Pop quiz. Which two areas of the body will a cyclist most frequently injure?
If you went straight to low back and knees then full marks. Low back pain is more frequent but tends to recover more quickly. Knee pain last longer so if it was a competition I suppose knees take it. The majority of cyclists with knee pain will have a version of patellofemoral pain.
The leading causes for irritating this incredibly efficient joint are
• Improper bikefit
• Early season overuse
• Hip/pelvis muscle imbalance
Any combination of the above will alter the position of the patella in the groove at the bottom of the femur (thighbone), resulting in extra friction. Note to all riders – Do not ignore. At first this friction just stirs local symptoms and is easy to manage. Left to carry on that friction will soften and wear the cartilage behind the patella and can slowly wear a hole in the cartilage and that will ruin your season.
So be pro active now.
• Have your bikefit checked if you are unsure whether it is within your window
• Spend your first few rides in the small chainring and leave the hills alone
• Have your muscle balance assessed by a good physio. (preferably one who cycles) and get some exercises to improve your season. Even the best riders have things to work on and as for the rest of us…!
Take the opportunity to get into some good habits now in the (very early) season so that you can last the whole season pain free.
Keep the rubber side down and I’ll see you on the road.
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