Tag Archives: bicycling

bike fit

Does Your Bike Fit?

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There is a misconception that only competitive cyclists benefit from bike fittings. The truth is that anyone that rides a bike on a consistent basis should ride a bike that fits them properly. Granted, competitive cyclists are looking for every advantage with respect to power and performance. However, fitness and recreational riders can gain the same benefits while also improving comfort and reducing the risk of on-the-bike injuries. Often, a few basic changes to a bike can make a significant difference with respect to comfort, power, endurance and overall performance. In this blog we briefly examine some of the key areas that must be considered to ensure a proper bike fit.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

Frame Size
Obviously, not all frames are created equal. Frame geometry can vary dramatically depending on material, the manufacturer and overall design. Head tube angles, seat tube angles, top tube length, wheel base, etc. are all factors which contribute to how a bike handles and rides. This is where test riding a bike will pay dividends. For example, having a steep head angle may sound like a good idea to achieve a responsive ride. However, you may find it a bit unnerving on a steep, fast descent or even when you try to take your hands off the bar to eat or drink. With regard to mountain bikes, different suspension and wheel size options also affect the way a bike handles and rides. All are personal preferences that should match your intended use.

For general fit, most manufacturers will have measurements that you can take on yourself to help you decide which frame size will likely be best for you. However, you may also fall within the acceptable range for two different frame sizes. In that case, there is no substitute for going to a shop that carries the bikes and riding them both. In all likelihood, you will quickly feel the difference and easily decide which will work best for you. If you are leaning toward the larger of the two sizes, make sure to check the stand over height before laying your cash on the counter. Keep in mind that your primary concern with respect to frame size is the fit from the waist down. Reach is obviously important as well. However, most upper body adjustment can be achieved by varying bars or stem length/angle assuming the length of the top tube is appropriate.

Crank Arm Length
This is one area where people seem to be content to accept a length simply because that particular crank arm is what they have been told is standard or best. The truth is that many bikes come equipped with crank arms that are too long for the prospective rider. Even when told they should have a shorter crank arm, some feel that if they can push it, they will be a stronger, more powerful rider. This can be a foolish mindset as this can result in knee and/or back problems. Of course, there are also occasions where the crank arms may not be long enough. In this instance, the rider is likely giving away potential power and performance. When deciding on an appropriate crank arm length, we are usually talking about millimeters of difference. However, there are specifications for crank arm length typically based on inseam length and/or seat height.

Cleat Alignment
Pedal choice as well as cleat adjustment are vital components of bike fit. Proper cleat alignment is the starting point for overall fit and essentially aligns the position of the foot in relation to the spindle of the pedal and the crank arm. It can also be one of the most difficult aspects of fit to get accurately established. This is true primarily because it is hard to align your cleat when it is mounted to your shoe which is on your foot and clipped into the pedal. Furthermore, most modern pedal/cleat combinations allow for considerable adjustment with respect to float, rotation, fore and aft, and side-to-side. Equally important is the shoe. People often buy soft cycling shoes that are comfortable on and off the bike. Although these shoes may be more comfortable for walking, you are giving up considerable force production and performance on the bike. Furthermore, on long bike rides, these softer shoes can result in “hot spots” and foot fatigue. Cycling shoes don’t need to be uncomfortable. However, when you are riding a bike, wear the shoe that is made for the job.

Seat Adjustment
This is another area that results in much debate. Do you go higher for better force generation or lower for better control on descents? Once again, improper seat height can result in pain or injury. It can also significantly limit your performance. For most riders, seat height and saddle setback (fore/aft positioning) is crucial for comfort and performance. This is the area where the biggest abuse of the law of averages has befallen bike fit. Seat adjustment is often based on averages and equations. Unfortunately, this is rarely the correct position. Much better than averages are measured angles with the rider on the bike which results in a more exacting fit.

Stem Length/Bar Height
Fitting stem length and bar height should be based on alignment, posture, comfort and performance. These factors can have a great effect on your back, neck, shoulders and wrists.

