Six Common Cycling Injuries and How to Avoid Them

If you’re one of the 47 million Americans who enjoy the thrill of a bike ride—whether it’s every day or once a year—you probably take some basic steps to avoid injury. Maybe you wear a helmet or a reflective jacket, or maybe you have light-up spokes or a mounted handlebar light for late night rides. While these are great precautions against cars or accidental crashes, there are other injuries cyclists run the risk of every time they pedal.

Here are the six most common cycling-related injuries—and how to avoid them:

  1. Knee Injury
    It probably comes as no surprise that this pedal-centric activity is tough on the knees. One of the most common overuse injuries in sports, knee stress can also be exacerbated by incorrect seat placement and gear usage. Simple rest and “coasting” can help with overuse pain, while raising your seat and varying your pedal rate can help lessen remaining pain.
  2. Achilles Tendonitis
    Another overuse injury, this can often lead to inflammation and swelling, which can be treated with rest and ice application. Prevent this by ensuring your seat isn’t too high, forcing your toes to point down and continuously contract your calf muscles, and that shoe cleats (if you use them) are positioned properly.
  3. Back Pain
    Serious cyclists are all too familiar with a sore back after a long ride spent hunched over their handlebars. In extreme cases, pain in the piriformis muscle, which runs from the lower back to the top of the thighbone, can lead to hip and leg pain. To avoid this, you can raise your handlebars, improve your posture when off the bike, and work to strengthen your core so it can support you better.
  4. “Hot” Foot
    A burning sensation, pain, or numbness on the bottom of your foot, it’s often caused by too much pressure on the nerves between the ball of your foot and your toes. The answer to your pain may be found in the season when you experience it: During winter, your socks may be too thick and cutting off blood supply, which can be solved with thinner socks; in summer, your feet are likely swelling from heat and, if you can’t reduce the swelling, you may need to invest in wider shoes.
  5. Neck Pain
    Are you experiencing a tightness in your muscles that begins at the base of your skull and spreads throughout the rest of your neck and to your shoulders? That’s created by the fatigue caused by holding the weight of your head in extension for extended periods of time. You can relax your shoulder muscles by loosening your grip on the handlebars and adjusting your bike’s seat and stem so you are in more of an upright position when you ride.
  6. “Saddle” Sores
    Anyone who spends a good portion of their time on a bicycle may experience severe discomfort and even sores in the area that connects with the seat. The only way to treat saddle sores is with hygiene and rest. You can prevent this pain by investing in a seat with the perfect fit for your body and well-fitting, quality cycling shorts.

If you’re suffering from orthopedic pain, whether or not it’s caused by cycling, contact the subspecialists at Orlin & Cohen, a leading Long Island orthopedic practice. Immediate appointments are available: Request yours now.