Monday, December 12, 2011
Knee pain is one of the most common complaints among cyclists. If your knee is aching when you finish the climb over Mt. Tam or a long ride out through Marin, it may be because the foot is slightly out of alignment.
In the simplest of terms, your foot is "locked" in place to the pedal by the cleats. if your forefoot is tilted lightly in relation to the rearfoot (a condition called "forefoot varus" or "forefoot valgus") then your leg may tilt slightly when you pedal.
This tilting of the knee can cause the knee cap (or "patella") to track out of alignment. When the knee cap tracks incorrectly, the cartilage on the inside of the knee cap can become irritated and inflamed. This type of knee pain when biking is called "patellofemoral syndrome."
This short video describes bicycle pedaling biomechanics as it relates to knee pain and conditions such as forefoot varus that can be easily corrected with custom cycling orthotics.
Dr. Christopher Segler is a sports medicine podiatrist, cyclists, and 6-time Ironman triathlon finisher. His practice focuses on cyclists, runners, and triathletes in San Francisco, Marin, and the East Bay. He is currently training for Ironman France. If you have a question about pain while cycling, you can call him directly at 415-308-0833. Learn more about house calls for athletes at www.DocOnThRun.com and learn more about foot and ankle pain at www.AnkleCenter.com .