Welcome to BoulderCentre for Orthopedics & Spine

Dr. Melanie Worley Explains the Importance of Bike Fitting

Hello, Ned Gravel Enthusiasts.

Spring is upon us, with more outdoor riding and the Ned Gravel race fast approaching. As a non-operative sports medicine physician at BoulderCentre for Orthopedics & Spine and a cyclist myself, I understand the value of bike fitting and its role in making the ride more comfortable, preventing injury, and optimizing performance. 

We know from several studies that a combination of high training volume and malalignment, such as poor bike fit, is associated with overuse injuries. Having the proper bike fit maximizes power output, efficiency, and aerodynamics—all important not only for training but also during your race event. 

Some commonly affected areas that stem from improper bike fit in cyclists include anterior knee pain (patellofemoral syndrome), lower back and neck pain, IT band syndrome, and Achilles tendinitis. Bike frame size, saddle positioning, and foot placement are important factors to consider to prevent these injuries. A frame that is too large can result in improper posture, resulting in lower back and neck pain and increased stress on the shoulders, along with inappropriate pedal placement that can lead to increased pelvic motion and improper lower extremity mechanics. A frame that is too small can create a flexed trunk posture, leading to excessive flexion and more stress on the ankle, knee, and hip joints. A saddle that is too high can result in over-extension of the leg that may cause IT band syndrome and excessive pelvic drop. On the other hand, if the saddle is too low, this can put too much stress at the knee joint and lead to patellofemoral syndrome. Lastly, foot placement is key, and the ball of your foot should be directly over the pedal axis to avoid excessive strain on your Achilles tendon and ankle. 

Boulder and the surrounding areas offer many places for bike fitting, such as Full Cycle Multisport. Consider getting a bike fit to be more comfortable during challenging rides, reduce injury risk, and perform your best.

Happy gravel riding! 


Melanie Worley, DO, CAQSM