How Can You Prevent Injuries While Cycling? Read This Post To Find The Answer!
Cycling is beneficial to your health, but injuries are inevitable. So, how can you prevent injuries while cycling? Click on this blog to get the answer now!
Riding a bike is both a relaxing hobby and an exercise for your well-being. Yet, there are some common risks of injury while practicing this form of exercise that cyclists can easily face.
Due to this reason, it is necessary that newbies learn about all the potential physical risks before stepping into this area! After you have grasped all these risks, you will then know how to avoid them.
Read on to learn some tips and useful info on how can you prevent injuries while cycling now!
What Is The Injury Of Cycling?
1. AC Joint Sprain
Have you ever heard of an AC joint sprain? It normally happens when you ride a bicycle. If you notice a raised point above the joint of your top shoulder, then you must suffer this joint injury.
Maybe you have fallen with an outstretched hand while cycling, which causes strain to the joint capsule. In this case, you should call for a professional for advice on therapy and surgery.
2. Hip Pain
Another frequent type of injury is hip pain. There will be an ache or muscle tightness around the hip, especially the front and outer side. This hip flexor pain happens because you have been sitting on the bike for too long, causing less flexibility as a result.
We suggest you meet an Osteopath or Physiotherapist to receive instruction on stretching tension relief exercises.
3. Knee Pain
Almost all cyclists get a deep ache or injury of the kee once in their lifetime.
The reason lies in your legs’ flexion and extension – as bones are rubbed hard and then pinch soft tissues, this leads to imbalance tension on the knee cap. Your knees can even get swelling and inflammation.
Moreover, be careful if your knee is painful because of arthritis. I highly recommend taking an initial diagnosis and doing an MRI scan to know where the pain starts. Regarding treatment, you can do light stretching and physiotherapy exercises to strengthen the tendon. Other interventions like injection and surgery are suggested if necessary.
Do not forget to check your bike set up to see whether its height is suitable for you.
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4. Hand pain
The right way of biking requires the combination of all your body parts, and your hand is no exception. For this reason, you might feel pain and weakness in your little finger and ring finger after the first time riding.
It results from nerve tension on your wrist joints and forearm muscles, as you have to keep the handlebars securely for too long.
Let’s try to change the position of the grip usually to improve this condition. Otherwise, having an Osteopath to increase mobility is a good idea. They will give you optimal advice about how to practice to avoid nerve tension and equip you with a new comfortable set of grips.
5. Foot Numbness
There are several injuries related to your body parts when biking, and foot numbness is one of them. You will feel there are pins and needles on the undersurface of your foot. Others even cannot sense anything else.
Normally, this numbing, tingling situation of compressed nerves comes from tight-fitting shoes, bad bike set up, or over-action, like climbing.
In case the numbness gets worse and happens more frequently without easing up, you had better replace a new pair of shoes with a comfortable size one. Special orthotic insoles are good enough for you to add to your package.
On the other hand, seek help from a doctor to get steroid injections or surgery when things get worse.
6. Neck Pain
If you find it hard to bend and rotate your head, you probably suffer from neck pain. This is the reason why you cannot get used to sustained posture while cycling. As a result, your neck or upper back lacks flexibility, giving your spine a painful muscle spasm and stiffness.
Neck pain often appears in those new cyclists who do not frequently keep their muscles in a static position for a long time. I suggest you stretch your neck gently or find an Osteopath to loosen and mobilize your neck more freely.
7. Saddle sore
It can be a sore saddle injury when you get the symptom of a real soreness in the backside, or between the buttock and the bike saddle. Friction at this point increases dramatically as the saddle is too old or your cycling shorts lack adequate padding.
If you want to avoid this, let’s pick up another saddle that is a good fit without the pressure points. Also, remember to buy other padded cycling shorts as well.
8. Low Back Pain
Low back pain is an unavoidable case when you are into cycling. Cyclists barely change their postures during their journey, leading to the flexibility decrease of your hips. Subsequently, the lower part of your back will get muscle strain easily as it connects with the hip to transfer power.
I have to emphasize that this situation will not improve by itself; instead, you have to do regular stretching exercises. An Osteopath can help you out with tailored treatment as well.
