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Starting Over After Biking Accident

Madwife2009Madwife2009 Posts: 1,258Member Member Posts: 1,258Member Member
Does anyone have any advice about regaining fitness after injury?

I was knocked off my bike three weeks ago. No breaks or internal bleeding but lots of bruising/cuts/deeper muscle pain and I was knocked unconscious/had concussion.

My surface wounds have almost healed but there is still some deeper muscle pain plus my head isn't quite as it should be (in that I say the most stupid of things, like that I want to defrost the vacuum cleaner instead of the freezer and sometimes I have to think quite hard about what I want to say before I say it). I also have an open wound on one of my calf muscles as it's got some tarmac in it and the nurses are trying to clean it before letting it heal. It's a bit stingy and I cannot squat as that causes pain. One of my forearms (which was badly bruised) is still painful when touched but is okay otherwise.

Despite my recovery apparently progressing, I am still taking regular painkillers so these must be masking some of the pain. I do have pain with the painkillers but it's worse without them.

Another issue is that my inflammatory arthritis (which was finally under control) has flared and it is worse than it has been before (although mainly hands/wrists/one foot). So, swollen joints and associated pain all over my hands and wrists, plus a bit in my foot.

Exercise really helps the arthritis, no doubt about it, and is recommended by my rheumatology team, so I am quite keen to get back into things. I realise that I am not the same as I was before the accident and that I will have to basically start over again.

So, I've been doing a bit of walking over the last week. A mile here, a mile there. Nothing too strenuous, I'm much slower that I used to be and I'm stopping before my muscles scream at me.

I'm anxious to get back to the gym and my strength training (again, this helps the arthritis) but not quite sure how to go about it. I was thinking that maybe I should just go back to the smallest weights I can and see how it goes? If it's too uncomfortable then to have another break from it?

Cycling is out for the moment as I no longer have a bike (need to sort out the insurance claim) but once I do, I think that the cycling will help as it's less stress on joints etc. I'll be sticking to flat cycle paths at first as cars terrify me (even just being in a car with other cars on the road near us scares the heck out of me).

Running will also have to wait as there's no way I can run just yet but I thought that when I could, I'd do the C25K again and build up from there.

Any thoughts? I really cannot bear the thought of sitting around doing nothing as I enjoy exercise and want to build up my strength again. And maybe reduce the risk of depression as I think that I may be heading that way (and that's a place I'd rather not visit again).

Replies

  • Machka9Machka9 Posts: 14,248Member Member Posts: 14,248Member Member
    Does anyone have any advice about regaining fitness after injury?

    I was knocked off my bike three weeks ago. No breaks or internal bleeding but lots of bruising/cuts/deeper muscle pain and I was knocked unconscious/had concussion.

    My surface wounds have almost healed but there is still some deeper muscle pain plus my head isn't quite as it should be (in that I say the most stupid of things, like that I want to defrost the vacuum cleaner instead of the freezer and sometimes I have to think quite hard about what I want to say before I say it). I also have an open wound on one of my calf muscles as it's got some tarmac in it and the nurses are trying to clean it before letting it heal. It's a bit stingy and I cannot squat as that causes pain. One of my forearms (which was badly bruised) is still painful when touched but is okay otherwise.

    First ... have you seen a neurologist? Head injury is not something you want to take lightly.

    Second ... have you asked your doctor what you can do?

    Third ... once you've been cleared by both your neurologist and doctor, you can possibly start riding your trainer like you would in winter. Set up Zwift and go to it at your own pace. :)


    My husband had a workplace accident which resulted in a severe traumatic brain injury (3 weeks in coma in ICU, 7 weeks PTA, prediction that he'd end up in permanent care, months of rehab), but about 5 months after the accident he was riding his trainer a little bit. :)


    Machka in Oz
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,039Member Member Posts: 15,039Member Member
    You won't actually have lost a lot of fitness or strength in three weeks - your injuries are just preventing you from using that fitness and strength!
    Once you can get back to training you may have some "poor" workouts but you will regain your previous levels pretty quickly as it will mostly be your CNS waking up again rather than rebuilding muscle.

    Share the concern about your head injury, it sounds like you are not fully recovered from your concussion. Talk to your Doctor.

