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Broken Clavicle Experience

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Broken Clavicle Experience

Old 08-06-10, 11:22 AM
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JonnyUtah75
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Broken Clavicle Experience

Well I'm a week into my broken clavicle and it still hurts like hell. How long before you guys stopped feeling major pain? The percocets take the edge off but it's still pretty painful during sleep and for a while after waking.

First doc recommended surgery, and am going for a second opinion on Monday, since from my research it seems this kind of fracture normally heals well on its own.

For anyone who had surgery, was the pain pretty much done with after surgery and it was just a matter of rehab to regain strength after that?
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Old 08-06-10, 12:01 PM
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I've done this twice. Everyone heals differently.

Go to the vitamin store and get some calcium/magnesium/D, eat well, rest and if you are REALLY lucky you will be able to ride in 5 weeks from today. It will stop hurting when it stops hurting.

And wash that bra they give you often. If they gave you one. Depends on the break.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clavicle_fracture
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Old 08-06-10, 12:04 PM
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I had surgery in May. The pain was far worse after the surgery in the very short term. However, after maybe 4-5 days it was much better because the bone is supported by the plate and isn't moving around. Whether you need surgery of not is going to depend on the likelihood of the bone solidly fusing back together. For me, the two ends were in separate zip codes so I really had no choice. I'm still in PT, though I started racing again a couple of weeks after the surgery.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:04 PM
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if it's worth it to you, call/go back and ask for stronger meds like dilaudid or something.
most doctors give you bare minimum/weak painkillers
you can always go to the er if it's closer and you don't mind waiting or paying for it if you have to.

and dont take their ****, they dont know how much pain you're in, bottom line, period.
some will try to fight off a patient coming back asking for something stronger.
the next time you go through something like this, tell them percoset didnt work well at all and you need something stronger off the bat.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:13 PM
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I refrained from saying this before, but I would really avoid surgery. I think it does more damage than letting nature do its thing.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai View Post
I refrained from saying this before, but I would really avoid surgery. I think it does more damage than letting nature do its thing.
Yea that was what my friend's dad, a retired ortho, told me too. The only thing making me lean towards surgery is what my ortho told me: It could heal on its own, but after 8-12 weeks it may not. Then you're back to square one and need surgery. In the meantime you'll have wasted all that time.

What sucks is I work with my hands, so I'm out of work until I heal.

Oh and the e.r. gave me a shot of dilaudid the night of the accident. Made me puke no less than 10 times. Try doing that with a broken clavicle :-). Pure hell.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by JonnyUtah75 View Post
Well I'm a week into my broken clavicle and it still hurts like hell. How long before you guys stopped feeling major pain? The percocets take the edge off but it's still pretty painful during sleep and for a while after waking.
I never really had what I would say is major pain. Maybe I just expect that there are many things that could be far worse. For the most part, any kind of stabbing pain was gone after a day or two and it felt like a general numbness and dull aching for the rest of the week until my surgery. Unless I moved wrong, then stabbing again. I think I may have taken something the first night to get to sleep, but otherwise preferred to stay off of the narcotics.

Originally Posted by JonnyUtah75 View Post
First doc recommended surgery, and am going for a second opinion on Monday, since from my research it seems this kind of fracture normally heals well on its own.
Depends on how badly it is broken. I'm not a doc so I am not going to give you advice based on your x-ray (although I do have an opinion). They seem to talk about displacement (how far the bone is out of alignment) and the length of the break itself. My break was the long way across the bone and the displacement was huge, so pretty much everyone who looked at it said surgery without batting an eye.

Originally Posted by JonnyUtah75 View Post
For anyone who had surgery, was the pain pretty much done with after surgery and it was just a matter of rehab to regain strength after that?
Pretty much. I had some swelling and soreness at the incision for about a week, but that was the worst of it. The nice thing about the surgery is that it is "fixed" immediately and you can use it while it is healing. My doc said it was stronger than the original and I didn't have to worry about damaging it by using it. I could do whatever I could tolerate without worrying about setting myself back. The downsite is that I still have this stupid plate in my shoulder and it's annoying to wear backbacks, and I can see it's lumpy mass clearly through my skin.

Edit: and I was riding again within a week of the surgery. There is a thread on here about it somewhere.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai View Post
I refrained from saying this before, but I would really avoid surgery. I think it does more damage than letting nature do its thing.
Are you really a doctor or is that just a cute user name?
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Old 08-06-10, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I never really had what I would say is major pain. Maybe I just expect that there are many things that could be far worse. For the most part, any kind of stabbing pain was gone after a day or two and it felt like a general numbness and dull aching for the rest of the week until my surgery. Unless I moved wrong, then stabbing again. I think I may have taken something the first night to get to sleep, but otherwise preferred to stay off of the narcotics.



Depends on how badly it is broken. I'm not a doc so I am not going to give you advice based on your x-ray (although I do have an opinion). They seem to talk about displacement (how far the bone is out of alignment) and the length of the break itself. My break was the long way across the bone and the displacement was huge, so pretty much everyone who looked at it said surgery without batting an eye.



Pretty much. I had some swelling and soreness at the incision for about a week, but that was the worst of it. The nice thing about the surgery is that it is "fixed" immediately and you can use it while it is healing. My doc said it was stronger than the original and I didn't have to worry about damaging it by using it. I could do whatever I could tolerate without worrying about setting myself back. The downsite is that I still have this stupid plate in my shoulder and it's annoying to wear backbacks, and I can see it's lumpy mass clearly through my skin.

