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Mountain Bike Injuries - What to expect

Mountain Bike Injuries - What to expect

October 24, 2018 1 Comment

Injuries are an inherent part of mountain biking, I'm sure many of you can relate to this. Our brand ambassador Liz Greaves has had her fair share of crashes and broken bones over the season and she was so kind to share her experience with us. 

Share in the pain and learn about surviving the first days, coping throughout recovery and how to get back to riding after a bike injury. 


You’ll be annoyed – this is ok

It’s annoying not being able to do things the way you were able to and depending on the injury, you’ll gradually learn over the first few days that there are likely more things impacted by this. But be patient with this. It’s a great indicator as you go along with your recovery and you'll learn how adaptive you can be.

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First Enduro of the season and things didn’t quite go to plan with me scoring a DNF and a visit to A&E after landing on my head and left (freshly recovered) shoulder three stages before the end. Before all that drama though I was having a laugh as you can see here with @bigmacphotographydh making me giggle mid-stage. Always love the atmosphere at @pedalhounds - gonna heal up and will be back for more! Shout out to @foxmtb #ProFrame for doing its job so well. Thank you @swinleybikehub for support and stocking the best safety kit. I’ll be back out soon! 💪🏼 • @swinleybikehub @swinleywomen @foxracingeurope @foxmtb #swinleybikehub #swinleywomen #swinleyfit #girlswhoride #foxwomens #mtb #downhillmtb #enduro #fit #ready #stoked #racing #headsup #lookahead #progression #thisgirlcan #thisgirldid #girlsrockmtb #ladiesdodh #crash #oops #xray #mtbchixtrails #breeze #roots #rocks #bornfromdirt #veetireco #takeyourselffurther

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I learnt barrettes and front close bras are my friends when I separated my shoulder. Wire coat hangers are brilliant for hooking zips up. Cushions are helpful whenever you need to sneeze, yawn, cough with broken ribs, for spooning when you have a shoulder injury or to support your leg with a knee injury. Get creative and share your experiences.

Emotions will (a)rise

With annoyance comes emotions – I spent a good portion of the first two weeks of my shoulder injury this year in tears. I was so annoyed at myself for ruining my season, making a silly mistake, pushing too hard, being a terrible rider, wondering if I should give up on it all together, etc. Your brain takes you through every scenario.

Lean on your friends, and friends, be there for your injured mates and let them know it’s totally cool to be a ball of emotion for a bit and to talk it out with people. I found my riding friends so helpful at this stage, they really pulled me through the lows and boy did I have a good amount of them.

Realign your goals 

Realign your goals and be realistic with it, but be creative too. I had the goal of riding a whole season of regional races and improving on my 4th position overall in my category for this season. This went out the window when I had to miss the first round due to injury so I thought about the reasoning behind my goal and knew it all tied back to marking my progression.

So I flipped it around a little and decided that “completing” rather than “competing” at a few of the harder races (UK Gravity enduro’s and Ard Rock) would still mark my progression. And it did; I learnt so much with taking part in these events and my riding progressed, as did my fitness because those transitions are killer….

 

So I flipped it around a little and decided that “completing” rather than “competing” at a few of the harder races (UK Gravity enduro’s and Ard Rock) would still mark my progression.

Be flexible with this too. I set a separate goal to “do well” (whatever that means?!) at the Southern Champs, but sustained another injury weeks beforehand and pushed myself too hard to ride at a competitive level. I had to accept and respect my bodies limitations and step down to the “lite” category of four stages and just go out to enjoy it. Lesson learnt from this one as I did alright in my results when I just focused on having fun with the girls riding in my category.

Get outdoors when you're able to

One of the best moments from earlier this year was my best friend and riding buddy Jen taking me out for a little hike about two weeks into my shoulder injury. With a husband that has been at this game for a good few years, she’s well versed in how the recovery period goes.

I realised while I missed the bike, I was really missing being outdoors and being active. You feel almost “cut out” from the world of the sport, but actually it’s all you. Your mates will love you for being a roving photographer on the trails and still joining them for some of the riding sessions or even marshalling at the events they’re racing at – you can still support the sport without a bike!

...I was really missing being outdoors and being active. You feel almost “cut out” from the world of the sport, but actually it’s all you.

Being outdoors and gently active (within the limits of your injury) will boost the vitamin D which is awesome for bones and all the usual feel good endorphins you get from riding which will 100% perk your mood.

Be smart with your diet

Being injured isn’t an excuse to sit on the sofa and chug down all the ice cream and wine/beer to drown your misery. While rest is important (and you should always follow medical guidance), diet still is just as important. I bounced between the moods of thinking “I’m going to get so fat not being able to do exercise” to total defeat and comfort eating.

