After six months of riding, I finally took a fall that did damage. I was setting up to roll a fallen log, when I bobbled on a smaller root and did a dive into the log and landed on my grab hand. I broke one finger (pinkie) and probably the ring finger. After soaking them in the lake I was able to ride out. I have been taping them together once I have my glove on. It’s been two weeks, so they’re getting better, I can ride but I’m being careful.
Then Sunday my son took a hard fall, dove forward over a log and landed on his thumb, bending it back, fortunately it was not broken. So, two falls with injuries in two weeks, are we just due or are hand injuries more common than I thought?
BTW, we already wear full leather gloves with splints front and back. I’m thinking of tapping/sewing my fingers together in pairs, might even add something to keep my thumbs from hyperextending, like a strap or tape.
If you do extreme MUni yo are going to get hurt somewhat sooner or later. I have broken my leg in 3 places and might have broken or dislocated my ring finger and/or thumb.( I did not go to get them x-rayed I just suffered with them.) I have also recieved countles bruises, sprained ankles and wrists. Just try to roll with the falls. LOL
Well, hands are what you tend to land on, so I’d expect hand injuries to be fairly common. I’ve had a few bruised palms from falling on pointy rocks, but nothing worse (yet). Actually, the most painful fall I’ve had while muniing was landing on my hip on a pointy rock - nothing broken but I couldn’t stand up for a few minutes. I’m fairly paranoid about padding up as well - usually wear helmet, shin/knee pads, gloves and elbow pads (and camelbak on my back), but you don’t think about hips.
I don’t tend to bend my fingers back when I fall though - I think you’ve just been unlucky there.
My most common MUni injury is a sprained wrist. I use KH gloves which help lessen the severity of the sprain but does not prevent it on bad awkward falls. It is not too much of a stretch to think that something that could hurt the wrist if landed slightly differently would hurt the fingers.
edit: If your wrist can’t bend due to your double splinted gloves it might mean that your fingers end up taking more of the impact. Something has to absorb the hit.
Here is where falling technique can prevent injuries. If you’re falling with your arms straight out and your fingers fully spread apart, you’re asking for a finger injury, if not worse.
The best falling posture is to have your hand cupped, fingers together, and your arm in a semi-circle… see http://tinyurl.com/5g366n for an illustration of arm positioning.
The goal of a fall shouldn’t be to stop yourself using your hands or arms. Instead, one should use their arms to redirect the force of the fall into a roll or a “splat”, so the entire body takes the force, and not just the hands.
Just like riding, you’ll need to practice those falls… why not integrate it into your daily rides? C’mon, who doesn’t like getting dirty?
I sustained a similar injury falling on a poorly maintained cobblestone street several weeks ago at fairly high (for me) speed. I fell forward, spinning slightly, didn’t tuck in my hand quickly enough, and ended up hyperextending all four of the fingers on my right hand to various degrees.
I don’t think I broke any of them (I didn’t visit a doctor); all of them but the ring finger are fully recovered, and that one just has a slightly restricted range of motion.
I can’t really imagine any kind of reasonable apparel that would have prevented this particular injury.
I suffered a slightly bruised palm on Sunday from some very pointy welsh rocks. Was wearing wrist guards but its maybe slightly to the side of their protection. This is the only injury to my hands I’ve had that I can think of.
Nothing more than bruises so far on hips, thighs and face. I did draw blood on my pinkie finger once though, falling at top speed on my 26" on asphalt ripped right through the thin part of the KH glove that covers the fingers. I may have tried some kind of judo roll, but I am still not quite sure what happened
George Peck has suggested using finger splints, but I’m not sure where you get them.
Increasing my hip flexor and lower abdominal strength has reduced the frequency and severity of my UPD’s, esp. the superman type. I would think doing things that require fast foot action would also help, like jump rope w/ ankle weights & foot-bag.
My Muni padding: helmet, knee/shin, wrist, elbow/forarm, hip/but (661 Bomber Pro), and backpack. For the street I usually eliminate the knee/shin & elbow/forarm pads.
maestro8 - That’s how I try to fall when I don’t land on my feet.
The main cause of my injury was getting my pinky finger caught in between the slats of a foot bridge as I tumbled off of it after UPD’ing on a downhill that was apparently trickier than I was ready for
Also, I know of another rider who broke his thumb and then broke it again after it had mostly healed - both were unicycle related.
