I’m sat here with my left knee in a bit of a mess. Truth be told, it is not a big cut, but it is deep and riding in the rain hasn’t helped it much!
Louise has been making fun of me quite a bit recently. Apparently I like to give her and anybody else a thorough run-down of my knee situation – how the healing process is going, what does and does not work. To add to her amusement, last winter it was the same story with my right knee.
Now I don’t want to steal any thunder from Louise who did write her top ten tips for dealing with road rash here: http://www.eatsleepcycle.com/road-rash-heal-fast/ In a desperate bid to generate more content (Laugh Out Loud), my blog focuses more on knees.
My recent fall was by no means a big crash. Just a clumsy slip on a pile of gravel I probably should have avoided. You know the deal, one minute you are vertical and the next horizontal and you are thinking “how the hell did that happen?!”
I always jump up quickly after a fall. It’s a weird reflex thing; my body naturally flings me back up and I’m normally holding my arm in that “ouch that really hurt” hunched up shape before actually knowing what the damage is. It’s like a cyclists version of the footballers roll-around on the floor. The difference is that the cyclist is normally quite damaged and the footballer is just soft.
On examination of my left knee I found a hole, like a 10mm cube cut into my knee cap. It must have been the result of a perfectly placed stone, the swine. On a positive note, other damage is limited to a really sore arse and the usual road rash on elbow and butt cheek.
The thing you definitely should not do in a situation like this (unless in a race) is another 2 hours of training. Time is of the essence and the key is getting it cleaned and patched up ASAP. So when your mate suggests (yes that’s you Brian) “don’t worry it’ll be grand”, ignore them and seek the nearest refuge with clean running water and H&S supplies.
Here’s what to do as soon as possible:
1. Clean with lots of water. Its going to hurt like hell (unless you get to it still pumped of adrenaline which is great) but you need to get all the dirt out, stones, scrape off (yes scrape) any blackness from the road and gravel.
2. Dry off as much as possible.
3. Clean again with iodine or salt water.
4. If it is a big cut (like mine) try to close it with padding or even better butterfly stitches
5. Ride straight home if nobody can give you a lift
So you walk through your front door with your tail between your legs and know you are in for an uncomfortable evening. Not to worry, as long as you do these things your knee will heal fast:
1. Clean again with iodine or salt water (which I prefer as it really dries it out)
2. When you shower keep your leg out. It is paramount to keep the wound as dry as possible for quick healing, as with all road rash
3. Apply an antibiotic cream to stop infection
4. Roll your trouser leg up whenever you can and let it breath. You only want to cover it up when you ride.
5. Try to ride less but this is a silly ask.
So on our ride yesterday I was talking another cyclist through this and Louise was laughing profusely. Each evening a time-slot is dedicated to “how the knee is doing”. Us cyclists do get a little obsessive about our legs and the healthy maintenance of them.
Here’s hoping your knees stay healthy but if you do have a fall, this advice might just help!