Broken clavicle (collar bone)!

Broken clavicle (collar bone) held with a figure-eight and sling.
Well, I’ve managed to bust myself up.

I broke my left clavicle (collar bone) at the Folsom Criterium in the Masters 35+ 1/2/3 race. Start of the last lap of my second race. Some idiot clips the bars of the guy next to him, sending the guy down, directly in front of me. Curb and fence on the left and pack on the right. I was able to just avoid him but had to run over his bike. Ejected at 28mph.

I flew through the air for what felt like seconds and then hit and rolled. As I came to a stop I tucked and glanced back, expecting to be creamed by riders coming up behind. Luckily they were able to avoid.

Then I lay back and started going through the status check. Hmmm, legs, arms, shoulder… ouch, something not right up there. I reach over and feel my left shoulder and feel a bump. Uh oh, that’s not good. Just then a official comes over and asks “are you ok? Do you need help?”. I reply that “I think I’ll need help”. “Do you need an ambulance?” he asks. “Um, yes, maybe…”. He glances back down the course, “Can you walk?”. “Yes, in a second”. “Well, that would be good because the race is going to finish in a moment and it would be good to get you out of the course”. Good idea!

So, I get a hand up and walk over to the grass and lay down again. Yup, it was beginning to hurt. I never even noticed the finish of the race. As I lay there I ask if my bike is OK. Already crunched the frame once this year. Strangely enough, bike survived with only a few scratches.

After some chatting and info gathering with one of the race staff, we decide to skip an ambulance and get someone to drive me the short distance to the hospital. But first I wanted to dump my bike and gear in my truck. At the truck I decide to strip off the jersey. The guy helping me is telling me to leave it on since they will just cut it off and it’s ruined anyways and it will save me the pain. Pain? Destroying another jersey, that’s pain! As I’m peeling it off he’s looking at me like I’m crazy. Well, I get the jersey off and what looks like a lot of blood on the jersey is actually a Mocha Mocha Clif Shot that exploded on impact. Unloaded of gear and now carrying my clothes, we head over to the registration booth to enlist Will to taxi me. He’s very cool and gets me to the hospital.

I won’t go into the emergency room details but it was about 4 hours and during that time: filled out forms, waited, quick look by doctor, waited, x-rays, waited, tetnus booster shot, waited, scrapes cleaned and bandaged, waited, pee in cup, waited, final look-see, given shoulder restraint, fill exit forms, pay co-pay, done!

Broken Clavicle
Left Side Distal Clavicle Fracture

The good news is that the collar bone has a clean break, isn’t poking up, and should heal well. I went a few days later and saw Dr. Massimo Testa to have him do an examination. He’s a great doctor and understands cyclist’s needs. Along with the examination he put together a 3 week training program. I’ll be able to maintain my fitness!

A broken collar bone usually mends itself in about 6 weeks. I’ve been lucky and not had much pain. I’m wearing a figure-eight brace and a sling for the arm. The suffering now is not being able to ride and race during some great weather. Oh, and training on a stationary bike inside is torture. Good thing for DVDs.

Be careful out there.

Cheers!

p.s. I highly recommend Dr. Testa and also Dr. Eric Heiden over at U.C. Davis Sports Medicine. If you are in Northern California and have a sport related injury, call them!

More “Broken Collar Bone” Articles

Don’t miss reading the information and comments in my two other collar bone entries:

Broken Clavicle No More
What To Expect From A Broken Clavicle (collar bone)
Chad’s Broken Collar Bone Report

DISCLAIMER: The following content is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Diagnosis and treatment of all health conditions should only be performed by your doctor or other licensed health care professional. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

421 Comments

  1. PeterR

    Thanks to Hans and everyone else who has posted their stories here. I am finally getting around to posting mine, now that I am all healed up.

