A Closer Look at 10 Common Cycling Injuries and When to Seek Treatment
Cycling has been a hobby enjoyed by hundreds of millions for centuries upon centuries. Aside from all the health benefits cycling brings like keeping your weight in check and lowering blood pressure, getting on your bike and going for a ride can be a wonderful way to explore the outdoors, soak up the sunshine and see beautiful scenery.
Whether you’ve been cycling for many years or it’s your first time on a bike, newbies and pros are at the same risk of injuries. The wrong posture and poor concentration can put you at a higher risk of common cycling injuries and accidents. Here we will dive into some of the most common bike injuries and how you can prevent injury while cycling.
If you stay in one riding position for too long, you can’t be surprised if you start experiencing neck pain. One simple way to avoid this pain is by doing shoulder shrugs and neck stretches. Both of these are brilliant for relieving neck tension. If your handlebars are too low, you may have to round your back which can put incredible strain on your neck. Should you try the above and find your symptoms aren’t clearing, it may be wise to enlist the help of an osteopath who can help with hands on treatment to mobilize your neck and get it back to normal.
Lower Back Pain
There are a multitude of root causes that could be causing you lower back pain while cycling. Some of the most common cycling injuries include poor posture, improper bike fit, and muscle imbalances. Make sure that you factor in plenty of time to rest which can alleviate mild discomfort. You should also get into the habit of stretching and undertaking strengthening exercises. If your pain becomes chronic or you experience neurological symptoms like numbness or tingling, you must speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
We have to say it – head injuries can be catastrophic and potentially fatal for cyclists. Therefore, it’s crucial you always wear a helmet when on the road. Even if you’ve got a helmet out, a severe impact may require medical attention. You must seek immediate medical help for any head injury, particularly if there are symptoms like dizziness, confusion, or loss of consciousness involved. What may surprise you is the majority of states in the country have no laws regarding the use of helmets while riding a bike. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow our advice. In fact, helmets are readily available to buy, aren’t usually expensive, and can be a worthwhile investment to prevent serious cycling injuries.
Should you lose control of your bicycle and have a fall, you may experience a fracture. These are most common in the hand, wrist, and collarbone. It’s vital to seek medical advice immediately. Only a healthcare professional can examine you and look for suspected fractures. If you experience severe pain or cannot move the affected area, it’s time to get checked over. Once you’ve recovered from a fracture, you may feel nervous to get back in the saddle. Velosurance have a guide on returning to cycling after an injury. They explain what steps you can take, recovery plans, and when the right time is to return.
Many cyclists experience shoulder injuries such as separations, dislocations, or rotator cuff tears. These symptoms can be because of a fall or collision. If you have any significant pain that isn’t going away, you need to seek medical attention. Should you have difficulty raising your arm, this is a major cause for concern that you mustn’t ignore. Also, it’s advised not to continue cycling if your shoulders hurt. This is because pain indicates the load on your shoulder is too excessive. Taking a break from riding will relieve cycling injuries and any burden on your shoulders while allowing you to get some well-deserved rest.
Saddle sores are skin ulcers and irritations that form due to prolonged pressure and friction between the bike saddle and body. If you’ve ever experienced saddle sore before, you will know only too well how painful it can be. For that reason, you need to be practicing excellent hygiene habits, wear appropriate cycling shorts, and have a proper bike fit. All three can go a long way in preventing saddle sores. Should your sores become infected, severe, or not clear up with self-care, you need to consult a healthcare professional who will provide treatment.
Nerve Compression Syndrome
Cyclists in particular are more susceptible to nerve compression syndromes like ulnar neuropathy (hand), carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist), and sciatica (lower back and leg). Should symptoms worsen or not go away including tingling or weakness, it’s recommended to seek medical attention. Doing so will help you figure out treatment options and most importantly, prevent further nerve damage from taking hold.
Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses
When the sun rears its head, many cyclists enjoy getting outdoors, soaking up the rays, and riding for hours on end. However, cycling in hot weather can quickly lead to dehydration, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion. If you encounter any symptoms like a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, or lack of sweat, it’s strongly advised to get off the saddle and seek immediate medical attention. To prevent dehydration from occurring in the future, make sure to pack a water bottle with you and regularly top it up during your ride.
One common complaint male riders experience who spend a large chunk of time riding is pudendal neuralgia. Symptoms of this condition include pain or numbness in the rectal or genital area. It’s normally caused by compression of the blood supply to the genital area. There are ways you can relieve pressure such as swapping to a wider seat, changing the tilt of it, or wearing padded cycling shorts. If you experience pain or numbness that doesn’t fade, you must see a medical expert for further advice.
It’s common for cyclists to suffer from numbness in the front of their feet. Tingling and numbness is the result of compressed nerves and may be linked with issues in the lumbar region. For that reason, it’s wise to get a careful diagnosis before starting treatment. Cleat positioning or a bad bike fit can cause muscle tightness and strength imbalances. Both of these can result in pressure on your nerves that lead from the back to your feet. Should you experience sharp pains under the ball of your foot, you may have Morton’s neuroma. The root cause of this can be tight-fitting shoes. Switching to a wider shoe should resolve any numbness and pain. There’s the option to undergo steroid injections too which can help in reducing inflammation in the nerve.
The Impact of Cycling Injuries
It doesn’t matter what your skill level is, bike injuries are a reality for all cyclists. Recognizing the most common of them all and understanding when to seek medical treatment is vital for taking the right steps to recover and prevent further problems later down the line.
Should you experience severe pain or any other concerning symptom, don’t hesitate in consulting a healthcare professional immediately. Finally, enjoy your ride, stay safe, and look after your health and wellbeing – your mind and body will thank you for it!