Cycling is a common sport in South Africa, with the Cape Town Cycle Tour being the world’s largest individually timed cycle race.
Nagging injuries is a fairly common element of cycling as well, but there are a few tricks and tips to avoid these.
In general, the main tricks for avoiding injuries is to make sure your bike fits you, taking into account your weight, height and other measurements, you train wisely, make sure you keep your off-the-bike strength up, and to stretch properly.
Additionally, there are 6 specific cycling injuries that are the most common amongst cyclist that you can prevent with our simple tricks.
1) Foot Pain
Foot pain in cyclists is most commonly caused by ill-fitting shoes and worn down shoes. This is easily prevented by buying shoes that are the correct fit – meaning they aren’t too tight, nor are they too loose. You can also check the support your shoes are giving you regularly, and replace the insoles if need be. Switching to a wider pedal can also distribute the pressure across more of your foot.
2) Ankle Pain
More often than not, ankle pain is actually the Achilles tendon, and is often caused by cleat position on the pedal, riding too much too soon, and tension in your lower leg muscles. Changing the cleat position on your cleat by making sure your shoes aren’t too far forward can help prevent ankle pain. Build mileage over time, and make sure to stretch your calf muscles to alleviate tension.
3) Knee Pain
Knee pain is often caused by the wrong seat height, cleat position on the pedal, weakness in the buttocks, and riding too much too soon, especially in a high gear. The correct bike fit will go a long way to preventing most pain, including knee pain. Adjusting your seat height is also important. Strength training like EMS training can help as well, and reducing the time spent in a high gear can help – rather opt for a higher cadence in an easier gear.
4) Hip Pain
This is generally caused by tension in the hips, which can be prevented by focussing on core strength as this will help take the load off of your hips. Stretches that focus on your hips will also help prevent hip pain.
5) Neck Pain
Neck pain is caused by an improper bike and often a tense riding position. Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed and avoiding overreaching to the handlebars will ease neck pain. If you find yourself overreaching, your bike fit isn’t correct. Doing gentle neck rolls at intersection stops can help during a ride.
6) Wrist Pain and Numb Hands
This is caused by too much pressure on the handlebars, improper hand positions and poor handlebar position. Make sure you hold the handlebar in a neutral position so that your wrists aren’t angled too high or too low. Your handlebars should also be adjusted correctly to avoid unnecessary weight from your upper body. Wear padded gloves and shake your hands out every now and then during a ride.
Read more from our Your Fitness blogs.