Friday, July 8

If it hurts, fix it

As athletes, we know our bodies well enough to know when we are injured. However athletes by nature are stubborn and goal-driven, thus we allow ourselves to overlook the nagging back pain, slight twinge behind the knee and occasional light headed-ness.

When I crashed at Redlands, early April, my hand got stuck in the spokes of my front wheel, slicing a nice gash in my middle finger and making the other three just plain hurt. I kept thinking it would go away, that I was being weak or that I just wasn't tough enough.

They were neither swollen nor black and blue. My dexterity was basically normal too. They looked weird though, almost crooked and my knuckles looked fat and funny. Riding didn't hurt, but braking and shifting could be a problem. Things like pumping gas, making a fist, opening salad dressing or gripping anything for that matter were a real BIG problem. I would wake up during the night with my fingers hurting super bad and in the morning would find it hard to move them at all. They constantly throbbed and ached. So weird!

Yesterday I went to my favorite massage/torturer Jason Ravel and I said "dude, my hand hurts so bad!" Come to find out, the fingers were extremely mis-aligned. Different than being dislocated, the connective tissue was and still is all out of wack, pulling the bones all over the place (extremely scientific explanation I know!). After 30 minutes of "massage" on each finger, I can make a fist and they each looked nearly straight! And fist pump I did! It's not all the way cleared up, but lets just say my quality of life has improved drastically. And I was able to open a jar of olives without crying Uncle.

3 months, almost to the day! I should know better! But without a "substantial" injury of a bone sticking out or massive stitches, I thought i would be just fine. Now by no means is this a horrible injury, and I think of my friends who have endured broken collarbones, elbows, femurs, and shoulders this season, and this tiny issue pales in comparison. Yet it makes a very clear statement to me to not let injuries go overlooked. Left unattended, they will probably grow!

So if it hurts, look into fixing it!