Irrespective of whether you are a professional cyclist or a normal bike user, cycling can be both fun and healthy to engage in. Many of us take onto the roads with the intention of reaping the benefits of getting their feet onto the pedals and most of the time, these goals are always achieved.
But as good as the above facts may sound, the opposite can also happen if certain necessary precautions are not taken into account. The sad fact is that people get injured in the process of cycling and when that happens, it comes with a lot of pain and undesirable consequences.
Injuries that result from cycling can cause cyclists to lose a great deal of their time nursing their injuries instead of training and taking part in competitions. This means that the cyclist can actually end up making huge financial losses due to their inability to participate in cycling tournaments. For nonprofessional riders, injuries can also cause a streak of financial losses through hospital bills and also the inability to attend to their daily duties, especially for those who are running sole proprietor kind of businesses.
However, the good news is that the entire ugly picture painted in the preceding chapter can be erased if the necessary caution is taken by all bike users. The aim of this post is to share with you some of the common injuries that you can incur as you ride and also what you can personally do in order to avoid them because most of these injuries can be prevented. So, to keep yourself safe as you ride your bike to work or for any other purpose, keep on reading this article so that you can have a safe and enjoyable cycling experience every time you get your foot on those pedals.
Common injury number one: Saddle Sores
We are going to start off our list of common injuries with saddle sores. In as much as the saddle is a very important component of your bike, there are very high possibilities that the same component that is intended to enable you ride your bike can cause you injuries.
But what are saddle sores in the first place? Saddle sores are skin disorders that are caused by the friction that results from spending long periods of time on the saddle. Other reasons why you may suffer from saddle sores is riding with shorts that are too old as well as using a saddle that is too high.
Prevention of saddle sores: The good news is that there are simple and sustainable solutions that can keep you free from these sores. The first thing that you need to do in order to prevent saddle sores is ensuring that you ride with pants that are not too old. The reason here is that when your riding pants are too old, they lose the necessary cushion that you need in order to avoid the continuous friction you get exposed to as you cycle. To beat the challenges that come with weakened cycling pants, you can have several pairs of them so that you can use them in cycles. This will ensure that they last longer and hence retain their cushioning power against friction.
The second solution that will enable you to prevent saddle injuries is by ensuring that you lower the height of your saddle so that you don’t encounter too much side-to-side movement of your pelvis due to increased rubbing against the saddle.
Another simple solution that you can engage to prevent saddle sore is applying chamois cream so that to reduce the amount of friction that you encounter as you cycle. This comes in very handy if you are fond of making a lot of movements around the seat as you ride.
Common injury number two: Neck Pain
Neck pain is another common form of injury that many cyclists incur in the process of cycling. This pain entails the tightening of some of the tissues in the upper trapezious muscle. What happens is that these muscles get tired as you ride because of holding your head’s weight in an extended position for a long time. Alternatively, neck pain can come as a result of wrong fitting on the bike and also tenseness of muscles as you cycle. If the saddle and the handlebars of your bike are not fitted well, they will cause unnecessary strain on your upper body parts and muscles leading to neck pains.
Prevention of neck pain: To keep yourself safe from neck pain, you need to take the following into consideration: First of all, you need to loosen your grip on the handles of your bike.The second thing that you need to do is to make sure that you relax your shoulders as you ride so that you cut down on the amount fatigue and hence prevent your trapezious muscles from tightening.
The third thing that you need to put into consideration is making sure that you include your shoulders and neck exercises in your muscles strengthening program so that they don’t get strained during the cycling events.
The fourth thing that you will need to do in order to prevent neck pain is by simply using a kinesiology tape on the lower part of your back. By so doing, you will be helping in the stimulation of the skin, which will in turn lead to the reduction of pain and the promotion of muscle function.
Common injury number three: Broken Clavicle or Scaphoid
This kind of injury takes place when you get involved in a road crash. The injury involves the cracking or breaking of the collarbone and the scaphoid bones. These bones are very weak and they take in pressure and impact when you stretch your hands to support yourself during a crash.
When such an injury is incurred, you need to get immediate medical help and intervention. You need to ensure that as soon as you suffer this kind of injury, you don’t assume that they are too small to be attended to because when you do that, there are very high chances for the supply of blood to the thumbs to be destroyed and which may lead to bigger dangers that may even cause the bone to die.
