How to Avoid Cycling Injuries

March 31, 2022

Is there anything better than a weekend bike ride on a sunny day? Whether it’s a leisurely cycle to take in the scenery or a fast-paced hustle to get the heart rate up; cycling is an incredibly popular activity among Australians.

However, it’s also a common source of injury, either from one-off incidents, overusing certain muscles or otherwise. If you’re a keen cyclist and want to continue riding bikes for many years to come, here’s a breakdown of the most common cycling injuries and how you can avoid them.

 

Cycling knee injuries

Knees are by far the most common body part to sustain injuries from cycling. At Essendon Natural Health, the most common cycling knee injuries we come across are:

  • Patellofemoral syndrome (cyclist’s knee)
  • Patella and quadriceps tendinitis
  • Medial plica syndrome
  • Iliotibial band friction syndrome

These conditions can be avoided by wearing shoe implants, placing wedges beneath the shoes, or adjusting the positioning of your cleats.

 

Cycling foot injuries

Cycling foot injuries are interesting because rather than experiencing actual pain, most cyclists complain of numbness or tingling in either one or both feet.

Usually the injury comes down to:

  • Shoes being too tight or narrow
  • Exertional compartment syndrome (when there is increased pressure in the lower leg, which compresses the nerves)

At Essendon Natural Health, we diagnose this through a series of pressure measurements, and we adopt a technique called surgical release to alleviate the symptoms.

 

Head injuries

It goes without saying that it’s incredibly important to wear a helmet at all times while cycling. Even while stationary, there are incidents of cyclists falling over without a helmet and sustaining serious head injuries. Not only is it illegal not to wear a helmet in Australia (except in the Northern Territory), but it decreases the risk of sustaining a head injury by up to 85%.

 

Neck or back pain

If you tend to hold a single riding position for extended periods of time while riding, you may notice that your neck gets sore. You can fix this by doing shoulder shrugs and neck stretching exercises to help relieve the tension.

Another culprit for neck/back pain is improper cycling form, due to the handlebars being too low or tight hamstrings/hip flexor muscles, for example. Either of these issues will cause you to round your back while riding, and this puts strain on both your neck and your back. Stretch these muscles regularly to increase flexibility and thus maintain proper form easier.

 

Pain or numbness in your wrist(s) and/or forearm(s)

Ideally when cycling, you should have your elbows slightly bent so that if you hit a bump in the road, your elbows will absorb the shock. If your elbows are straight, the jolt will have a jarring effect on your elbow joints.

As for your wrists, try switching hand positions on a regular basis while riding. This will reduce your exposure to common wrist injuries like Cyclist’s Palsy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The pressure on your palms needs to alternate between the inside and the outside to alleviate pain or numbness in your hands, wrists and forearms. Hand stretches and padded gloves will also help to alleviate the issue.

 

Pain or numbness in the urogenital region

It’s no surprise really that people (particularly men) who spend a lot of time cycling tend to experience some discomfort around the genital and rectal areas. This pain or numbness, referred to as pudendal neuropathy, is the result of compressed blood supply. You may need to invest in a new bike seat; one which is wider or has more padding. First try changing the tilt of the seat, or using padded cycling shorts to reduce pressure while riding.

 

Would you benefit from holistic natural health treatment at our Essendon clinic?

At Essendon Natural Health, we offer a diverse variety of holistic natural health treatments, with the goal of helping to alleviate the symptoms associated with musculoskeletal conditions. Our tranquil clinic provides pain and injury relief, energy revitalisation and energy support, mood balance and sleep support, nutritional medicine advice and other health services.

If you are experiencing stiff joints, sore muscles, swelling or general physical/mental fatigue; don’t hesitate to book a consultation with our friendly practitioners today. Otherwise contact us directly for more information.