You may be saying to yourself, “Then tell me how my bike should be set up.” The fact is that an accurate fit cannot be done without looking at the individual on their bike. Many bike fits are based on measurements such as inseam, reach, trunk length, etc. which are then plugged into a variety of equations. Adjustments to the bike are then made according to the resulting numbers. The problem is that these equations often vary and are based on averages. Most of us aren’t average. We all have differing body composition and physique. Strength, flexibility, experience and orthopedic issues all play into proper bike fit. Proper fit must be done with the rider on the bike looking at specific measures and alignments.

Ultimately, a good bike fit is well worth the money and can go a long way toward improving comfort on the bike, improving your performance, and reducing the risk of injury. There are obviously many approaches and “schools of thought” when it comes to bike fit. The point here is that the most accurate fits are accomplished by evaluating you on your bike. Remember, depending on your effort and ability, cycling can be a very intense form of exercise. However, that doesn’t mean you have to hurt. If you have pain on the bike, something is typically wrong. More often than not, the problem can be addressed by improving fit. The bottom line is that you want to be sure the bike you ride is fit specifically to you. You should never be forced to fit yourself to the bike.

Written by Michael Choate, MSPT, USA Cycling Certified Coach at North Lake Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Portland, Oregon.

North Lake Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation clinics use progressive techniques and technologies to stay on the forefront in their field. OTheir staff is committed to providing patients with advanced healing techniques. To learn more about them click here.

October 2016 Events

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Check out our Physical Therapy Monthly Events Calendar! Focusing on events from PTandMe.com participating physical and occupational therapy clinics. Read more to find out what’s happening in your community in October 2016!

GEORGIA PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

FOLKSTON, GA
DATE: October 21st 2016, 5:00PM – 7:00PM
20 Year Anniversary Cookout
CLINIC: Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy – Folkston
Advance Rehab is celebrating its 20 year anniversary in Folkston, Georgia with a cookout and live music by local artist Justen Harden
For more information about Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy, visit them online at http://www.advancerehab.com.

IDAHO PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

BOISE, ID
DATE: October 18th – 15th 2016
2016 NPI Annual Fall Conference
CLINIC: Intermountain Physical Therapy & Hand Rehabilitation – Boise
Intermountain will have a booth at this year’s event. Stop on by and see how physical therapy brings patients back to their full potential! For more information about Intermountain Physical Therapy & Hand Rehabilitation, visit them online at http://www.intermountainpt.com.

MICHIGAN PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

MONROE, MI
DATE: October 4th 2016, 3:00PM – 6:00PM
Monroe Open House
CLINIC: Advanced Physical Therapy – Monroe
Advanced Physical Therapy’s Monroe clinic is celebrating their relocation with an open house! Join us for snacks, drinks and check out the new digs. We’d love to have you as we get to know our new neighbors and friends! First 100 guests will receive a free gift. For more information about Advanced Physical Therapy, visit them online at http://advphysicaltherapy.com.

NEW JERSEY PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

BORDENTOWN, NJ
DATE: October 17th 2016, 4:30PM – 8:00PM
Work Comp Seminar at Villa Mannino Restaurant
CLINIC: Hamilton Physical Therapy Services, L.P.
Attention all work comp case managers and adjusters! Join Hamilton Physical Therapy and Princeton Brain & Spine Care as they talk about the Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Concussions in the injured workers.

AGENDA:
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm — Registration & Vendor Exhibit
5:30 pm – 5:45 pm — Opening Remarks
5:45 pm – 7:30 pm — Clinical Presentation
7:30 pm – 8:00 pm — Q&A Session

For more information contact Jaime Caceres at Hamilton Physical Therapy Services in Hamilton, New Jersey at (609) 585-2333. Also, visit Hamilton Physical Therapy Services online at http://www.hamiltonphysicaltherapy.org.

