Knee has a complex bone structure that joins the thigh and the leg. Putting a lot of strain on this joint can cause severe problems. This article stresses on knee ache on account of cycling.
Anatomy of the knee is quite complex to understand. It is the largest joint in the body and carries entire weight of the body. Any form of injury to the knee, can bring discomfort in performing daily activities. Many people take up cycling for the purpose of staying fit or even ride it for pleasure. However, this form of physical activity might lead to severe knee pains too. Let’s take a look at the knee pains, causes and its treatment.
There might be many reasons that result in such knee pain. May it be cyclists or common people who practice cycling in gym for fitness purpose, both are susceptible to similar knee injuries if certain precautions are not taken. There are exercises for knee pain, which brings relief and reduces the pain too.
Types of Knee Pain
The pain that occurs around the knee cap is termed as Patellofemoral Pain. A patella moves in all the angles and its constant rubbing against the femur causes irritation. As this part of the knee causes maximum movement, it is prone to severe pain and strain. Cycling requires constant circular motions, where the knee is under constant pressure. Therefore, cyclists can suffer from Patellofemoral pain or Runner’s knee syndrome.
This pain occurs under and around the kneecap. Exercises regarding muscle training or cycling put lot of pressure on the knee joint. This results into wear and tear of the joint. A smooth cartilage envelops the femur and the patella, which helps in movement of the knee. If this cartilage gets damaged it results into serious or minor knee pain.
Precautions Before Cycling
Adjusting the Gear
Nowadays, equipped cycles that come with gears to adjust the pace of the bicycle can be found in the market. Even many gyms are selecting well manufactured cycles with adjustable seats, handles and even cycle gear. Gear of the cycle is meant for adjusting the pace of the cycle. These gears are beneficial while climbing or descending hills. The pace of the pedal is referred to as cadence, which can be adjusted through shifting of gears. Higher gears reduce your cadence and one has to put more effort while pedaling.
Cycling on lower gears is easier and faster. It requires less efforts to pedal and increases the speed of the cycle too. Cycling more than the ideal cadence can tire you and bring sudden pressure on the knees. Cycling on high cadence may tone your muscles but out a lot of strain on your heart and lungs. There are cycles that come with toe clip pedals, which makes spinning more effective. They assure safety and keeps the feet firm throughout cycling. However, if the feet are not secured properly, there are chances of your foot slipping, which would prove extremely dangerous. It might result into severe foot injuries such a sprain or even a fracture.
Position of the Saddle
Saddle is the important part of a cycle. A cyclists will be more than happy to ride with a comfortable saddle than an uncomfortable one. There are many who think that soft and cushioned seats are comfortable, but they are likely to cause more problems. As the Sit Bones (Ischial Tuberosity) bear our upper body weight in a seated position, the pressure on the soft tissues between sit bones increase and cause pain and discomfort.
Adjustment of the saddle is essential to have a comfortable cycling or spinning session. Many tend to ignore the height of the saddle and continue to cycle in the available height of the seat. If the height of the saddle is too low, it brings too much pressure on the knees and restricts a complete rotation of the leg too. This can weaken the joints and tire you out quickly. Cycling at an inappropriate saddle height, will create a right angle bent in the knee and hinder the movement of the knee. This can later lead to chronic pain in the knee and even cause swelling.
Every individual differs in height and one must be able to adjust the saddle at a right position. Every time you adjust the seat, sit on it and pedal for a while. If the position is correct and comfortable then the saddle is at the right position. In case, you suffer from discomfort then readjust the height of the saddle. Appropriate saddle height results in proper posture and complete knee movement. It also reduces strain on the knee as there is enough space to move the leg in circular motions. While pedaling, if you begin to move in the front or feel the stretch in the legs, then the saddle is too high. Therefore, as you adjust the saddle, sit and try to pedal to reach to a comfortable height.
Nowadays there are clipless pedals, which makes cycling easier for you. If the feet are not well secured in the pedal, it could turn dangerous and cause a lot of damage. Cycling or spinning is performed at a certain speed and cyclists are in constant motion. If the feet are not firmly rooted to the pedal, there are chances that the foot might slip and cause fracture in the foot and knee too. Therefore, once you settle on the cycle it is important to adjust the angle of the feet and secure it well with the buckles provided.
The height of the handle and the saddle should be well aligned to attain the right posture while cycling. Too low or too high position will change the posture and cause discomfort in cycling. This will also give rise to stretching of unnecessary muscles, ultimately resulting in pain. Try to sit on the cycle and take time to align all the parts of the cycle to a desired position to avoid any injuries.
Many gyms and cycle manufacturers are making well equipped cycles, so that you can have a comfortable cycle ride. This is not an unusual problem. It can be prevented by taking certain precautions. Therefore, acquaint yourself with the anatomy of the bicycle and knee, to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your knee.