The Most Common Cycling Injuries Seen At ZEN Anatomy
The most common cycling injuries that are seen at ZEN Anatomy Sports Therapy are generally based around long periods stuck in a fixed position.
The average cyclist we see spends more than 5 hours per week in the saddle, some spend 20 hours plus! When you look at it like this, it doesn't seem much of a surprise that people present to us with neck, back, knee, hip and shoulder pain, but why?
Everyone is different, and there are several reasons why someone might present with pain during or after a long cycle, but let's start with one of the most common reasons.
Poor bike fit.
A badly set up bike is like driving in a badly set up car along the motorway for a few hours. If the saddle is too low/ high/ forwards or backwards, this can have a damaging effect on many areas of the body including but not limited to the back, hips and knees.
If your saddle is too low, your knees will be susceptible to excessive torque in potentially weak areas, which could place additional forces on the quadriceps tendon, and in turn, challenge the quadriceps muscles to work harder than necessary, destroying any chance of cycling efficiency. The other problem with this is that the major supportive muscles will struggle to assist the movement because of the biomechanical position and 'less than optimal position to contract', these muscles include the gluteals, hamstrings and calves.
In addition to the effects a low saddle can have on the lower body, it can also have a less than desirable effect on the upper body. The lower that saddle, the more force you'll need to apply with your quadriceps muscles, which as mentioned previously can make it tough for muscles such as your gluteals to contract or 'switch on', which then loads up your lower back musculature; in fact, it can also affect your neck and shoulders too if left unnoticed.
Do you see where we're going with this...?
What should you do if you think you're experiencing pain because of your bike setup?
Get in touch with a professional sports therapist, first of all, to investigate the source of discomfort as you may have muscle imbalances that can be rectified with some specific strengthening work.
Secondly, ask your sports therapist if they can recommend a professional bike fitter to take a look at your bike set up for you. The combination of measuring man and machine is sure to be a winning formula.