6 Gross Cycling Injuries

Don't Let It Happen Again: Use sterile tweezers or gauze to remove dirt and rocks and sterile water to flush abrasions. Apply antibiotic ointment and bandage the area lightly with a nonstick dressing such as Telfa. Keep the area bandaged for 5 to 6 days. Be consistent with ointments: three times per day—or until a dry scab appears, says Cohen.

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Ingrown Hair

The sharp tips of freshly shaved (or improperly waxed) hair can twist and grow back into your skin, especially if you have curly hair.

Get Rid of It: A warm, wet compress will help soften skin, allowing the hair to grow out. Use tweezers or slip a needle under each hair to gently pull it free. Witch hazel or hydrocortisone cream will help reduce inflammation.

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Don't Let It Happen Again: Lady-razor ads model bad shaving behavior. Shave down, not up, going with the grain rather than against it. Soak in hot water and exfoliate your skin before shaving. If you believe extra-smooth skin can trim even more seconds off your time, make a second pass with the razor going left to right, across the grain.

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Black Mold

That slime in your water bottle or hydration-pack mouthpiece is likely just pesky (and usually harmless) blue-green algae, but it could be harmful bacteria or fungi, such as stachybotrys chartarum, a.k.a. black mold, which can cause chronic fatigue, headaches or worse.

Get Rid of It: Use a bottle brush or wire tube brush to dislodge the gunk. Then soak the bottle in a 1:10 bleach solution for 10 minutes, says Jon Stabile, owner and chief mechanic of Boulder Bikesmith in Boulder, Colorado. A second soak in water with baking soda should help undo the funky taste.

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Don't Let It Happen Again: Make a habit of finishing your water by the end of each ride. Then use dish soap and warm water to keep the creepy crawlies at bay.

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Chondromalacia

The repetitive motion of pedaling can irritate—and when left untreated, erode or shred—the cartilage underneath your kneecap, says Cohen.

Get Rid of It: Limit your activity, stretch out your legs (extended periods of bent-knee sitting can cause pain), and use ice and anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain. When you do get back on the bike, stick to the flats, and spin higher cadences and easier gears than usual until fully healed.

Don't Let It Happen Again: Cohen says muscle imbalances that pull the kneecap out of proper alignment are the most common cause of chondromalacia. She suggests strength training for your quads and hamstrings: Simple leg extensions in the gym and limiting your range of motion between 30 and 60 degrees, should do the trick. Cleat-position adjustments, a raised saddle and shorter cranks may help alleviate lateral knee movement, another common contributing factor.

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