How Often Do You Ride? Make Sure To Prevent Injuries!
After the introduction of the bicycle in the 1800s, it has gone to become one of the most common and useful equipment for exercising, recreation, commuting, and sport. With nearly 1 billion bicycles globally available today, cycling has become one sure way to controlling weight and keeping fit. Like with any form of sport and exercise, cycling comes with some risk, and one could be seriously injured if not precautious.
Studies have shown that over 50% of the people using bicycles usually get injured or suffer some physical problems. These injuries could come as a result of poor bicycle fit, overtraining in sport, or crash. Irrespective of the causes, injuries are part of cycling, and some are difficult to avoid. This article will highlight some of these injuries and give you some tips on how to prevent them.
Causes of Bicycle Injuries
The national survey report of the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) on the behaviors and attitude of cyclists and pedestrians outlined the five most common causes of bicycle injuries to be:
- Crash/Collision with dogs, trees, and other fixed objects (11 percent)
- Cyclist error (13 percent)
- Bad roadway (13 percent)
- Falling (17 percent)
- Crash with a car (30 percent)
Common Bicycle Injuries and Tips to Prevent Them
- Neck and back pain or injuries
One of the common injuries cyclists experience is back and neck pain. Whenever cyclists ride on a bike for too long with bending of the neck, the neck’s muscles become overstressed, and this will cause it to begin to develop some pain around the neck to the shoulder area. Poor bicycle fit, or fatigue can also cause neck pain.
Like neck pain, bicycle rides for a long time without stretching puts so much pressure and stress on the back and spine. To get a better and stronger pedal stroke, cyclists usually round their back, thereby over-working the back muscles and spine, causing continuous back pain.
To eliminate neck and back pain, cyclists must learn to stretch and straighten their necks and back regularly during and after rides to give the muscles the needed flexibility to maintain their proper form. It is also advisable to sometimes lose grip on the handlebars to relax the shoulder and redistribute stress properly. Also, getting the proper bicycle fit and a little relaxation during and after rides could do the magic. Another way to simply prevent injuries
- Knee injury
Another common injury associated with a bicycle is a knee injury. A knee injury can develop in front of the knee (anterior), sides of the knee (media and lateral injuries), behind the knee (posterior), or IT band syndrome. At times, knee injuries come from wrong positioning or fasten of the feet or shoes to the bike’s cleats.
Wedges under the shoe, shoe implant, and proper positioning of cleats could help alleviate this problem. Sometimes you may need a proper bicycle fit.
- Saddle sores
Saddle sores injuries are mainly caused by friction between the bicycle’s seat and the cyclist’s skin during a long ride. Other causes of the saddle sores are old shorts with less protection or bikes with high seats.
- Forearm or wrist injury
Cyclists must slightly bend their elbows while riding because straightening or locking the arms will stop them from providing the needed shock-absorber effect when hitting bumps or potholes. Wrist injuries are of two types – carpal tunnel Syndrome and Cyclist’s Palsy.
To prevent this, ensure you always slightly bend your elbows, alternate palms’ pressure from inside to outside, and make sure that your wrist does not drop below the handlebar. Also, try to stretch your hands before and during rides, and make use of padded gloves.
- Head injuries
Head injuries usually occur during a fall, crash, or collision and could lead to a traumatic brain injury. A server injury to the head could result in death.
To avoid head injury, users or cyclists must ensure they make use of a helmet while riding. Studies revealed that helmets could lower the danger of head injury by 86 percent. Most important to prevent injuries is wearing a helmet!
- Muscle fatigue and tightness
You may notice some tiredness and pain in your legs after a long ride because a long ride causes lactic acid to build up in the muscles. Getting a good massage on your muscle always may help prevent this problem.
Sometimes, you don’t feel this pain or tightness while riding but gets this feeling of tightness in your muscle when doing a different exercise. Regular warm-up and cooling down before cycling, stretching to free the muscles can prevent muscle tightness.
- Tingling and Numbness of foot
This type of injury could occur when your shoes are too narrow or tight. When this happens, you will find it difficult to feel your feet properly. Other factors like a long ride on a hill and exertional compartment syndrome can result from pressure rise in the lower leg.
To continue to prevent injuries, get a properly fit shoe – not too tight or quizzing your feet.
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