A Biker-Orthopedic Surgeon’s Guide To Reducing Non-Accidental Injuries While Riding Two-Wheelers


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Embarking on the journey of motorcycle ownership is a passionate pursuit that bestows riders with a unique blend of freedom and joy. The thrill of the open road, breathtaking views and the wind in one’s face create an exhilarating and addictive escape from the mundane. The adrenaline rush experienced while riding stimulates neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and provides a profound sense of satisfaction.

However, two-wheeled passion comes with its own challenges, particularly in the form of non-accidental injuries. Prolonged hours gripping the handlebars can lead to issues like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), causing numbness in fingers. 

Additionally, the sustained posture and low seating position may result in lower back pain, stiffness, knee pain, foot numbness, and even discomfort in the tailbone.


Prolonged gripping can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

When you spend an extended amount of time holding onto handlebars, especially in activities such as cycling or motorcycling, it can contribute to the development of issues like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.

The continuous gripping motion, combined with the pressure on the wrists, can lead to compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel—a narrow passageway in the wrist. This compression can result in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the fingers, particularly the thumb, index, and middle fingers.

The repetitive stress on the wrists and the sustained pressure on the median nerve during prolonged handlebar gripping contribute to the development of CTS. It’s essential to be mindful of ergonomics, take breaks, and practice exercises that promote hand and wrist flexibility to reduce the risk of developing such issues. If symptoms persist, seeking medical advice is recommended to address and manage the condition effectively.


Sustained low seating can cause back and joint discomfort

The sustained posture and low seating position commonly adopted during activities such as prolonged sitting or riding motorcycles can contribute to various physical discomforts and pains. Here’s how:

  • The low seating position often leads to a rounded spine, causing increased stress on the lumbar region. This can result in lower back pain due to prolonged flexion of the spine.
  • The bent-knee position common in low seating can lead to increased pressure on the knee joints. Prolonged stress on the knees may result in discomfort and pain, especially if the knees are not adequately supported.
  • The tailbone (coccyx) can experience pressure and discomfort due to the sitting position, especially on hard or poorly padded surfaces. This may lead to tailbone pain or discomfort.

Riders can adopt simple practices:

  • Maintain a straight posture and use padded shorts to prevent tailbone pain.
  • Keep the wrist and forearm straight, positioning the elbow slightly back to reduce shoulder impact.
  • Consider using ergonomic handlebar grips to reduce pressure on the hands and wrists.
  • Take regular breaks during long rides to stretch and relax your hands, wrists, and arms.
  • Sit straight, with the head and chin up, aligned with the direction of travel.
  • Minimize weight on the wrists by relaxing the arms and avoiding tight grips.
  • Distribute your weight evenly on the bike to reduce strain on specific areas, including the hands.
  • Securely grip the bike with knees and thighs to maintain stability.
  • Adjust the motorcycle or seating position to ensure a more neutral spine alignment.
  • Ensure that your bike is well-maintained, with proper suspension and tire pressure to minimize vibrations.
  • Get trained and master the biking skills, knowledge, and behaviour of the rider.
  • Dehydration can contribute to muscle stiffness and cramping, so stay adequately hydrated during rides.

By adopting these measures, individuals can alleviate the stress on the lower back, knees, feet, and tailbone associated with sustained postures and low seating positions, promoting overall comfort and well-being.

Muscles thrive on activity, and neglecting their needs may lead to spasms and pain. Passionate riders must prioritize safety for a lifelong biking journey—cover the Earth before it covers you. So, by implementing these measures, riders can reduce the risk of developing issues associated with prolonged handlebar gripping and promote a more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience.

The world of motorcycle ownership is undeniably captivating, offering riders a unique blend of freedom and joy that comes with the exhilarating escape of the open road. The adrenaline rush and the profound satisfaction derived from the experience are unparalleled. However, it’s crucial for riders to be aware of the potential challenges that accompany this passion, particularly the risk of non-accidental injuries arising from prolonged handlebar gripping and sustained low seating positions.

Remember: Make safety a life-long priority!”

About the author: Dr. Deepak Rudrappa is a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur. He is a dedicated medical professional and avid bike rider, has explored the roads on Yamaha Rx-100, Suzuki, and Harley Davidson motorcycles. All views/opinions expressed in the article are of the author.

A Biker-Orthopedic Surgeon’s Guide To Reducing Non-Accidental Injuries While Riding Two-Wheelers

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