Right-sided knee pain in a cyclist...due to his hip?

This 54-year-old pilot presented to our office with pain on the outside of his right knee while cycling with his wife who is currently training for the triple bypass. The discomfort comes on later in the ride and is largely lateral. He thought it may be due to a seat position so he raised his seat up but then shortly developed lower back discomfort. Lowered the seat back down and presents to the office today. He is currently on a 54 cm Pierello road bike with a straight top tube.

Physical exam revealed him to have moderately limited internal rotation of the right hip which was approximately 5 degrees external rotation; left side had approximately 5 degrees of internal rotation. There was no significant leg length discrepancy or internal tibial torsion. Musculature, save for the long extensors the toes tests 5/5 and strong. Hip extension is 0 degrees bilaterally 5 flexion approximately 120 degrees with tightness mostly in the iliopsoas and some in the rectus femoris. Knee stability tests are unremarkable. Some patellofemoral discomfort with compression on the right. Palpable tightness in the right IT band.

X-rays revealed degenerative changes at the inferior aspect of the right acetabulum with a small spur an osteophyte formation.

His seat height was set so that at bottom dead center with the seat tube he had a 30 degree bend in his knee. Seat fore and aft position placed the knee over pedal spindle behind central axis of the pedal. His pedal stroke, seen on the video, reveals moderate internal rotation and medial displacement of the knee on the right side.

So what is going on?

It’s all about how folks compensate. This gent has very limited internal rotation of the right hip. Due to the nature of cycling, he is REALLY TRYING to get his 1st MTP down to the pedal to generate power. This is not unusual among cyclists, which is why what you think should be happening in gait does not always transfer over to cycling. in doing so, he MUST rotate SOMETHING forward (in this case his pelvis) medially to create the internal rotation needed. From this scenario, you can see how the posturing would increase knee valve and offer a mechanical advantage to the vastus lateralis, causing patello femoral dysfunction and knee pain.

So we did we do?

  • Moved his seat forward so that a line drawn from between the patella and tibial tuberosity fell through the center axis of the pedal

  • Angled his cleat so that he is able to have a greater progression angle moving forward, bringing his knee more into the sagittal plane

  • Began working on the hip to increase internal rotation working on the gluteus minimus, vastus lateralis and biceps femoris as well as hip capsule and ilio/ischio/pubofemoral ligaments

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#kneepain #cycling #hipproblem #femoralretrotorsion #thegaitguys #torsion

Welcome to rewind (Late) Friday. Sorry about the late entry, folks.

Along the vein of bike fit, to go with our lecture on onlinece.com this week, here is gentleman with right sided low back pain ONLY when ascending hills on his mountain bike. Can you figure out why?

*Stop, watch the video and think about it before we give you the answer… .

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This gentleman presented with low back pain, only on his mountain bike, only on long ascents.

He measures out with an 83 cm inseam which should put him on a 44 to 45.5 cm frame (measured via our method). His frame has a dropped top tube and measures 55 cm.

He has a knee bend angle of 20 degrees at bottom dead center. Knee is centered well over pedal axis.

His stem falls far in front of his line of sight with respect to his hub. Stem is a 100 mm stem with a 6 degree rise.

There is a 2" drop from the seat to the top of the handlebars.

He has an anatomically short Left leg (tibial)

Look at the tissue folds at the waist and amount of reach with each leg during the downstroke.

The frame, though he is a big dude (6’+), is too big and his stem is too long. He is stretched out too far over the top tube, causing him to have an even more rounded back (and less access to his glutes; glutes should rule the downstroke and abs the upstroke). This gets worse when he pushes back (on his seat) and settles in for a long uphill. Now throw in a leg length discrepancy and asymmetrical biomechanics.

Our recommendations: smaller frame (not going to happen) lower seat 5-7mm shorter stem (60-75mm) with greater than 15 degree rise lift in Left shoe

We ARE the Gait Guys, and we do bikes too!