Top 3 Cycling Injuries | Barton Haynes

Greetings, cyclists! Today, I’m going to be sharing a short list of the most common cycling injuries that cyclists face in the saddle of their bike. Most of these injuries are sustained due to lack of knowledge and improper form. Below is a list reviewing each of the most common injuries and how to prevent each of them to the best of your ability.

Barton Haynes Cycling Injury

Lower Back Pain

Barton Haynes Back

CAUSES:

Lower back pain is one of the most common cycling injuries that I suffered with when I first began riding my bike on a regular basis. This injury is most common amongst long-distance cycling due to the prolonged time that cyclists spend in the saddles of their bicycles. When a cyclist is hunched over the handlebars of his or her bike, the spine absorbs all of the stress.

Many cyclists overarch and add unnecessary strain to the lower back. However, the main reason why cyclists get lower back injuries is because they are not fitted properly to their bikes. According to active.com, many beginning cyclists get bicycles that are too big. No matter how excellent your form, the mechanics of your body’s fit to your bike will be off and will ultimately result in injury.

Other reasons why a cyclist may experience back pain is due to lack of flexibility or core strength. If a beginner cyclist jumps into the sport full-force and doesn’t spend time beforehand properly training and building muscle, he or she will suffer.

Finally, many individuals who ride bikes spend the majority of their time during the day hunched over. Be they working on a computer, sitting at table, or driving for long periods of time, they only contribute to their back pain because of lifestyle.

PREVENTION:

  • Get properly fitted for your bike at your local cycling shop
  • One you’re fitted, make sure that your bike is set up optimally including the saddle angle, position of the saddle, and handlebar position
  • Make sure your hips are positioned correctly in the saddle of your bike as you ride
  • Build intensity appropriately; scaffold your rides to make sure that you aren’t starting out too hard too fast
  • Be sure to shift down as your elevation increases on rides
  • Build your core strength by doing cycling-friendly strengthening exercises (such as plank)

Achilles Tendonitis

Barton Haynes Foot

CAUSES:

Achilles tendon pain occurs near the bottom of your calf and at the back of your ankles. This is another injury that many cyclists sustain. It’s important for cyclists to prevent achilles tendonitis as it could immediately put a stop to the cycling season if it’s left untreated.

Once again, many cyclists who aren’t properly fitted to their bikes will experience pain in their achilles tendon. Many cyclists who ride too high on their bikes will put additional strain on their ankles.

Furthermore, if a cyclist is not wearing the appropriate gear (such as improper cleat fit), he or she may be suffering from improper fit and will therefore experience strain. Shoes that don’t have any support, either in the arch or at the heel, will cause strain and possibly harm.

PREVENTION:

  • By setting up your pedals and cleats properly, you can help to increase your power on the bike and take the strain off of the calf and ankles.
  • Adjust the height of your saddle so that your feet reach the proper height when pedaling
  • Make sure you are wearing cycling shoes that offer the proper support so that you don’t over-pronate. If you over-pronate, you could cause excessive fatigue on the calf.
  • Make sure that you stretch properly before you ride¬†every single time.

Knee Injury

Barton Haynes Knee

CAUSES:

Knee injuries are what I’ve had the most difficult time with as a cyclist. The knee is a very complicated part of the body and all parts of it have the potential to be injured due to negligent cycling. These parts of the knee are the:

  • Anterior knee (front)
  • Posterior knee (back)
  • Lateral and medial knee (side)

I suffered anterior knee damage when I first began riding. Although this was partially due to the fact that I wasn’t riding properly, I had knee injuries prior to starting to cycle because of some running injuries I’d sustained in my teen years. A bad situation turned worse after I adopted a friend’s bike that didn’t fit me.

After suffering with knee pain while cycling for about a month, I took my bike into a local bike shop and discovered that the seat of my bike was too low. As the expert at the cycle store explained, the angle of the knee in relation to the pedal was putting a great deal of stress on my knee and causing injury.

In many other cases, however, the saddle of the bike might be positioned too high. This set up causes stretching in the hamstring. Another common misfit that causes knee injury is when the cleats aren’t set up properly. According to cyclingweekly.com, this causes the knee to track incorrectly.

PREVENTION:

  • As with the remedies for the other common injuries, make sure that your bike fits you properly. Specifically in the case of knee injuries, make sure that your saddle is at the correct height for your body.
  • Make sure that the position of your cleats is spot-on. If your feet are misaligned and placed too far back, there will be too much flex in the knees.
  • If you’re in bigger gears for extended periods of time, cut back and make sure that your pedal cadence varies from high to low. This might require you to take easier rides if you’re already struggling with knee pain. However, if you’re putting undue stress on your knees by staying in high gear and pedaling too slowly, you need to scale back and find a cadence that’s varied in speed to make sure your knees aren’t straining.

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Many thanks for following along. Stay safe and injury-free in your saddles!

-Barton Haynes

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5