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Recumbent Bike For Knee Pain

Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Jeff

Knee pain is a common complaint and it affects people of all ages.

No matter the cause, the pain can be debilitating and hamper your activities of daily living.

Recumbent Bike For Knee Pain

Cycling has been classified as one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise for someone with bad knees, with a recumbent bike topping that list.

Read on to find out exactly why and how a recumbent bike may be one of the best options to treat your knee pain. 

Cycling Is The Best Option For Knee Pain

Cycling in general is one of the best exercises you can do if you’re experiencing knee pain. 

This is because cycling is classified as a very low-impact sport, and places a lot less strain on your knee joints than other forms of cardio exercises like running, skipping, or stepping.

The movement created while cycling lubricates your joints. This prevents your knees from getting stiff and helps to reduce pain.

Which Type Of Bike Is Best For Knee Pain? 

There are many different forms of cycling. This makes it difficult to know which one is the best for knee pain, or if there is even a difference between them.

A stationary bike would be considered better than an outdoor bike, as there is less balance and control needed. It is very easy to fall and land on your knee with an outdoor bike and injure it further. 

Using an outdoor bike also requires your knees to work a lot harder and exert more force and power, placing more strain on them.

Even though we have established that a stationary bike is better for your knees than an outdoor bike, we are going to take it one step further and explain why a recumbent bike is better than an upright bike for knee pain.

Why Is A Recumbent Bike The Best Form Of Cycling for Knee Pain?

Positioning Of Seat And Pedals 

The position of the pedals allows for even less impact to be placed on weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. 

This is because your legs are extended forward and slightly bent, which helps to transfer the force directly to the bike, and not the knees.

Safer Option Post Injury 

Using a recumbent bike for rehabilitation is highly recommended for knee injuries. 

This is because it is safer than an upright bike, as it is extremely stable due to the large seat and backrest. 

A lot less balance and coordination are required, decreasing the risk of injury and exacerbating knee pain. 

Muscles Worked With A Recumbent Bike 

As with other forms of cycling, a recumbent bike works your quadriceps and hamstring muscles. 

It is important to strengthen these muscles, as they surround the knee joint, and can provide it with stability and support, which can help alleviate pain.

What is unique about the recumbent bike is that it works your abdominal muscles and glute muscles much more than other forms of cycling.

Your abs and your glutes form a massive part of knee rehab, and it is essential that these muscles get strengthened too. 

Different Causes Of Knee Pain And Why A Recumbent Bike Is Effective In Managing It

Orthopedic Injuries

An orthopedic injury is an injury that occurs to your musculoskeletal system as a result of impact or trauma. 

These include injuries such as ligament strains, dislocations, fractures, and muscle sprains.

A recumbent bike is the best option for these types of injuries because it places your knee in a good position.

After an orthopedic injury, knee range of motion is often limited. By adjusting the seat position, a recumbent bike helps the knee stay in that safe range for as long as it needs, and also helps to increase the range periodically as the knee gets stronger. 


Sciatica can cause knee pain because the sciatic nerve runs down the back of the leg and controls the muscles around the knee.

A recumbent bike is a good form of exercise for knee pain caused by sciatica. This is thanks to the backrest and comfortable position it creates. 

Sciatica is often triggered when tension is placed on the lower back, however, the position of the seat helps the back to maintain good posture and prevent this.

A recumbent bike is good at decreasing lower back pain which helps to prevent sciatica flare-ups and, as a result, pain in your knees.


Osteoarthritis is very common, it occurs mostly in the elderly, and results from the cartilage in your joints wearing away, and can lead to the bones in your joint rubbing together.

This can be an extremely painful condition, especially when it affects your knees, and can limit even simple movements like walking. 

A recumbent bike is very helpful for people who suffer from this, as they feel very little pain in their knees when they are on it. It is often one of the only exercises that they can do without causing pain, so it can be a tool that prevents them from being completely sedentary. 

Knee Replacement 

A recumbent bike is one of the most common pieces of equipment used after a knee replacement.

This is because of the gentle manner in which it can get the knee moving again, the minimal impact that it places on the knee, and the range of motion that it keeps the knee in. 

A combination of all of these factors helps to minimize and manage knee pain that occurs post-operation.

Something not commonly known is that a hip replacement can cause knee pain, too. 

This is often due to either a difference in leg length that occurs after the hip replacement or due to muscular imbalances resulting from pain and compensation.

Luckily, a recumbent bike is good for managing hip pain, and, just as with a knee replacement, it is recommended to use a recumbent bike after hip replacement surgery for many of the same reasons as with a knee replacement.

Final Thoughts

A recumbent bike is helpful for all types of knee pain experienced. 

It is the safest form of cycling in terms of knee pain and should be incorporated in the initial phases of rehabilitating knee pain.

With knee pain, you also need to focus on strengthening structures such as your hip and feet muscles.

It is recommended that you approach a physical therapist who can help you with your knee pain, and not rely on a recumbent bike alone to rid you of knee pain.