Dealing with Minor Injuries
Last month, I went on an excellent road trip vacation with my family (my wife and two boys — a 3 1/2 and 2 year old) up through central Oregon and back down the west coast. Absolutely stunning scenery!
We loaded up (and I'm not exaggerating) the Pilot — 2 bikes, bike trailer, stroller, porta crib, and enough food and clothing to last most sane people 6 months! But we're insane.
We spent the first week at a cabin on a ranch outside Ashland, OR. There was a ton to do there for the boys, and I could ride my mountain bike on some pretty hilly and rugged terrain. It was hotter than you-know-what, and even the flats felt like mountains.
That's the prelude 🙂
So I picked the hottest day of our stay to explore. I climbed a bunch of hills to get where I was going (which, essentially, was “nowhere”). Then the trail disappeared.
After a little trek up some ridiculous terrain, I became “the decider.” Bad idea! I turned around. As I approached warp speed, I started to brake, but obviously not enough!
I made a slight turn of the wheel, the tire dug in, the bike stopped, but I didn't.
After slamming hands first into the gravel, I made two somersaults and landed on my shoulder. After I picked the gravel from my palms and knees, brushed off a bit, I hopped back up on the bike.
A little blood, but remarkably not much pain.
Until two days later.
My right wrist had taken the brunt of the crash and was pretty sore. That was a month and a half ago. It is still sore. Especially after I had the shots yesterday to burst the ganglia that had presented itself.
Plus, apparently, I had broken my hand, but it had already healed. Now I've got this red (soon-to-be-purple) bruise on the back side of my arm where the hand meets the wrist. The doctor said the treatment given works about 50 percent of the time. Let's hope. Otherwise, my alternatives are to “live with it” or have surgery to remove it. I guess it's like a cyst. Not a big deal, but man am I tired of surgeries! 3 on the knee and an emergency appendectomy are enough for this cowboy!
So, to the subject of this post.
How to Deal with Minor Injuries
First and foremost, the treatment I am about to describe is not to be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor, just a guy whose had his share of minor injuries and is sharing his successes and failures with you. We're talking sprains and strains, slight pulls, and the like. Not bone breaks, muscle tears, incessant bleeding or other soft tissue damage that might require surgery. Seek medical attention right away! Then, treat your injury right away with RICE:
I hate medication as much as the next guy, but I recommend that you also take a pain reliever like Motrin. It will take the edge off and reduce swelling. Obviously, don't take a medication that you know you're allergic to or have had adverse side effects in the past.! I've found success by also keeping the joint immobile for a day or two. I ice the injury for 10-15 minutes every hour for as long as I'm awake. Of course, you may have some timing issues if you're at work or have to drive somewhere, but if you're home, ice as frequently as possible. Then, after 2 days or so, start light exercise. Get the joint moving. Do whatever you can without pain. If you experience pain, stop. Ice some more. After 3-5 days, you should be at 80 percent or so.
Dealing with Injury while Exercising
My particular wrist pain is exacerbated mostly by anything where a weight is pressing against the palm of my hand. Things like bench presses, military presses, and the like. But interestingly, you never notice this until you're hurt, but supporting weight in things like squats and calf presses KILL! So I work around it. Rather than grip the bar for the duration in the squat, I wrap my arms around the bar so that my hands aren't gripping the bar at all. For calf presses, I did donkey presses instead of standing presses. Things like that. You have to continue treatment for as long as the injury persists, keep the joint flexible and strong, but without causing any undue pain. Time doesn't heal, but it sure helps! If you follow this advice, I am hopeful that you can keep the minor injuries that you're going to get to a minimum and allow you to continue to workout with minimal lost time.