How To Prevent Knee Pain After Biking
The best way to prevent knee pain that keeps you off your bike is to treat it before it becomes chronic. Over time, lack of care and overuse can lead to more damage that causes unrelenting pain.
First, take a break from cycling and check out your bicycle setup. The height of your seat is essential to the health of your knees. Most cases of knee pain are because of a poor-fitting bike with a seat that is either too high or too low. Go into a bicycle store and ask for a professional fit. Your bike specialist should also take several personal factors into account, including your fitness level, riding style, and typical biking routine.
Take this opportunity to reevaluate the intensity of your rides as well. Perhaps you are riding too frequently or for too many miles during each session. Maybe it is as simple as changing your route to avoid steep hills that require forceful pedaling. Be honest with yourself about whether youre overdoing it.
Cycling And Its Impact On Your Knees
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Cycling can be either good for your knees or bad depending on a lot of factors. Even though cycling is low-impact, it uses a lot of repetitive motion and positions that put strain on your knees if youre not careful. Just like any sport, you can hurt yourself if you dont take precautions or prepare correctly. Here are some ways cycling is both good and bad for your knees and how you can avoid problems.
Cycling Can Actually Be Good For Your Knees
Because bike riding is a low-impact exercise, it puts less stress on weight-bearing joints. This not only includes your knees, but also your hips and feet. Even better, the movement your legs make pushing on the pedals works out certain joints, which can help reduce pain or stiffness. Cycling can also improve range of motion in your knees, so if you suffer from both pain and stiffness, your bicycle may help loosen things up.Cyclists enjoy these low-impact benefits to their knees and other joints, and cycling also provides a great cardio workout. The exercise can support overall health, strengthening your heart and lungs and even improving muscle function of cyclists.
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Is Bike Riding Good For Knee Osteoarthritis
Cycling is a great activity for people with knee osteoarthritis because it strengthens the gluteal and quadriceps muscles, says Dr. Garry. Plus, many people find that it’s one of the easier exercises to stick with.
“The compressive forces that go through your knee during cycling are far less than those during walking,” says Brian Andonian, MD, a rheumatologist and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. “It tends to be more comfortable for people.”
Most people with knee osteoarthritis will be able to cycle without a problem, says Dr. Garry. One possible exception, however, is people with osteoarthritis of the kneecap â i.e., patellofemoral arthritis, which affects the area of the joint where the kneecap meets the thighbone .
For people with this form of knee osteoarthritis, cycling â which requires you to bend the knee often â can be painful, says Dr. Garry. “They’re usually better off doing something like walking, where they can really minimize how much that knee has to bend,” he says.
Still, even people with osteoarthritis of kneecap might be able to cycle successfully if they position their seat as high as they can â this way, their foot will do more work to push the pedal around in a circle as opposed to their knee, says Dr. Garry. “The higher the seat, the less the knee has to bend,” he says.
Cause Of Pain In The Front Of Your Knees
If youre feeling pain in the front of your knee, your powerful cycling quads are delivering too much force across your knee joint. Check your bicycles saddle height, saddle fore and aft, and crank length.
When youre sitting on your seat, your leg should be straight when your pedal is at the six oclock position. You should have a fully extended leg at that time. Adjust your seat height accordingly.
A saddle that is too far forward will cause front knee pain. The bony bit below your knee cap should be directly above the ball of your foot when the foot is above the pedal spindle.
Your front knee pain could also just come from bad form. Do not mash on your gears or attempt to climb big hills in the hardest gears of your bicycle.
- Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. ï´ï»
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When To See A Physiotherapist
A person should seek physiotherapy or medical attention if:
- they cannot relieve the pain with over-the-counter medication
- the symptoms have not improved within a few days
- their knee is making loud popping noises, accompanied by pain and swelling
- the knee joint cannot move properly
- they cannot put weight on their knee
- the knee is discolored
How Can You Cycle To Suit Your Knees
In order to reduce and therefore eradicate any kind of knee pain, you can adapt a few strategies in order to really help you to achieve this.
You first of all need to make sure that your bicycle suits you as far as fit is concerned.
Your bicycle news to suit your proportion and this is key if you want to steer clear from knee pain.
If your bicycle seat is far too high, then you will find that this will have a detrimental effect on how your knee can bend and also extend when you are cycling.
Making sure that your bike fits you correctly will ensure that your knee is at the correct position and therefore that you are not too close or too far away from the bike frame.
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Is Cycling Good For Arthritic Knee
According to Permanente Journal, cycling reduces joint pressure and brings overall wellness to people suffering from osteoarthritis. Since cycling is a low-impact sport, it will help your knees by relieving the pain and allowing them to flex.
That makes it good for the arthritic knee. But again, it has to be moderate cycling and not intense cycling.
