Why Do My Knees Hurt When Cycling? Simple Remedies Attached

Why Do My Knees Hurt When Cycling

Cycling is a flawless experience for any sports enthusiast. Still, the persisting knee pain makes you wonder: Why do my knees hurt when cycling? Here’s the answer.


Any cyclist has suffered from cycling-related knee pains at least once, perhaps. Indeed, the rate of encountering such an issue is anywhere from 23-33% of each rider.

Overtraining is what people often blame for once getting pain. That is the culprit behind it! Yet not enough! So, I’ve rounded up the entire answer why your knees hurt when cycling thoroughly.

Not just tell you why, but I will also go through some advisable remedies and related concerns.

Why Do My Knees Hurt When Cycling? What Are Their Symptoms?

Tons of reasons can cause cyclists’ knee pains while on the go. Still, I will get into 9 typical cases as below:

#1 Overexerting Yourself

Overtraining causes knee pain, hands down. A sudden shift in your practice routine may cause you to reconsider. For evidence, extreme courses and challenging hill climbs can take a toll on your body, notably if you get used to pedaling on the flat ground beforehand.

Others make mistakes like working out more than 10% of their weekly mileage. As a result, people suffer from discomfort in their knees, and this part has endured an excessively huge pressure.

For a better outcome, give yourself some time to recover after a whole long day. And, you might as well progressively increase your miles based on your health condition.

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#2 Foot Placement

You may have agony even when just placing your foot on the pedals. In this circumstance, bikers may have inner knee soreness.

Your knee is forced outward and inward during pedaling, whether your feet are too far apart or too close together, putting pressure on the joint.

So the force is directed vertically alongside your lower leg, aligning your knee with your feet. As such, you mitigate tension on your knees.

#3 Saddle Leaning Forward

Cycling with a saddle that is too far forward is a huge no-no! Some bikers believe that leaning forward increases their power. Conversely, the patellar tendon is supposed to be stressed simultaneously.

Not to mention that overextension can also cause your knees’ back injuries. To handle it, your seat needs to be adjusted properly at all costs.

#4 Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia patella originates from the cartilage’s breakdown on the kneecap’s underside. The thigh bone and knee then rub together and cause pain. 

Its feeling is like a ”grinding” when they flex their knee. Also, the kneecap’s sides appear to the aching and dull pain. 

#5 Tendinitis and Tendinosis

Tendinitis and Tendinosis

Don’t get the terms tendinosis and tendinitis mixed up!

Tendonitis comes from overuse and strenuous activities. Minor tears form in the tendon that connects your shinbone to your kneecap due to repeated tension.

The more tears you have, the more pain and swelling you will experience. Lack of medical attention can aggravate the situation.

On the other hand, tendinosis is a separate disorder with many symptoms like tendinitis. Nonetheless, it seems recurring and persistent owing to repetitive trauma to the knee. It never ends up with inflammation as well. 

A never-fully-heal injury is another reason for tendinosis.

#6 Incorrect Seat Adjustment

Incorrect Seat Adjustment

Knee pain is primarily caused by seat distance and seat height. A too-low bike causes your quadriceps and hip flexors to overwork and put extra strain on your knees due to poor extension. 

Otherwise, a tall person’s knee can hyperextend at the pedal stroke’s bottom. Overuse of your quadriceps and hip flexors contributes to this discomfort.

Meanwhile, a too-high bike seat forces you to reach the pedal stroke’s bottom. As a result, your knees’ backs may hurt, and your hamstrings may get strained.

Hence, the saddle should be around hip height for a perfect fit.

#7 Elliptical Knee Tracking

It’s a very common occurrence. As explained above, the pain occurs when the knee mildly beds on the downstroke and away from the bike on the upstroke.

This style seems to have no flaws at first sight. It’s even been well-received, and it makes use of more hip flexor participation in cycling.

Experts did, however, point out a few risks in the plan. Lack of core control causes the hips to rotate externally, or an overly tight seat or a rider who appears to be bouncing.

#8 Knees-In Tracking

Knees-In Tracking

When a rider’s knees dip inwards while pushing down on the pedal stroke, this is referred to as inward kneeling. Overpronation, or ‘varus’ of the forefoot, causes the problem. The rider’s tibia rotates on the femur as the leg pulls down the pedal stroke.

Finally, knee overextension this way creates pain.

#9 Knees-Out Tracking

Others, on occasion, use a too-low saddle or a too-small bike to keep their knees from striking their stomachs. Riders will end up with pain in the front of their knees in this case.

How About The Knee Pain Treatment?

How About The Knee Pain Treatment

The most captivating part seems to come! If you try out ways to relieve your stressed knees yet get no good ends, go for other therapies to make your cycling easier:

Build Up Mileage Gradually

Your first ride after the winter offseason shouldn’t be five hours long. Instead, start with lower mileage and build slowly and increase your total mileage by no more than 10 % weekly.

Stretching And Rolling

Stretching could help reap real benefits. It aids in recovery but also in preventing cycling injuries

Frequently stretching effectively impedes pain from flaring up regardless of improper position and pedal stroke. 

A foam roller will tackle your leg muscles’ soreness and stiffness. As such, you alleviate tension and overcome pain in no time.

Stretching And Rolling


Strength training makes sense to handle difficulties while biking. Solid hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles keep you steady in the saddle, especially while pedaling hard, lowering the likelihood of problems arising from pedal stroke weakness.

Keeping a strength program outside of your riding is also a good idea in dealing with knee injuries.

Invest In A Bike Fit

If knee pain persists, it’s time to go for a professional bike fit. Chances are you will have an in-depth experience with such an epic custom bike. Now you can say goodbye to knee pain. 

It may cost you roughly $200 to $300, yet it’s worth it for pain-free journeys. 

