Written by: Julian Timpano (Myotherapist)
We are fast approaching warmer weather in Melbourne which is a time we see more cyclists out riding. This is also a time we see more cyclists in for treatment at Elite Myotherapy. Some of our Myotherapy treatments for cyclists are aimed at increasing recovery and improving movement to enhance performance.
There are also many clients who present for Myotherapy treatments at Elite Myotherapy with cycling related pain and injury. Many of these can be avoided with the right strategies.
So with the onset of some of the great cycling events in Melbourne, combined with an increase of time spent cycling – we thought it would be a great time to share some of our tips for minimizing the common cycling injuries and pain. We want to keep you on the bike for longer!
The common areas of injury and pain for cyclists include; the Neck, Low Back and Knees. We will reveal simple tips you can do yourself (the Fix) as well as how a combination with Myotherapy can keep you pain free (the Myotherapy Fix).
Common Cause: Overly stretched out
Shoulders should be able to make an angle of 90 degrees or slightly less between your upper arms and torso with your hands on the hoods. Anything more than that, you put your neck in a more forward head carriage position. This will put a lot more stress on your Neck muscles and Cervical spine.
The Fix : Try a shorter stem; raise your bars or lower your saddle if you tend to ride it on the high side.
The Myotherapy Fix: Your Myotherapist can treat the overworking muscular areas such as the Upper traps and other neck muscles to calm things down, while advising some gentle Chin Tucks to activate the muscles that should be working.
Common Cause: Poor core strength; Saddle too high or too low; Poor differential between your saddle and bar height.
The Fix : If your hips are rocking side to side as you pedal, your low back is taking a beating—lower the saddle until they’re stable. If it’s too low – your hips will be crushed with every pedal due to knees coming to high – So raise it a little. You should aim to have a flat back with normal low-back curvature. If your spine is rounded, you’re stressing your back. The perfect height for all cyclists is one that maintains a nice smooth back rather than overly rounding.
The Myotherapy Fix: Your Myotherapist can treat your overworking Low back and Hip flexors, while prescribing some Core strength exercises to help maintain a Neutral Spine. Hope you all enjoy your Bridges and Planks!
Common Cause: Underactive Glute Muscles; Saddle Height; Cleat Position
The Fix: General rule of thumb is – Pain in the front of the knee = Saddle is too low. Pain in the back of the knee = Saddle is too high. Pain on the lateral Knee (ITB Pain) = Saddle too high. However, this can also be caused by cleat position. Try to line up the first big toe knuckle in front of the pedal axel, make sure you have a sufficient heel drop, this will allow the calf muscles to stabilize your pedal with more of the force being generated from the Glutes and Hamstrings. Thus relieving excessive force through the knee.
The Myotherapy Fix: Your Myotherapist will assess your knee pain and determine if it is a combination of overworking Quads, Calves and Hip Flexors and treat those areas accordingly. They will also examine if your Glutes are under active and provide exercises to get them switched back on and work better than ever.
Take the time and give these simple tips a try, if pain persists or you feel like you need a little more helping hand, please call and book an appointment with a Myotherapist when possible.
We also suggest a professional bike fit at your local bike shop if you have not already done so.
Please keep an eye out and show your support for some of these fantastic events which include:
- United Energy Around the Bay
- Great VIC bike ride
- Peter Mac Unite to Fight Cancer Ride
- MS Melbourne Cycle
- Starlight Foundation ‘ Tour De Kids’