Cycling is a very effective form of fitness that can improve your cardiovascular health.
When seated on a bike with hands on the handlebars, the hands, shoulders, and front axle should all be in line. If a cyclist’s knees hurt after a long ride, for example, he may be served well by prescription orthotic shoe inserts. Our practice may be able to suggest training and conditioning methods to help prevent recurring pain from cycling, and other activities.
Before getting on their bikes, cyclists should stretch their major muscle groups – the gluteals, the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings. As with most forms of physical activity, start slowly and work up to normal routine. Make sure that your seat is at the proper height, with knees slightly flexed and hips over the knees.
Injuries and treatment
Cyclists often hurt themselves by going beyond their limits. Common cycling injuries include the following.
- Knee pain: This includes swelling, clicking, or popping.
- Cartilage irritation or deterioration, usually under the kneecap. This can be caused by an imbalance, the wrong seat height, or the wrong position of your feet in the pedals. Some riders use cleated shoes or touring shoes with ribbed soles. These help to limit the repeated motions that can lead to knee pain.
- Shin splints: Shin splints are pain on the front or rear of the lower leg bone. Inflamed muscles or tendons are often the cause. Over pronation (usually called a collapsing arch) often leads to shin splints. Cyclists should stretch properly before riding, and use corrective inserts, or orthoses.
- Achilles tendonitis: This condition occurs when the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone becomes inflamed, usually from improper pedaling, seat height, lack of a proper warm-up, or overtraining. Ice, rest, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help. Consult your physician before taking any medications. If you have chronic pain or any swelling, contact our office.
- Sesamoiditis: The sesamoids are two small bones under the first metatarsal bones in your feet, and can be become inflamed or ruptured. Proper shoe selection and orthoses usually help.
- Numbness: Numbness, tingling, or burning, or sharp shooting pains in your toes may be a sign that you need wider shoes. Try loosening your toe straps or shoe laces. In some cases, numbness may lead to a condition called “acute compartment syndrome,” which would call for immediate medical attention.