Broke my leg - now what?

Three weeks ago I broke my leg. I was riding on a double-track trail popular with dog walkers. Due to varying temperatures we’ve been having, the trail was covered with a thick layer of ice, that was pretty uneven from walkers’ footsteps. The night before I went on my ride, it had snowed just a little, leaving a thin layer of powdery snow over the ice.

So basically, it was ridiculously dangerous conditions.

Add to that, I decided that I really wanted to try out my Schlumpf in winter conditions.

I rode a little ways down the trail in low gear, which was going fine. So into high gear I went. Maybe a dozen pedal strokes after my first switch into high gear, I fell. Not like I wasn’t expecting to fall, right? The problem was, when I stepped off, there was no traction, and the ice was very uneven. So instead of walking out of it as usual, my foot just turned upon impact with the uneven surface. My ankle twisted so far that it snapped my fibula (smaller lower leg bone) at both the bottom and top of the bone, tearing various soft tissues, and misaligning my ankle pretty badly. I could feel/hear/know it break as it happened.

Although I knew it was broken, I’m a stupidly stubborn SOB, and was embarrassed about getting hurt. So did I ask for help from the dog walkers? No. Did I get on my cell phone and call for help? No. Instead, I got up and walked the approx. 1/4 mile back to my truck. Then I drove home, about 10 miles. The driving was made somewhat more challenging by the fact that it’s my right ankle that was broken. It’s really amazing what adrenaline can do for you.

I had surgery a week after the fall. All sorts of metal in there now, and incisions on both sides of the ankle. I get my stitches out on Tuesday; can’t wait to see how much they sliced me up.

So what now? Should I quit unicycling because it’s too dangerous? OK, just kidding, but I probably will stop riding on ice in the future. I’m also considering selling my Schlumpf. It’s not the Schlumpf’s fault, and if anything falling sooner on the guni helped by reducing my trek back to the truck – the same or worse injury could just as easily have happened if I’d chosen to ride my Coker that day, although I might have made it further down the trail. But I’m rethinking the reasons why I got the Schlumpf, which include being able to ride faster and further into the wilderness. I’m feeling a little more mortal now, and realize 1/4 mile is plenty far to haul yourself out of the woods with a broken leg.

Oh, and yes, this thing really freakin’ hurts.

Keep riding … Ken Looi broke his leg on one of the Uni tours and he still rides :slight_smile:

Get well soon :slight_smile:

take it easy!

Wow, that really sucks. I’m so sorry. :frowning:

I would not make any decisions right now. Just sit tight and get through the healing process. Don’t make a bad situation worse by getting rid of a uni, especially a guni!

I cracked my tibia a few years ago, it sucked. But it’s all good now.

Its a weird thing that not asking for help isn’t it. I’m thinking what an idiot, but I would have done the exact same thing! :slight_smile:

Get well soon!

Hang in there, it will be better soon enough.

Get Well Soon uniShark, thats an awful thing to happen.

Best Wishes

Stay healthy, eat a good diet, heal…the fibula is a non weight bearing joint and will heal well as long as you don’t torque it for 4-6 weeks. The good part is… There’s not much rehab that is necessary. As soon as you are cleared for range of motion, do it, make sure it’s pain free. The worst part of a break at the ankle is, it will mess with your ankle mobility, this could be bad for unicycling. Did the surgeon recommend physical therapy?

Darn, sorry to hear about your fall.

Rest until Spring, why push. Then you will be ready to tear it up again.
I hope you feel better as soon as possible.

Take up a mini-hobby until you get your confidence back. Uni is for life baby. If you don’t break something, then you haven’t tested your limits. And that’s awful boring.

Wow, that’s a bummer!

Yeah, high gear in ice is sketchy, but falling in high gear is always a bit sketchy, just like falling while going fast on a 36er.

I have taken some hard falls, but not many while going fast; I am a wimp on the Guni and really only use it for smooth cruising on nice single/double track.

Should you sell it? Hard to say, your reason for selling is sorta like mine: I wanted to ride further out into the wilds and complete more miles, but it just hasn’t worked out.

The Schlumpf in high gear is a big bite, I wish it wasn’t such a big bite, but it’s really the only way to ride faster other than riding a bigger wheel.

Your ankle will heal, mine is fine, I snapped it skiing thirty years ago and it doesn’t bother me at all; though I have slightly less ROM in that ankle.

You wanna hear something silly and kinda sad? I have had seven finger fractures since learning to ride unicycles three summers ago, one of the fingers has a torn ligament so it won’t straighten without being forced, two others will no longer close properly, most of my fingers hurt terribly when it’s cold (I’m an avid backcountry skiier) and my day job involves typing and clicking a mouse all day long.

