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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 12-09-12, 01:14 PM   #1
icyclist
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First Serious Accident in 50 Years (with pics)

The last time I broke a bone I was 14. I flipped over the bars, suffered a concussion (no helmet), was unconscious and then in and out of consciousness for a few minutes; I broke my left arm at the wrist.

A little over month ago I managed to suffer another broken wrist, a half century after that earlier accident.

I came close to doing it again a few months ago, when I flipped over the bars of my road bike, due to a mechanical issue that was my fault. As I lay in the road, I thought I must have broken my collarbone, because I hit the pavement hard. I'd only landed heavily on my back, though, compressing part of my (former) helmet. Except for some road rash and bruises, I was OK and finished my ride.

This time, due to a mechanical problem that wasn't my fault, I again flipped over the bars, on my fixed gear bike.

And this time, as I lay in the street, concerned citizens quickly coming to my aid, I was fairly certain I'd broken my collarbone, because my right shoulder was in considerable pain. Confirmation came a few moments later as I tried to sit up: I could feel a fair amount of grinding in my right shoulder.

I also realized my right arm, from hand to elbow, was in some serious pain. In fact, in the aftermath, there's almost enough titanium in my forearm to build a bike frame.

Even at my age, collarbones repair themselves quickly - in my case, the grinding when I moved stopped after four days. Unfortunately, I won't be back on my bike with both hands for about two more months. And I'm going to need some physical therapy for my hand.

When I was 14, the cast came off my left arm and I dimly recall that my wrist felt odd. No PT, although even into my 20s, it hurt to do pushups a little. That was a long time ago. The surgeon said I should make an almost-complete recovery, with only a little loss of motion, nothing to inhibit my riding or posting in this forum.

For now, I'm riding my indoor trainer in the backyard (this is California) every other day, and the dogs are getting longer walks.

I've been incredibly lucky not to have had as serious an accident since I was 14.

If history is a guide, though, I won't have another bone break in my body for another half century.





My bike - new frame, I'd had just four rides on it before the crash. The bike did better than me, with just a scraped saddle.



After the cast came off - stitches were removed, X-rays taken, and I received a new cast.



Bruising spread over quite an area; my legs and hip had similar splotches of color.




Hardware in my wrist.

Last edited by icyclist; 12-09-12 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 12-09-12, 01:20 PM   #2
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Painfull. Keep up the medication but not please take it sitting down.. Another fall with that body of yours could put you back a while.
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Old 12-09-12, 01:22 PM   #3
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Yowzah! That looks like it smarts. I'd stay on the trainer until I had two functioning hands, but I'm a big baby. Especially after an accident like that. Feel better!
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Old 12-09-12, 01:33 PM   #4
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Sorry about your crash. Get well soon.
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Old 12-09-12, 02:21 PM   #5
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Well, at least you can still self administer your pain killer potion with your left hand I see. Sorry to hear about the crash. Care to tell us more about the mechanical issue that caused it? Cautionary tales are always worthwhile.
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Old 12-09-12, 02:56 PM   #6
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Sorry...Cool pics.
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Old 12-09-12, 03:56 PM   #7
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Wow! I would think you would have that 'Flipin' over the bars' thing down pat by now. Three times huh?

If they ever make an Olympic sport out of it you should qualify for the US team with no trouble:

"... And here we have Icyclist doing a double back flip with a half twist over the top of his bars..."


Take care and Get well soon!
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Old 12-09-12, 04:05 PM   #8
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Man, that incision on the wrist is a good one, from the look of the x-rays you got me beat in the Ti in the body area. Sounds like you got things sorted out surgically now let time and then PT do the rest. I would hate to read another post in a few months about having more wrist surgery or a graft on the collar bone. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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Old 12-09-12, 04:05 PM   #9
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Greetings and quick healing. From a member of the titanium wrist club, both of mine, it goes slower than you would hope. Unsolicited medical advice, take pain meds as perscribed. As to physical therapy, six months for me, if it don't hurt it ain't working, pain is you gain there. I am now riding agian and not as good as new but who is. Good luck and good riding.
P.S. great photos. I still have x-rays of my wrists befoe and after, and hardly anyone want to look at them?
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Old 12-09-12, 04:41 PM   #10
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Uh, OK nobody else asked, so I will.

What alloy is the Titanium and is it heat-treated?

Get well soon!
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Old 12-09-12, 04:57 PM   #11
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On Oct. 25, my basket caught the bike rack as I was taking off. Apparently, upon the sudden stop, my foot slid off the pedal and got trapped underneath. Things are a bit foggy.....
Broke the Tib & Fib and ended up with "intermedullary nailing of the tibia" on the 30th. So, I'm in the "titanium fibula club".

