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The 8 most common Cycling Injuries and how to prevent them

This time of year the roads of vancouver are teeming with Lycra-clad Peddle Pushers going all out to be KOM amongst their Strava buddies, hit a PR in the Penticton Fondo or just cruising to their favourite Steveston Coffee Shop. This is the time of year when we start to see a number of reoccurring issues brought about by the repetitive nature of cycling. Lets look at the 8 most common ailments and how to approach them.

Repetitive use injuries in Cycling

  • Knee pain.

This can come in many forms from Patellar Femoral tracking issues, to IT Band irritation and beyond. The good news is that there are two simple fixes that should clear most cases up.

1. Get your bike fitted! Correctly placing your saddle and seat post will ensure your knees and hips are going through the maximum available extension-flexion ranges. Correctly fitting your pedals and shoes will ensure your foot, ankle and tibia will move freely providing the knee with small amounts of rotation to keep your surrounding knee tissues healthy.

2. Roll and Stretch when you're not on the bike! Target the hips in particular for knee pain.

  • Lower Back Pain.

Usually a result of spending too many hours flexed in the lumbar spine. This problem is exacerbated if your back is constantly going into deeper flexion with every pedal stroke. Again, a proper bike fitting including reach length and handle bar height as well as maintaining adequate hip mobility through stretching and rolling will keep back pain at bay.

  • Achilles Tendonitis. ...

Lets think shoe fitting and pedal technique here. Spacers between your cleats and shoes outsole can level the foot. Make sure you aren't clenching your feet when pedalling, check next time you're out putting in a hard effort. We do this more than you may think. If you get achilles tendon pain, see if relaxing your feet helps. Properly fitted shoes are obviously a must.

  • Muscle Tightness. ...

Cycling, road cycling in particular locks us in to the shape of a bike for hours on end. Our body, seeking efficiency, adapts to this position. So while we are getting more comfortable in the saddle, we're usually making postural sacrifices out of the saddle. Spend 10 minutes rolling and stretching for every hour you spend in the saddle. Think about movements that aren't what you do on the bike. Remind your body that there's more to your life than cycling, even if you don't think there is ;)

  • Saddle Sores. ...

Shammy - Own one, use it, replace it when it's worn out. Use Shammy Butter (not too much unless you want it foaming out of your shorts!) -we'd recommend a natural one to minimize potential allergic reactions. Experiment with different Saddles to see what fits your bum. We're all different shapes, so our saddles probably should be too!

If you're after a saddle fitting, check out the guys at Westpoint

  • Foot Numbness. ...

Foot numbness usually comes from excessive pressure on the soles. First stop is to make sure you have comfy shoes and socks, make sure your shoes fit well and are fastened with even pressure throughout. Try spacers between the cleat and outsole of the shoe to level your feet - if you already have them and numbness has crept in, check to see if they have moved. For fittings, I used the guys at Speed Theory and found the service to be good value.

  • Muscle Fatigue.

Ok so maybe not an injury per-se, but this will certainly limit your riding. This all comes down to rest and recovery . Remember this sequence Training breaks you down, Refuelling fills up your gas tank, rest and recovery repairs the engine stronger than before.

So get your rest, vary your training intensity and be sparing with those maximal days.

  • Neck Pain

One of the most common complaints when people start Road Riding. It's usually caused by having too much weight on the handlebars and can be accompanied by numb or painful hands. Again Bike fitting is huge here, but also consider your riding technique. You should have very light pressure in your hands, shoulders drawn back (not hunched forward) and your core engaged so that you could take your hands off the bars without sitting up.

We work with many cyclists in the gym and in the Nutrition Consult Room. Keeping our riders out on the road and hitting their season targets is a big focus for us every off season and summer and we love it! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and find out how we can help you!

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