To celebrate the beginning of Le Tour de France 2012, HD Physical Therapy (HDPT) is sharing some tips on how to prevent common bicycle-related pains and injuries. Whether you are a serious bicyclist or a recreational rider, when it comes to bicycling, you and your bike should fit well together. A proper bike fit minimizes discomfort, increases efficiency and helps prevent pain or injury.
Common Bicycling Pains:
- Anterior (Front) Knee Pain. Possible causes are having a saddle that is too low, pedaling at a low speed, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling and muscle imbalances in your legs like having strong quadriceps and weak hamstrings.
- Neck Pain. Possible causes include poor handlebar or saddle position. The handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.
- Lower Back Pain. Possible causes include inflexible hamstrings, low speed, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, poor back strength and too-long or too-low handlebars.
- Hamstring Tendinitis. Possible causes are inflexible hamstrings, high saddle or poor hamstring strength.
- Hand Numbness or Pain. Possible causes are short-reach handlebars, poorly placed brake levers and a downward tilt of the saddle.
- Foot Numbness or Pain. Possible causes are using quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, low speed and faulty foot mechanics.
- Ilio-Tibial Band Tendinitis. Possible causes are too-high saddle and leg length difference.
Physical therapists can evaluate the way your body is positioned on a bike to make sure that your biking style “fits” your functional goals, whether they are for comfort and endurance, or for speed and performance. If adjustments and equipment changes need to be made to your bicycle, consider taking it to your local bicycle dealer.
The therapists of HDPT want you to know that equally important to the way you and your bike fit together is your own physical fitness and posture. “Good flexibility of the hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteal muscles is essential seeing they generate the majority of pedaling force and experience a high frequency arc of motion,” says Glenn D’Addario, MSPT, DPT, co-founder of HDPT. “Proper stretching, balance and strengthening exercises will help with coordination of bicycling-related skills such as pedaling and maneuvering the bicycle.”
For more information about cycling injuries, please call HDPT at 781.587.0776.