Prevention: This kind of injury is not easy to prevent because of the unpredictable nature of crashes, there is something that you can do in order to minimize the level of injuries that would have possibly taken place.
First of all, you need to keep holding on to the handlebars of the bike when you are faced with an imminent fall. This will help because when you allow the whole body to suck in the pressure as you fall, it reduces the amount of pressure that would have been exerted on the two bones alone. This will ensure that the two bones do not become the primary center of pressure and shock which can cause them to break or get fractured.
Common injury number four: Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is another common form of injury that is sustained by cyclists. There are several causes of this kind of pain and some of them are explained below as follows: First of all, lower back pain can be caused by spending many hours on the bike in a manner and position that is furious and full of aggression.
The second cause of lower back pain is the exposing of the lumbar area to too much flexing which can also lead to other complications such as the entrapping of the nerves. You also need to know that nervous entrapment can lead to hospitalization.
Prevention: But fortunately, this form of injury can be prevented if the following measures can be taken in advance and in the right manner. You can reduce the amount of time you spend on the bike as much as that is possible and permissible. This will ensure that you don’t get exposed to the possibility of incurring the pains by over flexing your lumbar.
In addition, you can reduce the chances of you getting lower back pain by ensuring that you have moments when you engage in workouts that are intended to strengthen your core especially when you are off your usual busy season. By strengthening your cores, you will be able to improve your ability to ride in better and safer positions for a longer period of time and also be able to achieve better balance and power as you cycle.
Another simple but effective solution that will go a long way in preventing lower back pains is ensuring that your bike is adjusted in order to achieve the most ergonomic cycling position. Areas such as handlebars and saddle position need to be taken into account so that you can ride in a position that is safe and friendly to your body.
Common injury number five: Achilles Tendonitis
Another kind of common injury that cyclists sustain in the process of cycling is Achilles Tendonitis. This kind of injury is a product of inflammation that results from overuse. However, this injury differs from the rupturing of the Achilles tendon in that rupturing of the tendon causes greater pain and it calls for emergency medical intervention.
Aside from the overuse of the tendon, this injury can also be attributed to the poor fitting of the bike. Moreover, it can be caused by positioning the shoe cleats on a manner that is not proper.
Prevention: There are several ways of preventing this kind of injury. The first way of prevention is by taking some time off your training sessions so that you can allow your tendons to relax and recover. This is an effective prevention because the real issue behind the injury is overuse and hence stopping the usage of the tendon for a time comes in handy as a natural remedy.Second, you can prevent this injury by ensuring that you use cold ice to soothe down any kind of inflammation that may be arising from the overuse of this tendon.The third preventive measure that you can take is by using some anti-inflammation remedies such as ibuprofen and its equivalents.
When you resort to this kind of medication, you need to allow it to stay in your body for a good number of days and that means that you need to take it before the inflammation takes place so that it can offer the necessary prevention you need to achieve.
If you suffer from Achilles tendon and you can trace its cause to the improper fitting of your bike, you need to take urgent measures to correct the situation. You will need to lower your saddle and ensure that the cleats are not pushed forward towards your toes so that you can have a balanced use of your muscles as you cycle.
Moreover, you can see to it that you allow your feet to be pointed upwards during the bottom portion of the pedal stroke because by doing so you will be allowing the pressure on the tendon to be eased as well as giving it some time to rest.
Common injury number six: Patellar Tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis is another common injury that many bikers suffer. This injury is blamed on riding a bike that has a saddle that is too low. Another cause of this injury is engaging in a riding session for a longer period of time using high gears. This leads to gluteal muscles being used in the wrong way and consequently the quadriceps muscles are overused, fatigued and the end result is the emergence of tendonitis.
Prevention: There are several simple solutions that you can apply so that you can keep yourself safe from this injury. The first solution that will keep you free from this cycling injury is trying to vary your cycling cadence on your bike’s pedals. By creating such a variation, you will prevent a great deal of injuries in case you are one of those cyclists who ride in higher gears. In addition, a variation of cadence will go a long way in ensuring that your heart system is enhanced for better overall performance as a cyclist.
