Reflections on injuries

We take for granted so many things when it comes to riding bikes. "I'll always be able to ride." "I'm never gonna get injured" - that sort of thing. But we might not always be able to ride bike and injuries are part of the game. It's crap shoot every time we strap on helmet (and I hope you are all wearing helmets!) and head out on the roads or trails. When the injury happen, it's always more reassuring to have a grand horror story about an epic wipeout, but the truth is it hurts no matter what. And many times the injuries that derail a season aren't even to the legs. It doesn't matter how careful or defensively you ride - the monster is always waiting to pounce. It might not be this week, this month or this year - but some day in the future, something will happen.

I had my own injury scare this week. I talked about the crash a little already. It was one of this stupid, wrong place, wrong line in the wrong bike on easy trails, how the heck did that happen crashes. I didn't realize the implications till later in the week when I still couldn't get my sports bra off, roll over in bed or pick up my cat with my right arm. All of a sudden, being able to go out for a fun ride seemed worrisome and hiding in the garage was preferred. My legs were just fine, but the shoulder meant I was out of commission for so many things. No swimming for at least a week (still haven't gotten in the pool - the swimming motions doesn't hurt, but I'm a little scared.) We skipped out on bouldering even though Nick really wanted to go. And I haven't been back on my Mtb bike since Sunday.

I was lucky. Judging by my symptoms and the location of the pain, it was a grade 1or low 2 AC sprain. Like a sprained ankle, with damage to the ligaments supporting the joint, but in the shoulder - where the collar bone joins with the shoulder blade right on top of the shoulder. But it could have been much worse - this is a pretty common injury for cyclists and I landed hard on the top and back of my shoulder. I think I was saved from a really serious injury by one thing. Knowing how to fall helps a little, but I think most of the impact was taken by my backpack. Despite warm temperatures and hometown riding, I'd loaded up my Osprey Talon 11 with water, food and some clothes. After the crash, the pack was covered in dirt - a good indication that I landed hard on it since there was no sliding involved. Without that protective cushion, the entire impact of the fall would have gone right through my shoulder. And that might have ended my season before it started. It's a week later now and I am still icing three to four times a day. I still have significant point tenderness on the joint with reduced functional use, but the lines in my shoulder are coming back. I've also been keeping the shoulder taped so the joint isn't stressed. Its getting better, but I know its going to take some time to heal all the way. But I will take the small victories - last night, I was able to get my sports bra off without wanting to cry! And I was able to sleep on my right side without too much pain.


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