Mountain Biking Injuries Injury rates: 0.37 riders will incur an injury per 100 hours of cross country mountain biking and 4.34 riders per 100 hours of downhill racing. More serious injuries to the head and neck occur whilst falling over the handlebars rather than falling off the bike to the side, which tends to result in lower limb injuries. As a consequence of this, female riders (who are lighter) fall over the handlebars more readily than males, and tend to be more seriously injured than male riders. Most injuries sustained mountain biking occur to young males aged 20–39 years. Risk factors of injury in mountain bikers are: loss of control, high-speed descending, competitive activity, turning, loss of traction, and mechanical problems. The most common injuries (60–75%) are soft-tissue abrasions, lacerations and contusions. The most prevalent fracture is a clavicular fracture and the most common dislocation affects the acromio-clavicular joint. Concussion is also a common side-effect of a fall off a mountain bike. Neck and back pain are common in mountain bikers: stretching and core strengthening / deep neck flexor strengthening can help to lessen back and neck symptoms. Median nerve irritation at the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome) and ulnar nerve irritation in the palm (Guyon's canal syndrome) are common in mountain bikers. Padded gloves, lessened grip force and appropriate hand position on the handlebars help to lessen these injuries. Retropatellar pain is common in mountain bike riders: this may result from having the saddle too far forward or too low. In this condition knee pain is felt at the front of the knee- there may be swelling and tenderness around the knee-cap. Metatarsalgia, Morton's neuralgia, achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis are common and may all result from incorrect foot position. Foot pain, back of heel pain or under-surface of heel pain may be felt when you press down. Stretching and strengthening of calf musculature, stretching of the plantar fascia, increasing range of motion in the 1st MTP joint, along with a proper bike-fit can help to alleviate these problems.
Injury Prevention: as with road cycling appropriate clothing / protective equipment is essential. Accurate bike-fitting lessens the chance of long-term injury. Getting to know an area before pushing the limits is also important. Racing another cyclist can lead to disaster: remember to take it easy if you are new to mountain biking, or don't know a track well. See Cycling (Road) Injury Prevention for more detailed injury management strategies.
Road Cycling Injuries
Cycling (Road) Injuries: Ben is a mad keen cyclist and has ridden over 50,000kms locally in and around Dunsborough. That's 9 million revolutions! If you are suffering from a cycling injury Ben is able to help. Proper frame selection and adjustment can be made by following simple guidelines for frame size, seat height, fore and aft saddle position, saddle angle, reach and handlebar height. Dunsborough Physiotherapy Centre offer a bike-fitting service using formulae, measurement, and observation to get you in an appropriate "fit-zone". The human body functions most effectively in a narrow range of pedal resistance to effort. Increased pedal resistance is a major cause of overuse problems in cyclists: lower gear ratios at a higher cadence is recommended. Over half of traumatic injuries involve motor vehicles, and road surface and mechanical problems with the bicycle are also common causes of accidents. Head injuries are common in cyclists, victims rarely wearing helmets. Contusions, sprains and fractures may occur throughout the body, most commonly involving the hand, wrist, lower arm, shoulder, ankle and lower leg. The handlebar and seat are implicated in a wide variety of abdominal and genital injuries. Abrasions, lacerations and bruises of the skin are the most common traumatic injuries.
Common chronic injuries: chronic (overuse) injuries in road cycling include Guyon's canal syndrome (compression and irritation of the ulnar nerve due to constant pressure applied through the palm of the hand), carpal tunnel syndrome (compression and irritation of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist) , trochanteric bursitis (due to iliotibial band tightness / instability of the pelvis on the saddle), low back pain (often sacro-iliac or discal in origin), neck pain (due to sustained cervical extension required when cycling), ilio-tibial band friction syndrome (frictioning of the ITB occurring at the outer side of the knee), patellofemoral syndrome (pain behind the knee-cap due to patella mal-tracking / increased patello-femoral compression), Achilles tendinitis (degeneration of the Achilles tendon), plantar fasciitis (degeneration of the plantar fascia at the site where it attaches into the heel bone under the foot) and Morton's neuralgia (compression and irritation of nerves situated between the metatarsals, leading to pain and altered feeling in the forefoot and toes).
Injury Prevention: trauma may be prevented or reduced by the use of proper protective safety equipment and by maintaining the bike in top mechanical condition. Anticipation of the errors of others and adopting specific riding strategies help to prevent traumatic injuries. Management of overuse injuries in cycling generally involves mechanical adjustment as well as medical management. Neck and back pain are extremely common in cyclists, occurring in up to 60% of riders: better position on the bike can lessen the amount of cervical extension required which is a common cause of neck pain. Making sure you are not too "stretched out" can lessen load on the back walls of the lower discs and the sacro-iliac joint. Strengthening deep neck flexors and scapular retractors can also lessen neck problems. Ulnar neuropathy (Guyon's canal syndrome) characterised by tingling, numbness and weakness in the 4th and 5th digits is common in those riding frequently, as is carpal tunnel syndrome affecting the thumb, 2nd, 3rd and half of the 4th digit. Better hand position on the bars, adequate padding, and lighter grip can alleviate these conditions. Managing saddle-related conditions may involve adjusting seat height, angle, and fore and aft position in addition to changing the saddle. Padding in the saddle and shorts play an important part in saddle problems. Saddle-related problems include chafing, pudendal neuropathy, male impotence, traumatic urethritis and a variety of vulva trauma. Appropriate seat height and fore / aft position can lessen retropatellar compression: the more compression the greater the chance of knee-cap related pain. Calf stretching and strengthening, along with orthotic use can lessen Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis incidence. ITB stretching and gluteal strengthening along with seat height adjustment can lessen the chance of hip bursitis. Appropriate footwear and cleat position can alleviate Morton's neuralgia.