    9/7/2013 – mountain bike accident at mammoth mountain
    * collarbone broken near distal end/shoulder. non-surgical. bone was broken in half, and a triangular piece of bone was floating below the break.
    * grade 1 shoulder separation

    9/9 – 9/15 – week 1
    * entire shoulder area swollen and puffy
    * took percocet for just a couple of days, continued using ibuprofen (600 mg 3x/day)
    * bruising near shoulder, on pec, on upper bicep
    * worked mon-fri, drove in car
    * wore sling only a little bit. the sling hurt to wear. arm was much more comfortable out of the sling.
    * sleeping had to be done in just one position: propped up with pillows, on my back.
    * getting into/out of bed was difficult and painful
    * brushing teeth, showering, tying shoes…difficult/impossible/painful
    * getting a t-shirt on/off was unthinkable – button down shirts only

    9/16 – 9/22 week 2
    * flew to mexico (yeah, bad timing for a city-schlepping and surfing vacation!)
    * in general, not much pain in collarbone area
    * walking around for more than 30 min was very painful. deep ache/pain in lower shoulder/bicep area (probably more from separation than from broken bone itself). putting on sling would help a little, but only for a limited amount of time. then, just needed to sit down.
    * started taking Voltaren (Diclofenac) purchased OTC, 1 pill 2x/day
    * bruising still significant, changing colors.
    * could carefully put t-shirt on by threading bad arm first though sleeve, then putting head and other arm through. take off by reversing the process

    9/23 – 9/29 week 3
    * still in mexico
    * could briefly lay on stomach in bed
    * bruising around pec gone, still have bruise on bicep
    * still hurts to walk for more than 30 min.
    * floated in ocean

    9/30 – 10/6 week 4
    * bruising just about gone by 10/6. still had small yellow/brown spot on bicep at beginning of week
    * wrists still in a *lot* of pain. can’t lift pitcher of water, or chop food on a cutting board. can’t put any weight on wrists.
    * worried that i might have broken something in wrist, and the pain was covered up via pain meds for collarbone?
    * had x-ray of both hands – nothing broken, just bad sprain from accident
    * minor set-back on friday 10/4, where dropped something and reflexively grabbed for it. lots of pain near collarbone, that lingered all throughout the following day. felt like i was back in week 2. by monday, seemed to mostly recover and was back were i was before friday. however, sleeping on left side, which previously was OK, now hurts a little.
    * started using stationary trainer to ride 30-45 minutes, 3-4 times/week

    10/7 – 10/13 week 5
    * had x-ray on 10/7 – no evidence of bone callus forming. the break pretty much looked like it did on day 1, but there is perhaps a little more/better alignment. follow-up x-ray scheduled for week 8.
    * doctor advised no weight bearing until at least week 6.
    * towards end of week, feeling quite depressed as i still have pain in my shoulder (from the separation?), and at the break point. Crossing my right arm up over to my left shoulder, for example, causes a sharp pain. Feels like my healing has stalled at best, or is regressing at worst.
    * my wrists, particularly the right, is still in really bad shape, and also perhaps feels worse and worse. Found it virtually impossible to use a knife on a cutting board, and similarly couldn’t grip/pick-up the gas pump at the gas station today. Scheduled PT appointment for Monday.
    * good long hikes on saturday and sunday.
    * continued riding stationary trainer

    10/14 – 10/20 – week 6
    * PT appointment confirms wrist injury is a bad sprain. Get ultrasound, KT tape, and schedule several follow-up appointments.
    * at beginning of week, collarbone is feeling pretty good, and seems healing is back on track. Still can’t cross right arm over to left shoulder very easily or without pain, and afraid to lift weighted objects. Ride stationary trainer on tuesday night, and go hiking on wednesday night.
    * on wednesday, collarbone is bothering me, and feels noticeably broken. depressed that healing is taking so long, if it even occurring at all. Feels better on thursday. This is a rollercoaster.

    10/21 – 10/27 – week 7
    * can still feel collarbone moving around a little now and then. makes me worry. at the same time, i can pretty comfortably sleep on my stomach, and even sometimes on my right side without pain – so that is good? other times, feel a sharp pinch in the collarbone break area when i lift my arm, cross my arm to my left side, or bear any weight overhead.
    * right wrist still totally useless unless it is in brace. PT continues.

    10/28 – 11/3 – week 8
    * status quo. Some days, I just feel a slight tightness in my right collarbone/shoulder, other times, there is more movement detected.
    * sleeping is now pretty much OK, no matter which way i am lying down.
    * on saturday morning, i felt OK enough to take my mountain bike onto the bay bridge. ride was about 12 miles, and felt fine. my wrists are still an issue.

