Alise Post blogs about her rehabilitation and coming back


Injuries of varying severity are an unfortunate part of cycling for many riders. As the old saying goes, "Its not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up that really matters." Alise Post blogs about being on the comeback trail as she recovers from knee and leg injuries suffered while training for BMX World Championships.

On July 21, 2011, during one of our final training sessions in prep for the BMX World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, I had a major accident. During my third and final time trial run of the day, after having just posted some of my fastest lap times the prior two laps, I went over the handlebars on the second jump of the track at 30+ mph. Although I avoided any major head trauma, my right foot stayed clipped into my pedal, and my knee twisted into a position it couldn’t handle upon impact. As I tried to do my signature roll and stand right up out of my crash, I immediately knew something was wrong and laid back down on the track. It was tingling from my knee down. I yelled for the medical staff, more out of panic than pain. The tingling was definitely uncomfortable, but more than anything it freaked me out. My brain was just instantly assuming the worst scenarios. “Is this ever going to stop? Is this how it feels before you go numb and are just paralyzed? If it’s not that bad, am I going to be able race worlds? Or worse, any of the Olympic qualifiers coming up? This is the worst timing, I just got off an injury and was feeling so good again! Okay calm down, it might be fine…I can tough it out whatever it is.” All of those things flashed through my head in a matter of seconds, and then it was off to the training room for some orthopedic tests.

Alise Post is looking forward to riding in BMX competitions in the not-too-distant-future.
Alise Post is looking forward to riding in BMX competitions in the not-too-distant-future.
I tested positive with 30 degree laxity in my lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and also laxity in my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). No MRI had been done yet though, so I still had hope that the tests were wrong. I was walking around on it just fine and once the tingling wore off, I really wasn’t in any pain. However, I was unstable. I was in complete denial of that though, and I would be until the MRI came back even worse than expected. On top of my fully torn LCL and partially torn LCL (which we thought I could still race with a brace on until the end of the season), I also had a completely torn biceps femoris (hamstring tendon), a hairline femur fracture, a ruptured capsule, a detached meniscus, and the top of my tibia bone had pulled off. Needless to say, these results shut down any thoughts of me competing at worlds, or the rest of the year for that matter, as surgery was needed pronto.

I then headed to Vail, Colo. to meet with the best complex knee surgeon in the country, Dr. Robert LaPrade. I went under the knife not knowing if I was going to have an ACL reconstruction on top of my LCL reconstruction and hamstring tendon reattachment. Any other surgeon would have probably staged those two surgeries out, which is one of the reasons I went to LaPrade in the first place. Luckily, I woke up from the anesthesia to find out my ACL didn’t need repairing, and I was actually lucky because I had been about a millimeter away from severing my peroneal nerve completely AKA: I would have had a permanent foot drop…paralyzed from the knee down. He told me that would have been career ending, and that moment put everything into perspective for me.

I now knew that at least I was going to be able to recover from my injury. Yes, I had a lot of work ahead of me, and I had made my 2012 Olympic run a lot more challenging. But I also knew that I am the type of person who rises to challenges. I was going to have to put every ounce of energy I had into my healing process, and adapting to the changes of my body. I was going to miss some important points at some qualifying races, but there were more to come in 2012, and all I could control was me and my preparation for those races. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was possible. That’s all I needed.

I am now almost 13 weeks post-op and doing very well. I had 6-8 weeks in an immobilizer and on crutches, but am now a therapy machine. I am going 5 days a week for treatment and exercises, and still doing a bunch of my own stuff everyday on top of that. I am trying to stay as fit as I can by eating right, maintaining/gaining in my upper body and core, and pushing every limit on my legs during my rehab sessions. I am starting to work on my balance on indo boards, trampolines and rubbers pads, etc. I just started single-legged  body weight squats, double leg squats with light weight, a lot of cord exercises, bike riding (on flat unfortunately!), and I guess just a whole lot of work revolving around getting my vastus medialis oblique (VMO) and other leg muscles firing correctly. I am still working on getting full range of motion as well, so they are killing me by forcing my leg into hyperextension and flexion, and just digging into all the tight muscles and scar tissues with hands and metal tools. And boy, that is not comfortable! Haha. I am still only allowed to use my hamstring functionally, and I cannot do any lateral movement. But, by the end of this week, or beginning of next, I should have my custom Don Joy brace to help progress me further into therapy. I also have my 4 month check up just before thanksgiving, so hopefully I get a thumbs up from my surgeon and can really start pushing my strength along unrestricted. And hey, maybe I’ll even be lucky enough to get the go ahead on some pumping on my BMX bike…let’s not get ahead of ourselves though!

I am on track for a New Years full recovery but there’s still a lot of work to do to make that happen. These kinds of injuries, especially at times like these, are almost more mental than physical. It’s hard to stay strong as you see everyone else progressing forward and just feel like you’re lagging behind. But, I am approaching this day by day and looking at each little progression as another success. As I said, that’s all I can control. I don’t wish injuries upon anyone, but if they happen, the best way to stay strong and overcome them is to focus on yourself and what you can control. Make short-term goals so you can see the success and progression each day and still be happy. As the wise Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving forward.”

-Alise Post
USA/Redline/JBL Audio BMX #11

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This Article Published October 25, 2011 For more information contact: