How-to: how to return to mountain biking after a (serious) injury

04 October 2021 - Therapies -

If you are one of the approximately 19 million Italians (data by Eurac Research) who regularly devote their free time to mountain biking and you have had to deal with a forced stop because of accidents or muscle problems, this article is about you.

The passion for two wheels in its “strongest” version has gathered an increasing number of followers over the past years, attracted by the possibility of testing their physical strength in situations which call for the maximum effort by the muscles, an indispensable psychological balance and a real risk of hurting yourself. Choosing mountain biking means devoting oneself to an actual philosophy which implies constant training, monitoring your diet, attention towards physical wellbeing at all levels, physiotherapy support and a (good) deal of courage.

This is confirmed by the participants in the HERO Südtirol Dolomites, the hardest mountain bike competition in the world, which takes place around the Sella massif and involves an average of 4000 professional and amateur athletes from every corner of the world. In order to finish the competition, these sportspeople train on average over seven hours per week (analysis by GroupM Research & Insight) alternating bike sessions with physical exercise and muscle destressing sessions, entrusted to physiotherapy and instrumental therapy professionals. Out and out “heroes” who in some circumstances have left more than their sweat on the field.

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HERO Südtirol Dolomites 2018 - Gambirasio

These HEROes also include Gian Mario Gambirasio, an over-50 manager from Bergamo and an aficionado of the competition on the Dolomites who, after a stop due to a significant accident whilst on his bike preparing for the race, recovered his full physical fitness thanks to a mixed therapy.

“Whilst getting to a perfect route to test my endurance with the MTB, a car cut across in front of me and I crashed onto its bonnet. The result: the bike broken into two pieces, but most of all serious trauma to the legs and effects also on my upper limbs and back”.

The results of the exams carried out are not very comforting.

“Although the diagnosis did not provide much hope of a speedy and total recovery, the wish to get back on track was stronger: I therefore began a rehabilitation path which flanked medicinal therapy, initially indispensable to modulate the pain, with physical exercise, manual massage and laser therapy”.

A rehabilitation plan which provided results.

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Trattamento ginocchio Laserterapia MLS - Stusio Elitropi

“When Gian Mario, already one of our patients, arrived with a fractured right fibula and a range of muscle contusion injuries – Matteo Elitropi, a physiotherapist and osteopath at Studio Elitropi in Bergamo explains – we thought of applying the “Peace& Love” protocol, divided in two phases: the first provided for protection activity (P), elevation (E), non-administration of anti-inflammatories (A), compression (C) and education (E), whilst the second one focused on load (L), optimism (O), vascularisation (V) and exercise (E). To speed up the muscle and bone repair processes and promote tissue and bruise recovery, many of which were internal, we applied MLS® Laser Therapy for around ten sessions, thus helping to get Gian Mario back on track in under 3 months. Thanks to its photo-bio-stimulating power, the effect of the Laser Therapy contributed to significantly reducing recovery times, as is also confirmed by several scientific studies”.

Gian Marco is back to pedalling just a few months after the accident and he has resumed his preparation with HERO 2022 in his sights.

“My new mountain bike and I attended the 2021 edition, but only as spectators. Following the advice of my physiotherapist, I took the opportunity of the competition to test my condition on some of the more demanding mountain routes. The feedback was definitely encouraging!”.

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