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  1. #1
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    Advice- Recovering from an Injury

    Well I've gone and done it...a crash at Big Bear two weeks ago has left me with a fractured elbow and wrist. I was just looking from some advice from others who have had to recover from injures. (I'll apologize now for an typing mistakes...I have to do this one handed with the wrong hand )

    My doctor suggests that after I heal up that I may want to go to a physical therapist to help increase my range of motion and arm strength. Have any of you been to a physical therapist? Having never had an injury quite like this I guess I am just wondering if others feel this would be the most beneficial way to go?

    Also any suggestions on how to keep myself from going insane while not being able to ride would be nice.... For now I've been keeping myself occupied with my second hobby of taking pictures of people riding...and the cast has proved itself to be an interesting umbrella holder in all of the rain we have been having in Socal as of late.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
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    I'm the injury Queen!

    Sorry to hear about your accident. From lots of experience, I can tell you that physical therapy is the way to go for regaining proper strength and range of motion after an injury. I'm currently getting PT for a neck injury I sustained while dh'ing 6 weeks ago. My problem was I waited too long to start! But I'm progressing nicely now. Like every practice, there are good therapists and poor ones, so try to get a recommendation from someone you know.

    As for sanity-saving, well that's a bit tougher. But if you can keep active by walking or hiking at least you can get some endorphins.

    Good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shrimp
    Well I've gone and done it...a crash at Big Bear two weeks ago has left me with a fractured elbow and wrist. I was just looking from some advice from others who have had to recover from injures. (I'll apologize now for an typing mistakes...I have to do this one handed with the wrong hand )

    My doctor suggests that after I heal up that I may want to go to a physical therapist to help increase my range of motion and arm strength. Have any of you been to a physical therapist? Having never had an injury quite like this I guess I am just wondering if others feel this would be the most beneficial way to go?

    Also any suggestions on how to keep myself from going insane while not being able to ride would be nice.... For now I've been keeping myself occupied with my second hobby of taking pictures of people riding...and the cast has proved itself to be an interesting umbrella holder in all of the rain we have been having in Socal as of late.

    Thanks everyone!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shrimp
    Well I've gone and done it...a crash at Big Bear two weeks ago has left me with a fractured elbow and wrist. I was just looking from some advice from others who have had to recover from injures. (I'll apologize now for an typing mistakes...I have to do this one handed with the wrong hand )

    My doctor suggests that after I heal up that I may want to go to a physical therapist to help increase my range of motion and arm strength. Have any of you been to a physical therapist? Having never had an injury quite like this I guess I am just wondering if others feel this would be the most beneficial way to go?

    Also any suggestions on how to keep myself from going insane while not being able to ride would be nice.... For now I've been keeping myself occupied with my second hobby of taking pictures of people riding...and the cast has proved itself to be an interesting umbrella holder in all of the rain we have been having in Socal as of late.

    Thanks everyone!
    First I am sorry to hear about your injury.
    Go to PT for sure.. range of motion is so important and if you don't get therapy you'll be bummed. I broke my wrist last year in Aliso on rocket. I was able to go to spin class and use an aero bar on the spin bike to rest my cast on while I did the class. I sat in the back and had a fan blowing full blast to keep me as cool as possible so my cast would not get overly saturated. I have really great riding friends, who went out with me, and even put their bikes down and hiked with me. If you have a cast, as soon as it comes off you'll know you need PT. It is VERY discouraging when the cast comes off, but you'll regain strength faster than you think. Not sure where you live in SoCal, but if you want pm me and I'd be happy to go for hike with you sometime while you are not able to ride.

  4. #4
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    Elbow and wrist - damn grrrl! Musta' been one heck of a crash. Ouch.

    I shattered my wrist, severed a tendon and dislocated my hand in a road bike crash two years ago. It took two surgeries to get it all back together right, so I had to go through rehab twice (oh, fun!). It hurts like heck when you get started, but once you start seeing the strength and range of motion return, that's its own reward. After my 2nd surgery, I spent 4 months in an over-the-elbow cast, because the repair didn't want to heal. When I finally got out, I could neither bend my elbow more than 45 degrees nor extend it, nor could I move the wrist or my thumb more than a few degrees in any direction. My normally already thin arm looked like a twig. Holding a small coffee long enough to get from the cafeteria to my office was my first big challenge. Three months later, I was back on my road bike riding 50 miles. It comes back, so don't get discouraged. Resist the temptation to push too hard, though.

    As for saving your fitness and sanity, let me say I found modern fiberglass casts to be remarkably sweat tolerant and breathable, relative to what I expected. I spent time on my stationary trainer, on a stepper, elliptical machine, hiking, snowshoeing, lifting dumbells with the good hand, doing crunches and using weight machines for my legs. I needed a buddy to help get me in and out of the leg extension machine, but everything else was doable with one hand. I was pleasantly surprised that the extended weight lifting season really helped me get up to speed quickly when I finally was able to get back on a bike.

    Good luck, and heal well. Post back if you need moral support.

    Kathy
    Look where you want to go. This is as true in life as it is in mtbiking.

