The largest medical study into mountain biking has revealed bikers are most susceptible to shoulder and collarbone injuries. Carried out by researchers from the Edinburgh Napier University and funded by the Enduro World Series, the three-year study was carried out to determine rider health and injuries.
Here, we’ll look at how the study was carried out and what it revealed about the risks of shoulder sport injuries.
What did the study involve?
The researchers looked at injury information from more than 2000 athletes who took part in 10 different Enduro World Series events from 2017 to 2018. The injury rate was just 8.9%, which is a fairly low rate compared to figures from the RIO Olympic Games 2016 and of those seen in other sports such as rugby.
They also looked at a different study, which covered a wider participation base. They looked into another almost 2000 riders who came from 60 different countries. These varied from recreational riders, to amateur riders and those who competed in Enduro World Series races. This gave the researchers a much broader look into injury occurrence at all ability levels.
Which sport injuries were found to be most prevalent?
Although the injury incidence rate was fairly low, there were some sport injuries found to be more common than others. It was revealed that shoulder and collarbone injuries were the most common in riders, particularly during Enduro World Series races.
It was discovered that 71% of injuries bikers suffered, were caused due to coming into contact with the ground. Other causes included recurrence injuries and overuse injuries. The most common type of injury included lacerations, bruising and fractures.
Interestingly, the study revealed that concussion rates were low. It was estimated that a rider would need to compete in approximately 263 professional biking events to suffer just one concussion. It also showed that women were more likely than men to suffer a concussion. This is something which could benefit from further research.
In response to the findings, the Ensuro World Series has released informational documents. These include information on how riders can prepare for the challenges of events, along with key information for event staff. They are also working on providing more education regarding concussions and giving medical event staff more in-depth training.
The importance of building up shoulder strength
The findings of this latest study show the importance of building up shoulder strength in bikers. Although it can’t prevent damage caused by direct trauma to the joint, developing upper body strength is essential to keep you in control and for effective bike handling which will stop you crashing even when fatigue sets in.
Shoulder sport injuries can be particularly difficult to recover from. They typically feature a long recovery time and can cause a lot of pain and suffering to the biker. By building up the strength in the shoulder, it could help bikers avoid these potentially nasty injuries.
If a shoulder or collarbone injury does occur, seeking treatment quickly is crucial. The earlier the injury is treated, the less chance there is it could worsen. Seeking early treatment also means less invasive methods may be used to correct the problem.