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AOK

Coming Back From Injury

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As climbers we know that injury is a huge part of our sport. What I want to know is how do you all keep bouncing back? How many grades did you lose for how much time you had to take off? What can I do to get back at it faster?

 

I was climbing a V5 indoors at The Circuit and had a REALLY high right foot to top out. Unfortunately, I hadn't stretched well enough and when I weighted the foot a loud and audible series of pops occurred. I fell to the ground in agony. Upon falling off the route I fell to my hands and knees before completely buckling in agonizing pain. I waited awhile for the pain to subside, stretched a lot more, and finished the route. Having only been at the gym a short time I wanted to stay, but knew it would be a mistake so I warmed down and left the gym.

 

The next morning:

 

The following morning I woke up and the knee had seized up. I was in terrible pain. I could walk alright (typical of a medial meniscus tear.), but climbing stairs and any twisting, bending down squatting etc, and the knee would completely buckle. I started doing research about the common injury and sure enough I had suffered a minor to moderate tear of the medial meniscus.

 

Today:

 

Today marks a full month and a half I have been forced from climbing. I have stretched, "riced", etc. I feel great and the knee seems to be okay to start climbing again. I will take it easy but I'm anxious about how many grades I have lost.

 

I was climbing V7 when injured and I would hate to go back and struggle on a V3 or some shit, ya know?! Anyways, back to the questions at the beginning of this post:

 

How do you all keep bouncing back with positivity? Climbing is generally enjoyed but climbing hard ass routes is even better.

 

How many grades did you lose for how much time you had to take off? I have taken a month and a half thus far.

 

What can I do to get back to that high level of climbing again? I'm not the most patient person.

 

I know this could be a semi-redundant post, but I am seriously bummed and looking for some positive feedback regarding my recent injury. Anyone who has been forced to stop knows the emotional struggle of being "inactive." Its depressing. Anyways, if anyone has suffered this injury any advice offered would be wonderful.

 

Thanks everyone! Keep on climbing...

Edited by AOK

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I dislocated my elbow falling poorly from a roof problem in October and really started climbing and pushing the arm 5 months later, it's still weird feeling as heck but it works.

Bottom line; I took the injury as an opportunity to re-examine myself, climbing, what I wanted out of the activity.

I don't climb anywhere near V7 but I enjoy the sport at pretty much any level (that I can do) and I firmly believe simply enjoying climbing is a worthy goal.

Make realistic goals in the recovery/strength building phase and rediscover the beauty of movement and simply being out doing something you love.

The numbers game is out the window and the satisfaction game is in play.

The again I have been climbing for nearly 30 years so it's is curious how other folks view the time off.

Good luck with recovery and just have fun, that's why we do it anyway correct?

Don't forget to drink lots of water to help the healing.

 

"The solution to pollution is dilution"

 

Cheers

Dave

 

 

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your strength will come back surprisingly quickly if you avoid reinjury. initially you'll feel like you get pumped really quickly but that phase will pass after a few sessions. a month and a half off isn't a long break.

 

how old are you? younger people bounce back much more quickly. the main thing is to not reinjure your knee. try a longer warm up phase of moderate problems before you try something hard. be willing to back off if something in the knee feels "not right".

 

stay away from mountaineering. notoriously tough on the knees.

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no reason to let a lower body injury make your upper body weak. get a fingerboard and use it often, short quality sessions. go slow on using your knee and prepare for two steps forward, one step back.

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I am thirty years old. Not ancient but not young enough to rely on my youthful body to get me through. Furthermore, I was a ski racer in my youth and soccer player so a hard life on the knees will play its part as well.

 

I have researched this shit for the entirety of my time off. If I can walk and bend normally then it sounds as though I can avoid surgery and be back climbing V7 or higher very soon. I have been cycling and walking without pain, and yesterday evening while drinking I messed around climbing a tree and it was fine. (However, being intoxicated I wouldn't assume much pain anyways.)

 

The advice is much appreciated though! I think you're right-long stretch sessions, long warm ups on moderate routes, not pushing it too hard and continuing to stretch and train outside of climbing should hopefully get me back to it soon. I have major route goals this summer and am anxious to tackle some more V7 problems.

