Cycling Injuries

 

 

 

There are about one billion bicycles in use across the world. For young and old alike, cycling is a popular recreational activity, form of exercise, and professional sport. And, with all the attention on green living in recent years, cycling is even reemerging as a popular form of transportation. Countless studies have shown that regular cycling activities have a positive impact on one’s overall health, especially cardiovascular health. However, cycling does have its fair share of injuries.

What Causes Cycling Injuries?

Cycling injuries can be broadly divided into two categories:

1. Overuse injuries - these injuries are often from the repetitive motions that the lower and upper extremities go through during cycling an/or over-training injuries that occur from doing too much, to fast.

2. Traumatic injuries - these injuries are the result of acute physical trauma and often occur following falls and collisions.

Cycling can take several different forms, such as mountain biking, off-road biking, cross-country cycling, speed racing, and stationary bikes that are used by amateurs for exercise and professionals in the off-seasons. It is also one of the three sports involved in triathlon competitions.

Each particular cycling activity will have certain environmental risks. For example, off-road and mountain biking cyclists run the risk of significant falls and being struck by falling debris since both usually take place on uneven, steep, and/or loose terrain. On the other hand, urban cycling activities often occur in close proximity to vehicles and carry the risk of high-impact crashes.

The particular equipment and position of the cyclist during riding can also contribute to overuse and traumatic injuries. For example, foot pedals, saddle, stem, and/or handlebars could be in a positioning that isn’t comfortable or efficient for the cyclist. Head injuries are often the result of a cyclist not donning a helmet during a cycling sport or activity. Inappropriate foot wear can cause overuse foot injuries and even lead to falls.

What Are Some Common Cycling Injuries?

Hand Injuries

Some studies have shown that around a third of all cycling injuries are to the hands, with handlebar palsy and carpal tunnel syndrome being the mostly commonly seen. A lot of body weight, terrain shock, and pressure are applied to the hands as they grip the handlebars during cycling sports. Of course, equipment that isn’t properly fitted only furthers the stress on the hands.

Handlebar palsy, also called ulnar neuropathy, is the result of the ulnar nerve being compressed as it travels from the brachial plexus to the fingertips. This nerve is easily injured because it’s one of largest nerves in the body that isn’t protected by bone or muscle. It controls the sensation felt in the little finger and part of the ring finger and part of the muscular function in the hand. Therefore, the main symptoms are numbness in the ring and little fingers and hand weakness.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the other most common overuse hand injury to cyclists. This injury involves the median nerve that supplies sensation and movement to the thumb and index, middle, and thumb-side of the ring fingers. The median nerve, along with the tendons that flex the wrist, travel through a tunnel-like space formed by a ligament and semicircle of wrist bones. The space is called the carpal tunnel. When the median nerve becomes compressed and irritated as it passes through the carpal tunnel, it’s called carpal tunnel syndrome. The compression is most often the result of long cycling sessions or improperly fitted handlebars that are too low and exert additional pressure on the cyclist‘s hands. However, some new studies are examining the relationship between the repetitive hand and arm vibration of cycling and carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms are numbness and stinging in the thumb and index, middle, and thumb side of the ring fingers. There may also be a shooting pain into the forearm.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous connective tissue just under the bottom of the foot. It connects the toes with the heel bone and helps form and support the arch. Repetitive pedaling and weight bearing on the pedals can cause the arch to collapse and the plantar fascia to become stretched, irritated, and inflamed Additional elements, such as a tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons or wearing shoes that don’t provide arch support, may increase the likelihood of a cyclist developing plantar fasciitis. The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain along the bottom of the heal, especially after prolonged periods of sitting or laying. The pain main subside after a few minutes, but suddenly return following cycling activities or prolonged periods of standing.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

The illiotibial band is a thick band of fascia tissue that crosses the hip joint and inserts on the patella, tibia, and biceps femoris tendon. The band stabilizes the knee each time it’s bent, such as during cycling. The band flicks back and forth over the knee as it’s extended and flexed and stabilizes the knee for the movement. Sports like cycling that involve the knee constantly and repetitively being extended and flexed can cause the illiotibial band to rub across the lateral femoral epicondyle, or bony part along the outer knee. As a result, the band can become irritated; inflamed; and, over time, become thickened and stiffened. The main symptoms of ITBS include: lateral knee pain and tenderness, radiating pain into the hip and leg area, and a popping sensation during knee movements.

Of course, these are just a few of the most common cycling injuries. Cyclist are also prone to sprains; strains; tendinitis, especially Achilles tendinitis; bursitis; fractures and dislocations from falls; muscle cramps and fatigue; and piriformis syndrome.

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Acute Sinew Liniment

Acute Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

Quickly relieves pain, reduces swelling and inflammation, and breaks up clotted blood and stagnant fluids in the injured area. Stimulates circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues, providing rapid pain relief and faster healing. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $39.95
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Chronic Sinew Liniment

Chronic Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

Strongly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles, thereby quickly relieving pain, stiffness and weakness. Sinew Injury Poultice, Sinew Relaxing Soak, and Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Herbal Ice

Acute Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

This first-aid ice alternative poultice (balm) is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the recovery and healing process. Reduces redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the injured area. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain normal range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $34.95
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Sinew Injury Poultice

Chronic Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This poultice (balm) is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful in cold and damp weather. It significantly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and further promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Relaxing Soak and Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $37.95
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Sinew Relaxing Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your injured area. It is used to relax muscles, tendons and ligaments that are in spasm to reduce pain and stiffness and improve range of motion. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $25.95
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Sinew Sports Massage Oil

This specially formulated massage oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It penetrates deep into muscle layers to warm and stimulate muscles, increase circulation and relieve tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.
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Sinew Warming Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This soak is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. It is used to bring warmth into the injured area to drive coldness out of damaged tissues and increase local circulation, thereby relieving pain and stiffness in cold weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $23.95
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