The Recovery Thread - What do you do?
If the mod doesn't mind, please sticky this. We need something to keep people's spirit's up and how they become a better rider after a bad crash and injury.
Here's mine: PT, walking, and pilates. Two of the three I would never even think of doing to help (walking and pilates).
I have stronger abs now, and PT has not only helped me get my wrist working again, but also helped me work on a different muscle set that has helped me climb now by activating the right muscles.
Double-metric mtb man
Gotta say from my horse background (ranching, not riding on bike trails) that when you get bucked off, you need to get back on. Take it slow...you may not be 100% yet physically and more than likely won't be there psychologically for a while.
Everyone will be different, but bit at a time.
Also, I find having a couple good friends to ride with (I am usually a solo rider) to help build back up the confidence is a great boost. That being said, make sure they are good quality friends with enough understanding for "if you can't yet", but enough sense to push you a wee bit (just enough) when it is just "you won't yet".
That's sooo true. I've had people look at me like I'm nuts for getting back on my bike, and others who are nothing but supportive and will ride with me anytime.
Originally Posted by Psycho Mike
Can't beat that, really.
Last night I walked a mile with 3 lb hand weights. It really stretched out my wrist, and I don't have any pain this morning than I can remember in a looong time.
My situation is a little different than others here. I had/have(?) a pretty severe break of the right tib/fib. The hard part about this injury is how severe a broken leg is and the fact that you will be off your feet for quite a while. I was completely non-weight bearing for seven weeks, then allowed weight bearing in a walking cast for four weeks (of which I could only really walk for about a week), then put in to a boot that I used for two weeks before ditching it.
The non-weight bearing causes a few issues:
- You stop exercising and get fat: I tried lifting weights (at the recommendation of my doctor) and was just too weak to curl 20lbs (I was doing 30+ before I got hurt) for the first 8-9 weeks.
- Your ankle gets really, really stiff.
- Your leg muscle goes away.
So, you get out of the casts/boots, are told you're allowed to walk and find that you can't.
Here's what I've been doing. It's been a month since I had the cast removed and two weeks since I stopped using the boot.
- I've been very strict about doing my PT. Unfortunately, every time I visit the PT, I get new exercises, and now my morning routine is nearly 20 minutes of stretching, therabands, calf raises, wall sits, etc. Do it, though, otherwise you're not going to get better.
- I've been cycling. Indoors only. I set up a stationary trainer for my road bike, created some workouts on my Garmin 305 (I love this thing more and more every time I turn it on). Using the road bike has made me feel good (I'm riding without any pain in my leg or ankle) and has really helped to build up my leg strength.
- Walk. If you can stand it, do it. At first I was really slow. I limped. I just watched every step to make sure I wasn't stepping in a pot hole, on messed up ground, or on something that would make me fall. The first 10 days, I made noticeable improvements in my walking speed and losing my limp every day.
- Realize it's going to take time. At four weeks since removing the cast and starting PT, and two since I started walking, I just now have a little calflet. I still can't get on my tip-toes on the broken leg. It's still a lot smaller than my other leg. It's going to take a few months to get that strength back. Not a big deal though - I'm not allowed to ride outdoors for another 7-9 months. Besides, at this point, just walking is a luxury.
I will update this more as I go through this more.
1. Do PT.
2. Do *any* physical activity you can safely do.
3. Yes! Ride your damn bike. Slowly and for short distances, but it is SO good for you.
4. Build a new bike.
5. Watch biking DVDs
6. Book an MTB holiday 12 months out
7. Track your recovery
(7) is the most important one. So long as you are progressing, you'll not lose heart. It is always two steps forward and one back on a day to day level, but week on week you will be surprised at the results.
I used a simple % judgement of how close I was to my pre-injury form after I herniated a disk. I started at 0%. After a few weeks I was at 30%, then 40%... eventually 70, 80, 90. Hitting 100 was an amazing moment. Now I would say I am at about 130-150% of my pre injury form, and the injury was only 8 months ago.
All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.
I've had to do a few modifications to my bike too (as a result of loss of strength and range of motion in the right hand)..
