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Knee Injuries and the Use of Prophylactic Knee Bracing in Off-Road Motorcycling


Knee Injuries and the Use of Prophylactic

Knee Bracing in Off-road Motorcycling

Results of a Large-Scale Epidemiological Study

Mark S. Sanders,* MD, Robert A. Cates,y BA, Michael D. Baker,y BS,

Sue D. Barber-Westin,z§ BS, Wesley M. Gladin,|| BS, and Martin S. Levy,{ PhD

Investigation performed at the Sanders Clinic for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine,Houston, Texas

Background: The effectiveness of prophylactic knee bracing in preventing knee injuries during sports has been evaluated; however, because of the variability in study conclusions, the topic remains controversial. Despite a paucity of data, the authors believe that prophylactic knee bracing is frequently used in off-road motorcycling.

Hypothesis: No statistically significant difference exists in the frequency and types of knee injuries incurred between braced and nonbraced riders using commercially available knee braces in off-road motorcycling.

Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Data from 2115 off-road motorcycle riders was obtained using an Internet-based survey over a 1-year period. Participants were grouped by use or nonuse of prophylactic knee bracing, and an incidence rate ratio was used for injury rate comparison.

Results: Participants recorded 39 611 riding hours over the study period. A total of 57 riders (2.7%) sustained at least 1 knee injury, for a total of 89 injuries. The most common injuries involved the anterior cruciate ligament, menisci, and medial collateral ligament. There was a significantly higher rate of overall injuries in the nonbraced group versus the braced group (3.675 vs 1.587 per 1000 rider hours, P\.001). Significantly higher incidence rates of anterior cruciate ligament rupture (1.518 vs 0.701 per 1000 rider hours, P = .0274) and medial collateral ligament injury (0.799 vs 0.111 per 1000 rider hours, P = .002) were found among nonbraced riders compared with braced riders.

Conclusion: The most common knee injuries in off-road motorcycling involve the anterior cruciate ligament, menisci, and medial collateral ligament. The use of prophylactic knee bracing appears to have a beneficial effect in preventing medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament injuries as well as overall knee injury occurrence. These findings may be applicable to other sports that involve similar forces and mechanics.

Keywords: motocross; knee brace; knee injury; medial collateral ligament injury; anterior cruciate ligament injury; off-road motorcycling

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