Spring has sprung, knees are knacked

Yesterday, I got on the bike for the first time in a week and it was absolutely glorious. Overhead was grey, but spring was in the air; that flowery scent coupled with mild temperatures and absence of razor sharp winds trying to cut your face off. My one mile trip to Ocean Terminal was over in 8 minutes, but the pleasure derived from such a short stretch was insanely good.

I realise that description sounds a bit hyperbolic, but after being off the bike for yet another week due to knee troubles, that quick journey in the spring air was blissful. Now that spring is coming and the dreadful winter conditions are going, cycling opportunities go from “you’ll have had your tea” to “all you can eat buffet”. And that is bad news for someone like me, with a massive appetite and badly behaved knees.

My knees are the least favourite thing happening in my life. I am 30 years old, otherwise healthy and physically active, yet for some reason two of the major joints in my body are petulant teenagers, taking a hissy fit when asked to contribute to the task at hand. It’s been an issue for around a year now, but the pain and irritation has had me on and off the bike for the last three months, like some stupid game of musical chairs. Obviously, my Great Edinburgh Bike Experiment is being prejudiced by the whole, silly nonsense.

My knees need to man up. Their misbehaviour is really messing with my mojo. When I gave this obvious explanation to the physio, they said that it’s more complicated than that and gave me lunges and stuff to fix it.

Eight months later and things are deteriorating. It’s not like I’ve just been moping around, avoiding said lunges  and shouting at my knees. I appreciate they need love and care and all that jazz. I’m doing loads of physio exercises, drinking collagen powder, ingesting horse pills for joints, attempting alternative forms of exercise (go, yoga!) and, miserably, cutting down the cycling.

Now that spring is here and my knees are getting worse, I’m starting to get a bit worried. I’ve even cancelled my 11 day Hebridean cycle tour for fear that my legs would just rot out from under me on Harris.  Why are they not starting to get better?

To help answer this most important of questions, I’m off to yet another professional next week. After two physios, a podiatrist and a brief and useless visit to the GP, I’m pinning my hopes on a chap who specialises in pilates. I am keeping everything crossed (except the knees) in the hope that he might be able to shed some light on this infuriating situation.

Have you had ongoing knee problems? How on earth did you fix them?




  1. Hi, Claire! I’m sorry to hear about your knees. Have they given you a diagnose or said exactly what part of the knee is affected?
    I have bad knees too. Apparently my patellas are too mobile and they’re not very well positioned and on top of that I’m quite overweight (that bit is on me, of course). From what I’ve heard knee pain is difficult to takle. When I had a meniscus injury years ago the exercises from my doctor solved the pain problem easily. But now I have a runner’s knee (which I didn’t get running, go figure) and no amount of strenthtening my legs has worked in 9 months.

    My GP wasn’t even able to adknowledge that the problem is in the patella. GPs don’t seems to know much about knees. I’m seeing a physio now but still no improvement. So if that new specialist helps you, please please please let us know. If you haven’t tried an NHS physio yet, you can actually self-refer. The number to phone is somewhere in their website.

    So I’m afraid I can only wish you tons of luck and patience and I hope you’ll find a helpful therapy soon. ❤

    1. Hi Dierdre, thanks for your comment. I can certainly commiserate with you on your knee troubles – its blindingly infuriating, especially when you’re working hard to solve the problem.

      So far I’ve been to both a private and the NHS physio. The private has been better but there is obviously a cost attached. Both folk diagnosed me differently but were consistent with the “muscle imbalance” hypothesis. The GP had nothing to offer.

      I will post an update after my visit next week. It seems from comments that knee problems are not uncommon, so if I have any success I will be very keen to share with others!

      Maybe we need to start a knee support (ha!) group…

  2. Hi Claire,
    I am having the same issues but have never had good knees. I am hoping a proper bike fit next week will help the problem. Have you been back to the guys who done your bike fit? I have been reading online that I should ensure my knees are warm and that I should ease them into exercise…jumping on my turbo and going hard isn’t a good idea…oops! Hope someone shares their wisdom soon 🙂

    1. Hi Carrie! Thanks for posting. So I’ve not been back after the bike fit yet. I spoke to the chap on the phone yesterday and he made the valid point that my bike fit has been set up with my injuries so it’s unlikely to improve them, which does make sense if I think about it. So it might be a return visit for a bit of an adjustment, which the bike fit guys were happy to accommodate.

      Have you been to see a physio or anything yet?

  3. Awww mate that sounds terrible. I suffer with my right knee and lower back problems and like Carrie has said above it can be caused by the wrong size bike.

    I am in the middle of selling my pride and joy for a smaller bike. Devo’d.

    However I have been using my other halfs bike and my pain has near enough disappeared but I always wear knee support until the warm weather kicks in.

    I will keep my fingers crossed that the medical professionals will magic it better! Or at least fond out how to!

    1. Hi Jenii! Yes you’re right re bike fit. It might be worth adjusting my hybrid again to see if it makes a difference. The pain is so frustrating, isn’t it? I hope your back and knee issues start to get better with the new ride you’re using instead! Do you have a recommendation for a knee support? I haven’t tried one of those… Will give anything a go!!

      1. Using a hospital one. It’s dosent appear to be branded. My sisters a paramedic. So she borrowed it without asking…..

        In warmer weather cheap arse savers one less sweating involved.

        I am looking for a decent breathable one myself now. If you get referred to hospital see if you can get one on the NHS.

        Not sure if the Scottish NHS is as stingy as England’s. I had to fight to get a decent arm strap when I broke my collar bone :(.

        Random one for you. Virgin coconut oil
        I bought it for my dogs.. After reading up on it it’s great for treating inflammation in joints. (In humans too.) I have just started eating a spoon or two a day. Read up on the benifits of it online. I have only just started I am yet to see befits at the moment. However my 11 year old husky seems more agile. Haha!!

  4. Sorry to hear about your knees. I assume you’ve done all the obvious stuff like check your position on the bike, which way your toes are pointing (inwards/outward etc). It’s also possible to get knee pain if you push too high a gear and don’t have a fluid cadence. Just the tiniest adjustment can have a big impact – cycling clubs are very helpful with this type of thing. Get in touch via Jamie B if I can help at all.

    1. Hi Jan, thank you for your comment! I have been fitted to the road bike but not my hybrid, so I’m starting to wonder if that might be worth doing, as I use it regularly to get around the town. Hmm. I will see what the chap says on Monday and take it from there, as he was keen to learn more about the type of cycling I do and my lifestyle generally… Jamie was chatting though his cycling with me a couple of weeks ago! I was well jealous of his mileage target this year 🙂

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