 

I am interested to hear from someone who has had this injury before though. Any medial meniscus tears not treated by surgery out there? How was it? How long was recovery?

 

Thanks again all!

peace.

Edited by AOK

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good advice from sol. work other aspects such as finger strength while waiting for the knee to come back up to speed.

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I got injured twice this season. Both times I bounced back relatively quickly. Say 1-2 months each.

- it's hard to bounce back

-sometimes you'll climb harder after an injury.

-take it slow when getting back into climbing, your mind and body are both out of sync with the whole defying death thing.

-soloing and ski alpinism are dangerous. Stack the odds in your favor. Bring a trusted, competent partner. Preferably with some bomb beer or other indulgent consumable. :)

-Trust is everything

-So is commitment.

 

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Thank you! I am feeling confident tonight as I look forward to climbing on it soon. Probably Monday and Tuesday for some light sessions each day to see how it feels weighting the knee. I am actually "ricing" and stretching in between surfing the net and posting on here.

 

Anyways....

 

I thought one of the most common injuries in climbing was either the medial meniscus or shoulders.

 

Were your injuries in the knees? Has anyone experienced a situation like mine-specifically how it was injured and how much time I have taken off? If so, please elaborate about the injury. Any and all advice or professional opinions appreciated.

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so, unfortunately you don't have health insurance?

 

if you do, see a sports-specific PT or find one that climbs specifically maybe (sure can find one through networking) and get full assessment and bevy of specific customized personal response? Professional, specific, on you. I've found the internet can put information at finger tips but sometimes like the inability to see ones psychological shadow a medical professional has perspective through their training and experience that can be more valuable than the sum of 50 disparate internet sources. This avenue has some merits imo.

 

this spring i fell skiing (just learned this year) and did what i termed a 'tomahawk'...ie the ski did not release but my head was to the ground and one leg of the ski was up in the air arcing..before sticking itself into the snow. i think i tweaked my PCL from talking to a cousin-in-law PT. Fortunately not an injury that almost ever gets surgery or compromises a lot of activities i like. 2 weeks toning everything back on it and then 2 more weeks moderate. then it was gone.

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I have health coverage but not very good health coverage and honestly, my experience with doctors is they will want to cut me open immediately, drug me, and make me pay out the ass for it. Not that doctors aren't great... But this injury doesn't warrant their attention at this time. If I am stupid and re-injure the same knee, I probably won't see any other option. (*crosses fingers)

 

I think I should be alright. I woke up this morning without any discomfort and will be working on the knee later this afternoon. If I bust my shift out without any pain I will probably head to the gym for a light work out tomorrow.

 

 

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AOK,

 

You're about my age right now. I tore the meniscus in my right knee. It really wasn't too bad, but would kind of swell up after longish days on it - long approaches, hiking, etc. I went like that for a couple years - I assume I messed up my knee crashing dirtbikes in my early 20s, but I'm not sure. About 5 years ago, I finally got it checked out, as I was sick of knowing something could be a liability at one point.

 

Got the whole X-ray/MRI gig. Partial tear - you could see it in the MRI. Doc said pretty common injury, blah, blah, blah. Got the surgery - just a couple small punctures where the tools are shoved in. Made me a nice DVD of the operation. Went smooth at first, but got a blood clot in my knee after 3 days - not the kind that could break and stroke you though. It made my knee swell up big time for a few weeks. Anyway, that is not too common. Some physical therapy helps get full confidence again, and a I was back 90% in probably 4 months. 100% shortly after. In reality I would say someone our age - 3 months or less would be common to get 100% physical and "mental" recovery.

 

I said I would never do that shit (surgery) again after that. Now, my knee is great. If you don't want to drop the cash, or have shitty "insurance", I'd say take it easy for a bit. Train upper body only for a few weeks, and give it time to heal - only if nothing devastating happened. Slowly work back into it, maybe some stationary biking, or chill biking is in order - it will help keep loose and range of motion.

 

Only you know if it's really fucked up. After a few weeks, if you don't think you can run, and then cut left or right real hard, get it looked at.

