According to the League of American Bicyclists, since 2002 many areas of the country have seen a 100% participation growth in cycling whether recreational or for transportation. From amateurs to serious competitors, people are taking to roads and dirt trails for enjoyment, fitness and environmentally-conscious travel. With the growth in participation has come a rise in overuse injuries related to body mechanics, techniques and equipment, as well as an increase in traumatic injuries such as brain injury.
For Dr. Dana Kotler, a Sports Medicine physiatrist at the Spaulding Wellesley Outpatient Center and Instructor at Harvard Medical School, treating this population is personal. Dr. Kotler started cycling for fitness during medical school, and began racing with the Women’s Development Program of XXX Racing-Athletico in Chicago in 2012. She competes in road, track, and cyclocross events. She raced with Harvard University Cycling during her Sports Medicine fellowship, and currently rides and races with several local clubs. Cyclists can develop a wide range of medical issues, which for the most part fall into several categories: Traumatic (usually related to crashes), overuse (mechanical, often fit-related), and degenerative (age-related wear and tear such as arthritis, which can impact comfort on the bike).
To better address the unique needs of this population, Dr. Kotler began a Cycling Medicine Program which uses a team approach for the assessment and treatment of injured cyclists and triathletes, as well as those who are generally healthy and looking to optimize their performance. Leading the effort with Dr. Kotler is Greg Robidoux, a physical therapist at Spaulding Wellesley and founder of The Cycling PT, a cycling-centric physical therapy practice. Additionally, Greg is Director of Education and lead instructor for the Serotta International Cycling Institute in the science of bicycle fit. Through detailed evaluations, the team assesses muscle strength, flexibility, bicycle fit, and pedaling technique.
Combined with their clinical care, the team is also focused on increasing the knowledge base on cycling injuries. Dr. Kotler, Greg and former Spaulding TBI Fellow Saurabha Bhatnagar recently presented at the Medicine of Cycling Conference in Colorado Springs. Their paper “Fear and Anxiety After A Crash Impeding Return to Sport” was selected for the best professional abstract award
Spaulding and the people there gave me the courage, strength, and desire to get my life back. Now I can function and play with my girls and enjoy my husband. Thank you for giving me my life back.
—A Patient with Newfound Courage