Recent years have witnessed a remarkable expansion in the number of cycling enthusiasts in our city of Pune. Cycling is no longer a means of conveyance, but is a serious well researched sport with tremendous technical advances in cycles as well as cycling techniques. Any activity brings with it, it’s share of problems. I plan to discuss a few of the common overuse injuries associated with this sport. In a study in USA in 2006-7, it was calculated that 33 million Americans used their bicycles in an average of 6 times a month for 1 hour of cycling. Assuming that 85% of cyclists will develop one or more injuries during their life time, it was projected that a staggering 23 million cyclists would get injured at some stage in time. if we extrapolate these figure to a decade later in 2016-7, I think we are looking at 40 million plus minor and major injuries resulting from cycling alone.
Knee injuries are more common (23-50%) followed by low back injuries (46%). The major cause of knee pain is softening of the cartilage of the knee cap or patella. This is also known as chondromalacia patellae in medical terms. The single most important reason for this to happen would be the effect of the knee bending angle and the height of the saddle. The lower the seat or saddle, the greater is the bend in the knee. If the knee bends more, there would be increased pressure on your knee cap or patella. Thus, please ensure that the height of the seat is such adjusted so that the knee is not flexed during the pedal push down position.
Back pain occurs due to the time spent during the ride or the posture adopted during the ride. If you are a person who likes to undertake long rides, then I suggest you should spend some time and strengthen your abdominal and your lower back (erector spinae) muscles. Change in saddle angle is also effective in reducing the strain on the lower back.
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