Bad knee ligament injury - will I ride again?

rolcherrolcher Posts: 4
edited 27 September in Health, fitness & training
Hello fellow bikers,

3 months ago I had a bike crash. Not a big one, but with big consequences. I damaged my knee pretty badly.
I had completely torn MCL and PCL was ripped from tibia - surgery was neccesary. MCL managed to heal by itself (hopefully well enough - next check with the doctor will be in a month or so).

Now it has been one month since I took off brace and I am in process of rehabilitation. I "walk" without crutches
and gradually increase range off movement.

I would like to ask you, if anyone experienced the same or similarly bad injury and managed to recover to ride again.
And by riding again I mean riding in bikeparks - jumps, drops etc. Because regular riding will most likely be possible, since it is part of my planned rehabilitation (in upcoming weeks).

I have read here similar threads about knee injuries, but none of them had the same parameters - really bad ligament injury and bikepark kind of riding.

And lets not take recovery time in account. Even if everything goes well, I assume it will be at least a year before I regain range of movement and strength.
I am just wondering whether my "career" ended or not.

Thank you for your responses.
R.

Posts

  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 773
    Sorry to hear about your injury.

    This is purely my opinion, but I can't see why you can't recover to a point that you can ride to a certain level and your body will tell you if if the rest is doable. Every injury is different.

    My injury experience is from a double ankle fracture (tib and fib) and dislocation of foot. Not ideal.

    I was told after it was bolted back together that I might be lucky to walk properly, let alone run around again (field hockey was my main sport with MTB second). It was sore - for 3 months - came out of plaster looking like a chicken wing - physio made me cry - I cried a bit more at home. I wanted to play again and did all they told me to do (and more) - in 6 months I played again (still sore and weak ankle) and in a year I was as good as it was going to get, but still sore. 18 months later and it settled down and I've been so grateful ever since.

    That was August 1999 and 20 years later I'm still playing/riding at the tender age of 46.

    If you have the right attitude, the right support mechanism and you work hard - you'll make it.

    My other half is an NHS physio and specialises in lower limb injuries. I'll ask here tomorrow what she thinks. Her feedback on her patients is always to do with attitude - those that want to get better and those that don't. You seem keen to heal, so that's a good thing.

    It will take a lot of time (you seem to be on board with that as well), so take it easy, remain positive and see where you end up.

    Another good reference point for these sorts of knee injuries are skiiers, so see if you can gleen anything from that area. They recover from some pretty hardcore stuff, so try and get some inspiration from that.

    It's a long road - but you won't get to the end unless you try.

    Good luck with it and keep us posted.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • billycool wrote:
    Sorry to hear about your injury.

    ....

    Good luck with it and keep us posted.

    Thank you for quick and comprehensive answer. I am glad to hear that your doing fine.
  • Sounds a tough one to take, sorry to hear that. Echoing the poster above:
    billycool wrote:
    Her feedback on her patients is always to do with attitude - those that want to get better and those that don't. You seem keen to heal, so that's a good thing.

    Always seems to be important. I've been (un)fortunate enough to go through half a dozen rounds of recovery physio for various injuries including a torn ACL. When the physio finds out that you're a sporty-type person, and actively interested in getting better - you'll get the right treatment.

    Be patient, do the work, and you'll get there. I hate getting injured but quite enjoy the progress that comes in recovery, it's rewarding. I also find devoting energies to other things related to the sport are good to keep you mentally engaged in why you're coming back - for me that was involvement in coaching/building a bike (my current rehab project)/planning trips etc.

    Good luck with your recovery!
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,415
    I didn't suffer a traumatic injury like you did, I just started with osteo-arthritis. The symptom was pain through the kneecap, as though something was trying to burst out! This was accompanied by involuntary muscle weakness, my body would not "allow" me to ignore the pain, my leg or legs just went weak. The effect was that at first, I couldn't get up long hills with my usual speed. Later on I couldn't burst up short hills or out of bomb holes. No more pedalling stood up!

