Recovery after injury?


i ian amateur 57year cyclist, riding for fun and fitness… sadly i had a fairly serious accident, fell off at 30mph and hit some keep-off-the-grass posts.

broken rib which annoyingly hit my liver and i ended up losing (they say) 3 pints of blood.

then in hospital i got covid (though i am vaccinated).

i am not after condolences, these things happen and i feel very lucky - it could have been my neck on the post not my rib.

however anyone any thoughts on how long it will take for my red blood cell count to recover, and is mild covid a significant complication?

am i likely to be back to some kind of fitness in a few months or is it more a case of start again next year.

this happened 2 weeks ago and i plan to start walking a mile or two a day this week, and if that goes well, maybe a lazy ride the week after.

i believe gentle pressure on my cardio system
is what i need to promote red blood cell production - though i am no expert obviously.

-Steve (just glad to still be here)

Sad to hear but hope you will recover soon! :wink:

Loss of blood should be not that big of a problem. Last year i gave my blood, and after couple of days of less energy I was 100% ok and ready to ride as usuall. I know it is a diffrent thing but they say blood recovers very fast if you are eating healthy etc.

Covid really depends on how strong it hit your body. For me it was a week of really lack of any form, two weeks of my body acting strange (I’m talking about riding after covid) with my hr being low but fatigue being like a vo2max effort. But after a 3-4 weeks time all came to my standards.

First of all I would talk to my doc and ask, and best would be to find a doc who is into sports (they have much differ view on recovery and what you can, should do).
If you have a green light from your doc there is no reason to wait till next year. There is a nice argument I heard on a Trainerroad podcast: why you would wait if it is now when you are most rested (bc of lack of any movement) and your body can only benefit from some basic workouts.

Indoor trainer is a good idea if you are weak and are afraid you can fall etc. You can borrow one for a month or so (After a broken leg I was slowly riding on a grass with my road bike, it looked funny for everyone looking but for me was like a dream, and after a month I could ride on tarmac and now I’m riding fast as before)

Ofc I would progress your load very slowly :slight_smile:
PS. You don`t lose your base fitness that fast. Ofc body needs time to recover but In couple of months you should be where you were before.

good luck in your rocever! Thumbs!

thanks for the hopeful words.

i too give blood and did so in Jan and, like you, noticed little change and was completely back to normal in a week.

what worries me is climbing two flights of stairs to say good night to the kids gets me out of breath.

having said that its not as bad as a week ago when i first got back from hospital, i am probably just being impatient.

From my perspective from a year ago (my covid was 5 days in bed dead, two days 39 temp, next week lack of energy in bed but no temp) Covid is messing something with blood and hr, amount of oxygen and overall fatigue. Hard to explain exactly but after returning to cycling I had an impression for 2-3 weeks like every ride I did (z2 most of the time) instead of being z2 was almost threshold but only from fatigue perspective, like hr was not connected to the fatigue and my brain could not control my body. I could ride my standard 5hrs z2 ride but with a threshold rpe fatigue. In normal condition I would just have no energy to ride any more. Power was z2, hr was z2-3, rpe was 8-9. At the end I remember decided to stick to hr forgetting about power, shorter rides, and just trying to keep my hr in low z2 zone what resulted with power numbers 100w lower from my normal z2 rides. I remeber I was afraid as hell to post those rides on my strava account but at the end I got some very nice support and after a month was almost fully ok. Oh and 4 months later I actually did my Best ever 20m power test, which was a huge surprise, I thought that season was lost already :slight_smile:
All I wanted to say is your climbing and lack of breath is probably a result of covid and very similar to my riding. You did climb, it was not that hard but your fatigue says different story.

So as far climbing the stairs, I would jsut do it very slowly like everything else and it should be better with each day. It took me a month or two to come back and I just had covid and no accident. But after a covid, slow is the way! :slight_smile:

TLDR. your fitness will come in a month or so :slight_smile:


Commiserations! I hope you recover well.

I had a bad crash back in mid-February: 8 broken ribs, partial deflated lung, grade 5 separation of A/C joint = 11 days in hospital. I was in hospital so long because my blood oxygen levels would go really low after any exertion. Also, perhaps being 81 may have made them worry.

