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Considering a professional fit, but...

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Considering a professional fit, but...

Old 07-19-11, 07:51 PM
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Considering a professional fit, but...

It's a lot of money, and I'm kind of skeptical. The reason I would be getting the fit is because of the constant lateral knee pain I've been having.

The reason I'm skeptical is because my trust in other people's knowledge regarding the solution to knee problems is very low. For example, my running knee injury (not the cycling one) was misdiagnosed originally, and with a lot of professional help, nothing has fixed it, or improved it really (I'm only 21, and it's approaching 8 months). Not to mention the fact that other people in my family have had little luck with doctors.

So I'm somewhat hesitant that the person performing the bike fit is going to know all the subtleties and intricacies of a human joint system so complex that it baffles the most knowledgeable experts on the subject.

Sure, there's anecdotal testaments to the "professional bike fit". It worked for me! Well, that's great -- but did it really work for you, or did your injury just resolve itself with enough rest and time?

And what makes a bike fit so magical and mysterious that it can't be performed by someone at home? Is there like a 1200 page book describing the various forces of different muscles and joints and how they interact (along with a finite elemental analysis simulation), with probabilities of improvement from each positioning adjustment supported by a large sampled study? Video cameras with 1000 fps to observe every subtle misalignment and its effect on everything else in the setup?

Sorry if this is coming off as pessimistic, but I kind of have this feeling I'm going to drop a large amount of cash and be disappointed. Like I said, I'm still considering it because I'm running out of options and I don't want to give up cycling, so if you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.
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Old 07-19-11, 07:58 PM
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There are special training programs for professional bike fitters. Is the one you're going to professionally trained, or just some dude who adjusts stuff at the shop? I got a fit by a trained fitter and it's been the best money I spent on the bike. I didn't have any injuries, but from all of the little adjustments he made, and some larger ones (new handle bars and stem) I noticed a HUGE difference in comfort and my ability to ride longer distances.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:00 PM
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I would look into it. where i got my fitting done when i started, they offer 3 different fits whiched varied in price. I went with the middle one which was $150. I wasn't expecting on that expense getting into it, but I learned a crap ton from it. They may not personally know the pain you are experiencing but if you communicate the issues your having they should be able to put you in a position that can possibly help. usually the fitting consists of you being able to come back if you are still having any problems within "X" amount of months.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:05 PM
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See, I got a basic fit when I purchased the bike. It was actually pretty thorough -- it took him about 2 hours and he didn't charge any extra for it. He put shims in my cleats, and measured my knee position with a bob, and watched me walk to see what my gait was like. He said they did have a professional fit (the one I am considering), but that it would cost quite a bit. After getting back from the shop, on my first ride, I immediately noticed some pain in the top of my calves which was fixed by lowering the seat about 2 cm. And then over the next few months, the lateral knee pain developed.

He said I could come back within 6 months of the bike purchase to get some quick fit adjustments, but I don't know...

I assume the professional fit he is talking about is one where he took a training program. I shouldn't put the blame on the fit though -- I guess professional fits work for most people and it's probably just the case that I have a strange body that is immune to attempts and relieving pain.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:15 PM
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Your knee problem may have to do with how much you ride and how you do it. This is just a suggestion-- I haven't seen how you ride and I'm not a professional, but how are you riding? Are you pushing a high ratio with a slower cadence? Do you spend most of the time in the big ring? Did you go from riding 5-6 hours a week to 10-12 without working up to it? Are you stretching?

Not to say that a proper fit isn't extremely important, but the fact that some guy fit you for 2 hours makes me suspect that he either did an extremely poor job or that you're not taking proper care of your knees.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:16 PM
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You are 100% correct in that bike fitters are not doctors and I don't think that any of the certified pro fitters would claim to be one. They most likely do not know the in's-and-out's of joints and how to fix them. If you have a knee injury that is going untreated, no fitting in the world is going to help it get better. If you haven't consulted a doctor for it, my suggestion is that you do so, even if your family hasn't had much luck with them. I would try a sports medicine specialist. Once the knee issue is resolved, then a pro fit would be beneficial in helping to avoid a re-injury from riding.

With that said, I can tell you that I had a Retul fitting done just after I purchased my road bike and I will do it again if I purchase another road bike. It may sound like a lot of money, but when done by a certified fitter, it is the best money you will ever spend on anything related to cycling besides the bike.

