Ten Months in – Broken Hip

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Like I posted yesterday, it has been pretty much exactly 10 months since I fell in Quad Cites and broke my hip.  I have to admit that I am pretty surprised about how this last 10 months have went.

Historically, with injuries, I can usually jump the “doctor’s gun” and get back at it in about 1/2 the time that I’ve been told.  But, this has been different.

This has been a learning experience.  It’s not the bone that was/is the issue.  It is all the soft tissue they  cut through to get to the bone.  Having a 12 inch incision completely through my IT band wasn’t anything I had experienced before.  I’m not even sure what an IT band is, but whatever it is, it is an important part of leg function.  And that is the problem.

It was really slow going initially.  I have a very hard time believing that I raced the Chequamegon MTB race a little over 3 months after surgery.  That seems nearly impossible 7 months later.

I’ve only done two races since the break.  Chequamegon and then a team member of a 24 hour MTB race in February.  Looking back now, I am much better than I was in February.

The last two months, I‘ve had a lot of improvement.  I get pain when I ride, but only when I do an abrupt movement.  Something like my rear wheel slides out on sand and I have to do a quick response to stay upright.

Standing on one leg to put my jeans on has been impossible.  The last couple months, I’ve been doing one legged squats, while standing in the shower, and I think that has helped a ton.  I can now balance well enough to dress standing up, which is more important than you’d think.

And, yes, I plan to start running some.  Just for life.  I want to be able to do everything I did before breaking my hip.  Riding a bicycle is important, but it isn’t everything.  Running is something that has to be available to do when I don’t have a bike or just don’t feel like riding.  It might be a bit before I can go out and do a 5 minute mile again.

I plan to get back to racing pretty soon.  I was sick a lot the last month and missed all the early season training races around here.  This weekend is Easter, so there isn’t much racing going on.

Last night, on the evening ride, everyone seemed pretty animated.   I’ve been riding gravel the last week and it was really nice getting back on my road bike.  The lack of resistance was a pleasure.

The ride was fast.  And pretty hard.  The wind was blowing from the Southeast at about 25 mph.  That isn’t that usual for Kansas in early spring, but it still was a 25 mph cross/headwind going out.

Anyway, my brother Kris, started going hard maybe 10 miles from “the sprint”.  And it really didn’t slow down from there.  I was trying to keep a few guys on, that were getting dropped on hills, etc., so I was in the wind a lot.  I was surprised how out of shape I am for going fast.

I’m not sure why that surprised me so much.  I haven’t raced and don’t really do intervals, so what wouldn’t I be out of shape for riding over 30 mph.  Acutally, I was okay pulling, just the changing of speed when rotating to the back was hurting me.

So, I think I’m fit enough to race some.  There is a 100 mile gravel road race in Lawrence next Sunday, that I think I might do.  I might look around to see if there are any other races around that might suit me better.  I don’t need to be doing criteriums.  I need a hilly road race or circuit race.

Anyway, I think I am 80% of the way recovered from this whole broken hip thing.  I have to thank all the people that helped me.  All the doctors, plus friends.  But really all the emails and contacts from other riders that have had this same problem.  I got so much valuable information from other cyclists.  It kept me focused and gave me insight to what to expect, realistically.

I was told, many times, that it would be 12 months, or more, before it would feel natural.  That seems to be timeframe I’m on.  Wonder what I’ll be doing Memorial Day Weekend this year?

Lots of guys have had the hardward taken out.  I have no idea how you make that decision.  Hopefully it won't be one I have to figure out.

Lots of guys have had the hardward taken out. I have no idea how you make that decision. Hopefully it won’t be one I have to figure out.

The soft tissue trauma was the real issue.

The soft tissue trauma was the real issue.

My doctor from University of Iowa, Dr. Karam.  He is a very good orthopedic surgeon.

My doctor from University of Iowa, Dr. Karam. He is a very good orthopedic surgeon.I was very lucky crashing near him.



16 thoughts on “Ten Months in – Broken Hip

  1. Ron Williams

    If you are having any issues with the hardware… get it taken out sooner than later. I waited many years and when they went in to take it out… they couldn’t get it. It was fully embedded in bone and they stripped the screws out. Now I have an 18 inch rod to live with. Not such a bad thing.. I just know I get quite a bit of pain from it.

  2. william feiges

    the Twin Bing Road Race in Climbing Hill Iowa might be just what the doctor ordered It is a hilly hard road race in loees hills near Sioux City Iowa, Good competiors and challenging course. Hope to see you there

  3. darkcloud

    “The last couple months, I’ve been doing one legged squats, while standing in the shower”
    Sounds like an accident waiting to happen…

  4. Chris

    If you are looking for a hilly course, you should consider the Tour of Hermann in Missouri on April 11th and 12th. Back to back centuries on a pretty hilly, gravel course.

  5. dog

    I had my hardware removed 18 months after surgery. The only difference between your x-ray and mine is you have the additional compression screw on top of the huge “main” screw.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m VERY glad to have had the hardware taken out, but what I did not expect was the “doctor’s orders” following the removal surgery. No bike racing for more than a year afterward. Crashing would be “bad” Why? Because the significant holes left in the bone (post-surgery). They have to not only fill in, but they must also solidify… and that takes time. The bone, post-removal is very vulnerable to breaking, at least for a whle.

    I kept my hardware after the surgery. Very cool. Like a fine Campagnolo component. The screws are not at all unlike drywall screws.

  6. Mick

    Steve, the inaugural gravel Hungry Bear 100 is in Cable WI finishing at the The Rivers Eatery on May 9.

  7. kevink

    My hardware decision was easy – it was causing residual pain pretty consistently. Talk to your doctor now about the type of pain you are experiencing and he can give you advice as to whether it is hardware related.

    The BIG downside to hardware removal (for me) was cutting through all of that soft tissue again. That took a while to heal (three months). But I’m glad I did it, the muscle had adhered to the metal plate (similar to yours).

    Now, almost two years later, my legs are virtually identical.

  8. Dog

    In my case, the soft-tissue damage from the fall itself had a lot to do with the difficulty of recovery in the weeks following. The removal surgery had far, far less of the swelling and ouchiness. I did have to use crutches for significantly longer than I did after the first surgery, as the bone is left with five significant holes in it, but it did not take long before I felt quite good. Having that fucking plate finally outta there is a huge difference. There are only minor differences in my two legs now.

    Also, the doc greatly reduced the amount of scar tissue with the removal surgery. The staple holes are all gone, and the area looks less messed-up (cosmetically).

    Bottom line: I am VERY glad to have had it removed. Remember, most people who break a hip are past the age of 75. With those folks, for obvious reasons, the hardware is left in place. But there is not a ton of hard data on the long term effects for those who’ve had their hardware in for several decades. Foreign objects residing in our bodies are things we should generally avoid.


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