Common Cycling Overuse Injuries and the Fixes for Them
Cycling is a sport that is so efficient and low impact that it really can do done with few injuries. However, due to its repetitive nature, and complexity of bike set up, over-use injuries are very common.
While there is nothing better than having a coach to work with you daily on your training, and a proper bike fit, we put together some OVERALL common pains and the OVERALL solutions. Please keep in mind the AMOUNT of adjustment in the solution likely requires professional help. But this should help you better understand your pain and where the solution likely comes from.
*These problems and their solutions are simplified here. There can be, of course, deeper and different explanations/solutions. These are simplified causes and solutions that we have found success with.
Lower Back Pain (SI Joint) - Usually lower back pain comes from lack of core activation prior to workouts. This adds up over time and certain muscles, like a quad or hamstring become dominant, shorten, and rotate the pelvis. Core activation prior to cycling is a MUST, just like brushing your teeth.
Upper Back Pain (Thorassic) - Upper back pain is commonly from riding too much in one position on the bike. Try and look side to side often on the bike as well as get out of the saddle to stand more.
Calf/Achilles/Shin Pain - This comes commonly from a saddle position that is too high and likely too far back. This position sees the calf being constantly flexed both in the down and upstroke, overusing the calf muscle. This pulls on the tendons and attachments around the calf, causing the pain.
Front of Knee Pain (Patellar) - This is usually from quad dominance first and foremost. Where a too low seat height can trigger this as well, the number one reason is too much focus on the downstroke, over-using the quads and pulling on the patellar tendon/attachment to it. Focus on your upstroke while reducing steady/longer intervals can eliminate this.
Side of Knee Pain (ITB) - This pain commonly can be due to foot position on the pedals usually from problems with the core, rotating the pelvis. These two components are frustratingly connected and can often lead you to adjusting one and then chasing the other. We have found the most success in addressing the pelvis position first through seat position and then adjusting the cleat position afterwards.
Back of the Knee/Glute Pain - This often comes from the hamstring fatiguing during a hard training session or event, and then not being recovered enough. Small tears turn into adhesions, shortening the muscle. This can be prevented with more focus on technique with the pedal stroke and deep tissue muscle massage to fix it.
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