Mountain bikers, hikers, beware of “trail injuries”! Dr Gérald Kierzek’s advice to avoid them

Mountain bikers, hikers, beware of "trail injuries"!  Dr Gérald Kierzek's advice to avoid them

Mountain bikers and hikers are exposed to very specific injuries called trail injuries, which are increasingly seen during consultations. What is it and how to avoid them? Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor, gives you the best advice.

While outdoor activities are good for your health, they are not without risk. Thus, the increase in hiking and mountain biking that you may have taken a liking to this summer, goes hand in hand with very specific injuries to the upper and lower limbs, called trail injuries. For the first time, this trend has been analyzed in detail.

Watch out for wrists for mountain bikers, legs for hikers

By compiling 24 studies (17 on mountain biking and 7 on hiking) representing a total of 220,935 injured mountain bikers and 17,757 injured hikers, the researchers were able to identify the most common injuries.

  • Among mountain bikers, the upper limbs are most affected, with bruises, abrasions and minor lacerations accounting for 45-74% of injuries reported in competitive running studies and between 8-67% in non-competitive studies. Fractures also represent between 1.5 and 43% of all reported injuries;
  • Among hikers, the most common injuries included blisters and ankle sprains (blisters accounting for 8-33% of all reported injuries). In all 7 studies, the area most commonly injured by hikers was a lower extremity.

In both categories, the survey concludes that the high proportions of upper limb fractures among mountain bikers and ankle sprains among hikers cannot be ignored today.

“Leisure” outings that involve real sporting risks

For Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens, the risk arises mainly from a lack of preparation and adequate equipment, when the idea takes us to go out in the mountains:

“Our mountain activities are changing, and we go to the mountains more in the summer than in the winter. Hiking and mountain biking are experiencing a new popularity, but who says “new sports” also says “new risks” and “new reflexes to adopt”! Mountain biking in particular is not just a fun outdoor activity, because the weather is nice. In the mountains there are significant elevations, and therefore high speed. Falls near rocks increase the risk of fractures”.

Therefore, a sports outing cannot be improvised. To continue your activities safely, the doctor advises to take the equipment seriously:

“A mountain bike ride is with a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and a back shell. A hike: with high shoes that protect the ankles.”

Our expert also recalls an important rule: “We are also preparing by taking into account the weather risks. An imperative in the mountains where the weather changes quickly”.