What comes to your mind when you think about getting your bike “fit”? Most people think of when you first buy your bike and the bike shop properly sizes your bike and quickly adjusts your seat to the standard height for you. Often this is the last time your bike gets adjusted – even though you now may have a total knee or hip replacement, recently acquired lower back pain, or developed any number of other orthopedic injuries related to being one year older while trying to maintain your active lifestyle. Many people don’t realize that their bike should be adjusted to optimize the efficiency and comfort of their bike for their specific body – malalignment, injuries, surgeries, and all. How your bike is adjusted can greatly impact whether or not you will be able to ride this year without pain.
Bike fitting is a crucial component to injury prevention because cycling is such a repetitive activity. A cyclist performs 200-300 revolutions/mile while riding. When a bike is not properly fit, cumulative trauma disorders in the foot, knee, hip, or spine become much more likely. However, small adjustments in alignment can take pressure off injured tissue and transfer load to tissue that is better able to tolerate the stress. For example, if your saddle is too low it will increase the strain on your knees and quadriceps and will increase the likelihood of developing patellar tendonitis or patellar femoral pain. However, if your saddle is too high you decrease the strain on your quadriceps but increase the strain on the hamstrings and lower back. This increasing your risk of lower back pain, hamstring tendonitis, and pes anserine bursitis. Your own personal body alignment and range of motion constraints may require foot position adjustments, changes in saddle position, and altering the stem height and angle.
At Great Northern Physical Therapy we are excited to offer truly customized bike fitting for every cyclist, whether you are an older cyclist trying to maintain and active lifestyle, a competitive triathlete, a mountain biking enthusiast, or a daily commuter. Your bike will be fit to optimize your activity goals, physical strengths and limitations, unique body structure, and injuries. When your bike fit is complete, we will have you riding more efficiently, more comfortably, and with less risk of injury. So, do yourself a favor and call Great Northern Physical Therapy and we will help you maximize your riding experience this year.