Epidemiology of Downhill Mountain Biking Injuries: 178 Injuries in 129 Patients

Author(s): Dominique Saragaglia, Guillaume Favarel, Jean Jacques Banihachemi, Ali Hassan Chamseddine

Purpose: The aim of this study was to analyze root causes and mechanisms of downhill mountain bike injuries through a consistent inventory of such injuries, and propose potential ways to circumvent them.

Methods: A prospective epidemiological study was conducted in a musculo-skeletal specialized Emergency department of a University hospital in France. All patients admitted to the department following downhill mountain biking accidents between July 2017 and November 2019 were included.

Results: There were 129 patients representing 138 admissions and 178 injuries, with 92% male and 8% female patients. The mean age was 27.9 years (11 – 69 years). 118 injuries involved the upper limbs (66.3%), and 37 the lower limbs (20.7%). The remaining 23 injuries (13%) involved the chest, abdomen, and spine, and were qualified as axial injuries.

Lesions of the shoulder girdle were by far the most frequent lesions as they corresponded to 66 injuries (55.9% of lesions of the upper limbs) including, among others, 25 fracture of the clavicle, 21 acromio-clavicular dislocations or sprains and 10 anterior shoulder dislocations. In the lower limbs, knee sprains were the most frequent injuries (7 sprains or 19% of lower limbs lesions). Finally, head trauma represented the most frequent injuries of the body axis (10 lesions or 43.4% of axial injuries).

Conclusion: Downhill mountain biking accidents are dominated by the injuries of the upper limbs, particularly the shoulder girdle. Despite the efforts made to develop efficient protection materials, these tools remain insufficient to prevent injuries or to reduce their incidence.

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