Research Article| Volume 10, ISSUE 1, P103-109, March 2003

Download started.


Force and repetition in cycling: possible implications for iliotibial band friction syndrome


      This study examined force and repetition during simulated distance cycling with regard to how they may possibly influence the on-set of the overuse injury at the knee called iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS). A 3D motion analysis system was used to track lower limb kinematics during cycling. Forces between the pedal and foot were collected using a pressure-instrumented insole that slipped into the shoe. Ten recreational athletes (30.6±5.5 years) with no known history of ITBFS participated in the study. Foot–pedal force, knee flexion angle and crank angle were examined as they relate to the causes of ITBFS. Specifically, foot–pedal force, repetition and impingement time were calculated and compared with the same during running. A minimum knee flexion angle of approximately 33° occurred at a crank angle of 170°. The foot–pedal force at this point was 231 N. This minimum knee flexion angle falls near the edge of the impingement zone of the iliotibial band (ITB) and the femoral epicondyle, and is the point at which ITBFS is aggravated causing pain at the knee. The foot–pedal forces during cycling are only 18% of those occurring during running while the ITB is in the impingement zone. Thus, repetition of the knee in the impingement zone during cycling appears to play a more prominent role than force in the on-set of ITBFS. The results also suggest that ITBFS may be further aggravated by improper seat position (seat too high), anatomical differences, and training errors while cycling.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to The Knee
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Kirk L.K.
        • Kuklo T.
        • Klemme W.
        Iliotibial band friction syndrome.
        Orthopedics. 2000; 23: 1209-1214
        • Orchard J.W.
        • Fricker P.A.
        • Abud A.T.
        • Mason B.R.
        Biomechanics of iliotibial band friction syndrome in runners.
        Am J Sports Med. 1996; 24: 375-379
        • Holmes J.C.
        • Pruitt A.L.
        • Whalen N.J.
        Iliotibial band syndrome in cyclists.
        Am Orthop Soc Sports Med. 1993; 21: 419-424
        • Lindenberg G.
        • Pinshaw R.
        • Noakes T.D.
        Iliotibial band friction syndrome in runners.
        Physician Sports Med. 1984; 12: 119-130
        • McNicol K.
        • Tauton J.E.
        • Clement D.B.
        Iliotibial track friction syndrome in athletes.
        Can J Appl Sport Sci. 1981; 6: 76-80
        • Hall S.J.
        Basic biomechanics. McGraw-Hill, Boston, MA1999
        • Cavanagh R.P.
        • LaFortune M.A.
        Ground reaction forces in distance running.
        J Biomech. 1980; 13: 397-406
        • Messier S.P.
        • Edwards D.G.
        • Martin D.F.
        • Lowery R.B.
        • Cannon D.W.
        • James M.K.
        • Curl W.W.
        • Read Jr., H.M.
        • Hunter D.M.
        Etiology of iliotibial band friction syndrome in distance runners.
        Med Sci Sports Exercise. 1995; 27: 951-960
        • Davis R.R.
        • Hull M.L.
        Measurement of pedal loading in bicycling: II. Analysis and results.
        J Biomech. 1981; 14: 857-872
        • Raasch C.C.
        • Zajac F.E.
        • Ma B.
        • Levine W.S.
        Muscle coordination of maximum-speed pedaling.
        J Biomech. 1997; 30: 595-602
        • Takaishi T.
        • Yamamoto T.
        • Ono T.
        • Ito T.
        • Moritani T.
        Neuromuscular, metabolic, and kinetic adaptations for skilled pedaling performance in cyclists.
        Med Sci Sports Exercise. 1998; 30: 442-449
        • Pena N.
        The critical joint.
        Bicycling. 1991; : 74-80
        • Takaishi T.
        • Yasuda Y.
        • Moritani T.
        Neuromuscular fatigue during prolonged pedaling exercise at different pedaling rates.
        Eur J Appl Physiol. 1994; 69: 154-158
        • Neptune R.
        • Hill M.
        A theoretical analysis of preferred pedaling rate selection in endurance cycling.
        J Biomech. 1999; 32: 409-415