Cycling is a good alternative as a means of transportation and exercise. It’s convenient, cheap and eco-friendly. Not to mention, it’s a very effective cardiovascular exercise that helps reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. But just like any other good thing, cycling has downsides to it: Injuries.
Did you know that you are more likely to harm yourself by hitting an immobile object than having an accident because of another vehicle? Yes, most cycling injuries are because of the cyclist himself. Whether you’re a pro or just a regular biker, it’s important to be aware of this matter to avoid cycling injuries.
Most Common Reasons of Cycling Injuries
- Numb/Tingling Foot– is one of the most common complaints when biking. Too tight and too narrow shoes are usually the cause. Also, numbness of the foot can also be due to added pressure in the leg which results to nerve compression, also called as ‘chronic exertional compartment syndrome’. It is best to choose your shoes carefully and adjust them according to your comfort.
- Back and neck pain– Most cyclists experience this when they remain in one position for a long time. The easiest to prevent this is by stretching your neck and shrugging your shoulders. An improper form may also develop into injuries. For example, the handlebars are low; the rider would have to curve their backs resulting strains on the back and the neck. Stretching on a regular basis will maintain flexibility in your back and neck to sustain their proper form.
- Head Injuries– One of the common injuries by cyclists. This injury could go from mild injury to a serious traumatic brain injury. So it’s best to wear a helmet all the time as it helps reduce the risk of getting an injury by 85%. Most states do not have a law to use helmets when biking, but the police and health professional strongly suggest it.
- Knee Pain –Just like the ones written above, knee pain is also one of the most common injuries by cyclists. Iliotibial band friction syndrome, quadriceps tendonitis and medial plica syndrome are just three of the many common knee injuries when cycling. Putting edges beneath your shoes and regular stretches for your knees may help prevent these injuries.
- Genital Area Problem–Male usually complain about this as they feel pain or numbness in the genital region. The cause is usually from compression of the blood supply flowing in the genital area. Altering the tilt of the seat, buying a wider seat, using padded shorts when cycling will help relieve the discomfort.
If you use a bike as a mean of transportation, one of the best ways to prevent injuries is to follow the basic common road rules. Always remember:
If available, always use the roads for bicycles.
- At least be a meter apart from other cars
- Make your turns predictable, it’s best to try using your hands to the signal.
- If you’re on a road where people walk, use your bike bell to warn them.
- Never use the wrong side of the road and cross when there’s a red light.
- Wear vivid colors on the road, some drivers have a hard time spotting you when wearing dark colored clothes.
- Include reflectors in your bike to heighten your visibility during night.
- At least prevent wearing headphones/earphones while on the road so you could hear what’s around you.
- Have a regular check-up for your bike to make sure it’s in good shape. Make sure to lubricate the cables and chains, also check the gears, bearing, tires, bolts and nuts.