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Case Study: Rehabbing an injured time triallist through surgery and back to win a National Title!

Karen Taylor National Champion Blog



Karen Taylor has been working with Optimize Fitness for 7 years and has achieved many milestones, including a world record. Unfortunately, she fell off her mountain bike in Shipley Glen on the 21st of July 2021 and dislocated her shoulder.


The shoulder was put back in at A&E but turned into a ‘frozen shoulder’ which delayed rehabilitation. This necessitated a surgery procedure called hydrolisation on the 3rd of November 2021 to free up movement within the joint and to improve range to strengthen the complex group of muscles which stabilise and move the shoulder and arm.


Karen entered a block of intense rehabilitation, S&C and physiotherapy over the winter months to improve range, stability and strength in the joint and muscles. This included individualised upper body and whole-body exercises to target the joint and to link it within the entire kinetic chain. But pain persisted, and progress wasn’t quite where the team wanted, so further damage was suspected. An MRI confirmed a Bankhart lesion and labrum tear in the shoulder which was creating instability. Karen had further surgery in January 2022 to repair the tear and then the race was on to get her back to fitness for a training camp in Majorca at Easter and then return to training as soon as possible after that.


Intensive physio from Elite Physio (http://www.elitephysio.co.uk/ ) and individualised S&C and rehab from Optimize Fitness ensued over a period of 8 weeks, allowing Karen to return quickly to turbo training and then outside, on the bike, 2 weeks before Majorca. Exercises were adapted to reduce strain on the recovering shoulder and internal stitches, such as squatting in a Smith machine, where the repaired shoulder and arm not involved in holding the bar. Isometrics were used extensively to develop force producing qualities, without the potential risk that could have been involved with other exercises involving movement.


By Easter, Karen had returned to full training and was starting to lift heavy and explosively again. The training camp went well and Karen started to race when back in the UK; she started to approach fitness and testing suggested she was getting back to pre-injury strength and power levels. In June 2022, almost 11 months after the fall, Karen won a national age group title for 50Km time trial by a winning margin of 10 minutes.

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