Overcomming Cycling Aches and Pains

 

Its race season and  you have begun to log up the miles on your bike. One thing you can guarantee is that new and old aches and pains are going to show themselves. What is often misunderstood is what is happening and why is it? Usual suspects include poor riding positions, a weak core, muscles imbalances- a whole wealth of things. For the new rider aches and pains may result from poor bike fit and set up or from simple training errors like excessive mileage too early into their training.

For the seasoned rider it could simply be wear and tear. Your body has grown accustomed to your set up and training regime and yet things will still suddenly go. Our goal at The Flying Physios is to offer advice on how to remedy such things with traditional treatments options. See below.

I’ve got Hip Pain!

What has happened and why?

You may well have been pushing hard in high gears and this can ravage your hips. The addition of tight muscles and weak glute muscles will only add to the problem.

What’s the fix?

Drop the gears back and in doing so increase your cadence (crank revs per minute)- this will take pressure off those hips. Focus on some glute strengthening exercises as detailed below in the knee section. In to yoga? A number of yoga poses can help as well. Muscle weaknesses/overuse can be identified by a Physio or Sports massage therapist.

I’ve got Knee Pain!

What has happened and why?

Achy knee pain may well be the result of incorrect saddle and/or seat position. Weak outer Glutes- the Glute medius-  may also be to blame. New to riding? Then you may simply be trying to do too much too soon in the bigger gears.

What’s the fix?

Pain on the front of your knee? Your saddle is too low. Pain in the back means it may well  be too high. Strengthen the Glute Medius with lateral leg exercises. Focus on stretching the quads, IT bands and hamstrings. Finally try spinning in a lower gear.

I’ve got Foot Pain!

What has happened and why?

You experience tender spots under ball of your foot. You may also experience numb toes when pressure is applied to certain areas on your sole as the nerves between the foot bones are squeezed. This could be due to tightness in the posterior compartment of the lower leg- situated deep under the calf muscles. It could also be the fat pads on the sole of the foot shrinking which can happen over time. This results in the exposure of some nerves.

What’s the fix?

For the numbness try loosening your shoes or if does not alleviate symptoms then try a wider shoe. If you experience a burning sensation try switching shoes to  a stiffer sole or possibly tweak your pedals with a wider platform. Also look a sliding your cleats back.

 

I’ve got Back Pain!

What has happened and why?

It may be wear and tear due to your age, fatigue related back pain, a weak core (more common than you think) or a poor bike fit (again very common for new riders). All of these have the opportunity to cause strains and pains.

What’s the fix?

For the core- look at plank exercises as a great way of strengthening the area. Also focus on stretching your hamstrings. Take your bike to a professional if you feel the bike fit is the issue- you may be overreaching due to poor fit. As the years roll by your set up may change quite a lot due to your lack of flexibility.

I’ve got Hand Pain!

What has happened and why?

Pressure on the wrist and hand during training can put pressure on the nerves in that area. It will tend to cause tingling and numbness in the fingers and possibly a sharp pain in the wrist. Placing your wrists in too an extreme angle will also cause problems as will putting too much pressure through your hands due to seated position or technique.

What’s the fix?

Firstly consider well padded gloves. Also consider how you hold the handle bar. Try to hold on with a neutral grip position -picture shaking someones hand and note how straight the wrist is- this is what you should be aiming for. Check the saddle position and see if the nose of the saddle is level or has it slipped down? If it has it needs to adjusted and levelled as this will reduce your weight from shifting forwards and putting unnecessary stress on your wrists and hands. .

I’ve got Neck Pain!

What has happened and why?

Your position on the bike may well cause too much over reaching resulting in tension through the neck, shoulders and the upper back.

What’s the fix?

With your hands on the grips look at down at your front wheel the handlebar should obscure the view of the hub. If not adjust. Also try to relax those shoulders as much as possible when you ride.

FIX: When you look at the front wheel with your hands on the hoods, your bar should obstruct your view of the hub. Relax your shoulders when you ride.

I’ve got Ankle Pain!

What has happened and why?

Pain in the back of the heel is a key symptom of Achilles tendinitis. This condition is often brought on by doing too much too soon. Another cause may be having your cleats in far too forward a position making you pedal on your toes too much. This too can strain the Achilles.

What’s the fix?

Ice, ice, ice! Also use an anti inflammatory if you take meds. We recommend resting the area fro a while too. Stretching often helps too. Try letting your heel hang off the edge of a step holding for a minimum 20 seconds. Also look at moving your cleats back.

We at The Flying Physios hope this info has been helpful. Our London Colney St Albans clinic is open 7 days a week and we welcome you to drop in after a run or a ride. Our ongoing offer to all Hercules subscribers is 30 minutes of sports massage for just £20.00. Perfect after a session out beating the streets. To book call 01727 758 846. Take care and safe training.