Austin Manual Therapy Associates

cycling

Is Cycling Causing You Pain

Have you been dealing with a nagging injury affecting your training or even just enjoying a leisurely ride? Have you tried adjusting your bike fit but still seem to struggle with pain? At Austin Manual Therapy Associates, our physical therapists understand the requirements of a proper fit on the saddle and how to resolve any injury you may be dealing with related to cycling. We will ensure you get back on the road and enjoy your ride pain-free!

Cycling is one of the most popular activities/sports around the world. The numbers continue to grow in the US, with estimates of over 50 million people riding regularly. For some, cycling is a means of transportation to and from work, while others use their bikes for staying fit and competing.

No matter why you ride, our team of physical therapists at Austin Manual Therapy Associates can help resolve any injury, old or new. Our therapists take a hands-on approach to therapy to ensure you have the best possible outcomes for pain-free riding!

Request an appointment today with our specialists!

What are the most common cycling injuries?

Injuries can impact your enjoyment of getting on the road for a long ride, whether you are a recreational rider or a seasoned competitive racer. It is common for my cyclists to have been told that proper bike-fitting is essential to achieve comfort and minimize the risk of injury.

The cold hard facts are that the longer a rider spends in the saddle (seat), the greater the risk of overuse-type injuries. Fortunately, our physical therapists have extensive experience treating cyclists and can help identify restrictions and weaknesses that may be setting you up for pain or injury.

Most injuries to cyclists are associated with overuse injuries related to an improper fit of the bicycle. Prolonged postures and the repetitive nature of spending hours cycling are one of the main reasons for pain/injuries. Resolving any limitation or weakness to help ensure your body can perform adequately when combined with a proper bike fitting can help prevent injuries.

Pain and injury to the knee is the most common region in the body that limits or prevents cyclists from riding. Research has shown that seat height is one of the main reasons for knee pain. When the seat is too low, the rider’s natural tendency is to compensate by increasing their dorsiflexing (bringing toes up) the ankles and angle the knees inward (adduction). These compensations are the most common biomechanical factor associated with knee pain and can be addressed with proper fitting by our physical therapists.

Improper positioning of the handlebars combined with the prolonged posture of leaning forward and lifting your head to look up often leads to strain on your neck and upper back muscles as well as the lower back joints. For some, the handlebars affect the shoulders or wrist/hands joints and muscles.

Acute injuries are also an important consideration and typically occur from a trauma related to an accident. The causes of acute injuries vary from a fall due to road surface damage and obstacles or mechanical problems with the bicycle (i.e., flat tire or issue with chain). In rare cases, the injuries are the result of a collision with a motor vehicle.

The most common acute injuries include head traumas and fractures to the wrist from falling on an outstretched arm. All cyclists need to wear a helmet to prevent any severe head injury!

Bicycle-related injuries have increased as cycling has become more popular. Although it is critical to have a proper fitting, it is also essential to ensure your body can achieve the necessary movements and positions that make a proper fit possible. Our team at Austin Manual Therapy Associates will work to identify any limitations contributing to any pain or injury you have and, more importantly, give you the tools to resolve them!

What to expect at your physical therapy session

Our physical therapists will start your session with a comprehensive evaluation to identify any weakness or restriction contributing to potential and/or existing injury. Overuse injuries are often indicators of a breakdown somewhere in the body due to muscular imbalances, poor biomechanics, or a previous injury.

Our physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts and highly trained in identifying the biomechanical factors contributing to your pain/injury. We understand how cadence, power output, crank length, saddle position, saddle height, and foot positions affect cyclists’ likelihood of developing pain and overuse type injuries.

We will use this information to develop a comprehensive program that includes a customized bike fit and having a physical therapist address any weakness or restriction with targeted manual techniques, mobility work, strengthening, and any appropriate pain relief technique for the cyclist.

As you continue to improve, we will incorporate cycling-specific treatments to ensure proper alignment of the joints, rider position, and pedaling mechanics to assist you in a safe, pain-free return to riding!

Request an appointment at Austin Manual Therapy Associates today!

At Austin Manual Therapy Associates, our physical therapists can help identify weaknesses and restrictions that may be causing your pain and provide you with the tools to resolve your limitations to get out and ride pain-free!

Call our office today and request an appointment with one of our specialists!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973630/

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2019/12000/cycling_biomechanics_optimization_the__r_.13.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5717478/

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0515/p2007.html

https://bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/6/1/e000840.abstract