Tips For Reducing Cycling Knee Pain

Tips For Reducing Cycling Knee Pain

Bicycling has always been regarded as one of the most low-impact form of exercise in existence. While that may be true, it still does place a certain amount of strain and wear on certain parts of your body, most notably in the knee area.

Cycling is actually recommended for those that are recovering from injury and surgery to their lower body, but the potential for pain still exists for anyone riding on a regular basis.

At first thought, the pedaling motion seems easy enough on your knees, but when you think about how many times your make that pedaling motion per minute, one can see how that might actually wear on your knees if something is off.

This post will go over three tips for addressing knee pain in certain parts of your knee. However, please keep in mind that this is only for mild to moderate knee pain that you are sure is occurring from riding. If you have significant knee pain, or if it’s flaring up even when you haven’t ridden in days or week’s it’s best to see a professional instead.


Mild pain on the kneecap or front part of the knee is by far the most common. This comes as a result of stretching and straining the patella, pushing the muscle against your femur too much.

The most common culprit for this pain is having your bike’s saddle set too low. When your saddle is too low, your knees have to bend more and come up higher with each pedal revolution. While this may be okay every now and then, when it’s happening repeatedly in succession over the course of a ride, the strain can add up quickly.

​The best way to fix this is to raise your bike’s saddle up 2mm at a time until your leg is just under a 90 degree angle when you reach the top of your pedaling motion.


Pain in the back is less common than the front, but it is easier to trace back to the actual source.

While front knee pain is caused by having your saddle too low and your knees to high, pain in the back of the knee is a result of having your saddle too high, which sets your knees lower with each pedal cycle, placing added pressure on the muscles behind your knee.

Getting rid of the this pain is as easy as moving your saddle down to where your knees remain in the same spot with each pedal revolution, rather than moving down or up to complete the pedal revolution.


If the pain is radiating from the inside of your knee, this will be caused by the placement of your feet on the pedals. Whether you’re clipped in too much to the inside or outside, if your knees aren’t properly lined up with your feet while pedaling, you’re going to place unneeded strain on the interior muscles.

Knee Pain while Cycling

Experiment with different shoe and pedal combinations to make sure everything is lined up. Taking to the staff at your local bike shop can help with this.


While these tips covered pain coming from positioning, it’s also worth noting that you can cause pain simply by riding too hard, or for too long. If you’re noticing increasing pain with longer, harder rides, you may want to scale things back a bit, whether that means going easy on those hard climbs, or shaving a few miles off your ride. 


Knee pain is not something to mess around with. The moment you notice the pain recurring, it’s time to take action. Again, if the above tips aren’t helping, or if the pain is severe, it’s recommended that you see a professional instead.

This post was last updated on September 21st, 2018 at 02:16 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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