Here is the link to the Retul University. You can figure out for yourself what makes it so special. I don't think that Carmichael Training would be using it on Lance Armstrong and the Radio Shack team, and other pros, if it didn't work.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:22 PM
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it could also be as simple as playing around with cleat position. you dont want to screw around with a whole bunch of stuff and then not know what adjustment it was that actually made it better/worse though. start with a couple small adjustments and see if that helps. ride it around the neigborhood to see if you can tell any difference. then when you go on a large ride, be sure to take a tool with you so you can make adjustments. If these minor things dont work, I would really think about investing into a professional fitting.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:26 PM
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I'm setting up a fitting for my wife for early August, not for issues of pain, but solely for comfort. Her fitter has been schooled at Specialized, and the fitting should last about 3 hours. I do believe they are useful, but expensive.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:27 PM
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just youtube it and do it yourself....problem solved moneyz saved
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Old 07-19-11, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CoyoteEatsGirl View Post
Your knee problem may have to do with how much you ride and how you do it. This is just a suggestion-- I haven't seen how you ride and I'm not a professional, but how are you riding? Are you pushing a high ratio with a slower cadence? Do you spend most of the time in the big ring? Did you go from riding 5-6 hours a week to 10-12 without working up to it? Are you stretching?

Not to say that a proper fit isn't extremely important, but the fact that some guy fit you for 2 hours makes me suspect that he either did an extremely poor job or that you're not taking proper care of your knees.
Yeah, I didn't want to get into the whole knee thing because I've made a few other posts about it on here, but basically my cycling injury is separate from the running injury (the running injury causes no pain while cycling). As for what you have suggested, I have indeed taken all of those into consideration, and there was no high mileage jump. The main problem is that its sort of just a mystery to me after altering SO many variables without improvement.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bianchi10 View Post
it could also be as simple as playing around with cleat position. you dont want to screw around with a whole bunch of stuff and then not know what adjustment it was that actually made it better/worse though. start with a couple small adjustments and see if that helps. ride it around the neigborhood to see if you can tell any difference. then when you go on a large ride, be sure to take a tool with you so you can make adjustments. If these minor things dont work, I would really think about investing into a professional fitting.
This is about the one thing I haven't adjusted myself, mainly because I'm not too sure what to try. If it helps, I have very flat feet, and I get the sensation that my legs are too close together when I ride -- my knees are always brushing the top tube. I'm using Speedplay Zeros with no limits set [full float], although I have also used platformers (pieces of plastic that cover the Speedplays to turn them into regular pedals -- although it doesn't add any extra lateral room because they are tiny pedals).

Last edited by Runner 1; 07-19-11 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
You are 100% correct in that bike fitters are not doctors and I don't think that any of the certified pro fitters would claim to be one. They most likely do not know the in's-and-out's of joints and how to fix them. If you have a knee injury that is going untreated, no fitting in the world is going to help it get better. If you haven't consulted a doctor for it, my suggestion is that you do so, even if your family hasn't had much luck with them. I would try a sports medicine specialist. Once the knee issue is resolved, then a pro fit would be beneficial in helping to avoid a re-injury from riding.

With that said, I can tell you that I had a Retul fitting done just after I purchased my road bike and I will do it again if I purchase another road bike. It may sound like a lot of money, but when done by a certified fitter, it is the best money you will ever spend on anything related to cycling besides the bike.

Here is the link to the Retul University. You can figure out for yourself what makes it so special. I don't think that Carmichael Training would be using it on Lance Armstrong and the Radio Shack team, and other pros, if it didn't work.
Yes, I currently am seeing a doctor about my running injury. It could be that that injury somehow led to this new one. Maybe it's like a chain-reaction -- once one thing goes wrong, everything does.

That is interesting information about the Retul fitting. I checked their website, and there is one pretty close to me.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Runner 1 View Post
This is about the one thing I haven't adjusted myself, mainly because I'm not too sure what to try. If it helps, I have very flat feet, and I get the sensation that my legs are too close together when I ride -- my knees are always brushing the top tube. I'm using Speedplay Zeros with no limits set, although I have also used platformers (pieces of plastic that cover the Speedplays to turn them into regular pedals -- although it doesn't add any extra lateral room because they are tiny pedals).
It's funny that this came up-- I actually adjusted my cleat position to day because I felt like my knees were slightly turned in, and I noticed an almost-immediate difference riding. I've been having knee pain on-and-off for the past month and assumed it was just over training and under stretching, but I noticed an improvement right off the bat (as in, it didn't hurt as much). I'm going in for a fit at the end of the month.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:36 PM
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Id try moving the cleat on your shoe to the inside or outside and see if that relievs and pressure on your knee. keep in mind that cycling can add stress to your joints and ligaments. I just did a 90 mile ride yesterday and by the last 10 miles or so the ligament behind my knee was hurting a bit with each rotation. just a matter of conditioning.

as far as your knees almost brushing your top tube. thats good form. maybe not having any degree for your feet to play with is putting strain on your knees. If you had even a 5 degree for your foot to play with.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by CoyoteEatsGirl View Post
It's funny that this came up-- I actually adjusted my cleat position to day because I felt like my knees were slightly turned in, and I noticed an almost-immediate difference riding. I've been having knee pain on-and-off for the past month and assumed it was just over training and under stretching, but I noticed an improvement right off the bat (as in, it didn't hurt as much). I'm going in for a fit at the end of the month.

