I can injure myself riding a bike? What? Seriously?
Whether you’re an avid cyclist, taking a spinning class, or simply biking to work, you are at a risk of cycling injury. Furthermore, the risk of injury isn’t just from falling or getting hit by a car. Despite cycling being a whether low impact sport, it’s highly repetitive. This means that cyclists are at a high risk of overuse injuries. New cyclists or those who bike for the occasional fun are particularly at risk because of the lack of knowledge when it comes to cycling injuries.
The Low-Down On Cycling Injuries
Biking injuries and visits to hospitals by cyclists have nearly doubled in the past 10 years. This is mostly due to the fact that more people are partaking in the sport. However, it’s still important to take a look at the types of injuries associated with cycling.
- Overuse Injuries that result in knee pain and back pain are not entirely avoidable. However, you can prevent many overuse injuries most of the time.
- Tendinitis in the Achilles tendon is also quite common.
- Accidents like falling and collisions are a leading cause of hospital visits for cyclists. They are preventable with caution and wearing the right gear.
How To Prevent Overuse Injuries
These may not be entirely avoidable, but many overuse injuries can be prevented through proper training, warming up and cooling down. By performing dynamic stretches for 5-10 minutes before hopping on the bike will help reduce stiffness, which can lead to pain in the knees and back. Furthermore, keeping your intensity at a moderate rate or increasing your rate gradually will help prevent overuse injuries. Other techniques include the foam roller, a post-workout cool down and stretching, and specialty recovery methods will all help in preventing an injury.
Wear The Right Gear
Wearing the wrong shoes can also result in an overuse injury or tendinitis. If you wear the wrong cleats, your foot could slip from the ideal position on the pedal, causing you to lose the right form while cycling. Having the right form is key to remaining injury-free, especially with overuse injuries. The wrong form will cause undue stress on the knee and even the back, resulting in pain and injury. Furthermore, wearing the wrong shoes can also result in foot numbness, which can also make it hard to ensure you’re maintaining the right form.
Get Your Bike Fitted Properly
Similar to wearing the right gear, it’s essential to make sure your bike fits you properly. An improperly fitted bike means improper form, which leads to unnecessary stress on your joints, muscles, and back. This stress is a leading cause of injury that could keep you off your bike for many weeks and even months.
Fitting your bike is more than just making sure your feet can reach the pedals. It has everything to do with measurements, foot placement, seat placement, and lead. Physical therapists and athletic trainers who know the bio-mechanics of cycling know how to fit a bike properly. A proper bike fitting is going to not only help you prevent pain and injury, but also increase your performance. Contact OSR today if you’re interested in our professional BikeFit program and talking to a physical therapist or athletic trainer about other injury-prevention programs.