The Chainlink

Riding With An Injury

By Shawna Carter

2016 hasn't been the greatest year in terms of fitness. It's been one set back after another. It started in April 2015 and feels like it's never going to end. I originally had a stress fracture in my sacrum, then right hip flexor strain, left hip flexor, then I pulled something in my neck/shoulder so bad I couldn't turn my head for a month and now I sit in urgent care waiting to get my knee looked at, meniscus tear? 


Some might think I'm a hypochondriac but I'm just super in tune with my body and know when something isn't right, injury for ache.  Being an athlete that isn't able to get her endorphin rush has been very emotionally and physically stressful. 


I thought 2016 was going to be a great year of racing in terms of running but when things kept going wrong I decided to cycle as an alternative. I was already a bike commuter so I wasn't a complete newbie but pretty close i.e. no idea how to shift gears.  I knew I couldn't have another 6 Months of doing little to no exercise so I figured I'd train for a century ride. I didn't have a specific one in mind I was just aiming for one at the end of the summer or early fall. It seemed like everything that could go wrong with me did. I would get in the groove where things were great and training was progressing, I got as far as a 50 mile ride and for me that was a lot! Then bam I couldn't extend my right leg because of hip flexor pain. So I took time off. Got back to it then the left side, same thing. Took more time off, which meant I was definitely looking at early fall for a century. Got back to it and then I pulled a muscle in my shoulder so bad I couldn't turn my head for over a month. This meant I couldn't get on my bike because I couldn't sit with my shoulders scrunched or take rides on the streets because I couldn't turn my head to look for traffic. I couldn't swim to keep up cardio, in hindsight I could've tried a snorkel? But I couldn't lift my shoulder. 


When my finally stopped hurting I truly thought this was it I'm on track until that one day after work where there was a funny tightness in my knee. I figured it would just pass, I'd done some run coaching and then worked all day on my feet so I was just tired. I waited a couple days to do anything but the tightness grew and my leg became more stiff. I thought maybe I need to get it moving so I tried a couple short easy rides indoor at Edge. I thought maybe getting the muscles moving might help. Wrong! My knee was now unable to bend even 45°, the weird thing was I was fine walking but couldn't do anything else. I knew there was no longer the hope of riding a century, even if unofficial, this year.  I took a month off from doing anything with the exception of upper body weights. When the swelling and tightness finally went away I thought, finally now I'm really on my way. Then the actual behind the knee pain started. I went into Athletico for an injury screening and it was suggested I have a torn meniscus, YAY ME! 


As I'm wrapping up this tiny "story" it's been a week since I started it (I'm not the quickest writer) and I've yet to have an MRI but I've met with a specialist to confirm I need an MRI. His opinion based on the position of my knee, the swelling, and range of motion. it is a torn meniscus but ti what extent we don't know yet. If my insurance allows I can get an MRI Friday otherwise I wait 7-10 days. Ah, the healthcare system at its finest. Stay tuned for the future update! In the meantime anyone else have this issue? Would love some insight into it and your recovery and the route you took as in surgery or no surgery.

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Comment by Shawna Carter on January 8, 2017 at 7:03am

Thank you Shawn! I need all the good mojo I can get!!

Comment by Shawna Carter on January 8, 2017 at 7:03am

Tim thanks for the info! This is exactly what's going on with me. Sense this came out my results came back it's definitely a tear! I also have a strained v-mo muscle, strained quad muscle, swelling on the "fat Pad", and missing cartilage oy! I'm waiting to meet with a surgeon for next steps. They said my tear is "minimal" so I'm really hoping for no surgery or at least just minor repair. Sounds like this is so common though, which is crazy. I'll update more when I know!

Comment by Tim on January 7, 2017 at 2:55pm

Sounds like an almost parallel ride to my story. I did the same knee tightening thing in Oct 2015 while jogging. Gave it rest, same problem. More rest, same problem. Visit to doctor, told me a bit of swelling let us know if it gets worse. Never got worse. But never got better. So I decided to at least keep up with biking. Over the course of 2016 my leg slowly degenerated to a limp, even when walking. So, yeah insurance dictates xray first and MRI later. That was Sept and Oct of 2016. The MRI found meniscus tear. Had arthroscopic surgery Nov 17. First 4 weeks are lesson in immobility. Started therapy after week 2. Finishing last therapy this coming week of Jan 8th to 14th. Was able to start my predominantly walking and standing job this week(Jan3). I normally log anywhere from 10000 to 20000 steps and 20ish sets of stairs a day at work before surgery. Stairs at work were ok cuz tough stairs at home to practice on. Biggest issues at this time are stairs slightly and standing in place too long. Am currently allowed to do 5 min at a time on bike. All feels well and going on track so far. Don't quit! first four weeks of recovery were slow progress. Just keep going. Progress just sneaks up on ya. Good luck and happy biking! Tim

Comment by Shawn A Conley on January 6, 2017 at 11:14am

Shawna, I hope that you recover fully and quickly.  May you have a terrific 2017 season!

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