Get useful exercise tips to deal with, or limit common injuries, from the Sports medicine rehab experts at Insync Physiotherapy. Two locations - 102-4088 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC and 204-4580 Hastings St.
How to Prevent Common Cycling Injuries
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.
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.
If you suffer from sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, you know it’s a problem that can’t be ignored. Walking, sitting and even slight movements can amplify the discomfort.
While certain motions may exasperate the feeling, did you know exercise can be among the best ways to alleviate your sacroiliac joint pain symptoms? Specific exercises and stretches can help you achieve significant relief from your pain.
What Is It?
First, it’s best to know why you’re experiencing sacroiliac joint pain and where it came from in the first place. The joint pain is called SI joint dysfunction. The SI joints are located in the low back, where the sacrum and right and left iliac bones join.
Cartilage covers the SI joints, and when that is damaged or worn down, the bones rub together, leading to degenerative arthritis. That is the top cause of SI joint dysfunction. Another major cause of SI joint pain is pregnancy. Additional weight gain due to pregnancy leads to more pressure on the joints, and when ligamen…
Hip stiffness from arthritis or having total hip replacement surgery, can be sometimes difficult in trying to get your functional mobility back again. I highly encourage you to be working with your physiotherapist in order to get your functional mobility back, but in the meantime, here are some very helpful tips to get you started on increasing your mobility, your strength and retraining your muscular control system again. Enjoy!