Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries

When it comes down to getting injured, mountain bikers are at a far higher risk than those who stay in their lane, quite literally.

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When it comes down to getting injured, mountain bikers are at a far higher risk than those who stay in their lane, quite literally. The biggest reason for this boils down to facing harsher terrain and overcoming nature instead of keeping things uniform. The injuries you can sustain from mountain biking can be as minor as a scrape but can also be severe. Some of those injuries could be as follows:

  • Contusions
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Ligament injuries
  • Concussions
  • Abrasions

This article details the most common mountain bike injuries, and some frequently asked questions. For example, being safe means asking specific questions, like if there are ways to prevent damage from occurring. Much of this information given today is essential for your overall well-being. We highly encourage you to continue reading for more knowledge.

What Are the Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries?

As you can see, there are about six common injury types a mountain biker can obtain, but you can avoid most of them with proper gear and exercise before hitting your trail. That being said, we will break down these injuries and briefly go over how to prevent them later.

1. Contusions

While the word itself may sound imposing, it is truly just the medical term for bruising of any kind. As most of us know, bruises occur when we endure a hard, blunt force on any portion of our body. This impact will cause immense pressure in the location and rupture your blood vessels, causing those large purple welts to swell up later.

2. Fractures

A fracture, by definition, is some level of damage occurring directly on any bone in your body. Cyclists commonly end up fracturing bones in their hands and arms, as this is the knee-jerk reaction caused when falling. You attempt to stabilize yourself on the way down, exert more force on your body than it can endure, and fracture a bone as a result.

3. Lacerations

Once again, a laceration is the medical term for a cut, although this terminology is usually reserved for deeper and more severe amounts. In most cases, you will not suffer from anything too horrific when cycling, but if you were to fall onto a pile of sticks or some rocks, you could very easily get a wound that will require stitches to close correctly.

4. Ligament Injuries

A ligament injury occurs when the small connective tissues that run from bone to bone are strained, torn, or completely severed. In most cases, a simple sling will allow you to rest easy and be back to biking in no time, but your more severe ligament injuries can require surgery.

One such example of this would be “Skier’s Thumb.” If the ligament were to separate, you would need surgery to heal correctly and alleviate the pain as well.

5. Concussions

A concussion is when someone suffers damage to their head, whether it be coming into direct impact with the ground, a tree, or even large rocks. When the damage is done, you can find yourself in a haze, suffering from confusion and rather painful headaches.

Even more extreme accidents can cause traumatic brain injury. Should you suffer any head injury on a trail, it’s better to remain safe than sorry and seek immediate help to evaluate the severity of your injuries.

6. Abrasions

An abrasion is essentially just a scrape. However, when it comes to mountain biking, scratches can be as superficial as some peeled skin to a massive slide that has almost eroded your skin down to the muscle (assuming you were to skid over a pile of rocks for a distance, for example.) These abrasions come in all forms, but you must clean the wound thoroughly and bandage it when you return home.

How Can You Prevent Mountain Bike Injuries?

You can prevent mountain bike injuries in many ways, but the main thing to know is to be careful and tactical. Some people who go mountain biking due to the adrenaline rush may get cocky and careless, so it is essential to be mindful of what you do constantly. Aside from that, here are other ways to prevent mountain bike injuries.

1. Warm-Up

Ensuring that your body is ready for the journey will allow you to mitigate most of the possible damage you might endure while out and about. You can do this by being ready to utilize your muscles in ways you might not need to, like catching yourself or reacting to unexpected obstacles in your path. Being sufficiently warmed up will prepare you for what nature can throw at you.

2. Cross-Train

Riding a bike doesn’t require you to be a fantastic sprinter. Still, the extra cardio experience you gain will allow you to go the distance while biking, allowing you to be in a better physical condition to endure the pressure of mountain biking. Anything you do outside the scope of biking can benefit your biking experience and, as a result, can be worthwhile by keeping you in peak condition.

3. Learn How to Fall Well

While you probably won’t become a stunt double in a movie by getting better and generic tumbling, learning how to properly roll into a fall, stop yourself mid-tumble without putting your limbs at risk, or seeing an inevitable fall and knowing how to plan accordingly will help you prevent a lot of injuries you might sustain on a bike.

4. Stay Hydrated

If you aren’t hydrated, your body is gradually going to become less reliable, and your thinking may become clouded as well, causing you to suffer from both poor mental and physical performance. Both of these can ultimately lead you to hurt yourself, and as such, you should regularly take a few sips of water to keep your head in the game and, more importantly, off the ground.

5. Lower Your Center of Gravity

Lowering your center of gravity will give you more control over your bike, and if you are going through a particularly dense trail, it could also keep you from slapping your head on trees and branches jutting out of the trail itself.

What Is the Most Common Injury in Mountain Biking?

The most common injury in biking is abrasions to various body parts. This is primarily because you can get one of these scrapes if you fall off your bike at almost any speed. While that scrape may be accompanied by something worse, it is hands down the most likely to occur.

What Percentage of Mountain Bikers Get Injured?

On average, you can expect roughly 16.8 injuries for every 1000 hours of riding you do; this includes both major and minor injuries ranging from abrasions and contusions to more severe ones like fractures.

What Is the Most Common Bone to Break Mountain Biking?

Your collarbone is the most likely bone to break whilst mountain biking because your entire body weight will fall onto one side, putting immense pressure on it, causing it to fracture or break entirely.

Is Mountain Biking a High-Risk Sport?

Mountain biking is not innately a high-risk sport. Still, the trails you ride and the amount of safety gear you wear (or don’t wear, more importantly) can make the sport itself more risky than it usually is; another factor would be the direction you are riding.

While some people may love the thrill and excitement of blazing downhill on a mountain bike and relish the challenge of reacting in time to navigate the course itself, it also puts you at a much higher risk for injury and more severe ones.

Final Thoughts

Mountain biking is an enjoyable and healthy sport for anyone to get involved with, assuming your body can keep up with you. Still, it is critical to keep yourself safe by wearing all the appropriate protection available and charting a course that you are mentally and physically prepared for. If you are navigating a path for the first time, try to keep a friend or loved one in the loop regarding your location so that if anything were to happen to you, you can expect help to come.

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