Doctors Recommend Horse Riders Use Safety Stirrups

After examining foot injuries in young equestrians, medical doctors are advocating that children wear strong boots and use safety stirrups while riding. The doctors believe broken bones could be avoided with proper horseback riding equipment.

Among 260 children admitted to Children's Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland due to injuries from horse riding, eight were there because of a seriously damaged foot. All the riders with foot injuries were involved in accidents where the horse they were riding fell to the ground. The children's feet had become trapped under the horse while still in a stirrup.

The riders suffered broken bones in their feet, with most acquiring multiple breaks. One teenage girl, for instance, fractured five bones in her toes. Orthopedic surgeons managed to pin the bones back into place and she healed completely.

English saddle with safety stirrup

Doctors say safety stirrups like this one reduce riding injuries.

All the injuries followed the same pattern. A stirrup had not only trapped the rider's foot during the fall. The stirrup also acted as a fulcrum that bent the foot under impact from the falling horse. During the accident, the stirrup forced the rider's foot to pivot unnaturally, resulting in severely broken bones.

Doctors conclude these injuries could have been avoided with riders using proper riding boots and safety stirrups. Under just a little pressure, safety stirrups quickly open up to release a rider's foot from the stirrup.

Reference

Dimitri Ceroni, Vicenzo De Rosa, Geraldo De Coulon and André Kaelin. 2007. The Importance of Proper Shoe Gear and Safety Stirrups in the Prevention of Equestrian Foot Injuries. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. 46(1): 32-39.

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