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Injury healing time

Jan 18, 2010
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Is it possible to heal bones naturally as fast as the pros do it?
The CN article about Nocentini said he hopes to be on the rollers in 20 days after surgery. With total recovery time somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks.

That seems awful fast to me but I'm no MD.

The mortals I know who've broken collar bones have taken 6 month's to heal completely and most of that time was spent off the bike.

The pro guys seem to return from injury in half the time, or less.

So what's the deal? Are they doping to heal fast, or do they just have much better medical care? Does surgery reduce the healing time significantly?

I'd also note that this phenomenon isn't unique to cycling.
 
Nov 24, 2009
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biokemguy said:
Is it possible to heal bones naturally as fast as the pros do it?
The CN article about Nocentini said he hopes to be on the rollers in 20 days after surgery. With total recovery time somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks.

That seems awful fast to me but I'm no MD.

The mortals I know who've broken collar bones have taken 6 month's to heal completely and most of that time was spent off the bike.

The pro guys seem to return from injury in half the time, or less.

So what's the deal? Are they doping to heal fast, or do they just have much better medical care? Does surgery reduce the healing time significantly?

I'd also note that this phenomenon isn't unique to cycling.

I think a couple of things to note are that for an ordinary person who breaks something they are going to have to fit their recovery around different parts of their life, i.e work/family/shopping for food etc. For the pro athelete they can focus 100% on recovery because that is their work etc.

They will also presumable have much more contact with their medical team to change recovery program as they can to make it the most efficient.

And probably and not inconsiderable part could be played by things like hGH and other treatments that would not normally be considered. I mean why do you have soccer player going to Serbia to see and old woman with supposed access to enriched cow or was it Horse Blood? Almost certain that is not what was going on and there were some not strictly legal meds going on
 
Aug 13, 2009
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In the case of a broken collarbone I found that surgery really aided a speedy recovery. I crashed on a monday, had surgery thursday and was on a plane to fly to Europe for work on a saturday. I was able to get on the stationary bike one week post-crash, hit the gym's stairclimber a few days after that, run outdoors after about two weeks and was on the bike outdoors after three and a half weeks. It was a fairly clean break but surgery was imperative in my instance as I had to be able to travel to already scheduled work overseas... Long answer: surgery speeds things up!
 
Serbski said:
In the case of a broken collarbone I found that surgery really aided a speedy recovery. I crashed on a monday, had surgery thursday and was on a plane to fly to Europe for work on a saturday. I was able to get on the stationary bike one week post-crash, hit the gym's stairclimber a few days after that, run outdoors after about two weeks and was on the bike outdoors after three and a half weeks. It was a fairly clean break but surgery was imperative in my instance as I had to be able to travel to already scheduled work overseas... Long answer: surgery speeds things up!

+1, well said.

Also worth noting, the better your health and fitness, the quicker your recovery will likely be.
 
What sort of intensity training can you do soon afterwards? I have heard of people like Armstrong getting back on the bike really quickly. I am not a physiologist but would intense activity put pressure on the collarbone due to deep breathing causing the chest to shift around and cause some movement on the collarbone?
 
Jul 20, 2009
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Serbski said:
In the case of a broken collarbone I found that surgery really aided a speedy recovery. I crashed on a monday, had surgery thursday and was on a plane to fly to Europe for work on a saturday. I was able to get on the stationary bike one week post-crash, hit the gym's stairclimber a few days after that, run outdoors after about two weeks and was on the bike outdoors after three and a half weeks. It was a fairly clean break but surgery was imperative in my instance as I had to be able to travel to already scheduled work overseas... Long answer: surgery speeds things up!

Cool! I have broken my collarbone twice, but never had surgery. I seem to recall that it took forever for it to heal...
 
Jul 31, 2009
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sadfitty said:
Cool! I have broken my collarbone twice, but never had surgery. I seem to recall that it took forever for it to heal...

