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Physiotherapy For Cycling Injuries

Posted on 10th June 2018 by

Bike Week 2018 This week is Bike Week, which aims to inspire more people to take to 2 wheels.

Cycling is a wonderful way to exercise, whatever your level or age. It’s great for cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and has a host of health benefits.

It’s a safe form of exercise and is often a great way to start fit if you need to maintain your fitness with a lower impact activity. It’s also a fab way to incorporate exercise into a mode of travel!

However, like many forms of exercise, cycling can become a source of injuries. Cycling injuries tend to fall into 2 camps, either a traumatic injury or an overuse injury.

Traumatic Injuries

These are caused by some sort of trauma. This is normally a fall or collision and can be very minor to severe. Traumatic injuries are often accidents that can’t be avoided, but you can take precautions. These include:

  • Wearing appropriate protective clothing such as a helmet
  • Being up to date with bike maintenance to make sure you bike is in top working order
  • Knowing and reading the weather conditions and environment to make sure they fit with your plans
  • Understanding your personal limitations and being realistic with your ability. Many accidents occur when people are pushing themselves unrealistically.

Common traumatic cycling injuries include:

  • Fractures – often the clavicle (collar bone) or scaphoid (wrist) as you put your arm out to protect you as you fall.
  • Bruising – to the muscle and/or bone. This is as a result of falling directly onto the area, often a prominent bony area such as the outside of the hip.

Overuse Injuries

As the name implies, are caused when a part of the body is being ‘overused’ and can’t cope with the physical demands being placed upon it. Cycling is a very repetitive activity, an average cyclist might perform well over 5,000 revolutions an hour. The human body has a threshold of what it will tolerate and sometimes it just can’t cope with prolonged repetitive demands being placed on it. This is when an overuse injury rears it’s head.

The problem with overuse injuries is that they often start gradually as a tiny niggle that you ignore. Before you know it that niggle is a regular occurrence but you think it will just go away just as it appeared. Then it eventually becomes really annoying and can actually becomes so severe it stops you doing the things you love and that may have caused it in the first place, which is even more of a pain!

You can take steps to avoid or minimise the impact of cycling overuse injuries. These include:

  • Make sure your bike is set up correctly. This is crucial given the repetitive nature of cycling. Very small adjustments such as saddle and handlebar height can make a huge difference.
  • Increase your cycling gradually. Whether its speed, distance or hills – don’t do too much all at once. You need to give your body time to adapt and adjust to the demands being placed upon it.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel a little niggle, hold back a bit until it eases off to give your body chance to recover.
  • Seek advice at the right time. If a niggle is becoming more than that, it’s better to come and see us sooner rather than later. Overuse injuries that are ignored can often become long term problems and then they’re much harder to resolve and take longer to recover.

Common cycling overuse injuries include:

  • Back pain – which is often related to your posture on the bike and easily resolved by changing your bike set up.
  • Neck pain – again, this is often posture related and being more aware of your posture and position on the bike can be really helpful.
  • Knee pain – including tendonopathies, patellofemoral pain (front of knee) or ITB problems (side of knee).
  • Foot or ankle problems – such as achilles tendonopathy or forefoot pain from the pressure of peddling.

As Physio’s we’re highly skilled at identifying and resolving all the injury issues that may arise from cycling. Many of our team are keen cyclists themselves, so can truly identify with what you’re experiencing. If you are suffering with an injury as a result of cycling, give us a call to see how we can help you and get you back on your bike! #BikeWeekUK


Read more about Physiotherapy for Cycling Injuries on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists website.


 

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Top 10 Bike Maintenance Tips

Posted on 16th June 2016 by

 

A bike is a great investment and with the right tlc, can last many years. The Bike Week website has ike Week 2016written their top 10 bike maintenance tips, easy to do, not too laborious but could go a long way in extending the life of your cycle. Here’s their tips:

1. Keep it clean
If there is one thing you can do to prolong the life of your bike, it is keeping it clean. Tedious, but true. No fancy cleaning kit required – a bucket of soapy water, a sponge and an old toothbrush is all you need, though a proper degreaser will help break down the oil and grit in the chain and gear sprockets.

2. Keep your tyres inflated properly
Poorly inflated tyres are prone to punctures. Forget flimsy hand pumps – you need a standing track pump with a pressure gauge to do the job. Nice bike shops will let you borrow theirs. Look on the side of your tyre for a number followed by the letters PSI. That tells you how much air to put in.

3. Check your brake pads
Worn brake pads equal rubbish brakes. You can tell they are worn if you can hardly see the grooves any more. Fitting new brake pads is a very cheap and easy fix and any number of websites can show you how. You just need a set of Allen keys and some patience.

4. Silence squeaky brakes
Screeching brakes are often dirty brakes, or at least dirty wheel rims. Clean and dry both properly and 50% of the time, you’ve solved the problem. If that doesn’t work, they might need adjusting.

5. Tighten saggy brakes
Britain’s Biggest Bike Fix. If your brakes have become sluggish and lacklustre – i.e. if you squeeze the brake lever and it moves more than halfway towards the handlebars – you need to tighten them up. The easiest way to do this is twiddle the barrel adjuster by the brake lever. If that doesn’t do the trick, you’ll need to get your Allen keys out and free the brake cable by opening the brake nut, pulling it taut and closing the nut again. Again, let the internet be your teacher.

6. Get a professional service
Once a year should be fine, ideally at the start of spring if you’ve been brave enough to cycle though winter. There is no shame in getting the pros in. Think of it as your bicycle MOT. Or why not bring your bike to your local Bike Week and have a Dr Bike check up?

7. Lubrication, lubrication, lubrication
Buy some bike-specific lubricant and use it sparingly on any parts of your bike where metal touches metal. There is no point oiling your chain unless you have cleaned it properly first – you’ll make matters worse.

8. Check if your wheel is “true”
Turn your bike upside down and spin your wheels. Do they wobble a little from side to side? If so, they need “truing”. This is a quick fix, but not one for an amateur, as you need special equipment. A bike shop will do this for a small fee.

9. Get your saddle perfect
If you are prone to SBS (sore bum syndrome), experiment a little with your saddle, raising or tilting it slightly to suit your riding style. If you get sore knees while cycling, you might have your saddle too low. When you pedal, your legs should be almost straight on the downwards revolution.

10. Buy some latex gloves
Bike oil is a nightmare to get out from under your nails. If it’s too late for that, scrub your hands with washing up liquid and sugar, only adding water right at the end.