The nature of mountain biking is that there are unpredictable terrain and trails, with a potential for injuries. Most mountain biking injuries occur during downhill riding and feature cuts and bruises, with the shoulder regions, wrist and upper arm most often affected. Shoulder separation (Acromioclavicular joint sprain) and a broken collarbone are the most frequent injuries sustained during mountain biking which happen when a rider goes over the handlebars. When taking part in high-speed mountain biking, it is essential that you invest in a good quality helmet and full body armor.
Not all mountain biking injuries are due to a fall. There are overuse injuries caused by the repetitive nature of cycling. An incorrect bike setup or too much cycling increases the chance of niggles and injury.
The common mountain bike injuries include:
Cuts and grazes – They account for a majority of mountain biking injuries. Learning the right skills and techniques for the sport and wearing protection can help to avoid more injuries. The treatment for cuts and glazes depends on the injury, but they heal quickly, and a basic first aid kit and TLC are all that is required.
AC joint sprain – The AC joint attaches to the front of the shoulder blade with strong ligaments. It is located outside the collarbone. Damage to the ligaments is what is known as AC joint sprain.Watch out for tree stumps and rocks that cause abrupt stops and falls. Make sure your pedals level with your weight for more balance. Painkillers and ice will help with the sprain while a sling will cater for the shoulder. A rocktape can be applied to a shoulder strain to help in easing the pain and recovery.
Broken collarbone– A broken collarbone requires medical advice because it takes longer to heal. This can only be avoided by learning the skills and technique. When mountain biking, you should keep the pace within your comfort zone to prevent major falls.
Knee pain is common with cyclists. It occurs when Ilio Tibial band tightens due to the repetition of movement and causes knee pain. Repeated straightening and bending of the knee joint causes tissue inflammation. To avoid knee pain, bike set up is essential. An expert bike fit outfit will provide better advice on how to avoid knee pain. Otherwise, rock tape is very effective in preventing and helping with the recovery of IT Band Syndrome.
Back pain and sciatica can be caused by a flexed posture while riding. The lower back area around the discs is the most affected. Riders suffer herniated disc in severe cases. Your bike should be comfortable, correctly set up. To prevent back pain, one should have a strong core, and this can be achieved by training with a core strengthener or a Pilates or yoga trainer. A physio and massage can help ease back pain. For self-massage, a rider can use a foam roller or tape your back using rock tape for effective relief.
Pain in the hand and wrist – It is caused by nerve compression on the little finger (ulnar border) and the radial side (the rest of the four fingers). One feels pain, needles, pins, and numbness in the fingers. To relieve the pain, you should grip the handles gently while frequently changing the hand position. Padding the handlebars and wearing gloves will prevent the pain. Physiotherapy with stretching and strengthening program can also help the recovery as well as prevent re-injury.
Saddle sore may not be taken seriously, but it can become severe enough to force a cyclist to stay inactive for a while. The sore on the skin around the buttocks or undercarriage is caused by having contact with the saddle, and it hurts. Once this occurs, you need to keep the area clean and dry and keep of mountain biking for a few days. But this can be prevented by using the right saddle and cycling shorts. Cycling shorts should fit well with a chamois that fits your body shape. Also, use chamois cream to help kill bacteria and reduce any friction.
Mountain biking is an exciting and adventurous sport that has attracted competitions worldwide. Mountain biking injuries keep increasing with the popularity of the sport. Competitive mountain biking includes off-road cycling over tracks with different surface conditions. The high speeds engaged especially when cycling downhill can cause falls and serious conditions such as head injuries. That is why it is essential to invest in a quality helmet.
It is important for you as a mountain biker to have first aid training and carry a first aid kit with you on your mountain biking free. It is also important to embark on mountain biking as a group and carry a map with you. As a group, you can take care of each other in case of injury or call for help. In case of injury, make sure you move to a reachable place where rescuers can access. You should make sure your first aid kit is well equipped to deal with immediate injuries. Prevention measures like riding within your limits and getting trained can also help.