A physio told me to ride my cycle less often and less far but I'm an addict and I can't cut back. I've suffered from knee pain since I was 20 and it's been getting steadily worse. Most would assume it stems from football or jogging but I've no interest in either. Cycling is the culprit.
Although it's a low-impact exercise, I cover a few thousand miles a year and that seems to have taken its toll. I've been to the GP a few times — I was told to rest it but the pain remained. I never got around to doing anything more.
Recently, I was given a referral to a physiotherapist but their news wasn't good. Apparently the back of my kneecaps are being ground away and roughened.
It happens to us all as we age — I'm just speeding up the process by turning the pedals millions of times a year. Ride less often and less far, I was told. But for me, cycling is transportation, enjoyment and meditation.
So I decided to look at my options. First, I called a private physiotherapist. Michael Crebbin works at Complete Physio and is himself a keen cyclist. "Cycling is a low-impact and linear exercise, which requires good knee range of movement and many people cycle well into their mature years," he said. "I recommend a cycle-specific warm-up to prepare the body for exercise — gentle riding at high cadence until body temperature and heart rate have risen is ideal."
I'd also booked myself in for a professional bike fit with Scherrit Knoesen from the Bike Whisperer. I asked him if there was anything else I should be doing.
His main advice to me was: "Warm up, especially when you get older. Regular exercise helps."
So, I think I'll book a session with a physio for a second opinion, treat my knees more carefully with proper warm-ups and maybe scale back on the longest rides. I'll start taking Glucosamine tablets and cod liver oil. Hopefully these will let me cycle into my old age.
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