Putting the brakes on knee pain
It's officially cycling season, and whether it's a health kick, soaring petrol prices or Tour De France fever making you ‘get on yer bike’, there’s no better time to set the wheels in motion and take to the roads for a spot of exercise.
Many of us are going to be enjoying a staycation this summer, spending quality time with our families and trying to use our cars a bit less. So, if you’re heading out on a family bike ride or taking to the roads more seriously, here are some top tips for enjoying a safe and comfortable ride.
The most important item of clothing when you’re heading out for a ride is a well-fitted helmet. It goes without saying that the same applies to children, even if they’re a ‘passenger’ in a seat on the back of your bike. A major, international study of more than 64,000 cyclists found that helmets can reduce the risk of a serious head injury by almost 70%.
Other essential items for keeping safe include brightly coloured clothing, such as a hi-viz or luminous jacket, so you can be easily seen. Always prepare for the weather conditions and the time of day you’re likely to be riding – take sunglasses even if it doesn’t appear sunny when you first head out. And slap on the sun cream before leaving the house, even in the autumn and winter months when the sun can be deceptively strong.
Running through a quick checklist before heading out on a ride is a good habit to get into. This could include making sure your rear safety light and reflectors are all intact and working efficiently (a rear safety light is a legal requirement!). Check your tyres and brakes and look for any other loose parts or problems before setting off. Why not invest in a pump and a small toolkit so that you are well prepared if you encounter any problems on your ride?
Keep on top of any aches and pains:
Did you know that knee pain is one of the most common complaints that can affect cyclists? A study carried out amongst 109 cyclists, found that 94% had experienced some form of overuse injury and 23% of those were in the knee1.
With this condition being so prevalent amongst cyclists - and the fact that knee osteoarthritis (OA) affects 1 in 5 people over 45 in England2 - there has never been a better time for innovations in non-invasive and long-lasting treatments to help alleviate pain.
This is where Arthrosamid®, a non-biodegradable hydrogel that is injected into the knee, can provide patients with a treatment option for knee OA with minimal downtime 'out of the 'saddle' and effective pain relief. A keen cyclist and patient who has received the treatment commented;
“I’d experienced some pain and swelling to my knee during and after the same very long, steep rides when I’d done them the previous summer…this time around I had no problems at all.”
Consisting of 2.5% cross-linked polyacrylamide and 97.5% non-pyrogenic water, a single 6ml dose of Arthrosamid® is injected into the joint space to cushion the knee (becoming embedded in the synovial membrane), providing increased cushioning and relieving pain in one single treatment3. Patients can expect to see improved mobility and pain relief within days4.
It's also important to consider the factors that may have caused the pain in the first place, such as incorrect posture or overtraining.
Often, knee pain caused by a saddle being in the wrong position and turning can cause too much strain on the knee. If you're worried, why not book both you (with a physiotherapist, PT or sports masseuse) and your bike (at a reputable cycle shop) for an MOT? Prevention is often better than a cure.
A badly fitted bike can mean the difference between a smooth ride and running the risk of a nagging knee injury. This can include having the wrong size bike completely; the seat in an incorrect position or the handlebars too close or far away from you. This can, of course, be dangerous but can also lead to aches and pains if not resolved.
When purchasing your bike, you can ask for a personalised fitting to make sure you are comfortable before going out for a ride. This can also be done at a later stage at an independent bike fitter or specialised cycle shop if something feels ‘not right’. With children and teenagers, looking at the fit of the bike would need to be done more regularly as they continue to grow – don’t set them up for potential joint issues in the future.
Arthrosamid® injections are now being introduced to patients through a network of leading orthopaedic clinicians across the UK, as well as new centres signing up to deliver the treatment in Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, and France, with more to follow.
1 National Library of Medicine. Available here
2 Public Health England. Available at: Versus Arthritis - What is arthritis?
3 Christensen, L., Camitz, L., Illigen, K.E., Hansen, M., Sarvaa, R., Conaghan, P.G., 2016. Synovial incorporation of polyacrylamide hydrogel after injection into normal and osteoarthritic animal joints. Osteoarthritis and cartilage / OARS, Osteoarthritis Research Society 24, 1999-2002.
4 OARSI CONNECT 2021 POSTER 336 POLYACRYLAMIDE HYDROGEL INJECTION FOR KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS: RESULTS OF A 52 WEEK PROSPECTIVE STUDY Henning Bliddal, Anders Overgaard, Andreas Hartkopp, Jannie Beier, Philip G Conaghan, Marius Henriksen.