I think most serious mountain bikers have an old separated shoulder injury. It’s that wreck where you crash sideways, or even over the handlebars attempting the tuck and roll, when the clips are a little slow in unclipping, and the deltoids are the first to take the hit.
Then again, sometimes the arm is outstretched and then wrenched backward in a very unnatural way as the body’s momentum continues forward.
I don’t even remember the exact wreck in which my shoulder was initially wrenched. It was probably in those first formative years of riding Pisgah where I crashed just about every time I rode. There were so many “endos” it’s hard to distinguish between them.
The separated shoulder is kind of gross, the way I can feel it jostling about as I run up and down the stairs. It was actually gymnastics class that put it over the edge this last time. I spent a week “fixing” the flare-up. Generally it gets a little tweaked when I’m not careful, but rest, hot packs and working deep into trigger points, followed by yoga can relieve it all. It felt better after a week of me digging into it with a massage cane and getting three massages.
In fact, it felt so good that I hit Dupont for another 25-miler. Mistake. The throbbing slowly returned after the technical climbing where I was constantly yanking the handlebars up. Even the slow steady climbs must have been keeping my shoulder joint as open as possible. By the last two miles of fire road all I could do was fold my arm close into my belly and ride with one hand. I stayed off of the bike the rest of the week, running instead, each time wishing that I were wearing a sling. Instead I kept my hand in my jacket pocket so I wouldn‘t have to feel all of the bouncing. At least the cold air was good for the swelling?
I taped it with Kinesiotape, which is an excellent way to pretend you have ligaments. I taped across wherever I wished they were, imagining my humerus being truly attached to my collar bone the way it’s supposed to be like a well-behaved rotator cuff.
I believe it’s going to be yoga that saves me and my ability to ride. Yoga classes have brought my attention to every one of my injuries – old and new. Injuries that I thought had been long gone reared their ugly heads as I struggled to twist my body into crazy poses that seemed effortless to the non-athletes as well as yogis. It helped me realize what needed strengthening, where I was lacking balance, and what needed to be more flexible.
It helped me so much over the last five years that I’ve decided to go to yoga teacher training. I look forward to the meditation behind it and hope that it teaches me how to balance my spirit as well as learn more about how heal myself. I can’t wait to help you, too.