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broken collarbone(16 posts)

broken collarbonenovagator
Jun 12, 2002 10:12 AM
looking for some info on the above topic. Broke mine in 2 places last week in a crash. Wondering what the wait is till I can ride again? My ortho Dr says 3 months, I've always thought it was more like 6-8 weeks. Don't worry, I'll follow Drs orders, but wanted other cyclists insights, maybe some ammo to use with the Dr. :-)

(yes, typed this one-handed :)
re: broken collarbonenetso
Jun 12, 2002 10:17 AM
When I broke mine, I felt I was a tough guy. Found out it took about 3 mo. before I could ride normally.
exactly the same story as me, 8 weeks ago.weiwentg
Jun 12, 2002 11:18 AM
I was on the trainer after 2 weeks, and riding after 5.5 weeks. and I did a race last Sunday.
the geeks at the sports medicine center said 3 months, too. they also said I shouldn't ride a trainer, as I would end up rocking my shoulders. the doctor there assured me that this would be the case. which was complete bull----.
the doc who operated on me said a minimum of 6 weeks. when I saw him for my follow-up, 6 weeks after the accident, he said to let pain be my guide. it didn't hurt, so I rode.
but recovery rates would depend on your age, the extent of the fracture, etc. mine was bad enough that the only way to get it back together was to operate on it, and my surgeon happened to be a very good one. plus I'm 21 years old and in good shape. they also took a bone graft.
you can almost certainly get back on the trainer, but I would give it another week of rest, and start very gently. you could simply see how much the shoulder hurts while on the trainer. mine had a plate in it, so I began putting some gentle weight on it after a 3-4 weeks.
re: broken collarboneOneheart
Jun 12, 2002 11:39 AM
Listen to your M.D. and your body. Easy riding on a trainer shouldn't be a problem if it doesn't hurt and you're a smooth rider. After my break, I rode my trainer within a week but couldn't put any weight on my shoulder so rode with no hands on the trainer for weeks. Always use common sense. If you push too much you'll delay your healing. Of course you don't want to get back on the road till you can have complete control of your bike including the ability to brake hard in an emergency.
re: broken collarbonePsyDoc
Jun 12, 2002 11:41 AM
I was taken down by a Labrador-sized dog on August 12th, 2000. During this accident, I broke my right collar bone and fractured my pelvis just outside the right Ishium. I immediately knew my collar bone was broken as I could feel the bones moving and "clicking" against each other. My break was not a clean one and there were three identifiable pieces of bone in the x-ray. I also had pains in my right hip area, but I just thought I bruised a muscle. I was told by the doctor that a broken collar bone and a pelvis are perhaps the two most painful types of breaks you can have. Not only does the break itself hurt immensely, but when the bone marrow begins seeping out of the bones it feels like someone has set that part of you on fire.

I was back on my bike in 3.5 weeks, on the trainer, and on the road in 6-weeks. At 6-weeks, riding over any type of road debris (e.g., pothole, speed bumps, a rock, etc.) hurt! The doctor's main concern is probably that if you have another accident early in the healing process that you would re-injure your collarbone.
re: broken collarbonenovagator
Jun 12, 2002 12:20 PM
Thanks for your responses and info. The doc did tell me that I could start on the trainer in 2 weeks or so, just not to put alot of pressure/wt on my shoulder. Heck, the trainer will be cake compared to having to navigate the DC metro at rush hour w/out having people bouncing off of my shoulder :-)
did you get it operated on?weiwentg
Jun 12, 2002 4:27 PM
if not, did you at least get it set? one of the ladies in the local club broke hers - in a z-shape just like mine - and for some reason I can not fathom the doctor just said to let it be. I'm not a medical student, but this sounds like lunacy.
take lots of calcium. 2 grams a day - this is the maximum your body can properly absorb, according to the label on the back of the bottle of tums I am currently popping.
did you get it operated on?novagator
Jun 12, 2002 4:49 PM
actually, no I didn't. According to my Dr and from what I've discovered through my own research, the preferred method of treatment for a broken collarbone is to stick the arm in a sling and/or a figure-of-8 wrap and let it alone to heal. If healing does not occur on its own in a reasonsble amount of time, then surgery, using open reduction of the bone is in order. I'm hoping it heals on it's own so I can skip the joys of surgeory
ok, so long as it's straightweiwentg
Jun 12, 2002 5:17 PM
I'm no MD, as I have mentioned. best of luck. you will get through this.
my method of coping with the boredom was to a) get on a trainer and b) start the process of acquiring a cyclocross bike. which is kind of what Elefantino did (he got a steel Serotta instead).
where is Elefantino, anyway? must be lurking somewhere...
It doesn't need to be straight.jtlmd
Jun 12, 2002 7:06 PM
Here are some real medical facts from an MD. The collarbone doesn't need to be straight to heal quite well. In several years of practicing emergency medicine I've never seen one that needed to be set, no matter how crooked. I tell patients that they'll need immobilized for 4 weeks. As far as returning to activities I think it is variable. It is important to limit yourself to activities that don't cause pain. If what you're doing makes it hurt then you need to cut back.
doesn't it?weiwentg
Jun 12, 2002 7:54 PM
so, should I have stuck with a z-shaped collarbone? I must question the wisdom of that. or would the collarbone straighten itself? I rode with a woman who has a collarbone healed in that position (her break was similar to mine) - it is still protruding. one arm is an inch longer than the other. is this wise?
the doctor she saw didn't mention surgery, from what I gather. it's been half a year. I gave her the name of her orthopedic surgeon - she wants the damn thing done up properly, and none of the doctors seem to think it's necessary. should someone live with that? would YOU live with that if your collarbone got into that shape? would you like to go through life with one arm longer than the other? what are the structural integrity issues with having a z-bend collarbone? is this merely a cosmetic thing, or will I be in any sort of permanent discomfort? frankly, if the doctor told me I didn't need surgery, and that in fact he would not perform it, I would have throttled him. this would not have been very effective, as I would have been stuck with my non-dominant arm, but I would have done it.
I'm sorry if I sounded hostile, and I realize I probably did, but this is quite a touchy issue for me. please explain, why doesn't a collarbone need to get set if it gets broken in two places? or am I misunderstanding something you said?
Re:doesn't it?jtlmd
Jun 13, 2002 5:56 AM
There is nothing wrong with a z-shaped collarbone. Over months to years it will mold itself into a more normal shape. I broke my collarbone as a kid, you could feel the bump on it ten years later (Its gone now). Functionally you don't really need a collarbone. People live without it. In most cases if the doctor recommends surgery he is being overly cautious. Why undergo surgery if you don't have to have it? General anesthesia carries risks in even the healthiest of patients. Some physicians have a saying that the best surgeons are the ones who know when you don't need surgery.

