Tag Archives: broken hip

From the Hip to the Rib

I was going to blog today about the Assault on the Carolinas, including sharing a video and some other goodies from the ride. That’ll have to come later, as today I was surprised by yet another injury.

During my recovery, I had been doing some foam rolling to help rehab my hip. The hip caused most of the right side of my body to be sore, especially my lower back, glutes, and quads. The foam roller became my tool of choice for helping with managing the discomfort, and it did wonders. It may have even helped with my recovery.

In a session approximately three weeks ago, I was focusing more on my lower back, rolling it somewhat aggressively while applying a little extra body weight. As I rolled further up my back, I heard an audible pop on the lower corner of my ribcage. It sent a wave of pain through my body.

Rather than worry, I spent the remainder of the day resting, figuring that I probably tweaked a little something that would be better in a couple of days.

After a few days, it got a little better, but still had a good bit of soreness in a specific area. I would usually not feel it on a ride, so I still wasn’t terribly worried.

Fast forward to the Assault on the Carolinas. It was still an issue that I figured I could deal with. I noticed on the descents that I could not crouch down all the way, but it mostly was not an issue until later.

Around midway through the Caesar’s Head climb, I was getting sore, and fast. It was partly my hip, which was to be expected, but also my back. When I reached the top, my back was screaming at me. That was a big reason why I struggled on the way back, and why I wasn’t in a smiling mood at the finish line.

I made an appointment with the doctor for this Friday to take a look at it.

It was feeling a little better for our Tuesday group ride, so I went at it. Again, it felt fine once I warmed up. It was a little sore afterward, but not too alarming.

The next morning it hurt a lot. Toward the end of my working day, I could barely move. I even texted my wife asking her to stand by in case I couldn’t drive home.

After resting, I went back to work this morning. It was a little stiff, not too bad, until I started sneezing. Pollen is everywhere here, and I didn’t have any sort of sinus or allergy medication to take. Every sneeze reverberated through my body in excruciating agony. Again, I could barely move, and wasn’t going to make it to Friday.

I went to Doctor’s Care. After an x-ray, the doctor gave me some bad news.

Cracked rib.

You’re kidding? He showed me on the x-ray. There it was, a distinct line across the bone.

While this is nothing compared to the hip (which feels better), it is still concerning. The first thing I did was call my orthopaedic doctor to ask for a bone density scan. He had previously said it wasn’t necessary, that he could tell from the x-ray that my bones are fine.

The timing for this couldn’t be worse. I’ve had plans to spend four days riding in Brevard beginning tomorrow. The doctor tells me that I should be able to ride. The bone is going to heal on its own in 6-8 weeks, and it probably has already been healing for three. He said that as long as I can tolerate the pain, that I should be fine. Just make sure not to fall or I could have serious problems.

Can I tolerate the pain? Through all this, the one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I have a strong tolerance for pain. Maybe all the climbing helps with that. I rode Six Gap with a fractured hip after all. Now I’ve been riding three weeks with a cracked rib. I think I can handle some pain, as long as I’m careful not to go too hard. There will not be any long rides for me this weekend.

The next big question is about Mitchell. The fitness level is still not there yet. If I can continue to ride in the next few weeks, then there’s a chance I can go. The rib should be close to healed by then. I’ll also have the opportunity to consult with my doctor on 5/9.

We’ll see.

Diagnosis: Broken Hip


Today was the day I would get the results of the MRI. After doing plenty of internet research, I figured that the best case scenario was further inflammation of the same hip flexor strain that my General Practitioner had diagnosed months back. The worst case scenario would be a tear somewhere in my hip labrum. Depending on the severity, that could require surgery. Whatever it was, I was looking forward to getting an answer and starting the path towards recovery.

It turned out to be neither of those.

“How does the hip feel?” the doctor asked. A little sore today, but not as bad as this last week.

He came right out and said it. “You have a Femoral Head Stress Fracture.”

Wow, I thought, not really understanding what he said. It turns out the fracture is in the plate of my hip, the right side, not far from the socket (labrum) that connects to the pelvis. He said that the labrum is also off, which points to another injury. Whatever I did to that poor hip, I did it real good.

He asked questions about my activities, trying to figure out how this happened. I never noticed a snap or any moment where this could have happened. He said that it’s more common with running because of the impact. When we discussed some of my rides in a little more detail, he said that it could have happened when riding out of the saddle on a steep climb. That is when I would be most at risk for this type of injury. That jives with my Grandfather Mountain theory.

The only prescription right now is rest, and lots of it. I will not even think about treatment for the next six weeks. The only activity that is at all acceptable is swimming or upper body exercises.

My first question was whether my plans in France are still possible. Yes, he said, with some work. We’ll revisit this again at the end of January, and I’ll work myself back into shape slowly. The goal is to resume training sometime in March. Since the event is in the late summer, my recovery fits within the training timeline.

Even though this is somewhat of a bummer, I am relieved. Finally I can stop training and aggravating this injury, which to be frank, has not been a lot of fun. The next time I ride, it won’t be on a broken hip, and it’ll feel a lot better.

Whatever happens, this story ends in the Alps.