Many times on this blog, we devote our attention to the toll running can take on your body. And it’s true, that sport really pounds away at your feet, leaving you vulnerable to lots of foot problems. But even when taking a load off your feet—literally—by taking a seat on your spin bike, there are plenty of potential injuries you need to watch out for. Read on to learn how you can stay safe in the spin studio!
Start with Success: Set Your Bike Up Right
One of the best ways to avoid injury on a spin bike is to adjust to your seat to the optimal position. First things first: check your seat height. When standing beside the bike, bring the seat up to the height of your hip, then hope on and peddle. If the height is right for you, your leg will be almost fully extended (but not locked out) when you hit the bottom of your pedal stroke—make sure there’s still a bit of bend in your knee.
Now it’s time to focus on the height of your handlebars. Start by adjusting them to be level with your seat. Now, stick your arms out in front of you. You should aim for an inch of space between the tips of your fingers and the handlebars; your elbows should hover just over the edge of your seat.
Once your spin bike is set up well, you’re ready to ride. But you still need to watch your form throughout the entire sweat session in order to avoid some of the most common spin-related injuries.
Three Common Spin Class Injuries (and How to Avoid Them)
While many things can go wrong on a spin bike, these are the most common spinners’ complaints:
- Foot Spasms
Even if your seat is properly positioned, your feet may start hurting or tingling in the middle of a spin session. One potential culprit? Clenching your toes inside your shoes to help get better control over your bike. If that’s the problem, then try consciously relaxing your feet while you pedal.
- Arch Pain
Many people experience pain in their arches during or after a spin session. This is often the result of ill-fitting spin shoes. If your shoes are too tight, they can press on your metatarsal arch, which can result in discomfort or even numbness. One easy way to combat this kind of spinning-related injury? Try your spin shoes on before you buy them. Many people just order cycling shoes in their typical shoe size, but since they fit differently than a standard sneaker, you need to wear your pair before making a purchase.
- Hot Foot
No, this doesn’t refer to the sweat you may work up during a spin class. Instead, this problem refers to tingling and numbness in your forefoot. Also known as metatarsalgia, this condition develops when your metatarsal bones compress the small nerves in your forefoot. Many factors can trigger this issue: tight cleats; poorly positioning your cleats on the pedals (not typically a problem if you clip in); or even the simple pressure of your foot on the pedal. Most of the time, taking a quick break and removing your foot from the pedal will relieve the discomfort of hot foot. If the problem is persistent, you may need to switch to a larger pair of cleats or turn that resistance knob farther to the left to decrease the pressure on your feet. You may also consider padding the forefoot of your cleats in order to take some pressure off your bones and nerves.
How We Treat Spinning-Related Foot Injuries
For most people, careful positioning and simple adjustments can keep your spin sessions comfortable and injury-free. But if pain becomes a constant part of your cycling workouts, it’s time to take a break and see your podiatrist. Together, we can determine the cause of your foot pain, and help correct the underlying issue to prevent further discomfort or serious injuries.