Know the Common Cycling Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Trust the Sports Medicine Specialists at Kayal Orthopaedic Center
Bicycling is a great way to stay active and fit. It’s also a convenient and eco-friendly mode of transportation. As the beauty of spring continues to unfold around us here in North Jersey, it’s the perfect time to hop on your bike and explore the wonders and possibilities of life.
At Kayal Orthopaedic Center, we encourage people to choose hobbies and activities—like cycling—that improve their physical and mental wellbeing. But if you have any concerns about handling the physical demands of a bicycle, you should consult your physician first. We hope to make you aware of some of the common cycling injuries that can occur—and how to prevent them. As the premier sports medicine specialists and best orthopaedic surgeons in Bergen County, NJ, we know you can enjoy the benefits of bicycling when you do it safely and at a pace that’s right for you.
Here are just some common cycling injuries:
- Knee pain: Patellofemoral syndrome (cyclist’s knee) is the result of overuse and causes pain around your kneecap. Other common overuse injuries that also cause kneecap pain include patella tendinitis, quadriceps tendinitis and medial plica syndrome. Iliotibial band friction syndrome causes pain in the outer area of your knee. Some overuse injuries can be prevented by shoe implants, wedges under your shoes or proper foot positioning when you pedal.
- Head injuries: From minor scrapes on the cheek to serious brain injuries, your head is one of the most vulnerable areas of your body on a bicycle. In New Jersey, anyone under the age of 17 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. However, the rest of us benefit from helmets, as well. According to some statistics, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of injury by as much as 85 percent.
- Back/neck pain: When you stay in one position for a long period of time on your bicycle, you can suffer neck pain. Try doing neck stretches or shoulder shrugs for relief. Improper form can cause pain, too. If your handlebars are too low, you tend to round your back, placing added strain on your neck and back. You also might round your back if your hip flexors or hamstrings are too tight. This causes your neck to hyperextend. Stretching these muscles will improve your flexibility and help you maintain proper form. You also should try changing the grip on your handlebars to reduce muscle stress and redistribute pressure on your nerves.
- Wrist/forearm pain or numbness: Cyclist’s palsy and carpal tunnel syndrome are two common overuse injuries of the wrist. Try alternating pressure from the inside to the outside of your palms and keeping your wrists above the handlebars to prevent them. Wearing padded gloves and stretching your hands and wrists before you ride can help, too. You should always ride with your elbows bent because they act as shock absorbers when you hit bumps. Locked or straight elbows cause pain or injury. Changing the positions of your hands helps prevent or reduce pain.
- Foot pain: When your seat is not adjusted correctly as you pedal, it can cause irritation and inflammation in the back of your heel (Achilles tendonitis). Another common foot ailment is plantar fasciitis, which results in pain on the bottom of your foot. Properly fitted shoes can help prevent these problems.
Most cycling overuse injuries will resolve with rest and over-the-counter pain relievers. In addition, alternating ice and heat therapy can ease pain and swelling. However, you should schedule an appointment with your medical team when your pain is severe or accompanied by bleeding, loss of sensation or increased weakness.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Kayal Orthopaedic Center specializes in sports medicine and is here for all of your sports-related orthopaedic injuries and challenges, including when you need a medical second opinion in Bergen County, NJ, or Stony Point, NY. To schedule an appointment, call us at 844.777.0910 or contact us on the web.