Avenue Clinic

Avenue Clinic

Cycling: Injuries and Prevention

Following on from our World Cup Football theme,  I thought I would write a small piece about cycling to keep in tune with the current Tour de France:
cycling
Cycling is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK. An estimated 3.1 million people ride a bicycle each month. Grabbing your bicycle and heading out for a ride regularly is a great way to supplement a healthy lifestyle amongst other things:
– Simply taking advantage of a nice day,  I mean its summer time so why drive to the gym to sit on a stationary bicycle right!
– Its great exercise!!!  A leisurely bike ride (<10mph) burns more calories than a leisurely walk (<2mph)
– Its less impact on your joints than running whilst still getting your legs moving and your heart pumping
– Like any exercise, it can help to reduce stress and probably more so if done outside in the sunshine.
However,  for all the fun and enjoyment of a good ride on your bike.  Like any sport, there is potential for over doing it and injuries do occur.  Obviously there is the potential for fractures from high speed falls but generally it is the repetitive nature of cycling that causes most cyclist’s pain and this is usually triggered by poor bike set up as well as pushing yourself too hard and too often.

What increases your risk of injury:

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Lack of a warm-up or cool-down
  • Poor technique
  • Over training or a sudden increase in exercise (duration or intensity)
  • Poor or ill fitting cycle shoes
 

Common injuries in cyclists:

  • Achilles Tendinitis – Often from overuse or poor bike set up
  • Patella Tendinitis – Often triggered from having your bike seat too low or constantly pushing a very low gear
  • General Knee pain – Often triggered by the muscles that cross our knee joint becoming very tight through heavy training, poor bike set up or poor shoe/cleat set up
  • Lower back pain – Often triggered by poor bike set up or long hours in the saddle
  • Neck pain – Often triggered by poor bike set up or long hours in the saddle
  • TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) – Often triggered by tight muscles in the neck/shoulders when sitting in the same position for long hours, causing numbness and tingling into the arms + hands
  • Fractures – Collar bone and the Scaphoid bone in the wrist can take the brunt of a fall when landing on an outstretched arm.  Similarly, the hip and pelvis can be an area prone to impact.

How to reduce your risk of injury:

  • If you haven’t been out cycling for a while, start off slowly and gradually build up
  • Perform both a warm-up and cool-down.
  • Incorporate some stretching into your cycling program
  • Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps
  • Listen to your body,  if it needs rest then do so before it turns into a longer period of time out and recovery! You will not suddenly lose your fitness gains over a few days rest.
The most important thing is to feel comfortable on your bike when cruising along. If you are starting to use your bike more seriously,  it is definitely worth seeking out further advice on how to set up your bike correctly for optimum body positioning.
 

If you do acquire an injury, the sooner ice is applied the better, this helps to reduce the swelling/inflammation. If you are not sure what you have done and are worried about your injury speak to a health professional (such as your doctor or an Osteopath).

Contact us at the clinic on 728798 if you would like to talk with someone about treatment or to book an appointment with us

 

Ian

References
http://www.mensfitness.com/weight-loss/burn-fat-fast/10-reasons-to-get-on-a-bike?page=3
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2011683
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOmI26zkX3E
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/bicyclinginjuries/a/bikeinjury.htm

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