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Anonymous's picture

my knees have gotten quite sore from overuse in winter spin classes....i've been diagnosed w/illiotibial band syndrome and patella femoral syndrome.....i'm halfway through physical therapy and although things are improving, i'm hearing that this condition will never disappear, no matter how much strengthening and stetching i do.

has anyone ever had this? and if so, did it go away? and if so, how?

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Check you setup

Are you sure it's due to overuse? Knee problems are often caused by:
1) Pushing too big a gear
2) Not being set up properly on the bike.

Check your seat height. A low seat will cause pain at the front of the knee; too high will cause pain at the back of the knee.

What does yer PT say?

Anonymous's picture
ajw (not verified)

Considering the problem developed from spin class, where I worked my way up to considerable resistance, I understand the large gear problem. However, shouldn't the problem subside after 1)considerable physical therapy to stretch the leg muscles 2)some easy spinning on, say, my windtrainer and 3)raising the seat?

In my case, the problem is mostly gone after doing all 3, but only because I've basically quit biking (i now do 20 minutes of easy pedaling at home, 5x a week) while going through therapy.

Once I begin biking again in earnest, I'm concerned that the problem will return.

One of the PTs where I do the therapy says I shouldn't be so gloomy. But the other tells me it will remain with me for the rest of my life as a biker, since I put so many miles in the saddle each year. My orthopedist seems to say I should do the therapy work and consider advil. To me, that's a signal that I'm doomed. Getting the kneecaps back into their proper position to elminate patella femoral syndrome, he says, will be no easy feat (pun intended).

Did you have this problem?

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
I'm just a cyclist

"First let me say, I have no medical training. But I've been cycling for 25+ years. I've had an occasional twinge in the knee, but nothing serious. This winter while doing almost daily hard workouts on the WindTrainer, I started having some knee pain. I stayed off the bike a few days. Then I raised the saddle a bit, and started back slowly. Luckily, the pain is now totally gone even when I push hard.

I think the idea that you're permanently injured is overly gloomy. Last year, Jan Ullrich (Lance's main rival) injured his knee due to overtraining in January and was out for the season. After much TLC he is now back in the game.

Bike position, cleat position, amount of ""float,"" and gearing are all important factors. After an injury, it's always prudent to start back slowly (no gear mashing, build up mileage slowly, etc.). Listen to the PT. Do what ever exercises they recommend, and use common sense. I think you'll be ok.

Good luck,


Anonymous's picture
ajw (not verified)

Thanks for the insight. I'm thinking the lousy weather may be the best thing to happen to my knees. I'm taking it easy indoors, and the outdoor season is getting put off by Mother Nature anyway.

As for Ullrich, I wonder what his future will be. Forget the amphetamines, he had surgery, didn't he? And CSC Tiscali decided against him. Whether it was because of $ or some other reason (perhaps knee condition?) remains to be seen.

I'll try to stay away from the dark side, but as I'm sure you can understand, many months off the bike makes for a very unhappy man.

Thanks, Again.

Anonymous's picture
bill strachan (not verified)

not worry (easy enuf for me to say....)30 years ago when i used to run, i dislocated my right knee. in those days before arthoscopic surgery they just cut open both sides and removed my right lateral and medial meniscus. that's when i took up cycling in order to strengthen my legs and give my knee support. since then i have also sprained/strained (don't remember) my acl and had to wear a brace in order to ride boston-montreal-boston 3 weeks later (successfully i might add)
my point is, finally, that with all the ultra-distance riding i've done, including 7,500 miles between the middle of march and middle of august last year, i have never had any serious problems, nor had to take pain killers. why? my gearing. a triple 52/39/29 or 49/39/29) on the front and an 11/30 or 11/32 on my rear cassette. i love my granny. with a gear ""spread"" like that i have NO problems. you just do not put the pressure on the knees but have plenty of options to choose from to give you a comfortable ride.
people used to go crazy about irv weisman's lectures on gearing but underlying it was a real concern about saving knees and prolonging our cycling lifetimes. if you're hurting, cycling is no fun. and having fun is what it is all about.
ride easy and ride safe."

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