Two weeks ago, I came off my 36er and fractured my left tibia and fibula.
I was commuting, the same route I’ve regularly done for the last 12 months. 6 months ago I got a KH36 and started using that. Previously, I’d been on the 125mm holes and using a brake. But having used this uni for cyclocross, I have gone back to 150mm holes, brakeless.
The week prior to the indicent, a tree fell on the path I take and I had to take a short detour. Unfortunately, the detour is quite steep for about 30m. I’d ridden down this the day before with no problems (albeit very slowly), so didn’t even consider it as a problem. It was also pretty windy and a storm was about to hit, so I was hurrying to miss the storm and failed to adequately slow down to a speed which was controllable for this descent.
I had landed awkwardly and realised the leg was fucked straight away - I had that double knee thing going, and my foot was pointing the wrong way. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing though, and it wasn’t very painful. Lucky I’d just passed a girl walking on the same path, who called for an ambulance. And also, the hospital was almost within eyesight from my location (from the top of the hill, it is).
When the paramedics arrived, they pointed out that my tibia was sticking out of my shin. Wearing long pants, I hadn’t noticed, but sure enough there was a growing spot of blood. The rain started coming down just as I was put into the back of the ambulance. Great timing!
PS: Penthrox inhalers are the greatest things ever.
PPS: A police officer arrived shortly after the ambulance, claimed this counted as a “vehicle collision” (I hit nothing but the ground…?) and took my report.
Sorry to hear about this. Glad you’ll live to ride another day.
Did anyone give you the “what were you thinking” / “idiot” attitude for riding a uni offroad?
What’s with the “<blank spot>” in your post? You were going too fast and then you landed awkward. Any details? Stepped off forward… run out? Rolled? Any trees or boulders? What impact actually caused the break?
It wasn’t offroad. It was on a bitumenised shared use cyclist/pedestrian path. Probably would have been ok if it was offroad, because the added rolling resistance would have reduced my speed.
Not 100% sure what happened. Despite no head impact, I wasn’t entirely sure what happened even straight afterwoods. My brain probably didn’t make those memories while it was busy pumping me full of adrenaline.
I think I must have lost contact with the left pedal due to cadence being too high, then landed on the ground awkwardly. I have an abrasion on top of my foot, indicating that my leg really buckled under me. My hands went to the ground, but I have no abrasions on them, so the leg must have absorbed all the impact beautifully. I guess the uni shot out in front of me, a jogger moved it off the path reasonably quickly, but I dont think it fell too far from me.
And no one thinks I’m an idiot for riding, offroad or otherwise. Everyone knows its fucking awesome.
That’s quite common in traumatic experiences. I know someone who fell from a multi storey car park who can’t remember the actual fall.
I think it’s due to the time it takes for nerve impulses to travel from the subconscious to the conscious parts of the brain (80ms I think). The subconscious feels the pain and responds before the conscious has a chance to “catch up”. It subconscious dumps the sensory data (to make room for more important things) before the conscious has a chance to “see” it.
Anyway, I hope you heal well and get back riding soon.
Yeah, it’ll heal, sooner than you think you’ll be back to riding, though it’ll take some time to “forget about it”. I broke my leg, wrist, and thumb all on my right side durning a ski vacation at Thanksgiving, was back to skiing at Easter, so four months later.
The hard part was having to cont to wear braces on my ankle and wrist for a couple years to prevent sprains; that was probably more due to tendon damage than the bone breaks.
I’m hoping my clipless unicycling plan doesn’t end up looking like yours
So, if you knew that an activity would lead to an injury like this, would you still do that activity?
At this stage, I plan to keep riding. But I don’t expect it to be this year.
uniShark, you’re riding again now? How long before you rode again? (I checked the archives and found the post about your ice fall)
Nurse Ben, the KH is of course fine; there might be an extra scratch on the bar ends and one pedal. No gory photos, but there really wasn’t much to see. The bone only stuck out about 1-2mm. The first xray is of the left lateral aspect, where you can see my foot was externally rotated 60 degrees or so from the break. That was really the main thing to notice.
I don’t think riding clipless will cause something like this unless you can’t keep your footing due to reduced grip on the ground during a UPD. I would guess you’re far more likely to sustain damage to your upper body or limbs in the event you can’t unclip quickly enough.
GizmoDuck, I checked the archives and see you had all your hardware removed. Do you still suffer any discomfort? How long until your limp disappeared (assuming it did!)? I’m surprised that you were confident enough to outrun UPDs after just 4 months. I already have a limp on the left due to avascular nechrosis of the femoral head and would rather not have more permanent issues. Come to think of it, I always outrun UPDs landing on my right foot first (not consciously, it just happens that way), so being forced to land on the left may have contributed to this injury…
I did notice stiffness and clicking until I had my plates removed.
Unlike your injury, I didn’t have an tibial rod- they were external plates, so were very close under the skin. I was worried that if I ever bumped them, the skin would split open down to metal. It was also rubbing against my shoe and quite annoying. Best thing ever was getting them out.
In terms of riding- I wasn’t able to train for Unicon on a unicycle because my foot was too stiff and weak for me to balance properly. I didn’t want to fall off and break it again whilst the bone was still remodeling. I did most of my training on a stationary bike trainer, which was great for fitness, but not great for general unicycling skills. Luckily the marathon course wasn’t overly steep/technical. I got back on my uni about 2-3wks before Unicon 13, but still had a limp.
I still noticed a little bit of stiffness in my foot, but after I took up running again last year, I think it loosened up all the scar tissue. I barely notice it any more.
As for UPDs, we usually go at speeds faster than running speed- you wouldn’t try running out a crash on a bike, why try running out a uni crash? Leg injuries don’t seem nearly as common on bikes because you are clipped in. Most falls result in your hands taking the impact, or your thighs resulting in road or gravel rash. On a unicycle, people tend to land on their feet in awkward positions, resulting in ankle or leg fractures, or knee ligament injuries.