Congratulations! Whether you completed the 48km of this year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour or not, give yourself a pat on the back! Are you planning to race next year? Start prepping now! And learn how to treat cycling injuries.
Each sport carries its own risks, for instance: a shoulder injury for a cricket player is common, it’s just the nature of the game. Well, endurance cycling is no different. The lower body has to deal with repeated impact and movements that can cause injury.
Specific cycling injuries
Even though the CTCT was reduced to 48km this year, your muscles and tendons are pushed to their limits.
Is your hip giving you trouble? This may mean that your bicycle seat is at the wrong height. Treatment: Don’t worry. There’s no need to rush to hospital. Ask your partner (nicely!) to go to the pharmacy and speak to the pharmacist. Over-the-counter meds should do the trick.
Also, make sure that you hold an ice pack on the painful area, a few times per day, for 15 minutes.
A knee injury: The knee is a hinge-type joint that sustains impact through the repeated pedalling motion.
Treatment: Now’s the time when you don’t have to justify sleeping late. You need to rest and keep your knee elevated – propping a pillow underneath you knee will keep it comfortable. Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) will have you back in action in no time.
Another common cycling injury is called Inflammation of the Iliotibial band tract (ITB). This is a band of tough tissue that extends from the pelvic area, over the hip and to the knee and causes pain, when inflamed.
Treatment: Anti-inflammatory medication is necessary to correct the problem. It’s also a good idea to go and see a physical therapist – we know you want to be back on your bike ASAP!
You may also feel pain in your feet from so much pedalling. It’s most likely that the underside of your foot is inflamed – this is known as Plantar fasciitis.
Treatment: You’ll be pleased to know that it can be treated using the same methods as a knee injury.
It could also help to put heel inserts into your shoes (known as orthotics): a biokineticist or podiatrist can advise you if this is necessary in your case.
But, I have pain in other muscles
Are you also feeling pain in these muscles?
- Lower back
Ironically, your training can be the exact reason for your injury! Long distance endurance training as well as strengthening your muscles in the gym, means the muscles become enlarged and causes them to become less flexible and actually more likely to suffer from strains.
Deep-tissue massage has been proven to be very valuable to treat this issue.
So, what’s the treatment?
There are different types of treatment and the type will depend on the seriousness of the injury – many can be treated by:
- A specific stretching regimen
- Medication known as Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS).
If you don’t see or feel any improvement, then you should consult a physiotherapist who can advise you about the right course of treatment.
This year’s race has been a great test to see if you’re up for the full 109km that you should be facing next year. Train smartly and we wish you the best of luck.