About Arizona Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center

Avoiding Foot and Ankle Cycling Injuries

Avoiding Foot and Ankle Cycling Injuries

Avoiding Foot and Ankle Cycling Injuries

Cycling is a great cardiovascular workout for all ages. You can go cycling on your own or with a group. You can also enjoy cycling indoors or in the great outdoors. Either way, you will find that cycling is more enjoyable than spending time on an elliptical machine or treadmill.

Even though cycling is a great extra-curricular activity that helps reduce force across your joints in the lower part of your body, avoiding foot and ankle cycling injuries is almost inevitable.

However there are preventive measures you can take to cut the risk of injuries as you ride.

Avoiding cycling injuries is as easy as staying on your bike, but when you start to feel discomfort on your foot and ankle that’s another story. If you ever start to feel any discomfort, you should not try to grind it out. If you do so, your injuries can become a long-term problem.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the types of foot and ankle injuries and how you can prevent them from getting worst. To add, if you have any of these injuries for an extended period, contact your local ankle and foot professional immediately:

 

Common Foot Cycling Injuries

As you start cycling, there are two common types foot injuries. These foot injuries include compressed foot and foot friction injuries.

Compressed Foot Injuries

Foot injuries, like numbness and stinging pain, are normally caused by a compressed foot. Compressed foot injuries typically occur when footwear is inappropriately fitted, squeezing the heads of your metatarsal bones or ball of the foot; going on excessive hill climbing, having bad cycling technique, and incorrectly positioning your cleats.

So how can you prevent this from getting worse?

First off, you can start by correctly fitting your cycling shoes. Typically, the heel of the shoes should fit snuggly. Second, make sure to place your cleats correctly to assure that the pressure on your foot is not entirely focused on the ball of the foot. Third, try to avoid lower cycling cadences. Lastly, since hill climbing involves a lot of push phases, you should cut the amount of times you go hill climbing. This should also help ease the pressure.

Foot Friction Injuries

Foot friction is usually caused by sweaty and swollen feet that consistently have rhythmic force when riding for hours on end. This will create pressure injuries to the soft tissues of the foot like hot spots and blisters.

So how can you prevent this from getting worse?

The best way to manage these problems from becoming a major issue is to have fitted cycling footwear, quality socks, non-slip footbeds, and appropriately positioned cleats.

 

Common Ankle Cycling Injuries

Like common cycling foot injuries, you can receive injuries to your ankle. Ankle injuries are typically associated to the Achilles tendon. These types of injuries are signs that something is wrong with your cycling technique and equipment.

Here are two factors to consider when cycling that can affect your ankle; ankling and overuse Achilles tendon.

Ankling

Ankling refers to change in the angle of the foot during the pedal stroke. The toe usually points up at the top of the stroke and down at the bottom. This will allow more use of the lower leg muscles and create efficiency in your pedal stroke.

Unfortunately, this technique is getting more and more discredited. And for good reason. Most cyclists, especially beginners, adopt this technique without knowing the consequences. Using this technique incorrectly can cause injury to your Achilles tendon, which will affect your ankle.

The best way to solve this problem is by correctly performing the technique or finding another technique.

Overused Achilles Tendon

Doing too much too soon, such as setting a gear that is too high, climbing a hill that is too steep or even taking too long of a ride, can bring forth pain to the back of your ankle. This is a typical symptom of Achilles tendinitis. This is considered an overused injury caused by inflammation.

Additionally:

Other causes of Achilles tendonitis include improper bike fit and improper position of shoe cleats. So keep in mind, if you have your cleats too far forward, you will eventually strain the Achilles.

The best remedy for this type of injury is to ice the area, take an anti-inflammatory, stretch, and slightly place your cleats back.

 

Overall

Cycling beginners and seasoned cyclist coming back from a previous injury should try to take it slow. If you notice any of these foot and ankle discomforts, you should stop cycling and address these issues promptly. Going cycling should be fun, not painful. Take one step at a time. And like they say, slow and steady wins the race.

If any of these problems persist for a long period, contact the Foot and Ankle Center at 480.473.3668 or book an appointment today.

 

Additional resources:

http://www.bicycling.com/training/health-injuries/cycling-ankle-injury-prevention

http://www.livestrong.com/article/386207-ankle-pain-and-cycling/

http://www.foot.com/site/foot-conditions/sesamoiditis