SOURCE: AAOS

December 19, 2007 21:11 ET

Cyclists Keep on Pedaling but Beware Below

Proper Equipment and Bicycling Position Can Prevent Lower Body Injuries

ROSEMONT, IL--(Marketwire - December 19, 2007) - More and more people are riding bicycles for exercise and recreation. Heightened interest in the sport brings along an increased possibility of lower body injuries. A recent study published in the December 2007 Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found these injuries may be avoided with some preventive steps, if the cyclist will take the time to:

-- Find the proper bicycle equipment by seeking out professional
   advice before making a purchase
-- Always position the seat, handlebars and other bike parts
   properly in relation to the rider's body size
-- Wear a properly fitted helmet
-- Stretch prior to cycling especially the following areas:
    -- Gluteal Muscles
    -- Hamstring Muscles
    -- Quadricep Muscles
    -- Calf Muscles
-- Take proper care at first sign of injury including:
    -- Rest
    -- Ice
    -- Compress
    -- Elevate
    -- See a doctor if pain persists

According to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than a million people are treated in hospitals, doctor's offices and clinics each year because of bicycle injuries. "We are seeing an increased interest in cycling as a sport. With the baby boomers getting older, it is a popular alternative to running, which is more of a strain on an aging frame," says Dr. Tony Wanich, the study's lead author and an orthoapedic resident at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. "Part of the problem is that the majority of people do not go to a bike shop to test ride a bike, they just buy off the rack, not paying very much attention to the proper fit." While cycling is good for joint movement and flexibility, overuse of joints and muscles can happen very easily resulting in injury. Those injuries include:

--  Knee pain
--  Hip tendonitis
--  Stress fractures
--  Foot numbness
    

However, the knee is the most common location for overuse, with 40-60 percent of riders experiencing knee pain. Most of the time these injuries do not require surgery, instead treatment usually includes:

--  Rest
--  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
--  Corticosteroid injection
--  Ice
--  Reducing intensity of cycling
--  Physical therapy
    

"Overall cycling is a relatively safe activity and is a terrific option for many individuals, especially those with musculoskeletal aliments. Riders can prevent most injuries by taking the proper safety precautions," Dr. Wanich says. "Lance Armstrong did a lot to educate and excite people about cycling; now we need to take care and properly fit our bicycles to prevent possible injuries."

JAAOS

AAOS

http://www.orthoinfo.org/

Disclosure: Dr. Wanich has received no compensation for this study and receives no consulting fees of any kind.

To view this release online, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2007/aaos_journal_121807/index.html

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