What Causes Cycling Knee Pain
If you experience cycling knee pain, you’re not alone. Studies show 23 to 33 percent of cyclists have suffered knee pain at some point in their time as a cyclist.
Usually, pain comes from a long-brewing problem. You’ve had the problem for a long time and didn’t know it. The pain is the final indicator that something’s happening beneath your skin.
If you’ve been cycling on improper equipment, you’ll have knee pain. If you have a bad bike fit, you’ll have even more pain.
To avoid knee pain when cycling, start by taking your bicycle to a professional bike mechanic and bike fitter. You can find such a specialist at a local bike shop. Do not attempt to tweak this project on your own unless you have extensive experience as a cyclist.
A bike mechanic with a bike fitting experience will have an important set of eyes. They will have you sit on your bicycle and ride it on a trainer in front of them or ride it around the parking lot so they can see how the bicycle fits you. In a matter of minutes, they should know what is causing you pain and be able to adjust the bike accordingly.
Even a few centimeters can make a difference. A bike mechanic may adjust your seat or handlebars a couple of centimeters, and you’ll feel the difference immediately.
You can do a little self-diagnosis before you visit the bike fitter so you enter the shop with some working knowledge. Your knee pain will stem from anything from seat position to the position of your cleats on your cycling shoes.
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Are Certain Exercises Easier On The Knees
Water aerobics are often suggested when recuperating from sore joints.
Although the water can have a soothing, buoyant effect on your knees, Bell says its unlikely to produce enough resistance to strengthen the surrounding muscles.
If you really want to create enough resistance to make a difference, land-based exercises ultimately are what you need, she says.
Some of her favorites include cycling, at moderate or high intensity, and strengthening exercises like Pilates.
You may be able to get more out of a low-impact workout by incorporating weighted elastic bands or free weights into your routine.
You may also find it beneficial to wear a knee brace while exercising.
If you havent already, talk with your doctor about whether this is a good option for you. They can make specific recommendations and advise you on best practices.
Youll likely experience mild soreness when exercising, especially if you havent exercised for a while.
When planning your routine, be sure to keep the level of intensity reasonable.
Your doctor or physical therapist can provide a personalized recommendation suited to your needs.
The dose of exercise should be enough to produce a difference, but not so much that you become injured or discouraged.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising until you can see your doctor:
If the pain persists, resist the temptation to mask it with pain medication, Bell says. You want to find out the underlying cause of the problem and fix it.
Best Overall Stationary Bike For Arthritic Knees: Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
Overview: For a true do-it-all stationary bike, check out the Schwinn 270.
One of the best names in home fitness, Schwinn has packed this bike with features and quality construction. Its not the cheapest bike on this list, but is a fantastic value for anyone who wants a top of the line product.
Why I Like It: The on-board computer on the Schwinn tops the others on this list, with much more customization available, including apps to track all of your workout progress and integrations with things like MyFitnessPal.
There are over 20 different difficulty settings on this bike, making it a great fit for beginners and advanced riders alike. The seat design is incredibly comfortable, making the bike a joy to sit on for long stretches of time.
A built-in face-fan keeps you cool while you workout, and built-in speakers can play music from your phone.
Overall just a fantastic design.
Potential Drawbacks: A bit pricier than other options on this list. Assembly may take over an hour. Quality of built-in speakers less than ideal.
Built-in calorie counter may not be accurate.
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Types Of Knee Pain Related To Cycling
Here are four types of cycling-related knee pains:
a) One-Knee Pain
Pain on one knee is widespread among biking enthusiasts who ride their bikes asymmetrically. That is a riding position whereby you ride with the wrong setup bike. So, if you experience pain in one knee, the culprit to check is the saddle.
If the saddle is raised so high, youll likely lean on one side and sacrifice your other leg to pain and discomfort. So, if this sounds like your case, ensure you lower the bike seat to an ideal position.
b) Behind Knee Pain
Like in the first case, when your saddle is too high, your hip will experience a certain degree of discomfort as you strain to pedal hard.
Also, if your saddle is too far at the back, you will likely strain your hip muscle to reach the pedal. In turn, the pain will concentrate at the back of your knee.
So, if you experience back knee pain, you should ensure you adjust the seat by lowering or moving it forward.
c) Kneecap Pain
Kneecap pain is prevalent among many beginners and experienced riders. If you experience kneecap pain, its likely to mean one thing your bike saddle is too low or too forward.
To correct this, you should adjust the seat by raising its height or moving it back a little.
d) Side Knee Pain
The last knee pain you are likely to experience is at the side of the knee. A high saddle usually causes side knee pain.