I think if we could just get rid of that pesky gravity, there would be much fewer unicycle injuries.
I’d just say folks, watch what your hands are doing. I know in skating its said to land with your hands in. Try and just keep your arms in, most times this will help, but if you took a serious fall, you could end up breaking your scapula/calvical or any number of things. So, its one evil for the other i guess.
sorry to hear about all your guy’s hand injuries. I would definitely recomend to anyone who has a hand injury that seems more than a bruise to go see a docter, get it x rayed, and fix it. You dont want impaired use of your hand due to an incorrectly healed phalange or metacarple.
Sorry to hear about your injury. Sometimes you can’t help a bad fall, but I think Jason mentioned some good steps to minimize injury.
When I bail poorly and go down hard, I tend to hit my left wrist in the same place every time. It was very annoying, but now I double up a wrist guard with my KH glove on top of it and my hand feels like a tank. I don’t do this with my right hand as I need it to hold the handle. Now if I keep my fingers tucked in, I can break my fall without ruining the rest of my day.
I’ve had what I suspect was a broken thumb and a confirmed broken wrist from muni. Haven’t had any serious problems since wearing very sturdy wrist guards, though; I tend to try, now, to land on the “heels” of my hands, and ball up my fists at the same time. I wish I could tuck and roll, but that’s not my instinct, so this is the best bet for me.
I’ve damaged the ligaments in my left wrist, left ring finger, left middle finger, right pinkie, right middle finger, right thumb all on falls putting my hands out. As a result I’ve been teaching myself to either get my feet down as quickly as possible, or go into a rolling bail which I seem to be getting reasonably good at :). If I do need to put my hands down for a fall I try to make a fist to keep my fingers out of the way and to keep my wrist straight.
Being able to avoid an injury comes down to being able to think through the fall and notice what is around you and where you are going. Not always easy as things tend to happen very fast, but with the bail practice I tend to have (naturally ) it’s getting easier to do.
I’ve always been involved in athletics of some sort and, luckily, the many years of practice have paid off when tucking and rolling. Roller skating through streets and even to/from classes in college (up and down stairs) taught me the value of safety equipment.
Still, I tend to land on my right wrist first then proceed into a roll. I wear skateboard style wrist gaurds which have saved me from broken bones more than once but my wrist still gets sore (especially when learning new skills). Under the wrist gaurds I wear mechanics gloves when riding on the street.
If anyone has recommendations on better wrist/finger protection I’m more than open to suggestion!
That’s exactly what I wear, too. The mechanics gloves work well for grip and flexibility, but don’t have a terry cloth sweat-wiping panel like most mtb gloves. But they’re thinner, and more comfy under the wrist guards. I guess it’s all about compromise.
Well, I don’t think it was my fall technique that was the problem :o
I was riding single track, setting up to do a rolling hop over a log, and I didn’t see the root a few feet in front of the log, so I got “tripped up” and did a sudden dive. As I was pitched forward my hand tangled in the root ball of the log, which is why I busted up two fingers on the outside of my right hand.
My son, he’s 13yo, just ain’t no good at faling yet. He did the classic fall with his hands spread wide, hyperextending his left thumb. He got a tongue lashing for bad fall technique
Dual sided wrist protection, full finger coverage, pig skin with ventilated backs. We use them for mountain boarding and grass skiing, but they really rock for muni.
I’m looking at taping my fingers in sets of two using duct tape. My thinking is it that two fingers will be more resistant to fall damage. I’d considered using a mitten, but then how would I pick my nose?
Another reason to wear wrist protection - in 23 years of trials wipeouts I’ve never sustained a bad wrist injury but the cumulative effect of falling hundreds of times means that my left wrist (the main falling direction for me in trials) is slightly sore on impact. Not enough to really bug me, but in the last 10 years I’ve consistently worn gloves with wrist support and I really think that without them it would be a lot worse.
I think that because most of us take lots of minor falls, having wrist support is a good way to keep your wrists happy 40 years from now, irrespective of actual injury.
I sprained my right middle finger after a muni fall once, bad enough that I went to the doctor to have it looked at because I thought it could have been fractured.
I have also punched a few trees while doing muni. By accident of course, and always with my left hand - since I use my right hand to hold the seat handle and my left one sticks out sometimes for balance. I think I have “punched” about 4 trees while riding muni so far (really more like the tree punched my hand).