Washed up has been . . .

Some of you might dimly remember me. About a year ago I participated in some threads about knee pain (and before that more usual threads about learning, equipment, etc).

Well it’s been about 11 months and one weeks since I took off from riding to rest my knees. 11 months and some days later my knees are not any better.

I’ve been to the Ortho (sports Ortho) There is nothing structurally/mechanically wrong with my knee. I have Quadriceps tendinnois/tendinopathy. This can take many forms, but in general it refers to chronic pain that is not from trauma or inflammation. In my case it’s most likely tendons that don’t heal right. From that almost any ‘use’ is overuse, and they heal wrong again and around and around it goes.

Heat/Ice/stretching/strengthening nothing has really helped. The only thing that helps a little is merciless quad, hip flexor, and psoas stretching. While that helps with recovery, it does little to prevent the onset.

Oh sure I can rest it back to pain free after I have irritated it. In fact, I rested it to TWELVE weeks of pain free from November to January.

It only took three days of riding over the course of 7 or 8 days to make them flare up again. I’m talking 5 minute rides on flat ground on a 20" wheel (the easiest to push around) with a couple days between each ride.

Three days. Three 5-minute rides on flat ground.

I still have a couple of stretches/exercises that I hope will start a turn around but after 11 months of trying this and trying that I’m not very optimistic.

It’s hard to express how important unicycling was in my life. It’s a long and somewhat personal story.

It would not be over stating it to say that I loved riding. The unique feeling of being on top of something like a unicycle. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like riding is the highlight of your day, and perhaps the first thing on your mind when you wake up. That’s where it fit in my life.

Since mid March of last year I watched Spring go by, then Summer, then Fall, and in a few weeks it will be mid-March and it will have been a year.

What did I do? I counted a few more thousand repetitions of some stretch or exercise.

I hate seeing my 3 wheels just sitting in the living room.

Back when I believed I would heal in weeks, not months or years, if ever, I built up a nice wheel with the KH 20" Flat Rim.

That wheel has had about 15 minutes of riding. Sigh.

If you are riding today, or planning a ride for tomorrow, or this weekend, or when the snow melts, be glad. Be really glad, and a little thankful. While it’s sort of fun learning to play the harmonica, and learning how hack my Android phone, it really isn’t making up for not riding.

Knee pain

How is bicycling on a regular bike for you? Unicycling requires explosive moves that will always stress tendons and ligaments. Bicycling or riding an exercycle for short periods might be helpful. Slowly building your body’s tolerance for exercise.

I’m lucky, I’ve only had a few minor injuries. Knee infection: Cured with massive amounts of antibiotics and rest forced me to take a month off this winter.

Sprained finger this weekend: Forces me to not wear my wedding ring. So far no hot young women have been pursuing me. I’m not sure what I would do with them anyway. If there were more than one, they could chat amongst themselves, I suppose.

I live for anti inflammatories.

Aww man, that sucks.

I have a friend who messed up his knees on a bad fall and it’s taken a few years for him to be able to ride unicycles and bikes again, unlikely his knees will ever be quite the same again.

I hope your knees start to get better - do you wear knee braces?

Hi Ezas,

I remember seeing your posts. About 6 months into unicycling I had some minor knee discomfort but I was able to rest my knees for about 4 weeks and it hasn’t returned. I am very thankful that it wasn’t a continuing issue for me as I feel the same way about riding that you’ve described.

I hope you’re able to find something less taxing that provides you as much enjoyment. If 15 minutes of riding will cause that much pain and discomfort, I think it may be time to find another sport.

Underwater Hockey anyone?


I remember your posts and had hoped that your outcome would be different. Your advice is sound and I will appreciate every ride.


After all the stories I have heard about knee problems (some due to acccidents, some not), I think I am going to try to remember to warm up before rides and do knee exercises. I’d rather not have any knee issues later in life.

I feel your pain (not literally, except in my lower back). Anyone in the over 50 age group realizes it’s only a matter of time before the corporeal equipment will eventually give out. In a way I’m more thankful because every day I can still ride is a gift, and I know it. Unfortunately, it also keeps me from progressing in some ways because I know any big drop might be my last. :astonished:

Our team coach, besides teaching unicycling, is on the USA weight lifting team at age 60+. He’s amazing and in great shape. A couple of weeks ago he had a 90% tendon tear during a lift and is now recovering after surgery. Whether he will be able to lift again is unknown. There, but for the grace of God, go I…

Please don’t anyone take this the wrong way, and I know most people come to a forum looking for help, and we all (me included) like giving help, but I’m really not looking for suggestions.

For 11 months my number 1 priority (well besides eating/sleeping, etc) has been getting back on my unicycle. I don’t mean to sound snotty but I can only think of one way to put it, and that is anything anyone can say has most likely already been considered and or tried. Many are still in rotation, meaning I came back to them from time to time, but they have not helped the core issue. I do something for my knees almost every day. So I have tried a lot of things in 11 months.

Here are some of the more creative things I’ve tried:

Hula hoop with the new larger heavier hoops
Hacky Sack (footbag)
Walking on sharp gravel bare footed
Walking in sand bare footed (not good)
Inverted squats (also not good)
I have also done some retro running (running backwards) and walking up and down hills backwards.

