Bicycling Injuries

Whether you go for the occasional weekend ride or you’re a competitive road racer, injuries are common in cycling. At Henry Ford Health, our sports medicine specialists treat the full range of acute and chronic injuries that can keep cyclists out of the saddle.

Bicycling injury causes

Many bicycling injuries result from problems with the fit of your bike. The wrong frame size, improper seat or handlebar height or a poorly angled seat can make for an uncomfortable ride. If you cycle competitively or for long distances, discomfort can quickly progress to pain and overuse injuries in the back, hips, knees and legs.

The constant pressure of a cyclist’s feet and toes against the pedals can lead to pain, numbness or other nerve problems in the feet. Pressure in the wrists against the handlebars can result in wrist pain or tingling in the fingers.

Falls and crashes can result in traumatic injuries like fractures, contusions or dislocations. Serious head injuries or skull fractures can also occur, even when you’re wearing the right helmet.

Common bicycling injuries we treat

Our sports medicine specialists treat a variety of overuse and traumatic injuries in cyclists, including:

  • Clavicle (collarbone) fractures
  • Concussions and head injuries
  • Handlebar palsy, or ulnar neuropathy
  • Hip flexor tightness
  • Low back strain
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Quadriceps and patellar tendinitis

Bicycling injury treatment

We use a variety of techniques to treat bicycling injuries, including:

  • Low-impact conditioning: We encourage “relative rest,” which means we help you stay conditioned while you heal from an injury. Innovative equipment like the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ at our Center for Athletic Medicine helps you gradually return to exercise, without joint stress.
  • Laser therapy: Tendon and ligament injuries may benefit from laser therapy. This painless, noninvasive treatment uses light energy to stimulate tissue repair.
  • Blood flow restriction therapy: We reduce blood flow to an injured area while you exercise or rehabilitate. A cuff or elastic band on your arm or leg strengthens muscles by forcing them to work harder to pump blood. You safely and gradually improve your strength, but without the stress of external weights.

Most cyclists don’t need surgery for their injuries. But complex fractures, ligament tears or other severe injuries may not heal with conservative treatments. At Henry Ford, our orthopedic surgeons offer a variety of minimally invasive surgeries that can help you heal faster and with less pain.

Bicycling injury prevention

Stick to these habits to reduce your risk of bicycling injuries:

  • Choose a high-quality helmet.
  • Keep your bike, including the tires, brakes and chains, in good condition with regular maintenance.
  • Make sure your bike fits properly. An expert at a bike repair shop can help you make adjustments for the right fit.
  • Mix up your workouts with non-cycling activities such as swimming, running or yoga.
  • Stay hydrated on long rides.

Bicycling injury care: Why choose Henry Ford?

At our sports medicine program, you’ll find:

  • Skilled providers: Our expert team includes sports medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons and certified athletic trainers. We stay up to date on the latest research and treatment techniques for bicycling injuries, so you receive the highest level of care.
  • Minimally invasive treatment options: From Tenex procedures to treat Achilles and Patellar tendons to plasma-rich protein (PRP) injections to treat knee injuries there are options available to reduce procedure time, hasten recovery and increase potential for improved outcomes.
  • Care for the whole athlete: A variety of factors, from the fit of your bike to your diet and training regimen, can affect your athletic performance and increase your risk of bicycling injuries. We evaluate every aspect of your health to design a treatment plan customized to your unique needs.
  • Convenient access: Most providers can see you within 24 to 48 hours, so you receive prompt care for your injury. We offer in-person and virtual appointments. Henry Ford also features walk-in orthopedic clinics with extended evening hours.

Request an appointment

Request an appointment or learn more about our sports medicine services. We offer in-person and virtual visits.

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Have an injury?

Appointments within 24 business hours. Virtual visits available. Call (313) 651-1969.

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