Cycling Injuries

Cycling injuries can be intrinsic (over-use) or extrinsic (due to trauma).

Extrisinc injuries are classified as collision or non-collision injuries (55% of the time). Upper limb injuries are most common, but lower limb injuries can also be significant (1). Head injuries are more common in road cycling vs. off road cycling (2). Lacerations and abrasions are the most common types of injuries.

Intrinsic injuries include knee pain (the most common – 40%) (3), patellar (kneecap) tendon inflammation (tendonitis) or quadriceps tendonitis, illiotibial band syndrome, hip pain, tibial stress syndrome, stress fracture, compartment syndrome, foot numbness and pain. Back pain is very common in older people who train for longer periods of time (41%) (3). 

A ‘good-fitting’ bike may reduce injuries (4). Warm-up and stretching exercises after cycling are recommended and may help to reduce the incidence of pain (5). 

Treatment includes rest, ice, analgesia, splinting, orthotics and rehabilitation. Good footwear, riding position and training are important (5). An incorrect saddle height can effect the movement of the hip and knee joint. A lower saddle height may increase the forces in the patella (6).

If you have persisting or severe symptoms that donot respond to simple treatment and rest please seek specialist advice.


  1. Neumann MV, Eley R, Vallmuur K, Schuetz M. Current profile of cycling injuries: A retrospective analysis of a trauma centre level 1 in Queensland. Emerg Med Australas. 2016;28:90-95.
  2. Kotlyar S. Cycling Injuries in Southwest Colorado: A Comparison of Road vs Trail Riding Injury Patterns. Wilderness Environ Med. 2016;27:316-320.
  3. Piotrowska SE, Majchrzycki M, Rogala P, Mazurek-Sitarz M. Lower extremity and spine pain in cyclists. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2017;24:654-658.
  4. Ansari M, Nourian R, Khodaee M. Mountain Biking Injuries. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2017;16:404-412.
  5. Wanich T, Hodgkins C, Columbier JA, Muraski E, Kennedy JG. Cycling injuries of the lower extremity. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2007;15:748-756.
  6. Bini R, Hume PA, Croft JL. Effects of bicycle saddle height on knee injury risk and cycling performance. Sports Med. 2011;41:463-476.