Another solution that you can apply so that you can keep off the effects of this injury is by ensuring that you raise the height of your saddle. By raising the height of your saddle, you will allow yourself to use more of your gluteal and hamstring. This will ensure that most of the pressure and strain that these muscles get exposed to are reduced and removed from your patella tendon and quadriceps. When you involve your hamstrings and quadriceps, you will be creating room so that you don’t overuse any particular group of muscles and hence they will not be exposed to fatigue.
Lastly, you can prevent this injury by ensuring that you use cycling insoles every time you ride. This simple solution will help a great deal.
Common injury number seven: Numb foot
This is another common injury that will face you as you cycle. This injury is attributed to three main causes and they are listed below as follows: The first cause can be cycling during very chilly weather; the second cause of this injury is using cycling shoes that are too small for you; the third cause of this injury is doing too much of uphill riding. This is because when you ride uphill for too long, you exert a lot of pressure on your foot by pushing it forward.
Prevention: The prevention of this injury is simple, if you observe the following measures: First of all, you need to avoid wearing shoes that are not your size so that you don’t exert a lot of pressure on your foot
The second form of prevention is ensuring that when you are riding uphill, you don’t apply too much pressure around your foot’s ball by not allowing the shoe cleats to lean forward too much.
Another effective way of minimizing the possibilities of incurring this injury is ensuring that you minimize the amount of time you spend on uphill riding adventures unless they are absolutely necessary.
Common injury number eight: Cuts and grazes
As you ride, you will from time to time encounter this form of injury that involves grazes and cuts. This kind of injury has its cause in falling from off the bike.
But what are the possible ways of preventing these cuts and grazes? Below are some suggestions that will go a long way in keeping you safe from this form of injury.
Prevention: Since the injury has its root in falling, you can only prevent it by ensuring that you stay focused and sober as you ride. This will ensure that you don’t fall off from your bike and hence eliminate every possibility of you getting injured in this manner. It is that simple!
Common injury number nine: Head injuries
It is not strange that some cyclists take into the roads without wearing a protective head gear. In the event that an accident has occurred either due to their own negligence or that of other road users, they get injured and they may sustain various injuries on their heads with various degrees of seriousness.
Prevention: To make sure that you don’t sustain head injuries resulting from accidents, you need to protect your head. Make sure that you don’t get to the road without the necessary cycling helmet so that you avoid unnecessary injuries, some of which could be fatal or may have detrimental lifelong effects.
Common injury number ten: Musculoskeletal injuries
Another form of common injury that cyclists sustain in the process of riding is musculoskeletal. Most of the injuries that fall under this category are attributed to accident some of which may be beyond the control of the rider.
Prevention: Even though it is possible that a careful cyclist can get involved in an accident over which they have no control, there are some accidents that can be avoided. First, you can do as much as you need and can so that you avoid any accident that is preventable. That is the only way you can prevent this form of cycling injuries.
Common injury number eleven: Chest injuries
Chest injuries are still a part of common injuries that cyclists sustain due to accidents. As already stated, there are some accidents that can be caused by the negligence of the cyclist, that of other road users or both. But whatever the cause of the accident, a cyclist may sustain injuries such as rib fracturing and lung injuries.
Prevention: To prevent chest injuries resulting from road accidents, you need to play your role in maintaining safe riding all the time. In case you get involved in an accident, make sure that you seek immediate medical attention so that any further damage can be checked through early diagnosis and treatment.
Common injury number twelve: Facial injuries
As we come to the end of our list of common injuries that cyclists sustain, we finish at the last form of injury related to accidents. This, just like the last three injuries explored above, is a product of accidents which we have already seen that they can be traced to human error on the side of a cyclist or another road user. Some of the injuries that fall under this category are contusions, fracture of the face as well as dental fractures.
Prevention: Just like the preceding injuries arising from accidents, facial injuries can be prevented the same way. As a responsible cyclist, make sure you do all that you are required to do by law and moral conscious so as to ensure that your use of the road is safe for you and other road users. Lastly, make sure that you get prompt medical attention so that every facial injury sustained in any form of accident, so that the injuries do not graduate into bigger complications.