TENNESSEE PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

NASHVILLE, TN
DATE: October 15th 2016, 8:00AM – 11:00PM
2016 – 2017 Heart Walk at Vanderbilt University Sport Field
CLINIC: STAR Physical Therapy
Help STAR Physical Therapy reach their goal to raise $5,000 for the American Heart Association. You can help us by donating to our team ($20 donations receive a custom t-shirt) or join the STAR Physical Therapy Heart Walk Team and join us at the event! For more information about STAR Physical Therapy, visit them online at http://www.starpt.com.

TEXAS PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

CLEVELAND, TX
DATE: October 15th 2016, 9:00AM
Walk with a Doc for Hardhats & Little Heads
CLINIC: Cleveland Physical & Occupational Therapy
Cleveland Physical & Occupational Therapy is participating in this year’s Walk With A Doc at the Cleveland High School Track! Bring your friends and family to enjoy a day of fun! Participants will walk on the track with national award winning doctor Dr. Sulaiman, explore vendor booths, receive health and community information as well as meet local fireman and police officers all while getting healthy! Special appearances by Reggie Airman Dixon, Maurice Termite Watkins, and Reggie Johnson. Children will be provided with free bikes, helmets, t-shirts, water bottles, goodie bags and more as part of the Hard Helmets for Little Heads initiative while supplies last. All materials will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please contact Kimberly Hughes at (281) 592.2224 – ext. 206 or at khughes@hcset.com. You can also visit the official event website here: http://walkwithadoc.org/our-locations/cleveland-texas/. For more information about Cleveland Physical & Occupational Therapy, visit them online at http://www.clevelandpt.com.

WISCONSIN PHYSICAL THERAPY EVENTS

JEFFERSON, WI
DATE: October 10th 2016, 5:30PM – 6:30PM
JUMP: Great Apple Crunch Fun Run
CLINIC: Sport & Spine Physical Therapy – Jefferson
Sport & Spine Physical Therapy in Jefferson, Wisconsin invites Jefferson community members of all ages to join us in our 4th annual one mile FUN RUN/WALK! Participation ribbons for all children
There will also be refreshments. In the event of inclement weather, it will be canceled with no make-up date. For more information contact Jo Christianson at christiansonj@tds.net.
Also, please visit Sport & Spine Physical Therapy online at http://sportandspineclinic.com.

MERRILL, WI
DATE: October 8th 2016, 8:00AM – 1:00PM
2016 Leaf Pile Run 6th Annual 5k Run/Walk & 1k Kids Run
CLINICS: Sport & Spine Physical Therapy & Merrill Physical Therapy
Please join Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, Merrill Physical Therapy and other WVAM members for a fun and festive fall run, to help support Wisconsin Valley Athletic Medicine by participating in the 2016 Leaf Pile Annual Event. All 5k and 1k participants receive a complimentary wristband for same day entry to Helene’s Hilltop Orchard to enjoy a hayride, corn maze, cow train, and the play area. Complimentary beverages from Red Eye Brewing Co. and root beer from Central Beer Distributors. Need more info? Contact Andy at Sport & Spine Clinic at adavis@usphclinic.com or call (715) 693-7727. For more information about Merrill Physical Therapy, visit them online at http://www.merrillpt.com.

bone health

Exercise and Bone Health

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Bone is living tissue that is constantly undergoing a process called remodeling. In remodeling, cells called osteoclasts are breaking down old bone, as cells called osteoblasts are replacing it with new tissue. Many factors can affect the remodeling process and leave you with bones that are less dense and more fragile.

