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Preventing Common Cycling Injuries

It is that time of year which brings out the inner cycling enthusiast in many of us. The 99th Tour de France was a phenomenal journey and came to a resounding finish on the prestigious Champs Élysées in Paris on Sunday, July 22. British cyclist, Bradley Wiggins, became the first British man to win the competition and his triumphant season was not then over when he went on to win an astounding Gold medal at the London Olympics 2012.

Such multinational competitions do much to raise the profile of sports.The stamina and strength demonstrated by the participants in Tourd de France for example, as they pass through multiple towns and cities and cross rugged, difficult terrain is admirable and often proves the inspiration needed to get fans of the sport on their bikes. Cycling quite possibly surpasses other sports as the most beneficial physical activity. It is a great form of cardio exercise and can also rejuvenate the mind. Taking a cycling break is a wonderful way of getting out and seeing places and choosing to leave the car at home does wonders for the environment.

However, as with any sport, cycling comes with its own set of risks and injuries. Areas such as the back, forefoot and knee are particularly vulnerable. Injuries are best avoided where possible through taking certain precautions.

To help prevent lower back pain:

  • Ensure that your bike fits correctly by having it expertly fitted to your body
  • Work on your posture: try to arch your back like a bridge as you ride
  • Work on strengthening your core muscles through exercises such as the abdominal crunch, plank or abdominal press. Disciplines such as Yoga and Pilates also help to work on strengthening and lengthening muscles

To help prevent knee pain:

  • Wearing custom shoe orthotics or wedges beneath the shoes (supplied by podiatrists or sports medicine clinics) may help prevent overuse injuries that are caused by poor alignment of the foot
  • Ensure that the bike’s saddle is in the correct position, and not so far away that you’re stretching excessively to reach the pedals
  • Wearing a knee brace or support, such as the Bodymedics Variable Compression Stabilised Knee Wrap can stabilise and provide support for the knees, which may help to prevent or lessen injuries to the knee

To help prevent foot pain, numbness and “hot foot”:

  • Select cycling shoes that are large enough: most symptoms are caused by shoes that are too small and pressing on your foot
  • Consider wearing sports orthotics such as the Footmedics Activ Foot Orthotic, which helps control foot posture and provides support. In so doing it may help to prevent “hot foot” (the compression of nerves in the foot) and other sports related foot problems.

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