That's interesting. How did you adjust the cleats? Did you make your shoes closer to the bike or further from it, and did you move them forward or backward?
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Old 07-19-11, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Runner 1 View Post
It's a lot of money, and I'm kind of skeptical. The reason I would be getting the fit is because of the constant lateral knee pain I've been having.

. . .

Sorry if this is coming off as pessimistic, but I kind of have this feeling I'm going to drop a large amount of cash and be disappointed. Like I said, I'm still considering it because I'm running out of options and I don't want to give up cycling, so if you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.
So this is how I felt before I had my professional fit. But my knee was getting worse with each ride, even after a couple days off. I was considering quitting, or at least not trying to shoot for the century ride I had signed up for in a couple months.

After the fit, my knee feels stronger and better the more I ride. No stretching or unusual care required.

You can read about the experience here if you are interested: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post12914947

I think there are simply too many variables to get right on one's own, unless you get lucky.

Good luck. Get a fit and see if it helps.
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Old 07-19-11, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Runner 1 View Post
That's interesting. How did you adjust the cleats? Did you make your shoes closer to the bike or further from it, and did you move them forward or backward?
I noticed that my leg felt like it was straining slightly inward when I was riding, so I turned the angle of the cleat very slightly. I have keos.

I used to ride with Speedplays, but I felt nervous sprinting in them. It's possible that with the copious float they allow, your knees are naturally drifting in on their own out of habit (if that is in fact the problem.)
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Old 07-19-11, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Runner 1 View Post
That's interesting. How did you adjust the cleats? Did you make your shoes closer to the bike or further from it, and did you move them forward or backward?
they have shims both angled (adjusting ankle and knee positioning) and flat (elevating)
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Old 07-19-11, 11:21 PM
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i suggest googling

peter white bike fit
keith bontrager bike fit

steve hogg bike fit

remember, your fit will not stay the same as you progress.

never be afraid to play around with fit; just keep a record of what you are doing.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:01 AM
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Give youself a slap mate.
21, having sore knee when riding and hesitating on spending the cash on a bike fit in case bike fit is not the problem?

Im 38 and have fought through many injuries and niggles when younger (particularly from playing high level rugby at your age) and am paying for them now especially on cold mornings, my advice is to go all out on preventing any further aggravation of that injury and eliminate the cause (seems $100 will tell you if it is the bike or not) I would drop the money in a heartbeat and eliminate the bit fit as a cause of the pain and go from there. Never cheap out on your joints / body, that bugger has to last you a while.

I had my bike properly fitted 1 year after buying and it made a huge difference, sore shoulders gone and also eliminated the hotspot from under my feet. As I was happier on the bike I enjoyed my self on the bike and my average speed went up 2km/hr overnight. I could not care less if it phychological or not, end result is faster and happier.

Best thing was though and worth looking into, I needed a new saddle (fit confirmed that mine was too small) and I was able to negotiate getting the fitting for free if I bought the high end saddle $210 rather than the $80 one. This was win win for me. Would never in a million years have bought a saddle for $200 but this made it a wash, whats more it is super comfy, looks cool and weighs less than a midgets merkin.

Also with the bike fit came lots of little tips and hints on how I was riding and how to improve. I felt worth the money.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by FatTony View Post
Give youself a slap mate.
21, having sore knee when riding and hesitating on spending the cash on a bike fit in case bike fit is not the problem?

Im 38 and have fought through many injuries and niggles when younger (particularly from playing high level rugby at your age) and am paying for them now especially on cold mornings, my advice is to go all out on preventing any further aggravation of that injury and eliminate the cause (seems $100 will tell you if it is the bike or not) I would drop the money in a heartbeat and eliminate the bit fit as a cause of the pain and go from there. Never cheap out on your joints / body, that bugger has to last you a while.

I had my bike properly fitted 1 year after buying and it made a huge difference, sore shoulders gone and also eliminated the hotspot from under my feet. As I was happier on the bike I enjoyed my self on the bike and my average speed went up 2km/hr overnight. I could not care less if it phychological or not, end result is faster and happier.

