What is Anterior Knee Pain? Cycling Pain Explained!

Anterior Knee Pain is the pain that cyclists feel at the front of their knees, this can happen from a variety of reasons like improper gear selection, saddle height, and much more. In this guide, we will describe this pain that cyclists suffer from and also discuss the viable treatments.

You might have heard about this a lot, but what exactly is Anterior Knee Pain (Cycling)? This is the pain that cyclists feel at the front of their knee joint, and if untreated, it becomes excruciating aching pain. 

This knee pain is very common amongst cyclists, and most of the time the problem is not in the knees but elsewhere, Let us discuss anterior knee pain and the ways to properly treat it. Riders both professionals and beginners will get to experience this pain at some time, it is not a special condition but if not taken care of properly then it could become an alarming situation. Even if your knee bends improperly, you should be concerned.

We did some research of our own and made some discoveries- more than 24% of the cyclists of the world reported that they were having problems in their knees and almost 94% of the riders actually experience knee pain. You can see that many people experience it but few actually report that they feel pain. Why is that?

The answer to that question is all about knowledge! Most of the people don’t even know what they are dealing with and they take it very lightly then. When we talk about the professional riders, we know that they go through immense load and training, that is why they have to deal with so much pressure. These professionals still have physiotherapists and doctors to look after them, but amateur cyclists don’t get to enjoy those benefits!

We sat down with different physiotherapists and cycling stars to bring you this piece so that you are up to date with all of the problems that cyclists have to face and how to overcome them.

Just for an overview, we will be talking about the following topics in detail, also how to cure problems related to them:

  • What Is Anterior Knee Pain
  • Discussing The Knee Joint 
  • How Is Anterior Knee Pain Caused
  • Different Solutions and Treatments For Anterior Knee Pain 
  • Recommending Physical Therapy

The Knee Joint: Most Complicated Part of Your Body!

Human Knee Anatomy

Doctors and physiotherapists have deemed the knee joint as the complicated part of your body, after all, it is a hinge between a person’s hip and ankle. That is why you have to take the best care of it, we must not put superficial pressure on it.

In most cases, the knee is hardly at fault, there are problems in the surrounding areas, but if we are not careful, there could be tremendous problems. That is why doctors keep on stressing that keeping the best care of the knee angle and the hip flexors is very necessary.

The weak muscles of the body must be transformed into efficient muscles otherwise this problem will keep on happening. If there is pain then the focus must be reducing pain, not increasing it. If the persistent pain is too much then it is suggested that you contact the doctor as soon as you can.

Whenever you feel pain in the knee cap or the actual joint, it could be that there is a problem with the hip or the ankle, or other surrounding areas. That is why it is equally important to take care of all the areas that are surrounding the knee.

What is Anterior Knee Pain?

You may have experienced immense pain at the front of your knees, which is common and it is known as Anterior Knee Pain. It may be common, yes, but the pain can be too much sometimes. The scientific term for this is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Runner’s knee is also something that can be associated here as it is used to describe conditions that cause excruciating pain around the knee area.

How does the Anterior Knee Pain Begins though? That is our next topic or discussion!

How Does It Occur?

Anterior knee pain patients go through a lot of pain, but why is that? A cyclist may feel anterior knee pain when their quads or fibrous tissue are tightened. Explaining it even furthermore, we are talking about the Iliotibial band- that actually pulls on the patella. There are many reasons for that happening though:

  • It could be because of tightness
  • It could be because of uncomfortable bike fit
  • It could be because of overusing your bike
Bike Knee Pain
Bike Knee Pain

Your main focus of attention should be the knee cap (Patella), it should be handled with immense care. A lot of riders have complained about their thigh bone and knee cap, how it doesn’t work properly, malfunctions or even when it glides to the joint. All of these things should not be happening. 

