Knee and calf problems from fixed

Hey all - I’m interested in comments and suggestions on leg pain from fixie-riding. I built my fixie in Sept 07 and got so addicted I have ridden it almost exclusively. I’m on Brisbane hills with a 70-inch gear - quite a lot of hard work, grinding as well as spinning - my legs are a lot stronger. A few weeks ago I decided to do some running, and came down with sharp pain in my calf after 1 km, that took a few days to go away, and wasn’t helped by massage. I had some physio and she said my achilles felt like it was scarred from an old rupture, but I’ve never had this. Some acupuncture helped, but then the other calf got sore on my next run. Then, in the last couple of weeks, I was driving for a few hours and was getting nasty pain in my knee, next to the cap, and I had to rub my kneecap constantly to be able to keep driving.

I’ve never had these problems before and am putting it down to fixie riding. I ran this past my physio and she said the pressure, the back-pedaling and the standing up would make my calves tight and cause the problems I’ve had. She suggested cutting the fixie-riding back to once per week and doing some strengthening, like power intervals and hills, on another bike and then gradually riding the fixie more often. Also she gave me some ‘eccentric’ and ‘mobility’ exercises to loosen up the calf and achilles.

I searched the forum and there are lots of posts on ‘knees’ but not a lot of specifics on the problems people have had and what they have been able to do about it. Would anyone like to comment?

I’ve never had any problems.
Started on a fixed about a year and a half ago. Ride at least half an hour every day. 70ish gear.

I find, when grinding up a big hill or something. I’m using either my weight to push down on the pedal, using my bones and knee joint as a support, or I’m using mostly my muscles to get things happening.
The former method causes pain in my knee, the later causes pain in my muscles (the good kind)

You may have strained it somewhere along the way and running, being high impact, has exacerbated it. I jog once a week and always feel it afterwards, just because of the impact and using different muscles.

I ride fixed practically every day and haven’t had any knee problems I could associate with riding. I took last winter off from ice hockey and was only riding fixed, and it’s the first time in years I haven’t had knee pain! It only started again once I resumed playing this year - skating is hell on the knees!

If you ride brakeless, I expect your knees take a fair bit of the strain. But a front brake, at the minimum, should fix that. Maybe drop your gear inches a bit too. Hope that helps.

Knee pain in my experience is pretty much the exclusive result of misaligned cleats, riding brakeless or a congenital physical anomaly.
The former is quite self explanatory in that if your cleats aren’t set right then your throwing your knee in a direction that it shouldn’t be going. Just like the spark plugs in a car, or if you haven’t cooked your chicken enough, something is going to go wrong.
The second, well it just puts excess stress on the knee that it doesn’t need. Especially because it’s the weakest joint in our body so it needs all the help and TLC it can get.
Lastly we’ve got a congenital defect. Which you could have, but it’s probably one of the other two so I won’t go into it.

On the topic of running when you haven’t run for a while. Your body gets used to moving in a particular way quite quickly, try to move it another way and it’ll play up. Just like if you put Matt Shervington on a track bike, sure he’s one of the fastest sprinters in the world but my guess is he wouldn’t be able to ride a track bike for shit. Same goes for Flyin’ Ryan, get him to do some sprinting (running) and Matt would leave him for dead.

Try doing more stretches, and remember to hold the stretches for at least one minute each. Start small and move up from there.*

  • Most of this you may already know, but sometimes it just needs to be said :slight_smile:

Is that a euphemism?

Yeah, I bet I’m not the only one who remembers to stretch only when something is not right! :slight_smile:

Cleats OK, use brakes, no serious anomalies. I’m pretty sure it’s the Brisbane hills - pretty much every ride has a tough grunt thrown in, that a geared bike lets you off the hook from - so I have to be careful to warm up, self-massage and stretch a lot. That can be pretty hard to think of, for example with a morning commute with only just enough time to grab a sandwich.

Yes :wink:

<a href=“”>This</a> may help.

my knee was a bit fucked on sunday after saturday’s ride. it was only one knee, and think i jarred it skidding or something. a couple of days of voltaren and i’m back to taking ass and kicking names. kicking ass and taking names.

