For athletes, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting injured. And the pain that accompanies the injuries isn’t even the main issue. It’s the downtime that motivates athletes to avoid injuries as much as possible.
BMX bikers are no different. Engaged in an extreme sport that demands pushing your physical abilities to their limits, riders are no stranger to bumps, nicks, bruises, and wounds. Sometimes, a stunt gone wrong may cause more than just an abrasion. Attempting a freestyle jump may lead to ankle injuries, and a bar spin may sprain your wrists.
Fractures and severe injuries can put a biker’s life at a virtual standstill, forcing you to wait for months—sometimes years—before you can get back on the bike saddle. If you’re in the healing process right now, here are several ways for you to recover from an injury after falling, flying, or rolling off of your BMX bike:
- Try The R.I.C.E Method
Some athletes swear by the efficacy of using ice in reducing inflammation and quickly recovering from injuries. Sports players are often seen submerged in tubs filled with ice-cold water. Anecdotal evidence suggests the potential of an ice bath and other forms of cryotherapy to flush out toxin build-up from the body following vigorous physical activities or body pains. This further results in swift recovery and optimizing performance, as your sore muscles are relieved.
As a vasoconstrictor, ice reduces swelling by constricting your blood vessels and isolating unwanted fluids away from the injury site. The rest, ice, compression, and elevation strategy is a popular method for relieving bumps, bruises, and other forms of soft tissue injuries. The following provides more details about this method:
- Rest – You’re advised to avoid performing the activities that caused your injury. You may perform mild exercises, though. You can read more about effective post-injury exercises later on the list.
- Ice – Apply ice as soon as possible to reduce inflammation and swelling. Put it on the affected area for not more than 15 minutes or you’ll risk having a frostbite injury. Remove the ice and wait for a few minutes before putting it back again.
- Compression – Wrap the injured area to further prevent swelling. Use an elastic bandage and make sure it fits snugly. Loosen the bandage if your skin turns blue, feels tingly, or numb, as it could mean that your blood flow is interrupted.
- Elevation – When you’re lying down, find a way to comfortably prop the affected area at a level above your heart to reduce pain and swelling.
2. Address Your Anxiety
An injury can cause humiliation to sports athletes, BMX bikers included. A serious injury will not only cause physical issues but can also take a huge toll on your self-esteem.
This, and your fear of getting injured once again, may impact your confidence considerably. Once your body can handle a bike ride, go ahead and bike around your neighborhood. If you feel uncomfortable and out of sync with your old bike, consider a test order. You may need a new bike or a different model.
3. Perform Mild Exercises
After an injury, a BMX biker needs to rest for a bit to allow faster healing. However, not moving at all may result in a longer recovery time. That’s why you need to perform gentle stretching or exercises to keep your game going. You may perform the following exercises aimed at strengthening your legs, back, and core:
- Lunges and squats to strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.
- Short-arc quad extension to relieve and prevent knee pain, but do it lightly to prevent yourself from getting re-injured.
- Perform bridges by using an exercise ball to boost your core and gluteal muscles. This exercise helps avoid lower back and shoulder pain, as well as hand numbness.
- Ball hamstring curl to enhance your core, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.
- Use an exercise tube to strengthen the upper back muscles.
- Align your back using foam rollers. Just lay down and slide the foam on your back. Lean back, lift your hips, and extend your arms to manipulate the tool.
4. Don’t Forget Your Cardio Training
Riding and performing tricks with your BMX bike requires a great supply of oxygen. Don’t forget about your cardio training even in your downtime. Riders need to have healthy cardio muscles to ensure they can perform their routine with razor-sharp precision, enough to be the best at what they do.
If you can, try jogging or even walking a few miles. If you can’t go out, you can use a treadmill. A jump rope can do the trick, too. Apart from promoting heart health, doing jump ropes can also encourage your feet and hands to move faster. However, this high-impact exercise isn’t advisable if you haven’t completely healed yet.
5. Visit A Doctor Or Physical Therapist
Let’s face it: you’re not unbreakable. No one is. So, don’t skip your regular appointments with your doctor or physical therapist. For more serious injuries, you need to undergo proper training and rehabilitation so you can get back on your bike as soon as possible. Even better, these professionals can recommend the proper treatment for your specific case.
More than anything, keep an open mind and listen to your doctor’s advice and recommendations. Follow them as they have only your best interests at heart. It’s very important for you to follow their advice to stay away from your bike for now. Getting re-injured will only extend your time off your bike.
Recovering from an injury is especially disabling for BMX riders who are used to staying up on their feet. Don’t beat yourself up if you think you’ve made a huge mistake. Instead, learn from your experience and commit to becoming better. Listen to your healthcare providers and avoid doing too much too soon. The risk of getting re-injured simply isn’t worth it.
Sarah Johnsons is a professional sports medicine specialist, helping trainers and athletes increase their awareness and understanding of this field. She makes it a point to answer online queries from her followers and provide helpful free advice through her online guest posts.