9. Ankle Pain
Injury to the ankle seems very common in any cyclist as the legs are the main part of moving continuously. In more detail, the tendon in your ankle will be irritated due to quick training, overuse, or inadequate bike setup. For example, the position between the saddle and the pedal cleats is too far, causing you to take a false step.
When the ankle is swelling, it will be best to have some rest time to wait for healing. Wrapping ice in a towel and applying it to the hurt comes in handy to relieve your pain.
10. Forearm pain – ‘Arm Pump’
Believe me, this symptom is much more painful than hand pain. Your forearm is so intense that you barely cannot grip your hands. But why? The reason lies in your tight and tired muscles.
You need to practice ride stretching, like rotating your handlebars or the brake lever, to keep the wrist sitting correctly with the arm. Additionally, Physiotherapy appointments can help cope with this situation.
How Can You Prevent Injuries While Cycling?
1. Safety First
How can cyclists prevent injury riding near traffic? – Wearing a helmet. This accessory will protect your head from suffering severe injuries if a collision occurs.
Depending on your purpose of cycling, the safety items you need to equip yourself will vary. If you join casual cycling, a helmet is enough. Suppose you are a competitor in a race, then you have to put on protective clothing.
You may have noticed on multimedia sources that professional cyclists often wear long-sleeved shirts during their races. This is all for the sake of safety.
Long-sleeved clothing can save cyclists from serious grazes and cuts. Particularly, when the riders lose control of their bikes and fall off, the layer of clothes can minimize the impact of the sturdy and uneven roads on the body.
2. Set Up Your Bike
Firstly, you need to make sure that the seat height is comfortable to sit on and you are able to place your feet on the surface whenever needed. The recommended seat height is that your hip bone should be on a horizontal line with the seat.
Moreover, the handlebar height is another point you should consider before riding your bike. Professional or competitive bikers often opt for low handlebars, which will assist them in achieving better results.
However, this type of handlebar may result in low back pain for beginners. You have to be determined which purpose you are going to use your bike for to set up and pick the right handlebar.
3. Warm Up
In any physical and sporty activities, warming up is an indispensable procedure. Unlike other sports, cycling warming up doesn’t require stretches. To prepare for your bicycle riding, you should start to ride your bike at a moderate speed for at least 5 minutes. Then, accelerate to the target speed.
1. Prevent Knee Injuries
The most common causes for your knee are improper saddle position and saddle height.
In specific, you may get sore at the knee’s outside or back by setting the saddle at an over-high position. What’s more, when you sit on a too-high saddle, it means that you will struggle to reach the pedals. Your striving to touch the pedal can negatively affect your hamstring tendon and iliotibial band.
A low saddle also brings risks to your knee like a high one. In this situation, the patellofemoral joint will be the victim of the wrong positioned saddle. Too much pressure on the joint will cause your kneecap to be painful.
With your knee pain, it may possibly come from the over-forward saddle. Similarly, you have to suffer from an over-extended knee due to an over-backward saddle.
2. Prevent Neck Pain
Have you ever felt that pain inside your neck is running down to your shoulder while riding? If you have, you should change your cycling posture now. An extended posture is a root for such neck pain.
To deal with this problem, you need to alter your position to be more upright. By that, I mean you should modify the saddle height to a lower point and push it a little forward.
Another tip for getting rid of cycling neck pain is to take your riding in an easier and more relaxing way. Some cyclists have the habit of tensely holding their handlebars to feel more secure about their rides. Unfortunately, this action can lead to neck pain on a long ride.
3. Prevent Low Back Pain
Low back pain is the injury reported by almost every cyclist, but it happens more often to professional ones.
When doing the exercise, bike riders have to fold their body forward because of the bike structure and technical skills. As a result, the posterior chain muscles, responsible for holding your back, have to withstand enormous pressure. Back pain will eventually occur.
Coping with low back pain requires your body exercises. There are three sections you have to focus on to minimize the possibility of back pain and increase the strength of your back.
Firstly, you need to mobilize the most crucial section of your back, the spine, with stretches. There are several stretches for the spine you can look up on the Internet.
Secondly, you should activate your glutes. These parts play a significant role in keeping your pelvis stable. Once you manage to stabilize your pelvis, you can balance yourself on the saddle without relying too much on the constant function of back muscles.
