After training extensively for a race or just beginning a cycling fitness regime, you do not want to face a setback due to injury. Bicycle injuries can mean weeks and even months off your bike. Trust me – it’s better to prevent injuries than to recover from them. Cycling injuries due to improper form and technique are entirely preventable.
Consider Saddle Height
A saddle that is not adjusted properly can result in knee pain and pressure. If your saddle is too low, you may develop pain near the front of the knee. You may experience the pain while you are cycling or afterwards when you get off your bike and start walking around, returning to an upright position. You may also notice swelling around the kneecap or experience stiffness in your knees.
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If your saddle is too high, you may experience pain in the lower back. When your seat is elevated too much, you have to hunch over and this puts excess stress on the soft tissues of the lower back. Again, you may notice the pain while cycling or immediately after you get off your bike. Mild anti-inflammatories are helpful to relieve pain and discomfort, but your best bet is to adjust your saddle height.
To determine if your seat needs to be adjusted, sit on your bike and move the pedal to the six o’clock position. At that position, your leg should be fully extended. If your knee is still bent or you have to point your toes at this position, you should adjust your saddle height.
Check the Alignment of Your Knees and Feet
Beginners often bend their knees slightly inward and point their toes towards the interior of the bike. This can cause friction between the bones and tendons of the knees, ankles, and feet. Make sure your kneecaps and toes are pointed straight ahead when you ride. If you have developed a habit of turning your knees or feet slightly inward, make a habit to align them in a forward position several times during your ride. If you have been riding with your knees and feet pointed inward, it can feel awkward at first to achieve proper form. But, in time, you will ride properly and will no longer experience stress and pain in your tendons.
Ride with Proper Posture
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There is no position that is correct for all riders. Proper positioning and posture varies based on your body composition. What works for one cyclists may prove uncomfortable for another. But proper posture is important as it provides for greater comfort, improved handling, and a more efficient ride. One of the most important considerations is a proper bike size. When purchasing a bike, even if you don’t ultimately buy it from a bike specialist, consider visiting to have them help determine your size. A bike that fits will help ease you into proper posture, while a bike that is the wrong size makes proper posture nearly impossible.
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As a general rule of thumb, your shoulders should be relaxed and lowered, without excess tension. Elbows should be relaxed and bent, a stance that will help absorb the impact of bumps in the road. Your spine should be neutral, which means that it should be relaxed with a relatively straight line from the shoulders to the hips. Engage the muscles of your core, making sure abdominal muscles are tight. Check in regularly during your ride to ensure that you are maintaining proper posture. Your body naturally tightens and tenses up as you become fatigued. Try your best to maintain a relaxed stance.
Stay Properly Hydrated
Proper hydration is important for health, and nothing leads to muscle fatigue, cramps, and pain faster than dehydration. Unfortunately, the bodies hydration regulation system is poor. Most of us will ride far into a dehydrated state before we realize we are thirsty. Also we tend to stop drinking as soon as our ride is over. Proper hydration begins long before you get on your bike. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Drink water regularly while on your bike, and even after your ride. Your post-workout meal or snack should have salt in it, to help your body recover fluids.
When you ride, avoiding injury and stress to your body is essential. But sometimes, without warning, bikers are involved in crashes. Bicycle crashes can result in life-altering injuries. If you have been involved in a bicycle crash, contact the team at Kass & Moses for a consultation to determine if you are eligible to receive damages. We help injured bikers recover financially so that they can recover and heal physically. Contact an experienced bicycle injury lawyer at Kass & Moses today.