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  1. #1
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    Broken Collar Bone

    So I was run off the road and broke my collar bone.

    The Doc says it'll take six weeks to heal...

    ...should I wait longer to start riding again.

    Could I possibly start up again once the pain is gone?

    Anyone have experience with a broken collar bone?
    Last edited by JayButros; 09-05-11 at 07:06 AM. Reason: syntax

  2. #2
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Yeah, You will need to wait for it to heal. Six weeks seems long though. I think (but it's been quite a few years) I was back after about a month.

    I wanted my bone guy to put the Ti plate in so I could get back on the bike faster but his experience with those was negative. So I just had to wait. I did spend some time after a couple of weeks on the trainer.

    The bone will probably heal back stronger than before. The second time mine broke it broke out at the very tip at the shoulder (I think it's called the process) and now I think my right collarbone is pretty bomb proof.

    Count yourself lucky it's not ribs. Those really hurt.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Yeah, You will need to wait for it to heal. Six weeks seems long though. I think (but it's been quite a few years) I was back after about a month.
    It's generally a minimum of 3-4 weeks, but can be longer, depends on location of the break, the severity and of course overall health and age.

  4. #4
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    Don't muck around with collarbones. If the doc says six weeks, take six weeks. If you jack your collarbone up long-term by goofing around ignoring doctors orders, you're not going to be able to do much of anything, ever - structurally, they're only very slightly less important than, say, your SPINE.
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  5. #5
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Take the medical advice. But note that Bradley Wiggins is currently lying third in the Tour of Spain, and that race started six weeks after he broke his collarbone in the Tour de France. He has had the good sense and good luck not to crash again, though...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  6. #6
    On Two Wheels sam83's Avatar
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    http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=714884

    I broke both of mine. 1st was a non-union and got it plated after 16 weeks. The 2nd one I got fixed right away.

    Riding 11 days after the first one was fixed, but not for after 6 weeks with the second per docs orders.

    The link is to a thread on my doc's sub-forum.

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    Had a pretty simple clavicle break a few years ago. Rode 10 days later with not much pain. It healed with a bit of a lump, can't say if it would have been any different if I didn't ride on it. 6 weeks is pretty standard medical advice for anything broken.

  8. #8
    You rode how far??? GamecockTaco's Avatar
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    broke mine at the end of May of this year. Happened on a Wednesday evening. Was a clean break, but complete. Was on the trainer the following Sunday, back on the road in early July, so, yes, right at 6 weeks before on the road. I think I could have ridden road before then, but rode mtb once right after that and it still hurt from the jarring. Doc didn't really clear me to ride even then, but, he did say I couldn't hurt it more by riding....only by falling again.

    Finally getting my fitness back close to where I was, though my endurance still isn't quite right, but I"m getting there.

    Good luck to you.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    ^^

    ...cool, thanks for the link.

    I appreciate everyone else's replies also

    ...man, this thing hurts. Bad.

    I've never been a fan of narcotics ...even when a doctor prescribes them. I've turned them down for a root canal and hernia surgery as well. I'd hate to get hooked, I mean ...let's face it, it's a nice buzz.

    I'm making an exception this time.

    OTC Ibuprofen isn't even coming close to relieving the pain.

    Anyone have a secret for pain relief? I'm on my third bag of frozen peas, they help but I can't walk around with a bag of food taped to my shoulder.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    Don't muck around with collarbones. If the doc says six weeks, take six weeks. If you jack your collarbone up long-term by goofing around ignoring doctors orders, you're not going to be able to do much of anything, ever - structurally, they're only very slightly less important than, say, your SPINE.
    Gee, I hope you're wrong. I busted as collarbone in 2004 and it's still in two pieces. It causes some discomfort, but I'd hardly compare it to a broken back.

    I agree with you that the OP should indeed follow doctors orders.

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    October 22, 2008, 8:15AM.

    Shattered my 49-y-o collarbone (broken in 5 places), laid up by doc's order for 7 weeks. All I could do was sit on the couch or take walks in the neighborhood. The sling they demanded I wear, though, only lasted about 36 hours after the surgery (nice little stainless plate and 8 screws, a couple are even outlined if you look close enough); cramps in the pecs and biceps killed that thing.

