Cycling Injuries & BikeFit Assessments

August 15, 2020

Cycling is a great form of exercise, especially for those who may not be able to walk or jog due to weight bearing problems such as osteoarthritis. However, cyclists are still commonly afflicted with repetitive strain injuries to the knee and hip in particular. Other injuries often seen and effectively managed with a bike fit can be neck pain and associated trapped nerves, wrist pain and numbness, and back pain.

When considering that cycling involves approx. 80 revolutions per minute it becomes evident that cyclists are prone to repetitive strain injuries. Having the bike setup correctly is vitally important to help lower the risk of injury.

A bike setup at Nelson Bay Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre involves ensuring that one’s bike is fitted to the individual in order to reduce the risk of injury. Bike adjustments may need to be made to help settle the injury, this may result in a less aerodynamic position on the bike. Once the injury settles, then, and only then can we consider increasing the aerodynamics.

So what does a bike set up involve? We will take a careful history of the injury delving into your training mileage and lifestyle before assessing the injury itself and other variables such as leg strength, flexibility and posture. Following on from this we will get you set up on the turbo-trainer and take photographs and video clips of you on your bike. From these images we can take static and dynamic measurements of key angles that are known to contribute to common injuries. These can highlight issues with the height of the saddle, the handle bar height or frame size. Interestingly it often reveals odd glitches with the pedalling action which, over a one hours cycle ride equates to approx. 5400 revolutions…this is a lot of low level force that cumulatively may cause a cyclist knee pain.

It should be noted that the bike fit is tailored around you as a person and your injury, and not against a template which may be more suited to somebody wanting a more aerodynamic and power-generating position on the bike. An example of the complexity of this service is a person presenting with knee pain. Now the knee joint actually comprises 2 separate joints which behave almost in opposite ways, so if the person has pain coming from the hinge joint the seat height will be modified differently to the person who has an injury in the knee cap joint.

If you are a cyclist with a niggle of pain that just does not seem to be going away please get in touch to arrange a BikeFit assessment.

Written by: Austin Wiehahn