Mountain biking injuries
Mountain biking is a fast, exciting sport that is gaining in popularity. The type of injuries depend on the type of mountain biking you do, with downhill biking having a higher incidence than biking on regular terrain. Injuries may be traumatic or non-traumatic resulting from overuse. However, like in any other sport many of these injuries are preventable. For example, fractures and/or concussions can occur as a result of a fall, but wearing a helmet can prevent or reduce the impact of these injuries.
A look at some common injuries
Many mountain biking injuries occur to the head and upper extremities. A concussion can occur as a result of a blow to the head, either from a fall or from coming into contact with another person or object. Symptoms may range from dizziness to loss of consciousness. If you are conscious try to keep warm and do not move until help arrives. Even if symptoms appear to be mild, you should see your doctor as soon as possible as symptoms could become serious later on.
This is another name for a bruise, which may result from a fall or impact. Scratches and lacerations may be superficial or deep, requiring debris to be removed from underlying layers of the skin.
Neck and back pain
This is an overuse injury caused by a static riding posture with the neck and shoulders in an upright position and the back curved. Neck pain can be avoided by doing some neck stretches before and after riding. Taking frequent rest breaks to stretch the neck and back will also help. Stretching and strengthening exercises will help beginning riders stave off this type of injury.
Pain in the wrist and hand
This may result from nerve compression – both on the ulnar border (little finger) and the radial side (involving the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers). Symptoms resemble those of carpal tunnel syndrome, except that numbness and tingling occur in the ring and little fingers and paresthesia (tingling) on the radial side. This type of pain can be relieved by not gripping the handlebars as tightly and changing hand position frequently. Wearing gloves and padding the handlebars will also prevent hand and wrist pain.
Patellofemoral knee syndrome may result from having the saddle too far forward or too low. Knee pain is felt at the front of the knee and there may be swelling and tenderness. Treatment with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and elevation) is needed, followed by physiotherapy.
Metatarsalgia, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis may all result from incorrect foot position. Foot pain may be felt in the forefoot when you press down, also at the back of the heel or under the heel. Rest and ice together with physiotherapy will help relieve symptoms so you can return to mountain biking.
Mountain biking injuries can be many and varied, depending on the type of biking you engage in. These injuries are often preventable, however no matter how careful we are, injuries may arise either as a result of trauma or overuse. If you suffer any of the above or any other injuries, please come in and see us. We are here to help.