    The first week was Vicodin for pain management; the constipatory side effects caused me to raise hell with the docs until they reluctantly gave me oxycodone. One a day served me well, and when they ran out, I was cool. (So much for addictive......)

    The day after my release to return to work (and riding), I was on the bike, pain-free. (I don't count aches as actual pain, hell I ache ALL THE TIME!)

  13. #13
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    I know someone who didn't follow their Doctor's orders and kept moving bones around. They had to go in three times before it healed correctly & it took almost 3 times as long as normal. Why risk it if you don't have to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratdog View Post
    I know someone who didn't follow their Doctor's orders and kept moving bones around. They had to go in three times before it healed correctly & it took almost 3 times as long as normal. Why risk it if you don't have to?
    ...really? Because he wants to go ride. Why don't you do nothing for six weeks if it's so much fun? Cost versus benefit. He's trying to suss out what the cost might be.

    As far as bones go, clavicle is about one of the least structurally important bones. It's probably no coincidence that it is so easy to break it. If it heels crooked you'll look funny shirtless but it still works almost as good as new. I met a guy who broke his 8 times mountain biking with a prosthetic hand. The hand was fixed to the handlebars and the quick release didn't always work. Other than the missing hand, he was fine.

  15. #15
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    ^^^ Yeah, if you haven't got a pipeline into your body and how it's dealing with stuff a broken bone will certainly guide the way. If it hurts and still flexes don't strain it. If it feels OK it probably is OK. The join where the bone heals is (like a baby's skull) flexible and really kind of tough. After it fully fuses it is bomb proof. Lumpy but bomb proof. You'll break the process or your sternum before you re-break that scar...

    What I didn't expect and was uncomfortable for a few days was the re-alignment of my back muscles to the change in my shoulder width. Actually turned out good for my driving golf swing. I didn't slice nearly so bad.

  16. #16
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I am just coming back from a broken collarbone (it will be six weeks as of tomorrow). I also broke two ribs, but I barely felt them by comparison with the pain of the collarbone. I'm with those who say to take your time and wait for it to heal properly. I got this advice from a client at work who had broken his 20 years ago. He didn't wait and he still has pain to this day as a result. After around three weeks or so you should start to get some movement in your shoulder, and that's when you can start doing little things with it, but I'd give it at least another couple of weeks after that before riding. If you really want to go outside in the meantime, go for a walk somewhere.

    BTW, I stayed off the painkillers completely apart from what they gave me during the five days I was in hospital. I found the pain to be a useful indicator of what the joint was and wasn't ready to do at any given point in time.
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  17. #17
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    I rode my bike to the doctor appt. after waiting four days to 'see if it gets better'. He diagnosed a broken collarbone but did not give me a sling or tell me not to ride. He suggested I take a couple of days off my job as a bike messenger.

    I do not believe that being too active too soon was the reason my collarbone did not heal. I believe a piece of muscle tissue got between the two ends and prevented them from connecting. If I had sat on the couch in a sling for two months, I think I would have had the same outcome, a non-healing fracture.

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    Digging up and old thread here rather than starting a new one.

    After some experiences from people on the topic!

    I am 4 weeks on from a crash and 3 weeks 4 days from surgery. I'm assuming the bone healing process is up to the Soft-Callus stage with the start of the Hard-Callus.

    The exact details of the crash that required surgery were;

    ​There was a rend in the capsule of the AC Joint and the distal clavicle was superiorly subluxated due to detachment of the coracoclavicular ligaments with bone fragments.

    ​There were multiple comminuted fragments of bone that were removed and later re-implanted as autogenous bone graft. The distal clavicle was aligned and internally fixed with a hook clavicle plate...... etc. etc.

    So basically the collarbone was broken at the distal end, along with the ligament and had ORIF surgery to put it all back in place with a bone graft.

    Wondering on how people went to returning to riding on the road? At the moment, the shoulder feels good, i've have been riding on the trainer since 4 days post surgery. Have been doing up to 2 hours a day on it.

    How did it feel your first ride back and afterwards? How long were you riding etc?

    Thanks in advance!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Broke mine at the outer end (distal, if you must), opted for no surgery, and at the advice of a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon started riding as soon as I felt like it, which was ten days after accident. She admonished against crashing and making it worse.
    Ride more. Fret less.

