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Cycling Injuries | Shoulder Separation | Rotator Cuff Injuries | Vail | Colorado


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Dr. Peter J. Millett, an orthopedic shoulder surgeon with The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado is an expert on shoulder injuries including shoulder separations and rotator cuff injuries. He recently provided this article for Aspen Magazine on common injuries associated with cycling and biking. Shoulder injuries, as well as other orthopedic ailments including knee, ankle, spine and elbow are common areas where injury can occur.

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Cycling Injuries | Shoulder Separation | Rotator Cuff Injuries | Vail | Colorado

  1. 1. INSIDER | body KEEP ON PEDALING DR. MILLETT ON CYCLING INJURIES W hile we may not all aspire to be the next Lance Armstrong or Tour de France competitor, there are many in the mountains of Colorado who would rather be on their bike, cycling into the sunset, than anywhere else. • Cycling has tremendous health benefits. It allows for maximum cardiovascular exertion with little impact on the joints. That makes a rider less likely than, say, a runner or skier to exacerbate the types of arthritis that can develop as we age. But as safe and beneficial as cycling can be, riders suffer injuries when things don’t go as planned. Here are some of the most common injuries and the most common ways to treat them. Traumatic Injuries • Broken clavicle: Flying over the handlebars or falling from the bike onto your shoulder—as Armstrong did several years ago—is a sure way to sustain this ubiquitous biking injury. If not treated properly, the bones can become deformed, resulting in persistent pain and weakness. Above, Dr. Millett Today, the fractures are routinely treated with surgery to ease the pain and restore full function. • Shoulder separations and rotator cuff tears: These can often be repaired with minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. I’d recommend prompt evaluation by a specialist to make sure you get back on the bike quickly. • Head injuries and concussions: Falling from a bike and smacking your head on the pavement is no fun and can have serious consequences. While it may seem obvious these days, it bears repeating: Get a helmet, make sure it fits properly, and wear it whenever you ride. Overuse Injuries • Chondromalacia: This condition, also referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a deterioration and softening of the cartilage underneath the kneecap. For this—and the more standard patellar tendinitis—rest is the best medicine. • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Gripping the handlebars for long periods can compress the median nerve of the wrist, causing numbness in the PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY CITY OF ASPEN DR PETER MILLETT hands. Wearing padded cycling gloves can relieve some of the pressure. • Spinal conditions and neck and lower-back pain: Hunching over a bike on long rides can take a toll. Stretching and chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate the symptoms. PORTABLE AND POTABLE VAPUR’S BRAINY BOTTLE Many overuse injuries are the result of poor bike fitting. A bike specialist Be kind to the planet and feel a at any reputable shop can get you seated and riding in the right position. load lighter with Vapur’s clever collapsible bottle. It’s reusable, To sum it up: By listening to your body, incorporating rest and stretching foldable, attachable, freezable, and dishwasher-safe. exercises, and protecting yourself with the right equipment, you will have greater enjoyment and fewer injuries from cycling. Ride on! $11, Available at Pitkin County Dry Goods, 970-925-1681. —Dr. Peter J. Millett, M.D. Dr. Peter J. Millett is an orthopedic surgeon at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.40 | A S P E N M AG A Z I N E | S U M M E R A S P E N MAG AZ I N E CO M