Cycling increased in popularity for recreation, commuting, sport and exercise. At the present, millions of individuals all over the world engage in cycling. Just remember though that just like with any physical activity, cycling can put an individual at risk for certain injuries in different parts of the body such as the neck, knees, hands, back, groin and buttocks. There are some basic safety principles that must be observed in order to avoid the common cycling injuries.
Common cycling injuries
The knee is the common site for overuse injuries during cycling. Some of the common injuries include patellofemoral syndrome, iliotibial band friction syndrome, patella tendinitis and medial plica syndrome. These overuse injuries can be prevented with shoe implants, cleat positions and wedges under the shoes.
A head injury is also a common injury suffered by many cyclists that can range from a cut on the cheek to a traumatic brain injury. Using a helmet might minimize the risk for head injuries. You can readily purchase a helmet in the market in order to prevent any cycling injuries.
Many cyclists are likely to experience pain in the neck if they stay in one riding position for an extended period. A simple way to avoid pain is by performing shoulder shrugs and neck stretching to relieve neck tension.
Incorrect form can also lead to cycling injuries. In case the handlebars are positioned too low, the individual might have to round their backs, thus adding strain on the back and neck. Hamstrings or hip flexor muscles that are too tight might also cause arching of the back which causes the neck to hyperextend. It is recommended to stretch these muscles regularly so that they are flexible and easier to maintain proper form. In addition, changing the grip on the handlebars relieves the stress off overstrained muscles and redistributes the pressure to various nerves.
Forearm/wrist pain or numbness
Carpal tunnel syndrome and cyclist’s palsy can be prevented by alternating the pressure from the inside to the exterior of the palms and ensuring that the wrists do not drop below the handlebars. In addition, using padded gloves and stretching out the hands and wrist before a ride are beneficial.
Pudendal neuropathy or numbness in the rectal or genital area is one complaint among those who spend a lot of time cycling. This is caused by compression of the blood supply to the genital region.
Foot tingling and numbness
These are also common complaints among those who engage in cycling. In most cases, using shoes that are too narrow or tight are often the cause. In addition, foot numbness can be caused by exertional compartment syndrome which is due to the increased pressure in the lower leg.
When to consult a doctor?
Cycling injuries that are accompanied by severe pain, bleeding, loss of sensation or increased weakness must be properly assessed by a doctor. Other types of pain due to overuse or mild cycling injuries can be managed with rest and pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The pain and swelling can also be managed with alternative heat and ice therapy.