Mountain bike injuries can occur even to the most experienced riders. There are a few studies which show the type of injuries and their occurrence rate. A review of 898 injury cases in the in Canada’s British Colombia found that most of the serious injuries were fractures. 75% of the fractures were to the upper body. A complementary study made by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association found that head trauma and brain injuries were also common among the cases which needed medical intervention. So how can these injuries be avoided?
The Clavicle or the Collarbone is often broken during mountain biking. Its risks increase during downhill sessions. In conditions of speed, the rider can fall on the outstretched hand. The force from the impact is then transmitted to the Collarbone which gets fractured. To limit and avoid the possibility of this injury, you need to pay special attention when going downhill.
Managing your speed is essential if you don’t want to go over the handlebar in case the front wheel gets to a sudden stop. Avoiding obstacles such as rocks is thus important. Another important tip comes with weight distribution. In case you do hit a rock, it is more likely to fall if you have your weight center on a single pedal. Even weight distribution on both pedals is recommended.
Often common in runners as well, knee injuries can seriously affect your cycling capacity. Popularly called the Runner’s Knee, the inflammation of the outer joints of the knee seems to be a cause of concern in time. It happens to the repetitive nature of the cycling movements. Few simple adjustments can help reduce the risk of knee injuries. Among them, adjusting your saddle’s height is important.
You should avoid stretching to reach the pedals. You can also consider the position of your feet while cycling. If your toes are pointed inwards, you will put extra pressure on your joints. If you don’t manage to escape knee injuries, you can use dedicated straps to reduce the pressure on the knee for a given period.
Another common injury in mountain biking comes with cuts. The damage to the skin is surely avoided by staying on the bike. You can also wear protective gear to minimize risks. Such gear can involve elbow pads or knee supports. They can protect you from smaller cuts. However, not all cuts are the same. If you see that you cannot stop the bleeding or if you see signs of infection, pain or swelling, it means that you need to see a doctor. But for superficial cuts, it is always recommended to carry a minimalistic first aid kit.
Lower back pain is very common with dedicated mountain bikers. Basically, the inner gel-like center of the disc will move outwards. Known as Herniated Disk, the condition occurs due to the long periods in the bent position specific to cycling. So what can be done to prevent the issue? In many cases, the incorrect bike size can lead to back pain. A large bike comes with its own problems. You need to stretch to reach the handlebar. This is why it is important to know that you need the right frame size for you. Exercises can also go far. You can use various back exercises to strengthen the muscles of the lower back. Bodyweight exercises to target this area are a great place to start.
Get protective gear
Regardless of the type of experience you have with mountain biking, having the right protective gear can keep you away from certain injuries. A solid recommendation involves purchasing a quality helmet. Riding gloves are a good option against cuts. Riding shorts can also prove to come with added comfort for most people. If you are riding in harsh sunlight, a good pair of riding sunglasses can help you improve your vision and stay clear from possible hazards as well. Most injuries can be prevented to a certain degree. Alongside common sense, the right bike, proper protective gear, even exercises can help you stay on the bike, injury-free for longer periods regardless of your skill level.
By Andrew LowenAndrew Lowen helps manage content at Moment Bicycles and has been in love with bikes ever since his mom bought him his first tricycle. He plans to compete in his first triathlon next year. Though, he did say the same thing last year.