Coming Back from a Femur Fracture: It’s a Sufferfest!

It’s 4 months and a week now since I fractured my femur, and the leg’s coming on ok. Walking almost looks normal now, although it stills hurts like a little bastard. If you want to read the full story, have a look back at the first post here.

Anyway, time to get the ass in gear – let the training begin! Again.

Back on the Turbo Trainer

My Turbo Trainer Torture Chamber

My Turbo Trainer Torture Chamber – a Permanent Fixture in the Conservatory

So, this morning I fired up the laptop, cued up Sufferfest and mounted my bike, ready for my first good sweat in over 4 months.

It was great! The leg held up fine and I managed an hour dead-on, motivated by the Sufferfest’s growling tunes and brilliant banter. If you’ve never seen them before, check them out over at They make videos that keep you going on the static bike, showing footage of UCI races with intervals interspered throughout. The chat’s great – quite funny and just motivational enough – and, for some reason, watching the pros slog it out is pretty inspirational, keeping the legs pumping even after an hour on the turbo.

Anyway, managed an average HR of 150-odd, which is as hard as I’ve worked since the start of May, and the leg didn’t hurt much at all. Looks like the second break might be healing ok, but I’ll find out on Monday when I go for my next X-Ray.

Here’s the graph thanks to my trusty Garmin and the ever excellent Strava:

First Turbo Trainer Ride following Femur Fracture

The plan is to keep this up, at least 1 session a week along with the 2 physio appointments. If I can manage 2 then that’s great, although I’m happy to work up to that over the next 4 weeks.

I want to get a wee bike computer to start measuring the virtual distance I’m covering, so I can see how I’m improving on the turbo. I can’t keep motivated without the numbers.

Tell me Your Femur Fracture, or Other Recovery Stories

As always, if you’ve had a similar accident, or if you have any tips, let me know. Would love to hear how others got over injuries that kept them off the bike entirely. Hopefully this helps others keep motivated – it seems to take bloody ages, but you can get back in the saddle eventually!


Colin started mountain biking in the early 2000s and has haphazardly, and with barely increasing skill, dragged his bike around the majority of Scotland's trail centres since then. Colin has oodles of hard earned experience in how NOT to do things - listen, be warned and don't repeat his mistakes...   More about Colin... Google+ Colin

10 Responses

  1. Captain Joe says:

    Good job getting back on the bike dude. I enjoyed reading your posts documenting your recovery. You seem like a real champion with a true warrior spirit. Not many would remain so positive in the light of such an injury. Kudos to you my friend and congratulations on becoming a Dad this year. Best of luck with the rest of your rehabilitation = )

  2. Neil says:

    Hows things coming along Colin? I’ve enjoyed your posts. Hopefuly you’re well on the mend.

  3. Braden says:

    I have to follow up here, how are things coming along? I’m not much of a cyclist, but I stumbled upon your blog by looking for people with broken femurs. I’m more of a runner, I’ve ran a few marathons, even qualifying for the Boston Marathon. However, a couple months ago I cracked the femur in my knee and am extremely discouraged about my recovery. Would love to hear how you’ve healed up. Have you regained original form?

  4. Dr. Joseph Neuwirth says:

    Great story. Thank yo so much for putting all your pain to paper for all to see. I too have broken my right femur at the upper proximal third of the shaft and into the trocanter area. It is an oblique fracture. I had an IM Nail placed which is fixed at distal end with screws as well as screws at proximal end. I am now in fifth week post-op. Pain is still giving me grief. Ok, so I was riding my Kona on a single tract and crossed a creek with a solid rock slab for a bottom. Creek was about 20 feet wide. As I rode over a small drop onto the rock with a small flow of water on it my bike spun out from under me thus allowing me to drop onto the slab. I hit on my right side which broke the femur. As I was alone in a park early in the morning I was afraid that no one would find me. I did have a cell which allowed me to call out for help. After about 30 minutes EMS guys had me on the way to the hospital which was an agonizing 40 minutes ride. ER people stabilized the leg with traction — very painful — and took me to room to await for surgery the next day. I am using EMS to help recover and doing my own PT exercises. Plan to ride trainer with road bike tomorrow. We will see what happens.

