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Why Are Cyclists Often Injured?

Have you ever wondered why cyclists frequently suffer from injuries? The human body wasn’t originally designed for cycling.

Our bodies are made to move in various planes, but cycling involves repetitive motions. For both competitive and recreational cyclists, preventing cycling-related injuries goes hand in hand with understanding common mechanisms for traumatic and overuse injuries. Early correction of strength and flexibility imbalances, technique errors, and improper bike fitting are crucial.

Your body should be prepared for the specific load of cycling. The pedal stroke technique should be addressed through exercises, and your bike should be properly fitted to your body to avoid injuries.

Here’s some information about biking injuries and general tips.

Cycling injuries generally fall into two categories: traumatic and overuse injuries.

Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic injuries result from accidents or sudden impacts. Men and high-speed cyclists are more at risk. Common traumatic injuries include fractures, concussions, ligament sprains, muscle tears, and hematomas.

According to the literature, four factors can help reduce the impact of traumatic injuries:

  • Appropriate saddle height and reach distance

  • Wearing a helmet

  • Using adapted equipment and clothing

  • Improving reaction time and general strength

Overuse Injuries

Non-traumatic injuries, which represent 85% of cycling injuries, typically involve the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments), neuropathic injuries, or perineum pain (pelvic floor).

Common risk factors for overuse injuries include:

  • Training mistakes

  • Inadequate bike fitting

  • Imbalances between muscle and tendon strength

  • Decreased flexibility or endurance

  • Improper pedal stroke technique or lower body misalignment

Common overuse injuries include:

  • Anterior knee pain and patellofemoral pain syndrome

  • Mechanical neck or lower back pain

  • Perineal irritation (due to the saddle)

  • Tendinopathy-related conditions

Tips to Prevent Overuse Injuries

  1. Ensure proper bike fitting.

  2. Use equipment suited to your cycling practice.

  3. Focus on proper pedal stroke technique: with a higher cadence, less strength is required for the same power. Aim for a cadence of 90-100 rpm.

  4. Follow progressive load training.

We hope these tips help you stay injury-free while cycling. If you have more questions or would like to book a bike fitting session, do not hesitate to contact us!

Written by Isabelle Chaumont


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