cyclists knee pain

Knee pain is awful! Back in 1999, mine was so bad that I had to take about 6 months off the bike…. and during that time I visited several different people from different fields of health care while I was attempting to figure out why I was having such intense pain.

I didn’t have a traumatic accident, I had just raced the weekend before, on Monday I rode around on the Mt bike with some friends, did my usual Tuesday evening intown Atlanta slug-fest & on Wednesday…..BAM! I couldn’t even ride to the ride. I had to turn around and pedal home with one leg, it was that painful. I went 6 months without riding at all.

I went to Physical Therapist, and then a knee doctor who said he could A) give me a cortisone shot, B) cut my IT band, or C) let me take the Homeopathic route….. which also meant ‘figure that out on your own’. I was confused & didn’t know where to go next for help.

Finally after Spring came around someone suggested I see a chiropractor, let’s call her Dr. Sukie. She checked out my leg & suggested that I get a massage. I steadily got massages once a week for two months and my knee slowly got less painful & less noticeable when going up and finally when going down stairs.

I started to get back out on the bike & I was very thankful to be once again cycling. I was over-weight and of course, slow – but I didn’t have any knee pain!

Later, I learned about foam rollers and doing Myofascial release on them. It is basically a self-massage that you can do most anywhere.
check out the guide on myofascial release guide.

Now when someone tells me they have knee pain or tendinitis, I can almost immediately tell them where the pain is coming from and how to do myofascial release to get rid of it!

The muscles of sport

Have you noticed in your latest cycling catalogs there are now stability balls and bands for sale – what do they have to do with cycling!? LOTS! Many people have now heard the word “core” and core training, but what does that have to do with cycling, group rides, and racing? Again, LOTS!
Think of your core as being the center structure based upon which all movements start from. When you have to quickly adjust to changes, bunny hop, shift in the wind to remain upright… etc. etc. all these require that the core is engaged, strong and stable.

But, what is the CORE? The core is more scientifically referred to as the lumbar pelvic hip region, and is essentially your trunk without your arms or legs – however your muscles and tendons have a lot of connections and extensions that go past just the trunk area into the legs.

The transverse abdominus is a muscle in your core that is the first muscle (in the body) to fire in response or preparation for movement. If you have a dysfunctional timing sequence (weak core), then the chance that you have lower back pain is great!
We train our clients on how to better engage their core muscles to get the most out of the body!

This information has many effects on you as a cyclist.
If your core is not engaging properly, then you may feel pain in your lower back. The interesting thing is that your back may be stronger than you think. In fact it may just be overloaded because your abdominal muscles are not doing their fair share of the work, and the lower back has to do extra to support your spinal column.
Try pedaling with your abs pushed out for 30 seconds, then try pedaling with your abs pulled in for 30 seconds – big difference.

Check out my post on how to get six-pack abs.

What those bands and stability balls are supposed to be used for is strength and stability in the core. There are dozens of exercises and even more variations of each exercise to suit all ability levels!
Check out some variations in the Video section.

Get more info on 4 things for stronger cycling:
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