Bicycles have been around since the 1800s, and now it is considered as one of the favorite ways that people do to stay active, lose or maintain weight, and keep themselves physically and mentally healthy. Biking is actually an extreme cardiovascular exercise that works on the whole body all at once. It is not surprising that as of today, there are approximately 80 million cyclists in the United States.
However, according to research, there are about half of the 80 million who suffer primarily from neck problems. Knee problems occur in 42% of them, 36% have buttock and groin complaints, and 31% injure their backs and hands while biking. These problems don’t occur immediately. They develop over time due to repetitive movements or perhaps due to a fall from the bike. Additionally, most musculoskeletal injuries happen when one is riding really fast. Finally, head trauma may be a result of a car collision.
…the reduction in bike-related head injuries is almost perfectly matched by an increase in head injuries from other wheeled sports – skateboarding and the like. — Steve Stewart-Williams Ph.D.
Here is a list of some common injuries that one can suffer through biking. They are quite difficult to avoid, but still you can try by maintaining good posture and wearing protective gear to prevent major damage in case of accidents.
Common Injuries From Biking
- Low Back Pain. When you’ve been staying in the same position for long periods of time, you will certainly feel muscle pain,especially in the back. This is more evident in cycling because the typical position of a cyclist on a bike causes stress on the spine. He must stay in a bent position to apply a greater force on the feet to pedal. It is vital to take breaks to straighten the back for a few minutes and delay muscular soreness.
The kidney-jangling road had offered only one smooth path, the painted stripe at the verge. Staying within this six-inch line, correcting left and right left me riding uncertainly, like a beginner. — Scott G. Eberle Ph.D.
- Achilles Tendonitis. Swelling of the Achilles tendon occurs due to overuse injuries. Purchasing a bike that’s appropriate for your height and weight can prevent this. When there is tendonitis, applying ice on the tendon is the initial treatment.
- Knee Pain. The knee is one of the most common parts that suffer from overuse injuries. Cyclists attach their feet to the bike’s pedals with cleats at the base of the shoes, and if their feet are inappropriately positioned, the knees will feel so much pain. To prevent this, one must fix the cleats properly. Cycling insoles can also tremendously help avoid knee injuries.
- Muscle Fatigue. The quads are the cyclists’ more prominent muscles to develop because they are a large group, which is why it should be given time to recover. If they are overused, such as over-pedaling, lactic acid accumulates in the body,and this further hurts us. People who tried having a massage after biking found it to be very therapeutic.
- Foot Numbness. Numbness of the feet is nothing quite serious,but it is common. Shoes that are too tight or too loose is the usual cause of foot numbness. The cleats should also be checked that it’s not placed too forward, increasing pressure at the ball of the foot. Additionally, biking uphill is another source of numbness and pain.
There are cyclists who are irresponsible and annoying on the road, and I try to do my part to be respectful and deferential to cars, as good cyclist PR and because large moving masses of steel and plastic aren’t very forgiving when they collide with a person on a bicycle. — Michael W. Austin Ph.D.
- Neck Pain. The head is positionedupward and neck extended when riding the bike. Prolonged periods of this position causes tightness in the neck muscles, originating from the base of the skull all the way down to the neck and shoulders. A way to minimize neck pain is to shorten your bike’s stem so that your body is more or less upright and there is less neck extension. Keeping your posture fixed and shoulders relaxed by loosening your grip on the handles are also possible solutions.
- Muscle Tightness. Often, you’ll realize too late that your hamstrings and calf muscles are very tight. You usually feel this when you’re off the bike, as your body adjusts to this tightness when it is in motion or when you are riding. When you’re not riding, try to bend your hips fully so that your head is almost reaching the floor. Then you will realize that you are suffering from muscle tightness. You can prevent this by always doing your warm-up and cool-down. Stretching also plays a vital role in keeping your muscles flexible.
If you are planning to start biking, you can avoid these injuries by being aware of the correct body mechanics, having a focused and clear state of mind, and keeping a conscious effort to enjoy biking while protecting yourself from getting injured.