Common Cycling Injuries in Singapore: What They Are and How to Fix Them
Cycling is a fantastic sport and offers a plethora of benefits. Unfortunately, it can also result in a number of injuries. In the long run, learning more about these injuries can help you take caution along with preventive measures to avoid such accidents.
In this guide, we will be discussing common cycling injuries and mishaps that you should know about along with their primary causes.
Common Cycling Injuries in Singapore
We have segmented this guide according to body areas for your ease of reading:
Arms & Hands
Applying too much weight on your hands while cycling can result in a number of muscle problems and injuries. While cycling, your hands constantly apply pressure to the handlebars, resulting in excess force on the wrists. Here are some injuries you should know about:
Wrist pain is among the most persistent cycling complaints. It can often be caused as a result of ulnar neuropathy which is a condition that causes tingling or numbness in the hands. Ulnar neuropathy is also referred to as handlebar palsy and is typically caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve on your wrist. The sensation most commonly impacts the ring and little finger.
Causes of Ulnar Neuropathy:
- Improper bike fit, causing the cyclist to lean too much, applying pressure on wrists
- Unlevelled saddle
- Incorrect posture
- Applying too much body weight on your hands
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome primarily impacts the median nerve located at the wrist. It is characterized by tingling and numbness in the index finger, thumb and ring fingers. This can also cause the hands to feel weakened. Do not ignore the pain and get in touch with a professional to prevent the injury from getting worse.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
- Excess compression on the median nerve
- Applying excess pressure when cycling on slopes
- Improper bike fit
- Handle bars positioned too low
- Not positioning your wrist correctly while cycling
Feet & Calves
Cycling is a strenuous activity which can put quite a lot of strain to the calves and foot muscles. To avoid foot pain, ensure your cleats are positioned correctly. Doing so can limit injuries, ensuring that you’re able to reap maximum benefits out of your workout routine.
Over time, the plantar fascia can swell, leading to pain and tightness. This thick band of tissue can be found underneath the foot. As we take a step forward, the plantar fascia tightens, allowing distribution of power throughout the soles. Unfortunately, prolonged stress can cause the plantar fascia to swell and stiffen. Wearing custom insoles can reduce the risks of planter fasciitis along with other cycling injuries in Singapore.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis:
- Wearing tight shoes while cycling
- Applying excessive force on the pedals
- Pedalling too much with the toes can also
Pulled Calf Muscles
It’s quite common for cyclists to sustain calf muscle injuries, caused by a strained or pulled muscle. The calf muscle comprises of three muscle groups including the soleus, plantaris and gastrocnemius. These injuries are sustained when cyclists attempt to stretch their muscles too hard, this can sometimes result in tears.
Causes of Pulled Calf Muscles:
- Cycling too much for excess duration
- Improper warm-up
- Cycling in cold weather, causing the muscle to become stiff
- Prolong fatigue can also strain the calf muscles
Hip & Knee
The hip and knee are quite susceptible to injuries. If the feet are not positioned right on the pedals, it can result in sharp persisting knee and hip pain, resulting in the following conditions:
Gluteus Medius Tendinopathy
Gluteus medius tendinopathy is a serious condition that affects the glutes, causing the gluteus medius muscle to tear and become irritated. This particular muscle is located on the upper hips, starting from the pelvic bone, extending down your hips, attached to the greater trochanter via the femur. Symptoms of gluteus medius tendinopathy include pain and inflammation in the gluteus medius muscle.
Treatment typically involves resting or visiting a physiotherapist.
Causes of Gluteus Medius Tendinopathy:
- Cycling with poor posture
- Excessive muscle force
Hamstring tendiopathy is an injury that occurs in the hamstrings tendons. The injury can occur all of a sudden or could potentially develop over time. These tendons are a thick band of tendons and muscles that connect the pelvis, shinbones and knees to the hamstring muscles. Hamstring tendinopathy when the tendons are on overdrive, making cyclists highly susceptible to the injury.
Also, since the hamstrings play a critical role in helping the knee bend, it can also cause difficulty cycling because of persistent knee pain along with difficulty walking. Using cleats to support your feet on the pedals can effectively reduce the chances of knee pain.
Signs of hamstring tendinopathy include swollen and painful hamstrings. This can be treated with home remedies and massages, although it is recommended you seek professional medical advice if the pain is too much to bear.
Causes of Hamstring Tendinopathy
- Riding bikes over slopes and uneven terrains, resulting in increased pressure
- Stiffness and tightness of muscles because of intense cycling
- Increased cycling duration
Most people assume that it’s only the knees and legs that take a beating while cycling. Well, that far from the truth because your upper and lower back is susceptible to a number of injuries too. Correct bike set up and maintaining the right posture is crucial for back health. Here are a few injuries that you should know about:
Upper Back Pain
Experiencing upper back pain is almost inevitable when it comes to cycling. Not maintaining proper posture can also increase the risks of back injuries and pain. This happens to be one of the most common cycling injuries in Singapore.
Causes of Upper Back Pain
- Increased periods of cycling
- Poor posture and leaning forward too much
- Exerting too much pressure on the back muscles
- Poor core strength
- Raising the saddle too high or too low
Lower Back Pain
Most cyclists tend to ride bikes that are far too big for them. This results in poor core strength and reduced flexibility, which can cause excruciating back pain. Most of these problems can be solved by opting for a bike that offers the best fit for your body and by maintaining the right posture while cycling.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
- Bending over for long periods of time during cycling
- Tightness and stiffness of muscle resulting in chronic fatigue
- Poor back posture
- Staying in a prolonged period of flexion
- Leaning forward towards the handlebars, resulting in increased pain in the spine
Slope Falls and Skidding Injuries
Nothing beats the adrenaline rush you experience while cycling through hills and slopes. It truly is a magnificent feeling, especially when your heart starts pumping fast and you feel like you really are alive. Unfortunately, riding on terrains and slopes can also make you susceptible to a number of injuries. All it takes is a split second and you could potentially end up with abrasions, bruises and cuts.
To reduce the risks of injuries, remember to stay focused and keep of dangerous terrains. It is also a good idea to avoid cycling in unknown terrains, especially if you’re alone. While the chances of such accidents cannot be completely eliminated, taking safety precautions and cycling with caution can potentially result in better outcomes.
How Physiotherapy Can Help
If you have experienced any of the following signs and symptoms, get in touch with a physiotherapist immediately. Cyclists can experience a number of benefits from regular physiotherapy. A proper regimen will be devised whilst taking your particular needs and requirements into account. The physiotherapist will work with you to get rid of muscle tension, enhance flexibility and speeding recovery. Here’s how a physiotherapist can help:
Identifying Poor Posture
A qualified physiotherapist will identify poor posture and will help you improve on it. This is incredibly important as improper posture happens to be one of the most common causes of cycling injuries.
Performing strengthening exercises and warming up before your cycling session can also prepare muscles before a strenuous workout. In the long run, this can help improve endurance and muscle strength.
Manual therapy under the guidance of a skilled physiotherapist can greatly reduce pain and cause intense relief to sore muscles.
Exercise and Counselling
Following a tailored exercise routine according to your specific needs and requirements can help you keep up with your goals and set healthy expectations. A qualified physiotherapist can devise a program to help you get the most out of your cycling routine and reap maximum health benefits.
Contacting a physiotherapist is important for cyclists and athletes in general. Learn more about common cycling injuries and how to prevent them by signing up for our newsletter below. We do our best to update resources and studies to ensure you reap maximum benefits from our guides.