My knee hurts. I have been golfing and riding a bike. What can help?
Updated: Apr 13
Pain is a great indicator that the body is need of some attention! There are many reasons why knee pain may become an issue with activities such as golfing or biking.
An analysis of the set-up, how you are using the equipment, and of how your body performs and moves during activity is important to reducing injuries. Let’s discuss the structure of the knee joint first.
The knee is a complex joint, acting like a hinge at the joint of the femur- the thigh bone, and the tibia- the shin in the lower leg along with ligaments and tendons to create movement. The meniscus is the disc of cartilage that serves as a cushion and acts as a shock-absorber between the two bones and also assists with movement. The patella is the kneecap that protects the anterior articular surface of the knee joint.
Knee pain can come from wear and tear on the joint where loose fragments of cartilage or bone are floating freely inside the joint space. Wear and tear can also create bone spurs which are bony overgrowths around the joint and develop due to abnormal stress placed in that area, which can impinge or create soft tissue damage.
Only 10% of golf injuries are knee related. A preexisting condition such as an old injury that didn’t heal properly, and some medical conditions such as arthritis, can weaken or put more strain and less stability on the joint. Golfing requires the spinal column and hips to rotate through the swing motion while the knee creates stability. A soft tissue injury may develop due to overuse and/or poor swing mechanics.
40- 60% of bike riders complain of knee injuries. Although biking is known as knee-sparing activity on the joint because it does not require impact with the ground, the repetitive motion of pedaling can lead to knee pain. Biking requires effort from the quadriceps and the hamstring muscle groups. These are also the muscles involved with the movement of the knee joint. Knee pain due to bicycling can be due to overuse, not using proper gears for the terrain, possible chronic degeneration of the joint, or changes in the intensity or duration of the activity, and not getting adequate resting and stretching breaks. There also can be equipment (extrinsic) issues that may be the reason for knee pain. Be sure to have your equipment checked out by a bike professional for your height and providing straps on the pedals may help reduce pain around the knee due to overuse of the quadriceps.
As you can see, there is more than just the knee joint to consider in finding answers to knee related issues. Seek professionals who can help provide support and answers before pain becomes a bigger issue.
Some things you can do to help prevent knee pain is to always warm up each muscle group properly to avoid injury, stay hydrated and practice good body mechanics when bending, squatting and swinging. Keep muscles loose between activities by properly stretching.
If you are still having issues:
See a Massage Therapist on a regular basis as you intend to increase sports activities, to reduce soft tissue pain, provide muscle tension relief, improve flexibility and reduce inflammation.
See a Physical Therapist for an injury and movement assessment. A customized exercise plan can be invaluable to your continued activities, with ways to strengthen inhibited muscle groups and stretch muscles that are overused.
See your doctor for pain management and other medical advice so that you can continue to enjoy your activities pain-free.
~Julie Haufe, Licensed Massage Therapist