Best thing was though and worth looking into, I needed a new saddle (fit confirmed that mine was too small) and I was able to negotiate getting the fitting for free if I bought the high end saddle $210 rather than the $80 one. This was win win for me. Would never in a million years have bought a saddle for $200 but this made it a wash, whats more it is super comfy, looks cool and weighs less than a midgets merkin.

Also with the bike fit came lots of little tips and hints on how I was riding and how to improve. I felt worth the money.
You make a good point. Worst case, at least I can eliminate the bike fit as the problem. Looks like I'm going to need to pony up.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:09 AM
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I've been doing some Google research on my problem, and I found this post from mtbr.com in 2001:

"I have had this from time to time. What I noticed is that I would start the ride out and within 10 minutes my knee would have the grinding sensation. I would unclip, straighten my leg out and flex my quad and my knee cap would pop, like knuckles or back, and then I would feel fine. One of my friends got on my case to go to the doctor so I did.

His diagnosis was that my patella was not "tracking" evenly over the front of the knee. He said this was resulting from too much pressure being exerted against the backside of the kneecap. Easier gears and more standing when I climbed was the fix."



His first paragraph describes EXACTLY the issue I'm having (down to the 10 minutes into the ride). I assume the popping is related to the (either IT or quad ligament) pain I feel. Has anyone had a similar unclip-then-pop knee experience?

The guy above said his solution was easier gears and more standing. The problem is, I'm already on about the lowest gears I can go to still maintain a decent speed. I live in a fairly hilly area (north Georgia) and to maintain 16-18 mph on my ride, I am at a cadence of about 95-110 and whatever corresponding gear ratio that is.
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Old 07-20-11, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Runner 1 View Post
It's a lot of money, and I'm kind of skeptical. The reason I would be getting the fit is because of the constant lateral knee pain I've been having.

The reason I'm skeptical is because my trust in other people's knowledge regarding the solution to knee problems is very low. For example, my running knee injury (not the cycling one) was misdiagnosed originally, and with a lot of professional help, nothing has fixed it, or improved it really (I'm only 21, and it's approaching 8 months). Not to mention the fact that other people in my family have had little luck with doctors.

So I'm somewhat hesitant that the person performing the bike fit is going to know all the subtleties and intricacies of a human joint system so complex that it baffles the most knowledgeable experts on the subject.

Sure, there's anecdotal testaments to the "professional bike fit". It worked for me! Well, that's great -- but did it really work for you, or did your injury just resolve itself with enough rest and time?

And what makes a bike fit so magical and mysterious that it can't be performed by someone at home? Is there like a 1200 page book describing the various forces of different muscles and joints and how they interact (along with a finite elemental analysis simulation), with probabilities of improvement from each positioning adjustment supported by a large sampled study? Video cameras with 1000 fps to observe every subtle misalignment and its effect on everything else in the setup?

Sorry if this is coming off as pessimistic, but I kind of have this feeling I'm going to drop a large amount of cash and be disappointed. Like I said, I'm still considering it because I'm running out of options and I don't want to give up cycling, so if you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.
I do fittings. You can do one of two things:

Self fit, injure yourself further, chase it for a year or two and you may, by accident, get lucky and get your leg straightened out enough so that you can somewhat enjoy your riding with what's left of the cartilage and meniscus in your knee.

TALK to a fitter and TELL them what the issue is and HAVE THEN GIVE YOU AN IDEA of what they might be able to do. It's not only the angle of your foot, but also the amount or pronation or supanation in your foot/leg that matters. It sounds like you are making your tibia and fibula move side to side the result of adjusting for a bad setup because your leg is not straight.

It's your knee. We see self fitters all the time and they are amazed after years of chasing fit (and not knowing what they are doing) that it can be fixed in a couple of houors. But the body damage is done.

When you walk, your leg straightens out due to the flexibility in your foot and the joints in your leg (hip, knee, ankle). In a bike shoe it can't. Your foot is in a hard sole shoe connectied to a pedal that's parallel to the ground. So via pedal/claet setup we straighten out your leg. Simply put. If your leg is not set up that way, you will attempt to straighten it out with your joints against that flat hard pedal and shoe. So your knee goes side to side, hip has to adjust, presto you have an injury.

Like I said, you have the choice to be skeptical and it's indeed, your knee.

Last edited by roadwarrior; 07-20-11 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:57 AM
  #24  
AndyK
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Reading your post again, the first thing you adjusted after your fit was your saddle height, because of calf pain? You lowered it 2cm (which is a huge amount), and then started getting knee pain.

Simple solution to try - raise your saddle 1cm! If I lower my saddle half a centimeter, I get knee pain. When I raise it back up, knee pain goes right away.

Try raising the saddle and see if that helps.
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