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How to Avoid Common Cycling Injuries

Two men on mountain bikes cycling on forest trail.

Cycling is a great, low-impact cardiovascular activity that burns calories, improves muscle tone, and reduces stress on your joints.

But just like with any form of physical activity, there’s always a chance for an injury.

Since May is National Bike Month, we wanted to make sure that you can fully enjoy your favorite activity in the spring and summer months pain-free.

Keep reading for helpful tips on how to prevent common cycling injuries.

Cycling & back pain

Many riders experience pain in their lower back. While you’re constantly building strength in your legs, you can’t neglect your core. A weak core can lead to poor posture and, ultimately, strain on your back.

To help prevent discomfort and spasms, make a conscious effort each time you climb onto your bike to keep your back straight and your core engaged to reduce the strain on your lower back.

Cycling & hand pain

Whether you’re a novice or avid cyclist, you’ve probably noticed that you start to feel a tingling sensation and numbness in your hands when you ride for an extended period of time. This is often the early signs of a hand injury.

To reduce your risk, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Make sure that your saddle is at a proper height. A saddle that’s too high can cause you to lean which then adds pressure to your wrists and hands.
  2. Consider wearing gloves with extra padding around the base of the thumb to relieve pressure and prevent soreness.
  3. Loosen your grip on the handle. A “death grip” on your bike’s handlebars is counterproductive and can lead to pain and soreness. Instead, a firm yet relaxed grip will provide you with the support you need while on a ride.

Cycling & knee pain

Yes, cycling is an activity that’s easy on the joints.  However, if you ride too much or too fast, you’re putting yourself at risk for an overuse injury.

Here are some tips to avoid a knee injury:

  1. Again, if the positioning of your saddle is incorrect, it can add undue stress to your knee joints. A good rule of thumb for your saddle height is to have your leg straightened to the point where the ball of your foot is just over the pedal in its lowest position. If you’re still unsure, you can take your bike to a professional and they will help you determine your optimal saddle height.
  2. Take it easy! We all want to push ourselves to the next level but doing too much too soon can result in an injury. Make it a point to slowly build up your strength and endurance to reduce the amount of stress on your joints.
  3. High gears equates to high stress on your knee joints. To give your knees a break, switch to lower gears whenever possible.

At PHOENIX Rehabilitation, it’s our goal to make sure that you can enjoy the activities that you love, pain free!

If you’re experiencing aches and pains from cycling, be sure to find a PHOENIX Rehabilitation location near you and schedule an appointment.