Mountain biking, climbing, snowboarding or paragliding – outdoor sports are booming. But they carry a high risk of injury. At the Bad Neustadt campus, experts are also prepared for complex injuries.
Instead of sitting comfortably with the family over coffee and cake like others, Leonhard Putzenlechner prefers to get on his motorcross bike. The 28-year-old loves action and nature. Most of the time, he is drawn to his mountain bike, the downhill tracks in the Fichtel Mountains or in the Bavarian Forest: downhill at up to 70 kilometers per hour through impassable terrain. Every now and then, however, Putzenlechner also gets into the saddle of a motorcycle – like on that Easter Sunday.
Putzenlechner knows how to deal with two-wheelers: he is a former German champion in mountain bike enduro, a special cycling discipline, and has also been riding motorcross for training purposes for five years. But this time he misjudges an unevenness in the ground. At 40 kilometers an hour, he loses control of his bike and falls. The result: a complicated fracture of the tarsal bone.
Leonhard Putzenlechner is not the only one who likes to push his limits. Outdoor sports such as mountain biking, climbing, paragliding or snowboarding in winter have been enjoying growing popularity for years. The athletes are then drawn mainly to the German low mountain range, which is predestined for such leisure activities as the Rhön. Many underestimate the risks of these trend sports – especially beginners. The German Red Cross (DRK) was deployed 929 times in 2019 due to mountain bike accidents alone; in 2012 it was 607 deployments – an increase of around 50 percent. The corona pandemic has also given the trend towards outdoor sports a boost. And this is not only noticeable at the DRK – also at the RHÖN-KLINIKUM Campus Bad Neustadt. Because far beyond the region, the clinic is the first address for many injured trend athletes. For two reasons: Here the medical professionals are: highly specialized and work together on an interdisciplinary basis.
Routine instead of rare individual cases
Leonhard Putzenlechner’s injury is complicated and rare. At least seldom for the doctors: inside the nearest district hospital, where his foot is first treated after his accident. The hospital staff quickly made it clear: their house lacks the expertise for Putzenlechner’s injury. The professional biker finally ends up with PD Dr. Renée Andrea Fuhrmann at the Bad Neustadt campus. For them, a complicated foot injury is routine. The orthopedist and trauma surgeon specializes in “everything below the knee”. And that’s not alone on campus: in the clinic for foot and ankle surgery, four specialists under Fuhrmann’s direction take care of feet every day. “Of course, we have a completely different knowledge and much more surgical experience than someone who treats everything from the cervical spine to the little toe every day,” says Fuhrmann, explaining the advantage of this specialization. In a three-hour procedure, she and her team finally reconstruct and stabilize Putzenlechner’s foot bones with the help of an autologous bone transplant and metal plates. This means that Fuhrmann removes special bone parts, which contain a particularly large number of bone-forming cells, from the patient’s pelvis and uses them to fill the fracture points in the fracture in the foot. New bone tissue can quickly grow back there and Putzenlechner’s injury heals in three to six months.
What kind of PD Dr. Renée Andrea Fuhrmann the foot, is for Prof. Dr. Jörg van Schoonhoven shaking hands. He is the chief physician of the clinic for hand surgery. The clinic for orthopedics, trauma surgery, shoulder surgery and endoprosthetics under the direction of PD Dr. Arne Berner and Prof. Dr. Andre Steinert. The Bad Neustadt campus has the right expert for almost every part of the body. All specialist areas have typical injury patterns that trend athletes bring with them: For foot surgeons, for example, it is paragliders who land too hard and break their ankles or heelbone on impact, and for hand surgeons, mountain bikers who fall over the handlebars with the Catching hands, with trauma surgeons the climbers who fall from great heights and injure the pelvis and spine or complex shoulder and elbow injuries. Basically, injuries caused by trendy sports are often more serious than simple sports or everyday injuries, because falls usually happen at high speed or from a great height.
In addition, more and more laypeople are practicing the trend sports. “Compared to professional athletes, beginners often lack the necessary professional guidance from a trainer and the training experience to be able to correctly assess their own abilities and thus also the risk of injury. That also makes injuries more serious, ”explains Berner. It becomes particularly dangerous when e-mountain bikes come into play, according to the trauma surgeon: “The electric motor induces many older athletes to drive distances or speeds that are actually beyond their performance level and that they would not trust themselves to be.” : inside on campus have therefore made another observation regarding injuries caused by trend sports: the spectrum of patients is shifting. From the cocky boys to the active best agers.
The pitfalls of the combination violation
The trend sports do one thing, especially when it comes to care: “We very often have to deal with combination injuries,” says van Schoonhoven. So, for example, not only the shoulder or the shin is injured, but both at the same time. This is why the three highly specialized surgical departments on campus work closely together. In addition to injuries to the musculoskeletal system, neurological injuries, for example trauma to the spinal cord or head, as well as tissue damage, for example severe burns to the skin, can also occur. In this case, a neurosurgeon is also part of the interdisciplinary team of doctors who jointly take care of the patient’s multiple trauma – from diagnosis to follow-up treatment. The advantage: The patient is viewed holistically at the highest level. “In this way, we can directly prevent possible problems that might arise with isolated treatment, for example if, as a foot surgeon, I recommend crutches to my patient for follow-up treatment, but the hand surgeon then says that the patient with the additional hand injury should not be allowed to support himself at all “, Explains Fuhrmann. Further advantages of treatment on campus are a high degree of digitization and modern medical technology. All required functional services – laboratory, X-ray, MRT, CT – can be implemented on site and promptly. This ensures an optimal treatment process for the patient. If an operation has to be performed, several interventions on different injuries can be carried out in one operation.
For the patient, this means only anesthesia and an earlier discharge. The latter in particular is an argument in favor of therapy on campus for many trend athletes. Fuhrmann: “Our trend sports patients are usually particularly impatient, want to be fit again as quickly as possible and get back on the bike or on the rock face.” Mountain biker Leonhard Putzenlechner can hardly wait to be mobile again. His goal: to be back in the bicycle saddle in autumn.
Your experts for complicated injuries:
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Renée Andrea Fuhrmann
Head of the Department of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery, special orthopedic surgery,
Orthopedic rheumatology and hand surgery
Prof. Dr. Jörg Schonhoven
Chief Physician Clinic for Hand Surgery
Specialist in orthopedics and hand surgery
Priv.-Doz. Dr. med Arne Berner (missing in the picture)
Head of the Clinic for Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery, Shoulder Surgery and Endoprosthetics
Specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery, special trauma surgery (D doctor),
Special orthopedic surgery