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Broken collar bone, what now?

Old 03-18-21, 09:22 PM
  #26  
flangehead
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Vertigo

My orthopedic doctor told me that collarbone pieces will grow back together if they are in the same county. I had to sleep on one shoulder for 6 weeks. At the end I got vertigo which I self-diagnosed as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), which is when calcium crystals settle in the ear canals. The vertigo stopped once I was able to sleep on the healed collarbone. I too have a bump.
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Old 03-18-21, 09:37 PM
  #27  
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I've broken both twice. First was also a head injury that was so severe they did nothing for my shoulder. The collarbone set up crooked and about 1/2" shorter. Limits my throwing. 2 were accompanied with broken ribs. Ribs hurt so much more that the collarbome was barely an issue besides making sleeping arrangements a little harder.

Collarbones are almost always a painful non-issue if you back off activity and do your best to keep your shoulders pulled back. I always go to get the X-rays and professional look because I do not want life-long shoulder issues from a poor set but I fully expect to be told "it's going to hurt for a few more weeks. Be gentle with it. Keep your posture good. There's not much we can do."
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Old 03-18-21, 09:42 PM
  #28  
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Assuming you have a figure-8 bandage. Until the clavicle is fully knitted do not - I repeat: do not remove it. Doing so, as I stupidly did 2 weeks in, caused the the partially-healed bone to rebreak. Indescribable pain. I only removed to have a shower - big mistake.

Give yourself full healing time as prescribed by your MD. As in no exercise, physical activity, or anything else that would potentially re-break the bone.
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Old 03-19-21, 03:37 AM
  #29  
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Yes, indeed. Like you I had gone my entire life (63 years to that point) without breaking a bone. Last year I took a tumble off my bike and did a really proper job on my collar bone. Had to have a titanium plate fitted to it. I was back cycling (mountain biking, actually) within a couple of months, thought quite cautiously, and now, less than a year on, I don't even think about it any more. Initially a friend loaned me a turbo-trainer but, man, that was just so tedious. It probably forced me out on the bike a little sooner than was wise but I just couldn't wait.

From what I recall of what the doctors told me I believe that the forces from cycling don't exert a lot of pressure on the clavicle. You'll obviously need to be very cautious about coming off again as any side impact could set it back substantially.



Before

After

You see can underneath the right hand part of the clavicle that I broke a rib as well and that actually gave me a great deal more trouble than the clavicle. If you sleep on your side you'll need to keep off the broken side for some weeks as well. However, due to my broken rib I ended up having to sleep propped up lying on my back for several weeks. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
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Old 03-19-21, 05:26 AM
  #30  
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Thank you all very much for sharing your experiences.
I believe that one important guide on the path to recovery is to recognise good advice from the medical professionals, but it is real life experience that really shows you the way forward.

We are advocates of proper recuperation at home, so I am getting good attention. We live in the country; so I can step outside and keep myself movingt. I cannot stand the couch potato life all day long.

I do not plan on taking out a bike until the bone is at 110%. I see no real benefit in pushing my luck.
I was so looking forward to trying out my latest build. Its going to be a while; I can make a start on restoring its paintwork instead.

Thanks to you all again for your support.
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Old 03-19-21, 01:34 PM
  #31  
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Just to add a little to the optimism of those others who have thrived post-break. Cats have only vestigial little collar bones about the size of fingernail parings, and they are completely detached from any other bones. We should all be as athletic as cats.
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Old 03-19-21, 04:08 PM
  #32  
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I shattered my clavicle about 6 years ago and decided to have surgery. It was more than single break. I think I could have gone either way. I’ve heard that plating helps to prevent further breaks, but I’m not sure if that is founded in fact. But that did weigh on my decision.

I will say that my doc told me when I’d be able to get back on the bike, then as the date got closer, he said I should wait a couple more weeks. I didn’t and clipped the same shoulder on a tree branch on my mountain bike.

The good news was the fix was still good, although my doc was wondering why one of the screws looked to be pulled out a bit. Bad news was a partially torn rotator cuff. But the better news was my doc said he’d see me in 5 years to fix it and it has been over 6. On the flip side with PT, I have no pain and can still paddle, but my bad golf swing just got worse.

John

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Old 03-19-21, 05:56 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Deepcherry View Post
Thank you all very much for sharing your experiences.
I believe that one important guide on the path to recovery is to recognise good advice from the medical professionals, but it is real life experience that really shows you the way forward.

We are advocates of proper recuperation at home, so I am getting good attention. We live in the country; so I can step outside and keep myself movingt. I cannot stand the couch potato life all day long.

