From the competitive mountain biker or cyclist to the everyday commuter or one who simply joy rides with the family, biking can be beneficial to your overall health. However, leisure, amateur and serious cyclists and mountain bikers must be careful because biking at any level is not without risk of injury – whether it’s from a fall, overused muscles and joints, or improper posture or balance. And whether you’re riding a bicycle for fun, for health or for sport, you can be certain physical stresses from biking can take a toll on muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves over time and trauma to other parts of your body can radiate to your spine, misaligning and damaging it.
A chiropractor can treat many of the most common biking injuries, such as:
- Neck/Back: This includes tightness in the neck and lower back pain, as well as piriformis syndrome, which is when the piriformis muscle cramps, pressing on the sciatic nerve and causing buttock pain or sciatica.
- Shoulder: This includes AC joint sprains and clavicle (shoulder or collar bone) fractures.
- Hand/Wrist/Forearm: This includes numbness and pain, as well as elbow dislocation, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow, which also applies to cyclists), ulnar neuropathy, Cyclist’s Palsy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Foot: This includes numbness and tingling, as well as plantar fasciitis in the heel and arch pain.
- Knee/Leg: This includes Cyclist’s Knee (Patellofemoral syndrome), patella and quadriceps tendonitis, medial plica syndrome and iliotibial band friction, which either affect the kneecaps or outer knees. This also includes Achilles tendonitis and thigh and hip flexor strain.
- Muscles: This includes soreness that lasts and goes away in 24 hours and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that lasts longer than 24 hours.
Cyclists have also reported improvement in respiration, range of motion, heart rate variability, muscle strength and overall athletic ability with chiropractic care. Studies have also shown that chiropractic for cyclists can improve neurocognitive functions such as reaction time and information processing, which are both good for anyone on a bicycle.
Many of these injuries can be caused by overuse, falls, improper techniques, faulty or no protective gear or an improperly fitted bicycle. To prevent them here are some tips:
- Always stretch before a ride.
- Make sure your bike is properly fitted to you. Everyone has a different arm length, leg size and posture; try out several bikes of different sizes to determine which frame size and other features are a good fit.
- Adjust your seat height so it’s not too low or high.
- Knees should be aligned with your feet when riding.
- Use the entire pedal stroke completely to avoid pointed toes and fatigued and cramped calves.
- Avoid hunching your shoulders.
- Adjust your handle grip frequently and avoid grasping too tightly.
- Don’t constantly tilt your head to one side.
- Stay hydrated.
Don’t let pain from cycling injuries prevent you from enjoying your favorite leisure activities. Contact the Pisciottano Chiropractic Center at 724.492.5353 to learn more about the options available to you!