Continue your awe-inspiring journey! 

Stay Warm

Stay Warm

Have you ever wondered why knee warmers (leg warmers) exist? They are meant to keep the knee tendons and joints warm, thereby preventing injuries. Riders can effortlessly slip their knees off mid-ride while warming up as well.  

Keeping your leg warm, even muscles and joints, is nothing but boosts your one-of-the-kind cycling experience!


Watching the pros in action’s video can make you pose a question: how can they become fluid and rapid pedal strokes?

The brief answer is the bike’s teeth. 

Employ a gear at least two teeth lower than usual. The higher cadence is easier on your joints, and your rounds are circles as you pedal, not oval. 

Increase Your Cadence

Knee pain flares up unexpectedly while you’re pedaling, notably when putting down the power or climbing. 

Conventional wisdom recommends tracking your RPM with a cadence sensor. The cadence between 80 to 100 rpm is greater than all. Providing a larger cassette or smaller chainrings are also a good idea. 

Active Release Techniques (ART)

ART or active release techniques imply the patented movement-based massage method for soft tissues. 

Experts in this field will use their hands to assess your tendons, ligaments, and muscles’ tightness. 

The remedy’s success rate is over 90%, with no significant side effects. 

Knee Joint Injections

The two kinds of knee joint injections are hyaluronic acid and corticosteroid. Both serve as a minimally-invasive option to tackle knee pain and inflammation within 24 to 48 hours. 

Hyaluronic feature functions and lubrication as a shock-absorbing cushion. It works with knee pain related to the breakdown issue. 

Corticosteroid injections impact the affected knee joint entirely to handle the inflammation area. 

The procedure will last the free-pain period up to 3 months. 2 or 3 repeated treatments per year are good to go.  

Spinal Cord Stimulation

If all other treatments have failed to help you, neuromodulation may be the answer.

TENS units or spinal cord stimulation (SCS) are devices that use tiny electrical signals to inhibit pain signals from reaching your brain. Doctors or therapists will also use the TENs units or the SCS device.

Genicular Nerve Block

One or more of the genicular nerves are anesthetized. It greatly reduces pain by stopping pain impulses transmitted to your brain.

It’s a diagnostic technique that uses radio waves and short-lived effects. Accordingly, an electrical current travels alongside the body, delivering heat to target nerve regions before impairing or destroying the nerves. Incredibly, the technique offers pain alleviation lasting six months to a year.


How Long Should I Wait Before Resuming Cycling After Knee Pain?

How Long Should I Wait Before Resuming Cycling After Knee Pain

Patients should limit the sporting activities for several weeks to months after surgical treatment, sticking to the doctor’s advice.

Cycling can be restarted slowly with strength-building knee activities for minor and non-surgical ailments. You can increase your activities’ intensity over time if possible. 

Will Orthopedic Issues Affect My Long-Term Ability To Cycle?

Anyway, cycling is a generally low-influence sport. Some injuries like orthopedic pain syndrome can never impede you from cycling in the long term. Still, adjusting and moderating the regular activities’ intensity is never abundant. 

Is It Ok To Cycle With Knee Pain?

First off, consult your doctors and contemplate your joints’ current limits to have a suitable cycling plan. Moreover, these tips below are worth following:

– Move gently. 

– Get the right gear: knee pads and warmers, bike helmet with eye protection, and bike gloves to protect the hands from injury if you fall. 

– Get started with a short ride. 

– Stop if anything hurts. 

– Stretch every day.

Is Biking Better For Your Knees Than Running?

Running is a better exercise for long-term bone health than cycling. This activity can highly impact bones more than cycling, explaining its long-lasting contribution to your health. 

Meanwhile, cycling has a smaller impact and hence causes fewer indications of joint lubrication, stiffness, or discomfort, and lowers the risk of arthritis.

In return, as several findings, runners had greater muscle soreness, damage, and inflammation than cyclists.

What Is The Home Remedy For Knee Pain From Cycling?

What Is The Home Remedy For Knee Pain From Cycling

I’ve compiled a list of effective home cures for knee discomfort caused by cycling:

Take a look at some of these suggestions:

  • Rest: Taking a break from your regular activities reduces repetitive strain on your knee, heals the pain, and prevents extra damage. For a small injury, one or two days of rest is sufficient. Serious cases often take a longer recovery time. 
  • Ice: It works wonders to mitigate inflammation and pain. A frozen peas bag is the ideal size for a whole knee. Aside from that, an ice pack wrapped in a small towel will keep your skin safe. Even so, never use ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Your skin and nerves would be injured otherwise.
  • Heat: Applying a hot-water bottle or heat pack to the sore area offers temporary pain relief.
  • Compression: It helps keep fluid out of injured tissues. Not to mention, this technique keeps your knees stable and aligned. Compression bandages that are light, self-adhesive, and breathable should be your best bet. Let it support your knee without impeding circulation.
  • Elevation: Sitting in a recliner and propping your injured legs on pillows can hinder swelling.

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I already gave you all the lowdowns on “Why do my knees hurt when cycling?” There are 9 popular reasons behind this issue, from overexerting, wrong postures to other hidden culprits. Still, there always exists a treatment for your pain, so no need to panic.

Apart from the aforementioned information, you’d better seek professionals or doctors who come up with the best solutions to your hassles. Nothing beats getting started on refining yours as soon as possible.

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Jame K. Thomas

Jame K. Thomas

Hey guys, I am an avid cyclist who have raced competitively in the amateur ranks until my mid 30s. I love cycling because it offers both physical and mental challenges, as well as the sense of freedom that comes with riding outdoors. I have devoted myself to the communities and shared all that I know about this supper-duper lovely cycling. Hope that my experience in this blog could give you help.

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