Cyclists usually suffer acute injuries during accidents. The causes of accidents vary, from a collision with a motor vehicle, road surface damage and obstacles, to mechanical problems with the bicycle.
In general, cycling injuries can be classed into two categories:
- Acute Injuries: These occur mainly as a result of an accident.
- Chronic Injuries: These are also known as overuse injuries, which often occur as a result of increased training load.
Following are the most common cycling injuries one should be aware of:
Neck pain occurs in cyclists as a result of a muscle spasm due to constant hyperextension of the neck. This is prolonged by remaining in a position for too long. Develops when the muscles in the neck become fatigued by looking up for a long period of time. The muscles get too tired from carrying the weight of the head in the same position for a long period of time.
Concussion and Head Injury
A concussion is typically caused by a severe head trauma where the brain moves violently within the skull. It can happen in a fall. Wearing a Bike helmet is recommended to reduce the risk of a serious head injury while biking. It is also very important to recognize and treat the early warning signs of an injury.
Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)
Typically happens during cycling when you fall off your bike and try to catch yourself on an outstretched arm. A shoulder fracture typically refers to a total or partial break to either the clavicle (collarbone) or the neck of the humerus (arm bone). It generally is from an impact injury, such as a fall from your bike. A fall on an outstretched arm puts enough pressure on the clavicle bone that makes it snap or break.
Lower back pain
When cycling, you are in the same position for an extended period of time and leaning over can put a lot of pressure on your spine causing discomfort. Sacroiliac joint pain is a common cause of back pain in cyclists.
It’s the most common type of overuse injury in cycling because often times cyclists don’t have their fit on the bike optimized. A saddle that is too low can place more pressure on the front of the knee causing pain.
No one can argue of the importance and vitality of wearing a helmet while riding. If you do get into a crash you may suffer from a concussion from hitting your head on the ground even with a helmet on.
Rib fractures are common when you fall on your side. Sometimes rib fractures can puncture a lung, if you have a crash with any difficulty breathing, call an ambulance and be evaluated immediately.
Chronic hand pain
Cyclists participating in multi-day events can present with chronic numbness and tingling, with associated weakness of the muscles of the hand. The most common injury is ulnar nerve compression, causing symptoms in the ulnar nerve distribution (ring and little finger). The median nerve is involved less commonly. Prevention for the same entails wearing cycling gloves, adjusting the handlebar position, applying padding to the handlebars, frequently altering hand position during cycling, and reducing body weight on to the handlebars.
The most important advice to avoid these injuries includes using a modern, anatomically saddle, using high-quality padded cycling shorts wearing a helmet, taking proper precautions while being on the road and adjusting the saddle position to distribute pressure appropriately.
Spokeherd advices you to be extra careful and derive the most out of your ride, without getting hurt.