Sunday, February 19, 2012

Manage scar tissue like Termites

Four years ago I was in a near fatal car accident.  The circumstances around the accident were life diverging and I think about it everyday but right now I just want to talk about the rehab of my injuries because it might help someone else dealing with similar issues.  I know people with worst injuries but that isn't to say the mine weren't significant.

My injury list starts with heavy blunt trauma to my chest & lungs, a severe concussion & 6" cranial gash down to the scull, a broken femur at the top & bottom and finally ends with a shattered ball & socket joint in my pelvis.  The x-ray below shows the hip rebuild.  The screws you see are 3 inches long and the plate is 12.

I've been able to rehab all of my injuries 100% except the acute pain & stiffness that remains in my hip.  This is caused entirely by scar tissue that formed throughout the soft tissue after the rebuild.

The screws & plate are still in & will remain for the rest of my life so I suspect they are an irritant regenerating scar tissue when I move.  As a cyclist, my hips' ball & socket is in constant motion which makes the problem worse so it has been frustrating trying to manage this successfully.

As kids my dad had us do Karate.  Karate is lots of things.  One big thing in karate is stretching and we did it all the time and I saw the benefits in everything I did.  A couple years ago I read an article in a major publication (maybe NY Times) that said the benefits of stretching were a myth.  I thought this was total crap when I read it but must admit the copious reference sources had me thinking for a second.

It's funny how insidious things like this can be too because even though I knew the article was flat out wrong I still allowed it to affect my commitment to stretch as often as I know is best for me.  Bottom line is that I stretched less and the scar tissue & stiffness in my hip got worse.

A friend of mine has a similar injury.  His surgeon told him that having Scar Tissue is like having a Termite problem in your house.  Once you have them, you will always have them.  The only way to manage them is to consistently treat the house.  If you don't treat your house they will return, every time!

It's is the same for Scar Tissue.  Once you have it, you will always have it.  Scar Tissue will return again and again if you don't treat it.  The only way to keep Scar Tissue from interfering with training is to treat it with stretching everyday. 

I started stretching my hip again in the same way I did before reading that article and my hip feels better already.


  1. I've enjoyed reading your blog. The teamwork post and guitar video was brilliant. Although, it might require a follow-on segment on judicious use of teamwork only when the output is more than the sum of the parts. :-)

    Today you have motivated me to get on Dave to be more consistent with stretching for his injuries. Similar issues with his shoulder and hip - termites as a metaphor for scar tissue - the title itself couldn't be ignored. Keep sharing!

    Christine Fuentes

  2. Awesome Christine. Glad to hear this. Hopefully Dave will follow your advise. I probably should have also mention massage in addition to stretching but I think the point is clear. Anyway thanks again. I will be in DC this week & will probably do Haines Point and the Goon ride. It would be cool to connect with the Harley guys as well. Best, Skip