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Archive for the 'Injuries' Category

Hiking some mountain bike trails

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Last week, Sarah and I decided to hike the North Tower Loop, one of the mountain bike trails I ride regularly at Brown County State Park. I had never hiked it before, and she had never seen it at all.

It was a bit odd hiking a trail with which I’m quite familiar from bike rides. It was a completely different perspective, and most of the parts that are tricky on a bike are quite easy on foot. The slower pace allowed me to enjoy the scenery more and take some photos with my good camera, which I never take on bike rides.

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We ran into my mountain biking buddy Dave, who was out riding. We talked for a few minutes before he took off. He was riding the trail in both directions, so we expected to see him again.

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We saw Dave sooner than we expected. It turns out that the trail meanders so much that there’s a spot where two disparate parts of the trail come within about 30 feet of each other — we just never noticed before because unless someone’s riding on the other part at the same time, you can’t see the trail through the brush. You learn something new every day!

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It was a really fun hike. I’ve seen this trail in all seasons and conditions, but always from my bike. It was cool to get a different perspective; we’ll have to go back and hike some of the other mountain bike trails sometime.

Fracture update

Friday, July 11th, 2008

I saw an orthopedic surgeon for some follow-up on my broken finger yesterday. Unfortunately since this happened out of town, I had to find a different doctor for follow-up. The doctor was great, so maybe that’s not a bad thing. I learned a lot during this visit. Bad news first.

The Bad

  1. My finger will never work quite right again.
  2. The swelling in my knuckle will probably never go away.
  3. The fracture was much worse than I realized. I either misunderstood what the other doctor said, or he explained it wrong, or he misinterpreted the X-Ray. I thought a small piece of bone chipped off at the joint. But my new doctor showed me that that small piece wasn’t what broke off, it was the only part that didn’t break off. Allow me to illustrate.
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    So as you can see, what really happened was the entire top half of my finger broke off. Only a little piece held on, attached by ligament. The doctor said this is quite an unusual fracture and showed it to several other people there so they could see what had happened. I was glad I could keep their jobs interesting.
  4. In the time since the other doctor popped my finger back into joint, it has shifted a little bit. In order to correct it, they would have to re-break it, which would do more harm than good. This means my movement will be restricted permanently. We will get back whatever mobility we can.
  5. The doctor gave me a splint to wear basically all the time to help make it so I can straighten my finger out again. This is making a lot of things very difficult, including typing.

The Good

  1. The other doctor did a great job of popping my finger back into joint.
  2. While it was a serious fracture, it is healing surprisingly well, in part due to #1. The doctor was very optimistic.
  3. The pain I am still feeling is completely normal for an injury like this after only two weeks.
  4.  When I took the splint off to shower this morning, I could already see improvement. My finger was straighter than I’ve been able to get it on my own.
  5. At three weeks the bones will be mostly fused back together and very strong (that’s next week).
  6. The doctor says I can ride my bike, as long as I wear my splint.

Next Steps

  1. I need to wear the splint all the time, except to shower.
  2. I need to do an exercise where I bend the tip of my finger. I need to do this as often as possible.
  3. Next week, the splint comes off and we will start working on bending the finger.

Independence day weekend activities

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Things are looking up, I think. I have fresh, pink skin mostly covering where my scrapes were, and a good portion of the scabs have come off. There are still some scabs where the scrapes were deeper, and both my knee and my elbow are still pretty tender, but I feel like I’m making good progress. I’m a little less sure about my finger. There’s still some swelling and pain, but at the same time my range of movement continues to improve. I did a brief (4 mile) test ride on Saturday and everything felt pretty good. I was on my road bike, which has shifters built into the brakes, and I have to shift with my index and ring fingers, because my middle finger isn’t up to the task yet. I don’t quite have the same grip I did before but I can still hold on to the hoods and brake fairly well.

After my test ride, Sarah and I went for a hike. More on that in a minute.

On Sunday, I rode the Water Works route, and it went really well. I wasn’t sure if my finger could handle 20+ miles of riding, but it really didn’t bother me too much. It’s funny, I still can’t open a bottle of soda, but now I can ride 20 miles without too much trouble. Then again, if given the choice, I’d rather ride. I did feel some pain when I went over big bumps, but otherwise I was fine. Riding in the hoods or drops works better for me than sitting more upright and using the flat, middle part of the bars.

Anyway, it felt great to ride. I put forth a medium amount of effort, enough to feel I was getting a good workout, but I didn’t go all out. Even though I rode early in the afternoon, I saw two deer and had to slow down to let a wild turkey cross the road in front of me. I’m not sure who was more startled: the turkey crossing the road, or turkey on the bicycle. I was surprised to see so much wildlife, normally I would only expect to see those animals in the early morning or late evening.

Back to Saturday’s hike, Sarah and I took Rob (the dog) to hike the Pate Hollow trail near Lake Monroe.  We’ve hiked there before, but that was back in January. Everything looks so much different now, very green and lush. I forgot how cool this trail is — it has a lot of switchbacks, some fairly long climbs and a few creek crossings. We did a shortened version of the trail again this time; sometime we’ll have to go back and do the full 7+ miles. I’ve heard the other half of the trail is even better. It felt great to be outdoors together and get some exercise without aggravating my finger. Here are some photos from our hike.

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Creek

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The trail. If you look closely you can see the dog in the distance

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One of many switchbacks

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Rob

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Shadows

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Climbing

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Wild raspberries

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Sarah

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