    11/4 – 11/10 – week 9
    * on monday, went for first road bike ride (about 20 miles). shoulder/collarbone were fine.
    * on tuesday, had 8 week x-ray. bone is still clearly broken (but w/ bone callus visible to the trained eye), and alignment looks even better than at 4 weeks, and doctor was very happy with it. she said i had no restrictions on activities, but just not to do anything that hurt. she said that if i fell off my bike at this point, the bone wouldn’t be expected to break from a light impact. not sure i believe her!
    * still feel some tightness at the break point.

    11/11 – 11/17 – week 10
    * mountain biking full steam ahead.

    Since then, I’ve been biking like a fiend, with no restrictions, and riding whatever kind of trails I want. I’m pretty much back to 100% of what I was before the accident, including full range of motion. It took several weeks to get my cardio back, and to lose the ~10 pounds I had gained throughout this ordeal (granted, I ate and drank the same as if I had been riding my mountain bike 100 miles/week!). Unfortunately, just two weeks ago, I broke my ankle (which needed surgery), so I am back off the bike for a couple months (at best), but this time, I am eating smarter b/c I don’t want to balloon up again!

  2. Sharon

    Hello All,
    I’m not very pleased to report I am the first broken clavicle story for 2013.
    I had a horse riding accident 12 days ago, when my 16 hand high horse had his first encounter with cattle that had come onto our property. An explosion of fear and aggression saw me catapulted along way, hitting the ground on my right hand side, and breaking sternum, 6 ribs and my right clavicle. The accident winded me badly, so breathing was priority #1…an 1.5 hour ambulance ride over extremely bumpy windy road to ER. Only after 24 hours in hospital was it discovered that I also had an apeture in my lower right lung and put into Intensive Care unit. On day 2 they put me in a sling, but the chief concern was still my lungs, ribs and sternum. On day 3 I was moved to surgical ward, and on Day 4 the orthopedic surgeons came around to ask if I wanted surgery on my clavicle. AS if I would know the answer! So I went online and everything I found said don’t operate if it can be avoided. I also found an article in medlink that noted surgery should be avoided for a a distal fracture. The orthos didnt help at all – they didnt tell me I had a communited fracture. Or give me any advice at all. I was released from hospital on day 5 hospital and came home , where I have been for the past 7 days. Ive been drugged up on Oxycdondine so i can breathe properly, but I have notice these past 2 days that something is wrong with my collarbone. Firstly when I put my head back i get wildly dizzy, I am also noticing pins and needles in my hands and my scapula and back are absolutely killing me. My shoulder is very uncomfortable and although im still in the sling, it feels awkward and *not right*. Although ive got a follow up for an xray and the bone fracture clinic on Monday, I rang my GP today and will be seeing him later this afternoon for some advice. I have no idea what to think but i am green and yellow everywhere, I have a huge lump on my shoulder and there is no way that the angle of my bone is normal. It looks like its sticking up half way along where it should be. I dont know whether that is from swelling or breaks. I guess i will soon find out. And hopefully I get some good advice about what to do next. I am already tired o f one handedness and being so dependent for everything. Dressing has become a laborious chore and left handed typing is not much fun either. Today my partner shaved under my arm for me :-) I wonder if i am moving my arm around too much even though its in a sling. Its hard to hold down active people. I’ll update this comment when i know what’s going on.

  3. Mandar

    Dear Hans
    Hi
    I visited my doc yesterday i.e 31/10/12 and the x ray was good. The bome has joined properly. He suggested me to continue to use the brace and said he would allow me drive the car after 15 days. Cycling ofcourse in Jan 2013

  4. Mandar Gadre

    Dear Hans
    I visited my doc yesterday. He also said the same thing which you have said. The slight movement of the bone is all right he said. Thanks for the tip about the muscles around the shoulder. I have been using ice packs in the morning and hot shower during the baths.

  5. Mandar Gadre

    Dear Hans
    The doc has allowed to me to walk since the 7th day after my fall. Today I tried little bit of gym stationary bike with one hand in sling and brace and other holding the handle bar. It was preety much ok.
    I would like to ask you one question. During the injury my muscles around the clavicle bone have also take an impact and they are paining, I think this should be normal. The pain is subsiding. I feel there is a movement of the broken bone. like the two parts are moving separately. But it does not pain. I am going to doc today. In between he has seen me and took out an x ray and said the position of the bone is good and bridging it taking place.

