Why Stretch, it’s cycling?
Cycling or Mountain-biking is a repetitive exercise that can cause tightness in several major muscle groups which can lead to pain (particularly in the lower back, hips and shoulder/ neck areas). Couple your prefered exercise with general poor posture e.g. ‘desk-slumping’ and ‘mouse-work’ and before long you could be developing some major issues.
Cycling is a fun, low-impact way to maintain your fitness levels, however, as with any sport poor technique can cause injuries and pain!
Obviously, the most important recommendation could offer is to always wear a crash helmet which has been ‘sized’ for you by a professional. Regular stretching will help
you prevent injuries, however, if you have not been stretching regularly you may well have some signs of injury which you have not recognised.
Common Injuries/ Conditions
Knee pain is extremely common in cyclists. In order to treat the cause of the
pain, it is important to have an evaluation and proper diagnosis. Common
reasons for knee pain in athletes include the following.
This term usually refers to pain under and around the knee cap It is also
called “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.”
This is the softening and deterioration of the underside of the kneecap. Often
this is an injury from trauma, overuse, poor alignment of the knee joint, or
muscle imbalance. Friction and rubbing under the kneecap the results damage to
the surface of the cartilage. A dull pain around or under the knee-cap is often
felt, this often feels worse when you walk down stairs or hills.
Osteoarthritis (of the Knee)
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in athletes. It is a
degenerative disease that results in a gradual abrasion (and subsequent wearing
away) of joint cartilage. Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain,
swelling, and a decrease in the range of motion of the knee. Morning stiffness
that eases once you’re ‘up & moving’ is also common.
Numbness of the Hand (Ulnar Neuropathy)
This is pain and numbness in the small and ring finger. Its cause is associated
with pressure on the handlebars for long periods of time.
Sprains & Strains
These are acute (fast onset) injuries which vary in severity. The affected area
or limb will often be painful, these is usually localised swelling & bruising which often causes the loss of the ability to move and use the joint.
IT Band Syndrome
IT band friction syndrome often results in knee pain that is generally felt on the outside (lateral) aspect of the knee or lower.
A concussion is typically caused by a severe head trauma where the brain moves so violently in the skull so that brain cells all fire at once. Anyone concussed should always seek medical advice.
This is a chronic (long term) injury that occurs primarily from overuse. It tends to come on gradually over time until pain is constant and exercise or activity too painful to continue. The pain is felt at the back of the ankle. Left untreated, the tendon can rupture (which is far more serious and will debilitate you!)
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of a crippling burning pain on the bottom of the heel/ foot. This is always felt pain during the first steps when you get out of bed following your regular sleep.
Arch pain, also sometimes called a strain, often causes inflammation and a burning sensation under the arch of the foot. Treatment consists of orthotics and massage.
The piriformis muscle runs from your buttocks to hip. If it becomes tight (or cramps) it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause buttock pain or sciatica.
For more information on individual conditions see related articles on the right of this page.
The following stretches are great for cyclists are:
Back & Side stretch Click here to view
Gluet stretch Click here to view
Hamstring stretch Click here to view
Calf Stretch Click here to view
Quad stretch click here to view