The Patella is something that does not get in trouble by itself. There are many reasons for the knee cap to get in trouble- If the quadriceps are taken away from the knee (Misaligned), if one of the knee caps are feeling very tight, or if there is too much pressure on the knee, this happens when the pedal stroke is very hard.

If your quads are too tight, tighter than normal, then that is going to affect your pedaling. You will have to exert more force than before to operate the bike. One of the problems that professional cyclists face because of the knees is called “Kermit The Frog Syndrome”, it is definitely nasty.

When you get to examine some professional athletes and cyclists, you notice something very unusual, their quads are often made of steel, it is like they have superhuman strength and agility, look at Usain Bolt for example. 

If you notice the knee pain in its early stages then it can be cured very easily, although if it is side-lined then it can prove to be devastating in long term (Knee Flexion). You can have front knee pain because of many reasons, on the tendon area, when the cartilage gets damaged, the wrong position of the knee, and too much pressure.

What are The Treatments/Solutions for Anterior Knee Pain?

Now the readers must be thinking, “How To Relieve Anterior Knee Pain?” The answer to that isn’t that simple because there are a lot of treatments that one can follow. These different solutions and treatments, including physical therapy, will relieve pain that persists in cyclists.

The patellofemoral joint is a complex part of the body, that is why not all of the treatments will be viable if people have problems in that area. The thigh muscles also have to be taken care of properly, we advise our readers to consult with medical professionals before trying out a treatment.

Anterior Knee Pain
Anterior Knee Pain

The first thing that you need to take care of is to check your bike fit. Bike Fit means having the bike that fits your height and weight, the kind of bike that you can ride easily and comfortably. You can do that at a local bike shop or pay a professional to do that for you. Having the perfect bike fit helps, believe me.

If the bike does not fit you properly then you can have these severe problems. When the cranks of the bike are too long or too short, they can make the rider sit at an incorrect angle, which strains them. 

The first step that you can take for the treatment of knee pain is stretching and foam rolling. Since muscle is the problem here, we have to start by treating it, curing all the problems that originate there. You need to stretch the muscle that is giving you these problems, even take a massage if you have to. Oil helps a lot, so apply it over the area where it hurts.

Another thing that you can use for anterior knee pain is the Kinesio tape. This increases the blood flow of an injured area and works as a plaster. The longer you have it on you, the quicker it puts the knee in the right direction. Although this is just a short-term solution, does not work when it comes to the long-term.

For a temporary solution, you can also try out some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, these will definitely lower the pain. Just consult with your personal doctor before getting them!

These solutions will also be viable for people that are having problems with:

  • Thigh Muscles
  • Quadriceps Tendon
  • Patellar Tendon 

Discussing Other Causes of Knee Pain

We have discussed the saddle height and cleat set up, these are the main reasons why you experience knee pain. There are uncommon reasons for knee pain too that we will discuss here.

If cyclists experience discomfort from their saddles (AKA Saddle Sore), that can give them a leg length discrepancy, which results in knee pain. 

Your lower back can become fatigued because of low handlebars, which also cause knee pain.

Bike Injuries Young Woman Cyclist Fell Fell Off Road Bike While Cycling
Bike Injuries

When Should You Seek Medical Help?

The purpose of this guide was to inform you about all the problems associated with a cyclist’s knee and how to treat those problems but the internet has limitations.

If you are experiencing this problem for a very long time, or haven’t been able to find a proper cure then it is advised that you seek the help of a physiotherapist or medical professional. Even Professional Bike Fit Experts will be able to help you out, so do try them out!

Recap

Anterior Knee Pain from cycling is a nasty business, it happens to a lot of riders and most of them don’t even take it seriously. When this kind of pain is untreated, it spreads, and then it doesn’t go away very easily. Being in top physical health is very important for riders, and thus they should be careful whenever this pain arises.

We have discussed what anterior knee pain is, what are the symptoms and how you can treat it. Hopefully, after ready this guide, our readers would have become more aware of this problem. If you have any queries, do reach out to us in the comments!

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