I've broken my collarbone once (spring last year) and did not have surgery, didn't ride for 2 1/2 or 3 months. Really sucked and ruined my favorite season to ride.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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what no one mentioned is that generally when surgery is done like in la's case a titanium plate is put in place which more or less supports the broken claviclle like an extra bone making riding doable almost immediately this would be the same for anyone. the rest of us generally cannot afford such treatment so we wait the 6 to 8 weeks to heal normally with a sling been there done that. simple as that nothing super human going on. i crashed recently and contused my abdominal wall and broke a rib in the upper chest while getting a flu and fever at the same time nothing better than coughing and fever with a busted rib and abdominal injury nonetheless i was back riding normally in ten days with pain but bearable.
 
Jan 18, 2010
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good to know

Thanks for the info.

Not sure why I like Nocentini, but at least his recovery doesn't sound like it's a good reason to suspect him of doping. I like Vandevelde too and his recovery last year also seemed suspicious to me.

So I'll continue to cheer for them with the standard reservations I have for all riders.
 
i crashed on the bell lap in a race a week before nationals. broken collarbone, broken ribs, punctured lung, severe road rash. i was in intensive care one night, then i made them let me out of the hospital. i was riding a stationary trainer 5 days later. i was racing again in 6 weeks.
the one night in hospital also gave me a staph infection that thankfully went away with antibiotics pretty fast. i was very motivated to heal up quickly, so i know that helped.
fyi. no surgery,just natural healing.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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Medical science or medical money the very best is available to the pro teams but if they dont heal they dont get paid its that simple and if out too long you get the flick.
Long tern I dont know if it is the fastest way is best long term.
 

buckwheat

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Sep 24, 2009
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usedtobefast said:
i was very motivated to heal up quickly, so i know that helped.
fyi. no surgery,just natural healing.

I think the motivation is key. I just got sideswiped by a car today (hit and run) and went down at maybe 22 or 23 mph. I had tights on so no road rash except for my hands but I wrenched my already damaged back. Intense deep pain in the left upper buttocks, but I could have jumped back on the bike quickly. No broken bones, I don't think, but I'm a little concerned about my coccyx.

I needed some time off the bike, so I'm ok with it. I live in Miami, and had been kind of fearless about riding in traffic. Now I'm somewhat shaken up to say the least. Before this I had a couple of close calls with aggressive or oblivious drivers so this maybe somewhat of a wakeup call. When I had crashed other times due to pilot error, it bothered me very little.

Anyway, regarding the healing time, if it's a simple break or something the doctors can get a hold on, I see the main problems being mental, both in recovery and getting the bad memories out of your head.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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biokemguy said:
Is it possible to heal bones naturally as fast as the pros do it?
The CN article about Nocentini said he hopes to be on the rollers in 20 days after surgery. With total recovery time somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks.

That seems awful fast to me but I'm no MD.

The mortals I know who've broken collar bones have taken 6 month's to heal completely and most of that time was spent off the bike.

If someone is taking 6 months to heal from a standard collarbone break then they are probably dragging it out needlessly. Granted there is no real thing as a standard break but assuming it isn't requiring surgery then after 2 weeks you will be feeling much better. The pain may persist for months and is often noticeable when lying down on that particular side which can disrupt sleep, this does not however mean that the bone is still damaged in any way.

I have broken my left clavicle twice and my right clavicle once, thankfully none of which required surgery. There is no reason not to be able to hit the turbo in a few days if you feel OK and are not making the injury worse by putting unnecessary strain on the break. I have done this and it is fine but proper training will take a couple of weeks before you can ride in your standard position without making the injury worse etc.

A badly broken leg is a totally different story altogether, very very long recovery times depending on the severity of it and there is little you can do other than sit it out. I've been there...
 
Aug 6, 2009
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I'm not even sure that it's possible to significantly improve recovery time with doping. If it was, wouldn't it be used in regular medicine, just like other doping products are? Most forms of doping (or at least many) are just medicine used for performance enhancement rather than curing sick people.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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When I broke my collarbone last year, what slowed down the recovery was not getting on a turbo trainer, which was possible with minimal pain after about 2 weeks (no surgery, clean break) but going back to work. It was 6 weeks before I could ride on the road comfortably and 10 weeks before I raced. One of the key differences between this schedule and a pro's quick return is that my 10 weeks without racing killed my form and wrecked the whole season. It was more than 6 months before I felt competitive again. If I had been racing after 4 or 5 weeks and then racing pretty much every day, then the loss of form would have been far less noticable.

Most pros are also much younger than me.
 

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