Navigation Links
Physical Therapists Offer Tips for Proper Bike Fit in Support of National Bike to Work Day

Poor Fit Can Contribute to Pain and Injury Risk

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With gas prices steadily climbing, commuters may find that biking to work not only provides excellent health benefits but also drastically lowers commuting costs. In conjunction with National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is urging cyclists to help lower their risk of injury by ensuring that their bicycles are fitted properly.

APTA member Erik Moen, PT, CSCS, a Seattle-based "Elite Level" coach through the United States Cycling Federation, says, "The first thing I ask any patient complaining of bicycling-related pain is to bring the bicycle in to check for a proper fit. In most instances, a poor bike fit is at the root of their problem."

Moen says that the most common bike fit errors include saddle heights that are either too high or too low, handlebar reach that is either too long or too short, and misalignments of the pedal and shoe. He recommends that cyclists do the following to ensure that they have proper bike fit:

-- Saddle. Be sure that the saddle is level. If you are sliding too far

forward from a forward-tilting saddle, too much weight is being placed

on your hands, arms, and lower back. If the seat is tilted backwards,

you may place undue strain on your lower back and possibly experience

saddle-related pain. A physical therapist can measure proper saddle

height by measuring knee angle at the most extended position of the knee

in common pedaling.

-- Handlebars. Handlebar position will affect hand, shoulder, neck, and

back comfort. The higher the handlebars, the more weight will be placed

on the saddle. Generally, taller riders should have lower handlebars in

relation to the height of the saddle. Moen notes that riders should

re-examine their bicycle fit after bad falls or crashes, due to possible

re-orientation of handlebars, brakehoods, cleats, or the saddle.

-- Knee to Pedal. A physical therapist also can measure the angle of the

knee to the pedal. The closer the angle is to 35 degrees, the better

function the cyclist will have and with less stress on the knee.

-- Foot to Pedal. The ball of the foot should be positioned over the pedal

spindle for the best leverage, comfort, and efficiency, Moen notes. A

stiff-soled shoe is best for comfort and performance. Pedaling is a

skilled activity that requires aerobic conditioning," Moen says.

"You should make it your goal to work toward pedaling at 80-90

revolutions per minute (advanced at 90-105 rpm). Pedaling at this rate

will lessen your chance of injury."

Physical Condition

"Good flexibility of the hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteal muscles is crucial because these muscles generate the majority of the pedaling force and must ideally move through the pedal-stroke in 80-90 revolutions per minute." He adds, "Proper stretching, balance, and flexibility exercises help with coordination of cycling-related skills such as breaking and cornering." Moen also cautions that changes in riders' strength and flexibility affect the ability to attain certain positions on the bicycle and also may require them to re-examine their bike fit.

Moen points to bicycle accessories on the market--such as softer handlebar tape, shock absorbers for the seat post and front fork, cut-out saddles, and wider tires--that help to bring comfort to the sport. "Cycling should be about enjoyment, not pain," concludes Moen. "Proper bicycle fit will minimize discomfort and possible overuse injury, maximize economy, and ensure safe bicycle operation. Proper bicycle fit will make your ride a lot more pleasurable."

Tips for avoiding bike-related injuries follow this press release. Click the following links for photos illustrating proper bike fit as well as stretching exercises for cyclists: isplay.cfm&ContentID=31636 TMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=31635

Readers may visit APTA's consumer page at to view the Association's "Bike Right! Bike Fit!" consumer brochure in Adobe PDF.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and manage individuals of all ages, from newborns to elders, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

The American Physical Therapy Association ( is a national organization representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research. Consumers can visit to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as for physical therapy news and information.

APTA'S Tips for Avoiding Bike-Fit Related Injuries

Postural Tips

-- Change hand position on the handlebars frequently for upper body


-- Keep a controlled but relaxed grip of the handlebars.

-- When pedaling, your knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of the

pedal stroke. Avoid rocking your hips while pedaling.

Common Bicycling Pains

-- Anterior (Front) Knee Pain. Possible causes are having a saddle that is

too low, pedaling at a low cadence (speed), using your quadriceps

muscles too much in pedaling, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use

clipless pedals, and muscle imbalance in your legs (strong quadriceps

and weak hamstrings).

-- Neck Pain. Possible causes include poor handlebar or saddle position. A

poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at

too short a reach. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source

of neck pain.

-- Lower Back Pain. Possible causes include inflexible hamstrings, low

cadence, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, poor back

strength, and too-long or too-low handlebars.

-- Hamstring Tendinitis. Possible causes are inflexible hamstrings, high

saddle, misaligned bicycle cleat, and poor hamstring strength.

-- Hand Numbness or Pain. Possible causes are short-reach handlebars,

poorly placed brake levers, and a downward tilt of the saddle.

-- Foot Numbness or Pain. Possible causes are using quadriceps muscles too

much in pedaling, low cadence, faulty foot mechanics, and misaligned

bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.

SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Physical Fitness Godfather Jack LaLanne Turns to Brain Fitness, Becoming Ambassador for Dakims [m]Power System
2. Medicare Fee Cuts Could Devastate Rehabilitation Services, Physical Therapists Warn Congress
3. New report: Arthritis is a potential barrier to physical activity for adults with diabetes
4. Hospital Buildings Can Heal According to First Comprehensive Report on Impact of Physical Environment on Child Patients
5. Physical Therapist Stresses Funding for Falls Prevention at National Safety Council Briefing
6. Combined physical and genetic map finds cancers ignition key
7. Common Medications Could Cause Physical Impairment in the Elderly
8. Commonly used medications associated with impaired physical function in older adults
9. Americans Get Physical After a Good Night in Bed
10. Physical activity, healthy eating and BMI not linked in older teens: study
11. Cancer survivors have low levels of physical activity and high levels of obesity
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., ... the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by ... through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of ... server to improve system efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is ... the system avoids locking itself into a specific piece of software for many key ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... preparing the perfect dish and pleasing the palates of attendees is of the ... a dish to a seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try this holiday ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... offering factory direct sauna parts and accessories. , Sauna accessories help improve the ... bather’s style and personality. From basic styles for the purist looking for simplicity ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... On November 10, 2015, Bohrer Brady, LLC filed a class and collective ... home health care worker who provided companionship services for the elderly, ill or disabled ... Humana, Inc., Humana at Home, Inc., and SeniorBridge Family Companies (CT), Inc. since January ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced ... the United States (U.S.) Food ... candidate to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this ... the FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using ... , M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the jury ... Medical Technology, Inc. for product liability and misrepresentation ... device, awarded $11 million in favor of Plaintiff ... three days of deliberations, the jury found that ... and unreasonably dangerous, and that Wright Medical made ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ... the New York State Attorney General,s ... Sherman Act, and other statutes with the Attorney General over ... to cease marketing and selling the now generic version of ... admits no liability, has released its counterclaims against ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: