Riding With Arthritis And Other Chronic Pain
Riders like to think of themselves as tough and will ride through pain, heat, cold, rain and other adversities to do what they love riding!
But chronic pain such as arthritis is sidelining more and more riders as the average age of riders continues to grow each year.
In recent years Ive been sidelined on occasions by injuries and various aches and pains from my advancing years.
However, a recent knee replacement and subsequent sciatic nerve issues made me realise just how unprepared I was for chronic pain and how it would interrupt what I love doing.
Most times we just ride through it, or take more frequent breaks to stretch or massage aching body parts.
However, there is more that can be done and we asked the Ulysses Club for mature-aged riders to supply some ideas.
After all, they have long been supporters of and fundraisers for research into rheumatoid arthritis of all types.
National Coordinator for the Ulysses Club Arthritis Research Fund and past National President Kim Kennerson eagerly replied with the following list of tips that not only apply to rheumatoid arthritis but many other chronic pain issues.
Cause Of Pain Inside Your Knee
If you’re using cycling shoes with cleats that clip into your pedals, poor cleat position can cause inside knee pain. Your cleats should be spaced so that when you push down, your loads go directly down and do not put stress on the collateral ligaments on the side of your knee. If your cleats are positioned too close to the inside of your cycling shoes, you’ll end up with inside knee pain.
If you’re still feeling a twinge of pain after several adjustments, feel no shame in using a knee brace. Sometimes you just need a little extra support to keep your knee in check.
How To Bike Without Hurting Your Knees
It is important to keep in mind that your knee pain will not disappear completely on your first day of riding a bike. It may take some time and additional precautions for your knee pain to decrease as you transition into biking more regularly.
The good thing about cycling with knee pain is that you can control the intensity and pressure on your knees by following a few precautions. On the other hand, if you do not pay attention to how you bike, then it can cause unnecessary pain in your knees.
1. Choose a light-weight bike
Even the type of bike that you ride can have a positive or negative impact on your knees. It is recommended that those with knee or other joint pain ride a lighter-weight bike. Added weight on the bike will increase the weight that you have to move forward when accelerating and climbing up hills. A road bike is typically the lightest bike option available, as opposed to mountain bikes.
2. Use a lower gear
It is worth mentioning that if your knees are still in pain after you have transitioned to biking during your ride, you may want to double-check what gears you are using. Make sure you are using low-impact gears if you have knee pain, at least in the beginning.
3. Avoid riding up steep hills
If you arent able to get a lighter bike and maintain a lower gear for easier pedaling, then consider taking routes that have fewer hills. For most people, riding up hills cause more exertion from the legs and therefore more pressure on the knees.
Read Also: Arthritis Symptoms Arms And Hands
Reasons For Knee Pain During Cycling
Although cycling is considered a low-impact sport, many cyclists will end up with knee pain at some point in their training. There are so many factors at play in regards to the bike itself, your body in motion, and how the two interact. It can be hard to isolate the cause of your knee pain, but understanding the location of the pain and potential causes can help you avoid future occurrences.
Cycling To Get Healthy Tips For Avoiding Neck And Knee Pain
Biking is an excellent form of cardio exercise. Cycling for health is easy on the joints, but still gets your heart rate up. And if youve got bad knees or hips, its the perfect kind of low-impact exercise to boost your health without aggravating or increasing your pain levels.
Exercise may hurt at times if your body isnt used to the activity, but it shouldnt be painful while youre exercising.
But injuries can happen. And youre more likely to experience an injury if your bike fit isnt quite right. If youre going to be cycling a lot, its important that you choose the right bike. This is the same advice as runners selecting the correct shoes, swimmers wearing the right goggles, and athletes wearing the right protection.
How do you know your bike fit isnt right?
- You experience cycling pain during and after exercise.
- Your shoulders feel sore after biking.
- You have numbness or weakness in your hands during or after a biking session.
- Your breathing is labored after minimum cycling
- You frequently experience injuries from cycling.
So, whats the fix to avoid cycling pain? Can it be prevented?
The answer is yes.
You either need to fix your bike fit or your bike posture and technique. How do you do that? Lets take a closer look at these tips for cycling beginners!
You May Like: Finger Joint Swelling Treatment
Is Cycling Bad For The Knees
For enthusiasts of cycling, one of the first major benefits that are trotted out is the fact that it is a low-impact sport. This means that its one of the ways to exercise where you are less likely to hurt yourself and its often seen as a great sport for people who are looking to lose weight, gain cardio endurance, and be all-around more fit.
