Common Bicycle Injuries Physiotherapy
The summer season is around the corner and what is better than gearing up on your bike AND enjoying the amazing weather and heat we have been looking for. However, you have to be aware of a few common injuries associated with biking and certain factors leading to these injuries. Most injuries occur as a result or riding at high speed. Superficial soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal trauma are the most common ones. Some of the injuries are very hard to avoid but you can still minimize the damage. Many problems are purely related to poor posture so preventing them is only a matter of keeping your back and shoulders straight. Some of the biking injuries are as follows:
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)
- Low back pain
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Muscle Tightness
- Neck Pain
- Saddle sores or Urogenital conditions
- Knee pain
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)
ITB is a common injury associated with professional bikers or people biking often longer than 2 to 3 hours. ITB is a thick connective tissue running on the side of your thigh bone(femur). Its an extension of your hip muscles that ends up on the outer aspect of your knee. There are fluid filled sacs called bursa sitting between the bone and ITB which function to minimize friction between these two surfaces. Repetitive bending and straightening of your knee can lead to overuse of ITB thus leading to inflammation in these bursae.
Also, ITB itself might have developed lots of scar tissue due to repetitive microtrauma from previous knee injuries. Tightness in thigh and calf muscle can put excessive stress over ITB placing it at a higher risk of injury. Some bikers with previous injuries to kneecap or knee find their symptoms getting worse with extended biking when ITB lacks adequate flexibility to allow smooth knee bending. Improper seat height can be another contributing factor to ITB Syndrome. For instance, too lengthy seat height necessitates excessive muscle work to be able to over extend your knees and bend them whereas too short seat height makes it hard for your knee to bend and stretch it repetitively. In either situation, your ITB is overused!
Low back pain
It is another common biking injury. Your spine is held in static flexed posture for prolonged time. This can put tremendous strain on your disc (jelly elastic substance between vertebrae) and overstretch the ligaments holding tiny bones (vertebrae) in your spine together. Muscles surrounding the spine are also at a higher risk of injury due to awkward positioning of spine for extended periods of time. Its just not the posture which potentially can injure your bike, many a time it is attributed to poor bicycle frames.
If the piriformis muscle becomes tight or cramps it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause gluteal (or buttock) pain or sciatica. For instance, if the bicycle frame is too small, you tend to overstretch to be able to reach the handlebars. On the other hand, too big frames can lead to hunchback posture, either way putting your spine at higher risk of injury. In addition, lack of extensibility in spine/leg muscles, poor core muscle activation, and inadequate warm up/ cool down exercises, previous back injuries can also contribute to your back injuries.
This is another overuse injury and is the cause of soreness and inflammation. You should position shoe cleats properly. Make sure the kind of bike you’re riding is right for you. If Achilles tendonitis goes untreated, it can become a chronic (ongoing) condition that makes just walking around almost impossible.
- discomfort or swelling in the back of your heel
- tight calf muscles
- limited range of motion when flexing your foot
You may not even know it but your calves and hamstrings are probably too tight. You don’t feel it when you are riding because your body is too smart and has adapted to the constant motion. Muscles stiffness can also be accompanied by pain, cramping, and discomfort.
Neck pain is caused by tightness in the muscle that starts at the base of the skull and runs along the sides of the neck all the way to the shoulders. They get too tired because they carry the entire weight of the head in extension for a long time in the same position while riding. hanging the grip on the handlebars takes the stress off of over-used muscles and redistributes pressure to different nerves.
Saddle sores or urogenital conditions
This is a disorder that develops over time after many hours in the saddle. One common complaint from male riders who spend a lot of time riding is pudendal neuropathy, a numbness or pain in the genital or rectal area. It is typically caused by compression of the blood supply to the genital region. A wider seat, one with padding, a seat with part of the seat removed, changing the tilt of the seat, or using padded cycling shorts will all help relieve pressure.
This is one of the most overuse injuries in the sport. Cyclists fasten their feet to the pedals with cleats on the bottom of the shoes. However, if they are not positioned the correct way, the result is sharp pain in the knees.
Why see a physiotherapist?
Registered Physiotherapists can help you in both decreasing the likelihood of getting your back and knees injured and aiding faster recovery and quicker return to your favorite sport after an injury. Registered Physiotherapists use different soft tissue and manual techniques along with tools like Hawk, Garston, Cupping and K-taping as part of their treatment protocol along with corrective/proprioceptive exercises to assist you in faster recovery from these injuries.
Call Us @ 905 997 4333 and get a free initial physiotherapy consultation Today!!!!!