Tag Archives: rehab

A History of the Injury

Overall, I’m a positive person, an optimist. I set lofty goals, and work hard to achieve them. I’m a good news kind of guy. I like to share achievement, whether mine or others, and celebrate what human beings are able to achieve athletically.

I hate talking about bad news. Detest it. But sometimes bad news is part of life. It is a reality, and the best thing you can do is to stay positive and optimistic while going through it. That’s where I’ve been for the last year, and that’s where I am now.

When I changed doctors, I put together a brief timeline with a history of most everything that has happened. It was sobering to read, as this may very well be the most trivial and baffling cycling injury I’ve ever heard about.

The bad news continued on my mountain bike ride this past weekend. As great as it was to experience something new, around halfway through my ride, I began to feel a burning sensation in the groin. No worries, I’ve felt soreness before while riding and been able to suffer through it. I soldiered on, but the sensation became stronger.

I decided to make my way back home. Ugh, that was a hilly six miles away. The more I pedaled, the more it hurt. I took a couple breaks to massage my hip. Still painful. I made my way up the hills slowly, trying to put more power with my left side — not easy to do on a mountain bike with platform pedals.

With just a couple miles to go, I could barely pedal. I tried pushing the pedal with just my left leg. Not really possible. I had to endure the pain and make it home. By the time I was done, I was done. It was excruciating pain. I could barely walk, and had to use the cane again to get around.

This was a devastating setback, and the last thing I wanted to share on this blog. This most likely is going to lead to the next phase of my injury recovery, which I am praying will be surgery. Something is seriously messed up in my hip, and I need to get it fixed.

My Fall plans are most likely going to change dramatically. More on that as I get some answers.

I know, major bummer post. Not the kind I wanted to write.

For those who have not been following the entire saga, here is an updated version of the history I wrote for the doctor:

Climb Description
9/16/2012 Bridge to Bridge. Injury probably occurred. Mild hip pain started day after ride, got progressively worse.


Saw general practitioner about hip pain. He thought it was tendinitis. Prescribed anti-inflammatory.
9/30/2012 Rode Six Gap Century with excruciating pain to begin with. Could barely move legs outward. Hip warmed up and no pain during 2nd half.
10/13/2012 Took two weeks rest. It felt a little better. Ran a 5k very slowly without much problem.
11/12/2012 Rested most of October then began training again carefully. Asheville climbing ride and it felt sore again the next day. It became worse. Got referral to Sports Med Orthopaedist, rested.
12/10/2012 First sports med appointment. Doctor thought injury was soft tissue in labrum. Got MRI.
12/17/2012 Diagnosed as stress fracture in femoral neck. Rest for weeks. Had to stop anti-inflammatory. Most of that rest was painful, took pain medicine on occasion and it didn’t help much. On crutches. Clicking and popping began during this period.
1/29/2013 Next Sports Med appointment. Still stress fracture not healed. Switched from crutches to cane.
2/19/2013 Another MRI, this time with an injection of dye. Stress fracture had healed. X-ray diagnosis: lateral labrum tear. MRI: Paralabral cyst? No visible tear.
2/27/2013 Doctor canceled appt. Saw PA instead. He gave green light to ride carefully. Clicking and popping continued. Back on anti-inflammatory.
3/27/2013 Saw doctor briefly. He thought I was getting better, can increase activity. Hip was very sore in colder weather.
4/16/2013 Broken rib. Fitness improvements, clicking and popping continue, mild pain. Doctor said get to get bone density scan.
5/10/2013 Bone density scan showed abnormally low density in femurs. T scores -2.1 and -2.3. Made diet changes.
5/21/2013 Assault on Mount Mitchell completed. Had quite a bit of pain during last several miles.
6/21/2013 Started physical therapy, gradually increased activity.
8/26/2013 After little improvement, got second opinion. He confirmed labral tear, suggested a couple other possibilities.
8/29/2013 Cortisone shot.
9/2/2013 Tour d’Apple. Slight setback afterward.
9/7/2013 First mountain bike ride. Major setback, taking break from bike.

Taming the Tiger

As I’ve said before on this blog, I have one speed — GO, Go, GO! I’m my own worst enemy, as evident from this injury that has forced me on the couch for the last several weeks. That’s the tiger within me, screaming to get out and devour what it desires. For me, I yearn to devour the nearest mountain, conquer it and plant my flag.

More on that in a moment.

This injury has been confounding and unpredictable. There have been days where I have felt amazing, and others where I have felt like it would go on forever. Just the other day, frustrated with my lack of progress, I decided to just stay shut down until my next doctor appointment.

As it turns out, I spoke too soon. Seemingly from the moment I pressed the publish button, things began to turn around. They continued to improve dramatically during the week, which culminated with some amazing news yesterday.

I am FREE! The crutches are gone. I am walking.

Yesterday was my first day walking under my own devices. At first I walked gingerly, favoring my left side. Even with that, my right leg became sore just from the inactivity of the last few weeks. At times it felt like I might need the crutches again (they were in my car, just in case), but as the day progressed, it felt better and better. Not only am I walking, but I am walking without a limp. A day later and I can say with certainty that the crutches are gone forever, at least for this injury.

I also received some good news from the doctor. I’m allowed to get in the pool and get some exercise. I can swim or water walk.

This came at the perfect time. The time off has not been enjoyable, but as of late, it has really taken a toll. That tiger has been growling incessantly. When I don’t work out, I get stressed more easily, and am generally not as happy.

Tom, a good friend, gave me some terrific advice:

Aaron, having worked for 12 years as a Personal Trainer, be careful – there is a huge difference between a traumatic injury (crashing) and an overuse injury. Just remember “overuse” is very subjective. An extreme example asking a person that walks everyday, than to run even a mile. You will of course get better – but don’t go get better than your body can. Just knowing you, that’s all. I learn a long time ago a coach is not there to tell you to do more – but to hold back. It’s the fire in us sometimes it helps if it is held back.

Tom does know me. He has seen that tiger roar as it climbs over a mountain. Others have echoed that sentiment. Chill out, Aaron, they say. Let yourself heal. Baby steps. They are absolutely, positively correct. I have to go slow with this recovery. My friends may have some epic rides planned that make me drool, but I will need to stay at home and ride 20-30 miles. I’ll live vicariously through them until I am able. And when I am able – Watch Out!

Fortunately Coach Bobby believes in this sentiment. He will push me when needed, but he will also make sure I get my rest. My goals this year are to heal, climb Mount Mitchell and then become an official finisher at Haute Route. If I let that tiger out too early, none of these will happen.