It’s not uncommon for cyclists to encounter nagging injuries. The good news is that most of the common cycling injuries are preventable. You’ll soon discover themes among preventing many of the injuries:
Make sure your bike fits you.
Increase your strength off the bike.
Not only will these things make you a stronger cyclist, they will greatly reduce your risk of injury.
Here we go with some of the more common cycling injuries:
How To Prevent Foot Pain
What may cause you to get foot pain:
Poor fitting shoes.
Worn down shoes.
Buy bike shoes that are the right fit.
Make sure your shoes are loose enough and aren’t too tight for your feet.
Do the insole test: Take the insole out from your shoe, and put it against the bottom of your foot. No part of your foot should be outside the insole frame. If it is, get a bigger or wider shoe.
Over time your shoes will lose their support. If you don’t feel the time is right to go out and buy new shoes, or you otherwise believe your shoes are in fine shape, you can add supportive insoles to alleviate the issue.
Switch to a wider pedal to distribute the pressure across more of your foot.
How To Prevent Ankle Pain
Many times when cyclists feel a nagging pain around their ankle, it’s the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon attaches your calf to your heel.
What may cause you to get ankle pain:
Cleat position on your pedal.
Riding too much too soon, especially hills.
Tension in your lower leg muscles.
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.
Build your mileage over time, especially when it comes to biking hills.
Stretch your calf muscles. When you are out riding, your calf muscles are in a near constant position so it’s important to counteract it.
How To Prevent Knee Pain
What may cause you to get knee pain:
Height of your bike seat.
Cleat position on your pedal.
Weakness or imbalance of your butt muscles.
Riding too much too soon, especially in a big gear.
Get a proper bike fit, including making sure you adjust your bike seat to the correct height. If the front of your knee hurts, try raising your seat height. If the back of your knee hurts, try lowering your seat height.
Include strength training as a part of your cycling routine. Focus on strengthening your outer gluteal muscles.
Reduce the amount of time you spend in big gears.
Ride at a higher cadence in an easier gear to reduce tension on your knees.
Increase your training gradually.
How To Prevent Hip Pain
What may cause you to get hip pain:
Riding too much too soon, especially in big gears.
Tight hip muscles.
Avoid riding too much in big gears.
Ride at a higher cadence in easier gears to reduce the pressure on your hips. A generally accepted cadence is 90+ rpm. If you’re unsure of what this feels like, and your odometer doesn’t tell you (or you don’t have an odometer!), try to find a stationary bike to test it out on. Stationary bikes generally provide the cadence at which you are pedaling.
Work on core strength so your core muscles can help your hip muscles when cycling to reduce the load off your hips.
Do stretches focusing on your hips.
How To Prevent Neck Pain
What may cause you to get neck pain:
Improper bike fit.
Riding in a tense position.
Keep your shoulders down and relaxed as you’re riding so you will avoid tension in your neck muscles.
Avoid over-reaching to your handlebars. If you find yourself doing this, some adjustments should be made to your bike fit.
Do gentle neck rolls and shoulder rolls. This is something you can do when you are stopped at an intersection or even while you are riding.
How To Prevent Wrist Pain And Numb Hands
What may cause you to get hand pain:
Too much pressure on the handlebars.
Improper positioning of your hands.
Poor positioning of handlebars.
Avoid putting too much pressure on the handlebars.
Hold the handlebars in neutral position, so your wrists are not angled at a position that is too high or too low.
Every now and then release a hand from the handlebar as you are riding and shake your hand out.
Wear padded gloves to minimize the direct pressure placed on the handlebars.
Adjust your handlebars to avoid putting unnecessary weight from your upper body on them.
Tips To Stay Healthy And Injury-free
You may have noticed some common themes among preventing these cycling injuries!
Have a bike that is properly fitted for you! This is one of the best ways to avoid many common cycling injuries.
Ramp up your mileage strategically. Record your rides so you can track your progress and you can tell whether you are riding too much too soon.
Increase your overall strength. Sure, riding a bike will build those leg muscles, but you also want to complement that, as well as work towards any problems with muscle imbalance. Also don’t forget about your core. Your core muscles are your foundation and assist your other muscles, including legs, in cycling. Your core also contributes to good posture on your bike, and you know good posture is also key in keeping injuries at bay!
When you’re riding, you can be in a sustained position for awhile, leading to tight muscles. It’s important to counteract that through working on your flexibility. There are some great yoga poses that can help in off-setting that tension.
Nobody can escape stress 100% of the time, (and if you've figured out to do this, please share your magical secrets!). It is something that can get the better of us sometimes, and can have a negative effect on our health and well-being. Stress can increase the release of cortisol which can increase the risk of cardiac issues. It can toil with our emotional well-being making us more irritable or reactive to something that would otherwise not bother us. Stress is a sneaky devil that can creep up on us. It is important to learn to manage our stress to try to decrease these negative effects that it can have on our bodies and minds.
Here are some ideas to help decrease the effect of stress on our lives:
1. Get active: go on a hike, walk the dog, hop on a bike, hit the gym, practice yoga. Whatever it is you enjoy, do it! Physical activity has repeated been linked to better mood. Yay endorphins!
2. Eat something healthy: when we are stressed, we tend to reach for the chips or the choco…
If you run, bike, are desk-bound all day, or have been sitting in a car or plane traveling, your hamstrings could use some extra love and length. It not only feels good to stretch this commonly tight area, but hamstring flexibility is also important for the health of your back, hips, and knees. Here are six easy and essential stretches that target the backs of your legs. To avoid injury, it's best to do them at the end of a workout, when the muscles are warm.
Tipover Tuck Hamstring StretchThis stretch is good for your hamstrings and also loosens tight shoulders.Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart. Interlace your hands behind your back. Keeping your legs straight, bend at the hips, tucking your chin and bringing your hands over your head.Relax the back of your neck, and if the stretch is too intense, release your hands, placing them on the backs of your thighs, and soften your knees. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly roll up to standing. Scissor Hamstring StretchEasy to do…
Begin with tall neutral spine posture. Then bring a resistance band around the back of your thorax and wrap it around both wrists and into both hands. Have your palms face up in the start position with the elbows at about 90 degrees and broaden the shoulder blades. Then punch your hand forward pointing your thumb towards the ceiling and return it to the start. Repeat this 10 times for 3 sets and do it for the other side too! This is a great exercise for shoulder impingement pain caused by weak and poor scapula muscle activation.