How To Safeguard Your Knees While Cycling?
Unfortunately for all of us, knee pain is a condition that we are quite familiar with; many people across the globe face numerous knee problems, and it might just be with heart diseases and diabetes in commonality. Knee pains can go from mild discomfort to sharp and shooting pains, which can render our day-to-day lives useless and difficult to navigate. The knee joints are placed right where the upper and lower legs meet and are highly important for a mobile and smooth body. Even the smallest injury to the knees should not be ignored as it can leave us immobile for days, if not taken care of. There are numerous reasons behind knee pain; let's go through some of them:
- Injuries: There are a variety of injuries that can raise knee pains. Some of these include an ACL injury which is the tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. This injury is common among athletes like football and basketball players. Certain fractures, such as an injury to the patella, can be responsible as well, while a torn meniscus, i.e. the shock absorber between shinbone and thighbone, can also pose problems. Knee bursitis, which is the inflammation of the bursae, and patellar tendinitis, which is the inflammation of tendons, can also be responsible for knee pain.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis are also some of the major issues which can affect the mobility and health of our knees. Osteoarthritis is also referred to as degenerative arthritis, which is caused due to the wear and tear of the cartilage. Rheumatoid is an autoimmune condition, while septic is caused due to an infection. There are other forms of arthritis as well, such as gout, which can affect our mobility.
- Mechanical issues: The iliotibial band syndrome or the IT band syndrome is where the IT band, which extends from the outside of the hip to the knee, gets tight and rubs with the thighbone; this can irritate the knee. The IT band syndrome is common among cyclists and athletes. Hip, back, and feet pain can bring significant changes to our posture and walking style, which can, in turn, bring significant load on our knees. A dislocated kneecap is yet another reason.
- Miscellaneous issues: Various other issues such as excess weight, a sedentary lifestyle which causes lower muscle strength and flexibility, hazardous work conditions, and previously intreated injuries are some of the reasons why one can have knee pain.
We must understand that knee pain does not equate to sitting in bed all day long and living a restricted life. Our knee pain should be a motivation to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Most experts and physiotherapists suggest exercising in a smart manner to undo the damage and even strengthen the injury.
Cycling is one of those exercises which is often recommended for healthy knees. However, you must get yourself cleared by a medical practitioner before taking up this activity. We've heard various questions like "is cycling good for knee pain?" and here in this blog, we answer this question with a resounding YES. One of the best ways to maintain a great pair of knees is by constantly exercising them; exercising the knee includes flexibility, mobility, strengthening, and endurance. A balance of these will ensure a healthy pair of knees. Otherwise, we may even come down with cycling knee pain.
Let's learn some tips through which we can safeguard our knees:
- Safety is always important: You may not have knee pain yet, but you might if you keep riding your cycle without cycle knee pads. Knee pads are important as many cyclists encounter some form of mild to serious accident that can injure their knees. Prevention is always the best cure, and therefore we must all develop the habit of wearing knee pads whenever were out and about on our cycles. Yet another point to add: always purchase a cycle that suits your posture and supports your knees well while pedalling. At Ninety One Cycles, we have the Defeatr Pro 29T - [New Edition] and the Shadowfax 27.5T, which are engineered to perfection and are great for beginner and seasoned cyclists. These cycles are built keeping in mind the overall posture of a cyclist and enabling it to perform to the best of its abilities.
- Build up gradually: Slow and steady wins the race, and if you intend to cycle for the rest of your life, then you must bring this formula into your life as well. Many times we force our bodies to ride faster and for longer; we think we are pushing our limits, but instead, we are causing significant damage to our knees. Our riding mileage should increase gradually and over the course of many weeks. Start small and perhaps increase your mileage by only ten percent; your endurance and strength, too, should increase in a similar manner. However, give yourself good warming-up exercises and cool-down sessions for a better riding experience. You want your connective tissues to be warm and fluid before cycling.
- Exercise your core, too: Our core not only includes our abdominal muscles but the hips and glutes as well, which play an important role in our cycling performance. Our core muscles should be well worked out to maintain a decent pressure on our knees instead of letting our knees do the entire work. A strong core keeps us stable and tall on our saddles. Speaking of saddles, you must purchase a cycle with the perfect saddle fit because it determines our posture and the pressure we place on our knees while riding. Therefore, it's important that you build your core health and make it strong like a rock.
- Mobility is important: Mobility includes both strength and stretching. Our knees should be able to perform a wide range of movements; if we have restricted mobility, then we are risking the health of our knees over the pedal. Develop a good mobility routine that includes foam rolling and active knee exercises. These will keep our knees healthy and in great health.
Hopefully, the tips above will help you ace your cycling game; our knee pain shouldn't be an excuse to get away from this amazing activity. Instead, we should focus on strengthening our joints and living a buttery smooth life.
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