What’s a cyclist to do with a bad knee? I have a knee injury that is requiring a long period off the bike. Any suggestions on what I can do and still stay active? At a loss for how I can stay active when I can’t do much more than walk with my knee for awhile and there’s no safe access to pools. I have a barbell and weights but most barbell exercises are a no go with a bad knee. I used to rock climb but that is heavily knee dependent too. Same with rower.
I’ve accepted the loss of ftp, I’m just looking to stay healthy/sane at this point.
If you have access to a rower, I’ve seen people lower the resistance and do it one legged. Ideally something like a hand bike machine or a skierg would be perfect. Sorry, I’ve been there. It sucks.
In my experience, rest doesn’t do a whole lot for knee injuries caused from cycling. I had knee problems for a long time, in most cycling knee injuries, the issue is weakness in the glutes. This is best fixed with a cheap resistance band. I went through many PT’s and diagnosis. I think you’ll be surprised how quickly knee injuries can be fixed if you do the right strength and mobility stuff.
Clamshells, Single leg glute bridge, monster walk, lateral raises, bird dog
Plus weakness/trigger points in the quad - this causes poor tracking below the patella. Check your VMO isn’t weak (inner quad muscle) and check that the lateral quad isn’t tight and full of VERY common trigger points - both will affect the tracking of your knee in your pedal stroke. For the former you need lots of strength work - single leg half squats with your heel raised on a book…you can do these even if there is mild discomfort provided you don’t bend the knee more than about 45 degrees. The latter needs foam rolling up and down the junction between the ITB and vastus lateralis …that will hurt as well but should loosen it off and stop the knee being pulled out of alignment. Also lots of just mobilising the patella and moving it back and forward…listen for crunching of cartilage on the bone as you bend it…you need to keep it moving - as mentioned rest does not cure this as the cartilage can’t really be repaired just smoothed over so to speak!
As a fellow bad knee sufferer, my recommendation would be to work on strengthening the knee and all of the assorted muscles (e.g., hips, glutes) that stabilize the knee / contribute to strain on the knee if they are weak.
If you can, work with a PT to get a plan of exercises, and do them consistently.
If you cannot get to a PT, Jonathan’s long post [FAQ] How to Fix Knee Injuries for Cyclists (Knee Pain) is a good place to start / get ideas.
I fought knee issues last year. Strengthening quads, gluets, hamstrings was core to getting it under control. Massaging the surrounding muscles to get them to relax also helped quite a bit. It’s personal and complicated though so a PT is your best bet.
It’s a torn meniscus so not really a PT it away injury. More looking for some kind of exercise alternative to bikes. Leaning towards knee friendly yoga and just accepting that I’ll have a long break from cardio, but I’ll come back with great flexibility.
Indeed - meniscus injuries are a whole different ball game and can’t be fixed with the work on tight muscles/trigger points/muscle weakness discussed…good luck
I assume you still have some blood flow to it so it can heal. I had a bad tear in mine when I was 19 and it wasn’t getting blood flow so 70% had to be removed orthoscopically. Surprisingly, two weeks after the surgery I was able to workout again without pain…but when I was 19 things actually got better after injuries…now I collect injuries and save them for later.
No blood flow to the area actually, so surgery to clean it out and removed the damaged area is tomorrow! Doctor says I’ll be back on the bike in 4-6 weeks but can’t promise it’ll actually fix it says surgery to fix “elite athletic issues” (first time anyone has ever called me elite!) are hit or miss, but he won’t make it worse.
I had a couple friends (soccer :)) who went through the meniscus surgery. It is pretty simple stuff with the caveat that you will always to pay attention to the strength of your leg/glutes.
I myself has torn my ACL, it sucks. If I can give you a recommendation is: take your time to strengthen your leg and it is very likely you will be able to do some easy spins soon. Meniscus is not as serious as a torn ACL but you do want to be able to trust your knee. If you go back to the bike and keep thinking about the knee, step back and go easier. This is an incremental process and unfortunately takes time. It will be just a speed bump in your journey. Don’t worry too much :slight_smile
One thing that I noticed is that some doctors are more conservative about recovery time. If you have a PT who you trust, I would get them to help you to recover as soon as you are back from the surgery room.