Cycling and mountain biking are a fantastic way to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors in Singapore. However, like any sport or physical activity, they come with their fair share of potential injuries. The good news is that most cycling and sports injuries can be prevented with the right knowledge, precautions and, if needed, physiotherapy. Saddle up as we chat to a member of the AMP Lab team to explore some of the most common cycling and mountain biking injuries in Singapore and get the inside track on reducing the risk of experiencing them, no matter whether you’re a weekend warrior, daily commuter or competitive cyclist.
“Knee, back and wrist or elbow pain are the three most common riding injuries,” says Cherie Tan, principal physiotherapist at AMP Lab – Singapore’s one-stop health, fitness and performance centre – and ride leader at Rapha Cycling Club. “From muscle strains to over-use injuries, understanding the potential challenges and taking preventive measures can significantly enhance your safety and enjoyment on the road or trail.”
Three of the most common cycling injuries in Singapore and how to avoid them, according to a sports physiotherapist
#1 Back pain
For some cyclists, the joy of riding is marred by a persistent and unwelcome companion: back pain. This can present in your mid-back, low-back, glutes or sacrum and be caused by a number of things, such as poor posture, incorrect saddle or handlebar position, muscle weakness and over-use. (Think long rides and hard climbs!)
“Muscle strain, disc-related injury, sciatica or tendinopathy can result from the above-mentioned causes,” says Cherie. “Fortunately, by understanding the causes of back discomfort and implementing preventative measures, you can continue to pedal your way to fitness.”
#2 Knee pain
One of the most frequent and vexing sports injuries that cyclists encounter is knee pain, whether in the kneecap, knee crease, knee muscles (thigh or calf) or the sides of the knee. It often emerges on long rides, sapping the joy from what should be an exhilarating experience.
According to Cherie, common causes of knee pain include over-training, as well as incorrect saddle position and gearing. Muscle tightness and weakness can also be contributing factors.
#3 Wrist or elbow pain
Elbow pain during or after cycling is a challenge that many riders face at some point. While we’ve all heard of biker’s elbow, your fingers (particularly your thumbs and middle or “ring” finger) can also be a source of discomfort and frustration for cyclists. Once again, this can be caused by incorrect handlebar height or distance and improper riding technique such as over-gripping and extending your elbows.
“Steer clear of common but avoidable injuries by learning about the importance of proper bike fit, protective gear and safe riding techniques,” says Cherie. “With the right information and preparation, you can minimise the risk of injuries such as triceps tendinopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, Guyon’s canal syndrome and trigger finger.”
The secret to pain-free cycling in Singapore
Established in 2009, AMP Lab works with cyclists of all levels to understand the causes of pain and offer valuable insights and strategies to treat, manage and prevent cycling-related injuries. Alongside exercise physiology and sports science services, they offer high-quality physiotherapy in Singapore, with a focus on preventative health, non-operative treatments and the right exercises aimed at getting clients back on the saddle and able enjoy the sport they love. Get in touch with the AMP Lab team to book a consultation.
Signs that you may need to consult a sports physiotherapist or medical professional:
- Nerve symptoms
- Incomplete relief from a previous treatment
- A pain score of 5/10 (moderate) and above
- Pain that is persistent, constant or frequent
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