How to Prevent Cycling Injuries

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By Dr. Stefanie Yao
Published on June 12, 2014

Complaints of neck and back pain are common for cyclists.

Cycling (even Spin Class) is an excellent form of exercise with great health benefits but that means your body may also be experiencing some aches and pains, so why not address them so you can improve your cycling experience. Common cycling injuries and complaints from cyclists do occur and typically can be from one’s neck and back, hands or lower extremities such as hips, knees, calf’s and occasionally feet.

Symptoms of Cycling Injuries

Complaints of neck and back pain tend to be attributed to the cyclists upper body positioning, such as poor riding posture and hyperextending of ones neck and flexion of the lower back. When this occurs muscles tighten leading to trigger points and spinal restrictions. One symptom to look out for is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which is discomfort into the shoulders and down the arms, as the space between the collarbone and first rib have nerves and arteries which can be compressed due to improper riding posture leading to hand, forearm, upper arm, neck and back pain.

Another common symptom of cyclists is ‘handlebar palsy’ or ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ this typically presents with numbness and tingling, even weakness of hands and fingers. Discomfort can even be felt up to the elbows.

Lower extremity issues can also present itself to cyclists, such as knee pain over the quadriceps tendon and patella area, IT band syndrome and also hip pain. All of these injuries tend to mostly present due to overuse, repetitive stress injuries that can be attributed due to poor form, or an improperly fitted bike.

One last injury complaint that may not be as obvious from cyclists is feet pain such as plantar fasciitis, calf pain and metatarsalgia.

How To Treat Cycling Injuries

The best way to treat and address these issues may be choosing a conservative treatment approach with rest, ice and perhaps a call to you manual therapist such as a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist where they can address these issues as well as make sure you have your bike properly fitted to reduce injuries.

With cycling becoming accessible almost all year round in some places make sure to listen to your body when riding and address your aches and pains you feel. Just like having your bike properly maintained with a bike mechanic, cycling while being injured is not fun so why not address the issues with your body mechanic so you can ride on.