Physiotherapy Q&A : Why do I have pain at the front of my knee?

Published: 27/06/2013

  • Exercise & fitness

With the better weather hopefully now upon us I am keen to increase the amount of outdoors cycling I do, but am a little worried as when I cycle in the gym I occasionally get pain at the front of my knee. Should I be concerned or just push through this discomfort?

It is hard to know whether the discomfort you are feeling at the front of your knees is simple muscle soreness from exercising or something to be concerned about. In general, post-exercise muscle soreness is worse when you push muscles harder than they have been previously used to and often remains for 48 hours following the exercise. If your pain does not sound like this it would be worth seeing your GP or a physiotherapist to assess the underlying cause for your discomfort before increasing the amount of cycling you do.

Cycling can put a lot of pressure on the knee cap and if your seat height is not correct when cycling this is even more likely. When cycling, the seat should be positioned so that when your foot reaches the lowest position there should still be a small bend in the knee. Too much of a bend and this increases the force placed on the knee cap, too little a bend and you risk injuring the knee by forcing it in to hyperextension, i.e. repetitively locking the knee out straight.