  5. #5
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    I've been wondering this too

    Sorry to hear about your injury Shrimp!

    I know how bad not having use of a hand can be for everything, not just being off the bike (like with trying to shower properly or drive your manual). I'm on the nearly healed side of a wrist fracture. The injury was at the end of August and I've got not quite two weeks left in the cast (I hope!). I'd planned to start riding again right away but am rethinking that after reading the posts from Lucky and poacher. What can I expect when the cast comes off and when would others who've been through the same suggest I get back on the bike?

    Lucky, I can't imagine being casted above the elbow, especially for four months. How did you cope?

  6. #6
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    Good suggestions so far, just what I was looking for.

    I bought a road bike on Friday and destroyed it on Sunday along with fracturing two bones (Metacarpals) in my right hand, DOH!

    Here's to speedy recoveries for us all!

  7. #7
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    Sorry to hear about your crash, and sorry I'm a guy crashing your forum

    Loads of Physical Therapy (PT) and fish oils. As others have said in this thread, the sooner you get to PT, the sooner you'll heal, and that is its own reward.

    Fish oils help increase blood flow, thereby increasing the speed and intensity of your healing process. I wasn't too sure if this was true, but I came down hard on my right shoulder, and after months of PT and no progress, my chiropractor told me to start taking fish oils and surf more. I was 95% in just a few weeks later!

    Anytime I get injured now, I take fish oil pills, and they seem to help me heal quicker.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaGrl
    Lucky, I can't imagine being casted above the elbow, especially for four months. How did you cope?
    One day at a time.

    Once you get your 1-handed coping strategies together, 1-handedness starts to become the new norm. You forget what it's like to wash your hair with both hands, wear a belt, or use a can opener. The first time I was able to put my left hand on the steering wheel, it felt totally redundant and unnecessary, like wearing a belt with suspenders.

    The hardest part was after the first month checkup when the doc found that not only were the two pieces not joining, the bone was receeding away, leaving a bigger gap than we started with. I was devastated. He got me a bone-growth stimulator, but that didn't produce visible signs of improvement for another two months. Life starts looking a whole lot better once you start seeing improvement and forward progress. It's the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I'm glad to hear you're on the mend, but don't expect to be able to get right back on the bike if you've been in a cast since late August. Expect to see your arm atrophied to a twig, be weak and fairly immobile. Your skin will be scaly and you'll have sprouted extra hair on that arm. You lose a lot of muscle mass, strength and flexibility in the first few weeks. But like I said - it'll come back with work. I definitely recommend PT to help regain strength and flexibility. Your doc should let you know when you can bike again. After the first fracture and surgery, I was told 3 months from the injury to where it would be strong enough to bike and risk a fall. Even then, he still has me wearing a support for the rest of this year. I'll probably keep it for mtbiking, since I've got more scar tissue than I need already.

    Kathy
    Last edited by Lucky; 11-11-2004 at 06:07 AM. Reason: spelling
    Look where you want to go. This is as true in life as it is in mtbiking.

  9. #9
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    As a member of the frequently injured club (3 knee surgeries), I HIGHLY recommend PT.

    Not only for the physical benefits, but I know personally it keeps me focused on my recovery mentally too. Kind of gives me something to do and measures my progress so I feel like I'm getting somewhere.

    I'm currently laid up recovering from an ACL reconstruction. (Tore it in a DH race at Mammoth a couple months ago). Having loads of stretching and other exercises to do every day keeps me from going insane as I watch it snow up in the mountains...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaGrl
    Sorry to hear about your injury Shrimp!

    I know how bad not having use of a hand can be for everything, not just being off the bike (like with trying to shower properly or drive your manual). I'm on the nearly healed side of a wrist fracture. The injury was at the end of August and I've got not quite two weeks left in the cast (I hope!). I'd planned to start riding again right away but am rethinking that after reading the posts from Lucky and poacher. What can I expect when the cast comes off and when would others who've been through the same suggest I get back on the bike?

    Lucky, I can't imagine being casted above the elbow, especially for four months. How did you cope?
    I had all of the troubles you did, from driving the manual to not being able to do my hair.. I had to have co-works put it up for me.. when my cast came off I was shocked.. I could not move my wrist hardly at all. They will give you a brace wear it. I went to the Arizona Spring Fling a week after my cast came off. I rode but it was painful, any bump that I hit caused me to yelp out some rather loud cuse words.
    The first couple of weeks are hard, but your ability to move and bend comes back a lot quicker than you think. I remeber sitting there ready to cry wondering how I was going to ride and it seemed like it would take forever. Do not fret, your movement will come back, but you will need to do PT to gain strength and mobility.
    As for when you get on your bike, get on and see how you feel, wear the brace. As you regain your strength take it off. I would not reccomend riding anything too bumpy for the first several weeks.. you can't help all the bumps in the dirt, but by bumpy I mean rock gardens tech sections etc.. . Good luck with your recovery, you'll be back to yourself in no time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by uno-speedo
    Good suggestions so far, just what I was looking for.

