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Cyclist riding downhill

How to Recover Faster From Cycling Injuries

Cycling injuries can become an unforeseen slippage in your athletic performance, and sometimes recovery can take more than expected. However, there are ways to speed up the process and get back on your bike faster than the average.

In this article, we’re going to briefly talk about this type of injury and summarize the different methods available to recover faster and resume your sporting activities as soon as possible.

The most common injuries in cyclists

We can broadly break them down into two different types (1, 2):

• Overuse injuries

These injuries are common if your bike is not appropriate for you and if you’re adopting a bad posture while cycling. But even if your cycling technique is good, this sport has repetitive movements and may lead to recurrent pains and aches or more serious conditions such as patella tendonitis.

• Traumatic injuries

They are caused by an accident or crash and may result in cuts, ligament tears, bone fractures, and much more.

Recover faster with a professional rehab

In most cases, rehabilitation is the first choice to recover from cycling injuries. Even major traumatic injuries that require surgery go through rehab at some point.

Stretching is an essential technique to recover. Through stretching and flexibility exercises, rehab professionals can gradually restore the normal range of motion when it is affected. They can also reduce muscle aches and pains by releasing your trigger points, applying the principles of massage and manual manipulation, or using techniques such as electrotherapy or hydrotherapy (3).

A physiotherapist is also trained to detect the source of the pain and suggest changes to your bike, riding position or cycling technique. The main goal is to reduce the chance of re-injury, alleviate your stiffness and pain symptoms, and detect muscular imbalances to fix them and prevent future injuries.

Other methods to speed up recovery

Physiotherapy is an excellent method for a prompt recovery, but there are many others you can include in your rehab strategy. We’re going to focus on the most common methods: acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathy.

• Acupuncture

Placing needles in various key points in the body speeds up relaxation and has been found beneficial if you have low back pain, neck pain, and other symptoms.

• Chiropractic

Similar to traditional physiotherapy, chiropractic is a manual therapy technique that improves aching muscles (especially in your back) by manipulating the bones of the spine and realigning them to relieve pressure and promote a better posture.

• Osteopathy

Has a similar principle than chiropractic but focuses on various parts of the body at the same time, and not only the spine. They use manual therapies and massage, and may also apply mobilization techniques. It is more appropriate if the pain is located in your limbs and after knee surgery.

Another important part of your rehab strategy is what you do to get better. For instance, if you notice swelling in your knee, you can follow the RICE strategy, which stands for Resting your muscles, applying Ice, Compression to the swelling area and Elevating your limb. Moreover, if you want to recover faster from cycling injuries, be sure to follow instructions and don’t miss any follow-up rehab session.

Man stretching legs out

Achieve Optimal Recovery in Sports

When you practice sports and excel at them, there’s a high chance you feel a stronger connection with your muscles. You know exactly how hard to hit the ball and perform the right moves at the right time. However, that precision in your motor skill starts to decay as you become exhausted, and even more if you have endured a sports-related lesion. Moreover, several sports put an asymmetric load in your body, and in order to reduce your risk of lesions, it is recommended to perform a series of pre-round and post-round stretching movements as a part of the prevention protocol.

If you want to become a professional athlete or take sports to the next level, there are a few recovery tips you should keep in mind for a better outcome.

Recover Your Energy and Prevent Lesions in Sports

Physical exhaustion is the number one enemy in sports performance. There are many ways to increase your endurance, but we all have physical boundaries, and ignoring them is not a good idea.

If you want to recover your energy after a strenuous practice or match, dynamic stretch and hydrating is a good idea to start your recovery protocol. Sometimes our endurance depends on proper hydration, and amateur athletes often take for granted this apparently minute aspect.

An active stretch routine will keep your body moving, and it is an excellent way to relax your body and bring it back to a resting state. In some cases, it would be necessary to undergo a passive stretch routine as well, which should be performed by a professional therapist.

In certain sports, it will be necessary to detect and treat altered muscle mechanics that result from an asymmetric load. For example, in tennis, golf, and baseball, it is highly likely one side of your body is working harder than the other. As a part of your recovery protocol, a skilled therapist would be able to stretch and trigger the right spots to release tension and reduce the risk of lesions.

at StretchSPOT, our professional stretch therapists are trained to speed up your recovery time and prevent sports-related injuries through a combination of myofascial release and Active Isolated Stretching. We are also trained in a particular technique called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) to increase your range of motion and enhance your athletic performance.

Recover from Sports-related Lesions

Sports-related lesions may require a surgical procedure sometimes. If that’s your case, you will also need to recover from surgery and might need to pay special attention to your muscle conditioning. That is why recovering from a sports-related lesion is a serious deal that usually requires the opinion and assistance from a physical therapist. According to studies, a proper physical therapy and muscle strengthening protocols would speed up your recovery and your return to play.

Physical therapy will depend on your lesion, whether or not you’re planning a prompt return to the field, and your progression through the recovery protocol. It will not be the same treating a younger patient with a full range of motion than older adults starting to undergo mobility issues. Thus, be sure to look for a professional therapist who understand sports-related lesions and is properly trained to detect and treat any irregularity.

References:

Brüggemann, G. P. (2005). Sport-related spinal injuries and their prevention. Biomechanics in Sport. Oxford: Blackwell Science, 550-576.

Hindle, K., Whitcomb, T., Briggs, W., & Hong, J. (2012). Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF): Its mechanisms and effects on range of motion and muscular function. Journal of human kinetics31, 105-113.

Magnusson, P., & Renström, P. (2006). The European College of Sports Sciences Position statement: The role of stretching exercises in sports. European journal of sport science6(2), 87-91.

Myklebust, G., & Bahr, R. (2005). Return to play guidelines after anterior cruciate ligament surgery. British journal of sports medicine39(3), 127-131.

Tyler, T. F., Schmitt, B. M., Nicholas, S. J., & McHugh, M. P. (2017). Rehabilitation after hamstring-strain injury emphasizing eccentric strengthening at long muscle lengths: Results of long-term follow-up. Journal of sport rehabilitation26(2), 131-140.