Do grippy pedals contribute to knee problems?

I’ll admit it, I’m a strong believer in grippy pedals. I’m also a strong sufferer of knee pain.

The pain usually starts after 4 or 5 hours of continous riding. Often it will come in short sharp bursts as my wheel drops into a wheel-sized hole and my leg gets fully extended or if I pivot sharply. Seeing as my foot can’t move over the pedal surface when this happens, it’s times like these I wonder if grippy pedals are making my knee problems worse or not.

Any thoughts?

Re: Do grippy pedals contribute to knee problems?

seems to make sense
wouldn’t this kinda problem be even more pronounced with toe-clips or the clip-less pedals?
if so, has this problem been observed and documented by the mtb fraternity?

Re: Re: Do grippy pedals contribute to knee problems?

clipless pedals often have float (where you can wiggle your foot around a bit while clipped in). Some people say they get bad knees if they ride a pedal with any float, some people say they get bad knees if they ride without any float.

So probably similar with grippy pedals, for some people they might be nasty for your knee.

We did about 6 hours yesterday on the second day in a row and towards the end my legs and knees were not liking bombholes at all if I tried to slow down much. It’s definately back-pressure that makes my legs hurt, I often ride faster downhill when tired because I don’t want to have to use back-pressure too much. Mine is more an ache than really painful though.


I don’t know if grippy pedals contribute to knee problems or not. As Joe said, in the bike world some people find pedals with rotational and lateral float to be a good thing while others find that too much rotational or lateral float is bad. So whether grippy platform pedals contribute to knee problems is probably going to depend on the individual.

But it might not be the grippy platforms that are causing your problems. Check out this site on Big Meat wedges to angle bicycle cleats.
Platform pedals don’t have cleats so you can’t use the Big Meat wedges. But you can modify the insole in your shoe to angle your foot just like the wedges do. That’s what I did for my road cycling shoes. I cut some insole inserts to angle my foot just like the wedges would have. I haven’t done the same for my unicycling shoes though. It might be worth a try to experiment with this foot angle idea.

Re: Do grippy pedals contribute to knee problems?

As one not versed at all in sports medicine, I’m going to ask what seems an obvious question. Could 4 or 5 hours of continous riding be, in and of itself, sufficient to exacerbate this problem? Isn’t that quite a bit of strain on the knees?

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Lol, I agree with Raphael, but I do understand what you mean. Perhaps not being able to move your feet is putting too much pressure onto the same bits for your knee. Id you are on a nice easy bit it is fairly easy just to lift your foot slightly andajust it now and then.

However, I would think that grippy pedals contribute more to shin injuries (i e HOLES) than to knee injuries :wink:

It sounds like the number of hours of riding is certainly a contributing factor to the soreness. My knees start to protest after a certain amount of distance, based on my experience. I equate it more to # of wheel turns or miles, rather than # of hours. Don’t know if it’s one more than the other.

I have always used the grippiest pedals I felt safe with, but I don’t feel as though my feet are locked onto the pedals. I can move them around at will when I’m not in the midst of something technical. If your feet are truly locked to your pedals, this could be a concern. But my riding style has my feet light enough on the pedals that I can always swivel my feet to the left or right, and make incremental adjustments to the front and rear that way.

I hope that helps.

Agreed. When I told my MTB’ing friend that I was getting leg protection, he said “But your peddles aren’t that aggressive!” I can’t immagine learning new tricks with metal pedals and no leg armour (like some on this forum have been known to do :slight_smile: ).

Re: Do grippy pedals contribute to knee problems?

GILD wondered:
> wouldn’t this kinda problem be even more pronounced with toe-clips or
> the clip-less pedals?
> if so, has this problem been observed and documented by the mtb
> fraternity?

Or cyclists generally - it’s not just offroaders who use clipless

Peoples’ experiences differ. Regardless of float (and different degrees
of float suit different people), it’s extremely important to get the
cleats correctly adjusted. If the cleat angle is wrong then you will be
rotating your knee at an unnatural angle dozens of times a minute, which
will cause damage. If the angle is right then most people seem to find
clipless pedals very comfortable, though some don’t get on with them at

Personally I find that properly adjusted clipless pedals are much easier
on the knees than any other pedals (FWIW I use SPD’s). Toe clips and
straps are OK, but start to cause me problems after 100 miles or so.

On a yike I generally find grippy pedals better than pedals without
grip, simply because once I’ve got the angle right I don’t have to keep
readjusting. But I sometimes find it hard to get the angle right for
the right foot (I mount left foot first), so I often find myself with a
sore right knee during a long ride.

Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( )
Recumbent cycle page:
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” - Thomas Paine

For Muni I imagine that grippy pedals avoid more serious injuries of the feet slipping off pedals resulting in an intersting variety of improvised dismount kind than the possible increase in knee achingness from 5 hours of riding in rough terrain. I imagine that nothing can avoid slight aching of kness from prolonged riding.