how are your ankles and knees?

i’m curiouse to hear from some of you older trials and Muni riders.

how are your knees and ankles. since i’ve been riding consistently, 1 year now, i find that my joints ache afterwards.

does anyone else find this?

what do you do for prevention?

what do you do after?

with roughly 37% of this forum 36 and over i figure we could all benifit from such a discussion.


On occasion I will have some pain after a ride. Long rides, or rides with lots of hills cause more pain then short or flat rides.

There are several things I have found that helps:

Stretching… It’s very important to stretch. Normally, I ride a couple slow miles to warm up, and then I stretch before going any distance or attempt hills.

Practice… The longer I ride, the better my technique gets and the less sore I get.

Aspirin… After a long or demanding ride, take a couple aspirin. Ice should help too, but I don’t normally have it available.

It’s also a good idea to take breaks during your rides. While taking a brake, continue to stretch.

That’s about all I have. I think more people can offer some better advice.

How long have you been riding? When you start out, most of your energy goes into your feet fighting each other. This causes you to stress your legs much more. As you get better, it gets less and less noticeable.


I come from a mountainbike/ motorcycle racing background and have been riding MUni for close to a year. I’m 51 and fortunately don’t experience any ankle or knee problems. My biggest problem is just muscle aches

I put longer cranks on at first to help ease the knees. That made a big difference because I was learning idling. For a while I had a hard time sleeping because my legs would throb; Vioxx helped with that. But now after riding a couple of years that has mostly gone away.

Injuring ankles and knees, though, is a different story…

If your ankles hurt, check to see if you’re on a KH, Summit, or Onza Trials uni. If your knees hurt, check to see if you’re wearing some kind of knee protection! :smiley:

Okay. You didn’t give your age but it shouldn’t be so relevant. My findings are that my knees get sore if I do a lot more miles than I’m used to. I used to get sore knees when riding the 36 mile long 5 Boro Bike Tour in New York City. It was the only real long ride of the year for me on my big wheel, with 6.5" cranks. I think my knees would run out of “lube.” Glucosamine, or whatever you call it.

The same thing happened to me the first time I tired riding my Coker to work and back, a 16 mile round trip. I was fine on the way there, but my knee started bothering me soon after I started on my way home. This made me chicken to try it again for a while. But now I can do it several days in a row with no problems.

So in general use, my knees and ankles don’t get sore. If you’re doing some real intense riding for a good part of the day and haven’t been doing similar amounts before that, this is probably to be expected. If you’re doing the same amount of riding as usual and it’s making you sore, you need to pay close attention to your joints and follow the advice others are giving.

I’m 49 and new to uni. Been at it about 7 weeks now but often after practice, I have a little aching in the knees. I use ice and ibuprofen and hope that as my technique improves this will be less of a problem.

I have one bad knee and one worse knee. The worse knee hurts all the time so, who cares. The bad knee hurts some of the time so, who cares? It does not prevent me from doing trials, MUni and long Coker rides. I Coker 10 miles round trip everyday that it is not raining in the summer. Then I do a weekend ride of some kind with the Seattle group. The guy who scoped my worse knee said I had no cartilage on one side of it and if I jumped off of things on a unicycle it would hurt. He also told me I would never play basketball again. He was right on both counts. Again, who cares? I’m 51 and enjoy this. Later, I’ll be dead.

Thats so weird. I always assumed, (probably cuz of your signature picture thingies and your names) that daino149, and Krashing Kenny were young ones. Assumptions are weird.

Not to jack your thread, I have horrible knees and they kill when I run, which is weird cuz I’ve been active all my life, but they don’t hurt at all uni’ing. Unless of course its one of those falls where you take the crown hard on the inside of your knee. Ooooh thats painful,


Ps. I’m 15

Thanks David!!!

I been told by many that I don’t act my age, now if only I could find a way to not look so old :smiley: :smiley:

Stretching. For me stretching is the key to avoiding knee pain.

But it all depends on the type of knee pain that affects you. In my case it’s my iliotibial band. For other people it may be the knee cap not tracking straight or some other muscle or tendon problem. For my Iliotibial Band problems, proper stretching keeps it from hurting. If I was to go on a long Coker ride without stretching properly beforehand I would possibly end up with some knee pain during and after the ride. I’m still very tentative about doing long Coker rides or multi-day Coker rides because of the possibility of the knee pain flaring up.

