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My knee hurts when I cycle, what can I do to ease my pain?

Pain at the front of my knee when cycling

In a study of 116 professional cyclists it was found that 94 per cent experienced some sort of overuse injury over the period of a year, and 23 per cent of those riders reported knee pain.

We will share with you some exercises to help ease your knee pain. Cyclists we see often complain of pain around their knee cap or on the outside of their knee. This also known as patella femoral pain or iliotibial band syndrome.

The most common reason for this is that certain muscles are likely to be weak and certain muscles are tight. Physiotherapy, sports therapy and sports massage plus exercises will ease your knee pain.

In this article we have some advice, exercises and stretches which are good for those suffering with Patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee pain). Most people with this problem have some pain when walking up and/or down stairs.

Here is a testimonial from one of our cyclists who had knee pain:

I am a keen mountain biker, but was becoming aware that my left knee was fatiguing very quickly into my rides. I went to see Natalie with goals of being able to ride faster for longer.

Natalie was able to spot that I not only had weak left leg muscles, but that they were not working in the correct order.

I left the first session with four simple exercises which I performed twice daily. After four sessions with Natalie, my left leg no longer fatigues as quickly as it did, and I am able to ride faster for longer.

I shall continue the exercises, even though I have now achieved my original  goals. Thank you Natalie for fixing the problem and making the fix so simple Mr. M

Hands on physiotherapy treatments including; sports massage, mobilisation, taping, balance (proprioceptive) re-education, combined with stretching and strengthening exercises is an effective treatment for patellofemoral knee pain.

Get help

Exercises

Please be aware of your body and take advice from your GP before exercising or email us at enquiries@physio-logical.net for advice and guidance.

All of these exercises should be pain free.

ITB/TFL Stretch

The ITB (ilio-tibial band) / TFL (tensor fasciae latae) stretch is good for lengthening the tight muscle (TFL) which runs from outer hip into the ITB. The ITB is a tough, broad band structure so some people say you can’t increase its length. Although stretches do seem to work as you are stretching the TFL that joins with the ITB.

  • Cross one leg in front of the other one and bend that knee, keep back leg straight, drop hip of back leg to side, to increase the stretch lift the arm of straight leg up and over
  • You should feel the stretch in the outer thigh/hip of the straight leg
  • Hold 30 seconds, repeat 2 times, 3 times a day

Squats

This exercise helps strengthen the weaker inner thigh muscle to improve the muscle imbalance.

  • Feet hip width apart, toes pointing forwards. Squat down, sticking your bottom out like there is a chair behind you
  • Always keep your knees in line with second toe, do not drop your knees in
  • Repeat until your muscles ache/fatigue every day

Side Leg Raises

This exercise helps strengthen the gluteal muscles to improve the muscle imbalance around the knee

  • Lying on your side with your back against a wall
  • Tighten your buttocks
  • Lift your top leg up, make sure you slide your heel up the wall so your leg stays in line with your body and doesn’t come forwards
  • Repeat until fatigue, every day

If your knee pain is limiting how far you can cycle or how hard you can push then please get in contact with us via enquiries@physio-logical.net or 07835 712306. You can also book an appointment online.

Check out and subscribe to our FREE YouTube channel where we will be demonstrating these exercises plus others too.