How to Prevent Common Cycling Injuries


If you have been watching the elite athletes racing in the Tour de France recently, you will have seen countless accidents and falls.  Two of the top men in the race have had to withdraw with injuries caused by accidents including two-time winner Alberto Contador who had badly damaged his knee and last year’s winner Chris Froome with a fractured left wrist and right hand.

What this does show is that no matter how good a cyclist you are, accidents happen and people are injured.  While there is often nothing that can be done about this type of injury, there are some other types that occur frequently that something can be done to try and prevent.


Achilles Tendonitis is a condition caused by overuse of the Achilles tendons and can also be caused by a bike not being the right fit or shoe cleats not in the correct position.  To avoid it make sure your seat isn’t too high – if your toe is pointed down (plantarflexed) this means your calf muscle constantly contracts and can cause the injury.

Patellar Tendonitis is a condition that affects the tendon just below the kneecap and is normally caused by having the seat too low or from riding for too long a time using big gears.  This means the gluteal muscles are being used properly, the quadriceps get overused and the tendonitis occurs.

If you do get the conditions, back off from cycling and use ice to help reduce the inflammation.  Ibuprofen is a drug to consider for its anti-inflammatory properties but it needs to be taken for a few days running to have any affect.

Broken bones

The two most common broken bones when cycling are the clavicle and the scaphoid.  The clavicle is the collarbone and the schapoid is the carpal bone on the thumb side of the hand and both are weak points designed to absorb impact if your arm is extended bracing yourself against a fall.  Both of hese require immediate medical attention.

Broken scaphoid bones often go unnoticed as the pain is not as debilitating as with other broken bones and it is so small.  However it can be dangerous as blood supply to the thumb can be affected by the break and this can cause serious problems.

It is impossible to avoid breaking bones but one tip to try and help minimalise it is to keep holding your handlebars when you call.  This means the whole of your body takes the impact rather than just one or two places.

Back pain

Pain in the lower back when cycling is usually caused by either the fit of the bike or too long a period spent in an aggressive riding position.  It can lead to serious conditions such as a trapped nerve or sciatica.  Core-strengthening is one of the main ways to avoid this problem and is recommended as an essential part of every cyclist’s routine.  Cycling doesn’t use core muscles such as the gluteus medius or the transverse abdominus so these needs to be worked to keep up strength to compensate.


Related posts: