I had a cycling accident in July of 2019. As I was commuting to work on a beautiful summer morning, I collided head on with another cyclist. It was an unfortunate accident that could have been prevented if we had better cycling infrastructure in this area of the city.
I considered the accident to be a minor event and I showed no visible injuries. I was lucky, considering the other cyclist was bleeding on his elbow and knee. We both chatted, shook hands and carried on with our day.
Though I considered myself lucky and had no visible injuries, my left shoulder was a bit sore. Understandable considering I went flying off my bars and broke the fall with my arm. It was normal to be a bit sore. I brushed it off and assumed it was going to get better after a few days.
In addition to cycling, I enjoy weight training at the gym. I lift heavy and hard. I noticed that when I benched pressed and did shoulder exercises, my left shoulder was extremely sore. I ignored it and continued working out until it became unbearable.
I took a break from weight training and gave the shoulder a bit of a rest. After the brief hiatus, I went back to weight training and the issue just got worse. I decided it was time to see a Doctor.
I met with the Doctor who thought I had a torn labrum and recommended an MRI to be sure. The result was thankfully not a torn labrum. It was a “very angry AC joint”. Those were the words the doctor used. I have a bad case of arthritis on my acromioclavicular joint which is where the uppermost part of your shoulder blade meets your collarbone. The first question the doctor asked me was if I benched heavy at the gym. Guilty!
Thankfully, I don’t need surgery so the first round of treatment is physical therapy. I am not allowed to do any push exercises (bench press, shoulder press, etc.) and to lay off lifting heavy. I can take a break from the weight room with no issue. I also asked him about cycling and he did recommend I take it easy. Riding a road bike causes stress on the shoulder as the body is leaning aggressively over the bars. He didn’t forbid me but cautioned me to avoid long rides.
I’m listening to the doctor and avoiding the weight room and long bike rides. However, I had a goal of riding the 5 Boro Bike tour (40 miles and already registered and paid for), The Hudson Valley ride (100 miles) and the Town Lights Ride (100 miles). Unfortunately, he suggested I laid off the long rides (50+ miles) as it requires me putting too much stress on the shoulder for too long a period of time.
Overall, I will continue to ride, but not as aggressively and will treat the shoulder with therapy and hope for a full recovery within 6 months. I’m not sure if that’s realistic, but that will be my goal.