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Strains, Pains & Pedalling Problems

1st Sep 2021

While cycling is a great low-impact workout that’s good for your heart. The repetitive movements – not to mention, the static posture for an extended period of time – can cause overuse injuries that’ll make the whole experience unpleasant. Here, Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon DR AMBROSE YUNG shares the most common cycling overuse injuries – and how to avoid them so you can stay on that saddle!


1. Shoulder, neck and lower back strains

Poor sitting postures and bike positions can cause shoulder, neck and back strains, particularly when muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t strong enough to support the force being placed on them. This may result in inflammation and pain. 

A proper bicycle fit by a professional fitter can help resolve poor postural issues. And a physiotherapist can advise on suitable exercises to rebalance and strengthen the affected muscle groups.

If you hav tingling sensations shooting down from the back, consult an orthopaedic surgeon; this can be a red glad for an underlying prolapse dic imprinting on a nerve, and you’ll likely need an MRI.

2. Saddle sores

Sweat, chafing and abrasions in the inner thigh are can transpire from the constant friction from riding. Known as “saddle sores”, these skin irritations can be painful, especially the larger boil-like sores.
The best thing to do(in addition to seeing a doctor in case antibiotics are needed) is to take a breather from riding to allow the skin to heal. You’ll also want to change the saddle position so that it doesn’t continue to irritate the sores. Additionally, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality saddle, seat padding and cycling shorts to prevent sores from recurring.

3. Cyclist palsy

Most commonly experience by long- distance cyclist, this injury occurs when a cyclist’s hands are positioned on the handlebar in a way that irritates or compresses the nerves in the wrist. Symptoms include numbness, tingling sensations in the hands and fingers, and a feeling of weakness in a cyclist’s handgrips.

If quickly treated by resting and stretching, these symptoms can fade away. More severe and chronic nerve compression can take weeks to months to heal. A nerve conduction study may be required to assess the severity of the nerve compression, and surgery may be required for severe cases.

4. Knee pain

While knee pain can be caused by meniscus injuries, collateral ligament sprains and a range of other conditions, many cyclists complain of knee pain where the back of the kneecap meets the thigh bone. This is because repetitive cycling motions apply pressure on that particle joint – the patellofemoral joint.

A simple way to reduce the force on that region is by raising the saddle height on your bike so that the joint is not directly impacted. But, if you do experience pain or a locking sensation, seek medical attention, as you’ll want to rule out such injuries as anterior cruciate ligament(ACL) or meniscus tears.

Preventative tips

Cycling injuries can be prevented through sensible training and cross-training activities such as swimming, weight training and stretching. A proper bicycle fit, could with a suitable saddle, shoes and shorts, will make the ride more comfortable too.
If you do experience any symptoms of these injuries, be sure to see a doctor, as small issues can flare up into chronic problems if they’re not treated early.

Article reference from : Expat Living August 2021 Edition