    Personally I prefer anti-inflamatories to painkillers as I like to feel/know what's going on and not risk further injury from pushing too hard, too soon. Painkillers I reserve for extreme and debilitating pain. I understand this might not generic advice or suitable for everyone.....

    I'm recovering from a bike crash too (grade 2 knee ligament tear, displaced clavicle, damaged fingers and hand) and that combination has made strength training impossible (or more accurately pointless) right now.
    Fortunately I can still cycle, another crash wouldn't be good though until I'm healed. Indoor bike training is a safe option.

    It is depressing and frustarting to be injury limited, I have to tell myself this is temporary and remind myself that rehab isn't about pushing yourself as hard as possible all of the time (it's been a while since I tore out my sutures in the gym when I was supposed to be recovering from surgery - oops!). You have to evaluate the feedback you get from your injuries, rest and modify your rehab intensity accordingly. Getting outside is one of my best coping mechanisms for fighting depression.

    Best of luck.

  • sugaraddict4321sugaraddict4321 Posts: 11,708Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 11,708Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    After you're cleared regarding the concussion, what about starting with some water exercises/swimming?
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 10,434Member Member Posts: 10,434Member Member
    Sorry about your accident. You have house advice above. Hope you’re able to safely be back in action soon.
  • icemom011icemom011 Posts: 808Member Member Posts: 808Member Member
    I'm recovering too, from car-on-bike accident. Two injured cervical disks and need a fusion and a plate to repair. Neck injury wasn't obvious until few days later, and got progressively worse and so is the lower back. It's been 4 month, i had some tests, did lots of PT, saw a few doctors. I hope you have seen a neurologist for your head injury, sounds pretty alarming to me. I know it can take a while to get better, had family member who's had a brain surgery and it took a long time to recover. Do what you can, sounds like you enjoy outdoors, so walk, maybe? Don't try to do too much, let yourself get better first. I'm able to ride, and back on the road. It's terrifying at times, i haven't experienced that before the accident. And also, i can relate to the way you feel even in the car. I'm same way, looking around me, scared that someone would hit me. It would be a disaster for my neck. The other day there was an old woman, just like one that hit me, and first she was on the left lane from me, then she got behind me. I couldn't take my eyes off of her car, and to top it off, she had hood damage on the left. It wasn't from hitting a car, but rather a person, was a very distinct mark. I was panicking. I hope you recover quickly and get back to your exercise routine soon, exercise bike sounds like a good safe option, if you have to. I would imagine you can't go in the pool with an open wound in your calf. Get clearance from your doctor on what you can do and start there
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,948Member Member Posts: 8,948Member Member
    @icemom011 are there gravel roads where you live? Can your bike clear ~35 mm tires? A lot of road cyclists are moving to gravel, traffic is one of the biggest reasons.

    Sorry to hear about what you're going through. 😣 I got hit doing hill repeats near my house, I think it was 4 years ago. Still makes me uncomfortable going by the spot, I avoid it whenever it's practical. It's not that I think it'll happen again there, I don't even like walking on the sidewalk. The place just feels hostile now. And then every other car you go by, the driver is looking at their phone.
  • Machka9Machka9 Posts: 14,248Member Member Posts: 14,248Member Member
    The area where we live is so busy and the roads are so narrow. I don't like riding around here very much at all, especially with my husband.

    We're trying to find trails, quiet neighbourhoods, empty country roads ... and even though I don't particularly like riding on gravel, we're starting to consider it as an option.

    We've also set up something of a home gym so that we can exercise in the peace and quiet of our own home without going outside where the traffic is.
  • icemom011icemom011 Posts: 808Member Member Posts: 808Member Member
    @icemom011 are there gravel roads where you live? Can your bike clear ~35 mm tires? A lot of road cyclists are moving to gravel, traffic is one of the biggest reasons.

    Sorry to hear about what you're going through. 😣 I got hit doing hill repeats near my house, I think it was 4 years ago. Still makes me uncomfortable going by the spot, I avoid it whenever it's practical. It's not that I think it'll happen again there, I don't even like walking on the sidewalk. The place just feels hostile now. And then every other car you go by, the driver is looking at their phone.

