You may be a casual cyclist who cycles on the weekend with your family, or you may be a cross country cyclist. No matter what kind of cyclist you are, avoiding injuries is paramount to you enjoying the activity. Most cycling injuries are caused by poor bike fit. There are many body parts that can get injured while cycling. Each of these injuries are usually caused by a part of your bike that is not properly fitted to you body.
This article will discuss the various body parts that can get injured while cycling and what part of your bike need to be adjusted to help with the injuries.
Common Cycling Injuries
When we cycle, we repeatedly stress various joints in our body. A bike that is not fitted properly causes us to stress certain joints or body parts more than others. As a result, we overwork those body parts and cause injuries and pain in the area.
Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms that cyclists complain about. This is usually caused by a bike that is too long for you or a handlebar that is too low. adjusting the handlebar might help with this.
Another reason why you might have neck pain is a tight hamstring or hip flexor muscles. Tightness in these muscles causes rounding on your spine. This leads to your neck having to protrude out (hyperextend) in order for you to look forward. The muscles around your neck is then forced to overwork to support the weight of your head, causing neck pain.
Hand Pain or Hand Numbness
There are several factors that might cause you to have hand pain. These are:
- Too much pressure on your handlebars
- Improper positioning of your hands
- Poor positioning of handlebars
All of these factors boil down to increasing pressure on your hands. Wearing a padded cycling gloves provides cushioning and helps to redistribute the pressure on your hands. You should also ride with your elbows slightly bent and avoid having your elbow straight or locked. The bend elbows will also act as a shock absorber for your hands. Changing your hand position may also help with your pain.
Another common complaint by cyclist is hip pain. As per the other injuries, your bike might be at fault or your muscles may be too weak. A poorly fitting bike may cause hip pain because its saddle is too low. This causes you to have to flex your hip too much and overwork the muscles around the hip. Over prolonged periods, your hip muscles may be inflamed and painful.
Another reason that you may have hip pain is due to overdoing it. If you have just started cycling, it is not a good idea to cycle too much in big gears. You may want to change your cycling technique and cycle in lower gears but at higher rpm. This puts less stress on your hip muscles. The recommended rpm is 90+. While you do this, you may want to work on your core muscle strength so that you can work towards cycling in those higher gears without pain.
Knee pain is usually associated with a seat position that is too high or low or far forward or back. Improper bike shoe or cleat position can also cause knee pain.
- Seats that is too high will cause pain in the back of the knee
- A seat that is too low or too far forward may cause pain in the front of the knee
- Improper foot position on the pedal (or improper cleat alignment) can cause pain on the inside or outside of your knees
To solve this, if the front of your knee hurts, try raising your seat height. If the back of your knee hurts, try lowering your seat height. Anatomically, a leg length difference may also cause knee pain. An insole or orthotics can help correct this. Weak gluteal strength can also cause knee pain as it makes your knee unstable. Gluteal strengthening is important for increasing the stability of your knee, preventing knee pain.
Foot and Ankle Pain
Pain around the ankle is quite commonly felt by cyclists. This is commonly caused by an inflammation to the achilles tendon. Improperly positioned cleats and riding too much on hills and higher gears can be the cause of this issue. This increases pressure on the ankle and foot which causes inflammation at the area. Try changing the cleat position on your pedal. Make sure your shoes aren’t too far forward. Cleats that are too far forward can strain the Achilles tendon as it forces it to pedal on your toes. You can reduce the tension on your Achilles tendon by having your toes pointed up during the bottom portion of the stroke, thereby taking care not to overwork it. You should also stretch your calf muscles and build up your mileage, especially when going uphill.
We hope this article has been useful for you. Should you have any questions, as always, our therapists will be more than happy to help you here. Do check out our other blog posts on various topics. Below is a quick pilates exercise demonstrated by our therapist, Peh Chia, which aims at increasing your core muscle strength. If you are interested in other useful tips and simple exercises, check out our YouTube channel.https://youtu.be/OcHIj8Jpfxo