How to Prevent the 6 Most Common Cycling Injuries

Tip: Try variation in your pedal cadence. While every cyclist has their preference, breaking up your training by pedaling in a high cadence (90-120 revolutions per minute) can help prevent injury if you do most of your riding in big gears. Increasing pedal cadence will develop your cardiovascular system too, which is another added benefit.

Raising the seat if it's too low will also help to utilize more of the hamstring and gluteal muscles, taking some of the strain off of your quadriceps and the patella tendon. Pedal mashers use more of the quadriceps muscles rather than incorporating other of the body's largest muscles groups used when pedaling in circles. Incorporate the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the gluteal muscles to avoid any one muscle group from becoming fatigued.

More: Cycling Medicine: Acute Lower Extremity Injuries

Broken Clavicle or Scaphoid

These two bones are the most commonly broken during a crash. The clavicle (collarbone) and the scaphoid (carpal bone on the thumb side of the hand) are the weak points that absorb impact when the arm is extended to brace during a fall.

These injuries require immediate medical attention. It is common for a broken scaphoid to go overlooked because it is so small and the pain is not as debilitating. This can be dangerous, as blood supply to the thumb can be severely impaired, leading to avascular necrosis (death of the bone).

More: Protecting Against Bone-Density Loss

Tip: While a broken bone can't always be avoided, the general tip when falling off your bike is to continue to hold onto the handlebars. This lets your entire body absorb the blow to the ground rather than just two bones in your outstretched arm. It can be instinctive to reach out with the hand, which is why these injuries occur so often. Remembering this tip might help to keep your hands on the bars where they belong, even during a spill.

Saddle Sores

A saddle sore is a skin disorder caused by long hours in the saddle due to the friction of your sit bones against the seat. Old shorts and having your saddle too high are also common causes.

Tip: Lowering your saddle can prevent less side-to-side motion of the pelvis, which can cause excessive friction against the seat. If you've had a bike fit and your seat is at its proper height, using a chamois cream can help to ease the discomfort of your skin rubbing against the saddle, particularly if you move around on the seat a lot during long rides.

More: Is My Spin Class Causing Knee Pain and Saddle Sores?

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.
Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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