If you are planning to take part in one of the long distance charity cycling challenges out there, such as one where you cycle London to Paris, it is important to be prepared and to be able to protect yourself against injury. There are a few common injuries that cyclists are more prone to, so take particular note of these and watch out.
There are usually two different types of injuries that are associated with cycling – problems resulting from repeated movements over a long period of time, or sudden injuries caused by falling off a bike. When you are aware of these common injuries you will be much more prepared so that you can prevent them happening to you.
Here are some of the most common injuries that happen to cyclists:
This is one of the most common cycling related injuries. If you are riding on a long distance charity challenge, you will be on your bike for a long time and your knee joints will suffer from overuse. You will fasten your feet to the bike pedals with cleats, but if your legs and knees are not positioned in the correct way it can result in sharp pain in the knees that will not go away.
In order to avoid this injury it is very important to position your cleats in the right way. Take a look at a guide for the right positioning when riding a bike – which will also help you to make your pedal strokes more powerful as well as allowing you to avoid injury.
AC Joint Sprain
The AC Joint is one part of the shoulder complex and it consists of the collar bone joining to the front of the shoulder blade, which is held together with strong ligaments. When you have an AC join sprain it can cause damage to these stabilizing ligaments. This damage can be caused by a large force, such as a fall or riding over an obstacle such as a pothole. This is because your elbows and wrists are often locked in position when holding the handlebars and when a significant force is applied the forces will be transferred up to the shoulder joint.
If you are riding over large ruts and bumps in the road make sure that you keep your elbows bent as a shock absorber.
Lower Back Pain
The repeated and prolonged position of cycling with hunched shoulders means that you will experience stress and strain all throughout your spine. Back pain can be avoided by having your bike set up so that you can avoid over reaching and hunching over. Make sure that you have a bike that is the right size for your body. Also, make sure that you warm up before jumping on your bike, as cycling involves the lower limbs as well as the spine. When you are fit and limber and you have stretched before your ride you will be less likely to experience strain.
ITB stands for the Iliotibial Band and this part of the knee is especially prone to injury in cyclists. It is often caused by the repeated bending and straightening of the knee. The band runs from your hip to the outside of your knee and the repetitive motion of pedaling the bike can cause it to become sore and irritated.
The prevention of any ITB issues is also down to the setup of your bike. If your saddle height is too high, your knee will over-straighten. If it is too low the knee will over bend. Ideally, the frame should have at least 1-2 inches of clearance from the crotch all the way up to the top of the frame. When you are setting up your saddle height it should allow for a small knee bend when the pedal of the bike reaches the bottom of the revolution.
These are just a few of the common injuries that occur when you are cycling. It is important to make sure that you are riding in the correct position and that you are stretched and warmed up before you go on a long distance cycling journey or other UK charity challenges, so that you can avoid any injuries, muscle strain and other issues and complete the ride happily and healthily.