Have a guess what the most frequently injured joint is in the sport of cycling? Yep, you got it – the knee!
In practice I have seen various overuse conditions that have begun as a slight “niggle” but then gone on to develop into debilitating pain over time, and cyclists aren’t exempt from this.
If cycling is considered to be a ‘low impact’ sport, why do cyclists get knee pain then?
The repetitive nature of the sport along with postural adaptations are to blame. When a knee is weak, the majority of the force is distributed on the outside of the thigh. A research article titled ‘On the biomechanics of cycling’ stipulates that the increased workload on your vastus medialis and lateralis muscles was the greatest contributor to knee pain. Besides improving strength and flexibility imbalances, it’s crucial to address the structural imbalances that lead to incorrect muscle activation and joint load to avoid injury and allow the knee can cope better with the demand of cycling.
Common structural problems that can contribute to knee injuries
There are a number of structural reasons why you might be experiencing knee pain, such as:
- Leg length inequality
- Pes planus (flat feet)
- Genu Valgum (knock knee)
- Genu recurvatum (excessive extension of the knee)
- Femoral anteversion (turned in thighbones)
Avoiding knee injuries
Nobody wants to be left on the sidelines with an injury, so what can a cyclist do to prevent knee injuries from occurring?
- Get properly fitted to the right bike. Slight changes to your seat or pedals can have a significant effect on your posture, and even a change as small as replacing worn-out cleats can produce knee pain.
- Develop an appropriate training program. Don’t go too hard, too soon. Increase your distance gradually and vary your route. Avoid overloading your knee with too many hills or riding in high gears for extended periods.
- Get your body assessed by a professional. A Chiropractic examination will identify any weaknesses or flexibility issues as well as detect structural or postural imbalances that may affect your performance and/or lead to injury.
Haven’t got knee pain but want to be sure you’re getting the most out of your cycling?
We see a range of cyclists of all levels and abilities along with many other athletes who find Chiropractic care complementary to their training regimes. Spinal mobility, core stabilisation and postural correction are key to a properly functioning body that can take you from training wheels to Le Tour de France!
To book your assessment with a Chiropractor, call 9596 9930 or fill in your details below and we’ll be in touch!