When you hear the phrase “bicycling injuries” what comes to mind for you? Skinned knees and elbows? Bruised arms and legs? Car versus bicycle encounters that result in the rider becoming airborne? Although these types of overt injuries can happen, especially when riders are males traveling at faster speeds, non-traumatic bicycle injuries are more common and account for up to 85% of all cycling-related injuries.
Cycling by its very nature is a repetitive activity. During a recreational ride of 30 minutes, you will likely complete between 1,800-2,400 pedaling cycles depending on your revolutions per minute. Riding a bike also involves holding a relatively static posture over a prolonged period of time. The combination of these two factors can result in several common overuse injuries including:
- Iliotibial band irritation
- Patellofemoral pain (pain in the front of the knee)
- Back and neck pain
- Saddle soreness/compression neuropathy
- Wrist/hand pain
So, how can you prevent yourself from developing an overuse injury? First, consider having a physical therapist perform a medical bicycle fitting to ensure proper alignment while you are riding. Even minor positional faults can lead to serious problems over time. Next, be sure you have adequate flexibility and strength in order to ride your bike with good posture. Again, a physical therapist can assess your joint mobility and strength and help you develop a home exercise program to meet your goals. Lastly, your training schedule is important. If you’re just dusting off the bike for the first time this season, then it’s probably not a good idea to ride 50 miles the first time. As we physical therapists like to say, “Start low and go slow.” Progress your mileage slowly and incorporate regular stretching and rest days.
If you are having pain while riding your bike, then you might be suffering from an overuse injury. Call our clinic today to schedule an appointment with one of our bike fit therapists. We want to help you stay pain-free and in the saddle!