Most Common Cycling Injuries: Prevention

When it comes to a fun way getting in your exercise or even getting from point A to point B, cycling has been the number one way for many years. People of all ages enjoy riding their bikes out on trails, in their neighborhoods and even renting them at the beaches. One problem that comes with this mode of fun and exercise is cycling injuries. Learning how you can prevent these from happening to you will keep you happily cycling for years to come. Check out the common cycling injuries below and a few tips on how to prevent them from happening.

Pain in the Hands or Wrists

Some people experience pain in their hands or wrists after riding. Typically, that is because a lot of people ride with their elbows locked and arms straight out. To prevent that from happening to you, be sure to keep your elbows bent during riding time. This will help your elbows act as shock absorbers for the rest of your arm when you hit bumps or dips along the way.

Pain in the Neck or Back

You might experience neck pain or even back pain after you’ve been riding for a while. Most often times this is due to improper positioning on the bike itself. If you’re handlebars are set at too low of an angle, then you may find yourself rounding your back or bending over to reach them. If you seem to stay in one position for too long this can cause your neck pain to start as well. Be sure to change positions often and get off to stretch while you’re riding for a lengthy period of time.

Pain in the Knees

You may find the most common problem with cycling is the knee pain that can develop. This is mostly due to overuse of your knees. It can result in problems such as cyclists knee, quadriceps tendonitis, or other conditions that are from overuse of the joint. Make sure you give your knees plenty of rest before and after the cycling journey you take. Also shoe wedges can help to relieve the overuse of your knees and thus help prevent your knee pain from coming back.

Head Injuries

Always remember to wear a helmet whenever you are riding to prevent dangerous cycling injuries from happening. Keeping a helmet on at all times will drastically reduce the potential for you to suffer from a head injury during your bike ride.

Keep these tips in mind to help you enjoy cycling and prevent the most common cycling injuries.

5 Daily Activities To Reduce Risk of Knee Injury

The knees are so essential for our mobility but often times, we tend to overwork them or neglect to take care of them. Athletes are more prone to knee injuries and the injuries that they incur might be more severe. It could be an acute injury from accidents or overuse injury from excessive stress on the knees for long periods of time.

However, it is possible to prevent knee injury. There are simple things you can do every day to protect your knees, reduce the risk of twisting them and cutting down on the stress you put on them.

1) Stand on one leg

This stance helps to improve your balance and knee stabilizing strength. Simply stand on one leg, but avoid pulling your other leg all way up in a tight grip. Keep it bent loosely and spread your arms out to balance if needed. To increase the difficulty, you can slowly rotate your upper body left and right.

2) Stretch your hamstring

This exercise can be done anywhere, whether you’re taking a walk from your desk or watching TV. It strengthens your hamstring to give you more balance and reduce stress on your knees. Position one foot on a chair or a high step while keeping the other leg and your back straight. Then lean forward and hold the position for 20 seconds, feeling the stretch down the back of your leg.

3) Wear comfortable shoes

Avoid high heels and shoes that are too tight. Choosing a good fit helps maintain a proper leg alignment and balance, which takes pressure off the knees. You can choose to wear running or tennis shoes as those give more cushion and support. Shoe orthotics that you can buy at drugstores would also be a good alternative to give more stability and comfort.

4) Use a knee brace

Especially when engaging in sports, fabric sleeve brace provides support for the knee and prevents injury. If your daily activities involve bending, squatting and frequent changing directions, using a brace would prevent acute injuries or wearing your knees out.

5) Keep a healthy diet

To keep your knees strong, you need to keep your bones strong with a healthy diet. Take more dairy and dark green, leafy vegetables. It is especially important for elderly people and women that have gone through childbirth to replenish the calcium lost in old age and labour.

Top 3 Most Knee Damaging Activities

Living an active lifestyle is great and the health benefits associated are undisputable. Exercising regularly is important to strengthen our muscles and better support our joints. Weak joints will increase the chances of misalignment for the bones, ligaments and tendons. However, it may also cause problems for your knee. Our knee has to bear the brunt of our body weight and activities such as running and jumping will cause a lot of compressive stresses on the knee and wearing out the cartilage. Although our knee is designed to take all these things thrown at it, it will give way eventually. There are some activities that are especially damaging towards the knee and let’s explore them further.

Activities are classified into 2 different groups, namely low-impact and high-impact. Low impact exercises as the name suggests does not cause much problems for the knee. They include yoga, swimming, cycling and walking. These activities ensure that the knee is properly supported even though it’s being used extensively. Another group is the high-impact group which includes jumping, running and weightlifting.

Jumping

Jumping is a high-impact activity that places tremendous stresses on the knee whenever you land. Your body weight is amplified through jumping and landing awkwardly places even more stresses, leading to a weight of roughly twice your original weight. Activities that require jumping as core such as basketball should be avoided by people with bad knees.

