Injury Risks at the Tour of Britain

As the Tour of Britain enters stage 4 today in Stoke on Trent we have already seen the dangers faced by riders and the injuries that can be sustained by professional cyclists. Stage 4 takes the riders from Stoke on Trent to Llanberis, taking in the scenery of North Wales and a few hills on the way throughout their 116 mile journey.

These athletes are pushing their bodies in their bids for glory with little protection should they fall, other than a crash helmet. We witnessed throughout the Tour De France the various injuries which could be sustained as a result of crashing alone, with this fear something riders have to contend with.

In stage 2 Sir Bradley Wiggins escaped serious injury in a crash as a result of the persistent rain. He was fortunate not to sustain injury considering he was travelling at around 30mph downhill until the Italian Giovanni Visconti in front took a tumble which led to Wiggins landing on top of him. The rainy conditions are yet another thing for riders to contend with through the Tour of Britain.

Knee Injuries

Falling off your bike can be very painful and cause a lot of damage to both soft tissue and your joints, depending on how and where you land. You would typically expect either the knee, wrists or elbows to take the full force of impact following a fall.

Knee injuries can be extremely painful and effectively end cyclist s hopes of continuing in a race. Whilst knee injuries themselves can be less common than high impact sports such as tennis and football it is falling from a bike which can cause impact damage. A crash can cause inflammation to the joint limiting movement as well as being very painful.

There are various methods of rehabilitation following a knee injury as a result of impact. Such an injury can normally be self-limiting and will get better over time with rest and stretching with ice being used to help manage the inflammation and pain. A knee support can be used to help manage inflammation and pain as well as offering additional support during movement.

There are a number of knee support options available on the market, each designed to manage specific conditions or injuries from sprains and patella tendonitis to knee ligament damage and osteoarthritis of the knee. Following an impact injury you need a knee support which can offer compression and stabilisation of the joint, allowing you to remain active for longer.

Thigh Injuries

Muscle injuries are typically as a result of overuse or overstretching, something which can be quite common among athletes who are continually pushing themselves to go harder and faster. Riding a bike puts an immense amount of strain on the lower limbs and the muscles including the calf and thigh, with riders exceeding speeds of 30mph even up hill.

Thigh injuries can be common place following a taxing stage, whether from overuse or a failure to warm up or cool down. Whilst rest and ice will typically manage such a condition the use of a thigh support can also help to offer compression and manage inflammation. The use of a thigh support can also help to reduce pain and with it, allow the patient to remain active for longer than they would have done otherwise.

A thigh support can be available in either a thigh wrap or in the form of compression shorts, the latter also offering compression to the hamstring and groin area. The main purpose of a thigh support is to protect the muscle from further injury by stabilising the muscle and alignment. The compression offered by the thigh support can also help to reduce pain and enhance performance by allowing the patient to stay active for longer.

Sports Braces and Supports

It is essential in the modern world of sport for stars to remain active and keep playing for as long as possible and avoiding injury at all costs. Whilst injuries are sometimes unavoidable the use of sports braces following an injury has become more prominent in recent years. There are sports braces for every type of injury, whether as a preventative measure, to be used post injury and even those to be used following an operation.

Knee support is designed to help manage conditions and injuries pertaining to the knee. There are different types of material used for each knee support, but typically neoprene of BioSkin are used for those wishing to wear the brace during active play. These types of material allow the knee support to breathe and are flexible to conform to the patient s skin so that they can be worn under clothing and are comfortable.

There are exceptions however with the likes of knee ligament braces such as the CTi which have a rigid carbon fibre exoskeleton to protect against impact damage. A knee support such as the CTi simply offers protection against impact damage and would not normally be seen on a tennis court, but more on a BMX rider or skier.

The thigh support or compression shorts both offer the same levels of compression, with some coming complete with a cinch strap to offer an even greater level of compression. As with a knee support, a thigh support is designed to be breathable and be discreet, so that it can be worn under clothing and work with the patient rather than against them.

Final Thoughts

Recovering fully from an injury is the most important thing before training once again, as failure to do this can cause further problems in the future and subsequent injuries. We have to remember that those competing in the Tour of Britain are professional athletes who have trained for such distances but like the amateur rider are susceptible to the same risks in terms of falling off their bike and picking up joint and muscle injuries.

If you pick up an injury you should stop and rest and if it fails to remedy itself within a couple of days then seek professional guidance. Typical rehabilitation routes can include rest, light exercise, surgery , physiotherapy and even the use of a brace such as a thigh support or knee support as discussed above.

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