How to Reduce Knee Problems While Bicycling

How to Reduce Knee Problems While Bicycling
Although bicycling is a low-impact activity, knee problems are common. The most prevalent problem is iliotibial band syndrome. The band runs from your hip to your knee and will tighten when overused. Cyclists usually experience this problem when they are inflexible and try to ride far and fast without training beforehand. The problem can be avoided by following a detailed training plan. If you already have knee pain, consider resting and stretching until the pain subsides.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Adjustments

Step 1
Adjust the seat of your bike to a comfortable height. Do not ride on a saddle that is set too low or too high. A low saddle will keep your knees bent during the entire ride and a high saddle will cause you to over-extend while riding. In order to find the correct height, do a short ride at a low saddle height. Gradually raise the height of the saddle until it feels comfortable. Once comfortable, raise the saddle again. If the new saddle height makes you feel like you are reaching on the down stroke, then lower the saddle. If it feels comfortable, then continue to raise the saddle until you are over-extending, then lower the saddle a small amount.
Step 2
Adjust the cleats on your shoes to match the natural angle of your foot. Your feet should be at the same angle while walking or riding. If you are not using cleats, take note of the angle of your feet while walking.
Step 3
Do not use lateral motions while riding. While riding in a safe environment, watch your knees to see if you have a habit of making lateral motions. Correct the motion and keep your knees in a straight line. Lateral movement will irritate the cartilage in your knees and can lead to Chondromalacia.

Riding

Step 1
Begin your training program at a moderate pace. Start with short distances on flat ground. As your knee pain begins to subside, slowly increase the distance of the ride and the amount and severity of climbing. Do not ride more than five days per week. It can take up to a month of slow training to reduce knee pain.
Step 2
Ride in low gears and maintain good riding posture with your back arched upward and leaning slightly forward. Use a consistent peddling motion that can be sustained over a long period of time without reaching a point of exhaustion.
Step 3
Practice yoga four days every week to increase flexibility and reduce knee pain. Yoga routines should involve the entire body to increase mobility and circulation. Bikram Yoga (hot room) is especially good for circulation. Balancing poses will strengthen your knees but should be done under an expert's supervision. If your knee pain is too severe to do basic yoga poses, you should see a doctor.

Tips & Warnings

 
Do not begin a training program at a high intensity. You should work gradually toward your riding goals to prevent injuries. A daily stretching program supplemented with yoga will reduce the risk of injury.
 
Knee pain should be treated as a serious problem. If the pain does not subside after several days of rest, you should consult a doctor.

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Colorado-mountain-adventure.com. Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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