Running

Running is another high impact activity that is bad for knees. However, running methods and surfaces can be changed to allow a lesser impact on the knees. For example, striking the floor with your mid-foot is less damaging compared to a heel strike. Also, there is a push towards barefoot running which supposedly reduces injuries. The running surface can be changed to a softer one such as natural grass or stadium tracks. The soft surface can help to cushion and absorb some of the impact.

Weightlifting

Weightlifting requires flexing of the knee joint and your knees not only have to bear your body weight, it now has to take both your body weight and the free weight into consideration. This places an absurd amount of stress on your knee and this is further intensified when you attempt to bend and stand up.  Not only does your knee get damaged, the surrounding tissues such as the tendons and ligaments can easily tear.

Knowing what are the activities that causes huge stresses on your knee is important so that you can make an informed decision on what to do and what not to do. You need a functional knee every day and you do not wish to be inconvenienced by a knee injury that you can easily avoid.

 

3 Rehab Exercises for Knee

Imagine our knee as the hinges of doors, only much more heavily used every single day. After a period of time, the hinges will start to squeak. What will you do then? The most logical way is to oil the hinge as oil will reduce the friction between the hinge and the door, allowing a smoother and silent opening and closing motion. The same goes for our knees! Our knee has to bear all of our body’s weight throughout the day and this is amplified through actions such as jumping. The pressure exerted on our knee can go up to 4 times of our body weight and sooner or later, our knee joints will start to go “rusty” and require maintenance. Rehab exercises are excellent for building and strengthening key muscles such as the Quad, hamstrings, abductor and adductor which will in turn help to reduce injuries. What are some great rehab exercises that you can do?

Quad contraction

Sit in an upright position and place a rolled towel beneath your knee. Place two fingers on your inner quad and start to push your knee down onto the towel. You will be able to feel your quad muscles start to tighten and hold in that position for 10 seconds. Slowly relax your quad muscles and repeat for 10 times. This exercise will help to firm and strengthen the quad muscles to better support your knee.

Hamstring contraction

Sit down upright on a chair and bend your knee 45 degrees. Sink your heel onto the floor and tighten your hamstring muscles. Hold in this position for 10 seconds and repeat for 10 times. To better support your thigh, you may use your hands to hold your thigh in a fixed position when you are tightening your hamstring muscles.

Resistance knee extension

You will need to sit down on a chair that is high enough to prevent your legs from touching the ground. Tie one end of the resistance band to the legs of the chair and another on your ankle. Slowly push your leg forward and align it with your thigh. You will be able to feel your quad muscles tightening and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise for 10 times. Be mindful to perform this exercise slowly as any sudden action may injure the quad muscles.

Rehab exercises for the knee will help to strengthen the muscles supporting the knee and reduce the risk of knee injuries. However, different exercises are meant for different target groups and you should always consult your physiotherapist whether you are suited for the exercise before performing them.

5 Simple Home Exercises after Knee Surgery

Once you return home after knee surgery, it is when your recovery officially starts. You need to start performing muscle strengthening exercises to build up strength that was lost due to injury. Not only that, you will also need to regain your full range of motion in the shortest possible time to eliminate any possible complications. It will be difficult initially as you have lost most of the strength previously. Recovery is a long and tedious process that needs to adhere to a schedule religiously. Deviating from it can possibly cause more harm. Rushing through it will also cause more harm than good. So what are some of the simple home exercises that you can do to help you out?

Ankle pumps

Ankle pumps will help to increase ankle dorsiflexion and help build up the shin muscles. Bend your ankles upwards and pull the toes towards you and subsequently away from you. Hold in each position for 10 seconds and repeat for 3 sets of 10 each time. Aim to perform it 3 times daily.

Assisted leg extension

You will need to regain your full range of motion in the shortest possible time. It is also the top priority post surgery. Lie on your stomach with your leg in full extension. Place you good leg below the injured leg and slowly bring it up. Try to bring it beyond the point of pain and hold in the position for 10 seconds. Slowly bring down both legs and repeat. You should try to do this exercise throughout the day whenever possible.

Seated leg extension

This is also another knee flexion exercise that helps to regain range of motion. Sit down on a chair with a back support. Slowly bend your injured knee back to the point of pain and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly return back to the starting point and repeat. Also when possible, try to perform this exercise throughout the day.

Seated leg kicks

Sit down on a chair with a back support. Stretch out your injured knee as much as you can and hold in the position for 10 seconds. Slowly bring back to the starting position and repeat. This exercise will also help to reduce any scarring in the knees and improve the range of motion.

