ONS Sports Medicine Specialist, Dr. Katherine Vadasdi, on Cycling InjuriesSports Medicine
By Katherine Vadasdi, MD ONS Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of the ONS Women’s Sports Medicine Center
Like all activities engaged in regularly, cycling has its share of common ailments and injuries. Many of the overuse injuries result from attempting to do too much, too soon. Poor riding technique, and improper frame fit for the individual may also cause injuries. Riding too many miles or tackling too many hills in too high a gear will stress the musculoskeletal system, especially at the start of the cycling season.
Knee pain is the most common complaint and is usually related to the tracking of the kneecap, or “patella” in the mid-groove of the thigh bone or “femur.” The symptoms of “biker’s knee,” also known as “patellofemoral pain syndrome,” usually result from a combination of malalignment of the extensor mechanism of the knee, muscle imbalance, and improper set-up on the bike. Each cyclist presents with differences in biomechanics (flat pronated feet, bow legs, etc.) and muscle conditioning (strength and flexibility) that can predispose to this condition. It is important to avoid riding with high pedal resistance at a low cadence as this puts excessive pressure across the knee joint. The rule of the road is “if the knees hurt gear down.”
Some common riding errors are riding with the saddle too low or too far forward and poor foot position or improper cleat adjustment. This can lead to other musculoskeletal injuries such as neck problems or achilles tendinitis.
We must not forget that traumatic injuries can occur when we least expect it. Wear an approved bicycle helmet at all times while cycling. Remember to replace your helmet if you are involved in a bike crash while wearing it. It will likely not perform for you the second time.
About Dr. Katherine Vadasdi
Katherine Vadasdi, MD is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist who believes in taking an integrative approach to medical management by considering a patients’ bio-mechanics, cardio-vascular and pulmonary function as it relates to athletic performance. Dr. Vadasdi is a successful competitive triathlete and completed Ironman competitions in 2007 and 2009. She is also an alpine climber and has ascended Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Rainier and the Grand Teton, among others. To schedule an appointment, please call (203) 869-1145 or click Schedule Appointment today.