Find a good book or pamphlet that covers stretching exercises for runners. There will be stretches in there specific for the iliotibial band, for the knee cap (patella) tracking, and other problem areas. If you have knee pain due to muscle or tendon tightness, find out what it is that is causing the pain and pay extra special attention to stretching the parts that will make it feel better.

Course, if you’ve got actual joint problems (like arthritis) you’re in a whole other ball of wax.

I intend to live longer than the rest of you, and to be riding my unicycles until the bitter end.

I prevent pain by keeping myself semi-starved and light.

I eat lots of fish-oil capsules to lubricate my joints.(Molecularly distilled fish-oil so I don’t get the heavy metals)

I do not worry at all about muscle aches and pains until I physically cannot move.

I listen carefully when my joints talk to me, such as that night I tried to learn one-foot riding for hours on end and kept landing with all my wieght (not much) on my left leg. My knee said it wanted me to not do that again for a couple of days, so I listened and keep my sessions a little shorter.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Ditto John’s ileotibial band comments. That one happened to me too.

I’m 31 and I’ve been riding a year now. That’s not really old, but in athletic terms, I’m no spring chicken either.

When I started riding, I went from many years of sloth-like inactivity right into practicing 1-2 hours a day and eventually ended up with tendonitis in my knees and achillies tendons. I had to take about a 3-week break from riding to let the inflamation go down.

The tendonitis lasted another 6 months, but didn’t stop me from riding. I just took precaucions like stretching as much as possible, and mainly not pushing it. I had to build up my activity gradually. I no longer have problems or pain in my knees or ankles, which is great 'cause I thought I would be fighting it the rest of my life.

I second all of daino149’s advice. I’ve been doing the same and it seems to be paying off nicely.

My knees are still in good shape despite lots of abuse so I must be doing something right.

Four things have hurt my knees:

  1. Blunt trauma to the kneecap.

This bruises the cartilage in behind the kneecap. It’s imperative to apply RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) as soon as possible for this kind of injury. Go easy on the compression. The cartilage has a very poor blood supply and heals slowly. DON’T do anything to stress the kneecap (e.g., deep knee bends) until the cartilage heals (weeks, not days). I did and the Doc said I was lucky not to have killed it off. That would have been a real mess.

Obviously, good armor would have prevented the injury in the first place, but at the time I was swimming in whitewater. I didn’t know the rock was there. :frowning:

  1. Overuse.

A rule of thumb for racing cyclists is to never raise your milage faster than 10% per week. I don’t know how that translates to unicycling except to say that in bicycling it seems ridiculously slow, especialy early in the season when the weekly milage is low. Anyone capable of riding 50 miles in a week can do 100 in a day, but DON’T! It takes a long time to grow the cartilage, tendons and ligaments to take the strain the muscles can dish out.

For a couple of seasons I didn’t follow this advice, pushed it early in the training season, and wound up in pain throughout the racing season. I had to ice my knees for a couple of hours after each ride just to keep walking. In subsequent years I followed this rule to the letter and never had to ice. I was faster, too.

  1. Sudden bend/twist the wrong way with force.

I tore my anterior cruciate ligament playing soccer as an old, fat guy. The details are not important - once my ACL was torn it needed to be replaced. The only good side effect of this adventure in pain was to see orthoscopic pictures of the inside of my knee. The Doc says my cartilage is perfect - the bash healed completely, and no visible effects from the overuse when I was younger. :slight_smile: The moral of this story is that if you stop abusing your knees there is hope that the cartilage will recover.

There isn’t much you can do to prevent this kind of injury other than to learn how to unweight the leg and fall before it gets busted. And don’t wear sticky shoes while playing indoor soccer with a bunch of other old, fat guys. They’re clumsy and they’ll pile into your knee by accident. If your foot can’t slip your knee will go “pop.”

