As some of you may have seen on my Facebook page, I broke/fractured a bone in my left foot in a bike ‘crash’ on Friday evening. I promised more details, so here they are.
Last things first, I have what is colloquially known as a ‘Dancer’s Fracture,’ though mine did not involve dancing. What is a dancer’s fracture? This: http://www.footeducation.com/dancers-fracture-5th-metatarsal-avulsion-fracture
In my case, mine happened on a bicycle, but it’s definitely the same sort of injury. I do a lot of cycling when the weather is nice enough, and Friday was one of those days. I normally bike around the East lake bike path. Currently I bike 8 miles at high intensity, then rest for a bit, then bike to Kwik Trip (slowly) for a chocolate milk and then head home.
Friday I only managed part of that. The lake part went great, one of my better rides of the year, though I modified my route a bit due to the crowds and the practice boat races going on for Steamboat Days. The rest part went fairly normally, though again I rested in a different place than usual, to be further from the very loud racing boats.
The ride to Kwik Trip almost went normally. I now live in the East end of Winona, a few blocks from the Kwik Trip on Broadway and Mankato, so that is now my Kwik Trip of choice. The crash occurred right outside the Kwik Trip. It’s slightly hard to explain, but I’ll try. On the Broadway side of that KT there is a Mailbox right next to the building, with some sidewalk next to it. That is normally where I park my bike.
My route has me coming towards the river on the west side of Mankato (the same side as the KT), then turning slight left to KT.
On this particular day, I was feeling pretty good and chose an aggressive path, heading for the driveway on Broadway instead of crossing Broadway straight and going up the accessible ramp. It was going fine until I decided to take a shortcut through part of the grass.
Apparently the sidewalk is just raised enough above the grass, and my wheel hit it just enough on edge instead of straight on so that I lost partial control over the bike. What happened next is a bit hazy, because it happened pretty fast. What I remembered later, which may or may not be entirely accurate is that in my effort to regain control of my bike my left foot became pinned between one of the black poles that cars park in front of to keep them off the sidewalk, and my bike. I’m not 100% certain that’s what happened, but it is what I remembered immediately afterwards.
In any case, the impact with my left foot and whatever it hit was enough to slow me down quite a bit. The reason I put crash in quotes way up at the top of this post is that after the initial impact I managed to control the rest of my fall well enough that I didn’t have any injuries to any part of my body except the left foot.
Being smart, I did the smart thing and sat on the ground for a bit, not trying to stand up until I had assessed my injury. Two different people in cars asked if I was OK, and I didn’t know yet, so I said probably, and they drove off.
My left foot didn’t hurt much immediately, but I could tell it was injured. I touched it gingerly and found a bit sticking out that wasn’t normally there. I took my shoe and sock off and the skin wasn’t broken, but I saw a bump that wasn’t normally there. At that point I knew I had to go in to the ER, because it was probably broken or at least cracked and I don’t have and xray machine or medical training.
What I did next may be less than smart by some degree. Since it looked like it could possibly rain, I didn’t have my wallet with me, just my ID, $5, my phone and iPod, in a plastic bag. I also don’t take my car keys with me biking (they’re bulky and heavyish). So I managed to get back onto my bike, which I noted had a cracked (metal) pedal on the left and bike the block and a half to my apartment. I have an upstairs apartment and normally I store my bike in a closet in my kitchen. That wasn’t going to happen this time, so I left it outside and headed up. The stairs were not what I would call easy, but I managed them by putting some of my weight onto the non-injured side of my left foot. I then grabbed my car keys, my wallet, and put some ice in a sandwich bag to take along as well, since I didn’t know how long I’d have to wait and knew ice was a good idea. I managed to get my bike in the back of my station wagon as well.
I then drove to the hospital and parked much too far away. The walk from my car to the ER entrance was slow and long. Having never been to the ER before I didn’t know the protocol and immediately managed to walk into a secure area without anyone stopping me (someone was coming out as I came in, so that’s why the door to the treatment area was open). Luckily a nurse was nearby and after I told her I hadn’t been seen she directed me to the correct spot, where she met me after a minute or so. From there things went fairly smoothly, if a bit slowly. I got to watch some of the Twins game in-between waiting for the Dr. and then waiting to be taken to xray and then waiting for the Dr. again.
The diagnosis was broken bone. Apparently this sort of break normally heals pretty well, if somewhat slowly. Treatment is a special shoe and crutches for a while, as well as the normal ice, elevation etc. I do have to make a follow-up appointment with a foot specialist for further review, so there’s probably more to come there.
So, until next time (which will be soon, I have more to say, but this post is long enough):
Have fun, don’t die, and Make Mine Marvel!