Quad sets

Sit down at the edge of your beg with your legs on the floor. Try to tighten the quad muscles and straighten your legs concurrently. You should be able to feel your quad muscles contracting. Hold it for 10 seconds and relax. Aim to perform at least 100 sets of this exercise daily as it can help to strengthen and firm up the quad muscles to help shield some of the load from your knee.

Recovery from knee surgery is a slow and tedious process. However, do not feel disheartened and aim to do it slow and steady. Do not be frustrated by it and try to rush through it. It will do more harm than good.

Things to Know About Meniscus Repair

The function of the meniscus is to provide stability and act as a cushion for our knee joint. It helps to ensure that weight distribution is spread out evenly throughout the knee joint and prevent any joint problems like arthritis. However, injury to the meniscus is extremely common among people below the age of 25 years who are active in sports. Once a diagnosis of a torn meniscus is made, a decision needs to be made fast regarding the treatment. Usually, the doctor will suggest the treatment he thinks is most suited for you depending on your age, level of activeness and extent of injury.

How is the surgery performed?

One of the first few questions will be how is the surgery conducted. With advances in medical technology, meniscus repair can and will be done through a minimal invasion technique called arthroscopy. More common, suturing will be done to rejoin the torn parts of the meniscus with each other in order to regain function.

What is the success rate?

Success rate of meniscus repair is not 100%. It is mostly dependent on the exact location of the meniscus tear as well as post-surgery therapy. Firstly, if the meniscus is torn at the centre part of the cartilage, surgery will not be able to help at all in healing the meniscus. However, it may help to prevent arthritis in the later part of your life. Secondly, even if the surgery is a success, the post-surgery therapy plays an important role too. A proper structured and disciplined post-surgery therapy must be carried out in order to strengthen and regain the full function of the meniscus.

How is the post-surgery recovery like?

After operation, using of crutches can be from 3 to 14 days depending on the comfort of the patients, and some may prefer not to use crutches at all. Physiotherapy after the surgery will be helpful as well, in accordance to the progress. Any exercises that places tremendous stress onto your meniscus will be strictly disallowed. Examples of these exercises include running, jogging, skipping and squatting. A proper recovery plan will be planned by your physical therapist and you will need to adhere to it strictly as any deviation from it will disrupt the proper recovery procedure and may even require a second surgery.

What are the risks from meniscus repair surgery?

Meniscus repair is a low risk surgery but some there are still some risk associated with it. Infection may occur due to complications during the surgery or from existing personal problems such as diabetes. Since meniscus repair is done through arthroscopy, there is a risk of damage to the surrounding nerves and tissues. As much, you should always look for a reliable and skilled surgeon.

The role of the meniscus is important for our body and it is recommended to undergo meniscus repair surgery if you tear your meniscus. However, if you are not looking to lead an active lifestyle anymore, you may go for physical therapy to strengthen your muscles to compensate for the meniscus tear.

Top 4 Occupations that Negatively Affects the Musculoskeletal System

Our musculoskeletal system consists of the bones, ligaments, tendons and many more that allows us to move around. Disorders to the musculoskeletal will affect our locomotion and will cause problems to our daily lives. Disorders are often due to cyclic stresses and strains caused by our daily activities. Some occupations have an increased risk for Musculoskeletal disorders and our shoulders, hands, neck and back are the ones that are usually affected.

Carpet layers

Carpet layers are workers who lay carpets for customers. They are required to be in a kneeling position for prolonged periods of times daily and they not only have to kneel on a hard surface, they also have to use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet to ensure proper alignment. Whenever we kneel down, our body weight is fully on our both knees and keeling for long periods of time on a hard surface will cause even more damage to the meniscus and kneecap. Over time, the meniscus will wear off and the kneecap will also get damaged.

Movers

Movers are often required to carry heavy loads on their back and this will cause serious musculoskeletal problems such as chronic back pain, sprains, strains and even slipped disks. Back strains are often caused by overloading and poor lifting techniques. If it continues, the muscle can get torn and that will cause inflammation, causing pain and possibly muscle spasms. An injured back muscle will need to work even harder to protect and support the spine, leaving the spine at an additional risk to getting injured.

Office workers

Office workers work in probably the most relaxed and ideal conditions but they are one of the ones with the highest risk to musculoskeletal disorders. Sitting in a poor posture for a day causes more damage to the body than manual work. Poor posture such as hunching can cause lower back pain and shoulder stiffness. Prolonged sitting in a fixed position can also cause an overload in the muscle structures.

Construction workers

Construction workers are often required to carry heavy static loads throughout the day. To distribute the weight better, they often carry the items over their head in a outstretched position. The muscles are thus unable to contract and this will injure the muscles and even hinder the proper blood circulation around the body. Prolonged period of poor blood flow can cause the arms to swell.

It is easy to prevent musculoskeletal disorders by making small changes to your daily lifestyle. The working environment needs to be changed and you also need to be aware of the hazards you are faced with and overcome them.