    Muscle pain is very common. Besides being caused by injury to the muscles, it can also be from the muscles working to hold your shoulder and arm stable. I would lightly massage the shoulder muscles to help relieve some of the tenseness and pain. Hot baths or showers also helped to relax the muscles.

    The feeling of the bones moving is also something many notice. I don’t know if that’s the bones actually moving or the other tight supporting tissue moving and rubbing against the bone. But keeping your shoulder stable helps early in the healing process.

    - Hans

  6. Mandar Gadre

    Dear Hans
    I read about you fall and rehab program. I have forwarded this link to my doc to see. I am in the first week of my fall. Fortunately I have a similar type of collar bone fracture like yours but in the 2/3 portion of the clavicle bone. Today is the 6th day after the fall. I am feeling better , the pain has reduced and I can move my hand much better, though I am not taking any chance till I see my doc this wednesday.

    Hope he permits me to start cycling on stationary bike in the gym and allow me to walk.

    Sorry to hear about your injury. The rehab program I used was rather intense so that I would be able to keep up my race fitness. It’s been used for recovery successfully by other cyclists. Usually the plan is adjusted for the specific person. I hope it serves you well.

    - Hans

  7. Net

    Great site, and many other sites link to this so thanks for all the info.

    I came off my roadie 3 weeks ago, displaced distal third collarbone fracture. Went to ortho dr who said it was only 1.5cms displaced and he just wanted to conservatively manage it.

    My questions are – I have a visible lump, which I’m assuming is the end of the bone, it’s still sore to touch, is that normal? My ortho dr and a physio both told me not too rely too heavily on the sling as it can cause lots of other probs and the sling won’t assist with bone alignment, it’s just for comfort. I have been wearing a figure of 8 sling as well, but it’s so uncomfortable that I took it off a few days ago. I’m concerned that i’m doing too much to allow recovery, just daily household chores, mum of 2 active teenage boys so it’s not easy just lying on the couch. Will every day movement cause it not to heal, I try very hard not to move beyond the limits of pain, but I do get very achy by the end of the day.

    Cheers
    Net

    Sorry to hear about your crash. The lump can be from swelling, the displacement of the bone, and from the healing. The body produces a bone callus, a fibrous tissue, between the ends of the broken bone. This hardens over time and should become as strong as before. The body may absorb some of the callus and its size will reduce. The site of the injury can be sore for several weeks. Even though you can’t see it, there’s some major healing going on in there.

    Not using the arm and shoulder these first few weeks can be important to keep from disturbing your healing process. Too much or extreme use can hinder the connection of the fibrous tissue. A sling is helpful for reducing arm/shoulder movement. The problems associated with using a sling are from the lack of movement in the joints. Your elbow and shoulder need to maintain movement so as not to lose range-of-motion. But using a sling for small periods during the day shouldn’t cause those problems. Just be sure to carefully bend your elbow and raise and lower your arm a few times to keep the joints active. Use pain as a guide. Stop as soon as you feel pain.

    I used a figure-8 for my healing and it helped to keep me from causing too much motion on the shoulder. It also allowed me to take off the sling and use my arm during the moments I needed both arms. I made the figure-8 more comfortable by adding padding under the shoulder straps. Wearing it and a sling also allowed me to be more active since I was less concerned about movements that would hinder the healing process.

    I hope this helps.

    Hans

  8. Vern: Age 50

    I got a 6 week xray today and the collarbone is healing up fine. There is definite bone growth visible. The alignment isn’t perfect on the xray, but its pretty good. The only difference I can see in the mirror is the rather large bump from the bone callus.

    So there you go, a broken bone can heal in 4-6 weeks even if you’re 50! I started cycling last week and my fitness is returning. There’s still a bit of an ache, but nothing bothersome.

    I want to clarify my previous statement about “pushing for surgery”. After reading through all of these posts I can see that there are horror stories associated with surgery. However, if you look at the xrays and the bone is in 3 badly aligned pieces, your looking at a long recovery. 6-9 months long! I think I would take my chances with surgery in that situation.

    Congratulations on your smooth recovery. And your writeup and advice is good. Also, over time your callus will probably reduce in size. I’ve experienced that and hardly notice the lump. And the same has occurred with friend’s of mine.

