What you need to know:
- If you suffer a cycling injury, seek medical attention immediately.
- Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to see a doctor, physiotherapist, or specialist.
- Treating cycling injuries early is essential for a speedy recovery and to prevent further damage.
Cycling is an excellent low-impact workout. It also has a substantial environmental benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But cycling can be dangerous and lead to injuries that can be fatal. If you're one of the millions of people who enjoy cycling as a form of exercise or hobby, it's essential to be aware of common injuries and how to prevent them.
Safety guidelines can minimise various cycling injuries
Bicycle helmets prevent head injuries by a considerable percentage.
While no helmet can protect you from every cycling accident, it is still the best way to protect your head.
Other ways to stay safe while cycling include:
- Wearing bright, reflective clothing so you are visible to drivers
- Stay alert
- Follow the rules of the road
- Inspect your bike regularly for any damage or worn parts.
Common injuries sustained by the cyclist
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
A concussion is the most common type of head injury sustained in a cycling accident.
A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the head is hit by an object or jolted violently. Concussions can range from mild to severe and can cause various symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and fatigue.
Wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent head injuries while cycling.
Neck injuries are also common among cyclists and can range from minor strains to more severe conditions like whiplash.
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly thrown forward or backward, causing the neck muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range of motion.
The cycling posture also puts strain on the neck. The strain is accompanied by discomfort experienced down the back of the head to the shoulders. Stiffening of the neck or upper back muscles is another common symptom.
Maintain a proper posture and stretch to relieve the pain and stiffness
The most common type of shoulder injury is dislocation, which occurs when the upper arm bone pops out of the socket. This can be extremely painful and may require surgery to fix.
Another common shoulder injury is a rotator cuff tear, a tear in the muscles and tendons that stabilise the shoulder joint. This type of injury is often caused by overuse.
A clavicle fracture is yet another type of shoulder injury common among cyclists. The clavicle or collarbone is the bone that connects the shoulder to the chest. A fracture can occur if you fall on your shoulder, or your bike falls on you.
The most common type of knee injury is a patellofemoral pain syndrome caused by repetitive pedaling motion. This condition leads to inflammation and pain around the kneecap.
Another common type of knee injury occurs from falls or crashes. This can cause a meniscus tear in the cartilage that cushions the knee joint.
ACL injuries are also common among cyclists and can occur when the bike falls on you, or you fall on your bike. The ACL is the ligament that stabilises the knee joint, and an injury can cause it to stretch or tear.
Other injuries likely to occur include
- Ankle injuries
- Hip injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Back injuries