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Meniscus doesnt heal. Has to be fixed. Heals real fast after fixed.

 

Work other body parts. When my arm was broke did a lot of hard hiking

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"I started doing research about the common injury and sure enough I had suffered a minor to moderate tear of the medial meniscus." Internet medical research is probably worth about what you paid for it. If problems persist consider getting a professional to check it out.

 

IMHO a good PT can be worth their weight in gold. It could be that your injury was the result of years of a muscle imbalance that will re-appear as soon as you ramp up again. That was the case with knee and shoulder issues I had recently. Both have been fixed by PT followed by exercises to correct the imbalance.

 

A buddy of mine tore his MCL in February. He took nearly 12 weeks to get back to 100%, but he's 40. No surgery needed.

 

When you're ready to test the knee, ramp back up with increasing volume of lower difficulty lines. Resist the temptation to jump on that radical problem your friends are struggling on. As was noted above, avoiding re-injury is the fastest path to getting back to 100%.

 

Staying healthy is an important part of the game that takes more and more of your attention as you get older, but it's far better than being injured on the sidelines.

 

 

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IMO, go to a doctor for a positive diagnosis. Then go to a physical therapist for treatment. some PTs are good enough to diagnose, but you might find one that can. however, your health ins will probably pay for some PT if it's prescribed by a doctor. look into that before you just go to PT. If you can afford it, PT is worth it - it will help with muscle imbalance, help you focus on the proper exercises for healing, and it will help you know *when* you can get back into it, and *how fast* you should go. I've gone to PT multiple times for my shoulders, and it has definitely helped me know where my limits are so I don't get injured again (but still get stronger and improve).

hope your recovery goes well.

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+1 to see a doctor and let a good PT treat it. I know an excellent PT in the Seattle area if you need a reference.

 

I think there is another way to think of injuries now that you are out of your 20s. Instead of "I want to be doing X in Y weeks" it should be more along the lines of "I want to still be able to do X when I'm Y years old" (Y being much later in life if that is your thing). That means making the number one priority being treating it to get back as close as 100% as you can get, and spending more time doing preventative training.

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Go see a doc. Depending on the type of tear you have, you could recover 100% without any surgery, you could also risk repeated injury with ever increasing recovery time, not to mention future arthritis and other issues.

 

I tore my meniscus and tried to avoid surgery, only got worse; kept reinjuring it. The tear got larger each time. Once I got it scoped it healed fairly well. That was in my early thirties, I'm in my mid fifties now and have very few if any issues with it. Also tore my ACL, had that repaired 17 years ago, does pretty well.

 

If you have even not great health ins., get it looked at, and then you can decide on a course of action; ie: surgery or not. If the tear is large enough to allow bone on bone, you're screwed.

 

I know it's hard to stop a sport due to injury, but take care of yourself now. Stop worrying about V grades and start worrying about whether you will be able to get out of bed when you're 50. Good luck!

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What can I do to get back to that high level of climbing again? I'm not the most patient person.

 

V7 at seattle bouldering project or stone gardens hah.

 

getting back to your previous level depends a bit on how established you were at that level. if you had just gotten to v7 and were projecting them and getting a few here and there, then i'd guess you'll lose a little ability, a few weeks' worth. but if you were doing them consistently, and for a while, 6 weeks won't drop you much, and you'll be back in a coupla weeks i'd say.

 

but shoot, having a leg injury gives you a good excuse to get stronger, not weaker. time for lots of fingerboarding and campusing, since climbing isn't getting in the way!

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So, thanks to everyone in the local community for the advice and for sharing your experience regarding injuries. That being said...

 

I went to The Circuit and had a decent day... Put away a few harder routes and almost finished a route I'd been working on awhile before the injury.

 

I stretched for well over an hour and was extremely cautious about what routes I climbed. Certain movements weren't going to happen so I backed off from a fair amount of top outs requiring high right feet-had no problems doing this as there were plenty of harder routes forcing movement to the left.

 

Long story short, I'm taking advantage of this time off my right side to build my left a little more.

 

I'm stoked! The best part was I hadn't lost much finger/upper body strength either. Rad!!!

 

Peace.

 

 

Edited by AOK

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