Untreated tendonitis, whether caused by overuse, improper bike fit, or intense training, will turn you into a couch potato in no time! That’s why it’s best to treat tendonitis as early as possible. Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon, and is a common sports injury. It causes pain and tenderness and makes it difficult to move the affected joint.
Bikers are mainly affected by two types of tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis and patellar tendonitis.
Achilles tendonitis is often caused by overuse or an improper bike fit. It is not a rupture of the tendon, but rather the inflammation caused by swelling in the tendon. If you have been training aggressively, that is probably the culprit. If not, look to the fit of your bike. If your seat is too high, you may be pointing your toes when you bike. This positioning of the foot puts additional stress on the Achilles tendon and can quickly lead to inflammation. In fact, one of the tips for recovery from Achilles tendonitis is to lower the seat slightly so that even at full extension, your toes are pointed up slightly. This relieves the tension of the tendon.
For a free legal consultation,
Just as having a seat too high can lead to Achilles tendonitis, having a seat that is too low can lead to patellar tendonitis. The patella, located just below the kneecap, can become irritated when it is strained excessively, such as when the seat is too low or when you ride too long in high gears. Ideally, the strain of riding your bike is distributed throughout your body, which means that no one area receives excessive strain.
Tendonitis may appear gradually, beginning with a dull ache and intensifying to a more stabbing, acute pain. Regardless of the affected area, the pain will increase with use and will often be alleviated with rest. The affected area may be sore to the touch, and may even exhibit slight swelling. Stiffness, especially after periods of rest, may develop.
If you believe you have tendonitis, it is best to visit a physician for a diagnosis and treatment. Treatment often includes strong anti-inflammatory drugs, prescribed rest, wrapping with a compression bandage, and ice. Elevation may also help to relieve the pain and swelling. It is important to take the anti-inflammatory medications as prescribed and not only when you feel the pain. By taking them regularly, the inflammation will gradually decrease. Also, it’s important to rest the affected area while you heal. Often this means taking time off from training, and listening to your body by responding to pain when you begin retraining.
If you have developed either Achilles or patellar tendonitis, especially if you feel it is not related to overuse, it is important to have the fit of your bike examined. An improper fit can lead to inflammation and re-injury.
As an experienced bike injury attorney and a biker, I know well the pain of injury and the stress that comes with taking the proper time to rest. It is important, however, to follow the advice of your physician when it comes to injuries, whether caused by an accident or by tendonitis. Rest, heal, and ride on when you have recovered!