    - Hans

  9. Vern: Age 50

    I commute to work by bicycle year round. I broke my collar bone 4 weeks ago while riding home on some river trails. I went to emergency where they gave me an xray within minutes. It was a clean break and the ends were only about 1-2mm apart. I waited 10 hours to see a Doctor who told me to go home. It was a busy night and the reality was, they couldn’t do anything for me. They probably made me sit around for a few hours to see if I passed out.

    I slept sitting up the first night and then on my side on the couch for a couple weeks. The back of the couch helped keep me in position. I wore a sling for about 3-4 days. I took two T3’s the first night and didn’t really need anything after that. I had no bruising or swelling. I’ve been taking a multi-day vitamin and a vitamin D pill pretty much every day. I saw an orthopedic surgeon at 1 week. He looked at the xray and my rather large lump (callus?). He told me to get rid of the sling and start moving the arm around.

    I have not been back on the bike since the break but I’ve been doing a lot of walking which has progressed to slow jogging. I walked 36k using a courier bag in a bike/foot race 2 weeks after the break. Switching to walking was a smart move. There is no way that I could have wrestled a bike through the snow filled ruts. Since then I have been walking/running to work 3 times a week which is about 20k. Not too fast but enough to get a workout. I keep the arm stiff at my side to limit shoulder movements. I have regained most of my range of movement. There is still some pain. The shoulder joint took quite a shot and about half the pain comes from the shoulder socket and Acromion.

    I will be getting another xray at week 6. Hopefully I have some good bone growth and its not just held together by a callous. Reading these posts has been very informative. There seems to be a wide variety in fractures and their healing times and I seem to be on the lucky side. I am healing well in spite of my age. I’ll try to post a follow up after the 2nd xray

    My advice is to look at the xrays yourself and use some common sense. If the ends of the bone are not lined up reasonably well, then guess what: its going to take months. I’d be pushing for surgery in that case.

  10. Chris

    Hey, love all the comments, but hate them at the same time. I broke my left clavicle about 3 weeks ago. Not a clean break, at all. Doc said let’s wait it out, you are young, non-smoker, no risk factors basically. I am having follow up x-rays done at the 3.5 week mark (had them on day 1 and at 1.5 weeks already). Day 1 the ends of the bone were touching, but my bones were protruding up like a tee-pee. X-ray at week 1.5 showed that they had slipped and were now butting up to each other almost like a “T”. If week 3.5 x-rays don’t look good, I will probably inquire about one of the intramedullary devices. I’m not so concerned about having to take time off now (race season starts in 3 more weeks so I’m already going to miss this year), but I am concerned about healing so that next year, I can come back and race and not have to worry about getting a broken clavicle from any little spill.

    I have been getting very depressed lately. I’ve since noticed other things that have occurred after the crash (hard lump on left side just above where I had a large bruise, strange bump on left side of chest). I guess I just feel like I really beat myself up and wont be able to get back to the racing shape I was in.

    I can’t wait to start seeing signs of healing.

    Sorry to hear about the break. You mention race season starting in 3 weeks but don’t mention the type of racing. Snow based I’m wondering?

    I understand the feeling of depression as I also went through that. It helped me to set some goals for recovery. And having a training program that I could follow. I was able to fully recover and not be limited by the injury. But I was also careful to let my healing finish. Oh, and to have some great docs that understood what I expected once healed.

    Hopefully you will see the signs of healing soon and will have a smooth recovery.

    - Hans

  11. Bermo

    Hi, my doctor told me that I should have my X-ray on the 6th week after the fracture (I’m currently wearing the figure of 8), I checked with another doctor informally and he told me that I should be doing another X-ray after two to three weeks from the day of fracture… Is it expected to see any healing signs or make sure that things are going fine?

    The 6 week mark is very common for having a follow up exam and x-ray. I’m told that that’s the point when signs of healing will be most visible. An x-ray too soon after the break might not show signs of healing even though it may be occurring. The difficulty is in capturing the material that rejoins the break. It’s soft tissue at first and therefore hard for an x-ray to pickup. Also, deciphering the small details in x-rays requires special training, by an x-ray technician for example. A doctor might not have the training. So if you did get an x-ray before the 6 week mark, it would be important that the x-ray be examined by a qualified x-ray technician (which may be your doctor).

    Also, if you did get an x-ray prior to the 6 week mark, had it properly analyzed by an x-ray technician, and found that the break wasn’t healing, what would be your plan? Wait to see if it’s taking longer (which can occur) or opt for surgery instead? If you don’t plan on having surgery then is having another x-ray going to be beneficial?