I have to walk down backwards otherwise it kills my knees, but the walking up backwards works the knees in a very unique way.

Oh yeah, for 3 months I used my home computer standing up. Did some good but didn’t help in the end.

Much of what I have done has been that way. What I do fixes some imbalance/weakness that I have but the ultimate goal of being able to ride is not improved.

I really just wanted to share with some people who ride. Who get to ride. To remind people not to take something like riding for granted.

I’d love to hear some peoples thoughts on riding, what it means to them, where it fits in their lives, how they would feel if they found out they couldn’t ride anymore.

Fer instance I have considered offering some free uni lessons. At least I’d be giving back some of what I found so much fun to do.

Thanks Kenny. Thanks for sharing those thoughts. You are exactly right about the corporeal breakdown and the There, but for the grace of God, go I . . .

I think that all the time when I see someone step into a cross walk without checking for traffic first. There, but for the grace of God . . .

I hyper-extended my knee before learning to unicycle, and had hurt my other knee a few times, but minor. After about 2 months after I learned, I kept re-injuring my right knee so I gave up on uni thinking that it was always going to happen.

Then a few months ago I decided to give it another shot, with the goal to condition my knees better this time. So far I’ve been doing really well, no injuries, and I’m slowly working up to strenuous tricks and such.

I know it’s not the same as what you’re dealing with, but I just thought I’d share and tell you to not give up! I am sure you will find a way friend.

Here are some things I have done with patients and referred others out for:
Graston therapy
Dry needling (using small gauge needles in the tendon to stimulate healing)
PRP (platelet rich plasma)
Prolo therapy
All have worked with various tendonopathies. PRP has worked when nothing else would

I know this isn’t the same thing, but today I happened to run into the guys from Focus Design in downtown Sacramento. I had the EXTREMELY rare opportunity to surprise a couple of unicyclists.

They were riding (or holding?) a pair of the SBU (Self-Balancing Unicycle) version 2.0. I was on my 45" big wheel! Imagine minding your own business, in downtown Sacramento, across the street from the Capitol, when some dude swings by you on a giant unicycle and says “Hey, are those hard to ride?” Priceless.

Apparently they were in town as part of a west coast tour to give people chances to ride the SBU. I got to ride it as well (very nice). What was I doing down there on a Tuesday around noon? Protesting budget cuts to services for people with developmental disabilities. Unicycles are great for mass protest events. I was part of a mass (but the only unicycle).

Anyway, my point is, there’s a unicycle that won’t beat up your knees. I know it’s not the same thing, just a coincidence that this happened to me on the same day.

And of course we remember you. Especially me, who just lives down the road. I assumed we would eventually meet (and still do). I don’t know what else to tell you. Only thing that comes to my mind, that hasn’t been mentioned, is second opinion. Could there be anything about unicycling that your doc is overlooking, or assuming inaccurately?

I wish you the best of luck and healing!

At the moment it really is everything. I was off for about a week when I damaged my finger and that was pretty awful.
I was also off a while back with a hurting knee, I could ride lightly but it took about a month or so to get better.

I would be devestated if I couldn’t ride - my calendar/mind is full of rides and events I hope to go to - I can’t get enough.

I love this strip and relate to it.

wondermarkb.bmp (196 KB)

ezas, I hope you find some way to fix your knees and get back in the game.

If you can’t get back into riding but really love being a part of the sport, maybe you can take advantage of some other skill…

drawing/painting/sculpting - unicycle art
music talent - unicycle music
writing - unicycle magazine/blog
mechanical - parts design
software - unicycle game/tool?
photography - got any uni riders nearby to capture?

What do you do for a living? What other skills do you have?

What do you suppose constitutes “unicycle music”? :thinking:

lol… I was thinking of songwriting.
But maybe stringing a uni with guitar wire and playing it like a banjo would work. (Yes unigeezer, we’ve seen the video. :p)

woah, that’s really horrible. must be extremely frustrating having tried so much and had so little return from it! I know that when I’ve had my injuries (broken leg in 09, about a year before I was riding again, broken foot this new years, still not riding…), the thing that’s always got me through it was knowing they were only temporary… but I guess after trying so much you dont even have this to rely on! :
out of interest, does anybody else find that injuries in some ways do them a lot of good? I know it sounds weird, but it forces me into doing other things, keep in contact with my friends more, generally broaden my horizons a little bit :slight_smile:
I guess the age difference between us also has this, but what did you do before unicycling? were you happy then? if you were, you can still be happy now!:smiley:

Thanks for those ideas. They are not common so I’m glad you posted them.

I’ll read up on them.


How do I go about finding a ‘good’ chiropractor who doesn’t just crack your back and send you home until next weeks adjustment? One who knows about alternative therapies like what you listed?

Haven’t given up. Not 100%. What’s fading is hope. I have reasons that give me hope and there are things that don’t give me hope but it’s a complicated and long story of when they hurt and what I was doing and when they didn’t hurt, etc.

But encouragement is always welcome. Thanks