Cycling has been one of the most popular and growing sports in recent years. Often touted as a great all rounded sport for its low impact characteristics cycling does however have its fair share of potential issues. This is where cycling physiotherapy comes in and can keep you functioning at your highest level.
The growing success of British riders in the Tour de France, Olympics and many other tournaments means that its profile has been growing tremendously. Unless you are a member of a club or have been been given professional guidance, incorrect riding styles will cause many injuries.
Common cycling injuries
Due to poor positioning, stress can be present through the spine from top to bottom even though it’s a non weight bearing activity. The angle of the lower back and thoracic spine can create problems. These can be caused from being curved over coupled with having to lift up your neck as you look ahead. Poor bike set up and drop bars can contribute greatly to these back pain issues
Muscle imbalances can occur such as over use/ poor use of the power muscles such as your quads and hip flexors. In general we all lack posterior muscle strength as all effort is through the front of body. This is very similar to being sat at desk all day.
The repetitive nature of the sport can also cause overuse use issues. These can occur, for example in your knees. Hand numbness can also occur due to pressure through the bars on the hands over an extended period of time.
We have all seen how devastating a fall or crash can be especially when travelling at speed. Those who use cleats for the first time can also be at risk of accidents until they are proficient with their use.
- Thoracic spine (upper/mid back pain)
- Cervical spine (neck and shoulder pain)
- Lower back pain
- Piriformis syndrme (buttock pain)
- Knee ligaments
- PFPS (runner’s knee)
- Carpel tunnel syndrome (hand numbness)
Prevention of cycling injuries
With all sports we always recommend a thorough warm up. As we have discussed poor bike set up can contribute a great deal to injuries so getting this right will dramatically improve both your comfort and performance. A muscle balance assessment and strength and conditioning program should also help prevent issues arising.
Treatment of cycling injuries
Due to the wide range of issues that you can face it is no surprise that there are equally a wide range of treatments. These are all designed to deal with the initial pain and concerns. This is followed by rehabilitation and a return to fitness.
Pain relief may come in the form of acupuncture. Generally we will prescribe plenty of hands on physiotherapy in conjunction with sports massage. It is very important to work through a strength and conditioning rehabilitation program. This should also be followed by personal training with sports injury management which will correct any muscle imbalances. This will lower the risk of recurrence.
Below is the list of treatments we use with cycling physiotherapy: