sports injuries

Sports Injuries

The team at Physiotherapy Links is experienced in treating a wide range of complex sporting injuries and has close working relationships with Gold Coast Sports Physicians and Orthopaedic Surgeons.

We can provide sports injury prevention and management strategies to a range of sporting disciplines from elite to amateur athletes.

Your link to:

  • Cricket Injuries
  • Running Injuries
  • Cycling Injuries
  • Football Injuries
  • Throwing Injuries
  • Tennis Injuries
  • Swimming Injuries
  • Rowing and Kayaking Injuries
  • Golf Injuries
  • Sports screening
  • Injury Prevention and Management
  • Biomechanical and video analysis
  • Sports specific exercise programmes

Do you ride a bike?

Do you ride for fitness, competition, mountain biking, triathlon, off-road racing? 

If you take 2.5 hours to cycle race 100km, your average cadence is 90rpm, this means that you will be making pedal stroke number 64,800!

That’s alot of repeated movements and muscle contractions that can easily result in soft tissue or joint overload.

The three main reasons why overuse injuries occur in cyclists are:

  1. poor biomechanics
  2. poor bike mechanics
  3. poor cycling technique/training habits

Biomechanics of Cycling and Bike Position

The benefit to cycling as a sport is that it is non-weight bearing so forces through joints and tissues are generally less than many weight-bearing sports.  Additionally, muscle contractions are concentric. This means that the muscle length shortens as the muscle contracts (as opposed to eccentric contractions where the muscle is lengthening as it contract and which is the more muscle-damaging contractions).  This is why, in general, you will get less muscle pain and soreness from cycling as opposed to running (especially downhill or acceleration/deceleration running). Power output through-out the pedal stroke is not equal. At different points through-out the pedal stroke, different muscles are in better positions to provide optimal power output:

  • Peak pedal force is at 100o
  • For efficiency, there should be a smooth transition of power from power phase to recovery phase which means “pulling” across the bottom dead centre (BDC) and “pushing” across top dead centre (TDC)

There are 3 points of contact between your body and bike that act as bases of support and therefore need to be ‘stable’ (or in the optimal position to help power output be delivered to the pedals to propel you forwards): pelvis on saddle, foot in shoe on pedal, and hands on handlebars. Your abdominal, low back and pelvic stability is critical for ensuring your pelvis remains still on the saddle and that you are not excessively using your arms to attempt to stabilise your body.  Your foot must be in the optimal position on the pedal to ensure delivery of the force your body generates is delivered to the bike. And your upper limb should be helping stabilise your trunk only (except in mountain biking and track racing). Having the correct position on the body is essential for maximising power output using the correct muscles and having a stable body position on the bike.

The keys to minimising your risk of injury as a cyclist?

  1. Ensure you are riding the correct size bike frame
  2. Riding the correct frame will allow you to have a correct Bike Fit and get this done by someone who cares and fits you on the bike
  3. Make sure you perform some regular self-maintenance exercises to reduce muscle tone/tension that will develop from repeated contractions, for example get a regular massage from a professional therapists that understands your needs and goals as a cyclist and can help maintain healthy tissue tension.
  4. Make sure you have flexibility where you it for good cycling position and technique. You ideally need good hamstring, calf and ankle bend flexibility and low back and hip mobility.
  5. Work on your bike handling skills and be careful in road traffic

How will a Bike Fit help?

  1. It  minimises your risk of injury by putting joints and muscles in optimal positions
  2. It improves your riding efficiency and/or speed for performance
  3.  It improves your comfort on the bike and enjoyment of riding


What should be taken into consideration in your Bike Fit?

1.Your purpose and/or goals of riding. There are differences in bike set-up depending on what type of bike you are riding and what level of performance you want. For example, if you are time trialling you will need to be as physically aerodynamic as possible to reduce wind drag resistance slowing you down, which may mean sacrificing a little bit of comfort. If you are mountain biking you will need to have optimal use of your upper limb for helping to stabilise and control the bike in different types of terrain and seat height may be a little lower so that it is easy to get a foot out and to the ground for support.

2. Your injury history 85% of recreational cyclists report having at least 1 injury that appears cycling-related.  The most common injury site is the knee, then the neck and low back (Wilber et al, 1995).  Body area’s that become painful to ride need to be reviewed on and off the bike to establish what the cause is for the pain and whether it is bike-position-related, or whether addition flexibility or strength exercises need to be performed off the bike to ensure your limbs are supported in the best position when on the bike.

3. Your individual flexibility

4. The type of Bike you are riding

Some common reasons you definitely need to get your Bike Fit checked asap:

1. Pain in your back, neck or shoulder blades
2. Sore hands or tingling in your hands
3. Hot/numb feet
4. Saddle discomfort (including one-sided pressure sores)
5. Knee pain
6. Experiencing a lack of power or being uncomfortable to ride longer periods
7. Poor handling
8. Breathing restrictions
9. Experiencing regular tissue injury

If you are changing your bike position due to an injury, choose a professional who has knowledge in both bike fit and injury management. Adam Daniels our Senior Physiotherapist can fit your body to the bike as much as the bike to your body!

Bike Fit @Physiotherapy Links – COMING SOON
-Assess your flexibility and any body area’s of concern,
-Video review you if necessary
-Check and re-check your bike position, modify where necessary and advise on other changes that need to be made to your bike
-Give you Recommendations on stretches, exercises, self-maintenance techniques, technique changes to be made and any other follow-up required.

Resource Science of Cycling & APA