I do not plan on taking out a bike until the bone is at 110%. I see no real benefit in pushing my luck.
I was so looking forward to trying out my latest build. Its going to be a while; I can make a start on restoring its paintwork instead.

Thanks to you all again for your support.
Not rushing recovery is the mature thing to do BUTTTTT many don't listen.

Will be 10 years next month, almost 61, my crash resulted in a minor clavicle and neck break along with Long Thoracic Nerve Damage. Dr. said sling for a couple of weeks but 1 week later it was gone with minimal movement allowed. MAJOR ISSUE was right clavicle and right handed so had to learn to be ambidextrous. Neurosurgeon said neck was minor but still NOTHING BUT WALKING for exercise and must wear a neck brace 24/7 for 8 weeks. Trip back at 8 weeks and was told it needed ANOTHER 8 WEEKS OF 24/7 BEING IMMOBILE.

April last year had a WILD HOG ENCOUNTER and crash resulted in 2 cracked ribs, cracked scapular, punctured lung, left shoulder trauma and some cuts. Saw my Ortho 8 days after crash and he said can get back to easy riding DAY 10 and I did.

My new Ortho Dr. was same who installed a right shoulder in August of 2016 and I was back riding 3 days after installation.
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Old 03-19-21, 06:23 PM
  #34  
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I broke my collarbone twice. Both times it was painful as hell. Second time I went to an old school ortho doc who said if the broken ends “are in the same room” then no surgery. Six weeks later when I was still in pain got a second opinion from another younger sports medicine-type
ortho and he said if I had walked into his office 6 weeks earlier I would have bought myself a surgery. He said it was too late to do surgery at that point and I would have to wait it out. Didn’t get back on the bike until 12 weeks but started riding on a stationary trainer soon after the accident. I still had trouble sleeping on my left side for three years after the accident. It’s almost back to normal now 4 years later. I would rather break any other bone in my body than the collar bone.
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Old 03-20-21, 05:03 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Not rushing recovery is the mature thing to do BUTTTTT many don't listen.

Will be 10 years next month, almost 61, my crash resulted in a minor clavicle and neck break along with Long Thoracic Nerve Damage. Dr. said sling for a couple of weeks but 1 week later it was gone with minimal movement allowed. MAJOR ISSUE was right clavicle and right handed so had to learn to be ambidextrous. Neurosurgeon said neck was minor but still NOTHING BUT WALKING for exercise and must wear a neck brace 24/7 for 8 weeks. Trip back at 8 weeks and was told it needed ANOTHER 8 WEEKS OF 24/7 BEING IMMOBILE.

April last year had a WILD HOG ENCOUNTER and crash resulted in 2 cracked ribs, cracked scapular, punctured lung, left shoulder trauma and some cuts. Saw my Ortho 8 days after crash and he said can get back to easy riding DAY 10 and I did.

My new Ortho Dr. was same who installed a right shoulder in August of 2016 and I was back riding 3 days after installation.
Wow, that sounds a bit too soon, but if it worked for you.... Even with a punctured lung?
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Old 03-20-21, 05:39 AM
  #36  
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I broke mine in four pieces when a road striping crew dumped about a gallon of glass beads on a downhill turn a quarter mile from my house. Was amazed the doc said no treatment. I don't remember advice given about when to return to activity. I did it on a Thursday, skippered a racing sailboat on Saturday and Sunday. My hip was just as painful as my shoulder. I had two weeks before riding the cycling leg of a sprint tri. I resumed training on the road four days later, and rode the tri on a hilly and curvy course on schedule. No problems with the shoulder at all now.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:15 AM
  #37  
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Simple uncomplicated collarbone fracture. Expect a simple uncomplicated recovery.

Could it get more complex? Of course it could. Every commenter who has a story is the evidence for that. But 99% chance you are clear. Your doctor is not excited. Three weeks is longer than usual for the follow up. He expects you to cancel that appointment and go for a bike ride.

After the first time most don’t bother with the doctor for subsequent collar breaks. Also, if you have a simple uncomplicated break you fell correctly.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:45 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Simple uncomplicated collarbone fracture. Expect a simple uncomplicated recovery.

Could it get more complex? Of course it could. Every commenter who has a story is the evidence for that. But 99% chance you are clear. Your doctor is not excited. Three weeks is longer than usual for the follow up. He expects you to cancel that appointment and go for a bike ride.

