cooper wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 11:05 am
Hope this is an okay place to post this. How is biking on someone with patellofemoral syndrome / pain?
I don't bike. Mostly I run. Last year wasn't my most active year for running (understatement). I've been taking it easy on my runs to try to play it smart while i get back in shape, and currently am just running about 3.5 miles. However, 3 days ago I ran a loop with a lot more hills than I expected. I felt like a beast afterwards because I survived it with just a little soreness in the muscles, so I did it again the next day. Yesterday, I had acute onset of self-diagnosed patellofemoral syndrome. I am a physician, but self-diagnosis is fraught with problems...still I'm pretty confident that's what I've got. Pretty predictable--52 yo male with BMI 27 abruptly ups his running workout with hills and...ta dah! (I am open to alternate diagnoses from other runners.)
Anyhoo, the pain is enough to make me want to keep off the running for awhile to let things settle, but I want to keep doing some aerobic exercise. Anyone here with history of patellofemoral syndrome and biking? I have read medical literature available, and it looks like a mixed bag. Looking for anyone who's been down this road with actual experience. Or if not direct experience, thoughts on how much stress I'd be putting on the patello-femoral region by biking. I'm thinking flat rides to avoid loading the knee too much, but I really don't know much about biking.
Thanks for anything you've got. It's spring, the weather is beautiful, and I gotta get out.
I am not a medical professional, and refuse to pretend to be one on television or in a comments section. I do have a lot of time as a cyclist, bike shop service manager, and cycling instructor, however. In those roles, I've learned a fair bit about fitness cycling, even though I won't claim to be a racing coach.
It's a good idea to keep your cadence (pedal revolutions per minute) up to reduce pressure on the knee joint.
If you are cycling for fitness in lieu of running, I would encourage getting cycling shoes that connect to your pedals, to enable you to maintain a somewhat faster cadence. When I was doing high-ish-performance cycling (I wasn't a racer, but I was riding with a club and "informal" racing happened a LOT), I tried to maintain a cadence of 95RPM +/- 5, and shifted to stay within that range. I've known racers who kept a cadence of 110 RPM, but that's hard to do for most folks.
The key here is to not overload your knees. While the description isn't totally accurate--I'm sure someone with more "chops" can clarify the terminology I'll use--I think of it as trying to maintain a one-hundred-watt output one watt at a time instead of a hundred watts through my knees at once, or even fifty.
Even without special shoes, 70-80 RPM should be possible.
The majority of my cycling over the last eight or nine years has been utilitarian in nature (commuting, hauling groceries, hauling products for home projects, see pictures above). More often than not, I don't bother changing shoes just to ride the bike to the grocery store two miles away, or even to the Lowe's four miles away (unless I plan to haul a heavy load home, and want the extra sole stiffness of the cycling shoes). And my usual cadence for commuting is closer to 70 RPM than to 95.
Eventually I'll figure out this signature thing and decide what I want to put here.