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Milsons Point & Wentworth Falls

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Have you got knee pain cycling? It could be your cleats . . .

Badly aligned cleats can be responsible for causing knee pain in cyclists:

– you need to make sure your cleats are set to allow you to be in the middle of your float.


Are your cleats causing knee pain?


Knee pain is one of the most common reasons that cyclists come to The Body Mechanic for either physiotherapy treatment or bike fitting.

There are a lot of different reasons why knee pain can occur, and the pain can be felt in different parts of the knee.

Pain in the front of the knee (anterior knee pain) is often related to saddle height and position. If this is not set correctly, there can be additional stress and loading in the patellofemoral joint (where the back of your kneecap rubs on your thigh bone).

Pain on the inside of the knee (medial knee pain) can occur slightly above your knee where your quad muscle (VMO) inserts into the kneecap, or slightly below the knee where your hamstring muscles insert into the shin bone (Pes Anserine area). Pain in both of these areas can be caused by an incorrect saddle position, or incorrectly placed cleats.

Pain on the outside of the knee (lateral knee pain) can also be related to cleat set up. How far forwards or backwards your cleats are positioned on the shoe is important, and the rotation of the cleat on the shoe is also important as this is what effects your float. By float we are referring to the ability of your foot to rotate inwards or outwards (toe in Vs toe out) whilst still clipped into the pedal.

As part of our bike fitting process we ensure that we allow adequate float in both directions which allows your hips and knees to move in a position which is natural and comfortable for you. It is important to note that everyone’s body moves and functions slightly differently. Your knees don’t have to travel in a perfectly straight line in order for you to be comfortable and injury-free. If your cleats are set correctly your hips and knees will travel in a position which is natural for you. Certain cleat and shoe combinations allow more float than others, so make sure you choose them carefully.

If your cleats are not fitted correctly and your cleat float is reduced, the movement pattern of your leg can be restricted. This often results in you using the muscles around your hip and knee in a less than optimal way.


This video explains cleat float in more depth.



One great way to reduce tension in your quads, and therefore reduce knee pain, is to use a foam roller. Using a foam roller regularly is the key. If you can put aside 3-4 minutes a day for foam rolling it will be far more effective than only rolling once a week for a longer time. The foam roller will help to reduce tension and adhesions in your muscles and fasica (ITB).


If you are having knee pain and would like to know more about how we can help you with either your body or your bike – please give us a call on 9955 5842.

Learn more about our bike fitting service.

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