After the first time most don’t bother with the doctor for subsequent collar breaks. Also, if you have a simple uncomplicated break you fell correctly.
As they say in Spain "Ojalá", meaning let's hope so!
I would love to be back in the saddle within a month, I have no experience of a typical bone-curing period. I suppose I will know it when I feel that the bone is knitted and up to strength.
I am taking this first week to remain immobile as much as possible, next week will see some outdoor exercise.

I can already feel my body getting stiff after two days!

I suppose there is some luck involved in my landing but I was already expecting a fall before I got to the obstacle which caused my 'buck'.
I was trying a new approach at higher than normal speed and, well, it didn't work out! I remember thinking that flying was completely painless, then "crack"!
Being conditioned in wearing a helmet certainly helps in how one falls. My head struck a loose grapefruit sized rock, but I felt nothing at all. 😅
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Old 03-20-21, 12:00 PM
  #39  
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Seems to me the obvious answer is to go to @OldTryGuy's doctor .... no matter what happened.

I did my left collarbone five years ago. I left it alone for six weeks, then decided I could do weight lifting....

Another recovery period, insufficient, and I re-broke it again. (Yes, I can learn. Sometimes I just don't want to.)

The third time I waited until it was fully healed and worked back into it slowly. If I had done that the first time I probably could have been over it in under two months.

I probably could have started back with mild exercise at four weeks if I had been careful .... but then I wouldn't have these weird lumps all along my collarbone.

Take it slow, be careful, Don't Ride on the road (or rollers) for a couple months ... the last thing you want to think is "I should have waited" right after you fell to the left and snapped it again (just an opinion, based in prior idiocy.)

I did serious damage to my left elbow after an A/C separation several decades ago. I didn't have enough strength in my right arm to hold myself up after several days of my daily commute, so I learned to lean on my left arm .... which hurt for several years afterwards. More errors you don't have to make, thanks to those brave pioneers who should have known better.
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Old 03-20-21, 09:48 PM
  #40  
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Wiped out on my motorcycle, Suzuki DRZ 400 SM, last April 25th. Broke 7 ribs, clavicle, scapula, and cracked my sternum. Clavicle was stabilized with a plate which popped off 5 days later when I flexed my back and had it re-plated in surgery. I was in the ICU for 5 days and in hospital for 3 weeks total. Take the time needed for the bone to heal. By the way I am 64, it took 4 months for the bone to heal to 50%.


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Old 03-22-21, 10:01 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Deepcherry View Post

Can anyone offer any experience of how this will progress, advice or tips?
I have a check up in three weeks.

Kind regards, and always use a helmet!!
What's next ideally is a couple of months of not doing anything strenuous on that side. Normal activities, no problem.

You can make it up with your strength training after it's healed. Or whatever activity it is, you'll get it back quickly enough.
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Old 03-22-21, 11:28 AM
  #42  
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I had the same injury.

Rehab hard and you will be fine. The first season after injury, I still felt week. I'm on my 2nd season now and feel back to normal. The key is rehab. go hard and often. I did 3 X's a week for 3 months the 2 X a week for 3 more months, Key is getting strong,. good luck.
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Old 03-22-21, 11:55 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Deepcherry View Post
Hello all.
I took a little tumble yesterday on a wild trek and immediately knew my left collar bone was broken.
This is actually my first ever bone break, well into my forties, so it was about time and I was half expecting it somehow! It is a simple closed fracture, I fell on my shoulder and helmeted head. Happily no other damage apart from hurt pride and gravel rash.
I now find myself in the happy situation of not being able to do very much at all, vexing indeed as I rely on being active for daily duties.
What concerns me most (after the additional family workload this entails) is my recuperation without losing too much strength in the left arm muscles.

Can anyone offer any experience of how this will progress, advice or tips?
I have a check up in three weeks.

Kind regards, and always use a helmet!!