Some factors that interfere with bone health and remodeling are:
• Increased age
• Low vitamin D—The body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D by eating certain kinds of food or by taking a supplement.
• A diet low in calcium
• Smoking
• Lack of exercise—especially weight bearing and resistance exercise

Why Exercise Is Good for Bone Health
Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercise helps build muscle, as well as maintain and increase bone strength. Exercise causes the muscle to contract against the bone. This action stresses or stimulates the bone, and the bone becomes stronger and denser. The 3 main types of exercise are (some activities can be more than 1 type):

Aerobic (Cardiovascular) Exercises to Improve Bone Health
In aerobic exercise, you continually move large muscles in the legs, shoulders, and buttocks. This action causes you to breathe more deeply, and your heart to work harder pumping blood, thereby strengthening your heart and lungs. Examples include:
• Walking
• Jogging
• Running
• Aerobic dance
• Bicycling
• Swimming

Weight-Bearing Exercises to Improve Bone Health
In weight-bearing exercises, your bones and muscles work against gravity, and your feet and legs bear the weight. Your bones adapt to the weight and pull of the muscle during weight-bearing exercise. Examples of weight-bearing exercises include:
• Jogging
• Walking
• Stair climbing
• Dancing
• Soccer

Resistance Exercises to Improve Bone Health (Strength Training)
Resistance exercises use muscle strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen bone. Examples include:
• Weight lifting, using:
• Free weights
• Weight machines
• Elastic tubing

• Calisthenics such as push-ups and chin-ups

tennis guy

Tips for Beginning:
Aerobic or Weight-bearing Exercises to Improve Bone Health
• Warm up for 5 minutes before activity. This can consist of dynamic stretches that involve movement and a light walk.
• Start the activity slowly for the first 5 minutes.
• Slowly increase your intensity so that your heart rate increases. A person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk. A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without stopping to take a breath.
• Gradually increase your workout until you are working out at least 150 minutes a week at moderate–intensity or 75 minutes a week at vigorous intensity.

Resistance Exercises to Improve Bone Health
• Begin each exercise with light weights and minimal repetitions.
• Slowly (over weeks) increase weight, never adding more than 10% in a given workout.
• Do these exercises 2-3 times a week. Allow for 1 day between each workout for your bones and muscles to rest and repair themselves.
• Gradually increase the number of repetitions to 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with a rest period of 30-60 seconds between sets.
• Although stiffness the day after exercise is normal, if you are in pain, you did too much. Decrease the intensity or the duration of your exercise.

Before starting any type of exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems you may have that could limit your ability to exercise.

by Mary Calvagna, MS

RESOURCES:
National Osteoporosis Foundation
http://www.nof.org

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
http://www.fitness.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx#toc. Published October 2008. Accessed January 21, 2016.

Bone remodeling. University of Washington website. Available at: http://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/physremod.html. Updated March 30, 2007. Accessed January 21, 2016.

How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html. Updated June 4, 2015. Accessed January 21, 2016.

Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 13, 2015. Accessed January 21, 2016.

Skeleton keys. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History website. Available at: http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/young_old.html. Accessed January 21, 2016.

Last reviewed January 2016 by Michael Woods, MD

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

basketball

1. How Does an NBA Player Overcome Career Limiting Ankle Injury?
Written by Nick Mezyk, DPT, Clinic Director at ProCare Physical Therapy – Johnstown, PA

If you have played sports long enough, you have most likely experienced the following… You’re running down the field, court or track, and you go to make a quick cut. Except you end up crumbling to the ground because you rolled your ankle causing a popping sensation on the outside portion of that ankle. Read more

mountain biking

2. Ride More, Hurt Less on Your Next Bike Ride
Written by Grace Ellison, PT, DPT at Integrated Rehabilitation Group, Silver Lake Physical Therapy – Everett, WA

Whether you are enjoying a weekend trail ride or training for your next triathlon. It is important to ensure that you are taking the correct steps to stay injury free during your next time out. Read more

gym guy

3. Top Equipment Free Exercises You Should Be Doing 
Written by the Therapy Team at Momentum Physical Therapy – San Antonio, TX

The idea of exercising always conjures up visions of personal trainers, expensive gyms, high-end equipment, and lots of grunting, groaning, and personal torture. That’s never the case when we use the term exercise. Read more

More Enjoyable Bike Ride

8 Tips for a More Enjoyable Bike Ride

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Optimizing your bike and clothing isn’t just for competitive racers. Even if you’re just looking to ride a few miles recreationally, you can be more comfortable and have more fun by following our tips for a more enjoyable bike ride!

