Since injuries are something we all want to avoid, most of us use a helmet, boots, chest protector and some sort of knee guard or brace. Many of you are wearing the Leatt neck brace. But, what about those things which are not so obvious, things we can’t see to know they need protection? We are talking about your kidneys, and just because they are out of sight doesn’t mean they should be out of mind or that they are any less important to protect than your head. In fact an injury to them would be more life threatening and less evident than many other possible injuries one can sustain in the event of a crash.
During our research for this story we read an interesting study done by Alberto Gobbi and two colleagues over a 12 year period on the kinds of injuries sustained during participation in the sport of Motocross. They concluded that for every 22.72 hours of outdoor mx riding a rider is likely to injure him/herself. We are not talking about a skinned elbow from falling in a corner. A full 21.2% of these injuries were to the lower trunk, where your kidneys are located. A whopping 59.9% were ligaments, with 42.4% of those affecting the knees. Get some knee braces! The numbers are even worse for Supercross, the same numbers for roughly half the time.
You may or may not know why it’s important to take care of your kidneys, whichever the case, it’s crucial you do. Your kidneys are vital in that they perform many functions to keep your blood clean and chemically balanced. They are constantly active, sophisticated, reprocessing machines. Every day, a person’s kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. That is 50 GALLONS of your blood each day the kidneys are filtering! After the body has taken what it needs from food, wastes are sent to the blood.
These wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the bladder through tubes called ureters. Your bladder stores urine until you can’t hold it any longer and to relieve pressure, you run to the nearest head. If the kidneys did not remove them, these wastes would build up in the blood and damage the body. Chemicals like sodium, phosphorus, and potassium are all measured by the kidneys and released back into the blood to return to the body. In this way, the kidneys regulate the body’s level of these substances. The right balance is necessary for life. Serious health problems occur when people have less than 25 percent of their kidney function. When kidney function drops below 10 to 15 percent, a person needs some form of renal replacement therapy either a blood-cleansing treatment called dialysis or a kidney transplant to sustain life.
Your kidneys are located at the back of the abdomen on either side of your spine, they are protected by the rib cage and strong muscles of the lower back. This location protects the kidneys from many external forces. They are well-padded for a reason — kidneys are highly vascular organs, which means that they have a large blood supply. If injury occurs, severe bleeding may result.
Cleaning products, solvents, and fuels should be used in a well-ventilated area because the fumes, when they get into your system, will be filtered by your kidneys and may be toxic.
Any injury to the kidneys should be taken extremely seriously. If the kidneys are hurt in any way toxins can leak into the body causing some pretty serious health complications, even death. What makes it worse is you can’t see it happening. Injuries can not only occur from a crash but from just the beating and banging from riding in general.
We hope we have your attention at this point and you are wondering what you can do to protect your kidneys. Kidney Belts are the answer, they are designed to protect the kidneys and surrounding organs, they also serve to stabilize the back, promoting a more upright riding position. When worn correctly, just tight enough not to inhibit your breathing, these belts compress the surrounding tissues and by stabilizing the internal organs, vastly reducing the amount of movement, thereby reducing the potential aches and pains that may occur after a long day of riding. In addition to this, the materials used by today’s manufacturers provide an added level of puncture protection for the area.
While no protective gear can promise to protect you against all unforeseeable situations. It certainly doesn’t hurt to wear one.
Below you will find a selection of kidney belts from several of your favorite manufacturers. Prices among these range from blank to blank which cheap insurance so we shouldn’t see anyone out there riding without one. Your kidneys are just too important to ride unprotected.
ALPINESTARS – ORION Retail: $39.95 www.alpinestars.com
THOR – FORCE Retail: $36.95 www.thormx.com
Troy Lee Designs – Blitz Retail: $40.00 www.troyleedesigns.com/
SHIFT – Flextight Retail: $20.00 www.shiftracing.com
EVS – BB1 Retail: $39.00 www.evs-sports.com
FLY – Flight Belt Retail: $32.95 www.flyracing.com