Have you ever suffered a severe injury due to long hours of cycling on rough roads? If you have, then maybe you’re not fully aware of the usual injuries that affect cyclists.
To help you prevent such painful incidents from happening again, we conducted an interview with Dr Sean Ng, one of the most reputable orthopaedic surgeons in Singapore.
Based on our conversation with him, many cyclists tend to injure their knees, groin and buttocks, hands, and back, mostly due to extremely high cycling speed and failure to follow safety precautions.
That’s why it’s highly important to educate yourself on safety procedures and preparations before and during your cycling activities.
We also found out that though some injuries may be impossible to prevent, there are still some simple things that you can do to protect yourself while doing your favourite sport. In fact, here’s the list of the most common cycling injuries and how you can avoid them.
This is an overuse injury that’s caused by inflammation, poor bike fit, and improper position of shoe cleats. In order to prevent it, you need to make sure that you’re riding the bike that suits you the most and check if the cleats are positioned properly.
If the injury isn’t from overuse, it’s possibly due to the bike fit. If the saddle is too high, it’ll keep your toes pointing down, causing a continuous contraction of calf muscles.
To treat the inflammation, use ice to calm it down and get enough rest to let it heal.
After long hours in the saddle, you may experience a saddle sore, which is a skin disorder that can be developed from wearing old shorts and riding a bike with a saddle positioned too high for you. The friction between your skin/clothes and saddle can cause rashes.
So, you need to wear the right kind of cycling shorts to prevent it. Look for shorts that are not too old and that provide enough cushion from the insert. You may also lower your saddle to reduce the discomfort of your skin burning against the saddle.
You may also use a cream to relieve the discomfort so you can always have a good time cycling with your friends and loved ones.
Lower Back Pain
Long hours of cycling can lead to lower back pain, most especially if you don’t have the strong core muscles needed to maintain the natural yet aggressive bike riding position. To provide strong and consistent pedal strokes, your body must be in a flexed position for a long time, which puts a lot of stress on the muscles of your spine.
Therefore, a core-strengthening regimen must be a part of your daily routine. You also need to set your back straight and in the right position based on the frame of your bicycle.
This will help you maintain your balance and power through long hours of cycling.
Neck pain is often caused by muscle tightness that you can feel along the sides of the neck and down to the shoulder. These muscles become overly fatigued from carrying the whole weight of your head once you’ve cycled for an extensive period of time.
This can also be caused by bike fit and shoulder muscle tensions while riding. To avoid this injury, see if the bike fits well with your body.
You may also try some adjustments such as shortening the stem so you can be in a more upright position and be more comfortable. Moreover, loosening your grip on the handlebars will also help you relax your shoulders.
It’s also advisable to include specific neck and shoulder exercises in your routine to strengthen these muscles and fix your posture.
You probably have experienced this before as it’s the most common injury while cycling. Knee injuries often occur due to high speed.
If you fasten your feet to the pedals with cleats on the bottom of your shoes and don’t put them in the right position, there’s a good chance you’ll get extreme knee pain from vigorous cycling. So, it’d be a great help to fix the position of the cleats as well as get some cycling insoles.
Can’t feel your feet after long hours of cycling? This foot numbness is usually caused by improperly fitted shoes. So, before you go on a ride, check if the cleats are not too far forward.
Too much hill riding can also be the cause of this since there’s a lot of pressure on the foot when going uphill. Wearing shoes that are not too narrow and that don’t squeeze your feet too much can also be a help.
According to Dr Ang Teck Kee, a renowned cardiologist in Singapore, chest pain can manifest in athletes… but take heart, because it’s not always a sign of a grave heart problem.
For example, if cyclists get mild chest pain, it’s not always a major issue — just a common one for those who are out of shape. Since this sport requires intense training, pushing the limit when cycling can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, and hyperventilation that may lead to chest pain.
It’s highly advisable to keep your body in tune by being consistent with your routine and doing well-balanced training. If you do get chest pain, stop cycling immediately and rest for a while.
If it doesn’t resolve itself quickly and you have a family history of heart disease, you should consider visiting the emergency room immediately. Otherwise, try to take it easy for now, because you may have just pushed your body a little too far for its comfort.
Anyway, that’s our list of the most common cycling injuries and how to prevent or deal with them. Notice, by the way, that most of these injuries are due to poor bike fit or the wrong choice of cyclist accessories.
This is why it’s essential to find the right bike that suits your needs and preferences. It’s as much a matter of safety as it is of comfort.
Anyway, if you need to visit a good bike shop where you can consult with a reliable bike specialist and explore a wide variation of bike types, consult with us. We can help you find the best bikes and accessories for your needs and condition.