Frequently Asked Questions

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How soon can I get back to cycling?

Depending on the injury, your physiotherapist will guide you as to when is the right time to return to cycling. If possible cycling may be included in your rehabilitation program.

What will my assessment involve?

Assessments are done by Chartered Physiotherapists. Assessments involve the physiotherapist checking ranges of movement, power and sensory changes and pain sites. The soft tissues are palpated and asymmetries in muscle bulk are noted.

Why are my neck and lumbar spine painful after a long ride?

Your bike set-up is probably wrong, this is a common mistake and can lead to discomfort and often injury, there is also a loss of efficiency and power/speed. You need to have your bike set up by a professional, this will lead to more enjoyable riding and far less chance of injury and it only needs to be done once. 

What is a good warm-up specifically for cyclists?

Good warm-ups include Quadriceps, Haemstrings and Gastrocnemius/Soleus muscular stretching. Find out more.

Is it essential to have my cycle adjusted correctly to fit my body?

It is most important to have your cycle adjusted to fit you. There are many problems that can arise from incorrect positioning, such as overuse of muscle groups, low back and neck pain and knee problems to name but a few.

After my accident, why does my neck/back become sore and stiff in the morning after sleep - do I need a new mattress?

Typically muscular injuries tighten up over night due to a decrease in circulation at night and because you do not move very much, which promotes stiffness. Therefore changing your mattress will make very little difference. Tight sore muscles require good circulation to bring the energy they need to help them relax, therefore slow and gentle exercise which promotes circulation in to your tight muscles will warm them up and help to reduce the stiffness, that's why you feel better once you get going.

Why is lower back pain common in cyclists?

Due to the forward trunk position in the saddle, the hip flexors can become shortened, leading to excess pressure on the hips and lumbar vertebral joints. This is often made worse if your ‘day job’ also requires prolonged sitting. A program consisting of regular hip flexor stretching, remedial core activation exercises and clinical deep tissue massage can help prevent and treat this condition. Visit www.starinjuries.com for further information.

At what height should I have my bike saddle to avoid injury to the knee?

At the bottom of the pedal stroke, the knee should be a few degrees short of full extension. If the knee is fully extended in this postition, it can cause a "snapping back" of the knee, potentially injuring the hamstrings, ligaments in and around the knee, or causing the patella to impact into the femur. If the knee is too flexed at the bottom of the pedal stroke there may be irritation on the articular surface of the patella as it can grind against the femur in this position. There is also a risk of patella tendonitis due to increased forces across the knee.

Can neck and back pain from a cycling accident be the same as neck and back pain from a car accident?

Yes. Often the mechanics of a cycling accident can cause similar injuries to the neck and back that one might experience in a car accident (i.e. whiplash). This can be successfully treated with physiotherapy modalities including joint and soft tissue mobilizations, manipulation and exercises.

What kind of treatment will a physiotherapist do following my cycling accident?

This all depends on the injuries sustained. As a general rule a physiotherapist will use a variety of techniques aimed at reducing pain, improving movement and restoring normal function. These include manual therapy (such as massage and mobilisation), and electrotherapy (such as ultrasound and interferential). Exercise therapy will also play a part in getting you back on your bike and the physio will prescribe a progressive home exercise programme to gradually improve your movement and strength.