Cycling injuries & how to avoid them

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge in people dusting off their bikes and getting out in that all important fresh air as part of their exercise routine.

In fact, the recent National Travel Attitudes Survey from the Department for Transport revealed that around 34% of cyclists are riding their bikes more now than they were before the pandemic.

A fantastic cardiovascular workout to aid weight loss, a way to help build muscle and great for your mental health and well-being, getting on your bike and using your pedal power has a huge amount of benefits – all in addition to the fact that it is incredibly environmentally friendly.

Here at Physiomove, we can offer an in-depth cycling assessment to ensure you have the optimal set-up in an attempt to avoid problems arising. However, whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned pro, it can be all too easy to pick up ‘niggles’ and aches, pains and injuries when you’re out on your bike.

Some of the most common injuries cyclists suffer from include:

● Lower back pain – most often caused by spending long periods of time hunched over the handlebars, lower back pain can also cause a change in posture which can also lead to pain in other areas of the body

● Neck and arm pain – again, this is usually caused by incorrect or unnatural posture when riding and can lead to reduced flexibility in the muscles, resulting in pain

● Knee pain – this can be as a result of the incorrect set-up of a bike, for example a saddle that is too low or too high, or pedals in the incorrect position. It can lead to conditions including patella tendonitis, which leads to tenderness and pain underneath the knee cap on the front of the lower leg

● Foot numbness – an increased amount of pressure on the foot when cycling, particularly if tackling lots of hills, can lead to numbness. This problem can also be caused by incorrectly fitted shoes

Some injuries, if not serious, can be treated at home with a short respite and appropriate pain medication if needed. However, you may find you experience persistent issues that force you stop getting in the saddle for a more prolonged period of time.

In this situation, you are likely to benefit from seeing a physiotherapist, who will be able to carry out a detailed assessment of your injuries to determine a diagnosis and discuss the best course of rehabilitation for you.

Treatment may include stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as manual therapy techniques to help reduce symptoms and enable you to regain or improve your riding posture.

Our specialist physiotherapists will also be able to look at your position when on the bike to help to determine the cause of the pain and advise on what changes could be made to ensure the chances of the problems recurring are minimised.

In addition to this, some local areas also offer a bike fitting service, which can help to ensure each part of your bike is set up correctly for you.

We regularly see cyclists who are suffering from one or more of the above injuries and, with a tailored programme of treatment, we aim to get them back in the saddle as soon as it is safe for them to do so.

If you think you would benefit from treatment by one of our expert team, visit our Contact Us page to get in touch.