Properly known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), this condition produces pain in and around the front of the knee. It’s a result of the repeated knee range of motion used in cycling combined with the frictional pressure behind the kneecap. Too much of either creates initial pain followed eventually by swelling and inflammation.
Remember , if your knees are getting sore the first rule is to gear down and spin, spin, spin. Minimizing the per revolution pressure behind the knee is the goal so absolutely avoid grinding your way uphill. A harder gear means a slower spin and a longer period spent with the patellofemoral joint under compression. Peak loading happens on the downstroke as the knee passes through 90 degrees of bend. Don’t ignore persistent or worsening pain which will need more thorough assessment. Pretending it will go away means further damage to the joint and ultimately a longer recovery time.
Possible causes include saddle height too low or too far forwards, biomechanical problems at the feet or pelvis causing patella misalignment, or muscle imbalance, especially at the hip, producing uneven force across the knee.
If you have never had a proper bike fit or a functional sports screen these are good places to start.
Functional Sports Screen: http://www.west4thphysio.com/archives/2371
Both Matt and Jennifer are experienced sports therapists and cyclists. If you are noticing discomfort come and see us in the clinic where a thorough physio assessment will help sort out the specific issues and get you back to full activity as quickly as possible.
Stay with your team with help from our team