Cycling is a lot of fun and whether you participate in long distance charity challenges or you simply ride your bike to work this sport can offer you a great workout. However, when you are riding your bike you are putting yourself at risk for a few different types of injuries. It is important to know about these injuries so that you can adjust your behaviour and avoid them. If you are planning a long distance trip, such as a London to Paris bike ride, you will want to be prepared so that you don’t finish the ride with a painful injury.
Many of the common cycling injuries are caused by the body being in a position of strain, often due to improper seat positioning and cycling technique. One of the most crucial things that you can do is to make sure that your bike is the right size for your body and that you are riding in the right position.
What are some of the most common injuries to look out for?
One of the most common injuries for cyclists is the knee, as this joint undergoes a lot of stress when cycling. There are many different types of knee injuries, including quadriceps tendinitis, Cyclist’s knee and iliotibial band friction syndrome.
How can you prevent this? Make sure that your knee is at the right angle when your legs are turning the pedals – it should be slightly bent when your pedal is at the bottom position. There are shoe implants and wedges that can be used to keep your foot in the right position and avoid stress on the knee.
Many cyclists suffer from neck pain when they ride for long periods of time, as they keep their necks strained in one position for too long. You can avoid this pain by doing neck stretches periodically on a long ride to relieve the tension. Also if your hamstrings are tight you might find yourself arching your back, which will cause your neck to be hyperextended. Make sure that you stretch your hamstrings regularly while riding so that you can maintain proper form and avoid stress on the neck. Another strategy is to change your grip on the handlebars frequently – you will avoid overusing your muscles and you will redistribute the pressure.
When you are cycling you should always be wearing a helmet, especially when you are on a busy road. If you crash you could risk a traumatic brain injury, but a helmet reduces this risk by 85%. Although wearing a helmet is not always legally required everywhere that you might be riding your bike, it is still recommended for your own safety. There are many different styles of helmets available so that you can choose one that is comfortable for you. They are usually quite affordable and the investment in your own safety is completely worth it.
Wrist and Forearm Pain
Another common type of injury that occurs for cyclists is wrist and forearm strain. Make sure that you are riding your bike with your elbows slightly bent so that when you hit a bump in the road the bent elbow will act as a shock absorber. Also you can change your hand positions regularly to reduce pain and numbness. You can also prevent wrist injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Cyclist’s Palsy by alternating the pressure on your wrists from the inside to the outside of your palms. Make sure that your wrists don’t drop below the handlebars, as this puts a lot of stress on them.
Numb and Tingling Feet
Do you ever feel that your feet are numb and tingling after you have been riding your bike for a long time? This is usually caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, so check to see if this might be the cause.
These are just a few of the common injuries that cyclists might suffer from. Of course, the more often you ride your bike the more important it is to pay attention to these possible injuries – especially during long rides such as charity challenges. If you are planning a long distance cycling trip for charity you will be spending several hours per day in the saddle, so make sure that you are prepared and that you avoid placing unnecessary strain on your body.