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Old 04-29-06, 02:29 PM   #1
brett1813
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An X-ray and its story.

In the spirit of the previous thread, I thought I would post my fractured (aka completely broken) collar bone for everyone's amusement.

It's been 7 days since I broke it and its coming along okay, but doctor says six to eight weeks before I can ride again. Since I'm over 30 I'm going to guess that it will be closer to the 7 to 8 week mark, but I'll have to wait and see.



If your interested, here is my story:

This winter I had dedicated my off season to using the trainer 4 or 5 times a week and running at least once. I was excited about the spring and summer not only because it was triathlon season, but because I was purchasing a new Specialized Stumpjumper to do some mountain biking with my buddies. I was also looking into purchasing a good traditional road bike to do some Crits and expand my cycling base and skills. Well it looks like some of that will be put on hold - temporarily at least.

When my friends and I started mountain biking a couple of weeks ago I was dropping them like they were standing still - a combination of the new Stumpjumper (which is much lighter and has suspension; unlike the old steel horse I was riding last season) and my off season training. I had more strength, endurance, an improved power-to-weight ratio and better climbing ability than at any point last year.

All this gave me way too much confidence. So last Saturday while riding a more challenging trail for the first time I decided to ride fast (yes I should have been going alot slower) down an unfamilar downhill section and then decided to "exceed" my cycling abilities. The result - a bone breaking crash that I'm sure will keep me on the trainer another half of the season instead of riding in the great outdoors.

From all accounts the crash was quite spectacular. Your classic over-the-front-end-while-still-clipped-in-doing-20-plus-mph-downhill.

I'll admit that the crash hurt alot and right away. After getting up from the ground and composing myself, which took a few minutes, I knew my shoulder/collar bone was at the least dislocated, but more than likely broken. Nothing was really swollen yet, but it hurt like a MFer at the time.

The fun part was the 8 mile ride out. That was a nice touch since we were just about the furthest you could be from the trail entrance/exit. Nothing like riding with broken collar bone through hilly, sandy, rutted, root filled single track to bring a grimace to your face. On the upside I got my fill 16 mile ride I had planned in!

I confirmed my suspicions once we were safely back in the parking lot. I could now feel the bump on my right clavicle from the swelling and there was a pronounced grinding type noise/feeling if I moved my arm too much. Oh yes and it hurt....I don't want to say alot, but more then enough to get my attention and almost bring me to me knees if I moved it inappropriately.

So after a call to my wife and a trip to the hospital, it was confirmed that I have a "fractured clavicle in the distal third". Doesn't look like it's going to need surgery - so I was given a sling, some vicoden and a prescription for motrin and sent on my way.

I must say that for me the pain hasn't been too bad since I came home. I never touched the vicoden they gave me and have all long since weened myself completely off the motrin.

Now, into day seven I'm bored out of my skull and cursing the fact that I acted so carelessly. I have learned a valuable lesson that I will not soon forget and that will definitely change how I ride in the future.

Oh yeah I almost forgot the worst part of the story......my Stumpy's front rim is going to need major fixing or replacing!

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Old 04-29-06, 02:46 PM   #2
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ouch.
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Old 04-29-06, 02:52 PM   #3
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Not fun. I broke mine last year riding way too fast across campus. Did they talk about giving you a figure 8 splint? I had one of those and the docter seemed to think just using a sling (which the ER gave me) wouldnt help. Of course, I also heard that the figure 8 does exactly nothing.
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Old 04-29-06, 02:56 PM   #4
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Dood that is a heartbreaking story. If you had only told me that you trashed your brand new Stumpy front wheel I would have been left in tears, but to have to miss 1/2 a season of MTB'in...death is certain. The light at the end of the tunnel is sure to come with the resurrection during the 2nd 1/2 of the season. You're going to have to ride 2x as hard to make up for all of the lost fun. Jog a few stairs while you heal up and...(mom and dad's voice now)...I want you to think about what you have done. (or better yet what you're gonna do with that Stumpy when your bones are back together.
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Old 04-29-06, 05:44 PM   #5
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heal up quick...
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Old 04-29-06, 06:13 PM   #6
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Sounds rough man. Get better and get riding soon!
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Old 04-30-06, 07:02 AM   #7
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Emory ,

