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Your broken clavicle stories, please(9 posts)

Your broken clavicle stories, pleaseCleavis Pin
Apr 3, 2001 4:08 PM
Hello. I'm kinda new to this board, but I do have a road bike, and a few questions.

About 4 and a half weeks ago, I fractured my collarbone in a mountain bike race. I wore the sling for about three and a half weeks before I got tired of it, and chucked it, as the shoulder felt ok without it. Anyways, I was wondering how long it took anyone else for their collarbone to heal, how long they were off the bike, and how long it took to gain back any fitness. I've been able to do stairmaster/stationary bike work about 4 or 5 times since the injury, but want to get back in shape for a race in six weeks.

re: Your broken clavicle stories, pleasePIng Pong
Apr 3, 2001 11:41 PM
The good thing is that you haven't stopped your exercise all together for those 3 1/2 weeks. You should find that you will be able to get your fitness back to something like it was in about three weeks or so.

When I broke my shoulder I started training again about a month after the incident. Unfortunately I did next to nothing for that month and as a result felt pretty poor form for the first month but then picked up again.
My left arm felt pretty weak at first and the shoulder ached a bit, I would take it easy at first, ride only on the road, maybe raise your stem a bit and look out for potholes !
Good luck.
My broken clavicle experience...PsyDoc
Apr 4, 2001 3:10 AM
I broke my right collarbone in a collision with a 60-70 pound hell-demon dog. Once the dog took me down, he came back around to finish his attack, but luckily the people I was riding with kept chasing him off. I was in that pain-in-the-butt clavicle strap/splint for about 4 weeks. The doc told me that there will come a point when you are more comfortable out of the strap than in it. He was right, but even after the 4 weeks, I had very limited movement in my right shoulder and I still have some sensory nerve damage in that area as well. My collar bone improved greatly over the next couple of weeks, but I was also trying to throw the tennis ball for my dogs and just using my right arm more. I tried golfing about 3 months after the accident and all was fine until I took a little too much dirt on one swing and the reverberation was not much so that I simply walked off the course after the 4th hole. My collarbone break was not a clean break, though. The break was somewhat similar to a "crush" as it had 5 splintered off pieces. I was back on the bike at about the 4-4.5 week point, but on a trainer. The trainer was painful, because I also fractured my pelvis in the same accident. I was actually out riding on the road at the 6-week point as that is when the doc cleared me to go riding again. Definitely heed the other poster's advice about avoiding potholes and any other road imperfection that could cause a jolt. Glad to hear your doing o.k.
a lot of air and two physical therapistsJacko
Apr 4, 2001 3:56 AM
Sorry to hear about your clavicle. It really does hurt.

I got some air riding my MTB, landed hard (and wrong) and snapped mine instantly. I was riding alone (last time I did that!) but tried not to panic. After I got to my feet I kicked my bike onto the trail, grabbed my water bottles and decided to sit, collect myself and keep hydrated.

I had passed other riders on the trail so I didn't panic and sat down to wait for some kind soul to come along and help. Who should ride up but two young physical therapists from the local hospital!

They were great--one drove off to get her truck while the other stayed with me. We packed up me and my gear and they drove me to the hospital and expedited my check-in.

I took them out to dinner six weeks later as a thank you.

I found that I recovered more quickly than I expected, but it was pretty painful along the way. Like you, I was riding a lot then (commuting 10mi to work each day) and I definitely pushed my return to the saddle too quickly. I could ride the roads okay after about 4 weeks, offroad was out the question for a few weeks more. It's the things you do on your ride that you don't think about, unweighting the wheels, pulling the front wheel up and over a log or curb that really got me. The first time I pulled up onto a curb I thought I was going to pass out.

Do yourself a favor, delay your decision on the race until the week before. Keep on the trainer, gradually get back on the bike and then gauge how feel after doing some bunny hops, skid turns and other fun stuff before you jump back into a race.

I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell you how much it would suck to reinjure that bone.

