7 Fixes For Common Pain

Here are a few pointers to help tweak your road bike position to perfection. – Joe Lindsey

position

Photograph courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District via Flickr

Pain in the front of your knee

Then: You’re under-extending in your pedal stroke
A likely cause: Your saddle is too low
Fix It: Using a seat height guideline, find your proper position, and raise or lower your saddle as necessary. See a professional fitter if the problem persists; it could also be due to other fit issues or a muscle imbalance

Neck pain

Then: You may be too stretched out
Some causes: Stem too long. Saddle too far back. Handlebar too low
Fix It: Get a fit check to find your trouble spot. Swap out for a shorter stem. Check saddle setback. Add spacers under the stem, or try a shorter, high-rise stem
DO NOT: Slide your seat all the way forward—you’ll screw up the saddle setback and cause knee problems

Lower back pain

Then: You may be too stretched out
Some Causes: You may have a leg-length discrepancy that is either skeletal or the result of muscle imbalance somewhere in your hip or leg
Fix It: Try the neck-pain fix of adjusting your stem for a shorter or higher rise. If that doesn’t work, see a fit specialist to check for poor bike fit and leg-length discrepancy

Numb hands

Then: You may be putting too much weight on the handlebar
Some causes: Handlebar too low. Seat too far back or angled down, which causes you to slide forward and put more weight on your arms. Wrists bent so much that it compresses nerves
Fix It: Add stem spacers, or try a higher-rise or shorter stem. Level your seat. Focus on a light grip with straight wrists, and change hand positions frequently. Invest in new bar tape and gloves
DO NOT: Lower your seat, or you could hurt your knees

Burning or tingling in your feet

Then: Your cleats and shoes aren’t properly fit
Some causes: Shoes too tight. Cleats not properly positioned on shoe. You have a foot or posture misalignment, such as varus.
Fix It: Loosen shoe straps slightly. Move your cleats back (about 2mm) to redistribute pressure. If it persists, look into custom footbeds or other orthotic fixes

Numbness/pain from saddle

Then: Position or saddle needs to be changed
Some causes: Handlebar too low, causing you to rotate pelvis forward to reach bar. Saddle tilted too far up or down. Saddle too far back, so you’re riding on the nose. Your saddle doesn’t fit your anatomy
Fix It: Raise handlebar with spacers. Level your seat. Check saddle setback. Try a different saddle—your weight should be supported on your sit bones, not the soft tissue

Pain behind the knee

Then: You’re overextending in your pedal stroke
Fix It: Use the seat height guidelines to find your proper position, and raise or lower your saddle as necessary. See a professional fitter if the problem persists; it could be due to other fit issues

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