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Old 01-17-02, 02:14 PM   #1
scubagirl
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I crashed!

I got x rays and a MRI. I have a 3rd degree AC joint separation. Has any one else had this? I have looked @ several websites either they let it heal itself or do surgery, they mentioned having a deformed shoulder afterward or arthritis if they do surgery. I'm going to an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and I want to have as much info as I can before then. HELP!!!
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Old 01-17-02, 02:27 PM   #2
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Hi Scubagirl,

Sorry to hear about your crash. I do not have experience with this problem. I did have a collar bone broken in a (non-bike related) incident a few years back and the doctor also refuse to operate for the same reason (high-risk of arthritis, etc) and sent me home with a pain-killer and a bandage instead. It healed fine although the bone shape is all f**ed up. Occasionally I have very moderate pain in bad wheather.

If you are in doubt however, I really suggest that you seek a second opinion. Health is important and you don't want your join to be imperfectly healed.

Hope you get better soon!
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Old 01-17-02, 02:39 PM   #3
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Been there, done that, both of you (R. shoulder separation in 1972, L. clavicle fracture in 1976, both from cycling). Above all else, you need to consult an orthopedist like mine: conservative (as opposed to knife-happy) and sports-minded.

My shoulder separation healed after a week or two of rest and partial immobilization (arm in a sling), and I have had almost no aftereffects whatsoever. ("Third degree" sounds ominous, however, so your healing time may differ.)

I wore a butterfly strap over the clavicle for 2.5 weeks, at which point they declared me healed. I have a palpable lump at each of the two former break points, and my left shoulder span is now several mm shorter than my right, but I have no other aftereffects.

Both of you have my sympathy and genuine empathy. Get well soon, S'girl!
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Old 01-17-02, 03:00 PM   #4
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Ouch!

Sorry to hear that.
If you want a biking-doctor's opinion you could try posting to Dr. Nolan on www.tmbra.org (since you're in TX and all). He has a "Bike Doc" section in the Rider's Forum.

Good luck and heal quickly.
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Old 01-17-02, 03:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by John E


I wore a butterfly strap over the clavicle for 2.5 weeks, at which point they declared me healed. I have a palpable lump at each of the two former break points, and my left shoulder span is now several mm shorter than my right, but I have no other aftereffects.

[/B]
Reading this I think you also need to think about the time of recovery. Probably no two clavicle fractures are the same but it took me 3 months to recover not 2.5 weeks. At the time I was a student and it wasn't too bad (if painful) but should it happen today I'd been in trouble since I would only barely be able to work.
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Old 01-17-02, 03:48 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about your crash, Scubagirl!

It sounds a little bit like mine last summer, but that one turned out to be not as serious as yours. The x-rays showed that nothing was broken, but still I was totally unable to move! (That is, move my left leg or right wrist.) The doctor called it ”distortion”. I had to walk on crutches for about two weeks. Then my doctor emptied my knee of 45 ml of blood, and voila, a weight was lifted from my, uhm, knee... I was back on the saddle after about two months and now I’m totally healed. I hope your case will turn out as good.
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Old 01-17-02, 07:44 PM   #7
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I've also been there and done that to both shoulders. Twice on the right and once on the left. There were different healing times with each one but if they are really severe you could be looking easily at 3-4 months of rehab and then possible pain for a lifetime in any case. Let's hope that does not happen. I would refrain from going under the knife until you have had a chance to heal on your own and then only if it is totally necessary. The success rate in this type of surgery is less than 50% and many times you come out worse than you went in.

One thing to remember is that you should try to start using the shoulder as soon as you can. Even if it is just little motions for the first while. Do not spend all your time with a sling on. This will lengthen the healing time and cause many problems. Get some physiotherapy started immediately and you will be on the mend. It is a slow process but if done properly you will have a good chance of being totally healed by the end of it and you may never know that you had once injured it. Some of us were not that lucky!
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Old 01-17-02, 09:41 PM   #8
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Scubagirl, I am so sorry you injured yourself!

Please let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-18-02, 08:43 AM   #9
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For an injury such as yours, an ethical, competent orthopedist will hold surgery as a last resort. Don't go under the knife without at least soliciting another opinion.
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Old 01-18-02, 05:32 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about the injury. I also had a "3rd degree" AC separation last February. My doctor explained that the "degree" refers to the amount of separation. 1st and 2nd degrees can usually heal without surgery but he recommended surgery for 3rd degree, since the clavical had pulled so far from the shoulder. He did say that he knew of people who had worn some sort of harness for a month or so that held the clavical in place while it healed. (I've also had back surgery...and am not entirely convinced it was necessary.)

As for advice, I have two suggestions...
1. Consult as many trusted sources as you can, as quickly as you can, before deciding on the surgery. There are always tradeoffs with any surgery. It may fix the problem but it may also cause other problems. My experience has shown that doctors who are knowledgeable of and who trust non-invasive remedies are more effective that the mechanic who fixes every problem with a knife and hammer.
2. If you do have surgery, do the physical therapy religiously. In particular, work on the range of motion. If you don't, you'll lose it quickly and you'll regret it daily.

Bottom line...You really have to take responsibility for and be an active part of the solution. Don't just trust a doctor to handle it for you.

Hope it goes well...
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Old 01-18-02, 05:41 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear about your mishap, bikegirl. Best of luck.

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Old 01-19-02, 02:12 AM   #12
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OW! OW!, BAD DEAL Y,You makin me sh-shiver for all the wrong reasons. I commiserate, get better REAL soon!

I've been there! I HAD to have surgery, mine included a compound fracture on the end of my collarbone. Someone undid my quick-release on the top of Snoqualmie Pass when I stopped to use the summit "facilities". I lost my wheel when I jumped a pothole at speed....

Ride but, check the bike first
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Old 01-19-02, 09:03 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear from your crash scubagirl, hope you get good recovery!
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Old 02-09-02, 10:37 AM   #14
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Hi Ya'll thanks for the info and concern. It has been a month now, I'm doing OK. I can't believe how slow this is healing.

I return to the Orthapedic in 2 weeks then I should start PT. I chose to skip the surgery. I guess it dosen't really matter if I have it now or later. We'll see how I feel with time.

It looks funky! YUCK!
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Old 02-14-02, 07:19 PM   #15
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glad to hear your healing up as well. It has been about a month since I came of the bike and I think the pain is going away in my ribs and I can start to get into shape again. I see you come from the same state as lance armstong, I was just reading his book, he is quite a brave guy and looks favourite to win the tour again, keep us posted about your progress.
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Old 02-17-02, 05:50 PM   #16
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Ouch! Crashed & got a class 2 AC separation on January 18, 2002, four weeks ago. Surgeon mentioned PT, but when I saw my general doctor, he INSISTED on it, especially since I am going to try some tough (road) riding this year. I will start PT next week, and will start some weight training (which I don't usually do)to get ready for the season, if the tharapist goes along with it.

I did a some walking yesterday without the sling, and it seemed to increase the separation & soreness. I am back in the sling today, but hope to ease back into biking in a week or two.

Good luck.
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