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Shoulder Separation - What to Expect?(4 posts)

Shoulder Separation - What to Expect?Zag
Jul 31, 2001 3:24 AM
I separated my shoulder this weekend (class 2). I figure this must be a fairly common biking injury. The doctor initially decided against surgery. However, there is a panel of doctor's looking at my x-rays today, and they may call me and give me the option to have surgery.

The doctor said that I would have to wear a sling for a week, and then I would have to come in and and start lifting weights the second week. One week does not seem like much time. Is this consistent with your injuries?

How long did it take you to recover? Do you have any lingering effects? Can you do every thing that you could do before (ride bikes, lift weights, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, etc.)? I have a pretty good size lump on top of my shoulder right now. Will this lump get smaller when my shoulder heals?

I have a number of questions. I would like to hear from those who have been through this before. Both those who had surgery, and those who did not. Any comments or suggestios would be helpfull. I may have to decide if I want to have surgery, so I would like to know how things have gone for you.

Another factor, is that I am currently in Norway where they have socialized health care. This is not intended to be a knock on Norway, I am just not that familiar with the philosophy behind socialized health care. I am concerned that I may only get the treatment I need (i.e. a sling) rather than the best treatment available (i.e. surgery). I am not saying that surgery is the best treatment, because I don't know. I guess I might feel better about it if I found out that most of you guys did not have surgery, and that your shoulders are not giving you any trouble.

Any comments you have would be appreciated.
re: Shoulder Separation - What to Expect?gwilliams
Jul 31, 2001 7:56 AM
I received a 3rd stage separation in May 2000 when a car broad sided me and flipped me and the bike about 10 ft in the air and I came down on the pavement landing on my left shoulder. Hopefully your injury is not as severe as mine was. I decided to have surgery two weeks later even though my doctor recommended against it. I wore my arm in a sling for the couple weeks before surgery and for several weeks after surgery. When I finally stopped using the sling my shoulder was stiff as a board. I spent about two months in PT regaining the motion and some of the strength in my shoulder. I still do exercises with dumbbells several times a week and will probably need to do them the rest of my life. I was able to regain most of the motion and strength in my shoulder, but still have a lot of discomfort. My injured shoulder feels nothing like it use to, it burns and can get down right sore sometimes. I don't expect it to get any better. I have talked to other people with the same injury that say they have recovered without any discomfort. The lump in your shoulder is you collar bone sticking up since two of the ligaments holding it down have been torn. This will probably stay like this unless you have the surgery, but then you will be left with a big scar on your shoulder. If you have any questions feel free to email me.

Mine healed w/no problemscory
Jul 31, 2001 9:00 AM
I had a class 2 four or five years ago, and the conservative treatment was just about what you described--a sling for a few days, then activity. The orthopedic guy said he rarely cuts on a Class 2 the first time it happens (if you crash again, they may go in and tie everything down).
I didn't have much pain (except for the crash, which hurt like a bastard), and designed my own weight program, just figuring out what hurt a little bit and then doing it with light weights until it felt better. You might want a more medically sound approach--my company was screwing around with insurance at the time, and it didn't seem like I could hurt anything, so I just went for it.
Within a few weeks, I could do everything I could before except hold a phone with my shoulder while I type on the computer (I'm a newspaper columnist, so I'm thinking 100 percent disability...).
I still have a lump on the shoulder. For what it's worth, a friend who was a pitcher in high school (he's 50 now) did the same thing just before I did. He says he never could throw a curve ball before, but he's got one now.
well...Jim R
Jul 31, 2001 9:17 AM
I separated my shoulder 18 months ago and I did not have surgery. I am quite lucky in that both my father and brother are orthopedic surgeons and my brother-in-law is a sports medicine doctor.... lots of good advice. What I found out is that age is usually the deciding factor. At 42 years of age it is considerably less likely that I will suffer the same problem somewhere down the line. Studies have shown that people in the teens and early 20's are very likely to have the same injury again if they don't have surgery. Since you did not mention your age I can't really recommend one course of action. I can tell you that my shoulder is still weaker and does hurt during certain activities. Bike riding (lots of MTB) does not cause much of a problem. Golfing on the other hand is really a problem. I continue to work with weights in hopes of not having another injury. I doubt that it will ever get to the point that I don't have any problems at all. Good luck.

Jim R