    @NorthCascades , no gravel roads, as far as i know. I live where one can cycle year around, cycling paradise. I love being on the road, but the way people drive is just scary.
  • HoneyBadger155HoneyBadger155 Posts: 1,192Member Member Posts: 1,192Member Member
    Have had my fair share of injuries from pretty minor to months on crutches.

    In only a few weeks you may lose some, but it won't be much, and within a couple weeks of regular workouts it would all come back in my experience.

    Now, if you end up laid up longer than that, the big advise would be start slow - slower than you think you should for the first week or two, then slowly ramp back up. Give your body time to get back into the groove. Too much, too fast and you risk injury even if you think you can do it (I have a shoulder that will remind me of that fact very quickly, setting me back weeks yet again).

    Some low impact, low risk activities might be good right now, especially if you have access to a gym. Walks, stationary bike, etc. They'll help keep you moving without straining things too much. Sounds like your doctor thinks that would be fine as well.

    As for the fears - well, TBH, I won't ride a bicycle on public streets - it's scary enough when I'm on a motorcycle, I refuse to get on a public road with just pedal power. Thankfully I've found some nice trails in my area, so that fulfills that for me (but it's not a primary activity for me). Beyond that, some fears just take time and exposure - on track for me it's just getting more successful and faster laps without something "bad" happening. When it comes to public roads, well, I take a variety of safety measures (from visible clothing/gear, to choosing not to ride certain places/times of day/etc. Some people find therapy helpful if the fears really start to interrupt your life.
  • icemom011icemom011 Posts: 808Member Member Posts: 808Member Member
    Wow, glad to hear he was caught. Hope he gets time for hit and run. And isn't he supposed to be paying your medical expenses, or his insurance? How does that work in your country? So sorry that it happened to you, @Madwife2009! Definitely take it easy, in case something is still going on. You don't want to make things worse.
  • Madwife2009Madwife2009 Posts: 1,258Member Member Posts: 1,258Member Member
    icemom011 wrote: »
    Wow, glad to hear he was caught. Hope he gets time for hit and run. And isn't he supposed to be paying your medical expenses, or his insurance? How does that work in your country? So sorry that it happened to you, @Madwife2009! Definitely take it easy, in case something is still going on. You don't want to make things worse.

    Still waiting for the police to charge him as they are waiting for results to come back from forensics. Even if it gets to court, he'll probably just get a slap on the wrist, despite breaking the law on at least seven counts.

    Luckily the NHS (tax-payer funded) is picking up the tab for my medical needs. My home insurance will be picking up the tab for my bike, etc. The insurance company may pursue him for their costs, I don't know. I do have the option of the legal route against him/the car insurer, not really sure how it all works and right now I'm more worried about getting back to some semblance of normality (and a bike!) than getting involved in legal cases. Trying to find a new bike that suits me is enough to deal with on top of what I have to deal with (we were in the middle of a house move when I was hit) let alone additional stuff right now. I have time later on to deal with that.
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 2,499Member Member Posts: 2,499Member Member
    Thank you for the input. I'm sorry for those who are having difficulties at the moment; they make mine seem insignificant by comparison.

    Managed to grab an appt to see my GP today (no chance of seeing a neurologist on the NHS - I'd have to pay to go privately and I don't have the money for that just now).

    Anyway, she thinks that maybe the concussion is still ongoing but did say that she thinks I'll be okay with gentle exercise (walking, not running). I will go to the gym as well, minimum weights and see how I go. I may resort to using the stationary bikes at the gym (shudders - I'm an outdoor sort of person).

    She thinks that the brain issues will work themselves out, given time, but did mention that I may need a bit of counselling to try to make sense of things, although how you can make sense of someone driving into you then driving off without stopping to see if you're okay, I have no idea. That's what gets me most - not being hit, not being injured, not my precious bike being destroyed - I can deal with that - but the fact that the bloke who hit me was more interested in saving his own pathetic skin rather than facing up to his actions and stopping to see if another human being was okay before driving off. Didn't do him any good though as he was caught before the ambulance arrived to cart me off to A&E.

    She thinks that my forearm problems are related to a tendon, so that maybe the arthritis, or it may be the accident. Ice-packs, continue anti-inflammatories and wait and see.

    I definitely wouldn't shy away from therapy. Therapists help clients deal with indefensible things that have been done to them on a very regular basis. As someone who fits into that category of client, it's totally worth it.