Then, your back muscles can take more time to rest, and back pain will rarely happen. The useful exercises for the activation of glutes are banded fire hydrants, single-leg deadlift, etc.
Honestly, you can sustain one hour of riding your bike without any fatigue, except for back pain. The noteworthy solution to this obstacle is taking side planks to improve your muscular endurance.
You need to evenly practice this exercise with both sides of your body for the most optimal results. Keep doing this activity daily, you will notice the wonderful improvement of both your glutes and muscles around the spine.
4. Prevent Hand Injuries
During a long ride, you may recognize the appearance of tingling and numbness in your palm or fingers. Don’t neglect these symptoms, or else you have to endure hand injuries. To prevent hand injuries, treat the pain first with these methods:
- Do you grip your handlebars properly? The numbness often comes from an over-powerful grip. So, loosen your fingers a little bit from the handlebars. You can still have a firm hold over your bike with a more relaxed grip.
- Never remain your hands in a steady position during a long ride. You have to alter the spot you put your hand on.
- Make sure that you keep your wrists as straight as possible. To avoid straining your wrist muscles when passing rough terrains, move your hands.
- If you are a terrain biker, experiencing severe vibration is no longer strange. Although you can overcome the struggling route easily, it doesn’t mean that you can totally save your hands from getting injured.
For the sake of your hands, you should apply handlebar tape along with padded gloves. These additional items will absorb the shock and vibration, so you can protect your hands from potential risk while holding the handlebar more securely.
- The most effortless way to conquer hand fatigue is to shake the strained hand. Leaving the handlebar for seconds to shake your hand can lessen the tiredness.
5. Prevent Saddle Sore
Saddle sore is a skin condition that annoys many long-route cyclists. When you spend hours sitting on the saddle, a saddle sore will happen and cause your buttock to feel irritating and painful.
Some cyclists overlook the impact of saddle sores on their performances because this injury doesn’t promptly bring dangerous consequences. This is a serious misconception. If the saddle sore keeps going on, you can’t even sit on your bike.
Curing this injury is actually not difficult – All you have to do is rest for a few days. However, this treatment is possible for only casual bikers. It would be a disaster for professional competitors to take days off reluctantly.
Cycling shorts are the side-kick that will help you to avoid paddle sores. Don’t hesitate to invest in high-quality shorts if you want to take the workout seriously. Padded bottom shorts will provide you with a soft and steady sense of sitting. Besides, you can apply chamois cream for more remarkable efficiency.
Apart from these factors, picking an appropriate saddle with your sit bones is highly recommended to eliminate the risk of getting a saddle sore. Some bike brands even offer customers the chance to measure their actual sit bones width to fit the saddle size.
Don’t worry if the brand you purchase your bike doesn’t supply this service. Almost every bike retail store offers a free saddle trial for customers, so you will have time to decide which will be your optimal choice.
6. Prevent Shoulder Pain
Fortunately, all the solutions to prevent hand injuries, low back pain, and numbness are still adequate to handle shoulder pain. You can rely on one of these tips below to avoid shoulder pain when cycling:
- If you have an irritating feeling on your shoulders, you should stop cycling and shrug them.
- Don’t let your elbow be straight, or else it will lead to muscle tension.
- Relax your neck by tilting it frequently. Keeping your neck in a fixed posture is also a source of shoulder pain.
- Make sure that the handlebar’s width is suitable for your body scale. A too narrow or too wide handlebar will cause shoulder pain.
Can You Cycle With Injury?
The answer can be yes or no, depending on the optional situation. For example, you can return to cycling right after a few days if you have suffered from slight injuries. They consist of ankle pain or foot numbness.
On the contrary, you had better spend time resting to allow the pain to heal completely. It often takes a few months to nearly a year if the pain is more serious.
Lastly, always keep in mind not to cycle too aggressively or too fast.
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Cycling is undoubtedly a beneficial activity. Yet, this does not imply that there is no physical risk while practicing it.
How can you prevent injuries while cycling, then? Prepare yourself with full safety equipment and follow the traffic regulations. Then, enjoy your exciting journey. Good luck!