Indoor cycling is a pretty safe way to workout – typically it’s low-impact, high-intensity cardio! Participants are able to go at their own pace, use as much (or as little resistance) as they need to get the best workout possible. But there are some common injuries that can happen to those who do a lot of indoor cycling. Here are some to watch out for, and how to help treat them if they’re developed.
1. Cyclist’s Knee
Cyclist’s Knee is also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome and it’s caused by the repetitive motion of cycling. Signs and symptoms include general knee pain, mostly when the knee is flexed. Initial treatment includes rest and ice, but longer term care includes physiotherapy. To help prevent knee pain during your indoor cycling class, you have to ensure the saddle isn’t too low and ride in shorter length crankshafts.
2. Handlebar Palsy
The real name is Guyon’s canal/tunnel syndrome, but it’s also known as cyclist’s palsy. It’s caused by irritation in the ulnar nerve due to holding the handlebars for a long period of time. The signs usually consist of things like numbness or tingling in the ring or pinky finger and if it’s more severe, there’s probably going to be some weakness in those fingers as well. The best way to avoid developing this is to change your handlebar position every so often when you’re riding. You can try anti-inflammatories to help, splints or physical therapy, but if the problem persists it’s advised to speak to your medical professional about it.
3. Neck Pain
Neck pain happens to some people due to the fact that they’re looking up at an instructor or at a video monitor. Some bikes put people in a position where their heads looking down seems natural but when it’s indoors in a class, people can develop neck pain from it. If you develop neck pain, depending on the severity, you can do some simple neck stretches, or if you need to anti-inflammatories may help as well. To avoid neck pain ensure that you are moving your head and stretching intermittently throughout your class, or if you need to raise the handlebars so you aren’t so hunched forward.
4. Hot Foot Syndrome
Burning and tingling in the feet is also known as “hot foot” syndrome. The pressure between the foot and the pedal of the bike is typically what causes this condition, but it can also be caused by wearing cycling shoes or running shoes too tight. You can avoid this by changing the intensity of your workout, loosening your shoes or changing the type of shoe you wear to your indoor cycling class.
5. Low Back Pain
Low back pain is more common in cyclists that ride outdoor style bikes as opposed to upright or recumbent bikes. It can hurt the lower back for different reasons such as poor bike fit, poor posture, prolonged use of the bike and weak core muscles. You can avoid back issues by ensuring your bike is set up properly, raise the handlebars on your bike, and by strengthening your core muscles.
6. Saddle Sores
These sores are caused, basically, because of pressure and friction. People can get these sores because of ill-fitting gym clothes, excessive riding, and improper seat position/fit. Signs and symptoms of sores include getting a rash before hand, or the skin may appear raised. They are very short lived if you take care of them properly and ensure they are clean.
7. Bicycle Seat Neuropathy
Bicycle seat neuropathy is also known as genital numbness! It’s caused when one of the nerves called the pudendal nerve is compressed between the pelvis and the saddle of the bike. The most common way to avoid this injury is to move around in your saddle, sit in a different position, or changing the style of riding (ie. Standing up every so often). Lowering the saddle or raising the handlebars is another way to help it.