All of us who cycle have at some point had to deal with pain or discomfort that has prevented us from fully enjoying our ride. The problem is when the issue persists, indicating that we might need to adapt our bike, check our pedalling or lower training intensity.
In this article we will try to go over the most frequent afflictions affecting cyclists and possible solutions.
Knee pain is possibly the most common complaint and can also be the most painful. Not taking proper care of our knees can lead to major injuries, so we should pay special attention to this area.
The causes of knee pain are varied and can range from previous physical conditions (such as cartilage or ligament-related issues) to an incorrect fit or even to being overweight. Commonly, a bad bike fit can cause pain to appear. For instance, we have previously discussed the factors involved in choosing MTB cranks and the consequences for your health of not choosing the right ones.
The best solution for knee pain when cycling is to verify that the different elements of our bike are adequate for our build and pedalling technique. To treat knee pain, we can use a compressive bandage, ice and keep our legs elevated.
Hands and wrists
Another typical complaint when we go on especially long or demanding rides. Though a very common issue, hand and wrist pain is usually caused by incorrect hand position on the handlebar.
To prevent this kind of pain when cycling, we must make sure that the handlebar is in the correct position and the saddle is properly aligned.
Lower back pain also appears frequently and is usually the result of poor cycling posture. Things like our saddle or handlebar not being correctly adjusted or the saddle being too narrow can also contribute to lower back pain. It’s important to address any asymmetries in our bike fit to ensure we have a balanced pelvis.
To address this issue, the first thing is to check our saddle and handlebar are correctly positioned and adapted to our body. We also recommended that you stretch and rest well after training.
As well as numbness in the feet, one of the worst discomforts that we can suffer as cyclists is known as ‘hot foot’, characterized by a burning sensation on the underside of the foot.
The solution is usually straightforward, as these issues normally arise due to excessive pressure. We should be able to fix it by changing our shoe size. Proper cleat placement and using varus wedges can also help.
Neck and upper back
Neck pain can be caused either by handlebar height being too low, forcing us to overstretch, or by maintaining the same posture for too long. Upper back pain is usually a sign that our handlebars are too high.
To take care of it, we simply have to adjust handlebar height correctly and try not to keep our neck in a fixed position for too long. As always, stretching after training will help prevent aches and pains.
When riding, we have to remember that we really have to carry our weight on the pelvic bones – specifically the sit bones or ischial tuberosities. So, a saddle that isn’t a good fit will cause us to put excessive pressure on the perineum, causing pain or numbness in the crotch area.
The solution to this problem is to get a flat and hard saddle, if you have a different type, and fit it parallel to the floor until your weight is properly distributed.
Hip pain often appears due to overtraining, which causes the muscles to grow too much, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. The best way to avoid this is to strengthen the gluteus maximus muscles and perform exercises to reduce tension.
These are generally the most common aches and pains experienced by cyclists and, as you can see, they all have an easy solution. So don’t let a little discomfort spoil a good ride!