Top 5 Cycling Injuries

Top 5 Cycling Injuries

The increased popularity with cycling both road and mountain bikes has seen an increased rise in cycling related injuries. Competitive cycling involves high speeds created by large gradient downhill sections and this can lead to falls. The higher the speed the greater the forces sent through the body and generally the more serious the injury, hence the essential helmet.

The TA Physio Top 5 Cycling Injuries:

1) Lower Back Pain

2) ITB Syndrome

3) AC Joint Sprain

4) Cuts & Grazes

5) Feet Numbness

What is it?

The repeated and prolonged held position in cycling means stress goes through the whole of the spine. The flexed position required to maintain good aerodynamic performance and generate force to pedal leads to lower back pain. In some cases this can lead to herniated lumbar discs and nerve root impinging, but this is rare.

Prevention:

Prevention is better than cure. Back pain can be avoided by simply having your bike set up correctly to avoid over reaching in the case of a frame being too large and hunched posture in the case of the frame being too small. Check out the frame size calculator. It is also essential to warm up, head to toe, cycling mainly involves the lower limbs but the spine is involved. Don’t neglect it!

2) ITB Syndrome

What is it?

The ITB (Ilio Tibial Band) is highly talked about in rehabilitation and physiotherapy, it’s seen as a problem in many knee injuries and is commonly affected amongst cyclists due to the repeated bending and straightening of the knee. It runs from your hip to the outside of your knee, so The repetitive motion of cycling, or running, can lead to ITB becoming irritated as it moves over the outside of the knee.

Prevention:

The prevention if ITB Syndrome is down to bike set up. Saddle height dictates knee position, if it’s too high then the knee over straightens, if it’s too low then the knee over bends. Ideally, the frame should have 1-2″ clearance from crotch to the top tub of the frame. The saddle height should be set to allow a small knee bend when the pedal reaches the bottom of the revolution. Also, Its advisable to avoid in toeing when cycling, this increases the stress through the ITB. The ITB can be offloaded and supported through the cycling motion with some SportTape Kineisiology tape.

Sport Tape UK ITB Taping
Sport Tape UK ITB Taping

3) AC Joint Sprain

What is it?

The Acromio Clavicular Joint (AC Joint) is one part to the should complex and consists of the collar bone joining to the front of the shoulder blade which is held together by strong ligaments.

The AC Joint Sprain refers to the damage to these stabilising ligaments. It takes a large force to cause these sprains like a fall or hitting a monster drop such as a pot hole or off road obstacle.

The position of holding the handle bars to control your bike means the elbows and wrists are generally locked in position. When a large force is applied, these forces are shifted to the shoulder joint.

Check the drop sign for AC Joint Sprains
Check the drop sign for AC Joint Sprains

Prevention:

The simple answer is to avoid falling. The AC Joint is vulnerable to injury during falls and large front wheel forces created by those lovely potholes. Try to use the elbows as a shock absorber if you can’t avoid those huge public road pot holes. AC Joint sprains occur at different degrees, and the severity of the injury dictates what can be done to rehab it.

4) Cuts, Grazes & Burns

What are they?

The cuts and grazes generally occur from falls to the ground, but most cyclists in competitive sport suffer friction pains at some point in their careers.

Saddle Position is Key, especially if its a 100mile sportive
Saddle Position is Key, especially if its a 100mile sportive

The commonest location for friction to occur is where the rider meets the bike, the saddle. Saddle sores are common amongst amateurs but miraculously professions and regular cyclist develop an iron like resilience to this issue.

Prevention:

The cuts and grazes can be avoided by concentrating on your ride and staying on your bike, there is no room for daydreaming in competitive riding.

The saddle sores can be aided by a comfortable saddle, correct saddle angulation, sufficient cycle short padding. The more you ride, the easier it gets, so ride regularly to get used to it. It may be possible settle this post ride by sitting on an ice pack for 10 minutes but this may raise some eyebrows in the post ride pub.

5) Foot Numbness

What is it?

Foot numbness is a loss of feeling in the feet, it is common amongst cyclists and it’s not solely down to the cold weather we suffering the UK. It can occur due to an ill-fitting cycling shoe squeezes the metatarsal heads, cleats being placed too far forward causing increased pressure around the ball of the foot, cycling technique including low cadence and excessive hill riding can lead to numbness.

Prevention:

Prevention of foot numbness can be achieved through correctly fitting shoes. Position of the cleats is important, ensuring that pressure is not focused on the ball of the foot. Hill climbing is important in cycling events but hill training should be tapered, so reducing hill climbing may help the problem. Hill climbing involves excessive push phases of cycling which means increased foot pressure, hence numbness.

Thank you for reading TA
Physio’s Top 5 Cycling Injuries.

Please contact us should you have any questions about your cycling injury.

TAPhysio

PreHabNotRehab
PreHabNotRehab

Published by

TA Physio

am driven and passionate about healthcare focused on delivering successful patient outcomes through personalised rehabilitation. So far, I have established a successful career in physiotherapy rehabilitation and gained valuable experience in contributing to marketing strategies within multi-national companies. In 2005 I graduated from UWIC with a degree in science, health, exercise and sport, and then specialised in Physiotherapy and graduated Coventry University in 2008. Since commencing my physiotherapy career I have gained valuable experience in musculoskeletal, sports rehabilitation, and community based neurological and falls prevention rehabilitation within the NHS. In 2010 I set up TA Physio to provide a personal and flexible service for clientele requiring sports rehabilitation, falls prevention & rehabilitation, musculoskeletal physiotherapy as well as bio mechanical assessment in North London. In 2011 I joined AposTherapy as a junior therapist and developed over 2 years to become a Senior AposTherapist in 2013. Recently I have been promoted to lead the London Clinic development and growth reporting directly to the UK Clinical Lead and overseeing ten members of clinical staff. The responsibilities included developing vital HCP links to build referral pathways, accountable for staff development and clinical needs of the AposTherapy London Clinic. In 2014 I provided physiotherapy to elite athletes at The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. I was based within the busy and dynamic polyclinic within the Athletes' Villages. The aim is to help Glasgow 2014 deliver a direct access physiotherapy service to the people at the heart of the Games. Specialties: Gait Analysis, Deviations and Gait Rehabilitation; Sports Specific Rehabilitation; Orthopaedic Post Operative Rehabilitation; Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy; Clinical Blog Writing; Development and Growth of Clinical Services; Presenting to Healthcare Professionals & Advisory Boards.

One thought on “Top 5 Cycling Injuries

  1. Good blog, i’m due to head off on a sportive in a couple of weeks so this will help me with my list of supplies that I need to take. (glad I’m in the van)

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