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Adaptive Cycling: Handcycles, Amputee Adaptation, Visual Impairment, and Other Needs Have a need for adaptive equipment to ride to compensate for a disability or loss of limb or function? This area is for discussion among those of us in the cycling world that are coming back from traumatic circumstances and tell the world, "No, you are not going to beat me down!"

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Old 09-27-16, 10:32 PM   #1
ryan786i
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AC Separation Surgery: How Long Till You Were Back Riding?

So I managed a type V AC separation in mid-August. Had surgery at the end of August to fix it and was told I'd be in a sling six weeks. As of my most recent follow-up I'm up to eight weeks of sling before movement/PT starts. Any of you who've had this done, how long was it before you were back on the bike? Were your doctors similarly cautious? I sometimes feel like it's excessive, but surely there's a reason for the restraint? I'm just getting increasingly depressed I'm missing prime bike commute weather and may not be back out there before full on winter hits.
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Old 09-28-16, 05:27 AM   #2
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I had a total separation but no surgery, and it took me a long time to start riding, because the nature of the strain cycling puts on the shoulder joint.

With a separation, road shock pushes the arm back and works the whatever, the acromioclavicular joint? so it stresses the injured and in this case repaired portion of the joint directly. (I recently cracked my collarbone on the other side and found I could get back on the bike much more quickly. Different stress direction.)

I didn't have a supervised rehab program, and I didn't have surgery, so my situation isn't that similar to yours, but I did what made sense to me---I let pain and discomfort tell me when to do more or less.

I missed a lot of riding time, but I didn't really regret it, because healing fully made more sense than doing more damage and thus extending the healing process (I used the opposite tack with my collarbone and have rebroken it twice, which has extended the healing period painfully---though luckily I can still ride some.)

I think I lost over three months all told with my separation, and even then I came back too soon---because of pain I put most of my weight on my other arm and thus injured the elbow on that side, a chronic injury that still troubles me a over a decade later.

I'd say, take the extra time, and make sure to do a full rehab before riding. Build up the whole upper body before getting back on the bike regularly, or you might end up regretting it for decades, as I do.
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Old 10-07-16, 03:53 AM   #3
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New shoulder joint being installed on Monday, under 1.5 hours for operation, 2-3 weeks doc says I'll be OKed to get back on bike and 6 weeks a century.
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Old 10-17-16, 07:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I had a total separation but no surgery, and it took me a long time to start riding, because the nature of the strain cycling puts on the shoulder joint.

With a separation, road shock pushes the arm back and works the whatever, the acromioclavicular joint? so it stresses the injured and in this case repaired portion of the joint directly. (I recently cracked my collarbone on the other side and found I could get back on the bike much more quickly. Different stress direction.)

I didn't have a supervised rehab program, and I didn't have surgery, so my situation isn't that similar to yours, but I did what made sense to me---I let pain and discomfort tell me when to do more or less.

I missed a lot of riding time, but I didn't really regret it, because healing fully made more sense than doing more damage and thus extending the healing process (I used the opposite tack with my collarbone and have rebroken it twice, which has extended the healing period painfully---though luckily I can still ride some.)

I think I lost over three months all told with my separation, and even then I came back too soon---because of pain I put most of my weight on my other arm and thus injured the elbow on that side, a chronic injury that still troubles me a over a decade later.

I'd say, take the extra time, and make sure to do a full rehab before riding. Build up the whole upper body before getting back on the bike regularly, or you might end up regretting it for decades, as I do.
I kept forgetting to reply. Thanks for your response. I'm still not able to ride yet, or totally out of sling or starting PT. I've discovered the shoulder seems rather stable, if quite stiff, now, and I use my arm a little more when showering and dressing. My sense is my surgeon was maybe being super cautious; he used less hardware to secure it than I expected so that might be part of it.

I'm hoping PT will approve cycling relatively quickly, depending on how things go. I seem to have decent range of motion from what I can tell so hopefully it's not a horrific journey back.
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Old 10-17-16, 07:21 PM   #5
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New shoulder joint being installed on Monday, under 1.5 hours for operation, 2-3 weeks doc says I'll be OKed to get back on bike and 6 weeks a century.
It's so funny how seemingly worse surgeries can potentially have simpler recoveries. I expected a little old AC joint to be not a big deal, but to get it back where it needs to be for stability is such a specific thing it proves to be tricky.
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Old 10-17-16, 07:42 PM   #6
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New shoulder joint being installed on Monday, under 1.5 hours for operation, 2-3 weeks doc says I'll be OKed to get back on bike and 6 weeks a century.
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Originally Posted by ryan786i View Post
It's so funny how seemingly worse surgeries can potentially have simpler recoveries. I expected a little old AC joint to be not a big deal, but to get it back where it needs to be for stability is such a specific thing it proves to be tricky.
I re-quoted my original post because I was WAY OFF!!! New shoulder WAS installed a week ago this morning. Tonight I rode 13 miles, last Saturday was a 68 mile ride and Friday was a 13 mile test the shoulder out ride.

Can't believe the lack of pain but have yet actively tested the available range of movement. Had PT guy last Thursday move the arm a great deal and no pain but it needs the extra time for stitching integrity to take place before I actively pursue movement. PT on Wednesday and new exercises.
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Old 10-17-16, 08:58 PM   #7
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I've discovered the shoulder seems rather stable, if quite stiff, now ...
Yes, it seems shoulders stiffen up quickly and unlock slowly. I found that if I continually (normally, not every day but a few times a week) exercised, my shoulder got back to 90 or 05 % flexibility and full strength.

Rehab is just rehab ... it sucks but not as bad as sitting around waiting to start rehab.
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