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Cycling injuries

Cycling is booming and with an asymmetrical human attached to a symmetrical object, something is going to complain. While cycling is a great non-load bearing exercise, because bike set up has so many variables and our bodies are not symmetrical, getting to the bottom of a problem takes a good understanding of the many areas affecting our attachment to our bikes.

In some instances sorting out the bike set up will resolve the problem, the wrong size frame, handlebars and saddles in the wrong position, but many of the problems can be related to the human attached. Inflexibility, structures out of alignment, muscles not in-balance are key areas we deal with looking at injuries on a bike. Even a small inconsequential fall off the bike can result in unexpected changes, such as one hamstring tighten up for no apparent reason.

We see many cycling clients through our doors mainly because of our own strong cycling background, understanding how a small change can have a big impact on the body can make all the different to comfort over those longer distances.


On average, we turn the pedals 4,000 revolutions per hour. No wonder knee problems are one of the most common injuries suffered by cyclists. Where cleats are positioned incorrectly or bike set-up is not right, aggravation of tissue can happen quite easily. Some issues may build gradually, others may come on fairly quickly. We ask loads of questions and generally when treating your tissue we can often tell what you're doing on the bike.

Common causes of injury

  • Bike setup
  • Faulty biomechanics
  • Inflexibility or asymmetrical body alignment
  • Falling off (not just road rash, but longer term consequences)

What to do when injured

Make a note of when the pain comes on, how long it stays and if anything you do resolves it. Keep a record of the changes you make to your bike and regularly check your bike, such as saddle height, handlebars alignment and where the hoods sit. You'll be surprised how you can wrestle your bike out of alignment if you have an imbalance. I tend to push my saddle down on the left-hand side and over time it moves out of alignment and I have to replace it.

Don't leave the problem to "resolve" itself, especially if you are training for a long event like the E'tape du Tour, once those miles ramp up, the niggles will come back.

Be prepared to commit to making improvements to your flexibility and core activation, sitting at desk all day can play havoc on the lower back when bending over the handlebars and in some instances no amount of bike set up will fix this.


More in this category: Backpain from cycling »

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