioned wrongly.

How to fix it:

Your cleats should be lined up straight unless you're solving a specific issue. Your knee will be pushed to follow the ankle and track inwards if they're inclined inwards and vice versa if they're tilted outwards. Try out different cleat types until you find one that provides you with the right amount of float. Too much or too little float will both cause issues. In a situation where you have not used cleats before, sitting on the edge of a table with your knees at 90 degrees is an excellent place to start. Look down and imitate whichever angle your feet naturally dangle at.

Spring Knee Pain

A cyclist's knee pain can occur purely due to doing too much when your body hasn't adjusted to it yet. Spring knee is a common occurrence due to a rapid increase in mileage in an attempt to make last-minute fitness gains.

How to fix it:

To prevent this cycling knee pain, simply take it slowly and gradually with your body and let your body get used to biking gradually, not all at once. Ride a mile on your bike today and a little more than a mile the next day. Overworking your body in a bid to get faster results will only do more harm than good. If you raise the intensity at which you ride or the speed you ride, you should reduce the distance you go and make sure you get enough rest. Over-gearing can also cause spring knee. Therefore it's a good idea to utilize smaller ratios and a faster cadence until the pain reduces. Then you may ask 'Will cycling change my body shape?' Learn more about how to ride your electric bicycle to shape your body. 

Knee pain caused by weak core

When we look at pro cyclists, we see rippling superiority in their quads and calves because they are more intentional about looking superior that they forget that the legs are supported by the core, which includes the lower back, abs, glutes, and hip flexors. The core of a cyclist must be strong, or else smaller, less efficient muscles will be pushed to work too hard, resulting in pain.

Core strength is important to every human because most activities hinge on the core. A strong core provides a firm foundation from which to deal with change. Cyclists are notoriously bad at keeping their core strength. The glutes are supposed to be the powerhouse, and they should be powerful and stable.

How to fix it: 

Regular exercises and workouts focusing on the core area will be very helpful.

General Tips To Fix Cycling Knee Pain

It is always advisable to warm up before you begin any serious exercise. The same goes for riding your bike. Get some minutes of mild spinning before your main ride begins. This will help blood flow properly and prepare your muscles for the journey ahead.

Building mileage gradually is extremely important. Do not overwork your body, or you might get tired and experience knee pain from biking too long or too far. The body is also very sensitive to the slightest change, so it is important to note that if your body isn't used to riding so fast or so far, then there might be repercussions at the end of the ride.

You might ask, 'why does my knee hurt?' The most common reason for aching knees is the wrong bike fitting. To avoid this, it is paramount that you get the best bike that fits you. To achieve this, you might need to get a bike fit. If you cannot afford a bike fit, it is advisable to get the proper bike accessories and adjust them till they fit correctly.