One of the concerns, however, is that cycling can often lead to sore muscles in the knees, leading many people to wonder: is cycling bad for the knees?
Like any sort of athletics where you are using some part of your body, cycling can cause pain and, in this case, its most often to the knees and legs. The reason for this though is generally down to an issue with the rider, not the activity.
The act of cycling itself is not bad for the knees , but if it is done poorly, you will be far more likely to be in pain after a while.
In this article, were going to look at the causes of knee pain in cyclists and ways to prevent them so that if someone asks if cycling is bad for the knees, you can say no!
Were also going to look at the benefits of cycling for the legs and knees, in the hopes of really getting our readers over this fear of causing themselves pain.
The most common causes of knee pain are:
- Insufficient stretching
Which Is The Best Stationary Bike For Bad Knees Upright Vs Recumbent Bike
Selecting the best exercise bike for arthritic knees may have little or nothing to do with the style of the bike. Though, upright and semi-recumbent bikes are considered to be a good fit. However, some recumbent bikes are also good but you must consider the clearance and be sure it will be easy to get on and off it without straining your knees.
Also Check: Can I Regrow Cartilage In My Knee
You May Like: Can You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis In Your Back
Recumbent Exercise Bike For Osteoarthritis
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
Cause Of Pain In The Front Of Your Knees
If you’re feeling pain in the front of your knee, your powerful cycling quads are delivering too much force across your knee joint. Check your bicycle’s saddle height, saddle fore and aft, and crank length.
When you’re sitting on your seat, your leg should be straight when your pedal is at the six o’clock position. You should have a fully extended leg at that time. Adjust your seat height accordingly.
A saddle that is too far forward will cause front knee pain. The bony bit below your knee cap should be directly above the ball of your foot when the foot is above the pedal spindle.
Your front knee pain could also just come from bad form. Do not mash on your gears or attempt to climb big hills in the hardest gears of your bicycle.
Read Also: Rheumatoid Arthritis And Itching
Pedal Forward Any Good
- Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. ï´ï»
OH~TrekerHi all, Recently had my right knee “scoped” for the 2x. At the end of my regular riding season in Oct I was having lots of pain, found 2 meniscus tears and lots of arthritis.I was wondering if there is any one out there with knee arthritis that has gone the pedal forward route and is it beneficial? I don’t want to go recumbent but was wondering about an Electra Townie 21 spd. I know they are slow but I am going for the longevity of the knee. I am 61+ and commute a couple of times a week to work in addition to my fun rides. Any experience with this situation would be appreciated. Thanks, JohnOH~TrekerHi all, Recently had my right knee “scoped” for the 2x. At the end of my regular riding season in Oct I was having lots of pain, found 2 meniscus tears and lots of arthritis.I was wondering if there is any one out there with knee arthritis that has gone the pedal forward route and is it beneficial? I don’t want to go recumbent but was wondering about an Electra Townie 21 spd. I know they are slow but I am going for the longevity of the knee. I am 61+ and commute a couple of times a week to work in addition to my fun rides. Any experience with this situation would be appreciated. Thanks, JohnFrenchFitBlazingPedals
How Cycling Can Allow You To Remain Active With Osteoarthritis
The spring months are made for biking. The roads are free from ice and snow. Its not too cold. Its not too hot. Its the perfect conditions for that bike ride.
It is worth noting however that there are still a host of ways in which you are able to enjoy cycling in the winter months as this doesnt have to be a barrier to you getting on your bike.
Getting on your bike is also an excellent activity for people with OA of the knee, as it is exercising the joint without overloading it . Cycling are lower impact compared to running, thereby allowing you to exercise without impacting on the joints and exacerbating the condition further.
Exercise is one of the main treatment options in managing OA, as not only does it release endorphins into the body it also keeps you fit and healthy. If you didnt exercise then your joints would be stiffer and the heavier you are the more load being placed on your affected joint i.e. more pain.
Also Check: What Can I Do For Arthritis Pain In My Hands
Area : Anterior Knee Pain
Pain at the front of the knee on and around the knee-cap is the most common presentation of cycling overuse injuries, in part due to the anatomy of this area.
The large quadriceps muscles attach to the shin bone via the patella, so the forces of pedalling are transmitted across the patello-femoral joint whenever we bend our knees, essentially squashing it back against the thigh bone.
Although more common in explosive sports, the part of the tendon attaching the patella to the bony prominence below the knee-cap can become inamed . If this area is persistently sore to the touch its definitely worth seeking medical help. It should respond to ice, anti-inammatories and physiotherapy, with or without strapping.
