Back in May, I unfortunately injured my left knee, resulting in IT band related tendonitis that I’ve been struggling to come back from ever since. I started working with a local physical therapist who happens to be a competitive cyclist in July and have been slowly progressing back, but I’m still limited in both duration and intensity of my riding.
Having come back to cycling in relatively recently in 2019 after a long hiatus, living in a new area, I never developed a group of riding buddies. Instead, I’ve more or less gone it alone, including a lot of tandem TR-Zwift sessions. That’s left me without much of a support network now that I’m injured.
I’m interested if anyone else may be in a similar spot - coming back from injury of any kind - that would like to have some check-in/accountability and some mutual support. Feel free to message me directly, or post here if you’re interested.
currently on the mend for a still undiagnosed foot injury that I got running, potentially an early-stage stress fracture/reaction in the third metatarsal. I was just coming back from post tib tendonitis and from being run over by a car while cycling (hence the running: the bike is currently in bits).
I’m quite confident I did too much, too soon and that prompted the injury, but I’m really down at the moment, as this year I seem to have strung together an impressive list of setbacks from training.
Like you, I moved recently (beginning of this year), so have very little support network around me.
Ouch! I did something to my IT band back in circa 2007, its agony and you have my sympathy big time. Orthotics and exercises seemed to eventually manage it.
The memory is hazy but I think I was off the bike completely for a few weeks and then only gentle cycling for a few months. I had not long moved to an area also and had yet to establish many cycling buddies, fortunately when it was under control I was able to join a club though.
For the next 6 or 7 years however, I could feel it tightening and relied on stretches to stop it happening and let me continue group riding. I could be wrong (I’m certainly no physio) but I think a later cycling fit which identified leg length discrepancy has completely resolved it and for the last 4 or 5 years I’ve no longer felt it tightening and no longer wear the orthotics.
Thanks for the replies!
@HLaB - I really appreciate hearing about your experience. I think I’ve fallen into the trap of assuming I would recover at a faster rate, when I have nothing to base that on. Patience will be the key, I suppose in ensuring longevity in the sport.
@eguiz - Thanks for sharing. That must be doubly frustrating to be coming back from a trauma only to have setbacks in your substitute activity.
OK so a trip to the doc excluded the stress fracture (phew!!) and confirmed a slightly pinched/inflamed nerve. I’m on anti-inflammatories now, and funnily enough it hurts more to ride a bike (I have very wide feet and, although the S-Works 7 shoes are classed are reasonably wide, they’re still a bit too narrow for me in the toe box) than to run (gave it a small go this morning to test the waters and see what it felt like).
I’m going to be playing it super conservatively, as I had 4 days completely off to let the swelling subside, then two days on the turbo (to minimize standing and any sort of vibration or shock to the foot), and this morning I got back out to run. We’ll see how it progresses, but I’m so happy it doesn’t look like something that will sideline me for 5+ weeks (i.e. Morton’s neuroma or stress fracture).
It’s interesting how fragile you feel when cycling/sport is taken away from you, so you have all my empathy!!
For most “soft tissue” problems, I have noticed that strength training, foam rolling and yoga have helped me massively in the past.
Love this! I have worked in the team sports rehab setting with athletes for half of a decade now and, anecdotally, one of the greatest factors we’ve seen in outcome successes is the mindset the athlete is able to create and sustain throughout the process. Those that seem to do this really well are the ones who lean into the “team” of other athletes going through their own rehab process; rather than being “removed” from their usual team or activities, in their own mind they seem to frame it instead as they are now a part of a new team and activities, and they all take agency in each other. They invest in everyone’s return to sport/performance.
Happy to be a supporter myself for anyone that needs it! Best of luck to those on this thread who have already shared a bit of their process – I will be sure to check back to hear the strides made!!
I spent a year completely off the bike dealing with an injury 10 years ago. In the months leading up to the decision not to park the bike I rode in a very crippled state further injuring myself. I kept riding because I was (mistakenly) worried about losing fitness. Totally illogical and insane state of mind. Anyways, for anyone reading, respect any soft tissue injury. A small problem can turn chronic quickly. It’s ok to not ride.
Had a visit with my PT this morning - he agreed that he’d like to have seen more progress since our last visit a month ago. Still seems confident that there is nothing ‘orthopedically’ wrong, requiring surgery, but we’re going to try weekly sessions for a while to help speed up recovery. I’m going to setup a schedule for myself for the home work he prescribed. The TR calendar works well as motivation for me, so have to set something up for myself for off the bike work.
