RE: [CR]Seeking knee advice.

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Subject: RE: [CR]Seeking knee advice.
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 04:56:19 +0000

This is way off topic, but I've seen vintage folks (some who should know way better) riding who have not addressed these issues - and this is about the only thing that's been discussed on this list that really can impact your life. So I hope there is some slack here...

Knee issues are tricky and there is not going to be a one-size-fits-all answer.

Some knee issues are caused simply by incorrect saddle height. Generally, a saddle too low is often blamed, but I can't seem to go as high as the "experts" such as Andy Pruitt seem to adivise. But if saddle height is way off, you'll have a problem.

A big culprit for many folks and the little understood problem is that many riders do not have good alignment from the hip down to the foot. All things should be in alignment. If not, the knee takes abuse as it tries to compensate. The result is wear of the cartilege. Often it is a foot problem, or a Q factor (width of the cranks) that causes these issues. The fix is often to use orthotics or shims under cleats in order to get the foot angled correctly so that things are OK again at the knee.

Now for some vintage content, many cranks such as Campy NR place the right foot farther outboard then the left. If you are highly sensitive to correct foot placement, this is enough (or at least in my case) to cause problems. I run big ugly washers under my left pedal in order to get it outboard.

The idea that low Q factor is better is one of the most silly claims I've ever heard. Its like saying that small shoes are better. If you have wide hips, you may need to have a pretty large Q factor. Those built differently may need a much narrower Q factor.

I strongly advise folks to be certain that their alignment is perfect - if not see an expert. The old adage that "it doesn't bother me so it must be fine" is a recipe for blown knees. You won't know that you have a problem until the damage is done. Why wait? I think that if you see a video or have someone you trust watch you, you can figure out if all is straight.

But if all is not perfect, or if you are simply not positive, find the best alignment person you can find. I've found that most bike shops do a horrible job with this. Some have it figured out, but don't assume that a shop that uses a fit kit will get it right - only recently did it become common to address cleat shimming. In the old days with clips and straps, this was actually less important. Now it is critical.

I'm lucky in that the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine with Andy Pruitt is in my town. I've paid the piper and had my fit done, and my wife is going in shortly. With all the money we spend on bike stuff, keeping our knees working is the least costly thing with the best return.

Mike Kone in Boulder CO

-------------- Original message --------------

> Bill Roberts

\r?\n> Jacksonville, OR


\r?\n> -----Original Message-----

\r?\n> From:

\r?\n> []On Behalf Of Neill Currie

\r?\n> Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 8:28 PM

\r?\n> To:

\r?\n> Subject: [CR]Seeking knee advice.



\r?\n> Maybe stretching it a bit, asking for advice with my knees, but they are

\r?\n> vintage, and the problem comes from riding vintage bike (though I guess

\r?\n> modern bikes might cause problems too).

\r?\n> Anyway, the last week or so I have been riding every day but one, mileage

\r?\n> about 125. Previous week I have maybe ridden a smidgeon less. I don't ride

\r?\n> big gears hard, I spin at maybe 90rpm most of the time, my bikes have had

\r?\n> pretty much the same fit to me for years, in short there doesn't seem to be

\r?\n> anything new in my regime or life.

\r?\n> This last week_after_riding (never during) for about 4 hours I have

\r?\n> experienced a sharp pain when trying to go up stairs, otherwise no pain at

\r?\n> all). The pain seems localised in the front inside area of just my left

\r?\n> knee. Right knee is unaffected. Pain goes away completely, say, overnight.

\r?\n> Pain happens regardless of which bike I ride, time of day, warmup or not

\r?\n> etc.

\r?\n> Any comments, suggestions anyone??.........or an I simply getting old?


\r?\n> Classic content: spent about 3 hours messing with my 72 International this

\r?\n> morning(new freewheel, wheel dishing, new axle, changed the front ring, new

\r?\n> rear brake installation, fenders, running the rear brake cable under the

\r?\n> shellaced bar tape/aero levers without wrecking the tape), then took it out

\r?\n> for 30 miles. Singlespeed. Coming back into town, it's a small town

\r?\n> Hillsborough, a guy in a pickup truck missed his entire green light as he

\r?\n> was staring so intently at the bike. It was rather fetching, much moreso

\r?\n> than his truck.


\r?\n> Neill Currie

\r?\n> Hillsborough, Nh.