Knee injuries are very common in the sport of cycling. There is a wide variety of injury types as well as causes for each, including things like trauma or over-use. Were going to take a look at some of the common types of knee injuries that can cause pain, as well as solutions to the pain. Some of the common knee injuries include:
- Overuse Injuries
- Anterior knee pain
- Lateral knee pain / Ilio-tibial band friction syndrome
- Posterior knee pain
- Knee bursitis
- Traumatic knee pain
What is “cyclist's knee” or “runner's knee”
This is a very common overuse injury that causes pain in the front (anterior) portion of the knee. The pain can be felt under and around the knee cap. This problem can often result from improper tracking of the patella over the knee joint, or poor alignment of the knee cap as it moves over the groove it runs in on the femur (leg bone). What most of Dr Hoffman's patients describe is that their knee pain usually gets better as they warm up, and then it returns when they push into gears or when they are climbing steep hills, and they usually are in pain (they "feel it") by the time they are done with a long ride.
The patients that Dr Hoffman sees with this type of knee injury are usually stiff and achy after sitting (off the bike) for a long time. Pain is usually worse when they are doing things like:
- watching movies
- working in a chair
- on a plane flight
- going up and down stairs (worse with going down stairs)
Catching and popping and clicking is also something that is commonly felt. One of the more frustrating aspects of this injury is that it generally lingers on for a period of time, regardless of the other treatments that are tried, like using ICE, pain relievers, physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, or corticosteroid injections.
Knee injuries and knee pain risk factors:
- Training errors. Pushing big gears before your body is ready, or being too aggressive in your riding can tear ligament and tendon fibers - so be careful on those big hills.
- Inadequate rest. Not giving your body time to recover can actually weaken your muscles ability to stabilize your knee and this can set the stage for injury.
- Hormone imbalances that lead to weakened connective tissues.
- Deep squats or heavy weights with knee extension in the gym. These types of exercise put a tremendous amount of pressure on the knee compartment and can created microtears and contusions that weaken the structures in the knee that are supposed to be stabilizing the knee joint. This can lead to greater risk of more serious injury and can prevent small strains from healing properly.
- Bio-mechanical imbalances. Imbalances in gait or weigh distribution in your body can put too much stress on a particular joint making it more prone to injury.
- Pronated feet, bowed legs or knock knees.
- Bike fit factors such as seat too low or too far forward.
- Not enough float in the biking cleats
- Bike cranks that are too long.
It is possible that one of these above problems may not be enough by itself to cause pain, but over time the problem will get worse. If you have several of these in combination, you are asking for trouble and this may be why you are in pain.
Prolotherapy is a very effective treatment for patello-femoral knee pain.
Dr Hoffman has treated thousands of patients with this type of knee injury and has seen his most enthusiastic cyclists get back on the road doing what they love - free of pain!
To learn more about Prolotherapy or Dr Hoffman's experience treating Knee Pain and Knee Injuries for over a decade, please call:
Naturopathic health care with compassionate integrative doctors who understand your unique medical needs.