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Evidence-based journal watch
  1. Martin P Schwellnus
  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Mountain biking is associated with a risk of injury mainly to the upper limbs – protective body armour, clip-in pedals and the use of a full-suspension bicycle may provide a protective effect

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The sport of mountain biking is increasing in popularity, but the epidemiology of injuries has not been well studied in elite level and competitive mountain bikers.

Research question(s)

What is the incidence, nature and risk factors for injuries sustained during recreational mountain biking?


  • Subjects: 202 recreational mountain bikers (men=178) who sustained injuries and presented at five medical facilities over 1 year. 130 900 mountain bikers visited the area in that year.

  • Experimental procedure: Injury data (type, site), trail grading (easy, moderate, difficult, severe, variable) and demographics were obtained from all the injured cyclists by telephonic interview (full information on 168 injured cyclists). The incidence of injury was calculated per exposure (injuries/100 000/year).

  • Measures of outcome: Injury rate (per 1000 exposures), risk factors for injury (age, gender), anatomical areas affected and incidence per trail grade.

Main finding(s)

  • Incidence of injury: The overall incidence was 1.54 injuries per 1000 biker …

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