Is Cycling Bad For You Knees?
Cycling is one of the best ways to exercise your knees to keep them strong and healthy. It is a form of exercise full of fun and can be practiced in any environment. You can cycle indoors at home or at the gym with a stationary bike if you suffer from a knee injury. You can also cycle outdoor in the street in the park. In this write-up, we focus on what you need to consider when you want ride your bike with knee pains.
Types of Knee Pains and Common Causes
1. Anterior Knee Pain
The anterior knee pain is a type of pain that affects the front side of the knees. It is a joint knee pain that results from strain in your leg's quadriceps and can also result from stretchy on the iliotibial band muscle in the outer part of your thigh, pulls on the patella. The patella, also known as the kneecap, plays an important role in gliding over your knee joints. Therefore, you start experiencing problems when the tendon of the patella is a stack or begins stacked to click.
The leading cause of anterior knee pain when cycling is a poor bike position. In most cases, it occurs when you ride your bike with the saddle of your bike set at its exact place. You can prevent this knee problem by raising the saddle of your bike at a place that bends your knees to an angle of about 45 degrees when you are peddling. This is the recommended knee bend angle that will give you a perfect ride minimizing the knee pains. You can control the thigh muscle stains further by maintaining a rotation of the cadence at 60 rotations/minute. You can use Kinesio tape to push your patella back to its exact position to treat the anterior pains.
2. Posterior Knee Pain
This type of knee pain, also known as tendon pains, affects the knees' backside. The leading cause of the posterior pains is when your hamstring overextended during your ride. In most cases, you will find yourself overextending your hamstring when struggling to reach a pedal rotation of 60rpm by pedaling too fast. You will most likely experience this type of knee pain when the saddle of your bike is raised too high. You can control the tendon pains by lowering the saddle of your bike to the recommended position that bends your knees at an angle of about 45 degrees when cycling. This will help you avoid the inflicting stretch of your thigh muscles, resulting in the pains.
If you are experiencing posterior pain, you can use a combination of form rolling to help stretch your knee. In addition, you can also extend your hamstring and calves by removing the heel from the pedal and hanging it for about ten seconds. If the pain persists, you can seek help from a physiotherapist or medication from the pain management team.
3. Medial and Lateral Knee Pain
Medial pain is a type of pain that affects the inner part of the knee that is close to your other knee, whereas lateral pain affects the outer part of the knee. These two types of pain are always interchange when cycling based on the angle the pedal force is applied. These two types of knee pain can also result from your guard strain. The leading cause of the medial and lateral pains of the knee is the gear problems. If your bike's gears are not shifted correctly, you strain your guard, which can cause these pains. In addition, it can also by clients not adjusted straight.
You can prevent medial and lateral pains by adjusting the cleats of your bike to make them straight. This will make the ball of the foot be straight at its correct position in which the pressure exerted when you are pedaling will be applied. However, when you are already experiencing the pains, you can practice exercises that can help you strengthen your core muscles. Such activities include touching down with a single leg, extending your legs, bridge ball Swiss, and lunges. You can also use your glutes and abs, which will prevent the muscles of your legs from being overworked. If there is no positive response, you can seek help from a physiotherapist.
Possible Causes of Knee Pain While Cycling
1. Riding too much too soon
This is when you override your bike either by cycling it too fast or too hard. Most cyclists are usually prone to riding their bikes too short of achieving high speed. This can cause knee pains as it will make you ride the bike too hard by applying more energy in the rotation of the cadence. This problem is more frequent when you cycle over road surfaces with rough terrain. To solve this problem, you can start your ride at a pace within your level and slowly build up your desired speed. In addition, you can consider the trails of your road surface bike that has a sound suspension system to absorb the shocks.
2. Riding at low cadence
Riding at low cadence involves making a small number of pedals in a minute. To make the pedals rotate, you must apply force to the pedals. This force is applied for passes through the knees. Therefore, when you ride at a low cadence, every time you rotate the pedal, a significant strain will be put on your knee. For this reason, when you continue riding at a low cadence for a longer time, the pressure put on the knee will develop into pains.
3. Poor bike fit
If you are using a bike that doesn't fit you, you will cause stress and pains to your knee and limbs. In such a case, you may find the right bike gears for yourself; the bike may also have its cleats too big or small for you. These are some factors that will make it harder for you to handle the saddle when riding your bike. For this reason, riding the bike may result in different kinds of pains in your knees.
4. Poor riding position
This is also another cause of knee pain that involves failure to maintain a good posture during their ride. The poor riding position can result in more severe injuries and sores in your muscles when you don't control it. To avoid these injuries, always ensure you maintain a good riding position when enjoying your ride.
5. Sadden changes in your cycling habits
When you modify your bike habits, you may likely experience knee pains. This is a common problem faced, especially by new riders. These modifications may include riding your bike for longer hours than before and riding at a faster speed, making pedaling too hard. These changes can cause pains in your joints or even lead to inflammation when the muscles cannot withstand the changes.
Is Cycling in Winter Bad for your knees?
Most joint problems are always common during the winter seasons. This is due to low temperatures experienced during winter. This low temperature makes many people avoid riding their bikes during the winter season. In most cases, the injuries faced during winter seasons take more time to heal as compared to other seasons. However, you can reduce these problems by wearing safety protections such as gloves, biking pants, and other protectors when riding. This protection will ensure you have a successful ride despite of the weather conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cycling for Knees
Is cycling daily bad for your knees?
Cycling daily can be bad for your knees if you overdo it. However, practicing riding exercise daily benefits you to strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps, which support your knees.
Is walking or cycling better for your knees?
Walking or cycling is an important exercise that can help you strengthen the support to your knees, hence making them strong and healthy. Therefore, they are a better exercise for your knees.
Is cycling good for bad knees?
Cycling is an essential exercise that can benefit many people affected by osteoarthritis. In addition, when you practice ride exercise daily, it will help you strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps, which both support your knees.
What are the best exercises for someone with bad knees?
The best exercises for people with bad knees include swimming and water aerobics. However, cycling can also be a good exercise for people with bad knees.
Bike riding is a form of exercise with a low impact and is full of fun. In addition, it is an activity that benefits people in preventing and controlling different health problems such as heart attack, arthritis, obesity, stroke, etc. Despite knee pain being a common experience in many cyclists that make people avoid bike riding, this might not be true as several factors cause knee problems when biking. This has made bike riding b popular exercise for many people today.