I’ve just had microfracture treatment on an osteochondral fracture of the talus. Four weeks non-weight-bearing; possibly six. I am hoping to use a turbo trainer to keep fitness up but am concerned about how it will affect the injured ankle. If the ankle just sits on the pedal and doesn’t do anything, it shouldn’t take much weight. Should I worry? Also, where’s the best spot to position the foot on the pedal? 

Hutton / Forum

You are experimenting with this like a 10-year-old boy plays with marshmallows and gunpowder. Take all the rest that is recommended by your physicians. Only they know the extent of your injury and what has been done to repair it. Life is short, but it’s not that short.

If you dislodge the chondral fracture, or even just impair the healing process, you are doing yourself a major disservice for very little gain. This is a great time to talk with your mom. Tell her about your frustration. Ask for her advice.


I broke my hand 17 days ago. Since I have no insurance I didn’t go to the hospital. I can now tie my shoes, but I cannot pick up a beer or go bowling. How will this affect my climbing? I’ve been doing my best to immobilize it by taping. I would have taken something for the pain but decided it would be more fun to use beer.

Beer / Forum

It is unfathomable to me that you can’t just go to the hospital with a broken hand, and have them say, “My poor, dear fellow. Come in and let us help you,” the subtext being … for free.

I see that you have your own form of health fund by way of medicinal beer money, so I guess you can’t complain. Something about “making your own bed” comes to mind. I guess, also, that you have taken to drinking it with a straw since you wouldn’t risk spilling it with your non-dominant hand.

This method of buddy taping, a ménage à trois of doigts, will somewhat protect the finger but it’s rudimentary at best. A fancy finger brace will give you more freedom to grip things. Option 1: Beer – Wait another two months and then try to climb.

Option 2: X-rays – You could be climbing next week without the anxiety of doing irreparable damage to your fingers. If it’s an un-displaced fracture, try regularly rubbing comfrey cream into it. There is a little evidence to suggest it speeds bone healing and you sound desperate for a speedy recovery.


I have had a bad case of golfer’s elbow for three years now. My ortho shot me twice and I had PT for six weeks. I read Rock and Ice Numbers 156 and 176 and started the regimen four days ago. The tick tock with 7.5 kg is painful (about a 4) but fatigues me after 10 reps. No pain when the arm is static. Is the pain during PT anything to worry about? I rarely play with pain, so this is something new for me. 

Kj / Forum

I play with pain all the time, though it is rarely my own.

You have not extrapolated with regard to what the PT is doing to you. The use of blunt nails is always suspicious, but outside of that give him or her free rein and it will likely be good for you. Perhaps you are referring to the pain associated with the exercises? Four out of a possible five might be a little much, but only slightly. If you are talking about a possible 10 then you’re not really playing with pain, more like poking funny faces at it from behind Mommy’s leg.

“My ortho shot me twice.” No matter how I interpret this statement, it’s quite outrageous. However, I think you are talking about cortisone and, given that you likely have tendonosis, it’s at best pointless and at worst damaging. You may need to refine the elbow angle to better target the problem tissue. I’ll put a video on my web page (

Masochism is the conjoined twin of sadism, though both parties will deny the proximity of the other. Armaid ( is the new tool of choice for every budding masochist. Personally, I found it quite helpful when I had elbow tendonosis and other elbow issues in recent years. If you have unlimited funds and time, PT sessions will be the better option since you are also buying a whole lot of skill and education.

If you don’t, get an Armaid device and, as Rick James famously said, “Enjoy yourself!” Ten minutes of forearm crushing in this vise every other day will loosen up the muscles and encourage some blood flow to the area.


About two weeks ago I slammed the inside of my right knee into a wall while bouldering at the gym. Since then, every time I kneel, it feels like something is tearing on the inside of the knee joint. I feel fine when I climb, run, bike or do any other activity—only kneeling hurts. My housemate thinks it is a partially torn MCL and I should not do anything for a month. Are these telltale signs of a partially torn MCL?

Cfhughs / Forum

Did you vomit? I would have. Banging the joint line of the knee is almost as nauseating as listening to Rick Santorum’s opinions. Certainly it sounds like you have damaged the MCL insertion by way of impact. Had you just bruised the bony rim, either the tibia or the femur, flexion shouldn’t cause excessive pain. The MCL is under tension whenever the joint is taken to extremes of range. Without actually assessing the joint and damage, I’d find it hard to give you a timeline, though I would think a month enough time for the damage to heal and summit Everest via the Escalator Route (I am not sure of its real name, but this one will do). Most mild MCL strains will be 90 percent better within a couple of weeks, and showing a little care while climbing for another week or two should see it through. If the pain doesn’t settle, which I’m 99 percent sure it will, you may have done some damage to internal ligaments or cartilage, or possibly even chipped the bone. Procure yourself an MRI.