For many weeks after, I found shortage of breath a real worry. Climbing stairs, even walking and talking at the same time!

In hospital I was being treated by general surgeons – I mean, not sports specialists. Getting out, I went to see a sports physician, who basically said, do what you want exercise-wise. I also got a sports physiotherapist to start to work on the shoulder, trying to not have surgery. So, 2 weeks after the accident I was on the indoor trainer for 30 minutes at really low power [~25% of pre-accident FTP], with HR ~ 75% of HR max. Power:HR ratio about 50% of pre-accident. I took 7 workouts and 3 weeks to work up to 1 h on the trainer. 6 weeks after that first 1 hour ride, I’m doing 2:30 h rides on the trainer – with Pwr:HR ratio up to ~90% of pre-accident levels. So, like Lukasz said, take it slowly.

I still have not ridden on my real bike – partially a fear of falling onto recently-broken ribs and partially advice from physio about what might happen to my shoulder if I did come off.

You may improve faster than me – I imagine that you’re younger and you spilled fewer ribs. But then again, you had Covid. So take it very gently, progressively raising load and intensity on an indoor trainer [in a gym if you don’t have one of your own]. But do see a sports physician about riding outside.

Good luck – Michael

1 Like


@Steve_Simon , here’s to your quick recovery - I hope your downtime and recuperation are as short as possible.

Ditto to what others have said in regards to working with a doctor that understands your cycling and fitness goals.

As a cancer survivor and someone who’s undergone 3 non-cancer surgeries in less than two years + Covid, I can tell you that your body certainly wants to work back to your previous fitness levels, but it may take some patience. Make a long range plan, and be sure to recognize and appreciate the small incremental gains. It may take a while, but the effort is worth it.

Two thoughts regarding the blood loss, though:

  • Did your doctor put you on an iron supplement, either prescription or over-the-counter? If so, what you take it with and when can significantly influence how well your body can absorb it. Calcium-containing and some other foods tend to blunt its absorption. My doctor recommended that I take it with orange juice, IIRC.

  • Several posters mention donating blood. Giving blood is basically a clinical procedure. It sounds like your liver was ruptured and you lost a substantial volume of blood. There are, I think, two things to consider here. First, the liver is going to need time to heal. Secondly, your blood plasma can be replaced fairly quickly but not as quickly for those red blood cells - they shuttle your O2 and CO2 - and your body has to manufacture those.

Again, this is MD medical doctor stuff we are talking about here, and I’m not a doctor, just a successful survivor of mishaps/misfortune who clawed his way back to fitness.

Good luck to you!

1 Like

just thought i would send an update.
the next fun is i cought a chest infection, making it hard to sleep lying down as my lungs would fill with liquid.

i tried to see the doctor but after a day of trying gave up and returned to A&E.

the hospital prescribed serious amounts of antibiotics which made me feel pretty awful (i didn’t realise they could do that but a nurse friend says it is not uncommon)

i have now finished the antibiotics and for the first time in a month, i feel like myself again.

i might even try riding a few gentle miles tomorrow.
I feels great to be back!

1 Like

@Steve_Simon – gently does it, Steve – but consistency! Keep up the struggle, mate.

We’re all rooting for you! :muscle:t4:

I am also recovering from injury, not as bad as Steve.
I fell end of March with my bike on icy road and got Hamstrings tendon total rupture which is now already operated surgically.
No cycling since, but now I can walk almost normally. Physiotherapy will start in 2 weeks and I hope I can start riding easily with trainer on mid of June. will be great help for me to adjust my rehabilitation progress.
I’m also lucky enough to have very good indoorcycling equipments for having almost natural cycling experience.

And after all for @Steve_Simon I hope you get well soon enough - greetings from Finland

1 Like

get well soon!

The blood losing wont be the problem, the ribs wont be a problem, the liver i gues not but the covid could be.
Nobody is an expert in that. i have coached 2 male person and train with one female that had covid. and no one react the same. 1 male ended up at the icu and was the fastest to recover. the one with the least symptoms took the longest.
Good days and bad days will come.

best thing is not to use a powermeter, stay low or mid hr Z2 and use rpe as guide.

take your time Steve!