The ER wanted to give me a figure-8 but they didn't have any at the time so they issued me a sling. The Doc said both were just as good. I did get a figure-8 from my SportsMed Doc a few days after, he was of the same opinion that they both did just as good a job. Personally after wearing both I like the sling alot better - I think its more supportive and far more comfortable.
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Old 04-30-06, 07:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chelboed
I want you to think about what you have done. (or better yet what you're gonna do with that Stumpy when your bones are back together.

Unfortunately "thinking about what I have done" is killing me because it was so avoidable.

I'm a definitely "ride hard or stay at home" type a fella, but once I get back I know that I'm going to have to take it easy at first. I will also not be riding balls-out all the time anymore, especially on trails I'm not familiar with.

But once the Stumpy and I are mended I'll be back out there tearing it up.

Thanks for the kind words.
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Old 04-30-06, 07:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emory
Not fun. I broke mine last year riding way too fast across campus. Did they talk about giving you a figure 8 splint? I had one of those and the docter seemed to think just using a sling (which the ER gave me) wouldnt help. Of course, I also heard that the figure 8 does exactly nothing.
Having broken collarbones three times, I can say that nothing does anything. When it is broken, it seems every bone in the body is somehow connected to the clavicle.
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Old 04-30-06, 09:11 AM   #10
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I definitely got a lot of support from my Figure 8.

I would get sick of it by the end of the day, but as soon as I took it off it would feel like my arm was going to fall off--like someone just put a 150lb weight in my right arm and my shoulder muscles weren't holding up the joint at all.

I really didn't mind the brace until t rally started to irritate my armpits after a few weeks.

Anyway, here's mine:



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Old 04-30-06, 01:07 PM   #11
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My heart goes out to you. Hang in there, and get well soon. I've spent the last 3 weeks healing myself, and it darn near drove me crazy. Joining this forum this past month or so, has given me some insight into just how injury prone this sport can be. At 51, I don't heal like I used too, and I have decided to do my xc riding with caution as a number one priority. Even with this mindset, I have managed to go over the front bars, cut the freak out of my calf, and bounce off rocky paths, from time to time. But I'm getting a better feel for what I can do, and can't do, and when and where to try it.

Hope your time passes quickly. I was in the peak of shape back about 8 years ago when I met with a Ford Bronco, and that left me racked up for a spell. Sounds like your lucky to have walked away from that wreck. Thanks for sharing your story.
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Old 05-07-06, 06:51 AM   #12
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Hey Big Tommy C thanks for posting your pics. Compared to your break mine looks minor....I can only imagine how much that hurt because of how far out of position it was. I really only wore my sling and figure for the first week and then have been trying to use my arm a little more each day without the sling. So far so good. But I do know about the "tired" feeling your shoulder gets after a while.

How did it heal being so far out of alignment? Why no surgery for a break that far out of alignment?

Any noticeable difference now that it has healed?

Sorry for the delay on replying, but been out of town for while.
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Old 05-07-06, 06:52 AM   #13
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Thanks for kind words JagdNeum.

Your right, my accident could have been much much worse. I'm lucky to have not been hurt too badly and was able to ride out myself.

Your also right that I will use more caution when doing my riding.

Hope you're doing okay and feeling well.

