Road cycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise that is highly rewarding and engaging. Whether you are looking to train for your first charity ride, participate in a sportive cycling event/GranFondo, or take up cycling for leisure, safety is an utmost priority. Pain is a symptom that is telling your body that your bike is not adjusted appropriately for your body or your body’s positioning is improper while cycling. Here are the top three most common cycling injuries and ways to prevent them.
You have knee pain if you feel pain around the front of the knee or just below it. This type of pain is an indication that there is excessive stress, otherwise known as excessive force, to the knee cap. This is the result of having a saddle height that is too low which places excess stress on the knee when pedalling. On the contrary, if you have pain behind the knee, it means that your saddle is too high. Your saddle height is too high if your knee is fully straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
To correct the issue, you need to adjust the saddle height. The correct height is when you have only a slight bend to the knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
Back and Neck Pain
Back and neck pain are common concerns among all cyclists. The body’s position adopted in road cycling can cause excess stress on the low back and neck. Consequently, it is vital to look at your body’s positioning on the bike.
You need make adjustments to your bike by either raising or lowering the length and height of the stem and handlebars. Make sure your bike correctly fits your body for long rides. Additionally, it may also be worthwhile to look into a lightweight helmet to reduce neck discomfort.
Training in cycling involves spending an increasing number of hours on the bike. The saddle is a high-pressure area in cycling. When mixed in with sweat it can cause chafing and uncomfortable saddle sores.
First and foremost, a pair of bike shorts with proper padding called a chamois becomes vital, especially with longer durations spent on the saddle. These spandex/lycra bike shorts are meant to sit next to the skin, and provide adequate cushioning for your sit bones against the saddle. Secondly, ensuring your bike saddle fits your anatomy is equally important. Your sit bones should rest on the saddle, not your soft tissues. If you experience any numbness in the saddle area, this could be a sign of a poorly fitting saddle.
Despite the fact that cycling is a low impact exercise, it is still highly repetitive in nature. Your body needs to adapt to the stress and demands of the sport. It is recommended that you increase your overall volume of cycling by no more than 10-20% per week to prevent overuse injuries. If you have pain as a result of cycling, book an appointment with a physiotherapist. They can address, treat, and provide advice on training and positioning on the bike to avoid future cycling injuries.