Mountain biking has become a popular sport that involves off-road riding over paths that have variable surface conditions, such as rocks, mud or ruts. Mountain bike injuries are a part of cycling. Riders can achieve high speeds during the downhill sections which can lead to falls and other injuries. Overtraining or poor bike fit can also lead to injuries.
Some common mountain bike injuries include:
- Cuts and abrasions – Often occur following a fall from the bike.
- Broken collar bone – Occurs when a rider falls onto their out-stretched hand during a fall.
- Acromio Clavicular (AC) joint sprain – Occurs when the rider falls onto either the tip of their shoulder (the AC joint is located on the outer part of the collar bone where it attaches to the front of the shoulder blade) or onto their out-stretched hand.
- Knee pain – Occurs from overuse of the outer part of the knee due to an impingement of the Ilio Tibial Band, leading to inflammation.
- Achilles tendonitis – Occurs from overuse due to poor bike fit or improper positioning of shoe cleats.
- Patellar tendonitis – Occurs when you have the seat too low or you ride for too long using big gears.
- Low back pain – Occurs from overuse and prolonged bending during cycling. Sometimes riders can suffer from a herniated disc due to degeneration of the disc from being in a flexed posture repeatedly while riding. A herniated disc can also cause sciatica which is pain down the back of the legs.
- Head trauma – Occurs from falls that involve the head striking the ground or other surfaces.
Some ways you can avoid mountain bike injuries are:
- Make sure your bike is correctly set up. If you’re over-reaching or hunched up while riding, it can lead to low back pain.
- Train to cycle correctly. Work on improving and maintaining a healthy posture. Develop your core mobility, stability and strength. Improve the flexibility of the front and outer muscles of your body.
- Wear the properly fitted cycling shoes for better comfort, function and safety.
- Wear mountain bike protective gear, such as helmets, gloves, upper body armor, ankle braces, elbow pads, knee pads, shin guards and goggles.
- Make sure your bike saddle isn’t too high or too low.
- Make sure your cleats aren’t pushed all the way forward towards the toe.
- Always check your bike before riding. Make sure the wheels are securely fastened and that the brakes and gears are working.
- Always warm-up and stretch before riding.
- Ensure you have control of your bike and your downhill speed at all times.
- Maintain a balanced posture with your weight shifted back. Ensure your pedals are level with your weight distributed evenly between the left and right pedals.
- Don’t over-extend your knee when the pedal reaches the bottom of its revolution.
- Don’t point your toes inward when cycling to reduce the risk of developing Ilio Tibial Band Friction Syndrome.
- Don’t ride for too long using big gears otherwise your quadriceps will become overworked and fatigued.
- Try not to fall! Watch for tree stumps and rocks that could cause falls.
- Allow for periods of healing in between cycling times.
- Don’t ride through the pain. Stop. If you pain stays the same or gets worse even when you’re off your bike, see your doctor.
By following these tips and using some common sense, you can help avoid or reduce your risk of injuries while mountain biking.
ezCycler® Custom Orthotics – For a Better Push
While custom orthotics can’t prevent some mountain bike injuries, they can help reduce muscular pain in your feet, legs and lower back. If you’re an avid cycler, you know that your heels can tend to ride up in your cycling shoes (clipless or clip type) if they’re not sitting deep enough. But you want your heels to stay seated in your shoes for better support and push. That’s why you need ezCycler® Breakaway Fit Orthotics. These custom orthotics are designed without a heel section, forcing your heels to sit deeper. Plus since these orthotics are designed specifically for your individual feet, they’ll provide the arch and metatarsal areas of your feet with the proper support they need since you’ll be using these areas most of the time you’re riding.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®