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2011-01-07 4:29 PM


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Subject: Broken Collarbone

I don't think I've posted before but have done lots of reading.  I am wanting to get some input from others that have "been there, done that."

I broke my collarbone on Nov. 18th.  I am 7 weeks post op after having a plate and screws put in.  I am still only allowed to walk on the treadmill.  My range of motion right now is VERY limited.  I will start some PT shortly.  I've read so much about athletes getting back on the bike or running or swimming 2, 3, or 4 weeks after breaking their collarbone.  I assume those doing that 2 weeks afterwards probably only had mild breaks but does this seem right to all of you?  Granted the break was near the AC joint which only happens about 10% of the time.  My doctor is a trauma ortho - is he being too conservative/cautious?  Just FYI I also broke two ribs and had a very small portion of my lung collapsed (didn't need any treatment, it resolved on its own). Does range of motion/strength come back quickly?  Thanks.



2011-01-07 4:55 PM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Totally depends on the break.
I had a non-displacement fracture and a class I separation, and I was back running and biking in 2 weeks (after I replaced the front wheel that was destroyed by the car).  I never was immobilized, no sling or anything either.
2011-01-07 5:18 PM
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2011-01-07 6:57 PM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Had a bike wreck in early May, broke my collar bone right in about the middle of the bone - it looked like a small tent poking out of my shoulder, but luckily did not break the through the skin, busted a couple ribs too - which is much more painful.  I had a plate a 7 screws put in to fix it.  After about 2 weeks after the surgery I started physical therapy and started back on the lifecycle slowly.  The ribs bothered me than my collarbone on the lifecycle.  After a couple months (twice a week of PT and doing stretching at home) I started back running and swimming - again slowly.  Functionally my shoulder is back to normal now, I have run 7 miles, swam 2900 yards biked for hours with no issue but I still have alot of numbness and when I push on my shoulder not my collarbone it feels a bunch of tiny knives poking me - nerve damage that I hope will eventually go away.

Bottom line - it sucked, really bummed me out but you will heal.

Good luck
2011-01-07 11:56 PM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Good luck to you - I had a collarbone break this past summer, and so clearly remember how much it helped to learn about the experiences of others who had been through similar things. 

I broke my collarbone in a bike crash in mid-July. It was a clean break in the middle of the clavicle. No surgery. First couple of weeks were pretty unpleasant. To my surprise, after the first few days it wasn't so much the collarbone itself that was hurting me as the effects of the weakness in the rest of my core. I wasn't able to lie down for about a month. Started PT exercises after about 3 weeks. Very limited motion at first, but the basic arm motion came back fairly quickly with twice daily exercises. The exercises hurt, but gave rapid progress in range of motion. I was able to get back on the bike trainer after 3 1/2 weeks, and started running again after about 6 weeks. Strength took a little while to return, but was fairly quick. By 2 months after the break I ran my highest run volume week in years, and was in great shape by 3 months after the break. Had some numbness in the shoulder that persisted for longer, but swimming seems to have helped to get rid of that. My experience was a bit different from yours since my break didn't require surgery ... but I suspect that your repaired bone is straighter than mine, which is more like a couple of twigs that have been tied together with duct tape. The doc says it'll take a couple of years for the bone to smooth out.

Have you read Hans Kellner's  blog on broken collarbones? The many, many posts from people who describe their experiences proved very reassuring to me when I was struggling. http://www.hanskellner.com/archives/2004/05/20/what_to_expect_from_... />
Good luck to you. 
2011-01-08 9:37 AM
in reply to: #3285460


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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Thanks for the link - very interesting reading.  When I broke mine I got online and was reading how quickly people were back on the bike, etc.  So I decided to start doing pendulum exercises to keep my range of motion. When I went back to the Dr. 2 weeks post op I got a lecture.  I was popping the screws out.  So with strict orders not to move my arm I was sent home with an appt. in 3 weeks. I'm also a 48 yof so maybe I'm healing a bit slower than some 20 something.  I think the location of my break, my age, the premature movement causing the screws to pop out some have all set my recovery time back.  I guess I just have to accept this.


2011-01-08 10:27 AM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
I broke mine in June 2007.  I had surgery January 2008 to plate the break (that would not fuse) and also repair my rotator cuff.  I worked hard with a PT and did exercises daily to regain strength and ROM.  I believe within 8 weeks I was swimming.  Just be patient and don't try to do too much too soon.  It's the off season anyway.  You'll be back to where you were before race season.
2011-01-09 11:10 AM
in reply to: #3286450