Get SRAM X.0 trigger shifters so I can adjust the thumb shifter in on the right side. It didn't help that I managed to destroy the right trigger X.9 shifter in the crash either..
Reposition my brakes and shifters. The shifters are now inside of the brake levers, and the levers are more away from me than towards me.
Put a slightly shorter stem on, to keep myself from overreaching.
Sending in my Gravity Dropper to get the lever switched from the right hand to the left.
I did send it for a Push'd DHX Coil, but that's not accident related
Not in any order...
1) Think about what I did wrong and burn it into my brain to never do it again.
2) PT when I can some mobility back
3) Don't watch MB DVD's for a while, that may have got me into trouble in the first place.
4) Put more MB DVD's on my Christmas list.
5) Ride my stationary bike as soon as I can.
6) Walk with weights
7) Shop for bike upgrades
8) Read the MTBR archives. I've got time now.
I had a spiral tib/fib fracture at the top of my left ski boot on 3/3/06. I had surgery #1 the next day to install a titanium rod thru my knee down to my ankle. When this was installed there were two screws at the knee and two screws at the ankle. Unlike nachomc, I didn't take pictures or document the process. I should have .
In 6/06, there was no bone growth visible on the X-rays. So the screws were removed from the top of the rod (surgery #2). I was back to a *very* broken leg. Absolutely no weight bearing capacity again. Started all the same PT and exercises I had just worked thru.
In 8/06, the X-rays weren't showing any bone growth in the larger gaps that were still visible. My orthopeadic surgeon (#2) said he couldn't help me any more and he would refer me to someone else. Turns out he hadn't done a bone graft since school. Later I found out NO doctor wants to do surgury in an ankle. There is too much going on under a major ligament that won't heal very well.
Three days later I had an appointment with a new orthopeadic surgeon. The newest Dr. (#3) ordered a CT scan of the leg. For the first time it was clear that when the rod was inserted down my tibia, a big chunk of bone was missed. That chunck fo bone is pushed off to the side. So there were some 1/2" gaps between the edges of the fractures and the rod was holding them apart. Dr #3 said I could have a bone graft on that area, but I had a 50/50 chance of healing without surgery. I chose to wait and see if it would heal. Roughly 9 months after the injury, bone growth in the large gaps was visible on the X-rays. I was going to heal with out another surgery.
I want to second what most people have posted -
1) PT and all the exercises you can stand are the best way to recover. It reduced swelling, increases blood flow, and all the other good things. The trouble is in the early stages, you can't stand much. You have to work thru some pain to be able to heal. Dr #2 said the more pain I could stand up to the really sharp/deep pain, the faster it would heal. So I pushed. When you can stand the pain, loading the bone is what causes it to heal.
2) If it is a long term recovery, keep a log / journal. It will really help. I wish I had. I got really down after I progressed to just starting to walk, then surgery to remove the screws, then back to not walking. After roughly 6 months I was refering to "my stump" and was only half joking.
3) Do as much as you can to be "normal". Shower, cook, work, sleep in your own bed, etc. My brother loaned me a road bike (I prefer mtb) and I started road biking. I couldn't walk then, but I could ride. If I broke down, I could lean on the bike like a crutch and walk home. If the bike wouldn't work, I used the cell phone to call for a ride home. But be reasonable about what you can do and what you *shouldn't* do.
4) You can't do it alone. Call for help when you need to . (And remember to help anyone who calls you for help when they need it.) I have a friend who took time off work to help me. Another who gave up an entire weekend to help me. I doubt I can ever repay them, but I'll try.
5) The doctors are the experts, but they are not perfect. I had another friend who was an ER doctor. Not the specialist I needed, but a great resource none the less. He REALLY helped me understand what was going on and sent me some references of the internet. My PT was also VERY good. She explained what I was doing, when to stop/back off, and when I could push. We had a few arguments when I wanted to push harder but she explained when and how I could push and when I couldn't. The point is to use all of them for information - that is what they are paid for. But do you own research, ask questions, etc.
