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tips for cycling injuries

Top tips for cycling injuries

cycling injury tipsHere are our top tips for dealing with those nasty cycling injuries.

We've started with the most common ones that we see in our physio Clinic in Bolton & Whitefield. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but should at least cover those cycling injuries that you are most likely to experience. It's actually 8 cycling injuries and a few additional tips. For each cycling injury we've broken it down into Signs, Common causes and Tips.

Of course, prevention of sports injuries is always better than cure and sports massage is the most obvious cure. The easiest form of prevention for cycling injuries or any others will always be a good warm-up. So, find out a warm-up that works for you, is age-appropriate and takes into account any of your pre-existing injuries. That is where speaking to your physiotherapist is invaluable. As well as getting you back on your feet and relieving pain and discomfort, your physio will make sure you have an appropriate see of rehab and preventative exercises.

INJURY

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

TIPS

#1 - Knee Pain

  • Pain in/under the kneecap
  • Worse going up and down hills/stairs
  • Worse after prolonged sitting
  • Poor alignment and tracking of the kneecap due to muscle weaknesses and tightness
  • Increased training intensity, seat too low, riding too long in big gears
  • Cleat too near inside of shoe
  • Address muscle imbalances with strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Vary your pedal cadence
  • Raise seat height
  • Use insert in shoe to stabilise foot and reduce strain on knee
  • Move cleat outwards

#2 - Back Pain

  • Deep ache across the lower lumbar area with stiffness
  • Can refer into buttocks, groin and hip
  • Worse after prolonged sitting and on getting up in the morning
  • Mechanical factors like poor bike posture, hunching over handlebars
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Weak core muscles
  • Improve flexibility
  • Core strengthening
  • Alternate postures whilst riding to reduce the load on spine
  • heck leg length discrepancy

#3 - Neck Pain

  • Pain along back and sides of neck
  • Can refer pain to shoulder tips and down between shoulder blades
  • Poor bike posture - excessive hyperextension (looking up) of the neck
  • Weak stabilising muscles of the neck
  • Strengthen deep neck flexors (stabiliser muscles) l Lengthen trapezius muscles by stretching
  • Shorten your reach on the bike
  • Raise handlebars
  • Vary hand positions whilst riding to change neck postures

#4 - Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain

  • Pain and tenderness on the outside of knee
  • Occasionally swelling
  • Pain walking up and downstairs
  • Stiffness after inactivity
  • Repetitive rubbing of the band over bony condyles
  • Exacerbated by poor flexibility of thigh, hip and buttock muscles
  • Weak pelvic stabiliser muscles l Cleat too near outside of the shoe
  • Raise seat height
  • If you pronate (flat-footed) get a wedge/orthotic
  • Don’t tuck your knees in too close to stem as this increases tension on ITB
  • Move cleat inwards
  • Strengthen weak pelvic stabilisers and stretch
  • ITB, thigh and buttock muscles

#5 - Achilles Tendon Pain

  • Pain at the back of ankle
  • Pain during riding and afterwards
  • Pain and tightness after inactivity or on rising in the morning
  • Increased training intensity, hill training
  • Lack of flexibility in calf muscles
  • Strengthen Achilles tendon and calf muscle
  • Improve flexibility
  • Lower saddle to avoid cycling on ‘tippy toes’ as this loads the tendon

#6 - Hip Pain

  • Deep pain in the hip, thigh, groin and buttock areas.
  • Can refer pain into leg with possible numbness and/tingling
  • Overtraining, pushing high gears
  • Muscle imbalances in hip & pelvic region
  • Strengthen underlying muscle imbalance l Improve flexibility
  • Gear back and increase cadence

#7 - Hand Pain - Handlebar Palsy

  • Numbness, tingling and weakness over outside of hand, little finger and outer half of ring finger
  • Clumsiness in hand
  • Wrist extended on handlebars for prolonged periods, weight of rider pushing through wrist and vibrations from road applies pressure to ulnar nerve
  • Alternate hand positions during ride
  • Shorten stem and sit up more to reduce weight on wrists
  • Gel padded gloves and padded handlebars reduce pressure

#8 - Burning Feet ‘Metatarsalgia’

  • Painful burning feet

  • Long hilly rides, hot weather
  • Tight shoes – compressing nerves and impeding circulation
  • Wider shoes
  • Move cleats closer to the heel to reduce pressure on forefoot
  • Larger platform pedal
  • Supportive inner soles and thermo-regulating socks

#9 - General Aches & Pains

  • Making noises when you bend down to pick up the cat
  • Having to roll out of bed sideways in the morning
  • Getting older
  • Warm up properly
  • Warm down properly

#10 - Bruised Ego

  • Not being able to keep up with your friends
  • The urge to put your bike on E-bay
  • Being overly competitive
  • Take it easy
  • Enjoy the ride