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Lower extremity and spine pain in cyclists

Piotr Rogala 1,  
Department of Spine Surgery, Oncologic Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Department of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Institute of Rural Health in Lublin, Lublin, Poland; Chair of Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy and Balneotherapy Medical University, Lublin, Poland
The number of cyclists increases each year. Some people treat cycling as a passion and practice it at every possible occasion, while for others it is a mean of transport or a form of relaxation at the weekend. However, very few people realize that cycling can also have a negative impact on their health.

To assess the prevalence of lower extremity and spine pain in cyclists, and evaluate the influence of various factors causing it.

Material and Methods:
The study was performed on 167 subjects during amateur cycling competitions in the Greater Poland and Kuyavian-Pomeranian Provinces. A specially prepared questionnaire was used in the study. The questions related to the pain caused by cycling, the character and the localization of the pain, and the presence of warm-up and stretching.

Knee pain was reported in 40% of the study subjects (mostly anterior pain – 26%). Spine pain was reported in 41% of the studied athletes, where 26% was related with the lumbar spine. Variables, such as age, weight, age, BMI, training experience and number of hours devoted to training per week had no influence on the incidence and the localization of leg pain, but it had influence in the case of spine pain. Stretching after cycling was the factor which significantly distinguished the studied groups with regard to the incidence of knee pain.

The most common type of leg pain was knee pain (anterior knee pain) whereas spine pain was most commonly reported in the lumbar spine. Statistical analysis showed that spine pain is more often reported by people who are older, have higher weight, and people who spend more time training per week. Warm-up and stretching after cycling are recommended to cyclists who experience pain.

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