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All About Knee Pain

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Have you noticed that the more you mountain bike, the more aches and pains you develop? Specifically knee pain?

You’re not alone.

Researchers attended training camps of seven professional road cycling teams and interviewed 109 of 116 cyclists on overuse injuries they had experienced in the previous 12 months.  Their results, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, found that 36% of all cyclists had experienced anterior knee pain in the previous 12 months, and 19% had sought medical attention for it. The study also concludes that knee injuries were most likely to cause time loss from cycling.

Take a look at this list of articles about treating and preventing knee pain—and you’ll be one step closer to pain-free pedaling.

1. Injury Prevention: Patellar Tendinitis

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Patellar tendinitis is a common cause of pain among cyclists. Inflammation of the tendon originates just below the knee cap and extends up towards the quadricep. "Athletes experience patellar tendinitis as a result of overuse. When there is too much stress on the tendon in your knee, the tendon may begin to tear, weakening the knee," said Dr. Steven Gausewitz, chief of staff at Hoag Orthopedic Institute. About.com spoke with Dr. Gausewitz and Bryan Whitehurst, a central Florida freelance Physical Therapist who specializes in knee injuries about the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of patellar tendinitis.

2. Injury Prevention: IT Band Syndrome

The root cause of IT band syndrome is muscle imbalance in the hip area. For riders that use a lot of pushing motion and less pulling motion in their pedal stroke, they are more prone to ITBS unless they are also cross training for muscle balance. It is common amongst cyclists due to the highly repetitive forces that are placed on this tissue to stabilize the body as all the body weight is distributed through one leg at a time,” said Keith Fandry, PT, DPT, clinical director of Back in Action of Scottsdale, Ariz. About.com spoke with Dr. Fandry and Drew Pennington, MPT, OCS, SCS, former expert class mountain bike racer and clinic director at Apple Physical Therapy - Puyallup South Hill, about IT Band Syndrome and how to prevent it. 

3. Injury Prevention: Osteoarthritis of the Knee

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All joints in our body include a smooth, Teflon-like coating called cartilage on the ends of the bones, which helps the joints glide and function smoothly. This coating can wear down over time much like treads on a tire. "Cyclists are particularly prone to developing tightness in the knee joint due to excessive power and strength in their quadriceps muscles located at the front of their thigh," said Matthew T. Boes, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic and team physician at North Carolina State University. About.com spoke with Dr. Boes about osteoarthritis of the knee and how mountain bikers can prevent the joint disorder.

4. Preventing Overuse Injuries in Mountain Bikers

An overuse injury is an injury that occurs due to repetitive use. By nature, mountain biking's repetitive actions put riders at risk for this type of injury. How can you decrease your chance of becoming injured? Education is key. Most cyclists will know they have a problem when the pain is not improving or improves very slowly after a week, limiting their ability to ride as well as perform functional activities in daily life,” said Jill Murphy, DPT, LAT, CSCS, physical therapist/owner at MotionWorks Physical Therapy in Neenah, WI. About.com spoke with Dr. Murphy and Alexis Colvin, MD, orthopaedic surgeon at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, about treatment and prevention options for overuse injuries in cyclists. Read on to reduce your risk of overuse injury.

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