Is Biking Bad for Your Knees? 8 Causes of Knee Pain

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If you’re pondering within yourself is biking bad for your knees, you should know that a lot of dedicated bikers often suffer from hurting knees. This might cause some misconception – as bikers might attribute this pain to the vigor of the exercise.

Biking itself isn’t bad for the knees. There are times when knee pains can be a result of not executing the exercise properly.

Main Causes of Knee Pain When Biking

This article will provide you with more answers to the question: is cycling bad for your knees?

Keep reading to know more about the things that actually cause knee pains for cyclists.

1. Riding Long Distances

If you’re into riding long distances, there’s a prolonged amount of strain to the knee’s muscles and this can lead to lateral pain in your knee.

If you know that your cycling routine is going to involve long distances, you need to watch how fast you would go on the beach cruiser bike.

You cannot bike at a high intensity all through the exercise; you would need to slow your pace from time to time so that your knees can get some rest along the way.

2. Not Warming Up

I’m sure you’ve been advised on different occasions to warm up before an exercise.

This is because warming up before an exercise does a lot of good for your body. Warming up is like preparing your entire body for the biking exercise ahead.

You can also turn to low-speed cycling as a warm-up exercise. This way, biking is good for your butt as well so start with this slow cycling speed and gradually pick up the pace.

3. Low Cycling Cadence

Cadence defines your cycling frequency. It’s the amount of pedal-turns that you can make on an average within a 60-second time frame. Cadence is generally represented in revs per minute – RPM.

Gear levels and cadence generally share an inverse relationship. Higher gears require low cadence for efficient cycling, while lower gears require a higher pedaling frequency (or cadence).

The reason you might have been complaining of knee pain might be that your constant pedaling frequency (or cadence) is low. The safe average is 60 RPM. This is because, at this cadence or above it, there’s minimal stress to the knee.

4. Not Stretching

Apart from cycling, other sporting activities and even exercise routines would require you to do a few stretches before the main engagement.

This is because stretching prevents your muscles from getting tightened up and hurting knees when biking. Always try to get in a few rounds of stretching before you get on your bike.

5. No Proper Bike Fit

If you’re worried about mountain biking being bad for your knees and you haven’t been paying attention to your bike fit, you need to think again.

Getting a proper bike fit will ensure that you are in a comfortable position when you’re seated on the bike. The more comfortable your bike’s fitting is, the less knee pain you’re likely to experience.

You have to get your saddle in the right position so that pressure is adequately distributed to the knees. If you fail to properly angle your saddle, you will suffer pains in your knee.

The bones and muscles around the knee region are usually affected by improper bike fits. This is because the biker cannot get to pedal properly. Make sure you take time to get your bike for senior women properly fitted – don’t neglect professional help if it’s needed.

6. Your Legs Are Not Strong

If you frequently ride your bike without sufficient leg strength, it would tell on your knees and leave you complaining of pains. Engaging in only cycling as a form of exercise can also lead to uneven muscle development.

If you have completely neglected leg strengthening activities, you need to pick up a couple of such exercises. This will ensure that you have the required leg power to push the bike pedals.

You can try some leg extensions, hip extensions, leg curls & deadlifts, and more. These would develop your hamstrings, calves, quads, and more.

7. Not Adjusting Cleats

Another reason you might be suffering from knee pains is the placement of your cleats. If you’ve not been paying proper attention to this, you should.

The positioning of your cleats has to rhyme with the normal placement of your heels. Failing to correctly angle your cleats with respect to the comfortable positioning of your toes will lead to unnecessary straining of the knee.

If you can angle your cleats at 4.5 degrees, you would save some power and remove strain from the knee joints. So, pay more attention to the positioning of the cleats.

8. Incorrect Sitting

If you’re sitting wrongly while pedaling your cycle, you would develop pains in your knee joints. Getting to position your knees and feet at the right angles will save you from strained joints and pains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cycling in the winter bad for your knees?

Even for people who don’t cycle, it’s common to often hear more complaints about knee and other joint pains during winter. So it can be expected that a combination of cycling exercises to this joint-hurting weather can potentially cause knee pains.
 
It’s normal to feel like the cold gets stronger when you’re pedaling your cycle. This is because of the wind motion that results from your streamlined figure pushing through the cold air. It’s advised that you equip yourself with gear that can keep your joints warm when you’re riding in the cold.  
 
The amount and thickness of warm clothing/gear you need vary based on how cold it is outside. The colder it gets, the thicker the gear. There are cycling gears that are made to specifically tackle the cold winter air and keep the cyclist comfortable at the same time.

What’s the best bicycle for bad knees?

You don’t need to ask what bike is best for bad knees. This is because there isn’t a particular bike that exists to tackle bad knees. What you need to do as a cyclist is to get a bike that fits your personal profile.
 
You should consult your physician if you have any serious conditions so that you can know if you should even be cycling in the first place. There are also bike shops that offer standard bike fitting for a fee. Feel free to try them out.
 
For those who are on the plus-sized side, you can consider getting a recumbent bike. These bikes are designed in such a way that your weight gets properly distributed – so as to avoid pressuring of knee joints and other leg joints.
 
Make sure that your joints are well covered in warm clothing whenever you’re out biking in winter’s cold air. It would go a long way in saving you from pain.

Conclusion

At this point, we hope we have answered your question on whether biking is bad for your knees. It’s actually bad biking habits and lack of proper know-hows that lead to knee pains.

You need to start paying attention to how you ride your bike and make corrections where needed. You cannot be riding long distances without slowing down. This wouldn’t give your knees time to rest, and you would develop pain in your knee joints.

As you ride your bike, you need to be conscious of how much strain is being put on your knees. If it’s increasing your cadence or getting a professional bike fit, or some other adjustment, make sure you get it done in time. It will save you from discouraging pain.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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