For all the fun and enjoyment of a good ride on your bike, cycling pain is a potential problem. While cycling is known for its fractures from high speed falls, it is the repetitive motion of cycling that causes most cyclists pain unnecessarily.As a recreational cyclist myself, I am aware of knee pain, back pain, hip pain, sciatica and neck pain from a poor bike setup and long periods in the wrong position.
Whether you are interested in road cycling, triathlons, mountain biking, or just the commute to work, all cycling injury prevention principles are similar, but do vary depending on the performance you want out of yourself and your bike.
Bike Setup - How to Setup Your Bike
A comfortable and efficient riding position is vital. It is important that your bike is properly set-up and adjusted. If your bike is adjusted to suit your particular body size and shape you will be able to ride longer distances with less effort. The most common bike settings include:
◾The ball of your foot should be centred over the pedal axle.
◾Small feet and high cadence pedlars place the ball of your foot slightly behind centre.
◾Sit on the saddle with the crank arm perpendicular to the ground and heel (shoes on) on the top of the pedal.
◾Your leg should be in the straight “locked” position.
◾Your saddle top surface should be parallel with the road surface.
Saddle Front/Back Adjustment
◾Sit on your bike in your normal riding position with the cranks in the 3 and 9 o’clock position.
◾Your saddle is correctly positioned when your tibial tuberosity (the bump at the top of the shin bone) is 1cm behind the pedal axle.
Stem and Handlebars
◾Correct stem height can be somewhere between level with the saddle height or as much as 6 cm below. The preferred range is 2.5cm to 4.5cm lower.
◾Check to ensure that your knee just clears your elbow when seated on your bike with the cranks in the 3/9 o’clock position.
◾Sit on your bike in your normal riding position and your arms should be at 90 degrees to your torso.
Adjusting to Your New Position
It takes time to settle in to the new position and you may still have to do some alterations. Overall you should feel much better when you ride and less strained afterwards.
For Further Information?
The Physiotherapist at Advanced Physio West will be able to identify if you have any lack of motion, strength deficits and help you address any possible sources of injury.
Common Sources of Cycling Pain:
•AC Joint Injury
•Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
•Facet Joint Pain
•Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
•Hip Labral Tear
•Knee Ligament Injuries
•Patella Tendonitis (Tendinopathy)
•Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
•Rotator Cuff Syndrome
•Trochanteric Bursitis (Bursitis Hip)
If you would like more information on Cycling injuries or to arrange an appointment with the Physiotherapist at Advanced Physio West in Roscommon or Galway, please phone 090 6626023/ 086 3758169 or book online
Article by Paul Lennon (Physiotherapist)