Busted

I’ve been dealing with a knee injury for the last week, a bouldering accident. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, it was near the beginning of my session and I walked it off pretty quickly. I knocked my right kneecap on a volume or something, I don’t remember. I do remember having a really good session though. I did several V4s that I was surprised I was able to complete, including one that involved a high step on my right foot, hip to the wall. It was a lot of torque, almost like a one-legged squat, but I was able to apply some counter pressure with my hands. I felt strong as shit.

I finished the session on a 5.10 on the top rope. I really pushed myself, it was really hard and my forearms were absolutely crushed, but I sent it. I got home late and hopped into the shower and came out to find a golf-ball sized swollen lump on my right kneecap. I iced it and took some ibuprofen and it came down, but it’s been bothering me for the last week.

Apparently I have knee bursitis, and inflammation of one of the fluid-filled sacs that protects the kneecap. It’s a huge mess. My knee has multiple bruises on it, in addition to the blistery spot on the kneecap, I’ve seemingly got a bruise that runs through my knee, starting on the front outside left and ending on the back outside right. It’s almost like I got shot through with an arrow. I’ve got most of my functionality back at this point, but the bursa is still tender and I’m hesitant to go back to the gym and risk fucking it up worse. It looks like these things can take two to six weeks to heal, so I’m going to wait another day and assess whether I should go back.

I did some research, and it seems that bouldering causes more knee injuries that top rope or trad climbing. ACL tears are common in bouldering from unexpected falls, but the high step, heel hooks and drop knee moves also cause problems. In my case, I know I had direct trauma to the knee cap, but I don’t think that explains the extent of the bruising, but who knows.

I really enjoy bouldering and I love pushing myself, but I’ve got to acknowledge that I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’ve gotten other scratches, scrapes, bruises and pulled muscles while climbing, and the best thing I can do if I want to keep up with my new hobby is wait and give my body time to heal. I’ve been getting lots of sleep, and haven’t been active other than mowing the yard. I did some squats this morning, and I’ve been doing some stretching exercises to try and work my bum leg. Hopefully I’ll be healed up and ready to get back on the wall tomorrow.

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