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Old 05-07-06, 09:00 AM   #14
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Now your gonna have the bone stick out!
I crashed a dirtbike going about 55 and broke my collerbone- recovery time was over 6 months.
Once I recoverd from that, I felt it would be a good warm up to to some trials off my porch. So, I japslaped up onto the ledge; about 4' tall and 7-10" wide, then ride the ledge to pedal kick off the ledge and transition to the stairs at the bottom, a good 5'-6'. Well, as I was gearing up , the front tire fell off the ledge, and I went head first into the concrete. Fractured 2 Cervical bones in my spine, along with 15 stitches in my face. Ripped my eyebrow right off, my face got crazy swollen.
Another 2 months out. Last time I rode off my porch, let alone doing a cold turkey run after not riding for 6 months.
Now the collerbone sticks way out, along with the bone in my shoulder, its freakish, and sexy at the same time.
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Old 05-07-06, 02:19 PM   #15
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Ow dude, HEAL HEAL HEAL!
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Old 05-07-06, 06:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett1813
Compared to your break mine looks minor....I can only imagine how much that hurt because of how far out of position it was.
I don't know how much difference it makes in pain based on how much the bone moves. I guess it's more, but that's the only time I've done it, so its hard to say.

...I will say this, though: It really, really, REALLY hurt. For quite a while. After about a week and a half it wasn't so bad if I wasn't trying to lift anything with the arm--I'm guessing that the muscles were mostly healed by then.

Quote:
I really only wore my sling and figure for the first week and then have been trying to use my arm a little more each day without the sling.
Mine was on for 6 weeks, though I didn't feel I needed it for that long. My main goal was to ensure that it healed right and I avoided future problems....I've tried to come back too soon from injuries before and ended up extending the healing time by a large amount. So I broke the bone on October 14 and didn't ride anything but a trainer until Jan 1st. I could have sooner either way, but the weather sucked.

Quote:
How did it heal being so far out of alignment? Why no surgery for a break that far out of alignment?
Well enough, I suppose. There's no pain from it, I can still lift as wel as before and everything. I guess there's just no reason to do surgery besides cosmetic reasons. they said if I really didn't like the bump, they would be able to open it up and basically just dremel it off. I declined.

Quote:
Any noticeable difference now that it has healed?
Well, as you can see it's changed the geography of my shoulder a bit....it's kinda weird. The end of it on top is sorta....pointy. About like the middle knuckle on my smallest finger. It kinda pokes me in the jaw if I lay my head over to the side for one of the "sitting up in my chair" naps, and if anything impacts it, it's less than comfortable, because it's my bone stabbing at my skin from the inside.

I did it on a campout our local bike club was having, during my first night ride....The trail and campsite are across a ferry that shut down about 10 minutes after I broke it (while still 3 miles in the woods), so I ended up sleeping there that night.

Apparently a lot of people were impressed that I sat up around the campfire all night joking with them while I (unknowingly) had a broken collar bone, but really....what else was I gonna do?

It is a point of pride for me that one of the first things I did after breaking it was make a bike-related joke.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:40 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=Big Tommy C]
Well enough, I suppose. There's no pain from it, I can still lift as wel as before and everything. I guess there's just no reason to do surgery besides cosmetic reasons. they said if I really didn't like the bump, they would be able to open it up and basically just dremel it off. I declined.

Well, as you can see it's changed the geography of my shoulder a bit....it's kinda weird. The end of it on top is sorta....pointy. About like the middle knuckle on my smallest finger. It kinda pokes me in the jaw if I lay my head over to the side for one of the "sitting up in my chair" naps, and if anything impacts it, it's less than comfortable, because it's my bone stabbing at my skin from the inside.
/QUOTE]

My bump is more like a ledge. The figure 8 greatly helped my mobility over the sling and seemed to force the two ends of the bone to line up. When the doc told me I could take off the figure 8, it felt as if my bone had no bump at all. But after a few days it had shifted out again I think and left the ridge. I wish I had continued wearing the figure 8 but oh well. I still have a bit of pain if I try to sleep on that side of the body but beyond that I am fine now (this happened two octobers ago btw).

Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 05-09-06, 02:14 AM   #18
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dang!
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Old 05-14-06, 08:02 PM   #19
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Thanks for the info BigTom!
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