There is no doubt that summer is made for riding, and no matter if you’re a regular cyclist, or a fair-weather one (hey, no judgment from us) now is most definitely the time for you to get on your bike.
Whilst cycling is a relatively body-friendly exercise (unless you fall off, of course) it does require a certain amount of endurance, which can lead to some niggles and aches. If you’re already nursing an injury, or are worried about an old one returning as soon as you settle on your saddle, then here are some tips we think you might find useful.
Whilst your hands aren’t the first things you may associate with becoming sore following a bike ride, you may be amazed how many people suffer with such an injury.
Ulnar neuropathy often causes numbness or tingling sensations in the fingers and hands, which in turn can become quite painful. This is most often associated with long rides, where you have spent considerable amount of time with your hands in one position.
While an obvious answer might be to take shorter rides, that’s not the most helpful of solutions. Instead, think about your posture whilst you are riding. If your reach is too long then you may find your arms, and therefore your hands, are taking a large brunt of your body weight. The best thing to do is ensure your reach is shorter, so that your weight is better distributed over the saddle.
Equally, wearing specialist gloves can be a great way to reduce the amount of “Noise” or “buzz” you may be experiencing from the road surface you are cycling on. This is distributed up and along the handlebars, and comes in to direct contact with your hands, which can cause pain.
As you can imagine your knees undergo a lot of wear and tear whilst you are cycling, which can cause a large amount of pain over time. However, knee pain can be difficult to diagnose in terms of the underlying cause.
It may be as a result of an existing un-cycling related injury which is being aggravated by a new range of motion. Perhaps your posture means that your feet are positioned in such a way that the knee cap is being pulled in the wrong direction, thus causing pain.
You might have torn your cruciate ligaments, although this is not usually as a direct result of a cycling injury unless you’ve had an accident.
One of the best things you can do if you are suffering from knee pain is speak to a physiotherapist who can provide expert and specific advice. We can treat the causes of pain and swelling, but more importantly get to the route of the problem to ensure that whatever is causing the pain does not occur again.
Our most natural position is for our body to be stacked, with one muscle group on top of the other. As soon as you get on a bike this goes out of the window as you spend your whole time leaning forward. Unsurprisingly then this puts a huge amount of strain on your whole body, and your back often takes the brunt of it all.
Whilst it may seem crazy, it can be hugely beneficial to take the time to make sure your posture is the best it possibly can be under other circumstances. Ask if you can have your workspace assessed, and take advantage of any ergonomic equipment that can help support your back and improve your posture.
Equally, speak to your physiotherapist to find out what exercises and stretches you can do, no matter your location or fitness level, to help alleviate pain.