However, if youre reading this and you have anterior knee pain from cycling, chances are youve got whats known as a patellar compression syndrome.
The scourge of cyclists and runners alike, it can completely oor you, causing pain when off the bike and ride-stopping agony when on it.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
During the push phase of pedalling, we seldom complete the last 35 degrees of knee extension a movement which is largely under the control of the vastus medialis oblique muscle.
This means that over a long period of time, and often in spite of outward appearances, the muscles down the outside of the thigh become much stronger and tighter than these less-used medial muscles.
4 ways you can look after and treat anterior knee pain when cycling
Is Cycling Good For Arthritis In The Knees
Yes, cycling is good for arthritis in the knees. However, cycling can both help and hurt in knee arthritis. Researchers found that people who cycled more than 30 minutes a day were twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis. This finding backed the hypothesis that overuse of a joint can cause arthritis. However, other risk factors which increase the risk of osteoarthritis are sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Being overweight puts stress on the knees, and not exercising hurts the cartilage, which depends on joint use to stay healthy. So, to stay fit, healthy and active one should practice moderate exercise, especially cycling, regularly. Cycling not only improves the mobility of the joints and reduces knee pain, but also increases the quality of a life of an arthritis patient.
Recommended Reading: Side Effects Of Arthritis Medication
What Can You Do About It
To get rid of knee pain and other injuries while cycling, you need to keep a few things in mind and implement them in your activity.
A proper fit: Having a bike/bicycle that fits your proportions is one of the most important things to avoid knee pain. For instance, a seat that is too high or too low can affect how much your knee has to bend and extend while pedalling. A proper fit will leave your knee at a 45-degree angle, topping your stroke and leaving a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the stroke. Also, adjust your pedals, ensuring that they are neither too close nor too far from the bike frame.
Leg strength: Without sufficient leg strength, the repetitive act of cycle pedalling can potentially cause knee pain and other injuries. Therefore, strength training is crucial for preventing or reducing knee pain with cycling. While its good to work on all body muscles, including a range of leg exercises in your fitness regime can help strengthen the leg muscles that support and stabilise your knees.
Warm-ups: Its always recommended to do a proper warm-up before any exercise. Cycling is an exercise, which means your knees and the rest of your body need to warm up before you start riding. Perhaps, you can do this by starting your ride at a slower pace and then gradually easing it into a higher/your normal pace.
An Unbelievable Number Of Calories Burned:
You might be wondering what amount of calories this piece of equipment can make you burn apart from offering the extremely comfortable features?
It lets you burn around 300 to 900 calories per hour, which depend on the selected level of resistance, age, and gender!
All in all, as far as you are pretty sensitive about your knees, recumbent bikes are the one you must be opting for. And just so you know, when it comes to using a recumbent bike, âageâ is just a number!
Get The Right Equipment
You can buy a new or second-hand bike and your local bike shop will be able to offer good advice on the correct bike to suit your needs. Theyll also be able to give advice on whether other equipment might help you, such as padded gloves to support your wrists. Plus, they can check the bike is set up correctly for you, for example, the position of the seat.
Its also extremely important to wear a well-fitting helmet if you are cycling outside. Most cycling shops will sell suitable helmets and its a good idea to make sure theyve been approved by the National Standard for Cycling.
Why Is A Bike So Good For Your Knees
WHY IS A BIKE SO GOOD FOR YOUR KNEES?
When it comes to knee pain, it is hard to know what activities will help them feel better
It is pretty easy to know what makes your knees feel worse: jumping, running, quick changes in direction, even going up or down stairs.
WHY SOME ACTIVITIES MAKE YOUR KNEES FEEL WORSE
Lets explore the WHY of knee pain before we get in to how to make your knees feel better.
If you have knee pain, it could be caused by an injury or maybe you are suffering from something like osteoarthritis where there is inflammation and bony changes inside the joint.
When you are on your feet, your knees are weight bearing joints. That means your body weight is going through them. If you have knee pain and you are overweight, those extra pounds will likely make your knees hurt worse.
Your knee is especially vulnerable because of its wide range of motion. There are many positions in which your knee can be damaged. Note: For cardio activity, where you are doing a many-times repeated motion, you may want to exclude weight-bearing exercises. This, of course, is not the rule for strength training since weight bearing is actually GOOD to strengthen your bones.
Impact refers to the force that goes through the knee joint caused by your foot striking the ground. As you walk, run, or jump, the forces transmitted are multiplied by your body weight:
> > Walking 2-3 X Body Weight
> > Running 4-14 X body weight
> > Jumping 9+ X body weight
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Reactive Arthritis