Preventing Cycling Injuries: Top Five Tips for Cyclists

Cycling can be a wonderful form of exercise for people of all ages and skill levels. The low impact nature of cycling has many health benefits. However, it can be dangerous to assume that cyclists are immune to sustaining injuries.

Cycling engages many parts of the body. Literally, from your head to your toes, your entire body is susceptible to injury if you are taking your bike out on the road. So how can you avoid some of the most common types of cycling injuries? Prevention starts before you even put your feet on the pedals.

Tips for preventing cycling injuries:

  • Select the proper bike. Do you need a road bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike or hybrid bike? These are just a few of the common types of bikes out there. The best way to match a bike to your specific needs is to research and talk with a professional. This might involve going to a cycling store to get fitted for the best bike for your body type and skill level.
  • Get proper protective gear. Just as important as the bike itself is the gear that you will need to wear on your body. While you never anticipate wrecking your bike when you head out for a ride, it is a very common and potentially disastrous situation. Sustaining a head injury from a fall is one of the most dangerous bike injuries. For this reason, a helmet is one of the most important pieces of gear you can wear. Be sure that the helmet fits securely to your head.
  • Stay hydrated. While dehydration itself is not an injury, it can lead to fatigue and poor form. If your body is unable to maintain proper form during a ride, it is possible that you will react more slowly to your surroundings. Staying hydrated during a ride helps to ensure your body is working efficiently throughout your workout.
  • Know your limits. Whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned veteran, it is important to know your body and how hard it can go. Be sure to stretch appropriately before hitting the road and after you are done.
  • Avoid common overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are some of the most common issues facing cyclists. The repetitive motion of your legs pushing and pulling during a ride, can lead to a variety of injuries if you don’t listen to your body. Muscle cramps, achilles tendonitis and chondromalacia are common injuries associated with overuse. If you start to feel sore or tightness in your legs, knees or ankles, make sure to rest your body. Do not push yourself into worsening what might be a very minor issue.

Cycling can be a wonderful form of exercise if you take the appropriate precautions. If you do find yourself suffering from a biking injury, don’t put off getting and assessment. Making an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to get an accurate diagnosis can help you to get back on the road soon. Whether you simply need rest to recover or require surgery, an orthopaedic surgeon can help you determine the best course of treatment to get you back to your exercise routine.

Shoulder Pain: When to See an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating issue that interferes with the simplest of daily activities. If you suffer from shoulder pain, you know how much it can impact your fitness routine, ability to work and even to get dressed in the mornings. Shoulder pain can be a chronic issue, lasting for several months or even years. It can also be an acute issue, brought on by a trauma or injury. Whatever the cause or duration of your shoulder pain, getting the appropriate treatment to address the source is key to getting back to your normal life.

There can be many types of shoulder pain associated with the joint comprised of your humerus, clavicle and scapula. The following are the primary sources of pain in the shoulder joint:

  • A fracture in one of the three bones; the humerus, clavicle or scapula; can result from a high impact sports injury. It can also result from taking a fall from a significant height or from a car accident.
  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis, is very common in causing pain in the shoulder area. This condition devlops slowly and tends to get worse with time.
  • Inflamation of the tendon, tendinitis, or a tear in the tendon can result in significant shoulder pain. Tendinitis often results from overuse of the joint. This can be related to issues such as arthritis or from excessive, repetitive movements in certain jobs or sports.
  • Instability of the shoulder joint, including total dislocation or subluxation, can be extremely painful and chronic. If the head of the upper arm bone slips out completely or partially from the socket, a dislocation occurs. A partial dislocation is also called a subluxation. A major issue with this type of injury is the fact that once it happens, you are more prone to repeating the injury. This occurs as the tissues holding the joint in place become loose.
  • Tumors and infections can also contribute to shoulder pain so it is important to rule out all causes.

With so many different causes of shoulder pain, you can see why it is so important to first determine the source before understanding the appropriate course of treatment. If you have been suffering from shoulder pain for several days and rest has not addressed the issue, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon may be the best option. In the office, an orthopaedic surgeon, especially one trained in shoulder issues, can get a better understanding of your shoulder pain. From a complete medical examination and possibly an x-ray, MRI or ultrasound, the physician can evaluate the source of your pain.

An orthopaedic surgeon should be able to determine not only the source of your pain but also the appropriate course of treatment. This could mean surgery but could also be something less invasive like physical therapy. This will vary greatly from one person to the next taking into consideration factors like age, activity level and past medical history.

Knee Pain: When to See an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Knee pain can significantly limit your daily activities and exercise routine. The complicated knee joint can lead to a lot of problems if you sustain an injury.

Keen pain can be caused by an acute injury like a trauma or sudden twisting motion. Knee pain can also result from over use or a gradual progression of an injury. Some of these injuries can be treated successfully at home while others will require medical attention. How do you know which course of action will be enough to treat your knee pain?

If you have been suffering from knee pain, ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not you could benefit from visiting a doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon.

  1. Is the pain around the knee severe? Is it extremely painful to walk?
  2. Does the knee feel as is it is locking up when you fluctuate between bent and straight positions?
  3. Is the knee joint swollen?
  4. Does the knee joint feel unstable as if your leg will give out when you put pressure on it?
  5. Do you feel or hear a popping or cracking sound in the knee joint when you walk or straighten your leg out?
  6. Did you suffer an acute injury that has limited you from doing your normal exercise routine or daily activities for more then 72 hours?
  7. Are you unable to go up and down stairs without experiencing pain?
  8. Have you attempted to treat at home unsuccessfully by using rest, ice, compression and elevation for two weeks?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it would be beneficial to make an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. Attempting to wait out the injury could result in a more serious issue. If knee pain does not decrease, further activity could lead to a very serious injury.

Making an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to assess your knee pain does not necessarily mean you will require surgery. Surgeons will assess the pain and determine the least invasive means of treatment including but not limited to physical therapy, a steroid injection or even an injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP).