The good news about riding my bike is that it exercises my cardiovascular system, sends oxygen molecules to my brain creating new neurotransmitters that fight off dementia, promotes my all ‘round physical conditioning and, lastly, it feels like I am flying over the pavement every time I ride. The bad news is that sometimes a guy falls. While this anecdote revolves around a bike ride, it could just as easily be a runner’s accident or anything else you might be doing with your body in motion.
I took a bad fall Friday riding on the Chicago Lakefront. A runner cut in front of me and I reacted with a death grip on the hand brakes. The front wheel locked and threw me OVER the front of the bike. I was wearing my helmet and my cabeza never hit the ground, but I landed with my full weight onto the concrete on my hands and knees.
Coincidentally, 15 years ago, almost to the day, I had a similar fall when my feet got stuck in the pedal straps and I landed with my full weight on my left hand. I fractured the scaphoid bone in my wrist and spent two months in a cast and a third wearing a splint. I couldn’t ride for those three months.
After a sports injury or sprain, first aid comes first. The acronym RICE summarizes the approach:
• Rest the injured part as soon as it is hurt to avoid further injury.
• Ice the area of pain to decrease swelling and bleeding.
• Compress the area with an elastic bandage to limit swelling and bleeding.
• Elevate the injured part above the level of the heart to increase drainage of fluids out of the injured area.
It is now the fourth day since my fall. I have done the RICE thing. While I have good mobility in my fingers and hands, the memory of my prior injury has plagued my imagination. I don’t want to go three months with no biking exactly when the weather is turning pleasant.
Because of the feeling in my hands and fingers, I don’t think I have fractured a bone this time. But, I had to go and get Xrayed just to be sure.
I heard back from the doctor today – Your Xrays show no fracture in the scaphoid bone. Good news, no break. But I am also dealing with the lack of exercise on my system. My body is used to riding at least 20 miles a day. All of a sudden no riding. I have been cooling out with the aim of directing all my energy into recovery. But I am feeling a little stir crazy. Yesterday I managed to walk a couple of miles to and from the hospital to see my doctor. In addition I walked the pooch a mile or two, but otherwise, I have chilled. I can tell that my energy is low, so I will continue to fly below the radar and not ride yet. I think one of the keys to recovery must be listen to your body.
The actual accident was painful, but the recovery time ranks right up there. I think I have at least one more day of dog walking.