Fractured pelvis - no dislocation/surgery

I came off my bike at the weekend on a wet/icy patch and landed on my side, fracturing my pelvis in a couple of places (acetabular being one). It seems like no surgery is required at this stage, but I’m on crutches and not weight bearing for a while. Think it’s a similar one to the injury Geraint Thomas had at the Giro last month.

Has anyone had a similar injury - if so then what was your recovery like in terms of time/stages/pain?

Clearly I will be taking doctors and physio advice also, but always good to hear stories from cyclists…

:hushed: Ive no experience unfortunately(/ fortunately
:thinking:) but here’s wishing you a speedy recovery :+1:

Take. Your. Time. I broke my pelvis several years ago. Ridiculous pain (I imapcted and snapped the iliac crest). Apparently, for the first week, if I was using those muscles, I was re-snapping it.

My doctor is a sports physio and cyclist. I trust him. He started out saying 12 weeks, but I was good about PT and stretching and being careful, and I was on the road bike in 8 weeks.

I was also told to use a cane or crutch to prevent a limp development, which would have been hard to get rid of.

It took me one year after that to get a new PR on the downhill where it happened. I am now faster, stronger, and more resilient than prior to the crash.

Forced time off is frustrating, but think about Wout van Aert. I’d say he is better now than pre-crash.

Let it heal.

I broke my pelvis February 3, 2019 in 3 places- primarily in the pubic ramus, but also in the sacral ala. It was non-displaced and didn’t require surgery but was extrarodinarily painful to walk on the next day (it was not diagnosed in the ER and I didn’t know for about 24h). Once it was diagnosed I was non-weight bearing.

I was in bed for a week, then on crutches for about 6 weeks. I was back on the bike mid-April. All told it felt like forever during the recovery, but looking back it feels like a dream. By mid-summer I was 100% healed with no residual pain and even did a weeklong training camp in August in Colorado. Take it slow and don’t rush it. Don’t overdo your first few trainer rides, like I did. And expect asymmetries afterwards- to this day, I’m playing whack-a-mole with imbalance issues I believe indirectly stem from that accident. Other than that, I’m 110% the athlete I was pre-crash, but I doubt I’ll ever wholeheartedly partake in a field sprint again.

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I came off and broke my pubic ramus in 2 places last year. At the time because of the adrenaline pumping round my body caused by the sheer shock of the accident I had no idea anything was broke. When that wore off it was a different story.

I couldn’t bear any weight at all on it or even have the slightest separation of my legs. The pain was beyond horrific. The worst for me was getting in and out of bed. At 6 weeks I was still barred from doing anything by my consultant and I mean anything. At 12 weeks I was allowed to “…start building it slowly.”

Take it easy. Don’t rush back into it or get frustrated by any perceived lack of progress. Listen to the experts; the doctors and consultants.

You never realize how traumatic sneezing can be until you fracture your pelvis.

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I found that out last night! Felt like my bone shattered in a million places. Unfortunately also have a lingering cough which is a similar feeling.

For the first couple of weeks - everyone did absolutely nothing? The only things I will be doing apart from sitting at a desk or lying down are v light leg stretches/exercises.

Very difficult “doing nothing” and watching it all ebb away, especially when I was probably at my peak fitness. But the silver lining is that it happened at the end of the season and that I managed to get home reasonably safely (probably should not have driven 90mns home, adrenalin is useful), could have been much worse.

Yes. Do nothing. Get a wheelchair and have someone push you for a walk. Watch Netflix. Watch bike races. You’ll be back but this is serious and you need to heal.

Or your ribs. I broke 2 playing football at a children’s birthday party 5 or 6 years ago and then caught a cold. Utter. Bloody. Agony.

Good luck to the OP - hope you heal up soon.

I broke my pelvis in three places early Nov 2014. Like you, no dislocation or surgery. I was back on the trainer (very gently and tentatively) i a month, and took my first outdoor ride in mid-Dec (6 weeks). It was February before I felt comfortable enough to do serious intervals, and mid-year before I felt I was back to where I’d been before the accident. I did race in March (crit), and did OK, but didn’t set the world on fire. Worth noting that I was 51 at the time. From watching a former teammate (in his late 20s) recover from the same injury, I know that a younger rider will recover faster. I also suspect that if I had been doing more structured training in 2015, I would have likely gotten back to baseline sooner.

I suppose if you had to crack your pelvis, early Nov is a pretty good time to do it. Take some time with your recovery, and hopefully by Jan or Feb you’ll be ready to start building your form again. In the meantime, Ibuprofen is your friend!

FWIW, despite being some of the worst pain I’ve ever endured, I still remember running into an ER nurse I know at the grocery when I was mobile enough to get out with crutches (shopping carts make great walkers!). When I told her I had a broken pelvis, I was expecting the same sort of pained/awed reaction I got from everyone else, but she smiled, patted me on the shoulder, and said “Thank God it wasn’t anything serious!”

Mirrors my experience with ER also where it was viewed as a minor irritation, all relative obviously.

Back on turbo after a month sounds optimistic and I’d definitely take that at this stage. Considering getting a recumbent exercise bike but probably not worth the hassle for a month or two of use.

