How to prevent common cycling injuries

Cycling is more popular than ever in the UK with two million of us hopping on a bike at least once a week.

Touted as ‘the new golf’ it has become particularly popular among male professionals aged 40+.

As healthy a pastime as cycling is, it can lead to a variety of injuries, particularly for the older cyclist.

And if you’re not careful, these injuries can take you out of the office with your business suffering as a result.

The good news is the common injuries listed below can be avoided by following some simple advice:

Achilles Tendonitis
Typically brought on by over-training, Achilles Tendonitis manifests itself as a sharp pain in the Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel). Applying ice to the area will reduce swelling and take away some discomfort but to truly recover, you need to take some time off the bike.

Other causes of Achilles Tendonitis include a bike that’s poorly fitted to your frame, or shoe cleats that aren’t properly aligned. Check with your local bike shop to ensure everything is in order.

Lower back pain
The usual cause of lower back pain for cyclists is poor bike setup. If your saddle is so high that your knees are almost straight at the bottom of the stroke, it will cause your pelvis to rock leading to pain at the base of the spine. If your bike frame is too big, you will have to stretch too far forward to reach the handlebars, also resulting in pain.

Seek professional advice on your bike fit to ensure you aren’t putting unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints. If you have existing lower back pain, a course of physiotherapy can help loosen stiff joints and strengthen weak muscles.

Neck pain
Neck pain is caused by a tightening of the muscles that run along the base of the skull and down into the shoulders (which become tired due to the strain of holding your head in extension for a prolonged period of time).
Try sitting in a more upright position and loosening your grip on the handlebars to allow your neck muscles to relax.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
The continuous motion of bending and straightening the knee can lead to irritation of the iliotibial band which runs down the leg from the hip to the knee. When irritated, the IT band can cause pain and tightness in the knee, resulting in an uncomfortable ride.

ITB syndrome is typically caused by riding a bike that has not been properly adjusted for the rider. In this case, the height of the seat is usually the cause. It has to be set just right to ensure the knees are not overextending or over-bending.

Black Pear Physio can help!
We want you to enjoy your bike riding but also ensure it does not cause you any problems. That is why at Black Pear Physio we offer a range of treatments to help both professional and leisure cyclists stay injury free.

Contact us on 01905 611 010 to find out how we can help.

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