Clipless Pedals and Knee Issues

Hello everyone! I searched and didn’t find anything on this topic, so If I overlooked it, please feel free to steer me in the right direction.

The issue I’m having is anterior knee pain. Nothing too crazy, more nagging than anything, but would like to fix it before it turns into anything worse. I’ve been riding MTB for a year now And recently switching to SPD pedals from flats. I’m guessing it’s probably a fit issue? My train of thought is my knees are going to far past my toes in my pedal stroke. It reminds me of same pain if you were to perform a squat wrong and bring your knees to far forward. Am I on the right track here and what would be y’all’s recommendation to address it? My thought is to get on the trainer and play with seat height and location, up and back? I appreciate the help!

I had saddle height issues (higher or lower) that caused knee problems.

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Check saddle and cleat placement on the shoe. Also have maximum float. When I tried 0 float cleats I had knee pain.

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Fit and float…Had the same issue when I started. Adding more float and ensuring proper fit resulted in fixing the problem.

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Ok. So another question… how do I adjust float?

Google your pedal and float. I have Crankbrothers pedals and it’s a different cleat to adjust float.

Will do… appreciate it

I honestly think some professional help would be in order here. First you need to get saddle setback and seat height in order.

On SPD pedals you usually can’t change the float other than by changing the cleat. It just depends on the model of pedal. Check your specs. You can adjust cleat position on the shoe. Farther back is usually better than pushed towards the front of the foot. A good starting point is the 4th metarsal which is usually 10-15mm behind the ball of the foot. See this article:

Maybe this article helps for setback. It’s road oriented but the principles are the same. Check the other articles on the site that apply.

Seat height article:

Thank for sharing! I’ll read up and do my research and I was thinking maybe a bike fit would be in order…

I recently switched cleats (Shimano to Look Keo) and also had some knee pain. Check out the thread below for a few images about how to adjust your cleats based on where you’re feeling discomfort and how your knees are tracking. Agree with the comments on saddle height and float, too.

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Thank you sir for sharing, I’ll definitely read into what you shared. I did move my saddle up and back before my trainer session this morning. See how the knees feel in the morning. I also looked at my cleats a few minutes ago and noticed they were as far forward as possible. Sure that wasn’t helping either.