    Consider these things and give your doctor a call and discuss your thoughts.

    - Hans

  12. Bermo

    Amazing website! I broke my L collarbone 11 days ago and i’m wearing the figure-of-8 I’m suffering to find the best position to sleep… Can you advise please?

    Try sleeping on your back with several pillows arranged around you so that you don’t roll around. And you can keep your elbow/arm elevated on one of the pillows so it doesn’t hang down.

    - Hans

  13. Rhona

    This is such a good site. I too have broken my clavicle in a car accident and it has been three weeks since the accident. Last week I had a flexible titanium rod put in and I M not in pain. There was very little pain even when it broke. Still, I am utterly depressed and scared that the rod could get infected in the future. When will this nightmare end?

    Sorry to hear about your accident. Luckily, recovering from clavicle surgery can be quicker than non-surgery. I’ve not heard of the rods becoming infected after recovery. Hang in there, you should be back to normal soon.

    - Hans

  14. Emily

    Update #2

    Had Surgery yesterday 10/10/11. I ended up with a plate and 7 screws. Surgery went well. I was home by 3 pm. First thing I noticed was the pain in my back upper shoulder was gone. I spent the rest of the day on the sofa. As the anesthesia wore off I started to feel some pain. I tried to sleep on the recliner. Didn’t get too much sleep.

    Today was ok. Stayed on the sofa/ Kept ice on the shoulder and kept a steady dose of pain killers. I go to the doc on Thurs for a follow up and again in a week to get the stitches out.

    I am glad that I went for another opinion and that I got the collarbone fixed right. My shoulder and back muscles are much better for it. I can live with the scar. I hope others will not give up. Listen to your body and do what is best for you.

    Great to hear all has gone well with your surgery. And scars make for great stories!

    Hans

  15. Emily

    UPDATE:

    Today I went to another doctor. He took x-rays and measured the displacement of the bones. He said that I had 1 cm of over lap and he didn’t see any signs of healing. He was also concerned that part of the bone was sticking out. You can see it very easily. My clavicle broke at an angle. He wants to do surgery on Monday–plate with 6 -8 screws,

    I am going to go ahead with the surgery. It just doesn’t make sense to keep waiting and then end up 4+ weeks later having surgery. I will update as soon as I can.

  16. Emily

    It has now been 8 weeks since my “crash”. I still have pain and am very frustrated. Is it normal to still have pain? I can move more, but still can not move my arm past shoulder height. My right shoulder is also “sagging”. Sometimes I feel like something is being pinched.

    Not sure what to do next.

    Sorry to hear you are still experiencing problems. Have you gone to your orthopedist for a follow up exam? It’s possible you’re injury was more severe than normal and you’re recovery is taking longer. Or something is inhibiting your recovery. Age can impact that length of time. As can other factors such as smoking and/or diet. Other folks here have described their recovery periods taking 8 weeks or more. If you haven’t done the follow up exam, then that’s my recommendation.

    Hans

  17. emily

    I broke my right clavicle 6 weeks ago (Aug 6). I was 30 miles into a 50 mile ride. A car came out of a drive way and hit the guy in front of me. I went down. Have no idea what I hit. When I finally stopped moving I had the bike on top of me. My shoulder hurt like hell. I was also having sharp pains going down my arm to my hand. I broke the bone at an angle. At the hospital they gave me an immobilizer. I went to see the doc that Monday. He was not a surgeon and told me to come back in 2 weeks and to see the surgeon. I decided to find another doctor. I went to doc #2 on that Friday. He said to keep using the immobilizer, Six weeks have past and I just now have some calcification. Told me that I do not need the immobilizer anymore. I decided to go for another opinion. This time I found a sports doc. He agreed with the treatment that I have been having. He also recommended a bone stimulator,

    I am not to lift my arm over my head. Even if I could it hurts too much. I am still sleeping on the recliner. Can only wear tops that have buttons or zippers or that I can step into. Of course I am right handed so I have learned to do many things with my left.

    My question is: I am having pain on the front side of the shoulder and the top of my arm. It seems to be worse by the end of the day. Is this normal? Also the fact that I can only lift my arm to shoulder height bother me to . I’ve see that people have gotten almost full ROM by 6 weeks. I was told PT would not be offered until possebliy the next vist in 6 more weeks. Is there anything that I can do to increase ROM without causing damage?

