The Injury Clinic: Getting CW readers back on their bikes

The purpose of our initial feature was to convey that no matter how small and insignificant a niggle you may have, if it goes left untreated, it could and more often than not, turn into a serious, complex issue.

“A lot of people will fall foul of an injury, and instead of treat it, leave it for six weeks and hope that it settles down,” says PhysioWorld’s national manager, Rickie Lovell.

“Now this is fine, and in some cases it will. But there are a lot of injuries that won’t, which could cause problems. So it’s useful to know whether it’s something you can carry on with, or should stop and treat. Because that’s one of the things that lead to long-term chronic injuries – people keep going when they shouldn’t.”

Resolving issues
Rickie is very passionate about educating people about how to look after their body. Each day his team of physiotherapists treat many people from a whole variety of sports with their injuries, issues and problems and he feels there aren’t many that can’t be treated.

Getting the correct treatment is vital to recovery

So we thought we would ask him to put his money where his mouth is and treat some of our readers who are suffering from injuries, which are preventing you from riding your bikes as much as you would like.

Back in the saddle
We asked you to email in with your injuries, and how it is affecting your cycling and your state of mind – injuries are a big cause for depression in sport. We promised to pick a handful, and send them off to PhysioWorld for four free treatments.

Well we have now chosen our final three. Below are their letters and over the next few months we will chart their progress and their route from injury and rehab back to cycling.

While it’s worth noting that all injuries are unique, hopefully by seeing how these riders are being treated, and what they do in their spare time to help their injuries resolve, we will gain an insight into the rehab process and perhaps provide some information that may help you too.

Super-motivated after serious break
Dear Cycling Weekly,
“This maybe too much of a task to take on but here is my injury history and problem. Six years ago after a successful season racing where I managed to get my second-cat license, I fell while out training, resulting in a very bad spiral fracture to the left tibia and fibula. The leg was so damaged that the surgeon prepared me for amputation.

After consultation with the Ilizarov company in Russia the surgeon reconstructed the tibia with the help of an Ilizarov frame. We managed to save the leg but I needed four more operations including three more frames on for 18 month each while having to stretch the bone each day with tiny frame adjustments.

A bone graft was needed from my hip but eventually last year I began riding again. The tibia has healed but the fibula has a non-union and will be broke permanently (1cm gap).

I have trained hard to regain muscle mass and still have a way to go but rode the Tour of the Peak this year. My main concerns are leg length discrepancy, scar tissue issues in the leg and ankle and hip alignment. I get numb fingers when I ride over 50 miles.

I work at the Christie Cancer Hospital as a radiographer and can get access to all my scans and x-rays. My goals for next year are to race again and to complete the Fred Whitton. I’m 40 years old but super motivated to ride well again, but need help to reduce further complications during my recovery.”

Scott Hudson

A pain in the backside

Dear Cycling Weekly,
“I’d like taking the opportunity to whine about my persistent injury. I have a constant ache in my lower back/buttock area but only on the right side. It seems to be aggravated by riding uphill if I stay seated.

On long climbs it seems to cramp up all the way up my back and also down into my hamstrings. I recently completed a hilly Audax with some killer climbs and I was in agony by the last hill and I’m ashamed to say I had to have a little cry! It was also aggravated by competing in 10-mile TTs this summer.

I am really frustrated as I’m trying to increase my mileage with a view to improving my TT times next season but I’m having to cut rides short or to miss days of riding and I seem to be constantly on ibuprofen! I don’t think it is my bike but it seems to be worse on my road bike than it is on my mtb – it gets worse if I try to push a harder gear.

I’m a 40-year-old mother of one and a frontline police officer and cycling is the way that I cope with everyday stresses and remain sane. My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to keep on riding. I’ve tried yoga and I stretch every day but the problem isn’t going away.”

Julia Blowers

Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Dear Cycling Weekly,
“I’ve just read an article in this week’s Cycling Weekly titled ‘Get checked not wrecked’ where you offer the opportunity for cyclists to have their niggling injuries investigated, so I thought I would drop you a mail.

I fell of the bike (forgot to unclip!) at a very low speed around two months ago, and landed heavily on my right side. The shoulder hurt a lot afterwards, but as always I expected a few painkillers and ice pack would sort the issue. Something that I think a lot of people do.

Now, some two months down the line, the shoulder is still not 100 per cent. I struggle to raise it to a certain height without it hurting, and I’m afraid to lift or pull any great weight. I am concerned that I may have done some serious muscular damage.

And to make things worse, an old skiing injury to the knee has resurfaced since cycling, which doesn’t help things at all. I’d be extremely grateful if you could help. It’s preventing me from cycling as much as I would like and is very frustrating!”

James Head

This article was first published in the November 15 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.