Cyclist Physiotherapy: What Are the Benefits & Should You Go
When thinking of cyclist physiotherapy, there is generally no direct association. However, physiotherapy can benefit cyclists in several ways. We explore physiotherapy and its benefits for cyclists in this article.
What is Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions that affect your muscles, joints, bones, ligament, tendon and nerves. Physiotherapists are experts in the human musculoskeletal system and are trained to assess your condition, diagnose the problem and help you understand the issue. Physiotherapy helps with injury rehabilitation, prevention, general health and fitness through treatment methods such as exercise, massage and manual manipulation. Your treatment plan will take into account your lifestyle, activities, and general health.
Avid cyclists generally have 3 main concerns: Improving performance, preventing injuries and recovering quickly from injuries. Especially if one is training for an important race, it is essential to ensure that performance does not plateau and that injuries do not occur.
Physiotherapy for Cyclist Performance
Physiotherapy may not be the most obvious choice when it comes to improving cyclist performance – however, one would be surprised at the various ways that physiotherapy can have a positive impact on cycling performance.
Improving Cycling Biomechanics
Physiotherapists are experts in human anatomy and have a keen eye when it comes to muscular deficiencies. A physiotherapist can identify muscular inefficiencies and imbalances where one muscle group might be working harder to make up for weaker muscle groups. A physiotherapist can also assess your movement patterns while cycling to ensure your energy is used more efficiently to propel you forward.
Cyclist Physiotherapy for Injury Prevention
Most people are aware that prevention is better than cure, however very little focus is placed on pre-habilitation. Pre-habilitation programmes are specially designed for pre-race training – to ensure that your body is able to keep up with the intensity of upcoming training sessions. If one were to jump right into intensive training, injuries might occur. A physiotherapist is able to develop a prehab training programme consisting of sports-specific elements like strength training, regular stretching exercises and most importantly, sports specific drills. The demand for each sport is different so assessing your sport capability is essential. Each individual is different, thus each prehab program also should be individually tailored.
Improving Cycling Posture
Most cyclists are on their bikes for hours at a time which can result in aches and pains. Physiotherapists are able to assess your bike fit and adjust it so that you are able to adopt a better cycling posture. This would make your rides more comfortable and reduce the risk of strains or injuries.
Cyclist Physiotherapy for Injuries
As with any sport, there is always a risk of injury – mainly overuse and traumatic injuries. A physiotherapist is able to help you with pain relief and rehabilitation for injuries that affect your muscles, bones or nerves. Overuse injuries are especially common among cyclists as it is a fairly repetitive sport – using the same few muscle groups. Common overuse cycling injuries include back pain and lower limb problems. Small aches can escalate to become bigger problems over time if not attended to – this is due to the frequency of repetition of the cycling motion.
Traumatic injuries such as fractures are mostly sustained from accidents such as falls or crashes. The first step taken by a physiotherapist is to relieve pain and to immobilise the fractured joint to prevent further injury. If surgery is required, a physiotherapist is able to refer you to a specialist. If not, a physiotherapist is able to come up with a treatment plan to rehabilitate your injury and get you back on the bike.