Most mountain biking tendon injuries occur in the fingers. The injury usually occurs
during a fall, either from jamming the finger or bending it back too far. Rarely, a tendon
injury results from a direct blow, such as smacking your knuckle between the handlebar and
Tendon injuries range from mild strain to complete rupture of the tendon. With a mild
strain, there is pain with motion, but no swelling, deformity, or limitation of motion.
With a rupture, signs of serious injury (swelling, inability to use, severe pain, or
limited motion) will be present.
A ruptured tendon won't heal properly unless managed by the doctor. Even minor tendon
injuries can result in tendinitis and long-term pain.
biker (riding without bar ends), veered into an aspen. The index finger was hit directly
over the middle knuckle (proximal interphalangeal joint or PIPJ). He's trying to
straighten the finger, but the middle knuckle keeps popping up. This is a rupture of the
central slip of the extensor tendon.
See the doctor if:
there's deformity or severe swelling
the part can't be used normally after an hour of rest
there's continued severe pain
there's numbness or weakness below the injured area.
The treatment of a sprain is "RICE:" Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate.
Immediately elevate the injured part and apply an ice bag. Once the area is thoroughly
cooled, apply an elastic wrap (if practical) to compress the injury. Finger tendon strains
may need to be splinted.
Rest the injured part for two days. If it's a finger injury, use a splint. For the first
48 hours, repeat ice and elevation 1/4 of the time (for example, 30 minutes of ice every
two hours). As the pain subsides, return to activities. The rule is: "If it hurts,
don't do it." You can usually stop using the elastic wrap after 2 to 3 days.
If the injured area doesn't improve promptly, see the doctor.
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