While heading outdoors to cycle is a great way to pass the time and stay physically fit during social distancing, you should be aware of common injuries that can occur and how to prevent them. Whether taking up cycling for the first time or finding a renewed interest during COVID-19 stay at home orders, cycling enthusiast should be on the lookout for signs of potential injury, and keep these tips in mind to help prevent aches, pains and strains.
Common Cycling Injuries
- Impact injuries. Unfortunately, falls do happen. Many cycling injuries occur as a result of a fall or other impact, which can include concussions, broken bones and muscle strains. As tempted as you may be to “get back on the horse” after a fall, seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing bleeding, severe pain, loss of sensation or increased weakness.
- Knee pain. Knee pain from cycling often occurs when the patella, or kneecap, is out of alignment. Rest, foam rolling and other non-invasive treatments can sometimes be enough to relieve knee pain or discomfort. However, if the pain comes back as soon as you start cycling again, consider adjusting your seat and cleat positions to ensure proper form and body alignment.
- Foot numbness and tingling. Sometimes called “hot foot,” foot pain is a common side effect of cycling. You might feel a burning, tingling or numbness in your feet, caused by excess pressure placed on your feet while pedaling. Changing to a wider, looser fitting shoes can help to relieve this common problem.
How to Prevent Cycling Injuries
The first step to preventing any sports-related injury is to have the right equipment. Make sure your bike fits you well and is properly adjusted to your body. Similarly, wear properly fitting, comfortable shoes and socks while riding. Finally, always wear a helmet to help prevent a serious head injury in the event of a fall.
Warming up before a big ride is another essential tip. Texas Orthopedics sports medicine specialist Dr. John McDonald recommends stretching before a ride to help improve flexibility and prevent overuse injuries.
“Stretching the neck, shoulders, hamstrings and hip flexor muscles on a regular basis make it easier to keep proper form which prevents injuries,” says Dr. McDonald.
If you experience a cycling injury, Texas Orthopedics team of physicians are experts in the treatment and recovery of cycling-related injuries. Schedule an appointment online or call (512) 439-1000 to be seen at one of our eight Austin-area locations.