  5. Marcia says:

    Yes, Colin, I can relate! My story is not exciting, cleaning my kitchen, placed a dish towel down on the floor to put dishes on…walked a way to answer phone…came back, slipped on the dish towel…but at least I was still holding my phone. Broke my femur in 3 places, split the head, fractured side, spiral down. At the end of the first month, I wasn’t making much progress walking…as the pain was terrible in BOTH legs. Went to ER and found that I had blood clots in both legs, PT went out the window as I was pretty much told to lay flat for a couple of weeks. I was getting really good at doing nothing! I was discouraged! Just ended my 5th month of recovery. Doing better, I can sometimes walk without my walker, but, not long distances, my stamina stinks. When I do walk, I must concentrate on what I am doing…long strides, heel down first, don’t lock knee…but, it does get better. My surgeon told me “getting well is like watching grass grow”, I find myself wanting instant gratification, I exercise, I want to be noticeably stronger. I wear a device that monitors my steps per day, week, etc. That has been helpful and encouraging. I say to your readers, stick with doctor’s orders, do your physical therapy, your strength will return and every day… even if you can’t see it, the grass does grow.

  6. Cathy says:

    So good to read about someone coming back after a femur fracture. I’m at 4 months, and thinking I really must get back on my road bike. Just scared of falling again. I do half an hour a day on an exercise bike. Walk 4kms a day, I strava it and have seen my time drop from 90 mins to 48mins over 10 weeks of walking. I still limp.

  7. mark says:

    i just got home from a two week stay in the hospital .from surgery on my femer which was broke in three places from a car accident i need someone to tell me how i can get some rest without this freeking pain. i have absilutly no pain killers as my insurance wont cover my perscription and i have no car and i cant walk, my wife and my nine year old daughter are all we know or have here in this god forsaken hell hole we live in. so there is no way to get new scripts. kind of wondering how im going to get to the dr to get all these stapels out. but please give me some hints of comfort thank you.

  8. Kari says:

    I’m 8 weeks from a distal spiral femur fracture. I’m am no weight bearing for another 6 weeks. Sign. My knee is stiff although I did get to 90-95 degrees this week passive and 100 degree active. Still my knee is super stiff and hurting pretty much all day long in some form or another. I’ve been in PT for 3 1/2 weeks now and have followed everything the Pay days including doing all my exercises 5 + times a day. A femur fracture is serious and a lot longer recovery them I assumed. Sigh . It’s getting depressing using a wheelchair and walker for everything. I’m ready to be done with this all but I know that I have months ahead of me. It’s good to see others who recovered. I worry my leg will never be the same. Thanks for writing down your journey.

  9. kevin says:

    hello Femur friends – amazing how such a big bone can be broken be such small accidents. I broke my femur ( upper prox third with an oblique fracture and roatation) cycling to work via Hyde Park in Jan. Just entering the north section by Speakers Corner – the tarmac on the cycle path was like glass ( mild frost), and the bike slipped away, put left leg down and it twist as I fell. That was Jan 14, Fem Pin with upper and lower screws. Released two weeks later. Seems I had high BP so may accident was a blessing. Lucky it was in Park, Unlucky for 11 others who came off whilst I was waiting to be loaded to ambulance.
    Had great physio support, the small exercise really help – have 130 deg knee bend ( still swollen) and can walk unaided around house although have a limp due to weak hip muscles ( trendelenburg gait) try for exercises.
    Getting on turbo trainer helped, so did some aqua therapy – find a warm pool and walk / do exercises however small.
    I thought Colin’s blog was spot on – it about small wins. In hospital the distance to the loo/ shower may only be 10 metres, but that is vital. Too true about the first bowel movt too, 2 am at night and massive relief.
    One thing from BP and pain management – On the advice a good medical friend, the stress on the liver is enormous. Cut out alcohol for 3 months – once you get to that point ( first time since 17 ) you dont miss it. I have also cut out caffiene and my sleep is much better. Sleep is vital aim for 8 hours.
    The time frame is a bit of a headscrew – 6 to 9 months to get back to normal seems a long time in a fast world, but is the biggest bone – so enjoy the noteriety.
    Hoping to go crutch free in next 3 to 4 weeks. still a bit scared of escalators though

  10. Carl says:

    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for both write-ups. I broke my Femur by hitting the asphalt hard. My own fault, a momentary lapse of attention. So 5 months on I still have a lot of discomfort when walking, can’t stand on the bad leg to put on pants, but I have a Dynamic Hip Screw (DHS) . Did you have any of the metal the docs put in you taken out? How are you doing injury-wise? Please update. Unbelieveable 500+ comments on your original post. This is a pretty common mistake…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *