Vertigo in downhill mountain biking and road cycling

Alexis Lion, Dominique Vibert, Gilles Bosser, Gérome C. Gauchard, Philippe P. Perrin*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Vertigo has been described after the practice of mountain bike. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of vertigo following competitions or training sessions of downhill mountain biking (DMB) or road cycling (RC). One hundred and two DMB riders, 79 road cyclists and 73 control participants filled in a survey intended to evaluate the prevalence of vertigo in daily living activities and following competitions or training sessions. Vertigo causal factors (crashes, head trauma, fatigue, characteristics of the path/road ridden) were recorded. DMB riders and road cyclists did not report more vertigo during daily living activities than controls. But DMB riders older than 30 had more risk to report vertigo than age-matched road cyclists (OR: 5.06, 95% CI: 1.23–20.62). Road cyclists aged between 20 and 29 were 2.59-fold (95% CI: 1.06–6.27) more likely to report vertigo than controls. After competitions and training sessions, DMB riders were 2.33-fold (95% CI: 1.22–4.41) more likely to report vertigo than road cyclists. Vertigo causal factors were crash with head trauma in DMB riders and fatigue in road cyclists. Vertigo during daily living activities may be of concern for cyclists, particularly older DMB riders. The accumulation of impacts (crashes, vibrations) during the career of a DMB rider may generate micro-traumatisms of the central nervous system and/or peripheral vestibular structures, particularly the otolith organs. In RC, the pathophysiological mechanisms generating vertigo might be effort-related disturbance of homeostasis. To avoid injuries, DMB riders should be aware that vertigo may occur at the end of training sessions or competitions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-140
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


    • cycling
    • head injuries
    • inner ear
    • otolith organs
    • sport
    • Vertigo


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