    In an attempt to address this, I reduced the size of the front ring, then increased the range of the cassette. I ended up with a 10-50T on the rear and a 30T on the front. I also went to see the physio and did all the exercises she gave me. I wore KT tape below my knee caps, I applied pain-killing gels to the knees and I took a 400mg Brufen 30 mins before every ride. I didn't start this all at once, those measures escalated over a few years. By the middle of last year I was down to an mtb ride of 10 miles with 3 days off before the next ride. My next step was going to be an elliptical front ring. But then I took a test ride on an emtb. I had been aware of them for several years, but was resisting them as I felt that I was not ready to "wimp out". All I can say is OMG!! :shock: :D

    What a revelation! Over the next several months I went on every test ride I could find and rode as many bikes as were on offer. In all I rode eight different emtbs plus some variants, each of which passed the look test (I am not a fashion freak, but I will not buy an ugly bike). I was astonished at the impact that only 250 Watts can deliver, I've got a more powerful light bulb outside my house!

    I bought a Focus Jam2 in Jan this year and I feel transformed. I can easily do 20+ miles where I used to struggle to do 10 and I can do it again the next day. My number of hours exercising has rocketed, but the unexpected bonus is that because my knees are not being as physically stressed, it feels like they are recovering! My knees no longer hurt whilst walking and only twinge when climbing or descending stairs.

    Because I couldn't keep up, I stopped riding in the hills or going on long rides with my previous riding buddies. I hated being at the back or being the one everyone is waiting for at the top of the hill! I have since ridden again with friends who ride non-assist mtbs and it is tricky. I dial back the assist, but it is not easy especially on the climbs. I think that I am going slow up the hill, but my mates see me rocket away. They are still faster than me downhill though! :(

    However I am starting to develop new riding buddies that have emtbs. I am once again happy with my lot. :D

    @rolcher, you may believe that emtbs are the Devil's ride, not fit for proper sportsmen, but do yourself a big favour and give one a go. If you don't believe me check out YouTube and see how many top riders are training on emtbs. See what they can do! An emtb will allow you to ride where and when you want and allow your mangled knee to recover. I wish you the best with your recovery. :D
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 773
    I've spoken to my other half and she was very positive about a good recovery.

    She said that you just need to work hard on the physio (without overdoing it), keep to the post op protocol from the surgeon and work on lots of stabilisation exercises.

    She said that it's a common footballers injury.

    You don't mention your ACL. Was that okay?

    If your PCL detached from your tibia, rather than being torn itself, then that is a good thing. They presumably reattached it?

    It will take time but stick to the roadmap you are given and there is no reason why you shouldn't be back on the bike.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • billycool wrote:
    I've spoken to my other half and she was very positive about a good recovery.

    .....

    It will take time but stick to the roadmap you are given and there is no reason why you shouldn't be back on the bike.

    ACL should be fine, doctors never mentioned it. PCL was detached from tibia and moved a little, so the doctors put it
    back on place and screwed it back, so it stays in proper position and can heal. However, the screw will remain, but that shouldt be a problem at all, I am not worried about that.

    In a month or so, I am scheduled for doctor check, so they can confirm that all ligaments look fine and that rehabilitation
    can continue. This confirmation was not possible sooner, doctors said.

    Thank you for yours and your wife´s time.
    R.
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 773
    rolcher wrote:
    billycool wrote:
    I've spoken to my other half and she was very positive about a good recovery.

    .....

    It will take time but stick to the roadmap you are given and there is no reason why you shouldn't be back on the bike.

    ACL should be fine, doctors never mentioned it. PCL was detached from tibia and moved a little, so the doctors put it
    back on place and screwed it back, so it stays in proper position and can heal. However, the screw will remain, but that shouldt be a problem at all, I am not worried about that.

    In a month or so, I am scheduled for doctor check, so they can confirm that all ligaments look fine and that rehabilitation
    can continue. This confirmation was not possible sooner, doctors said.

    Thank you for yours and your wife´s time.
    R.

    That all sounds very positive.

    PCL should recover just fine. I've still got bolts and screws in my ankle 20 years later.

    Ligement damage can be worse than broken bones and just takes time to get better. Generally, they need to wait for post op swelling etc to go down before they can scan it and get a clearer prognosis.

    It is still very early days - hang tough and remain positive!
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • I think if you go slowly you will gain the strength and the ability to ride as before; maybe not so strongly, but you would be able to ride at least normally. Cycling is one exercise that actually causes little or no injury, except accidents. Walking and jogging can cause greater injuries in the long run.












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  • I had a full knee replacement in Jul 17 and was back on my MTB 6 months later. Since then I have been increasing the difficulty and distance of rides to the point where my knee is not even a consideration in wether to go for a ride or not. Have ridden the Snowdonia MTB challenge twice since the Op and the only thing hurting were my lungs.
    Just go for it, build slowly and don’t let a little bit of discomfort stop you.
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