As an aside, I’m brand new to any PT, but I keep underestimating the amount of work I’ll do during a session. Got to bring water/sweat towel/spare mask next time and stuff to freshen up at work…
Been a month or so since my last post -
After my last PT session, I’ve been much better about staying on top of foam rolling and workouts. Been doing four lower body strength sessions and three rides per week since. Two weeks ago, I got a set of adjustable 5-50lb dumbbells so that my various movements can have appropriate weights, rather than making due with my previous one 5lb dumbbell and two 10lb grip plates. They’ve actually been great - after a solid warmup, I’m doing calf raises, split squats, and Romanian deadlifts.
With this progress, I’ve actually been able to add back in a bit of intensity as well. This is the first time I’ve been able to do 30-30s or SS work for months. Keeping it to 45m sessions now, but I think I’ll give an hour workout a try soon.
One thing I’ve also come to grips with is that I have terrible posture on the bike - I have a tendency to rotate my pelvis back (related to my tight hamstrings) and hunch my back, and this is DEFINITELY correlated to when I experience IT band knee pain. Ironically, getting low on the bike (stretching the hamstrings) and putting out tempo+ power has been better for my knee than riding on the tops and putting out glass-cranks level watts…
All this has definitely been good for my mental health/wellbeing. Grateful to have workouts as a tool, but gotta remember to keep it in perspective when I’m kept off the bike for whatever reason!
Ive just seen this, and shoud have posted my injury story here. It is in ‘training’
I am documenting my recovery and TRoad back to fitness.
I hope it could be encouraging to those who are suffering injury, and its setbacks/physical, and emotional.
I didn’t discuss the emotional side, in the post, but will share that if relevant
I’m on the IR list, too, but not from cycling. Years ago I started out running and kept it up for 10 years. Never a problem, averaged 2700-3100 miles per year. Did some triathlons then went to cycling and running.
This part year I took on an ultramarathon. Since than I kept my running and cycling up, but something was off. My Achilles started hurting but thought it would pass. Never did, but I pushed through.
All that being said I was diagnosed with haglund’s syndrome where part of my ankle bone grew a little bump due to Achilles’ tendinitis. Dr wants to rest it, if that doesn’t work than boot and final option surgery.
After three weeks of rest I tried running but I could feel the pounding on my foot so I stopped and will continue to rest. My saving grace is I can bike without any problems. If I didn’t have TR and cycling I would go insane. Running was therapeutic and something I looked forward to every morning.
I am hoping to be back soon so I can go for duarhlon nationals in May. Weather is starting to cool making it hard not to lace up and get out there.
Had a nice milestone yesterday - first hour long intensity ride yesterday, Sleeping Beauty +1. Actually my knee felt great the whole time and I definitely had some watts left in the tank! Definitely not declaring victory yet, but it feels like a win.
I was on vacation last week and booked a personal trainer session at a powerlifting gym to try out some barbell strength training. Felt good, but definitely requires good technique. When I got home I ordered Rippetoe’s Starting Strength book and some equipment to do some squat/deadlift/benchpress work at home. Looking forward to easing in and building some strength!
One year on from starting this post, I just wanted to briefly share my progress:
Through the fall and winter, I continued weight lifting three sessions per week plus mobility work, and got back to serious bike training around Christmas 2021. Dropping to two strength sessions, I moved from five to six days on the bike, progressing through SSB1&2, Sustained Power Build, Century, and finally Short Power Build, all low volume, supplementing with low intensity rides. All that led to a current, all-time-high aiFTP of 241w, albeit slightly heavier than when I reached my previous peak of 234w. That said, I’m performing better than ever…
In May 2022, nearly a year to the day since my injury, I completed a local 63mi event with 4500ft of climbing, settling into a group of other riders and enjoying the day. Then this past weekend, I did Ride the Hurricane here in Washington State, which is one-day closed course, 5000ft - 20mi sustained climb in Olympic National Park. I’d done the ride (with cars) two years ago in 2hr 10m with a 169w average. Yesterday, I finished in 1hr 53m at 212w average, feeling strong all the way up!
Needless to say, I’m still wary of issues with my knee and am carefully minding posture and form on the bike while maintaining off bike activities to strength my knee, but I’m so grateful that there was light at the end of that specific tunnel for me. I’ve definitely benefitted from having the structure of TR to help pace me back to fitness!