ALL my scars together look pretty mundane compared to your wrist!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_3459.JPG (76.2 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3461.JPG (97.2 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 12-09-12 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 12-09-12, 04:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
I would hate to read another post in a few months about having more wrist surgery or a graft on the collar bone. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Bill
Thanks, Bill! Next potential accident, though, won't occur until 2062.
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Old 12-09-12, 05:09 PM   #13
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Greetings and quick healing. From a member of the titanium wrist club, both of mine, it goes slower than you would hope."
Thanks, lapcon, although the second sentence is not what I wanted to read.

Is the issue the plate in your wrist, or just the fact that, for older people, recovery takes longer? Or is it both?
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Old 12-09-12, 05:23 PM   #14
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Thanks, lapcon, although the second sentence is not what I wanted to read.

Is the issue the plate in your wrist, or just the fact that, for older people, recovery takes longer? Or is it both?
I broke the bone leading to the little finger of my hand about 15 years ago and had to have surgery on it. The surgeon inserted a plate with screws similar to yours.

When the cast came off I was surprised and concerned when the finger would not move AT ALL -- not even a fraction of an inch. I thought the surgeon must have fused the joint. But, when I saw him he took the finger and bent it 90degrees. It was the only time in my life that I screamed with pain. That hurt!

But he seemed completely unconcerned and reassured me: "The bone is fine -- it's just soft tissue".

He prescribed PT and OT which I attended religiously and also did the exercises on my own 5 or 10 times a day. I kept at it for a year before all of the stiffness was gone. Today, it works as well as my other uninjured finger. it is quite amazing what "soft tissue" can do and how much work it takes to get it working.

... Just my experience. I hope you find a somewhat quicker easier time of it.
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Old 12-09-12, 05:27 PM   #15
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Hey, look at the positive side, now you'll get close and personal with the TSA every time you go through a detector!
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Old 12-09-12, 05:40 PM   #16
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*whince* That hurts just looking at it.
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Old 12-09-12, 06:30 PM   #17
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Man, that incision on the wrist is a good one, from the look of the x-rays you got me beat in the Ti in the body area. Sounds like you got things sorted out surgically now let time and then PT do the rest. I would hate to read another post in a few months about having more wrist surgery or a graft on the collar bone. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Bill
Maybe we should have a Titanium Club for all of us who have raised its' price on the market? Person who has the most "gets" to be President.
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Old 12-09-12, 06:33 PM   #18
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Hey, look at the positive side, now you'll get close and personal with the TSA every time you go through a detector!
Yes, I'd be interested in what happens. I've a fair amount of titanium on my spine and bracing. TSA never even seems to know it is there.
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Old 12-09-12, 07:17 PM   #19
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Don't forget to increase your fluid and fiber intake if you are taking opioid pain pills.
Heal reasonably fast.
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Old 12-09-12, 08:36 PM   #20
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Glad you lived to fight another day. Heal qucikly.
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Old 12-09-12, 08:48 PM   #21
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Hey, look at the positive side, now you'll get close and personal with the TSA every time you go through a detector!
Not if his Ti is the same alloy as mine in my back are, they are a non-ferrous alloy and are non-magnetic. I have made several treks through the TSA devices and had more MRI than I can count.

Bill
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Old 12-09-12, 09:27 PM   #22
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On Oct. 25, my basket caught the bike rack as I was taking off. Apparently, upon the sudden stop, my foot slid off the pedal and got trapped underneath. Things are a bit foggy.....
Broke the Tib & Fib and ended up with "intermedullary nailing of the tibia" on the 30th. So, I'm in the "titanium fibula club".

ALL my scars together look pretty mundane compared to your wrist!
I'm sorry to meet another member of the club. I hope your own recovery is speedy and I'm sure you are well along the way.
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Old 12-10-12, 01:54 AM   #23
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I'm sorry to meet another member of the club. I hope your own recovery is speedy and I'm sure you are well along the way.
I see the surgeon Thursday. I'll either be able to put full weight on it or have 4 more weeks of winter.
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Old 12-10-12, 07:12 AM   #24
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I do not mean to be negative. Just the opposite, be positive in your recovery, but know that improvement does not occur in a straight line.
As to your question, some of both. I was in my mid forties at the time of my accident and now that seems young. I am now 51.

The issue is not the hardware but the scar tissue limiting motion. Two surgeries on one wrist and plate and pins in the other, scar tissue is unavoidable. PT was able to break through most most not all scarring. Work the PT which with this injury means a lot of hand holding with the therapist.

At first you may want a woman to do so much hand holding with but you soon learn crying and pleading just makes them push harder.
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Old 12-10-12, 08:59 AM   #25
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Wow. Hearing all these stories is telling me that the belly flop I did off my bike last Saturday was extremely fortunate. My bike slid out from under me at probably 10-15 mph going around a curve on wet pavement. I thought I would be hurt bad, but the worst of it was a sprained right thumb... virtually no road rash and just some slight bruising of the ribs, shoulders, hips and knees. The water that caused my tires to slide apparently helped me save my skin (literally). The bike did slightly worse- bent pedal, crank and shifter on the left side. I've got it rolling again, but the cranks don't match at the moment.
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