Phys Sportsmed. 2022 Oct 24:1-8. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2022.2136984. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Gradual onset injuries (GOIs) in recreational cyclists are common but not well described. The aim of this study is to describe the clinical characteristics of GOIs (main anatomical regions, specific anatomical sites, specific GOIs, tissue type, severity of GOIs, and treatment modalities) of GOIs among entrants participating in a community-based mass participation-cycling event over 5 years.
METHODS: During the 2016-2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour, 62,758 consenting race entrants completed an online pre-race medical screening questionnaire. 1879 reported GOIs in the previous 12 months. In this descriptive epidemiological study, we report frequency (% entrants) of GOIs by anatomical region/sites, specific GOI, tissue type, GOI severity, and treatment modalities used.
RESULTS: The main anatomical regions affected by GOIs were lower limb (47.4%), upper limb (20.1%), hip/groin/pelvis (10.0%), and lower back (7.8%). Specifically, GOI were common in the knee (32.1%), shoulder (10.6%), lower back (7.8%) and the hip/buttock muscles (5.2%). The most common specific GOI was anterior knee pain (17.2%). 57.0% of GOIs were in soft tissue. Almost half (43.9%) of cyclists with a GOI reported symptom duration >12 months, and 40.3% of GOIs were severe enough to reduce/prevent cycling. Main treatment modalities used for GOIs were rest (45.9%), physiotherapy (43.0%), stretches (33.2%), and strength exercises (33.1%).
CONCLUSION: In recreational cyclists, >50% of GOIs affect the knees, shoulders, hip/buttock muscles and lower back, and 40% are severe enough to reduce/prevent cycling. Almost 45% of cyclists with GOIs in the lower back; or hip/groin/pelvis; or lower limbs; or upper limb reported a symptom duration of >12 months. Risk factors associated with GOIs need to be determined and preventative programs for GOIs need to be designed, implemented, and evaluated.