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Both of us have suffered from occasional sharp pains within our knee joints. In Montana, Beth suffered from severe pain in her right knee which prevented her from continuing cycling and caused us considerable concern as to whether we would be able to complete our trip. However, with some rest, temporary redistribution of weight carried and increased care as to using higher cadence, stretching before setting off and avoiding muscles becoming cold during breaks, we were able to continue. No doubt our time off around Las Vegas will have helped further and this was part of our reasoning for taking a longer period of time off at this stage. It was not until well into Mexico when the pain completely subsided.
Knee pain is probably the most common physical complaint we have heard from other cyclists. One of the factors that Beth has found increases her knee pain is the use of cleats, whilst this has not been a problem for Jeremy. This may be due to the cleats holding the foot in a more turned in position than feels natural for her.
Jeremy suffered a short spell of pain in his right achilles which hurt most whilst walking rather than cycling. This seems to be another common complaint amongst cyclists. The pain has subsided and not returned.
As time has gone on we have become better at avoiding hand pain which is general caused by maintaining the same hand position for too long. Good padded gloves, bar ends to increase the range of hand positions and foam grips all seem to help. After loosing her gloves and wearing none for only one day, Beth suffered from continual numbness in two fingers which lasted for several weeks.
We have both suffered from rashes, mainly on our legs where they are exposed to the most sun. We have tried steroid cream and also topical and oral antihistamines but the only thing that has helped is staying cool - something that can be difficult to achieve.
Dogs chasing us has been a regular occurrence throughout our trip but never particularly concerning until Jeremy was bitten in rural Panama. Travel health advice for Panama invariably recommends post exposure prophylaxis for rabies in this situation but we were unable to find anywhere which was able to supply the rabies vaccine in Panama. We spent some time on the internet researching statistics for rabies in Panama and based on these decided not to take any further action. Particularly useful was the database provided by RabNet accessible through the World Health Organisation website. Jeremy had recently had a tetanus booster but this seemed very readily available locally.
As can be expected when travelling in developing countries we have suffered from short lived bouts of gastroenteritis. Although on one occasion in Honduras and another in Brazil the severity prompted us to take a courses of antibiotics. In Brazil Jeremy suffered from what we suspected was gardia in that the symptons did not subside until treatment for this was taken.
So far Beth and Jeremy have both had two falls. They have resulted in minor grazes and bruises only and were caused by skidding on gravel and mud, rear pannier bag becoming caught on a fixed metal pole and wheel siding a concrete raised pavement. In the latter incidence, swelling and bruising of the leg prompted Beth to have an X-ray which thankfully showed no fracture. Much of the swelling had improved by the following day and we were able to continue cycling.
Although we have ridden off the rode many times to avoid possible incidence, we have had no collision with other vehicles although Jeremy has ridden his bicycle into the back of Beth's on a number of occasions!
Probably the most frequently asked question relates to this subject. The most important thing is to find comfortable seats and it hard to tell whether a seat is comfortable without riding on it for a considerable amount of time. Jeremy is on his original seat but Beth is on her third seat of the trip. We are both now happy with our current seats which we have had since northern Canada. Chafe can be a problem around the upper thighs particularly in hot climates and on rough roads but this can be reduced by using petroleum jelly and has not generally been a significant problem.
Availability of Medications
Many medications are available in Mexico, Central and South America over the counter although dosage schedules and information about side effects are not always supplied. In Panama, antibiotics and some other medications are only available by prescription.
Beth being medically trained has meant that we our in a position to treat ourselves for many more eventualities than other travellers might consider practical and as a result we are carrying a reasonably extensive medical kit. This is detailed on Our Kit page.
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