Cycling is a fantastic way to stay fit and socialise with your friends and family. It offers many incredible health benefits, including better cardiovascular fitness, stronger muscles, and improved mobility.
Although cycling offers numerous health benefits, it can also cause injury. Many of the patients visiting a chiropractor in Stoke on Trent with cycling related injuries that frequently include repetitive use injuries and crash injuries. In many cases, these injuries could have been avoided if the patient had simply been more cautious about their approach to cycling.
In this post, I’ll identify the most common cycling injuries and the precautions you can take to avoid them. If you have any further questions about cycling safety, book an appointment with City Chiropractic Clinic, the leading chiropractor in Stoke on Trent.
Common Cycling Injuries
Achilles Tendon Injuries
The Achilles tendon is a tough band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. When the calf muscles are flexed, the achilles tendon pulls on the heel. This function allows us to stand on our toes when walking, running and jumping.
When you spend long hours on a bike, you will constantly perform a plantar to dorsi flexion (moving your toe up and toe down). This places a large load on the gastrocnemius muscle, which is located in the calf. As this muscle becomes tired, additional strain is placed on the achilles tendon. This can eventually lead to inflammation, micro tears, and tendonitis.
Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain
If you are cycling on a road bike for long distances, you may be spending several hours in a hunched position in an effort to be more aerodynamic. While this position will boost your speed on the bike, it can eventually cause the muscles in your back and neck to become fatigued.
As lactic acid builds in these tired muscles, they will tighten — increasing the risk of sprains and strains. Any back or neck muscle strains that occur while riding will place more pressure on your joints and nerves. In extreme cases, this can lead to joint dysfunction and nerve problems. Many keen bike riders who visit our chiropractor clinic in Stoke on Trent do so to relieve symptoms relating to back and neck pain caused by cycling.
Patellar Tendonitis Injuries
The knee is under a lot of strain when you are pushing the pedals hard. The load generated by the hamstrings and quadriceps can place a lot of stress on the patellar tendon, a tendon that is located in front of the knee. This can sometimes lead to inflammation and micro tears.
While cycling is a lot of fun, accidents can happen! We often see cyclists at our chiropractor clinic in Stoke on Trent who are struggling to recover from a fall. The most common crash injuries they present with are collarbone, wrist, and back injuries.
Cyclists sometimes experience foot pain, tingling or numbness. This is usually a result of a poor bike fit or poorly fitted shoes.
How To Avoid Cycling Injuries
#1 – Have a proper bike fit
A bike fit is a careful adjustment of your bike to match your physical characteristics. It can help you achieve the most comfortable, safe, ergonomic, and powerful riding position possible. You will be able to stay on the bike longer with less risk of repetitive strain injuries.
#2 – Don’t Overdo It
Many of the patients who visit our chiropractor clinic in Stoke on Trent have an injury that occurred when they were getting back into cycling after having a long break. They went from couch potato to riding 100km a day within a couple of months. Unfortunately, this rapid transformation didn’t give their body sufficient time to adjust, which led to a strain injury. Take your time and give your body an opportunity to get used to sitting on a bike for long periods.
#3 – Use Recovery Days
Cycling is a highly addictive activity because of the sense of freedom you can experience when flying down a road at high speed. It’s also a social activity that takes you to some beautiful parts of the world, which makes it even more fun. But you can have too much of a good thing. Your body will need days off to full recover from long rides. If you fail to have enough recovery time, you will be at much greater risk of experiencing a repetitive strain injury.
#4 – Bike Posture
Although having a bike fit will improve your riding posture, you still need to be mindful of how you are sitting as you ride. Your goal should be to keep your upper body relaxed and to maintain a neutral spine position as often as possible. Your knees should also be directly above the pedals, so you are not placing excessive strain on your tendons.
#5 – Get A Comfortable Seat
If your seat is not comfortable, you may find yourself sitting at unusual angles, which place strain on other parts of your body. Shop around and experiment with seats until you find one you enjoy
#6 – Choose Safe Cycling Routes
Spend some time planning cycling routes, so you avoid poorly maintained roads and roads where you will be in close proximity with speeding vehicles. This will reduce the likelihood of a crash injury occurring.
If you are interested in learning more about the ways that chiropractic care can improve your health, contact our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent, City Chiropractic, on 01782 848 184 today.
Take your first step towards better health and call us on 01782 848 184 today
From the team at City Chiropractic Clinic
Our Chiropractors in Stoke on Trent are here to help you