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Reading all this makes me think that broken collarbones must be pretty common for upright riders. Bummer I know of at least one person who got a recumbent trike to ride during the lay-off period.

  21. #21
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    today is three weeks to the day after a type III shoulder separation of right shoulder. was on the bike about a week and a half ago. so that's about 17 days. still hurts, big bump, makes a few funny noises from the ligaments, etc. i did a self-diagnosis, (no docs, emergency room, etc.) and used OTC Ibuprofen. this is nine months after a permanent Sternoclavicular dislocation of my left shoulder. again, a couple weeks off, ibuprofen, etc, but tn that case, i wasted about 1000 dollars trying to find an orthopedic surgeon that would even seriously discuss relocating it, which i thought was possible, but is apparently not. of course, i'm not as handsome as i was , and i'll never play the violin for the London Philharmonic again...

    BTW, both were high-sided wrecks.

    yesterday, while out, i saw a guy go down on the low-side. he was eventually carted away in an ambulance. (left shoulder). it hurts equally in either direction, i'm sure.

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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Reading all this makes me think that broken collarbones must be pretty common for upright riders. Bummer I know of at least one person who got a recumbent trike to ride during the lay-off period.
    Yeah really, quite a long list of posters.
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  23. #23
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjamesw89 View Post
    Digging up and old thread here rather than starting a new one.
    ...
    Wondering on how people went to returning to riding on the road? At the moment, the shoulder feels good, i've have been riding on the trainer since 4 days post surgery. Have been doing up to 2 hours a day on it.

    How did it feel your first ride back and afterwards? How long were you riding etc?

    Thanks in advance!
    I almost hate to tell you this but with the surgery you can come back quicker and I was back riding on my commutes after 5 days. It was somewhat painful and exceedingly cautious, low-effort riding.

    However, it's rolling the dice to start early and I was lucky. Any random mishap or even a harsh maneuver would set you back or possibly even re-break the bone. The doctors may err on the side of caution but they do know more about it than we do. At least wait long enough that you could take a hit without breaking it again. Like my surgeon said, even Lance took almost three weeks and who knows what kind of drugs he was using ...

  24. #24
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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    today is three weeks to the day after a type III shoulder separation of right shoulder. was on the bike about a week and a half ago. so that's about 17 days. still hurts, big bump, makes a few funny noises from the ligaments, etc. i did a self-diagnosis, (no docs, emergency room, etc.) and used OTC Ibuprofen. this is nine months after a permanent Sternoclavicular dislocation of my left shoulder. again, a couple weeks off, ibuprofen, etc, but tn that case, i wasted about 1000 dollars trying to find an orthopedic surgeon that would even seriously discuss relocating it, which i thought was possible, but is apparently not. of course, i'm not as handsome as i was , and i'll never play the violin for the London Philharmonic again...

    BTW, both were high-sided wrecks.

    yesterday, while out, i saw a guy go down on the low-side. he was eventually carted away in an ambulance. (left shoulder). it hurts equally in either direction, i'm sure.
    Good to read about someone with some shoulder damage, that was my main concern, I know I'm being overly cautious, but better being safe than sorry right?

    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I almost hate to tell you this but with the surgery you can come back quicker and I was back riding on my commutes after 5 days. It was somewhat painful and exceedingly cautious, low-effort riding.

    However, it's rolling the dice to start early and I was lucky. Any random mishap or even a harsh maneuver would set you back or possibly even re-break the bone. The doctors may err on the side of caution but they do know more about it than we do. At least wait long enough that you could take a hit without breaking it again. Like my surgeon said, even Lance took almost three weeks and who knows what kind of drugs he was using ...
    Sounds similar to mine, its not so much painful, just experience discomfort from the road vibrations, but I'm assuming this is because i have a titanium hook plate in my shoulder! Im not planning on crashing or putting my self in any situations where I can crash so hopefully a big hit to it, isn't going to happen. How long was it until you felt back to normal?

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    How did everybody go getting back to normal training?

    Ive ridden the past 4 days straight on the road. It feels ok but very weak - obviously. In peoples opinion, how long is too long for a ride whiles it is healing? Im usually a 550-650km per week so obviously am chewing at the bit to get back there.

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