WHAT TO DO ABOUT KNEE STIFFNESS AND FEELING OF LOOSENESS?
April 12, 2005
Back to questions
I am concerned about my knees.
I know that having a properly sized bike with an appropriately
adjusted seat will prevent damage. And though I was never
sized for my (used) bike, I am comfortable on it and love
to ride it, but I am looking for more advice.
Now that Im warming up for
spring and summer, I bike to work two or three times a week
and for fun and errands on the weekends. Occasionally, knee
stiffness after a ride can last for one to two days.
Ive got a family history of
trouble with this joint, as well as an old hyperextension
that sometimes manifests itself as a twinge or feeling of
looseness while walking or riding. Sometimes the sensation
while pedaling is that I am not moving my legs strictly
parallel to the bike frame; rather, it can feel like when
my leg is up, my knee pulls slightly towards the inside,
frame side, and when my leg is at the bottom of a pedal
stroke, the leg is straight again.
Can you recommend any specific stretches
or cycling practices to keep my knees bending freely and
smoothly as long as possible? Thank you!
Ive two ideasone about
adjusting your bike and another about adjusting your body.
Lets start with the bike.
People have written many, many articles,
both in print and on-line, about how to measure bikes and
bods to get the proper fit between the two. Rather than
excerpt all that, Ill suggest one simple thing: Try
moving your bikes seat back about half an inch, then
ride for a while and see if it makes a difference. If not
try moving it forward the same amount. Learn more about
how to do this in my book, Urban Bikers
Tricks & Tips.
You can keep experimenting with
different forward and back seat positions and see what happens.
(Note that the seats most comfortable position might
change if you start riding a bunch more.)
All that assumes that you have the
proper seat height: Sitting on your bike with one foot on
a pedal at the 6 oclock position, that foots
leg should have only a slight bend. (Also check that you
have the balls of your feet, not the toes, soles, or heels,
on the middle of the pedals.)
Next, your bod: Physical therapists
often tell us that, to address weakness in a joints
movement in a particular direction, strengthen the muscles
that support movement in a different (often perpendicular)
direction. So exercises in which you move the lower leg
side to side might help. But they might not, and Mr Bike
resists the urge to play Dr Bikeso if the problem
persists please consult a medical professional.