    I bought a road bike on Friday and destroyed it on Sunday along with fracturing two bones (Metacarpals) in my right hand, DOH!

    Here's to speedy recoveries for us all!
    There's some hydrotherapy stuff you can use as well that's great for passive healing (Heat/Ice). It's something you'll have to wait to do until your cast comes off however.

    Cross fiber therapy will help keep the scar tissue to a minimum. A good massage therapist can help you with this as well as the Hyrdo, if you're not so inclined to go to a PT or can't find one you like. Finding a CMT with NMR training is another alternative.

    I don't think you'll have any more problems however....I bought a road bike on Friday and destroyed it on Sunday...problem solved!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad1433
    There's some hydrotherapy stuff you can use as well that's great for passive healing (Heat/Ice). It's something you'll have to wait to do until your cast comes off however.

    Cross fiber therapy will help keep the scar tissue to a minimum. A good massage therapist can help you with this as well as the Hyrdo, if you're not so inclined to go to a PT or can't find one you like. Finding a CMT with NMR training is another alternative.

    I don't think you'll have any more problems however....I bought a road bike on Friday and destroyed it on Sunday...problem solved!
    Thanks for the advice.

    Do tell me more about the hydrotherapy please. I'm wearing a fiberglass splint so I can take it off at any time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by uno-speedo
    Thanks for the advice.

    Do tell me more about the hydrotherapy please. I'm wearing a fiberglass splint so I can take it off at any time.
    What you'll need is some ice and a hot towel or heating pad not more than 110 degrees (things start to "cook" after that temp).

    Apply ice to your wrist, keeping it on for no longer than 20 minutes. Then apply the heat. Ice, Heat, and end with the Ice.

    What you're doing here is flushing the injury of old fluid with ice, and replenishing it with fresh, nutrient rich fluid (blood) with the heat. The beauty of it for you, is that you can do this while immobilizing your hand. The alternating of the hot/cold creates a sort of mechanical pumping.

    Things like bones, tendons and ligaments don't have a great supply of blood, so doing this treatment really helps them flush the bad, bring in the good.

    Happy healing!

  14. #14
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    Ah the making you think injury..

    Quote Originally Posted by Shrimp
    Well I've gone and done it...a crash at Big Bear two weeks ago has left me with a fractured elbow and wrist. I was just looking from some advice from others who have had to recover from injures. (I'll apologize now for an typing mistakes...I have to do this one handed with the wrong hand )

    My doctor suggests that after I heal up that I may want to go to a physical therapist to help increase my range of motion and arm strength. Have any of you been to a physical therapist? Having never had an injury quite like this I guess I am just wondering if others feel this would be the most beneficial way to go?

    Also any suggestions on how to keep myself from going insane while not being able to ride would be nice.... For now I've been keeping myself occupied with my second hobby of taking pictures of people riding...and the cast has proved itself to be an interesting umbrella holder in all of the rain we have been having in Socal as of late.

    Thanks everyone!
    The best thing you can do is allow yourself to heal. Dont worry about lost mileage or how much fun your friends are having while your stuck on the couch. Physical Therapy is a good thing for recovery. What you learn from the therapist (exercises, practices and the like) are thing sthat you can do on your own for a long time. What realy helps is being in tune with YOUR bod and what you strenghts and weaknesses you may have and working on them to not only improve your riding but also your health over all.

    Good luck and god speed....

  15. #15
    used to be uno-speedo....
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    Thank you very much chad1433.

    Quote Originally Posted by chad1433
    Apply ice to your wrist, keeping it on for no longer than 20 minutes. Then apply the heat. Ice, Heat, and end with the Ice.
    How long should I apply the other dose's for?

    Sorry for the hijack Shrimp!

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    Thanks everyone!

    Wow! I really appreciate all of the responses from everyone!

    I went to the bone specialist on Wednesday night and everthing is healing up nicely (another two weeks in the cast). I had him reccommend some physical therapists in the area, so I'll definately be going.

    Poacher- Thanks for the invite to go on walks with me, but it may be a little far for you because I'm down in San Diego.

    Lucky- I heard it was quite a spectacular crash, but I can't remember anything except the pain when I landed. Those who saw it thought I may have broken my collerbone when they saw the crash, but I guess I lucked out in that respect. My one-handed skills are improving, who knows maybe I'll decide to stay right-handed.

    Uno-Speedo- I don't really think you hijacked the thread, it's providing very useful information....so please continue on.

    Well I guess I better get back to that thing called work...if any of you will be at the DH race in Fontana on the 21st I'll be the one-armed girl wielding a camera.

    For now I'll continue to make good use of my cast as an umbrella holder since it looks like rain again this weekend. Take care everyone, hope everyones injuries heal up.

  17. #17
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    Oh, one more thing....

    bike spokes make fairly effective cast scratchers. Hold the threaded end and use the curved head to reach that really itchy spot on the elbow. Road bike spokes are longer than mtbike spokes.

    That pic is pretty cool. Your down time isn't being wasted, I see. Heal well!

    Kathy :^)
    Look where you want to go. This is as true in life as it is in mtbiking.

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