6) I really helps to make friends where ever you go for PT or any other exercise you can get. Looking forward to seeing them helped me a lot. I could also see where I had been and how far I had come.
7) I'm self employed so I had to work straight through the entire recovery. Keeping a schedule helped most of the time. There were some times I needed to stop and rest and my customers were VERY understanding. But you also have to be realistic about what you can do and what you can't. Don't agree to something you can't do. I had a different friend who started sending me office work I could do, and started taking field work I couldn't do. It helped me a bunch, I hope it helped him too.
I'm sure everyone has a different experience. This was my experience and what I learned from it.
Originally Posted by CxAgent2
We have different breaks (mine was too low for a rod) but reading stuff like this still scares the heck out of me. At about 3 months, my OS said he didn't expect to see bone growth yet, and we didn't. I have an appt at the end of this month for my next x-ray. I want to be healed already.
Hang in there nachomc. I think you are getting to the end of it now.
I looked at your pictures and x-rays. To my untrained eye I see more similarities than differences. I'll post some x-rays when I get time. I've been told that these spiral fractures take a long time to heal. I think we both know that all too well.
I hit a boulder dropping into a terraced sandstone ravine. landed on my head broke the helmet. med vac to er; three fractured vertebrae, one neck c1 and two back t1, t2
No PT. until bones heal, no lifting or pulling of anything over 10 lbs. must wear neck brace 24/7 12 weeks.
7 weeks to go to remove brace. So far I walk a couple of miles when I'm home. I sleep a lot. mt. bike is at the shop, i don't want to see any mt. bike for awhile.
lost most of my appetite. lost 10lbs. probably from the meds. I try to eat to keep up my energy level.
sleep a lot. 8 hours a day. or more. used to be 4 to 6 hrs.
dont want to see my downhill dvds nor look at any mt. bike stuff. I am reading and watching TV for now.
take two tylenol to maintain migranes. today no head aches! I drink diluted gaterade. 100 percent water will wash out to much.
maybe in a couple of weeks I will be able to get on my stationary and get should massage for stress related tension.
over all I am good, I talked my mt. bike trainer/instructor. we will revisit the crash site to try and determine what exactly cause my crash. although I believe I know what caused the over the bars.
I will probably start riding on road for short cruises on the bike path.
p.s. knee shin guards work!! you should see the scrapes on my brand new fox shin/knee guards that occured during my crash.
Last edited by nagatahawk; 07-18-2008 at 04:44 PM.
Hey just felt llike posting since I've just experienced a bad crash and am facing months of recovery.
Like NachoMC I've done a spiral fracture of my tib/fib [left foot] and have received surgery. A total of 4 plates, and about 20 screws are holding everything together. I've received an excellent prognosis from my doctor/surgeon and am expected to achieve a full recovery, but... I will always know I've had an injury. I'm in the middle of my recovery, can't bear any weight until 8-12 weeks, a full heal I'm told. Until I'm out of the cast and can PT, my days consist of working remotely for my job (very lucky here) dreaming about the new bike I'm buying for next season, catching up on bike DVDs all my friends have given me, trying to get a good night's sleep, and trying to not let the rest of my body atrophy. Hobbling around on crutches will keep my upper body pretty decent, as will all the one-legged standing I'm doing while attempting to prepare meals, clean house, etc.
I'm really curious to see how some of you others (NachoMC, CXAgent2) have progressed since last posting. It's been awhile, how are you guys doing?
Sorry to hear you were injured but at least you will make a full recovery.
Mine took a lot longer than predicted because the bones were held so far apart when they put the rod in. It was March 2006 when i broke it. I started riding hard again in about January 2007. Snow skiing again in Feb 2007. Really didn't windsurf well until May 2007. (There is something about sticking that foot in a foot strap that made me not trust it.) Now I'm working on getting back in cardiovascular condition. It comes back slowly when you as old as I am (50 in a month).
You need to really work on your cardio conditioning even tho the PT will tell you crutch walking is all you need. It might be for most people but it wasn't for what I want to do.
Best of luck to you.
I'm glad you will be making a full recovery and that you didn't injury any joints, neck or spine.