    I would take a leisurely walk outside over doing anything in the gym if I were in your position. I know from first hand experience that having your exercise/training interrupted for a prolonged period due to injury is awful, you definitely have my sympathy. I dealt with it by doing everything in my power to make the recovery more effective. That included not pushing myself too hard.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,948Member Member Posts: 8,948Member Member
    icemom011 wrote: »
    Wow, glad to hear he was caught. Hope he gets time for hit and run. And isn't he supposed to be paying your medical expenses, or his insurance? How does that work in your country? So sorry that it happened to you, @Madwife2009! Definitely take it easy, in case something is still going on. You don't want to make things worse.

    Still waiting for the police to charge him as they are waiting for results to come back from forensics. Even if it gets to court, he'll probably just get a slap on the wrist, despite breaking the law on at least seven counts.

    Luckily the NHS (tax-payer funded) is picking up the tab for my medical needs. My home insurance will be picking up the tab for my bike, etc. The insurance company may pursue him for their costs, I don't know. I do have the option of the legal route against him/the car insurer, not really sure how it all works and right now I'm more worried about getting back to some semblance of normality (and a bike!) than getting involved in legal cases. Trying to find a new bike that suits me is enough to deal with on top of what I have to deal with (we were in the middle of a house move when I was hit) let alone additional stuff right now. I have time later on to deal with that.

    I hope you get a lot of money from this, and wind up on a nice bike than you had. You've earned it.
  • Madwife2009Madwife2009 Posts: 1,258Member Member Posts: 1,258Member Member
    Didn't make it to the gym this morning as my shoulder was hurting so I gave it a miss. I did walk quite a way though - nearly six miles (broken up into quarters with an hour's rest between each walk) but that was a bit too much for me. But at least I now know what I am currently capable of. The last mile and a half finished me off, even though I wasn't in pain, I was just very, very slow, which was frustrating but I couldn't physically go any faster.

    Have booked in to see a therapist but that's not for another six weeks.

    Wound on leg was checked again today, it's now clean and just needs to heal so it needs exposure to the air whilst also trying to keep it clean.

    Also had a look at some bikes but as I've been offered the loan of one, I will take that offer up until I can decide what to go for (and what I can afford, after the insurance excess has been taken off!). I like the Raleigh brand but maybe it's time for a change.
  • icemom011icemom011 Posts: 808Member Member Posts: 808Member Member
    Didn't make it to the gym this morning as my shoulder was hurting so I gave it a miss. I did walk quite a way though - nearly six miles (broken up into quarters with an hour's rest between each walk) but that was a bit too much for me. But at least I now know what I am currently capable of. The last mile and a half finished me off, even though I wasn't in pain, I was just very, very slow, which was frustrating but I couldn't physically go any faster.

    Have booked in to see a therapist but that's not for another six weeks.

    Wound on leg was checked again today, it's now clean and just needs to heal so it needs exposure to the air whilst also trying to keep it clean.

    Also had a look at some bikes but as I've been offered the loan of one, I will take that offer up until I can decide what to go for (and what I can afford, after the insurance excess has been taken off!). I like the Raleigh brand but maybe it's time for a change.

    Glad to hear about your progress and 6 miles is nothing to sneeze at, wow. Good job! Also, i think that trying out a loaner is an awesome idea, start fresh, pick a bike to love for next chapter in your life. Can you ride now?
  • Madwife2009Madwife2009 Posts: 1,258Member Member Posts: 1,258Member Member
    icemom011 wrote: »
    Can you ride now?

    Yes, I can ride again but not much due to the accident triggering an arthritis flare in my hands (all of my fingers, the worst I've ever had it)

    I got on a bike for the first time since the accident last week - I take my children to a local cycling session that's held weekly (we've been going for years) - and I was persuaded by the chap who runs it to have a go, more for my confidence than anything, I think.

    I wasn't sure about it (as I was scared to try) but he convinced me to do just a lap of the athletics track. I did that lap and then a second but had to stop as my hands and forearm were painful. My husband was very emotional about seeing me back on a bike, more so than I was and I cried! We're going today so I shall try again.

    The chap who runs it is away this week but when I see him next week I'll ask if I can take him up on the offer of a loan bike, just until I get sorted.

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