Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Common Biking Injuries and Causes

It’s almost that time of year again. People are starting to dust off their bikes, the snow down valley is melting away, and trips to Moab are being organized. Bike season is upon us. Hopefully we’ll all make it through the Spring and Summer injury free. However you could be one of the unlucky one’s that end up with a bike related injury. Here are some of the most common injuries, and their causes:
  • Knee pain (ITB syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome) is usually associated with a seat position that is too high or low or forward or back. Improper bike shoe or cleat position can also lead to this, along with muscle imbalances or even poor ankle mobility.
  • Neck pain is a common cycling complaint. Often the result of riding a bike that is too long or having handlebars that are too low. Body mechanics that could also contribute to neck pain include poor thoracic mobility or tight hamstrings and hip flexor muscles – these postures all lead to the neck being placed in a hyper-extended posture.
  • Foot pain or numbness (sesamoiditis, Achilles tendonitis) is often a result of wearing soft-soled shoes, or using too high a gear, which results in more pressure where the foot meets the pedal. Custom orthotics, can often resolve such problems.
  • Hand pain or numbness (ulnar nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome, blisters) can be prevented by wearing padded cycling gloves that provide cushioning. Riding with your elbows slightly bent, not straight or locked will help act as shock absorbers and help absorb the bumps in the road. Having poor scapular stability could also lead to upper extremity and hand symptoms.

If you are unfortunate enough to experience any of these problems, the experienced Physical Therapists at Ascent Physical Therapy would love to help. We can analyze your bike posture and bike set-up, identify any muscle imbalances which could be contributing to your symptoms, and provide a custom treatment plan to get you back on your bike as quickly as possible. For more information on bike injuries and solutions, or questions about custom orthotics, please call Ascent Physical Therapy at 970.949.9966.

Featured Physician of the Month - Dr. John E Gottlieb

Meet an associate of Ascent Physical Therapy, and this month's featured physician:

Vail-Summit Orthopaedics
Dr. John E Gottlieb, MD - Specialty: Knee injuries, Sports Medicine

Dr. Gottlieb graduated from Temple University in 1974 and then completed his Orthopaedic Residency in 1979 at the same institution.

Dr. Gottlieb was the first Orthopaedic surgeon in Vail and Summit counties, and has been serving an athletic sports population since 1979, the year he founded Vail-Summit Orthopaedics. He is one of the most active and innovative knee surgeons in the country, recently contributing to a national study.

Dr. Gottlieb and his wife Lynn, a local psychologist, raised three children in the Vail Valley. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, hiking and trekking in the woods with his two golden retrievers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Reduce the risk of a Snowshoeing Injury

Snowshoeing is an excellent way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors at the same time during the winter months. At intense levels, snowshoe training can improve your fitness even more than running. Even snowshoeing slowly, at about 2 miles per hour, caloric expenditure will be about 480 calories per hour. Pick up the pace to 3 miles per hour and you can burn up to 1000 calories in an hour.

In general, snowshoeing is a relatively safe sport with regard to repetitive overuse injuries. It is a low-impact activity so there is much less potential for muscle/tendon damage. Still, there are steps to make snowshoeing even safer.

  • Start your workout with a gentle cardiovascular warm-up and take time to stretch
  • Focus on the large muscle groups in the legs and hips
  • Worn out, ill-fitting or deformed snowshoe boots can be the culprit of various soft-tissue and joint injuries
  • Check the shape and fit of your shoes before the season starts.
  • Beginners should start slow and build up ability, strength and endurance gradually.