Cycling is ever-increasing in popularity and is a fantastic way to maintain your weight and boost your health. It is an intense cardio exercise for the whole body!
However there are a lot of injuries that cycling can cause – for example around half of cyclists complain of neck pain. Musculoskeletal trauma and superficial damage to the soft tissue are also common types of injury with head trauma being the most serious (so make sure you’re always wearing your helmet!)
Of course, some injuries are really hard to avoid but you can still minimise the damage by being prepared – so read on, before you ride on!
Pain in the Knees
Cyclists fasten their feet to the pedals with cleats but if they are not positioned correctly then this will result in a sharp pain in the knees that won’t go away. Best advice is to follow online guides to ensure you’ve got yours in the right position which will also help to reduce the risk of knee and quadriceps tendinitis.
Pain in the Lower Back
Staying in the same position for a long period of time without a break will hurt any muscle, but this can be more of an issue in cycling because the natural position of being on a bike causes a lot of stress to go through your spine. Make sure you get the right frame size for you and try to keep your back straight.
Overuse of the Achilles tendon will cause inflammation. Making sure that you’ve got the right sized bike and your shoe cleats in the right position will help to minimise this condition. You should also check your saddle as if it’s too high then it can cause your toes to point downwards and contract your calf muscles. If you do feel pain in your heels then make sure you hop off the bike and rest up for a few days. Ice packs can also help to reduce the swelling.
If you spend hours in the saddle then the friction between the saddle and your skin/clothes can cause horrible rashes. Remember not to have the saddle too high and to wear proper cycling shorts. You can also buy creams to help ease the feeling of skin fiction against the saddle.
Numbness in the Foot
It’s actually very common for cyclists to experience foot numbness. There can be a few causes (other than cold weather!) such as poorly fitting shoes, cleats being too far forwards (this increases the pressure on the ball of the foot) and riding up lots of hills (to get up them you have to push a lot on the pedals which leads to pressure on the foot).
As a cyclist you need to look after your quads as they’re doing the bulk of the work for you. If they get too tired then lactic acid can build up and they will start to hurt. Massage from trained sports therapists will help as well as putting on kinesiology tape before setting off.
As we mentioned earlier, neck pain is a common cyclist’s complaint. The neck muscles that start at the base of the skull and run down the sides of the neck to the shoulders get too tired from holding the weight of the head in extension for prolonged periods. If you’re suffering from neck pain then try shortening the bike’s stem so that you are in a more upright position. Loosening your grip on the handlebars will relax your shoulders. Kinesiology tape on your lower back can also help.
If you would like any more information on this then e-mail us at email@example.com or phone us on 01354 694050. We have Calum available for sports therapy and sports massage sessions and our osteopaths offer kinesiology taping sessions for £26 – perfect for if you have an important event coming up!