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-   -   Coming back from Achilles injury (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/1191812-coming-back-achilles-injury.html)

matimeo 01-13-20 03:22 PM

Coming back from Achilles injury
 
I haven't commuted to work on my bike in over four months because I ruptured my achilles tendon and had to have surgery. Prior to that I commuted by bike every day of the year. It has been a long four months and I've missed my daily rides. The doctor just gave me the all-clear to start riding again on the outdoor bike. This is such a difficult injury to recover from and I'm so glad I have this community to return to for support. Has anybody else had a similar experience, and what was it like getting back into the saddle?

BobbyG 01-13-20 06:09 PM


Originally Posted by matimeo (Post 21282822)
I haven't commuted to work on my bike in over four months because I ruptured my achilles tendon and had to have surgery. Prior to that I commuted by bike every day of the year. It has been a long four months and I've missed my daily rides. The doctor just gave me the all-clear to start riding again on the outdoor bike. This is such a difficult injury to recover from and I'm so glad I have this community to return to for support. Has anybody else had a similar experience, and what was it like getting back into the saddle?

A bulging disk in my neck kept me off the bike for a year from Sept 2010 to Sept 2011. It was pure, unrelenting agony for the first 3 months. Although I was unsure if I'd ever ride again, my goal was to get back to bike commuting. After 6 months the pain subsided enough to allow me to walk the treadmill for 40 minutes at a time. I needed my endorphines and I wanted to build my cardio back up, so I did the treadmill every morning at first, and then after a couple months before work and after returning home. I even got to the point where I was actually running on the treadmill. I even wore out the tread and walked through the house and office/warehouse waiting for the new tread to arrive. (Turns out, if you can do light bicycle mechanics, you can replace a treadmill tread).

Finally, when the doctor and I agreed I could ride, I first took a short ride through the neighborhood to make sure it wouldn't trigger another episode.

I quickly realized that my cardio was probably up to the 9 mile ride to the office, but just a short ride through the neighborhood killed my legs, as if I had ridden all day. It's really hilly here in Colorado Springs. So I spent a few evenings and weekends building my distance. I finally rode halfway to work and back without my legs giving up...Except for the hills, which I walked the bike up.

So a year after I stopped riding, I rode to work for the first time. And upon arriving at work I broke down and cried. Then I went into the empty warehouse and gave a few victorious yells. And although I'm not the most religious person I said a shehechiyanu, the jewish prayer for reaching milestones.

Even now, a little over 8 years later I still get teary-eyed thinking about it how much I wanted to be able to return to bike commuting, when I didn't know for sure I would even be able to ride at all.

Of course,my legs needed to build up more strength. It's mostly downhill to work, but mostly uphill on the way back. I had to walk the bike up hills I used to not give a second thought to. And at 49 years old, it took me 6 months to get my muscle strength back to where I felt I was at the time a year before. At least my cardio was up to snuff, thanks to 6 months of the treadmill.

Since then I've been riding like I have something to prove. I've pushed my low temperature threshhold down. I bought studded snow tires. I found rain gear and ride in the rain on purpose.

Every time I commute past the spot where the disk in my neck bulged into contact with the neighboring nerve and literally stopped me in my tracks for a year, I realize how lucky I am to have been able to ride again.

@matimeo I wish you success in your recovery and return to daily bike commuting. I know exactly how you feel.

bpcyclist 01-14-20 01:52 AM

Congratulations on getting back in the saddle!! I have no experience with that injury, but I wish you all the best.

rumrunn6 01-14-20 02:08 PM

I only strained my achilles while running. found out that cycling was a good recovery therapy for that. you ruptured yours, requiring surgery? wow! how did you manage that? good luck!

matimeo 01-29-20 03:00 PM


Originally Posted by rumrunn6 (Post 21284213)
I only strained my achilles while running. found out that cycling was a good recovery therapy for that. you ruptured yours, requiring surgery? wow! how did you manage that? good luck!

It's an awful injury. Largest tendon in the body and it heals extremely slowly. I'm 4.5 months out since surgery and still have serious tightness and soreness every day. A five mile bike ride on Saturday set me back a few days to recover. Luckily biking is pretty good for it (or at least not too harmful) so I'm hoping I can be commuting regularly pretty soon.

Darth Lefty 01-30-20 11:42 AM

Iím still recovering from my sternotomy and heart surgery. Yours actually sounds a lot more debilitating. 11mo later I canít do push ups, but I could walk...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achilles_tendon_rupture

did they tell you why surgery over cast? Iíve heard that ACL injuries can heal without surgery but no one wants to suffer that long

matimeo 01-30-20 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by Darth Lefty (Post 21306336)
did they tell you why surgery over cast? Iíve heard that ACL injuries can heal without surgery but no one wants to suffer that long

You can go operative or non-operative with achilles injuries, but in my case he recommended surgery because there is usually a better outcome in terms of regaining function in the leg and less change the tendon heals too long.

phughes 01-31-20 02:13 PM

How did you rupture it? Was it bike related? When you come back, be sure your seat is not too high. I injured my Achilles tendon with a too high seat on a tour. The height made me have to have my feet too far back on the pedals, causing strain on the tendon. Once I got the seat height correct, I was able to move my feet forward a bit more, taking the strain off. No issues since.
Take it easy for a while, and enjoy the ride. Congrats on getting back, and good luck!

matimeo 01-31-20 02:43 PM


Originally Posted by phughes (Post 21307885)
How did you rupture it? Was it bike related? When you come back, be sure your seat is not too high. I injured my Achilles tendon with a too high seat on a tour. The height made me have to have my feet too far back on the pedals, causing strain on the tendon. Once I got the seat height correct, I was able to move my feet forward a bit more, taking the strain off. No issues since.
Take it easy for a while, and enjoy the ride. Congrats on getting back, and good luck!

I ruptured it playing basketball- biking hadn't caused any issues before. But that's a good thing to consider about seat height.

phughes 01-31-20 02:51 PM


Originally Posted by matimeo (Post 21307928)
I ruptured it playing basketball- biking hadn't caused any issues before. But that's a good thing to consider about seat height.

Glad you have the all clear from the doctor to ride again. Take care, and welcome back!

Nick 93 02-01-20 06:41 PM

I recently had an Achilles issue and cycling doesn't bother it at all. Funny thing is that I got the issue from walking. How lame is that? Anyway I definitely don't cheap out on shoes anymore.


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