Cycling is a very enjoyable, therapeutic and competitive sport, however, the movements on the bike (pedaling) are very repetitive causing them to have a toll on the health of your joints and muscles. If you take your cycling seriously and train regularly then it is very important that you look after and maintain your body as best possible.

Common injuries can include:

Head injuries
Bumps to the head from falling off your bike can cause compression in the cervical spine (neck) which can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain and weakness in the arms. We recommend that a good quality helmet should be worn at all times when on your bike – even if it’s just a short journey as this can help to avoid more serious injuries.

Shoulder injuries
When falling off your bike the shoulders can often take a large amount of the impact. This can cause compression of the joints, dislocations, fractures, sprains and local bruising.

Knee injuries
Most knee injuries are related to over-use due to the repetitive motion involved with cycling. Injuries can include symptoms similar to runners knee, chondromalacia patella and iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome – symptoms for these conditions come on over time, gradually getting worse.

Heel pain
This is most commonly caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis. This is a painful soft tissue swelling that comes on with over-use, ill fitting shoes or a bike that is the wrong size or set up wrong for you. Heel pain is often sharp and occurs when you put weight on the heel. It can feel like someone is sticking something sharp in your heel, or as if you’re walking on sharp stones.

Achilles pain
Your achilles is the tough rubbery cord at the base of your calf muscle. This can often become inflamed from over-use.  You may have pain and swelling at the back of the ankle or heel. The pain may be minor but continuous, or it could be sudden and sharp. It may be worse first thing in the morning.

Lower back injuries
Lower back injuries can occur through the posture which is adopted in road cycling. This posture can place pressure on the lumbar discs and can often irritate previous injuries.

Muscle strains
These can include injuries in the calves, hamstrings, quads and hips. These can largely be avoided by warming up before riding and cooling down and stretching afterwards.

The main causes of cycling related injuries are:

  • Poor technique
  • Over-use
  • Weak muscles
  • Spinal misalignments
  • Not warming up properly
  • Inadequate equipment (using shoes or bikes which aren’t suited to your size or style or riding)
  • Previous injuries
  • Trauma – from falls & bumps

Symptoms of cycling injuries include:

  • Back pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Leg pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Tightness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness

How to avoid these injuries:

  • A good fitness regime to strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall fitness level.
  • An efficient warm-up and stretching routine to prepare you muscles before any cycle ride. This will lower the chance of straining your muscles.
  • Get some coaching! Even if you are an experienced cyclist, it can be easy to fall into bad habits. A coach will pick up any flaws in your technique and recommend ways in which you can improve your cycling.
  • Chiropractic care to maintain your spinal health.

Many cycling injuries respond very well to Chiropractic adjustments which aim to encourage efficient joint motion, increase flexibility, reduce muscle tightness and improve alignment.

Spine graphic
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