I had a compound fracture of my collarbone from a fall, when I was 63 YO, had surgery and I now have a plate with twelve screws holding it on my bone, it didn't really affect my bike riding and I didn't need rehab...soon as it healed I was back on the bike and I resumed my life, I am now concerned that if I fall again the same way on that side there will be no "give" like the bone breaking but you know, that plate won't bend so I don't know what it will tear out next time. One thing though, my collar bone area itches, burns, aches and tingles and if I sleep on that side I can definitely feel it. But I still ride like I always did. LOL, it's a fun pasttime for me and I fell down one time before and broke my wrist...was in a cast for a few weeks, but that same wrist was broken before in 1966 in a car wreck, it only hurts now once in awhile. Good Luck!
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Old 03-22-21, 12:43 PM
  #44  
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Collar bone break plus punctured lung at age 56. Wife was gone for a month, so no help with dressing and showering, bad bad thing. My advise is to keep shoulder IMOBILE for 10 days. Don't 'test' it. I know that sounds an excessive amount of time, but I was breaking the healing apart again and again because I was moving and 'testing' too vigorously, and screwed up and delayed the healing process for a couple of months. I was freaked out and seriously researching surgery. General advise I got originally was collar bone was no big thing, but my experience was older people just don't mend worth spit.
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Old 03-22-21, 10:19 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Deepcherry View Post
Hello all.
I took a little tumble yesterday on a wild trek and immediately knew my left collar bone was broken.
This is actually my first ever bone break, well into my forties, so it was about time and I was half expecting it somehow! It is a simple closed fracture, I fell on my shoulder and helmeted head. Happily no other damage apart from hurt pride and gravel rash.
I now find myself in the happy situation of not being able to do very much at all, vexing indeed as I rely on being active for daily duties.
What concerns me most (after the additional family workload this entails) is my recuperation without losing too much strength in the left arm muscles.

Can anyone offer any experience of how this will progress, advice or tips?
I have a check up in three weeks.

Kind regards, and always use a helmet!!
Just do whatever the doc and your Physical Therapist tells you. I think you’ll be fine.

I knew a local pro motocross racer. His collar bones both looked liked knuckles under his skin. Watching him ride, I don’t think he had any loss of strength.

I think cartilage/connecting tissue injuries are a way bigger deal long term. Like ACL issues or herniated disc.
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Old 03-23-21, 06:17 AM
  #46  
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These posts are reassuring as I recover from a recent broken foot and surgery to install a screw. Hopefully I will recover soon and be able to ride in a few weeks.
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Old 03-23-21, 11:32 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Deepcherry View Post
I would love to be back in the saddle within a month, I have no experience of a typical bone-curing period. I suppose I will know it when I feel that the bone is knitted and up to strength.
I think typical depends on your age. I know my six year old's clavicle healed up much quicker than mine did.
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Old 03-25-21, 06:48 AM
  #48  
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When you get back on the bike depends more on your risk tolerance than anything else, IMO. And pain tolerance. It was 3-5 days for me, for a broken collarbone.

You're not necessarily going to know when or if the bone is knitting by feel. The first stages build some connective tissue, sort of a precursor to the bone knitting, and that can feel relatively normal and pain-free but it's not knitting and it isn't guaranteed to mend either. So I caution strongly against thinking you'll probably know and basing your decisions on that.
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Old 03-25-21, 07:08 AM
  #49  
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I broke my left clavicle in September of '15 at the age of 42. Ruined a Giro Bishop helmet and a nice bike jersey. The first 2 weeks were awful, but after that things slowly got back to normal. I was on pain meds for two weeks. I didn't ride again until Thanksgiving of that year... and it was a very easy casual ride. Wasn't really back to normal until March of the following year. I've been taking Vitamin D ever since. The ortho doctor said to keep taking vitamin D even after the bone heals. My bone healed up good.... I have a slight bump on my shoulder, but no lingering pain or trouble with movement. I got lucky.

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Old 03-26-21, 04:59 AM
  #50  
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I've not broken a collarbone, but broke an elbow quite a few years ago playing rugby, then broke foot, tibia, and fibula in one go, as per the thread Had a crash - lessons learned . I was out of plaster in a few weeks with the elbow, and back to normal very quickly, but I was much younger then, meaning the break healed quickly. With the ankle and foot injury I was plastered for three months, in an orthopaedic boot for a couple of months longer, and have been left with a permanent limp. In spite of this I'm cycling again and am back to riding 100k regularly, although I've had to adapt to not being able to stand on the pedals and a new position on the bike minimising load on the ankle.

The best advice I can give is to talk to your consultant and physio, tell them you cycle, and what sort of distances and speed, and ask what their advice is on getting back into riding regularly. Do the exercises you're given by the physio, to the letter - I was congratulated by my physio for doing as I was told, and told that this had made a marked difference in my recuperation. And do be patient - if you're told to stay off the bike for another week longer it's for a good reason.

When you do get back on the bike start with short easy rides with someone who's happy to ride at your pace for company - this will make a big difference in restoring your confidence. Remember if you overdo things at the start you'll get tired which will affect your recovery and lower your confidence. Give yourself goals by all means but nothing that's unrealistic or will impede your recuperation.

Good luck, and best wishes for a full and fast recovery!
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