Mountainbiking and bicycle riding

Shoulder injuries and diseases

Mountainbiking and shoulder


Within the last years, due to the popularity of mountain biking, sports injuries are exploded in this sports discipline. Men, predominantly 20 to 30 years of age, are affected most by mountain bike injuries. Injury rate is about 1% and relatively low. The main injury zone in professional mountain bikers are the shoulder, cavicle and the ac joint ( 25% of all injuries ). Shoulder injuries are the main problem in professional mountain bikers. The "normal" mountain biker is suffering in 15% of all cases of shoulder injuries and problems, which is the main problematic region even in this group. Men are suffering from mountainbike injuries with about 6.8 injuries in 1000 training hours. Women have a risk, which is nearly double the size, with 12 injuries within 1000 training hours. So, the injury risk in mountain biking is similar to alpine / downhill skiing.
The most typical injury is a fall while riding downhill being catapulted over the bike, in front, falling on the shoulder.
Injuries like hematomas and sprains are most common. The most frequent fracture is occuring at the clavicle ( about 13% ). Most of these clavicle fractures are treated nonoperatively. If a clavicle fracture is associated with nerve or vascular compression / lesion or if it´s an open fracture or lateral clavicular fracture it is treated with an operation. Besides clavicular fractures other bones that are breaking in mountain biking are the humeral head and humeral shaft as well as acromioclavicular joint. Other shoulder injuries are occuring in about 12% of all cases.
Today we don´t know much about injury prevention in mountain biking due to lack of scientic studies. In general, protectors, mountainbike training, special race courses are making sense. Helmets reduce the risk for a head and face injury significantly.
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