Vilnius to…Vilnius! 9-14 June 2012

Sometimes cycle-touring is a bit like a game of snakes and ladders….and after a run of mostly ladders since leaving home, it appears it is our turn to land on a snake.

We’d spent an extra day at the Vilnius campsite tidying up a few things on the computer, and finally left on 11 June, on a scenic, riverside route along cycle-paths and small roads (which turned to sand for about 4km). At Nemencine, we joined the 102 which would lead us up to the Latvian border, and then enjoyed a good day putting in 90+km on decent tarmac. So, after two happy days pedalling we camped up about 20km from the border and all was well when we went to bed.

And then we landed on the snake.

At 5am Keith was woken by an intolerable throbbing in his right knee. He suffered in silence until I awoke a couple of hours later, at which point he glumly informed me he was unable to bend his knee.

There was no way we were going anywhere that day, so, as we had plenty of food and sufficient water, we holed up there, dozing, reading, playing cards, and anxiously watching his knee.

A picture of Keith's swollen knee

Spot the difference

In the evening it was no better so we decided to phone a friend. A physio we know suggested a few possibilities, of which the most likely is bursitis. Housemaid’s knee – haha!

So today (14 June), we dosed Keith up with Tramadol (always handy carrying some painkillers….but would have been more handy if we’d been carrying anti-inflammatories) and did a 3-legged pedal the 10km back to Dukstas where we knew there was a train station. Luckily it was ‘ladders’ from thereon and we bought our tickets easily enough and the train arrived 10 minutes later.

It’s a bit of a challenge to get a tandem, 4 panniers and a trailer up onto a train, especially when one of you can barely put any weight through his leg, but we managed with minimal difficulty, and unloaded OK at the other end too.  All bags and bike accounted for, no grease-marks on the carriage seats, and other passengers only slightly inconvenienced by having to shimmy past the bike in the aisle.

So, here we are, back in Vilnius, at the nice campsite with wifi. Keith has got a box of 600mg ibuprofen and we topped up our food supplies at the hypermarket en-route to the campsite.

Now we wait. Either the knee will improve with rest and drugs, or if not we go and find a doctor and see if it needs draining.

15 responses to “Vilnius to…Vilnius! 9-14 June 2012

  1. Oh dear Keith…how’s the knee now?
    Good job you’ve got Tamar attending to your every need!
    Hope it de-swells soon and you can carry on riding tandem with 4 legs rather then 3.
    Tons of love and good luck vibes,
    Edith xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Nana Versey would recommend lying flat on the floor with leg up the wall……tricky in a tent . Hope it gets better soon x x x x

  3. Justin says housemaid’s knee is often caused by a trauma or repetitive wear, so if Keith has had a knock or spent a lot of time kneeling and fettling the tandem that could be it. However, it is often the prepatellar bursa that suffers. Your photo looks like the infra patellar bursa might be involved? Have you ruled out infection or insect bite as a cause? How does he feel in himself generally?

    • Was feeling a bit naff yesterday and shiverish from time to time, but feeling pretty normal today. Getting some good ibuprofen today has helped the pain a lot. I’ve read that if the cause is infection then anti-biotics are needed – is it the same if the cause is an insect bite? Biting flaming bar-stewards are everywhere!
      Ta,
      Keith.

  4. Chin up Keith. Make sure that it is better before setting off again, so that it does not haunt you.
    The drought is continuing today, I think we have had 2 inches of it pouring down the road!!

  5. That looks painful! Hope it gets better :) Hope you are having a good trip and are enjoying it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Hi Niamh-ey, ta for the comment – glad to hear you’re keeping up with what we’re up to. Yes knee is a bit sore – yesterday it was feeling quite good, but today sadly not so good. I have being lying in the tent most of the day reading.
      Ta for now & loads love,
      Keith.

  6. Insect bite/infection = antibiotics, but wait to see if inflammation subsides. Insect bite would cause cellulitis but funny how it is in knee. Have you tried voltarol gel? Topical application better than systemic and might mean sooner return to riding but go without toe clip and keep foot very mobile on pedal. Any obvious cuts/scratches/pinprick swelling to area preceding day/evening?

  7. Thelma and Jim Maclaine

    Great you are having a good time except for Keith’s Knee – hope it is improving. We were in Vilnuis a few years ago – spent 5 days there when we went to a ploughing match – lovely place and nice people. Visited Mum and Dad a few weeks ago and both looked well. Enjoy your blog very much – keep it coming.

    • Hi Thelma & Jim, it’s great to see you’ve found our blog – I hope you’re enjoying it! It’s always surprising to us to find out who is reading it. Yes, Vilnius lovely, but my knee not so lovely. Still sore today so I’ve now spent about 3 days just lying around the campsite. Last night was a big cultural night in the city centre, and we spent it playing cards in the campsite as my knee meant we couldn’t really go anywhere. But hoping it will improve soon.
      Hope you are both keeping well.
      Thanks for now,
      Keith.

  8. Not so good Keith. A good old ice pack a couple of times a day and plenty of gel-rubbing, along with the anti-inflams.. It’s the frustration of not knowing the cause and no timeframe for recovery! Fingers crossed it starts to settle soon..

    • Ice packs would be nice, but not so easy to get hold of in a tent – fridge/freezer was scrubbed from the kit-list, and the fairly basic campsite doesn’t have a shop. But it’s feeling a bit better today so hopefully we’ll be on the road again soon … ish !!

  9. Hope there is a big improvement in the knee and you are able to think about moving on. Inflated arm bands make good kneeling pads…….x x x

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