1. Check Tire Pressure
If your tires are too soft, you have a much higher chance of “pinching” a tube, causing a flat. Low pressure also increases rolling resistance, making it more difficult for you to ride at a normal speed. Check the sidewall of your tires for recommended pressure range; it doesn’t need to be at the maximum, but be sure it’s at or above the minimum.

2. Seat Angle
Everyone has a different preference on exact seat angle and position, but it should be roughly level. Deviations of 1-2 degrees up or down are OK, but don’t point up or down too much. This can place unnecessary pressure on pelvic soft tissue or the hands/wrists.

3. Seat Height
An old belief about seat height was that you must be able to touch the ground with both feet when sitting on the saddle. If you are very new to cycling, this does improve your ability to stay upright at very slow speeds. However, a seat that is too low can put excess pressure on your knees and back, and is less efficient. A “proper” seat height has the knee at about 30 degrees of bend at the lowest point in the pedal stroke.

4. Stay Hydrated
Carry water with you on any ride longer than 30 minutes (shorter in hot conditions). You can use a backpack-style hydration pack, or a simple water bottle and cage. Almost all bicycles have bolts to hold a water bottle cage. Whichever method you choose, get familiar with it and get in the habit of using it often.

5. Know How to Change a Tube
Carry the items needed to replace a tube in the event of a flat tire. Your local bike shop can help you with choosing these items. These can all be carried in a bag under your seat. You don’t need to be Nascar pit-crew-fast at it, but you want to know how to fix a flat tire so you don’t end up stranded.

6. Like Lycra
Very few people think of bike shorts as a good fashion statement. However, if you’re riding more miles, especially in warm weather, they provide comfort that can’t be matched with basketball or running shorts.

7. Be Visible
Along with the bike shorts, make sure your t-shirt or jersey is a bright color that will keep you visible in traffic. If there is a chance you’ll be riding near or at dark, be sure to have at least a rear and preferably also a front light on your bicycle.

8. Riding Shouldn’t Hurt
Sure, if you’re looking to get a hard workout or ride fast, your legs will feel the burn. However, if your body and bike are working together properly, riding shouldn’t cause any joint pain. If you can’t ride without getting neck, back, hip or knee pain, consider having a professional look at either your body or your bike fit. Better yet, have a physical therapist who is versed in bike fitting address both at the same time. The answer to most aches and pains is rarely just in one area (bike fit or body work), and a combined approach will usually work best for alleviating pain and getting the most out of your ride.

bike_couple

Let Physical Therapy help you before your pain turns into an injury.

What an ache tells you:
•  It’s the first clue your body is telling you something is wrong.
•  Your body can accommodate to the ache, but eventually a breakdown will happen.
•  While you accommodate to your ache, weakness and lack of flexibility starts.
•  Once you have a breakdown, pain will happen and more than likely you will stop doing the activities you currently enjoy.

How physical therapy can help prevent sports injuries:
•  Modify exercise routines when you have a minor ache and pain (This does not always mean you need to stop exercising!)
•  Get assessed for weakness and flexibility issues to address biomechanical deficits.
•  Educate on faulty or improper posture or body mechanics during exercise
•  Educate and help with technique on exercises that help your muscles stretch farther. Flexibility training helps prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries, and can give you a wider range of motion.
•  Correct muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training.
•  Alleviate pain.
•  Correct improper movement patterns.

Common Cycling-related pain and injuries that Physical Therapy can treat:
•  Low Back Pain
•  Neck Pain
•  Foot numbness
•  Shoulder pain
•  Muscle strains
•  Hand pain/numbness

This information about having a more enjoyable bike ride was written by Advanced Physical Therapy, a physical therapy group that uses progressive techniques and technologies to stay on the forefront in their field. Their staff is committed to providing patients with advanced healing techniques. For more information click here.