Don't get saddled with wrong bike fit and injuries, says expert

Using a foam roller on the outside of one's thigh can help prevent tightness of the iliotibial band, while also minimising injuries while cycling.
Using a foam roller on the outside of one's thigh can help prevent tightness of the iliotibial band, while also minimising injuries while cycling.PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL

Cyclists should not underestimate the importance of a good bicycle fit in preventing injuries arising from over-use, said Dr Wang Mingchang of the National University Hospital's Sports Centre.

Over-use injuries are often a result of long periods of repetitive movement.

Citing knee damage as the most common over-use injury in cyclists, he said: "Simple things like saddle height and the way you position your foot on the pedal helps in preventing over-use injuries of the knee.

"A bicycle seat that is too low might result in pain in the front of the knee, as forcing the knee to bend too low may cause stress to the knee."

Knee pain from cycling can occur in two areas - in the front of the knee, and at the outer parts.

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The latter is caused by constant rubbing of the iliotibial band, which runs lengthwise along the thigh, over the lower thighbone, said Dr Wang.

Apart from the need to ensure a good bicycle fit, he also advocated stretching the iliotibial band and strengthening the thigh muscles as a preventive measure for over-use injuries.

"These preventive measures can also be used as a means of treatment to alleviate symptoms," he added. "Cyclists might also want to take some time off their bicycles to rest."

Other common over-use injuries related to cycling include neck and lower back pain, and skin breakage and infection at the perineum, which is the area in contact with the saddle.

Dr Wang will elaborate more on the topic at an injury management talk at the NUH Sports Centre on Saturday, July 23.

A panel of experts will also be present to discuss how to prevent and manage common cycling-related injuries.

Information about foot care and traumatic injuries - the other main type of cycling injury - will be available as well.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'Don't get saddled with wrong bike fit and injuries, says expert'. Print Edition | Subscribe