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Dr. Mark Hosko, MD, January 28 2022

What To Do After A Bike Accident

Bike Accidents: Taking Care of Injuries & Proper Healing

A bike accident can set you back, especially if you commute to work. While bikes are amazing forms of transportation and exercise, riding a bike can lead to accidents. An accident on a bike can be serious and may require extra care, a trip to the doctor, or even a trip to urgent care. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need extra assistance. Let’s take a look at the factors you should consider when coping with a bike accident. 

How do you relieve pain from a bike accident?

Before deciding how to relieve pain from an accident, you need to know what body parts are injured. Bike injuries can lead to scrapes, bruises, broken bones, torn ligaments or tendons, and much more. Once you know how many injuries are sustained from a bike accident, you can formulate a recovery plan. 

No matter what type of injury you have, you need to focus on rest and recovery. This means you need to take care of yourself and not put more pressure on injured areas as this can extend recovery time. It’s time to break out your supplies and deal with scrapes and cuts with some antibacterial cream and band-aids. Covering the area can relieve some of the discomforts by reducing air and clothing from rubbing on cuts and bruises. 

Next, for injured parts like tendons, ligaments, and bones, you need to practice RICE. The acronym stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. First, start feeling better by resting the injured arm, leg, foot, or hand. Next, ice the area for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every couple of hours to reduce swelling. After, compress the part with a brace, wrap, or special boot to reduce mobility and stop swelling. Finally, elevate the body part above your heart level (especially at night while sleeping) to reduce swelling and drain excessive fluid. 

Another great method for dealing with pain is over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen. The first two are anti-inflammatory, while acetaminophen is an analgesic that does not reduce inflammation but blocks pain signals. Also, consider topical analgesics like Bengay, Aspercreme, or Icy Hot. You can also consider homeopathic remedies such as a heat pack, massage, acupuncture, a chiropractor, and herbal remedies to reduce pain. 

What do you do after a minor bike accident?

After a minor bike accident, you need to assess the damage. First, you need to slow down and make sure you are not seriously injured. Next, close your eyes and find out where you feel pain and how intense the pain is for you. See if you can stand, if you can, then it’s definitely more likely to be a minor injury. Next, practice basic first aid. Look for bruises, cuts, scrapes, and road rash. Also, check your bike to see if any parts are sticking out that could harm you when trying to get it home. 

Check for a concussion by looking for cracks or bends in your helmet, which could indicate a head injury. If you suspect a head injury, seek help immediately and head to a hospital or urgent care. In addition, you may experience disorientation or confusion that also indicates a head injury.

How long does it take to recover from a bike accident?

Recovery time depends on the amount and level of injury. If you have a broken bone or sprain, you can expect a minimum of two months to recover. For smaller injuries, the recovery should take less than two months. As with all injuries, everyone recovers at a different pace. Do not pressure yourself to do more than you can do comfortably to fully recover. 

Also, make sure to eat a healthy diet and increase water intake to allow your body to work best for a full recovery. The right food can act as medicine to help heal your body and fuel recovery for less downtime. How long you can take to rest and relax stress-free can help to reduce recovery time too. Lastly, you will need to be patient with recovery as everyone recovers at a different rate. 

How do you treat muscle pain after a bike accident?

Treating muscle pain can be a chore as it takes several steps and can take a while to heal fully. Start with diet. Increase amino acids by increasing protein to help build muscle and healthy fats to help keep cells intact. Increase antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, and calcium to help encourage full health.

Remember to rest and elevate sore muscles as well as using ice and heat alternately to reduce discomfort and improve blood flow. Consider taking a warm bath in Epsom salts or dead sea salts. Over-the-counter pain relievers are an option as well. Furthermore, consider massage or acupuncture as well. If you need, consider physiotherapy or physical rehab to prevent injury to the muscle more. 

If possible, avoid high-impact or intense workouts like running or weightlifting. Instead, stretch gently to help and open up the muscles. Try to do so in a warmer room as heat helps the body to move more easily, which means you should avoid working muscles in colder temperatures. 

Can you get a concussion from falling off your bike?

You can most certainly get a concussion from falling off your bike. From high speeds to falling downhill, your head is not safe. Even with a helmet, you may still get a concussion, but it significantly reduces your chances. If you fall and have a bump, blow, hit, or jolt to your head, you may want to go to urgent care and check for a concussion. 

Symptoms of a concussion include loss of consciousness, headache, confusion, memory loss, nausea, sleepiness, and slurred speech. Go to the hospital if you or someone else on a bike experiences these symptoms. Do not move the injured person or leave them alone and leave the helmet on to avoid further injury. Most importantly, remain calm and try to keep the person or yourself awake until services arrive. 

When should I go to the hospital after a bike accident?

Go to the hospital if you think you or someone else has a concussion, broken bone, a deep cut that may require stitches, excessive bleeding, or any other issues that cannot be fixed with a bandaid. A cut that continues to bleed 15 minutes after continuous pressure will require stitches. 

Ultimately, only a doctor can determine if there is an internal issue that requires professional attention. While you may be able to treat external injuries, a doctor can use medical machines to check for internal injuries if they feel it’s necessary. Moreover, if you were hit by a vehicle, going to the hospital can help to ensure you are not injured and help your case against the person who hit you.

Should I see a doctor for injuries after a bike accident?

While your bike accident may not require a trip to urgent care, if you got more than a scrape, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor very soon after. What might seem like a minor injury now, maybe indicate a more serious injury. When you are in an accident, your body releases a surge of adrenaline that can mask pain. Minor pain may actually be a sprain or a broken bone, or a fracture. 

Avoiding the doctor might prolong recovery or cause a part to heal incorrectly. Also, visiting a doctor allows them to check for infection and stop the progression. Furthermore, they can check for internal injuries you may not recognize. Even skin problems like road rash may need medical attention. The road or area where you biked was definitely not sanitary, and your skin may need extra attention. 

As you cannot know the seriousness of an accident from looks alone, it’s best to seek medical attention promptly. Head injuries warrant a visit, as do fractures and sprains. Even if you can put weight on a leg or arm, you could have a hairline fracture that, if not treated properly, can cause lifelong comfort issues. Avoid complications and visit your doctor to be on the safe side. 

Why choose Portland Urgent Care for Bike Accident Treatment?

Portland Urgent Care offers walk-ins, appointments, and telemedicine to help you with your needs. We can treat a variety of injuries, including bone fractures, sprains, lacerations, pulled muscles, cuts, and contusions. Our clinic also performs surgical procedures, including laceration repair, skin biopsies, burn treatment, foreign body removal, and x-rays. An on-staff chiropractor also helps to provide quality care to help get you healthy again. 

Furthermore, we work with various insurance companies and offer payment plans to work with our customers. We are also open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays as bike accidents do not only happen on weekdays during business hours. We offer the care you want when you need to get you healthy with compassion and quality care. 

Conclusion

Bike accidents require medical attention, even if it’s just a visit to your primary care or urgent care to check for internal issues. Cycling accidents can lead to sprains, breaks, lacerations, and concussions, but with the right care, you can be back on the road to recovery in no time. Take care of yourself after an accident and seek medical attention to prevent long-term problems.

Written by

Dr. Mark Hosko, MD

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