More and more American cyclists are hitting the road as the sport gains in popularity.
In fact, an estimated 80 million people in the U.S. use bicycles for commuting, recreation or sport. Whether riding as a commuter or a weekend warrior, cycling is a great form of exercise. Biking provides health benefits that include improved cardiovascular function and heart health, increased stamina and muscle tone – and it blasts calories.
However, studies show large numbers of these enthusiasts experience pain and injuries from cycling, according to STOPSportsInjuries.org. Among riders, 48 percent reported problems with their necks, 42 percent experienced pain in their knees, 31 percent with their hands, 36 percent in the groin and 30 percent with their back.
The most common injuries
Pain in the knee as a result of overuse is a common complaint among cyclists. Common knee overuse injuries include cyclist’s knee, tendinitis and iliotibial band syndrome.
“Probably the most prevalent injury we see in cycling is iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome,” said Dr. Mark Schweppe, an orthopedic surgery specialist at Novant Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Winston-Salem. “The iliotibial band is a tendon that originates at the hip and inserts at the knee. It is a common cause of hip and knee pain, specifically on the outside of the knee.”
“Tendonitis can also cause pain in the front of the knee from overuse of the quadriceps muscle and patellar tendon,” he added.