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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
rayd - 2011-01-08 10:27 AM I broke mine in June 2007.  I had surgery January 2008 to plate the break (that would not fuse) and also repair my rotator cuff.  I worked hard with a PT and did exercises daily to regain strength and ROM.  I believe within 8 weeks I was swimming.  Just be patient and don't try to do too much too soon.  It's the off season anyway.  You'll be back to where you were before race season.
Thank you so much rayd.  That was what I was wondering. That makes me feel so much better - that I should be back in business in about 8 weeks.
2011-01-09 4:06 PM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
I am with you on this.  On 8/29/10 ish I broke my collar bone in 5 pieces, got it playged in early September.   I was walking only for around 8 weeks.  The first thing you can do after the bone has healed (5-7 weeks) is running.  Then you can start biking (I started on the trainer and well it is winter so I will be staying on the trainer until the ice is gone), then swimming comes last.  I stretch for range of motion daily.  I also have been doing some weight training.  I am up to benchpressing 50 pounds..... Lat pull downs, rows, shoulder shrugs, etc.   Just this week I have had enough extension to kindof start on peck exercizes with 20 pounds (10 each side).  I can swim, now but not well or fast.  I started with breaststroke to loosen up the shoulder and then could ease into a gimp/limpy freastyle.  I can now get my shoulder into most positions, but I can not just raise it from my waist up over my head without pain.  So I have maybe 2 months on you, and am at like 40 % strength and flexibility wise.  Just this week I could go down into areo possition without having to easy into it over a few minutes due to pain.  Now I can go in and out of aero, not completly comfortable, but not really painful either.  Some of it has to do with strength. 

So ya take the  8 weeks off, and prepare to lose almost all of your fitness.  Walk a lot.  I was walking 20 miles a week from early on, but stayed off any weight bearing for the full 8 weeks.  I am 4 months post surgery now and can run 15 miles, bike 25 miles and swim 1 mile slowly. 

Take the time, it will recovery but not quickly.  I expect another 2 months before I am more or less good to go.
2011-01-09 5:18 PM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
I'm only reiterating what others have said but I broke mine 18 months ago, full fracture, its now mended on top of itself giving my shoulder a nice bump but actually not too much length lost...

I took about 8 weeks to be let out of my sling and allowed to move my arm. Until then I could walk and at about 6 weeks started, slowly, back on the elliptical trainer. I would guess it was anout 2-3 months before I had full range of movement back and my shoulder felt completely strong again. Apart from contact sports, after the 8 weeks, I was allowed to progress at whatever speed I could with my physio.

It really sucks, try your best to enjoy the extra free time, read, relax, theres nothing you can do. Just look forward to your recovery!
2011-02-14 11:21 PM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Well, I broke my left collar bone 2 weeks ago and luckily I did not require surgery. Like many of the other posts, my ribs (which were bruised only) hurt much worse than the collar bone. Even the Vicodin did nothing for me. I feel like it is healing pretty quickly but I am leary about moving too fast with rehab. My HMO is limited in what they do for you, so I dont have the best care in the world, specifically for athletes.

I have been on the recumbant stationary bike for an hour a day and that just makes me feel better...anything is better than sitting on the couch and watching bad reality TV. I just cannot wait to get back on the bike, back running, and back in the pool. I know I need to take my time and not push it, but that's the hardest part of it all.


2011-02-15 1:10 AM
in reply to: #3285460

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Hang on in there. If you didn't need surgery, then there's probably not a whole lot that any doctor would do for you at this point. They generally just let the bone re-fuse, with minimal intervention. My experience was that the first couple of weeks were pretty rough, and I felt that I was going nowhere. But then once the ortho doc said that I was cleared to start rehab exercises, things improved pretty quickly. At first I could barely lift my arm a few inches, and when I first tried to get on the bike trainer I could only really rest one hand on the bars, but that all passed surprisingly quickly. Fingers crossed that you'll be out of the woods soon.
2016-07-06 11:41 AM
in reply to: #3285460


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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Broke my clavical june 18, 2016. Plated on june 29, 2016.

July 4, 2016 did 35 min on stationary bike. July 5th did 1hr, 21 miles on road bike outside.

I am almost 42, very fit Triathlete. Will try to run at 2 week mark. Will try swim at 3 week mark.

Cycling was easy to do...running i dont expect much of an issue. Swimming is going to take time i suspect.
2016-07-06 3:25 PM
in reply to: jtintx

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Sorry to hear about the injury but welcome to the club. I like to think the scar from my collarbone surgery gives me some sort of badass cycling street cred, but probably not.

I broke my collarbone in 2013 and had ORIF surgery for plate and nearly a dozen screws on May 1st. I was in a sling for 6 weeks and like you questioned if my doctor was being too conservative. My advice is to listen to the doctor, I'm glad that I did. Focus on healing. What's the rush?

As for timeline and strength / range of motion...