Good luck,

re: Here's mine.TexasRider
Apr 4, 2001 4:41 AM
It was about 3 years ago. I went road riding but on my mountain bike. It started to rain lightly. I approached some railroad tracks that were at about a 60 degree angle crossing the road. The rails stuck up above the pavement about 2". I was doing about 20 mph and my front tire hit the track and decided it wanted to follow the tracks, but I didn't. I flew about 15' straight ahead (or it seemed) and landed on my head (no helmet in my stupid days), I was knocked out cold in the middle of the road with broken clavicle. The person who found me just happened to be the local fire chief. I was in the hospital overnight with many stitches and a harness that I had to wear for several weeks. I wasn't riding my bike for like 6 weeks, but I was riding a stationary bike and working out in a gym after about 2 weeks. The pain in my shoulder didn't go away for 6 months or maybe a little longer. My clavicle wasn't fractured, it was a clean break. It healed overlapping, Dr. said it was ok to do that and surgery would do more harm than good to line it back up. I was lucky I wasn't killed or brain dead. From then on, I strongly avoid riding in the rain, and always ride with a helmet.
re: Your broken clavicle stories, pleasephilg
Apr 4, 2001 6:17 AM
Okay, I hit a deer whilst out riding my road bike one sunday morning last June. BIG impact, flew through the air, landed hard on my left shoulder (hole in my jersey to prove it) and skidded along on my left side and finished up spead-eagled in the middle of a very quite country lane. At first couldn't breath plus pain all over, so sat at the side of the road and recovered my composure. Eventually rescued, went to hospital. Immediatly diagnosed broken collarbone, LOTS of road rash and punctured lung caused by broken rib.

To cut a long story short, the rib was easily the most painful bit, couldn't move for a week. Collarbone didn't give much trouble. Was riding turbo trainer after 2 weeks, and was back on the road 4 weeks after injury with no problems. Did first race, a crit, 7 weeks after injury, not sure I'd fancy an mtb race though! Secret is, I think, lots of rest early on, don't try and do a thing.

Good luck.
re: Your broken clavicle stories, pleaseBLT
Apr 4, 2001 8:49 AM
Broke mine into 4 pieces snowboarding last year. Doctor said it was one of the nastier ones he had seen. I just had the sling like you, and it hurt like hell for 6 weeks. Sounds like you're doing better than I did.
Sounds typicalGadfly
Apr 4, 2001 9:04 AM
The degree of the break is a factor. I think I wore my sleeve-- oops, sorry -- "Immobilizer" for four/five weeks, did the stationary trainer thing. My doc said 10 weeks off the bike, but I was riding around 8. Very carefully, too.
Don't like to think about it.Spoke Wrench
Apr 4, 2001 4:46 PM
I was just doing a gentle Sunday morning ride. It was my wife's birthday. Went down a little hill and found some loose chip and seal at the bottom contrary to my expectations. The next thing I remember was my buddy running up and pulling my bike off of me.

I couldn't sit up so called the ambulance. Didn't have any blood pressure so they had to call the "A team" ambulance to start an IV. Called my wife from the ER. "Happy Birthday Honey!" Took a LOT of X-rays, gave me a figure 8 thingie and a set of paper pajamas to wear home.

The orthopod told me the figure 8 was worthless but that I needed to get the bone pinned. Spend a day in outpatient surgery and had a set of dissolvable pins installed. Doctor told me to be as physical as I wanted.

Over the following weekend I was working in the shop by myself. A woman came in who had to have a different set of tires installed THAT NIGHT. I thought "If they go easy, I should be able to do it." Needless to say, they didn't go easy. When I went back to the orthopod for my 1 week recheck, he announced I had pulled my pins.

For the second surgery, we installed about 4 titanium screws and a wrap of titanium bailing wire.

All in all, I slept for about 6 weeks in a recliner chair and was off of my bike for about 6 months. My health insurence company excluded that bone from coverage for a year.

It gets worse. About my second or third ride, I was riding a fairly technical mountain bike downhill section with a group of friends. I had just cleaned what I thought was the hard part when my front wheel hit a root and twisted sideways. Over the bar I went and reinjured the same shoulder.

This time it was only about 2 or 3 nights in the recliner and NO SURGERY. I think it was about 3 or 4 months before I got on the bike again. Three years later, I still havn't recovered my fitness level and we won't even talk about what a cautious mountain bike rider I've become.