Motorcycle Spoke Injuries

Motorcyclists, moped and bicyclists can suffer from spoke injuries when riding their vehicles. One study looked at 103 moped and bicycle spoke injuries in children who were between the ages of 1 and 14 years of age. Most of the time, one heel was affected but in 22 cases, both feet were affected, particularly in the heel. In 17 cases, there was some type of leg fracture on the side of the injury.

In another study, leg bone fractures were particularly noted in spoke injuries. They looked at 211 fractures of kids with leg fractures between the age of 1 and 14 years and discovered that 10 percent of all fractures to the leg were due to spoke injuries while riding bicycle. In children aged 1-4, bicycle spoke fractures were found to account for a third of all fractures of the lower leg.

Higher speeds, such as in motorcycle injuries, caused more extensive heel injuries. There was, however, not enough force directed upward in these types of injuries so that there were no fractures in this type of an injury. The force may also have been better tolerated by these victims, who were much older.

Spoke injuries suffered a fourfold increase in injury rate during the years 1966-1977 in Karachi. For this reason is was discouraged from have three people riding on a motorcycle and people were discouraged from riding on motorcycles that had broken foot rests. Boots were deemed to be helpful but it was noted that they could be hot on a hot day. It was also preferred that women sit side saddle when riding behind a driver. Their feet should be on the left side of the motorcycle. Shields could be purchased that covered the upper rear wheel to protect children from getting spoke injuries. A chain case on a motorcycle helps to protect the left heel from injury. A similar shield should be put on the right side of the vehicle to protect the right heel.

Spoke injuries were first reported 62 years ago. They can be severe injuries, particularly to the heel. For this reason, a prospective study on the spoke injuries of the heel was done on a prospective basis in order to study the mechanism of injury, the treatment protocols and the eventual outcome of people injured in this manner. A total of 89 patients from between 2001 and 2010 were studied. They looked at how the injuries occurred and how they were eventually treated by the surgeon. They discovered some unique features of spoke injuries and graded the injuries according to what tissue was involved.

They noted that surgery to heel injuries in spoke accidents often required Achilles tendon reconstruction and flap transferred. In some cases, the calcaneus needed to be treated, either conservatively or with bone surgery. In the end, the researchers decided that the ability to eradicate motorcycle spoke injuries would be very difficult but that, over time, the surgical techniques have improved and people are getting better much more easily than in times past.

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