Cycling is one of the best sports for anyone who enjoys competition and wants to stay in shape. In this day and age, there are few ways to get outside, take in the fresh air, and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. Thus, a simple ride can be a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
However, as with any sport, cycling has its risks. Many cyclists seek medical services for pain, numbness, mobility problems, and other major issues. This is because cycling involves repetitive motions and can strain your feet, tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
Luckily, there are ways to mitigate these risks. The right orthotics can help you distribute force more evenly while cycling, decreasing the likelihood of injury or strain. If you’re a cyclist who wants to stay active and avoid pain, then check out this quick overview of the benefits of cycling-specific orthotics.
Common Cycling-Related Conditions
The following conditions are extremely common among cyclists. However, a good pair of cycling-specific orthotics can significantly decrease the risk of developing them. Naturally, this list does not include every single condition that could result from cycling.
Thus, you must practice good ergonomics and pay attention to any aches or pains during and after your rides. If something doesn’t feel right, then you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible to prevent the problem from potentially getting worse.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Also known as “runner’s knee,” PFPS can cause intense pain around your kneecap. Because the knees are an essential part of cycling, PFPS can significantly affect your ability to enjoy your rides.
This condition develops when athletes put too much stress on their knees, and it can be difficult to treat. A good pair of orthotics can help you move your legs in a more natural motion so that you are not putting so much pressure on your knees.
Numbness and Tingling Sensations in the Feet
Many nerves extend across your body, allowing you to move fluidly and painlessly. However, these nerves are sensitive. If the nerves in your lower body are put under a lot of pressure, then you may feel numbness or tingling in your feet.
Not only are these feelings uncomfortable, but they may prevent you from noticing unusual pain or swelling in your feet. Quality orthotics can distribute pressure more evenly across your legs so that you don’t have to deal with numbness and other strange sensations.
Cyclists place a ton of pressure on their feet. Consequently, many cyclists and other athletes injure their plantar fascia, the important ligaments connecting the heel to the ball of the foot, resulting in plantar fasciitis. This condition causes severe pain around the heel and on the sole of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis won’t only affect your riding, but it will also limit your mobility in everyday situations. Since you rely on your feet to walk around your home, go to work, buy groceries, and carry out other essential tasks, plantar fasciitis can make your life a nightmare. Thus, you may want to consider using a proper pair of orthotics to relieve pressure on your plantar fascia.
Your bursae are sacs of fluid that relieve friction in your joints. When placed under extreme stress, a bursa may become inflamed and swell. This condition is known as bursitis, and it commonly affects the bursae in the knees and hips of cyclists.
Bursitis can be extremely painful, and it may result in sciatica and other painful conditions. By distributing pressure across your lower body more evenly, a good pair of orthotics keeps you from irritating your bursae.
Benefits of Fitted Orthotics
You exert force by rotating the pedals to propel a bicycle forward. However, simply pushing down on the pedals without much precision won’t yield the best results. To get the most out of each rotation, you must exert adequate force throughout the entire cycling motion.
Without the right orthotics, you may not be able to execute this motion evenly. As a result, you will have to exert more precious energy to maintain a steady pace. As a result, good orthotics can give you the extra efficiency that you need to compete with the best cyclists.
Most days, cycling isn’t the only thing on the agenda. You have a lot to do in your busy life, but it can be difficult to accomplish everything on the list when you’re tired from a ride. Aside from boosting your performance, a good pair of orthotics will help you finish your ride without feeling exhausted.
While it is normal to feel some muscle soreness after exerting yourself, you should not be in intense pain. Moreover, your joints and tendons shouldn’t ache after a good ride. Without the right orthotics, you may end up placing undue stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments.
This can lead to inflammation, pain, and long-term damage. High-quality orthotics can minimize the impact of cycling on your joints by distributing force more evenly across your muscles. Consequently, you won’t have to deal with as many aches and pains as you go about your daily life.
Nobody wants to deal with an injury. Even if the doctors can fix your condition, you still may have to spend a lot of time at appointments or in athletic rehab facilities. Moreover, you likely won’t be able to cycle as much as you’d like. By helping prevent a condition from forming in the first place, the right orthotics will save you a ton of time.
Avoid Long-Term Damage
Not all injuries are completely reversible. Although medical practices have advanced significantly over the years, damaged joints and tendons are difficult to fix. If you develop a cycling-related medical condition, then you may have to deal with discomfort or decreased mobility for the rest of your life.
For this reason, it is super important to exercise ergonomically and wear cycling-specific orthotics. Otherwise, you may lose the ability to ride comfortably as you get older.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until You Notice Pain
Although nothing may seem wrong at the moment, the early stages of many medical conditions can be difficult to notice. You may only feel pain after significant damage has occurred. Some conditions are nearly impossible to reverse and require a lot of rest for adequate recovery.
Even if you’ve treated a cycling-related condition, many may reemerge with the slightest aggravation. Thus, it is better to take proper preventive measures now to ensure that you don’t suffer from pain, immobility, and long-term damage.
Pay Close Attention to Your Setup
Orthotics can offer a great deal of relief, but it’s also important to set your bike up with ergonomics in mind. If you notice extra tension in a certain part of your body after a ride, then you should adjust your handlebars or seat accordingly. That way, you can find the most comfortable setup and enjoy a healthier range of motion.
Protect Your Body With the Right Orthotics
Life is too short to deal with chronic pain and poor mobility. However, if you don’t have the right equipment to ride ergonomically, then you are at greater risk of developing a serious condition.
Cycling should be fun and exciting, and it shouldn’t lead to chronic pain. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get the best cycling-specific ergonomics to boost your performance and decrease your likelihood of injury.