  1. Muscular imbalance.

This one ended my racing career. My outer quads got so strong that they would pull my patella out of the groove when I walked. It was painful. The Doc says that the poor tracking of my patella caused it to load up on only a couple of points instead of the whole gliding surface. It was only a matter of time before I wore through the cartilage completely. His prescription was to stop riding and let my thighs attrophe to a normal size.

I think a stretching program might have helped a tiny bit, but what I really needed was selective strengthening of the under-used muscles. The lesson I learned was to go for variety, not focused mass. For this reason I’m not a big fan of weight machines. Free weights are better, and calisthenics are best. It’s one reason why I unicycle.

Keep your legs strong, don’t bash them a lot, and keep them from twisting under load and you won’t have any problems with your knees. Wear armor and UPD wisely.

Joint pains

By the time I started unicycling I was 65.I had dicomfort in both knees.Both of them were scooped by my friend (outcome of winsurfing) and I could see some wear and tear in them (It was done under spinal anaesthesia).One of my midfoot was hurting too(past history of small braek of cuboid bone).
At the start I felt a bit more all of mentioned above but after a while all pains has gone.
I would not say I am serious unicyclist but i do ride almost every day. As an ortopaedic surgeon of some experience I have done few thousends of arthroscopies of knees and I have witnessed kind of a healing of the cartillage.
The most funny part of this uni adventure is…I wanted to learn it to eliminate gravitation as an wearing off factor in old age.
I feel ,in a way I have succeded in doing so.:slight_smile: (now I am 68)

Re: how are your ankles and knees?

I don’t know why but I’m lucky that my ankles never hurt and my knees
very rarely do. I’m 50 y.o. I do road rides up to 20 km and MUni rides
up to a few hours. The main physical problem from the road rides is
crotch discomfort (numbness) and from MUni it is general tiredness,
mostly in the quads.

On Mon, 10 May 2004 22:43:19 -0500, “elmer” wrote:

>I intend to live longer than the rest of you, and to be riding my
>unicycles until the bitter end.

You’re not alone. John Foss once said that one of his life’s
objectives is to ride a unicycle on his 100th birthday.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

be sure to remove the saddle and simply sit on the seat post. this is far more comfortable - tennisgh22 on the comfort of Savage unis

I’m only 15 so you probably don’t even want me viewing your thread. but anyway:
knees: I get a bit of an ache in my right knee when I do my (almost) daily 4mile round trip into town on my 20".
Longer cranks: this may be because I’m a short-arse, but I find that longer cranks actually make it worse, the pain doesn’t really seem to come from the actual pressure needed to push the peadal down so much as the movement, and a longer crank means the seat has to be down lower for me to reach it at the bottom of the stroke, and my knee has to be bent a lot tighter at the top. For me I think the problem is just that I haven’t really done that much riding that often before, and hopefull it will go away again soon.

This is not an age exclusive thread. You are always welcome to participate in discussions. This one is primarily about joints and your contribution is significant. Just because most of the responses in this thread are from folks who have been fifteen two, three, or four times doesn’t mean that someone who is fifteen doesn’t have something important to add.

Ouch! You need a bigger wheel and smaller cranks! Yes, longer cranks force your legs through a larger range of motion, and with a small wheel you’re going to pedal pretty fast. That’s a lot of repetitive movement for the joints.

If you can, get shorter cranks, a bigger wheel, or both.

This is a great thread. Lots of good joint advice! Kudos to Elmer for taking better care of himself than I. We will challenge each other to a longevity contest! I just hope neither of our ends are bitter.

this thread is great. i’m 37 by the way and have been quite physically active all my life in adventure sports. i’ve unicyled for 4 years, trials and muni for 1. and love it!!

I’m not talkong about pain i’m talking about aches that i ride through and may inhibit how high i can jump. the technique is comming along. the one tech change that i have adapted is to not just land on my ankles during drops (feet on pedals), but to engage them (flex to prepare for the impact). any other helpful longevity provoking tips from you century club seekers?

i agree with the advice on stretching and warming into the ride. it’s easy to just go too hard core too fast. what stretches would anyone recomend?

and i like the advice on reasonable incremental advancement in order to allow the body to build up.

well, i’m done work, it’s nice and sunny out, time for an urban trials ride. and yes john it’s a kh24 without the anklebitters and i do religiausly wear leg armour:D