I am into my into my 5 th month of recovery of compressed and fractured neck and back and also concussion. I think the concussion was as bad as the neck and back. I still have migrains in the mornings although they feel minor. For some reason, I keep banging my head getting into my car, that dosen't help. I still have a stiff neck and have back muscle spasms. I get PT twice a week from my Chiropractor. I ride in the neighborhodd about 4 miles a day and 6 to 10 on the week ends at the park or beach. I won't be riding off road until next year. For now my legs feel good, my cardio is not so good, and head can't take even small ruts in the street. But it feels great to be back on the bike!
in 2000 I suffured a fractured knee. after a a full leg hard cast for 6 weeks the doc. had me in a flexible cast. and was told to ride a bike or stationary immediatlely. I lost a lot of power from my knee injury. I do a lot of pushing on steep climbs.
wishing you a speedy recovery.
Bad Andy, when you're able to, go swim. That will help you rebuild very quickly. It's been helping me with my knee (bone bruise) on getting stronger again.
Try to do as much cardio as you can (even if it is doing crutch-sprints). Increasing the blood flow will help you heal faster.
Best of luck. I remember the months off of work I had with a shattered wrist, and I had my LEGOs and my nightly track walks to keep me sane.
Curently sitting at 6 weeks post op after rupturing my Achilles. Was non-weight bearing for 3 weeks after surgery. Did a lot of situps, and worked with some dumbells I had laying around (I had not lifted a weight prior in maybe 8+ years). Started to get cabin fever, so I dragged myself to the gym a couple times to do some weights. Just after New Years, I started to walk in the walking cast, and have been lifting weights about 4-5 times a week. I have to admit, I'm starting to enjoy it.
Originally Posted by stripes
Started PT last week, and was given the okay to ride the recumbrent stationary. Do that on my non-lifting days.
My only fear is getting too big (both from non-cardio--I'm almost 100 lbs lighter than my all time high of 270--and lifting). I'm doing lots of reps, and smaller weight. I hope to be out of boot by end of next month, and crossing fingers I'm given the okay to start walking as exercises, and maybe even the okay to start riding some.
Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.
Well, after I broke my knee cap after crashing my bike, I did a few things for a speedy recovery and to not feel so down.
First, I realized and looked at how and what happened. I felt it was just an accident and couldn't change what happend.
Second, diet is key when you are healing. I started eating few carbs and put more calcium and lysine in my diet. Lysine and calcium help build bones, which is needed when your healing.
Third, I took it easy and DIDN'T PUSH MYSELF!! It was hard to bend my knee, so I didn't. If you push yourself to early, you can do more damage.
Fourth, read up on all the forums. By doing this, I gained a lot of more knowledge about biking and occupied time when I couldn't be doing things people with two healthy knee caps could be doing.
Fifth, after some healing, buy a new bike. Well, its not necessary, but I did.
From all the info I absorbed, all the bike shops respected me more because they couldn't pull a "fast one" on me.
Sixth, heal and soon enough you'll be back on the bike rippen' up the roads or trails.
What the hell is PT?????????????????????
Physical Therapy. If you're not doing it or doing it too early, you may not recover as quickly as you'd like.
Originally Posted by Damitletsride!
Well im still recovering from a knee injury. Shoulder still not there yet so the only exercises i can do are sit ups and dumbells...
Giant Yukon 09'
Marin 09 Quake 7.9
Knee injury. Partially torn MCL, and some other issues, hopefully not too serious.
Keeping weight down religiously for a stronger comeback
SWIMMING. That is the only thing I can do 2 weeks into it.
fractured tibia a week ago. feel for you guys with the full tib/fib. am not sure how long I'll wait before stationary bike, break is not displaced, no cast, no surgery. was shooting for 24 hour solo in 10 weeks, this is very untimely.
Fractured Scapula (Shoulder blade), 5 displaced (out of alignment) fractured ribs, shoulder joint contusion (30% strength). Physical Therapy for shoulder, can't do anything for the ribs and shoulder blade. Front wheel washed out, high speed crash, pain pills and rest for 6-8 weeks.