Ive been riding nothing but fixed for a year or so, and have done little running work (used to play footy and run quite a bit, but stopped)

Anyway a few weeks ago I had an epic chase from the cops (not going into detail) but I was running flat out for around 15 minutes, afterwards I had some calf pains for a couple of days. I have always been fit, and never encountered this weird pain, I never would have thought it was fixie related, just having to flat out sprint for a long time with no warm up/cool down, plus not doing much running for a long time…but this post has me thinking :expressionless:

I don’t give a fuck about your knees Ross. I just want to know what you did to upset the cops :slight_smile:

[quote="snowflake "]

Yes, that is a fair call. Do tell.

I had a ‘high grade partial tear’ of my PCL from a BMX injury about 4 years ago… that is the main reason i put down the BMX and began to commute as rehab for it and then that led to me riding a single speed, then that progressed to riding fixed.
although i dont think riding fixed would be a super smart thing to do initially if you have knee issues.

there was a bit of a transition with commuting geared on my rigid mtb with 1"slicks initially, then SS trackframe, then i converted to riding fixed. Ive been riding fixed for nearly 2 years now, the first year of that with a brake and I can quite comfortable say that fixed has dramatically strengthened my gammy knee.

if I were to get problems these days i would be quick to drop to an easier gearing, and then if that didnt remedy it I would most probably put a brake back on.

but nonetheless tell us about your run from the cops Ross.

Fine, but you didn’t hear it from me! :stuck_out_tongue:

A certain friend of mine (lets call him Toss) was painting graffiti in his local drains with a couple of mates. The drains have long been known as a safe place, out of the public eye, generally ignored by law enforcement officers because: you can’t see it unless you go down there, it is safe and secure so there is no danger of people getting injured getting in there, and it is off the streets away from the haters.

So Toss and his mates are progressing nicely after about two hours work, out of everybodies way not causing any mischeif or foolery, when two members of the local constablory turn up (most likely as a result of revenue raising due to the harsh new fines for being caught with spraypaint). Anyway these two officers decide to enter from opposite sides and block toss and his mates as well as about 4 other random guys. After closing in, Toss decides the best approach would be for everyone to do a ‘runner’ and jump over this big chasm area of scum water and get the hell out of there. After a failed attempt at capsicum spray and having to walk through the scum water (cops couldn’t jump the chasm) the cops pursue on foot. Toss and one of his mates are involved in an epic chase to the next postcode, whilst everyone else takes different escape routes (up fences, over some bridge onto freeway etc)

After much running Toss recieves a call to hear the good news there other friend has escaped, and all meet up about half an hour later and rejoice then discuss the stupidity of todays police force, and there failure to apprehend us (I mean them) even though they had the area totally blocked off. Around 30 cans of paint were lost in the process (no time to pack up just run) all artworks were left unfinished, however massive fines and arrests and crap were avoided by Toss and his mates, it was later heard that two other guys got caught and copped some major punishment. Toss and co consider themselves very lucky and will be avoiding the drains for a period of time.

Now back to the point! My calves hurt for a while after, I doubt its related to fixies, but has got me thinking.

man, youy need to take it next level and get chased after doing do a whole train burner next time!

those spraypaint laws are ridiculous.

[quote “the age”]
The laws will enable police to issue on-the-spot fines of $550 to anyone carrying spray paint cans if they cannot prove the paint is for work-related purposes. [/quote]
If you make that kind of distinction you have to enforce it which is laughable and unrealistic.
I think it’s safe to say that only a small minority of spray paint is bought for vocational use, even though a lot of the rest of it is still being used for legal activities. Obviously it’s a loophole to punish graffers. I thought it was illegal to make laws that could not possibly be effectively enforced? I want to see a newly wed couple beaten with phone books because they want to do a lovely stencil pattern in their baby’s nursery.

Will chromers be able to say that it may not be work, but it’s still a full-time occupation?

So you’re only allowed to possess spray paint if it’s for work purposes? Who thought that one up?

i thought it was specific to publc transport?

yeah I assumed it was at first as well.
it’s anywhere apparently
Article in The Age
dunno which genius came up with that one.

oh well, artist is a legitimate profession, surely the onus of proof would be on the police, not the person charged. and i’m not sure the police would get very far by trying to prove that an artist has to make money from their work before it’s considered a job.

that’s how the burden of proof is supposed to work. i guess if you make it illegal by default and create some exceptions, the shoe is on the other foot.

graffiti artist. apparently two mutually exclusive words.