I don't think your friend's arm length discrepancy is related to the collarbone. When I think of the anatomy it just doesn't make any sense. The collarbone isn't in a position to affect arm length. I'll bet the arm length difference was there all the time. Did she measure it before the fracture? A lot of peoples arms and legs are not equal length. They don't know it because it doesn't cause any problems.

How many physicians would have to tell you surgery isn't needed before you believe them? Physicians have years of training (4 college, 4 medical school, 3-10 years of residency ( 5 I think for orthopedics)). We all have our patient's best interest in mind.
it would take several MDs to convince me.weiwentg
Jun 13, 2002 1:21 PM
I can see that surgery might not be necessary. I am aware that in some cases, c-sections being a good example, more surgery is done than is necessary. in my case, it was the fastest way to get me back on the road. I was back in action in 6 weeks, my friend was back in action in 6 months. and she is still not particularly comfortable. so, while I agree that surgery was not needed in our cases, I would make the case that it was the best course of action (fastest time to recovery, no long-term damage), based on my limited knowledge. I don't get that bit about overly cautious - I would say that, if my doctor had recommended against surgery, he would be overly cautious. after that, I would have sought a second opinion.
on a related note, are there any sort of problems at all with a misshapen clavicle? range of motion problems, for example?
re: it would take several MDs to convince me.jtlmd
Jun 14, 2002 8:09 AM
No problems should arise from a misshapen clavicle. If the bump is very large it may be visible on the shoulder.
Here's some good advice..coonass
Jun 12, 2002 4:21 PM
We're not 'bullet-proof' as we would like to think...when we are sliding on the roadways, or bouncing off of trees, we primarily worry about two things: 1)How much skin am I going to leave behind and 2)Have I broken any bones? Obviously we can wear protective clothing for the skin, but the bone defense (for the road biker) has to be from within....a minimum of 1300mg Calcium AND 700mg of Magnesium is necessary each day...(no, your 8 glasses of milk is not the answer) Try taking a supplement by KAL, called 'DOLOMITE POWDER', one teaspoon AT BEDTIME fulfills this need. (you can get this via, item #KA-1135 [on sale:1#/$2.99] and can mix it with orange juice, milk, etc. You should educate yourself on Glucosamine Sulfate, Chrondrotin Sulfate, MSM, Bromelain,etc. for joint protection....Bone meal is also an excellent supplement....All of this is NO guarantee that you won't break a bone, but it sure will help strengthen the bones...
RE: Here's some good advice..jtlmd
Jun 12, 2002 7:11 PM
I think everyone should be aware that the evidence that such supplements actually strengthen bones is very "soft science." It is a major industry that feeds on your fears. A healthy diet with a variety of foods supplies what your body needs. All the extra in these supplements is probably not utilized by the body. The other problem with such supplements is that they are not appropriately regulated and you can't always be sure what you are getting, though in most cases they are harmless.