Causes & Symptons of Cycling Pain
by Nadezhda Pavlova
by Nadezhda Pavlova
Many of you are asking me about different pain issues you experience after riding a bike, such as neck pain, back pain, knee pain, hand numbness, etc. It’s hard to suggest something without seeing you and I’m not a doctor. It may be down to an ill-fitting bike, as too often people simply buy an off-the-peg bike and don’t have it properly sized for them. For instance, what width are your handlebars? If you don’t know, then you don’t know if they’re the cause of any shoulder or upper back pain. But here is some common advice that you can follow:
• Have a bike fit by a professional each year to get your bike set up properly. Don’t skip this because it’s too important for your performance and health. Do this every year, even if you ride the same bike because things change—your range of motion changes, your mass, your strength and flexibility or maybe parts of the bike- stem, handlebar, saddle, pedals, etc.
• Visit a PT physical therapist for a physical assessment to help avoid injuries. The PT will look at your joint motion, posture, muscular balance, any asymmetries, and determine your unique risk for injuries.
• Stretch your back and legs after every ride to ward off aches and pains and prevent injuries.
• Perform strength and mobility exercises based on your physical characteristics.
• Relax your muscle tissue and reduce spasms by having a massage done or use different massage tools, such as foam rollers or a massage gun.
Knee pain is a very common issue and can often be down to an ill-fitting bike, which is why a bike fit is critical. For instance, do you know what your ideal saddle height should be – you should know this. Pain at the front of the knee is ‘anterior knee pain’ and it is usually caused by tightness in the quads or the fibrous tissue that runs alongside the outer leg, where the iliotibial band is sited.
As I say, this can be down to bike fit or a tightness caused as a result of a lack of fitness or indeed, due to overuse at the other extreme. Holding and using the knee in wrong position for a long time can cause issues to the tendons at the point where the quads attach, just below the knee cap. The pain can be severe due to inflammation and can spread around the leg and knee if not treated. Remember, the knees are constantly working for you and you need to look after them.
Do you experience any pain when riding a bike? Do you do stretches after a long or hard ride? What exercises do you do to help to build strength, efficiency and stability? Your core is critical when cycling and it needs to be looked after and worked on. Here’s some exercises to add power into every pedal stroke.
These moves will help you maintain essential lean muscle and improve both your leg strength and efficiency, so you can do more work with less effort, improve your endurance.
Start workout with just your body weight first to perfect your form. Then add weights and slowly progress.
• Single-leg deadlift
• Side lunge
• Side kick
• Leg lift
• Curtsy lunge
• Pendulum lunge
• Hamstring lift
• Kettlebell swing
• Figured-4 bridge
• And of course, Pilates
Perform these exercises three days a week and you’ll see how much you improve and how strong your legs get with optimum efficiency!
Do you do strength training?