Can bike pedals make your knees and hips hurt?
I’ve been riding a bike for over 40 years. My riding usually includes one or two events a year that are high mileage event over 50 miles, or mountain bike destination excursion over two or three days on technical trails. I ride with a variety of friends ranging from very casual no frills ride to a coffee shop, to competitive Cat 3 cyclist. I have on very few occasions experienced knee pain from cycling. My experiences riding provides the needed vigilance and attention to address any pains associated from riding. Sharing my experiences with you to help manage pain.
The pain points I hear most often are usually associated with knees and hips. Anyone who rides consistently either outdoor or on an indoor spin bike could eventually experience a non-muscular pain. Particularly true for those who lock into a clipless pedal keeping the foot tight in position rotation after rotation. The benefits of clipless pedals are tremendous however there is nothing natural about being locked into a pedal.
One common area of knee pain is a result of the seat height. If your saddle is riding low and your knees are banging against your elbows on every pedal stroke, there is a high probability your saddle height is the issue. I see so many cyclist whose seat height is too low in relation to their body size and cringe at the thought of the wear and tear on their knees. A good bike fitter will help with locating the correct height and forward/back position of your seat. I recommend for those buying a new bike or those who can afford a bike fitter , that it is worth the cost to have a bike setup to fit your body.
If your seat height and body position are in recommended range and you are still experiences knee, hip , or IT band pain, then take a look at your pedals. Clipless pedals can be adjusted, in a couple area improving comfort. It’s amazing how small tweaks and adjustments can make a big difference in riding comfort. Cleats rotated too far inward or outward can be the culprit of your pain. Try moving your cleats in the opposite directions and see how it feels on a short two- or three-mile ride. If the problem persists, then another potential solution is increasing the length of your spindle. I have overseen thousands of test rides and it’s amazing how much of an impact spindle length is on ride comfort.
A dynamic spindle length has been shown to be the optimal solution. Guessing you are asking what is a dynamic spindle? It’s a technology that our company has researched and studied for over six years in clinical studies and field research. A bike pedal that is NOT in a fixed position with carefully designed distance variation closely mimics the natural movement of your legs. Here is a video of the pedals in motion. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/nn7j0pRFysg. 25 mm of lateral movement was proven to be the most common and natural motion.
Other variables that can impact your body is frequency of riding. If in pain, then stop for a week or reduce mileage until you recover. Another is stretching before and after riding. As you age this should be part of your riding repertoire. Minimally, ease into your ride with a slower pace allowing your body to loosen up.
If you have any questions on how to feel better on a bike, then send a message to email@example.com.