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Can Mountain Biking Cause Tennis Elbow? – Comprehensive Guide
Can mountain biking cause tennis elbow? This is a common query being asked as there is a significant number of individuals who can relate to their tennis elbow injuries with mountain biking. But here we need to understand if it is mountain biking that actually causes the tennis elbow or if there is something else that is involved.
Gripping the handles for long hours and pushing down on challenging tracks can be physically taxing. Mountain biking can be stressful for the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and back. To help you understand can mountain biking causes tennis elbow, I've composed this comprehensive guide. Plus, I've discussed the reasons that can add to the intensity of the issue.
Can Mountain Biking Cause Tennis Elbow? – Detailed Answer
Yes, mountain biking can cause a tennis elbow. In mountain biking, much of the rider’s weight is put on the forearms. Also, it involves the repetitive motion of elbow joints and unnatural stress on the elbow muscles and ligaments. However, mountain biking or wearing MTB elbow pads is not the only cause of tennis elbow injury. Other factors like bad riding ergonomics, improper bike fitting, genetics, and lifestyle choice play a key role in causing tennis elbow injuries in MTB riders.
Here are some major factors causing tendonitis in MTB riders.
Unnatural Body Position
If you can access the handlebars with a slight flex to your arms, you are sitting in a neutral position. However, if you need to stretch your arm to make it to the handlebars, it will add a lot of stress to your forearms and elbow. This unnatural stress on the elbow is one of the main causes of tennis elbow in mountain bike riders.
Imbalanced Body Position
The imbalanced body position in MTB can cause severe tennis elbow injuries. The unusual body tilts to either left or right side resulting in extra pressure on the wrist and forearms. Too much stress on the left or right side can cause the tennis/golfer's elbow.
Wrong Handlebars Position
Poor handlebar ergonomics can also cause tennis elbow. If handlebars are too high or too low, the wrist is kept at the wrong angles adding extra pressure and stress. Also, many rides prefer handlebars that are turned up. The upward handlebars put a lot of stress on the wrist and elbows while holding onto them. This unusual stress for a long time can cause tennis elbow.
Wrong Seat Ergonomics
Tendonitis occurs when your forearm muscles remain at the wrong angles for a long time. Seat heat and angle play a key role. If the seat is too high or leaning forward, much of the rider’s weight is shifted forward. If the set is too low or leaning backward you need to stretch extra to reach the handlebars. Both these conditions have a bad impact on the forearm muscles and tendon health. Poor seat ergonomics are found to be highly involved in causing tennis elbow injuries in mountain bikers.
Wrong body posture in mountain biking is another reason for elbow injuries in MTB riders. Experts believe that riders who have a bad posture while seated on the bike are highly prone to developing tennis elbow. Riders with rounded backs and inward-turned shoulders develop serious tendonitis injuries. This posture puts additional pressure on the outer elbow. Since MTB is a physically challenging activity, the impact and shock intensify the condition causing the tennis elbow.
Weak Core Muscles
According to research studies you need a strengthened core to enjoy a healthy mountain biking experience. With weak back muscles, you cannot enjoy stable and healthy mountain biking. Weak core muscles get tired quickly leading to frequent forearm arm stretching and imbalanced body positioning.
How Can I Diagnose The Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow injury can be severe and prolonged if not caught and treated on time. To avoid this severe pain and long-lasting injuries, one must know the early symptoms of the tennis elbow. The most common sign of the tennis elbow is the pain on the outside of the elbow. This pain intensifies over time and becomes more persistent.
Also if you feel pain while performing everyday activities like shaking hands or lifting grocery bags, it can be due to a tennis elbow. Another symptom of the tennis elbow is that you feel severe pointed pain on the outside of the elbow while stretching or flexing the forearm.
What Should You Do If You Have Developed a Tennis Elbow?
Once you have a tennis elbow, you should immediately cut down all these factors that have caused this situation. The inflammation or damage in the muscles and tendons progresses at a faster pace if you do not stop the activities that have caused it.
- Stop mountain biking as soon as you realize that you have a tennis elbow.
- If it is diagnosed at an advanced stage, you need to consult your doctor for proper medication.
- While performing everyday activities make use of supporting mechanisms like wrist straps to avoid further damage and speed up the healing process.
- You can also use anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin with the advice of a doctor to reduce the pain and swelling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do my elbows hurt after mountain biking?
While mountain biking, much of the biker's weight is shifted to the forearms. Also, mountain biking involves repeated contraction of forearm muscles and tendons. All these factors can lead to pain in the elbows. It can be a temporary condition or symptoms of a serious condition like tennis elbow.
What activities aggravate the tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is caused by activities that involve the rapid contraction of the forearm muscles. Also, it is caused by repetitive gripping and twisting motion over a long period.
Where is the pain in the tennis elbow?
Initially, the pain in the tennis elbow can be felt in the bony bump of the elbow that is attached to the forearm muscles. This pain spreads to the wrist and forearm muscles if not cured on time.
So, we can safely conclude that mountain biking can cause tennis elbow if we are doing this activity with improper training and equipment. The best way to avoid the tennis elbow is to choose a bike that is perfectly sized for you. Also, it is crucial to sit and ride in the healthiest biomechanical posture to avoid tendon and muscle injuries.