Upright Vs Recumbent Stationary Bike
An upright stationary bicycle is a bike used for exercise rather than for transportation. It is equipped with handles, pedals, and a typical bicycle seat, but it’s built on a stationary platform. If such a bike has wheels, they are raised from the ground.
The design closely mirrors outdoor bicycles. Some stationary bicycles have an ergometer to measure the work you’ve done while pedaling.
A recumbent stationary bicycle is equipped with a larger, chair-like seat. A person riding a recumbent bike sits back and rests his or her spine. The pedals on a recumbent bicycle are typically located toward the front, and hand-grips are in a position that requires less reaching.
It’s a more comfortable experience, but some experts question if exercising on a recumbent stationary bicycle provides as many benefits as exercising on an upright stationary bike. However, for people with osteoarthritis, a recumbent stationary bike may make the difference between exercising and not exercising.
Before becoming active in bicycling or any type of exercise, you should talk to a healthcare provider. When they give you approval, consider your different bicycling options.
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What Type Of Bike Is Best For Bad Knees
You can choose between indoor and outdoor options if you have bad knees. Both types can be very beneficial as long as you do not have balance issues. Indoor cycling provides climatically controlled environments and a variety of resistance levels.”By contrast, outdoor cycling offers a variety of scenery and a naturally variable resistance. Additionally, there are electric bikes for arthritis that have ergonomic designs that can provide a great level of comfort while riding outside.
Which Is Better For Arthritis: Indoor Or Outdoor Cycling
Unless balance is a concern, both have excellent benefits, says Shroyer. Indoor cycling offers adjustable resistance options and a climate-controlled atmosphere, say says. Indoor bikes are safer if you have balance problems, and can provide aerobic exercise for those who cant walk well. Outdoor cycling, on the other hand, offers change in scenery and naturally variable resistance, adds Shroyer.
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How Can I Cycle With Arthritic Knees
The first thing you want to do is know that you can use indoor cycling or outdoor cycling just fine. However, if we are discussing outdoor cycling, buy the best bicycles for knee problems.
Nonetheless, if you have a problem with stability, ensure you only cycle indoors and remain safe during the ride. You can also use recumbent bikes, tricycles, or comfort cruiser bikes.
For those just starting cycling, you need to limit the cycling time to just a few minutes, like 20 minutes. If you are relatively fit, you can go for as long as an hour, like other workout plans.
At the start, you dont need to power cycle. Be as gentle as possible, and you will continue to grow. Also, take time to increase the pace, and then you can increase the power by also going to inclines.
Dont worry you may feel pain when cycling, but your body will adjust to the process sooner or later. If you consider cycling in the morning, youll notice that your knees start to feel better during the day.
Nonetheless, if its too painful, you can consult your doctor to confirm that its okay to keep cycling. Bottom-line, our bodies react to different events differently.
Why Cycling Is Good For Your Joints
Number one: less joint stress. Cycling is a low-impact exercise, says Shroyer. This means that cycling limits impact stress on weight-bearing joints, like your hips, knees, and feet. Plus, the movement helps lubricate the joints, which reduces pain and stiffness. Other benefits of bicycling include:
Weight control: Excess pounds can exacerbate inflammatory arthritis, as well as put increased pressure on your joints, particularly your knees.
Adjustable intensity: Bicycling can be done at a wide range of intensities. If you tend to go a little slower, you can coast once in a while, or use the lower gears to ease the burden on your legs. Research has shown in people with knee osteoarthritis, low-intensity cycling is as effective as high-intensity cycling in improving function and gait, decreasing pain, and boosting aerobic fitness.
Muscle strengthening: When the bikes pedal resistance is moderate, it not only promotes range of motion at the hip and knee, but also strengthens your quadricep muscles , says Shroyer. Pedaling works your glutes and hamstrings , to a lesser degree. Strong muscles help support and protect your joints.
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Is It Ok To Ride A Bike With Bad Knees
There are several different reasons why you should be careful when riding your bike with bad knees. Firstly, you must make sure that your saddle does not put a lot of pressure on your knees. If you cant ride comfortably with your knees bent, try raising or lowering the saddle a few millimeters. If this does not help, you should consider getting your bike fitted by a professional.
You may also want to consider using an upright bike instead of an air bike. These are less likely to cause damage to your knees because they have adjustable resistance. Upright bikes also allow you to pedal slowly at low speeds, making them more comfortable for people with knee issues. Air bikes, on the other hand, increase resistance when you pedal more quickly, which can cause pain and trouble with your knees.
Another reason why cycling is good for people with bad knees is that it requires knee flexion. If you can position the seat high, you may be able to cycle despite your knee problems. Its also possible to cycle with kneecap arthritis if you adjust the height of your seat. You may also be able to position the pedals so that the ball of your foot is over the pedal.