Keep the Schlumpf till summer, you may change your mind and if you don’t, then it’ll have more resale value when the weather is warmer.

In the meantime, if you have access to a spin bike, see if you can keep those legs in shape, then when the cast comes off you’ll need to sack up and start flexing that ankle, man is it gonna be swollen and sore, that part I don’t envy at all!!

Let us know how it goes, post xrays if you got them :smiley:

My leg hurts from reading your story. Ouch!
Sorry this happened to you.

Sounds like the ice did you in more than the Schlumpf.

Hey everyone, thanks much for the positive thoughts and encouragement. If I sell the guni it won’t be just because of this fall, but good point about taking some time before I make any big decisions.

I’ll try to get xrays to post, or maybe some pics when I get the stitches out.

Yeah take it easy untill it heals completely.

I would do exercises that strenthen the muscles that support the ankle and wear a sturdy brace on that leg when riding.

I’ve found juggling helps my riding. If I don’t ride for a while but juggle regularly my uni skills don’t diminish as much as w/o juggling (at least several times a week for an hour doing challenging tricks). I’ve noticed the same thing w/ juggling vs piano playing.

you could balance check book

Tough turn of events

The good news is bone is the only material in the body that will heal and be as good as new.

Not the case for muscle tears, fascia, tendons and ligaments. Hopefully your soft tissue damage is minimal.

Regardless, at this point you are in pain so 3-6 months isn’t exactly a big concern for you.

I once found a runner who broke his ankle in similar conditions… Ice covered snow laced with frozen foot tracks. Even though I was a stranger who happened to find him on the trail his pain was so bad that he was NOT NICE to me, even as I assisted him to help. It sound like you managed to contain the pain and almost “act normal”.

As a novice rider myself I thank you for sharing your misfortune. It’s easy to gain confidence and take on situations that are not within our abilities… especially if you spend a bunch of time reading these forums where BLACK DIAMOND expertise can seem like the norm instead of the exception. We all need to ride within our limits, however modest they may be.

not exactly true: I broke badly my achille’s tendon while unicycling, then doctors decided no to go to surgery, they just put my leg into plaster and waited.
the tendon re-built itself (bigger and not beautifully but it works!).
funny thing: after 3 months of plaster my leg muscle had not shrinked (just my skin was horrible!)

All things pass. Weigh your risks in the future because downtime sucks and being hurt sucks…I’ve taken my hits but life goes on. You’ll be back on the one-legged horse.

Sorry to hear about your prang, UniShark.

Love to see some x-rays :smiley:

But take plenty of time to recover, listen to the doctor and be patient. When you get the ok, probably do a bit of swimming to build up a bit of fitness. Four to six months of doing not very much might have had a n effect…

Be careful until you are back in the saddle.


I have been doing leg lifts and such so far, as authorized by my doctor. I like the idea of juggling, and hadn’t thought of that. I actually have a set of bean bags I made with metal bb’s for exercise - I’ll have to pull them out.

Also, I think I’ll get ankle braces for both sides!

Yeah, swimming would be good, although I don’t have a pool anywhere that its very convenient. I figure my recumbent bike will be a good means of outdoor rehab.

I held it together pretty well for the first couple hours. When I hurt myself badly enough that I need to do something about it (previously cuts and so forth), I usually don’t feel much pain for about the amount of time I need to deal with it. Here, I knew how far it was back to the truck, how far a drive it was home, and about how long it would take to get seen in the ER. Not sure I could dose myself with enough adrenaline to do more than I did on this one, and I plan to do my best not to find out.

My initial reaction to your post was that the runner was a real jerk. However, I know I’ve been impatient and unreasonable with my family at times over the past couple weeks, and probably most when I don’t take my pain meds.

As to riding within limits, hmmmm. If I only rode within my limits I would never have learned to ride! I think limits need to be pushed, and falls need to be taken.
The issue is more of how far to push and under what circumstances, to minimize or mitigate the risks. For me, I’ll probably avoid ice in the future, add ankle braces to my riding gear, and maybe I won’t push limits quite so hard. Take my experience as a lesson on not being stupid about pushing limits in ridiculous situations, but please don’t take it as a reason not to push at all. One thing I regret about my riding history is that I didn’t start muni until I thought I was “good enough”. My general riding skills improved dramatically when I started riding trails, and uni in general became so much more fun. So, please do push your limits, maybe just not on a trail with death-fall exposure (or uneven snow-covered ice).