Overcoming injury?

Hey all… question for anyone that’s had an injury due to mountain biking. Will give you a little bit of back story first. I just started mountain biking last season, loving it, doing well & learning the ropes…all was good until I went over the bars on West Pine during the beginning of August. Broke my left wrist and required surgery, I now have some fancy permanent hardware. Did physio, range of motion is back to 99.9% so all good there.

My question is, for anyone that has had this happen, do you have any tips on how to mentally overcome injury? I got on the mountain bike for the first time last week, just rode around the yard over and over, but the fear is huge. I am so scared of falling. I know it’s all in my head, and I need to just not overthink it… but how?! Ahhhh. lol

I road ride, and also have a gravel bike. I can do those no problem…but as soon as I get on the mountain bike, I freeze. I know it’s going to take some time, and baby steps. Just wondering what has helped you in the past??

Thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:



Time and patience are the big ones. Many years ago, I had a bad crash while commuting to work, a motorist pulled out in front of me from a driveway while I had the right of way in the bike lane on the Bedford Highway. It took a long time to not get nervous on the bike, but every now and then I’d see a motorist pulling up to the sidewalk to exit a parking lot or something, and I’d have a wave of fear/panic wash over me. It sucks.

Start with some simple skills, and start building up the confidence again. Good luck, and sorry to hear about your injury.


I’ve had two such crashes that after I healed up, and tried to get back on the bike, my confidence was shot. I can suggest a few things that helped me. The first is to go to a skills park, and work on some basic things like slow speed cornering, track stands, and other balance related things… there’s a bunch of youtube videos on these topics if you want some visual examples.

The other big change for me was my pedals. If you’re riding clipped in, I’d suggest trying out some flat pedals. I had been riding clipped in for 20 years or so, but I switched to flat pedals last year. It gave me a huge boost in confidence knowing that I can bail any time without having to worry about unclipping.

Ultimately, give it time, and it’ll come back. Ride safe!


Glad to hear you are in the mend, and motivated to get back at it!
Honestly, like you said, it’s likely mainly a matter of time and baby steps. At least that’s been my experience after fractures.
A couple of suggestions:
Make sure your bike is tuned up and you’ve got the fit dialed in-it’s important to ha e confidence in your brakes etc.
If your clipped in, go to flats for a bit.
Ride gravel paths and grass fields, just to get a feel of a bit of speed and going up and down hills. Eventually you might see a small root or rock or little dirt path that looks tempting…


I dislocated my shoulder and fractured my humerus two years ago. I had 3 months off the bike before getting back on. Took it very easy for the first while- rides in my neighbourhood, trans Canada, Nine Mile River. Just enjoying being on the bike and not tempting fate.

I was definitely nervous at first so the easy rides kept my fear level low. Over time I forgot about being scared and slowly started pushing it harder. My advice- don’t rush it and just focus on the pleasure of riding, stick with easy, low or no risk rides at first.


Perhaps a wrist brace will help. I ripped my arm open for 30 stitches and started riding with elbow pads to protect the area for a while. Kinda like closing the barn door after the horses get out but if it’s a confidence thing maybe it will help.


First of all, congrats on getting back on the bike after your first big crash. That can be daunting. I had a nasty crash off a step down, went over the bars and cracked my orbital floor along with a few other face fractures, and heavily concussed. Took a lot of time and patience to get my confidence back up when riding features again, it won’t be a popular way to overcome it but I honestly didn’t get my full confidence back until after I had another little crash, kinda shook me up a bit in the right way I guess haha. With all things, start low and slow and work your way back up to where you are bored of what you are doing and naturally want to start pushing your limits again.


Just send it like you would on the race bike!

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We all see where just sending it got me last year :joy::joy:


I broke the same bone on my forearm twice. Both on easy trails but I was pushing it because they seemed low risk.

It takes some time but the confidence comes back. Ease into it and you will be back at it sooner than you think.


Your mind can be your worst enemy or your strongest Ally.

If you can come to grips in your mind how and why you messed up and all the leading contributing factors (mentally and technically) it should be a matter of healing, and rebuilding.

Highly recommend reading the book “Cant Hurt Me”
By David Goggins. Has nothing to do with MTB, but more to do with how to get back up, every single time.

Good luck, and remember it could be worse.



I can attest to what Chris is saying. Every time that I go over my bars or have an accident. I replay everything I did or what line I was taking in my mind. Slow mo, where did I put my tire, was I carrying too much speed… and I can always figure out what I did to end up on the ground. Then you are better prepared to take that obstacle and go back to where you fell, walk around look at the terrain, try and find a different line.

Last summer I got bucked off, over the bars with no time to get my hands up. Bang, face first into a boulder. Cracked my helmet even. Almost concussed but I knew exactly what happened, I had a little too much speed going down protruding roots. I didn’t get out of the saddle fast enough ( no dropper).

Bought a helmet the next day and back on my bike as well. I also invested in a dropper post and it’s almost stupid the confidence I have now.

Hope this helps and good luck.



There is some excellent advice above.
I think what’s most important is to recognize what went wrong on the day of your crash and work on skills to avoid doing it again.

I also think it’s important to learn how to crash in order to minimize injury when it does happen. True for all types of riding.
The intro to this video might be hard to watch but there are great tips in here for how to minimize injury when you crash.


Thanks everyone for the advice & insight! Makes me feel better just knowing I’m not the only one haha. I will keep practicing and hopefully be back out on the trails in no time!!


Hey Nicole,
My wife had a bad crash, no injury like yours, but there was definitely a lot of stress associated with her bike after that accident. One thing she found extremely helpful was taking a MTB beginner course. I know there is probably none of those going on ATM but something you might try when available. Not that you are, or she is a beginner, but the basics are fairly safe and easy win moments that can get the spark to start a fire. Another idea would be to have a look at some youtube vids that are based on beginner style methods, and just practice a few skills, get yourself warmed up again.
Best of luck on this and keep at it, the rewards are worth the effort!


I’d suggest armor - knee pads at least, and for technical trails, elbow pads and maybe forearm armor. Most tech rides I wear a full shin pad - for most riders full shin armor is out of fashion, but armor turns most crashes into non-events. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going… They also save shins from pedal strikes and scratches from trailside debris. I also always wear a full-finger glove - you can also get gloves with a bit of extra armor or padding. Gloves save your hands in case of a crash.

Most of the data I’ve seen are have link to shoulder injuries from otb. Should be great to invest in back and shoulder pads too.