Unicycling and impact on knees

Hi all, I’ve been unicycling for about 18months, really enjoying it but recently after some intense sessions on newer larger wheels i’ve upgraded to I’ve found one of my knee’s is starting to develop issues (think its ligaments as load bearing is ok)
I do a combination of road and offroad trails but more often its trails. When i hit an obstacle i often fall off forwards landing hard on my feet because a piece of terrain catches me off guard.
I’m trying to give myself a break between riding as I’m worried I may be damaging my knees in the long term.
Does anyone else have any concerns about uncycling and their knee joints?

Do you warm up your knee joints before rides?

I think extensive brake use helps too. I’ve not had anything I’d call knee pains after unicycling, but some weird leg pains at times after long off-road rides where I’m not using or don’t have much opportunity to use a brake.

Knee pain is what cuts many of my rides short. I notice it the most when descending without using the brake. It seems I can stand up and climb as hard as I can and that has little effect on my knees, but not using the brake on a steep descent will mess them up.

I’ve lost a lot of weight doing this however and overall my knees are in better shape than they were when I started, so I have no plans to stop on their account.


Well I dismounted aggressively the other week when coming to a stop, the wheel skidded, I rammed my left leg down but I think hyperextending it and then had a twang feeling in my right knee. It’s not so painful now but seems to play up when get back on my uni’s.

How do you warm up your knees?

Might be worth a visit to a physiotherapist. I had some knee pain from cycling and after doing some exercises, stretching certain muscles, and doing a few sessions it’s gone away as the issue is now corrected.


There are so many types of knee pain, hard to offer advice. I have extensive patella damage from a car accident and so have permanent knee issues with movement and loading. However, unicycling has made almost all my knee pain go away… How, I guess it’s because my leg muscles are now just so much stronger hence the knee joint is better supported. I’m not cured and have to be careful, but the correct exercises can make a world of difference. Talk to a physio, they may not understand unicycling and assume bicycling riding is the same, which it is not, so be sure to demonstrate the leg motion of unicycling. Best wishes for your knees.

Squats and stretches before a ride.

Good call :+1:t2:

This! Exactly the same for me… extensive brake usage, sometimes on seemingly flat parts helps a lot.

I think unicycling has a pretty positive impact on the knees :slight_smile:
But it may take month or a year before soreness from normal riding goes away.
I raced 40 km a couple of days ago and didn’t really feel anything other then tired. But earlier I have had sore knees 1 or 2 days after riding that same distance or less.

I think in my case i’ve damaged something inside of my knee on this occasion I’ve damaged something inside my knee so i need to focus on getting some physio to get it sorted.

I tore the cartilage in my right knee in a skiing accident when I was a youngster and it was never treated properly. Today many activities (as well as age) make my knee(s) sore but unicycling has never left my knees sore or in pain from riding (aside from UPDs leaving few cuts & grazes :rofl: :joy: )

A physiotherapist explained to me something different: cycling and unicycling might be bad for your knees because of stress on knees’ cartilage.
But you can do something about it by handling your movement with care (curiously for me it was training for climbing that helped)

Physiotherapists are also just human. I don’t believe it.

Agree with you @Brian87, as I said previously I tore the cartilage in my right knee as a youngster and it was never treated properly. Running impacts it badly but neither cycling nor unicycling have ever left me with knee pain.

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I am also just human (and have no knowledge about this kind of thing) so who am I to give an opinion? but that advice was issued by two different therapists (including one who is herself a unicyclist) both said that cycling in general may be harmful for your knees (so you had to be careful about the way you spin)

Maybe it is to some.
But cycling is always the recommend course for people with bad knees or after a knee operation.
I know that running hurts my bad knee, but cycling never had.

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.


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