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.

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