For the moment it’s lots of drugs, toe extensions and quad squeezes until my next docs appt.

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Reading these replies has me pondering how do you even go to the bathroom while recovering from that? Can you even bear your weight sitting down? Terrifying!

Think it depends, some of the stories I’ve heard have been pretty severe. Thankfully I can sit down without a lot of pain (caveated with the fact I am on painkillers). But I can’t twist or stand on my leg and the thought of falling again on my right side is scary.

I’m also a card-carrying member of this club. Broke my right pubis ramus in 2011 at Tour of Qatar and the left pubis ramus at USA Crit Nationals in Greenville, SC in 2015. This is an entry from my old blog at that time - maybe there’s something in it that resonates with you.

I’ll echo what others here have said. On this side of healing, you feel like you’ll never be healed again. On the other side of healing, the healing process will feel like a tiny blip on the radar. It’s worth front-loading the healing process - take extra time and care early in the process. Once you have a really good bone callous formed, some stress to that matrix becomes really beneficial. But early on, you want to give it as much chance as possible to form without disruption.

Seek out a good PT. Scar tissue can cause lingering issues, as can muscle imbalances, but both can be strongly mitigated with proactive care.

It helps to reset your zero point to the moment you hit the ground. Compare everything about where you are now to that time point, not to how you felt before the crash. It helps keep perspective on what an amazing job your body is doing in healing the wounds and how much progress you’re making.

Most broken bones, in the absence of other confounding factors are your standard 6 weeks to healed, 8 weeks to full strength. But that’s assuming you don’t do anything that hinders the process, and that you get good union right away. Bones are pretty straightforward. It’s the surrounding soft tissues that cause drama, and in the case of the pelvis, there is extra pain because it’s the (only?) bone in the body that is itself enervated. Not fun, but it gives you really clear guideposts to signal what is/is not too much movement.

Be patient with yourself. I found it helped to sit and consider all the things my body was doing at any given moment to heal the wound – all happening with any conscious decision-making on my part. It’s pretty mind-blowing, and also comforting. You’ve got this.

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To clarify, I only got back on the trainer after the Doc OK’d it. I’m not beyond pushing doctor’s orders, but I didn’t want to push anything that could have resulted in permanent or extended impairment.

Carefully. Very carefully. Your quads get a good workout from all the s-l-o-w sitting you do every time you have to lower yourself to a seat.

Since the pelvis is a ring, symmetric loads aren’t bad. Standing and sitting with weight distributed evenly on left/right sides doesn’t hurt much. The asymmetric loading (shifting weight from one foot to the other or standing on one foot) is what really hurts. Or, engaging muscles that attach near the fracture site. Interestingly, both are things that stress the fracture, so pain is a really good early guide when you’re trying not to disturb the fracture to encourage good callous formation!

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Really helpful advice. Explains why sitting down and driving home was actually incredibly easy compared to the pain of lifting my bike off the car and taking it the very short distance inside or any gentle twist. Any twisty type separation of the legs is immediately screamed at by my nerves, if I lock my legs together when in bed or sitting it’s fine to move around.

It’s a quick learning process to understand what movements work and what don’t. Until I see the doc in 2 weeks I will be taking it super easy, but 6 weeks doing nothing will be tough to achieve.

The other thing to consider with these injuries is that immobility is not great for blood flow / clots / etc. I’ve seen how badly this can go wrong after (much more serious) injuries than mine, so worth taking anticoagulants and keeping blood flow going with v gentle movements.

It’s a new challenge anyway, roughly 2 months to recover, 2 months to build and then back in peak form early summer. Easy, right!?

Appreciate all the advice and BarryBean don’t worry I’m not jumping back on turbo just yet. Surely only one quad is getting a workout? I’m not using my right one when sitting down…

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Armadillo, apologies, I really should have qualified the “do nothing” advice. That was in relation to “proper” physical activities such as turbo (even no resistance leg spinning) and working where you have to be on your feet for a sustained period etc.

Definitely do not split you day into 12 hours in bed and 12 hour sitting on your favourite seat. Get up on your crutches and hobble about the house or even outside if safe. Go to the kitchen and make yourself a coffee or tea. Making a drink and transporting a cup while on 2 crutches is a major achievement.

Any pain just stop. Don’t be tempted to push through. The old ‘No pain no gain’ adage doesn’t count here. Your body is doing a remarkable self healing job and needs your energies focused on that.

Good luck with the recovery and rehabilitation.

I fractured my pelvis in a crash in June of this year. I also had no dislocation or surgery needed. My fractures were all in my the pubic bone, so even just sitting was difficult.

I spent about 6 weeks basically living in a recliner. It took me about 4 weeks before I was even able to hobble around the house.

I was off the bike about 10-12 weeks. At around 9 weeks, I started using an indoor rower a few times a week to build back up my cardio again. After 2 weeks or so of rowing, I slowly built back up with just easy z1-z2 rides for about 20-30 minutes every few days for 2 weeks, then slowly started adding volume. Started a training plan again about 14 weeks after the crash.