The Tour de France is such an inspirational competition, a true test of strength and endurance. It is not surprising that this race that allows only two rest days among the stages that comprise two time trials, five hill stages, five mountain stages and nine flat stages inspires us!
For some amateur athletes, it is the cue to take their sport to the next level. For others who normally enjoy sport from the comfort of an armchair, it is the inspiration to take up cycling again, or even to get on a bike for the first time.
Unfortunately, attempting to emulate the sport’s star competitors can often result in injury. The following tips put together by Bathurst Chiropractor, Ben Purcell will help to avoid the pain of cycling injuries and help you improve your cycling capabilities.
Preventing the most common cycling injuries
Cycling is a really good ‘whole body workout’ that helps participants to stay fit but unfortunately, it does come with its fair share of injuries too. Traffic collisions and falls on the open road can cause severe injuries, or at worst, fatalities. Even the less serious injuries such as grave rash can be incredibly painful and debilitating.
Almost all cyclists these days wear a good cycling helmet and take the trouble to ensure it fits them correctly; however, in some cases head trauma and neck injury still result after an accident or fall.
Perhaps the most common cycling injuries though, do not result from a single fall or collision, but from the cumulative effect over time, of a series of micro-injuries, whether due to overuse or repetitive strain. Eventually, something gives – and whether this is a knee, an ankle, the lower back, shoulder or neck (all of which are common areas for injury), or elsewhere on the body, this can result in weeks or months, out of the saddle.
Take a Chiropractor’s advice!
Ben Purcell advises that after purchasing the best fitting, best performing cycling helmet you can find in order to protect your head, the key to preventing cycling injuries due to repetitive strain and micro-injury, is to take advice from a Sports Chiropractor in order to ensure that your bike frame is perfectly adjusted to your body frame. This will not only help in preventing injury but can be of help in improving cycling efficiency and performance.
Here are a few of his top tips:
- Avoid foot pain caused by too much pressure underneath the foot in the area behind the toes, by ensuring bike cleats are properly adjusted
- Avoid ankle pain by ensuring toes are in the correct cycling position, not pointing downwards as this causes too much strain on the Achilles tendon. This can be corrected by adjusting the saddle height and repositioning the cleats.
- Avoid knee pain by wearing cycling insoles and by having correctly adjusted cleats. These simple steps can often prevent a knee injury from occurring.
- Avoid the pain of saddle sores my minimising friction. Wear well-fitting clothing, choose the right bike saddle and use a cream that reduces friction between skin and clothing.
- Avoid spine pain whether this is in the lower back, neck or elsewhere. Do this by ensuring that your bike frame is adjusted to fit you and no one else. Doing so will keep you, your back and your neck in the correct riding position to avoid tension and excessive joint strain.
Work on improving your cycling performance
Your Bathurst chiropractor can prescribe exercises, for example, to improve core strength or to avoid calf and hamstring strain. We can also help with breathing techniques and tailor your training routine to optimise performance.
Please call us today on (02) 6331 1004 arrange your initial appointment. Our aim in preventing cycling injuries is to ensure that, even if you never get to wear that coveted ‘Yellow Jersey’, you will go on enjoying participating in cycling at whatever level you choose, for many years to come.