Edit: and I was riding again within a week of the surgery. There is a thread on here about it somewhere.

damn, I never thought about that. annoying how?
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Old 08-06-10, 12:28 PM
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I had a relatively good break (both ends together) midway through a tour. Didn't take any pain meds because it wasn't too bad. The worst was sleeping and laughing. It felt better if I put some pressure on it with the opposite hand. After 7 days I tried going for a 80 mile ride and it hurt a lot. 3 days later I went for another ride and I barely noticed it. Rode every day for the rest of the month.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
damn, I never thought about that. annoying how?
The strap saws against the plate.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:30 PM
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is it painful, just feel weird? what's it like.

I'm away doing a lot of hiking starting this week. But I do a ton of hiking and backpacking in the fall.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:31 PM
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Oh I almost forgot, after the pain from the break and the subsequent surgery subsided, I realized that I also had broken, severely fractured, or bruised, ribs. I guess my body just kind of registered the overall pain from the area, but once the greater pain went away, the more localized rib pain became apparent.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:32 PM
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yeah I messed my elbow up as well but didn't notice for at least a month.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
is it painful, just feel weird? what's it like.

I'm away doing a lot of hiking starting this week. But I do a ton of hiking and backpacking in the fall.
It's not what I would consider painful, more like uncomfortable, like something with a sharp edge is constantly poking me. I think it's because the strap basically compresses the skin and the nerves over the edge of the plate. Also calling mine a "plate" is a little misleading I guess. It's more like one of those metal straps with a bunch of holes for nails that they use to hold things together in construction. It's not remotely a solid piece, more like a series of rings, so consequently it is very lumpy, which doesn't help with the straps.

g, did you lose any sensation in your skin below the incision? My doc said that the nerves for that area actually come up and across the shoulder from the back, and the incision along the collarbone severs them. They eventually grow back, but I still don't have 100% full sensation.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
Depends on how badly it is broken. I'm not a doc so I am not going to give you advice based on your x-ray (although I do have an opinion). They seem to talk about displacement (how far the bone is out of alignment) and the length of the break itself. My break was the long way across the bone and the displacement was huge, so pretty much everyone who looked at it said surgery without batting an eye.
I'd actually be curious to hear your opinion...obviously you're not a doctor so my doctor's opinion would trump yours :-). I say this because from the wise and all knowing Interweb, 90% of clavicle breaks don't require surgery. If yours was one of those, how much farther apart (if at all) were your bones than mine?
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Old 08-06-10, 12:38 PM
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Like Gary, mine were in separate zip codes. I'd really rather not offer any medical advice, just relate my own experiences, thanks.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
It's not what I would consider painful, more like uncomfortable, like something with a sharp edge is constantly poking me. I think it's because the strap basically compresses the skin and the nerves over the edge of the plate. Also calling mine a "plate" is a little misleading I guess. It's more like one of those metal straps with a bunch of holes for nails that they use to hold things together in construction. It's not remotely a solid piece, more like a series of rings, so consequently it is very lumpy, which doesn't help with the straps.

g, did you lose any sensation in your skin below the incision? My doc said that the nerves for that area actually come up and across the shoulder from the back, and the incision along the collarbone severs them. They eventually grow back, but I still don't have 100% full sensation.
my skin and collar bone is still sensitive. It's uncomfortable to put a seat belt across it and I tend to avoid touching it as well, which is to say I'm not sure about the sensations. bother. I hope having a pack on isn't too aggravating.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:41 PM
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Old 08-06-10, 12:48 PM
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Hoo boy. That break looks is way worse than mine. Guess I'll put an ice pack on it now and HTFU :-)
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Old 08-06-10, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
my skin and collar bone is still sensitive. It's uncomfortable to put a seat belt across it and I tend to avoid touching it as well, which is to say I'm not sure about the sensations. bother. I hope having a pack on isn't too aggravating.
Two docs told me i would be fine without surgery and the third told me that there was no way it would heal without it. The front got crushed into powder and the two pieces were far apart. I ended up going for surgery and it healed great. It should stabalize your break allowing you to heal faster and be more active without much risk of weird bone growth. That being said i am just starting to wear backpacks a year later and am still contemplating having it removed.

Anyone have the strap discomfort go away or the plate removed ?
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Old 08-06-10, 12:52 PM
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Here is the thread about my surgery
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-surgery-pool

And the picture before and after



Last edited by umd; 08-06-10 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 08-06-10, 12:58 PM
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Did you guys use a figure of 8 strap to keep your shoulders back or just a regular sling?
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Old 08-06-10, 01:03 PM
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I used a regular sling until the surgery.
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Old 08-06-10, 01:04 PM
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the operation i had:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84fsz68LPG

i had an extrem anterior break. the surgeon had to install a nylon tie and button to support the outside of the accumed plate. i recently sold both of my rr bikes and bought a hybrid. after a 35 mile ride the next day the shoulder kills me. next step is a hybrid with a suspension fork. hopefully you don't have the same kind of break. eight months after the surgery i can finally sleep on the side that the break was. just started doing leg lifts again and have not been able to resume pushups. there is always 10-20 % numbness in the shoulder and the surgeon said that is normal and will be with me forever.
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