Your body needs calories to fix itself, and vitamins and minerals will be depleted a little more than normal 

The fact remains; injured or not – you’re only as good as what you put in, so feed the bits your body needs to fix itself. Your body needs calories to fix itself, and vitamins and minerals will be depleted a little more than normal while you make new soft-tissue/bone etc. Eating well also keeps your mood in a good place  so it’s two fold!

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Why am I always bleating on about greens at the moment?🥦 I’ve been boosting my vitamin intake since getting injured, especially vitamin C. Not only does it help you avoid colds and flu, it also facilitates in the creation of collagen which is the building blocks of all connective tissue. It’s really helped my AC joint repair and also supported all the muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage around the joint too. Top facts about vitamin C from www.stillstoked.com below. If you’re suffering with a similar injury to me do look it up and always follow medical guidance 💪🏼 *It facilitates the building of collagen, which forms the framework for repairing connective tissue *It is an antioxidant, protecting our cells from free radicals by keeping chemical reactions throughout our body in check *It helps with the maintenance of healthy connective tissue e.g. ligaments to support other tissues and organs *It mitigates free-radical damage that increases after intense exercise, helping alleviate muscle soreness, helping speed up recovery *It increases the amount of iron absorbed from food Daily Vitamin C replenishment is critical during wound healing due to its ability to support the body in creating new connective tissues. The healing process increases the stress on our body and its metabolic needs. In the time immediately following an injury or surgery, your body will use up Vitamin C stores fast, potentially depleting them to very low levels. Without extra vitamin C being introduced into the diet following injury, the formation of new replacement connective tissue between cells is hindered slowing down wound healing (Dr. Rath Research Institute, July 28, 2008). Think of Vitamin C as the building block (collagen) needed to form the small tissues that you have injured. It is the juice that is going to get your upright and back on your feet. #respectyourbody #injuryrehab #shoulder #ligament #rehab #healup

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Physio yourself to bits

If you’re seeing a physio for treatment, physio yourself to bits. Do everything they tell you 100%. They are now your own personal trainer, just in a different capacity and completely focused on your injury. They're helping you win the battle of getting back to doing what you love, although at times they may not seem like it.

I had to train smaller things. I hated this at first, but during one rehab session it clicked in my brain and it made sense, this was a new goal for me to focus on

I had a lot of re-programming to do with my soft-tissue injury as smaller muscles stopped working correctly as a result of the injury. My body had immediately began to compensate for the injury and reprogrammed itself, incorrectly. To get back to doing basic movements healthily for the joint (healthily being: it can take another hit like it did in the initial injury) I had to train smaller things. I hated this at first, but during one rehab session it clicked in my brain and it made sense, this was a new goal for me to focus on.

Baby steps are still steps in the right direction. Along with all this, doing your exercises 100% allows your physio to see any knock-on effect compensatory injuries and know what they’re prescribing is actually working. I had a back injury where I felt the exercises were pointless as it just moved my back pain. It turned out this was what the physio expected to happen when doing my exercises properly and I was actually able to progress to the next step in my recovery. Basically, they got your card marked and will know if you are or aren’t doing what they’ve asked of you.

Be patient with your return

The first ride back is allowed to be daunting. You’ll feel anxious and excited and you WILL ride like a squid. You haven’t ridden in ages and you don’t want the previous mis-hap that took you off the bike to happen again. Be mindful of mental demons and be patient learning to clear that tabletop you used to always clear without thinking. Your body is readjusting back so go gently and enjoy the ride.

Your brain plays the biggest part in the success of your return once the medical experts give you the go-ahead to get back to it. I wound up in tears trying to get myself down the same type of steep rooty corner I broke my ribs on. I knew I could do it, but my brain made me tense up and my hands pull the brakes. I had to chill out, and take it gently. Friends are key at this part too as they’ll be your sounding board for these moments where you lose your shizzle mid-ride and get angry at yourself.

A big turning point on this for me was once again, my friend Jen listening to me, providing me with some reassurance on my ability as she’s seen me ride sections like this before and giving me a no-pressure tow in and a big hug at the bottom when I aced it.

Closing note

All the above points are from my experience, you may not find the above applicable, but what I will say is be mindful and patient with the process. I feel "lucky" to have had the initial injury at the beginning of the year as it gave me more insight into my riding, my brain and also that I picked some damn good friends. Picking up another injury mid-season became easier to deal with as I knew what to expect and had a little more patience with my limitations.



1 Response

Johan
Johan

October 25, 2018

Dear Liz,

An injury gives you time to think about other (maybe even important) things in life. As long as you’re not a paid rider, enjoy riding, enjoy life!!

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