A lot of freedom comes with riding a motorcycle, but significant dangers do as well. While motorcyclists can certainly suffer harm while unilaterally operating their motorbikes, passenger car or truck drivers are the ones who crash into and cause riders harm more often than not.
Data compiled by the Insurance Information Institute (III) shows an estimated 83,000 motorbike injuries occurred in the latest reported National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics from 2020. While that data doesn’t break down injury data by body part involved, motorcycle safety best practice information from reliable sources discusses steps motorcyclists can take to minimize lower body injuries, such as ones involving the feet and legs.
Continue reading where we share how motorcycle accidents cause serious foot and leg injuries and what you can do to prevent them.
Common Foot and Leg Injuries Motorcyclists Suffer
Some lower extremity injuries affect riders more often than others if they’re involved in a motorcycle crash, including:
- Leg fractures: Tibia and fibula injuries (bones that run along the lower portion of the leg) are often fractured in a motorcycle crash as they tend not to be as strong as bones primarily located in the thigh, like the femur. Motorcycle accidents that result in bones that break in two or shatter may require the surgical insertion of a rod for stabilization followed by rehabilitative therapy to acclimate to its use.
- Ankle injuries: There’s also a strong potential for a joint to become dislocated or for tendons and ligaments to become strained, sprained, or torn in a motorcycle crash. These injuries, which can affect a person’s ability to articulate a portion of their leg and foot, often occur when their ankle connects with the ground at an awkward angle.
- Knee injuries: Any impact can cause a broken kneecap or tendons and ligaments in the area to fray or tear. Surgical intervention may be necessary to address these debilitating injuries, and physical therapy may need to follow to help victims regain the stability and functionality of this vital body part.
- Hip injuries: The impact of a direct strike from a speeding automobile or a motorbike falling on a rider can result in them shattering their pelvis and injuring their hip joints, requiring a replacement device to restore functionality.
- Foot injuries: Soft tissue damage, as well as broken bones, may result from a motorbike falling on a rider’s foot, even when seemingly protected by boots.
As you might imagine, any situation in which a cut involving any of the above body parts may not only require infection control to prevent the onset of sepsis, but can also cause the limb to bleed out, necessitating an amputation. The compression of a particular body part may also necessitate them having to have a limb amputated.
It’s also important to note that although not specific to the lower extremities, road rash is another injury riders have to worry about. It’s particularly a concern if a motorbike rider is involved in a crash while not wearing adequate protective clothing.
Road rash is left behind on a motorcycle rider’s skin after their body has been dragged along the road’s surface in a crash. It not only cuts the skin but may leave tiny particles of dirt and gravel in it. There are different degrees of road rash, the worst of which may require infection control measures and skin grafts.
Burns are also a concern if an exhaust pipe lands on an exposed body part.
How Motorcyclists’ Foot and Leg Injuries Can Be Prevented
All the foot and leg injuries described above are largely preventable. Of course, the more obvious way they can be prevented is by a motorist never colliding with a motorcyclist or otherwise causing them to lose control of their bike and become involved in a crash in the first place. That aside, though, here are some steps motorbike riders can take, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), to minimize their chances of injuring the lower portion of their body in a motorcycle accident, including wearing:
- Riding pants: Leather or denim are often the go-to materials for the most protective pants. Whichever ones you purchase should have a close-fitting or belted waist and be constructed from an abrasion-resistant material.
- Riding boots: Any pair you purchase should be sturdy and cover the ankle. The interior of the boots should be lined with an insulation material that protects the integrity of your foot if involved in a crash.
While data published by the Skilled Motorcyclist Association–Responsible, Trained, and Educated Riders (SMARTER) points out that personal protective gear, such as the pieces mentioned above, is unlikely to prevent fractures caused by a forceful crash, they are likely to prevent against:
- Road rash
- Some soft tissue injuries, like contusions (bruises), strains, and sprains
- Lacerations (cuts)
What To Do if You’ve Suffered a Lower Extremity Injury in a Motorcycle Accident
Our mobility is a critical component of most of our lives. It allows us to stay healthy, care for our kids, get our work done, enjoy a certain quality of life, and more. If a motorcycle accident that occurred through no fault of your own resulted in you suffering a significant lower extremity injury, your bills are likely mounting. There is help to aid you in dealing with the financial consequences of your injury so you can continue to receive the best care as you recover.
At Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco, we strongly advocate for those who have been wrongfully injured in Philadelphia and nearby Pennsylvania cities. We hold negligent parties who caused those injuries liable for their actions and can do the same in your case. Your initial consultation is free, so contact us to determine whether you have a valid claim today.