I stuck to upright cycling or using reclining stationary in order to get some sort of exercise. I listened to the doctor and waited for clearance to run and swim (I think after 8-10 weeks). I think I started PT somewhere between the 4-6 week mark. My range of motion came back very quickly for me. I'm early 30s fit male, FWIW. The frustrating part was waiting for the bone to heal to the doc's liking to give the okay to add strength. Took longer than I had hoped. I did lose significant strength but it came back very quickly. You'll do a lot of high rep, really low weight and band-work to build the strength back the strength. Your neck might be stiff too from adjusting to wearing a sling all of the time.

At the end of the day though, you're out of commission for a few weeks. You'll lose strength, but gain it back quickly, you'll probably lose weight and you'll lose some fitness. My swim fitness, while never good, didn't really diminish. In fact, my fastest swim times were my 1st races after recovering. Go figure! My bike fitness stayed relatively the same. My run fitness suffered the most but eventually came back.

I had surgery on May 1st and did a sprint race at the end of July and an Olympic in August. I know it sucks to be injured and you might be feeling like you're going to miss this season. But take the time to heal right so you can live to race many more tri seasons to come.

Best,

B

2016-07-07 9:42 AM
in reply to: jtintx

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
Just chiming in.
Broke my collarbone back in 2002 - distal fracture, same as you - but decided not to get surgery. After PT and more X-rays , found out it never healed so it is classified as a "non-union". BUT, I had no limited ROM and only lately it gets achy from time to time if I sleep on it wrong.

I was at the gym riding the recumbent bike around 2 weeks post accident, and walking as much as I could tolerate. My PT was pretty aggressive but I still got frozen shoulder, which sucks, so do your pt and ROM exercises!

This was all before I got into TRI and I only have slight issues from time to time but usually have no problem with SBR!

Listen to your dr and PT. They are the ones that know what they are doing. Good luck!
2016-07-07 5:58 PM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone

The original post is from January 2011. The OP's last login was 2011-01-09 9:33 AM, two days after the post.  Hopefully long healed by now.

 

 

 



2016-07-07 6:06 PM
in reply to: Rugergundog

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone

Originally posted by Rugergundog Broke my clavical june 18, 2016. Plated on june 29, 2016. July 4, 2016 did 35 min on stationary bike. July 5th did 1hr, 21 miles on road bike outside. I am almost 42, very fit Triathlete. Will try to run at 2 week mark. Will try swim at 3 week mark. Cycling was easy to do...running i dont expect much of an issue. Swimming is going to take time i suspect.

From everything I've read and my own experience, this is a really bad plan.  Perhaps your break wasn't as bad as mine.  I had a mid-bone comminuted butteryfly fracture.  Eight screws and a big plate.

My break on 9/30/2013.  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=502040

First ride outside was 3 months later 12/28/2013.  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=508168

My doctor approved swimming and running in mid January, 15 weeks after the surgery.  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=509518

 

2016-07-07 7:00 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone
FWIW
I have broken my clavicle 3 times. Once in my youth, and twice as an 'old man'. I am now 54. Never needed surgery but in 2012, it was close as it was like yours-distal. (I'm a physician and got my CT scan and actually reduced it while on vacation and avoided surgery-not recommended). Strength and ROM exercises are key. Dont' want a frozen shoulder or atrophy. Listen to the doc and figure out what you can reasonably do. i was running and swimming (badly) ~3 weeks out and this certainly helped with tightness and strength. Everyone is different and i don't know the nuances of your injury. The bottom line is you will heal and get back to training. Don't be too quick or too tardy.

Running softly and protected is the easiest. Cycling requires weight on the shoulder and that is bad. Swimming can be modified with bad form to make a swim motion, which is helpful.

Chillax! Its all good. you'll be ok.

You'll be able to do more when you can do more.
2016-07-07 7:01 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Broken Collarbone

Originally posted by brucemorgan

Originally posted by Rugergundog Broke my clavical june 18, 2016. Plated on june 29, 2016. July 4, 2016 did 35 min on stationary bike. July 5th did 1hr, 21 miles on road bike outside. I am almost 42, very fit Triathlete. Will try to run at 2 week mark. Will try swim at 3 week mark. Cycling was easy to do...running i dont expect much of an issue. Swimming is going to take time i suspect.

From everything I've read and my own experience, this is a really bad plan.  Perhaps your break wasn't as bad as mine.  I had a mid-bone comminuted butteryfly fracture.  Eight screws and a big plate.

My break on 9/30/2013.  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=502040

First ride outside was 3 months later 12/28/2013.  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=508168

My doctor approved swimming and running in mid January, 15 weeks after the surgery.  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=509518

 

Agreed. Mine was shattered to pieces, needing a 6 screw plate. Recovery marks weren't too different from Bruce's. I was in a sling 24/7 for near 6 weeks. Recovery time is hugely dependent on the break and how fast an individual heals.

I know the OP is old, but this post is new. Title caught my attention and wondered how I missed this earlier before seeing the date.



Edited by brigby1 2016-07-07 7:02 PM
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