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How Physio Can Treat Common Cycling Injuries

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Cycling is a hugely rewarding activity that has endless benefits to our health and wellbeing. Still, as with any sport, there is a risk of sustaining minor injuries which, if left untreated, could develop into something more serious. 

If you spend a significant amount of time in the saddle, you’ve probably experienced some aches and pains in the past, and maybe a few falls, too. Cycling is a lot like running in that it involves repeated movement patterns and pressure on the same contact points. 

Our team of expert physicians are specialists in treating common overuse and minor trauma injuries experienced by cyclists. Our aim is to treat our clients’ ailments in the most efficient way, helping them get back on two wheels as soon as possible.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common injuries, and how physio can be used to treat them:

Knee pain 

Knee pain is the most common overuse injury, with a purported 65% of cyclists experiencing it. Most cycling-related knee pain can be attributed to patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), caused by traction, torsion or compression placed on adjacent soft tissue.

How physio can help

After assessing your specific injury, a physio will devise a rehabilitation programme, which is likely to involve a combination of manual therapy, physical conditioning and stretching. A physio may also recommend an assessment of your bike’s set-up to ensure it provides you with adequate support when you’re on the road.

Lower back (lumbar) pain

Cyclists arch their backs when riding and sometimes this can cause discomfort in the lumbar region, especially after covering long distances. Adopting this cycling posture can compress the spine discs and cause ligament or muscle strain, and it’s possible for the pain to spread from the back and down the leg.

How physio can help

In order to understand the origin of the issue, a physio may ask to evaluate your posture both on and off of the bike. They may then suggest manual therapy, stretches and exercises to improve mobility and enhance movement – not just in the lumbar region but also in the thighs and hip flexors, where tension could be contributing to the issue.

Neck pain

Neck pain can be a result of poor cycling posture, limited flexibility in the upper back or the bike being incorrectly setup, which can aggravate the issue. If left untreated, neck pain can spread across the shoulders and down the arms, potentially causing tingling or numbness.

How physio can help

A physio is likely to evaluate your riding position and bike setup to see if that’s having an impact. Then, they will create a rehabilitation programme following an assessment and diagnosis, which will include a combination of strengthening exercises, manual therapy and stretches.

Saddle sores

Spending prolonged periods in the saddle can lead to the development of saddle sores, which occur as a result of friction between the saddle, skin and material of your shorts. Saddle sores are typified by tender areas of skin that are raised, and pink or red in colour.

How physio can help

Taking some time out to allow the sore to heal can help, as can ensuring that the saddle is positioned correctly. At Wimbledon Clinics, we use an innovative piece of technology that’s integrated with pressure monitoring sensors, allowing us to your position on the saddle. After an evaluation, we can make adjustments that will limit the likelihood of you developing sores in the future.

Fractured collarbone

Fractured collarbones are one of the most common trauma injuries seen in cycling, occurring when riders come off of their bike and fall onto their shoulder. The collarbone takes the impact, often causing a lot of pain for the cyclist.

How physio can help

Any trauma injury will often require diagnosis from a physician and an x-ray to fully assess the nature of the injury. You may have to wear a sling to limit pain and mobility; or have small plates inserted into the fracture to fix the bone in place while it heals.

A physio can help by offering advice on exercises to perform while using a sling. These movements will keep your shoulder joint from stiffening and as the pain alleviates, they may suggest other exercises to increase mobility and strength.

 

How Wimbledon Clinics can help

We are lucky to have many industry-leading Clinicians on our team here at Wimbledon Clinics; all of whom use their cycling experience, passion and expertise to help you on your road to recovery following a bicycle-related injury.

Our highly-skilled Consultant Physiotherapist is Nicole Oh, who specialises in treatment of cyclists and triathletes and devises rehabilitation programmes, provides patient education and conducts bike assessments. In her spare time, Nicole manages her own women's cycling team, Les Filles Racing Team.

Dr David Hulse - who is our Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine - previously acted as race doctor for the Tour of Britain. He specialises in the diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of lower limb trauma and overuse injuries. Mr Adrian Fairbank, meanwhile, is our dedicated Knee Specialist and Surgeon with a keen interest in cycling.

Please get in contact to find out more.

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