The Broken Rib Diary … do-over!

I’m keeping track for two reasons: 1. To create a record for myself, and 2. to help people who are searching for info on rib fractures.

Sept. 5 2006
That moto crash really set me back, but after three weeks I’m about 90 percent. Day-to-day and most riding is fine. If I move a certain way or correct an on-bike error, it hurts a bit, but no big deal. I can sleep on my right side again!

Aug. 15 2006
Things were going great. I was sleeping OK, I was off the mega does of ibuprofen, and I was riding carefully but well. The ribs were sore, but after two weeks they were much better.

But I, apparently, am a dumbass.

We were riding trail moto last Saturday. I was stressed out about family stuff, and I didn’t have full control of my body. I washed in a muddy turn and landed with my fist in the fracture area. KA-POW!!! Do-over.

That probably knocked me back a week. Dumb.

Aug. 11 2006
The riblets are much better. Wednesday I rode DH with the monkeys, and while they were sore, there were no OHMYGOD! moments. Clean technique makes a huge difference. But I was definitely tense and trying to protect the area.

Today I worked in the office all day (no problem) then dirt jumped. No real problem there either, but I can feel myself protecting the area.

I’m laying down and sitting up pretty normally, which is nice. Sometimes when I move I feel/hear something moving. Apparently the ends haven’t yet met. It’s 2:20 a.m. right now, and they’re sore.

It’ll be two weeks tomorrow. Huge progress.

Aug. 7, 2006
Took a Vicodin but it was still a long night. Go figure.

I’ve been waking up very sore and tight. The bones feel kind of hot, and the surrounding muscles feel like they’ve been working all night.

Rode the road bike to a meeting. Felt fine as long I kept my torso straight.

Aug. 6, 2006 – evening
OK, so the moto trail ride wasn’t so mellow.

I felt centered, balanced and aggressive. What fun, to rail technical singletrack at speed! That is, until I manualed a water bar and — POP! — something shifted in my chest. The neighboring muscles went into clench mode, and I backed off for the rest of the two-hour ride.

Just got home and did some range of motion exercises. Laying flat was tough.

Aug. 6, 2006
Rode 2 hours of XC yesterday on the big Enduro with DH tires and single ring. The climb was burly, but the descents were awesome. I rode some sections faster and smoother than ever: just concentrating on staying low and riding on the pedals. The descent felt perfect, except when I leaned hard on the bars to stick a tight, flat turn — OUCH!

Finished the ride sore, and was very sore last night. I’m sore this morning. The muscles in my shoulders, chest and back are trying to protect the injuries. Off to do a mellow moto trail ride.

Aug. 4, 2006
Keystone was painful but doable. Just gotta stay right on the pedals. I rode two hours rode/XC yesterday, and that was fine. Was demonstrating pump in a clinic yesterday, and that really hurt. Any time I stretch or use those muscles, watch out!

The spasms have almost stopped. I can barely hold plank position. It hurst to bend my torso.

I took Vicodin to help me sleep for three nights. It worked, but the sleep was low quality. Last night I took four Advil, and I slept semi-OK.

Today was an office day. I feel my chest is tight, but the pain isn’t too bad.

One week down, 5-7 to go.

Aug. 1, 2006
This morning I saw Dr. Koch at the Boulder Medical Center. Seems like I see him too often.

There appear to be some cracked riblets up by my left armpit; the X-ray was unclear there. But No. 7 and 8 on the right side are definitely fractured (where they hit my handlebar). When the doctor pressed on them, he said he could feel them moving and hear them crunching. All I experienced was AAARRRGGG!!!

So they hurt like hell and likely will for a while. The Dr. says it’ll be 6-8 weeks for a full recovery. I taught a clinic this afternoon then did a few easy pump laps. It didn’t feel great, but it was a chance to demonstrate ultra-smooth riding. Tomorrow I take the monkeys to Keystone.

July 30 2006
I’ve been hiking around taking pictures and coaching people. The ribs are sore, and my body is starting to close down around them.

Sleeping is bad news. I’ve been hearing the bones clunking around.

After driving for three hours I stopped for gas. As I stepped out, the muscles on the right side of my torso spasmed. OWWW!!! I was totally helpless, in great pain. This happened on every bump, all the way home.

July 28, 2006
Stupid crash during Super D practice at Telluride. I was railing a bermed turn and my fron wheel drifted over the berm. I corrected one way, then the other, then the wheel knifed. I flew forward and landed with the bar across my chest.

It hurt like CRAZY! Knocked the wind out of me. I could barely move the rest of the day.

Very rough might trying to sleep. Eight Advils barely take the edge off.

13 replies
  1. John Marks says:

    Lee you broke the same ones as I did in april! Mine still hurt!!! They said same 8 weeks but I did not let them heal so it is an on going problem. I broke 7 off at the spine and 8 looks like someone took a u out of it. They have stoped hurting when I sneeze and I don’t have to sleep sitting up anymore, but still sore!!!! I wrapped myself around a tree on a dh course. Last time I talked to you you had messed up your heal coming off the moto, you are getting as beat up as me!!!! Hang in there Bro!

  2. Norv says:

    This is starting to read like a “How NOT to recover from a rib injury” article…
    sorry mate, but it had to be said!
    Hope the latest prang hasn’t knocked you around too much, as long as you can keep the website cooking we’re all happy at this end!
    Get well soon…

  3. scott says:

    OK!! I who am probably the world’s worst patient (only according to every Dr. who has ever taken care of me), and who is also trying to heal up, says: Slow down at least a little bit. We do not heal like we used to! I wish you the best, but I want to see you back to full recovery soon.That way you can start teaching my sorry carcass once I get cleared to ride again (post-op week 4, screws still holding, haven’t fractured the plate). Scott

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Scott! OK, now that a real doctor — one who rips — has weighed in, I’ll back it down to 9 or 10.

  5. patrik says:

    Lee, looks like you arent the only one out…..i just dislocated my kneecap last night…knee is imobilized, they say i cant drive but considering the job……gotta find a way. but dude slow down with the broken ribs, i have had those and no fun, only way to make em heal was to pu tthe feet ont he coffee table, bike vids in the dvd player, and a few beers in easy reach…..that is the only way!!!! but get better soon!!!!!

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    Patrik, holy cow. I hope you heal fast, and that you can get around OK.

    (Patrik is the Cannondale team mechanic.)

Comments are closed.