on crutches for 6 weeks...how long to regain all the lost fitness?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by HillyGoat, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. HillyGoat

    HillyGoat New Member

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    Crashed in November, just got off crutches and I am amazed at the amount of muscle atrophy and how weak I am on the bike. Some people say I will be back to my old form very quickly, others say it will take upwards of a year! I know more than a few of you have had setbacks and would love to hear about your experiences, how long it took you to get it all back and also suggestions to speed recovery along.

    Background: Just before the crash I finished my first race season with strong finishes in road races and crits and was in the best shape of my life. I am 57yo and train about 10 hours a week.
     
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  2. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    If there is such a thing as a good time of year for something like that to happen, you picked a good time of year. The big thing is that not only did you take time off of the bike, you actually were really limited in doing any type of fitness activity, so your situation is a bit different than as if you were just simply taking time off of the bike, as most do this time of year. I would not worry to much as next season is a long way off. I would focus a bit more on strength training, as it sounds like you lost a bit of strength..
     
  3. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    I would think that you have a PT program in place. Let your Therapist know your goals and they should create an RX to get you back to where you want to be. You need to target all the effected muscles in order to heal properly. Over training some muscles may hurt the recovery of others. You use your legs for more than just riding your bike.

    Stat bikes are very popular in the PT clinic. What you are currently doing may very well be what you should be. Although you should let the medical professionals guide you through the process.
     
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    At 57 your hormones may have changed enough that getting back into shape is difficult.

    But PT is not really hard enough to get you into "shape." It should get your muscles working after being trapped in a cast but not a lot more.

    Get on your bike and do what you can. At first do what it takes to get mobility. Strength building can wait.

    ---

    After my car/bike accident ....

    I bought a trainer and set my bike up on it. At first my goal was to just turn the pedals over without moving my hips too much or letting my feet fall off the pedals (clipless pedals not clipped in). It was hard at first. 10-15 RPM with lots of rocking my hips and sliding my feet to get my foot over the top. 5-10 minutes to get my body loose enough to make it almost comfortable. At first it was get my foot up near the top and then backpedal and try again.

    Tell your PT that you are willing to do the workouts several times a day if it will help. Lots of stairs. Lots of sitting on the bike. Lots of work with the stretchy bands.
     
  5. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    yes no big deal at this time of the year, think about those 6 weeks off as your compulsory rest or holiday time of the season.
    otherwise 6 weeks off means 2 to 3 months to recover decent fitness,
     
  6. cooljazz

    cooljazz New Member

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    Old Guy,
    sounds like you had a pretty serious collision. I'm curious about what happened and how long it took to recover. It's truly inspiring how certain strong willed people refuse to take such a devastating event lying down. I'm amazed, for example, at how Alex Simmons came back from losing a leg to being competitive on the bike as well as helping a lot of other cyclists be competitive.
    -R
     
  7. HillyGoat

    HillyGoat New Member

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    I don't remember anything about the accident until I woke up in an ambulance 20-25 minutes later. My helmet has 12 cracks in it.. A friend was riding in my draft and said I was out of the saddle and accelerating (per Garmin) when my right foot came unclipped which went down towards the road and at the same time my front end flopped and I went down in a heap. Very unfortunately he could not avoid me and he went down too, shattering his collarbone and breaking 4 ribs.

    Looking for an explanation of why my foot came unclipped I studied my Garmin training center. Several blocks before the crash site I was doing 27mph and stopped, no doubt a red light. 30 seconds after going again I was doing 24mph and went down going 24mph at about 90 seconds from starting. My guess is my cleat never was fully engaged in the pedal and I probably pulled up to deliver more power when my foot separated from the pedal
     
  8. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Hit and run by an uninsured DUI. Lost 3" of bone in right femur. Compound fracture of left femur. Pelvis broken into 2 equal pieces.

    I am still recovering after 2 years.

    ---

    One needs a lot of luck to recover quickly.
     
  9. cooljazz

    cooljazz New Member

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    A friend of mine had a nasty crash a year and a half ago and he is just starting to get decent mobility in his shoulder. Still very much recovering though.
    Best wishes for a full recovery if not a speedy one!
    -richard
     
  10. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Two years ago I had ACL and Meniscus surgey. I was told I would be on crutches for weeks and would be in therapy for months. I was off crutches in two days and on the road bke in 17 days. I was doing about 6 timesthe effort on my own compared to what physcal therapy was doing for me so the doc released me from it after 4 weeks.
    I think it took about 3 months to get good strength back in my left leg. My legs was really messed up. ACL and both Meniscus torn and folded.
    I am not saying you should kill yourself but a lot of recovery is only limited by what your mind tells you to do.
     
  11. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    how did you get those injuries ?
     
  12. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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  13. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Not everyone is the same and results may vary. Take a look at professional athletes with the same injuries. They go through the full scale of rehab and are back out plying their trade the following season. Ramping it up may work but going along unmonitored is not the way to go. Unfortunately today medical decisions are made based on insurance coverage and not the patient.
     
  14. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    My doctor gave me the choice of what to do. He also knew I was in top shape when I was injured except for having an already torn ACL, but I agree results vary. I tend to probably push to hard sometimes but can't stand those that are willing to just give up because of an injury.
    You ain't done for until you are dead as far as I am concerned.
     
  15. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Old form is a lot easier to recover and takes far less time than building new form.

    I saw a return of my previous form within 4 months of getting back on the bike after a 10 year layoff, smokes, booze and all. It took 2 solid years to build that fitness in the first place. That said the older we get the longer everything takes.
     
  16. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    +1. Healing time is going to depend on a lot more than time in cast or splint. Also, the regaining of condition may be more complicated than just hopping on a bike and going at it. PT can help prepare your body and affected limbs for the transition to more aggressive workouts. Going too hard can risk new injury or worse. Discuss your desires with your PT and doc.
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    In 1997, after a motorcycle racing crash that left me with over 26 fractures between my nipples and C5, including a neck fracture and transient paralysis of an arm, I was back to racing in a week or two less than 3 months as a result of working with my PT and doc to come up with a PT regime that started only 4 weeks after the accident. After a bike crash a few years ago and a resulting hip broken in two places, I was back on a bike in 6 weeks, again after aggressive doc and PT managed regime that started literally the day after surgery. In both cases, of course, it took more time to make the maximum strength recovery.

    Given that you were in a cast for an extended period, you can likely expect return to peak condition to take a few months.....or more.
     
  18. HillyGoat

    HillyGoat New Member

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    Alienator,

    Wow, your determination is amazing and encouraging.

    So far I have been on the bike for almost two weeks and I feel ok but my lack of power, endurance and poor VO2 is disturbing. I went back to my ride log and records and found a solo ride before the crash and compared to a ride I did yesterday, same basically flat route. These were aerobic rides aimed at keeping my HR in zone 2 (of 5). Pre-crash 60 miles, avg speed 19.9 mph with avg HR 140. Yesterday I 33 miles averaging 16.5 mph with avg HR of 144. Quite a difference.
     
  19. HillyGoat

    HillyGoat New Member

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    That was 33 miles, not 133.
     
  20. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    More lucky than anything.

    What you're seeing is pretty typical after coming back from such an injury. If you follow what happens in the pro ranks, injuries to legs can kill an entire season for a pro. The upside for you is that you likely had great condition before the injury, and that will reduce the time it will take to achieve optimal results after the injury. Before I broke my hip, I was riding a couple of hundred miles a week. My first time on a stationary trainer afterward, I lasted about 10 minutes on the trainer before I thought I was going to die. Seven months after the fracture, I wasn't at 100% but close enough that I was happy.
     
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