    Thank you

    The pain you are experiencing is similar to what I had. By the end of the day your muscles are tired and strained. If the pain becomes intense then you should contact your doctor. Also, light massage helped me with this problem. As for PT, when to start depends on each person’s injury. Your injury may be more extreme than another’s. If you are concerned then I recommend contacting your doctor. Be clear when explaining your desire to be farther along in recovery. And ask what PT you might be doing, even small things like finger wall crawls. Note that 6 weeks is fairly standard for basic recovery.

    Hans

  18. Tony Fitzgerald

    I shatered my clavicle skiing 8 months ago.
    They used a dozen screws and a plate to fix it.
    now the bone is growing too much and I have pain and reducd range of motion.

  19. pete corcoran

    i put a comment or two here about a year ago ,whilst recovering from a broken collar bone , wondering if at the age of 61 i would ever heal ,well here i am swimming ,playing golf and more importantly(have to pay to play ) working as a plasterer with little or no pain. So if there are any other old dudes out there concerned about getting well take heart ,eat well ,work the muscles and sinews when able , i do yoga daily and youll be be fighting fit one day again ,

  20. David Fox

    First some words of comfort for those of you contemplating a plate and bone graft: it need not be a big deal. I was back at work (I am a teacher) three days after the operation. It was uncomfortable but perfectly manageable.
    Much less encouraging has been the neck and shoulder spasms which set in a week or so after the procedure. This is the result (I think) of prolonged immobilisation stemming from wearing a sling for most of the last three months (the accident which fractured my clavicle happened 14 weeks ago

  21. Charles

    john o’shea, I have a similar experience while a little better.
    like you I broke my collar bone in Jun 09 and had the plates installed about 5 days after. all seemed to go well but wound was still discharging after 1 month. Surgeon opened me up (2nd surgery) cleaned the wound and closed it with a nylon stitch that was removed after 2 weeks. All went well until one day about a month and half later when like you I noticed that the wound had reopened and I can see my plate…
    back to the op table (3rd op in 3 months) and this time, they removed the plate and screws altogether. also due to exposure of the plate to the “outside world” they had me on intravenous anti-biotic drip for 2 months. So for 2 months I get to carry around a pump in a small pouch around my waist with constant infusion of anti-biotic. By the say did I mention that the bone was back in a classic z without the plate holding it in place due to the short period of time it was holding it together? PS: I’m 38 and yes the surgeon did mention the age factor too so don’t feel too bad.
    Anyways, I was done with the antibiotic infusion in Dec and have been doing PT since. Bone has healed sufficient for the surgeon too release me from her care.
    So, take heart john, there is light at the end of the tunnel and you are not the only one with this experience! hope you feel better soon!!

  22. Seddag

    Hello, son broke collar bone mid Nov., bad break, overlapping bones. Not plated. 2 Drs and 2 different views on how long he needs to be off rugby. X rayed at 1 hour, 3 days, 4 weeks and 7 weeks. Followed advise of the view we wanted to hear, back to rugby 2 weeks ago, after a 11 week lay off. The provisio was he was to use extra padding for protection. Anyone any experience of this? Needless to say he played yesterday, minus padding and now aching again….

  23. Kathy

    This site has been extremely helpful to me. I know more about clavicles and surgery options than I ever thought I would. I broke my left clavicle in 7/09, and some ribs. These were my first broken bones EVER and my first ER visit EVER. The fracture was mid-clavicle and healed fairly well, but a mal-union. Not surprising based on the x-rays. There was NO WAY those bones were ever going to line up. After much contemplation, and 3 orthopedists opinions, I had surgery in 12/09, a plate and 7 screws. I’m now 8 weeks post-op and all is well. I do have quite a long (5 inches) scar and a fair amount of numbness/tingly feeling around the incision area but am hoping this will subside as time goes on. My point is, for anyone contemplating surgery, it’s a good option. Yes, it’s risky, but a qualified surgeon should do the job just fine. Better to make your shoulder functional long term. If you have the option, just get it fixed quickly rather than having to have the bone rebroken when plating. No sense going through 2 recovery periods like I did. Thanks to all of you that posted out here and helped me through this.

  24. pat

    hey thanks for the advice .. i think i will cut down to make it heal quicker . just got back from the fracture clinic before the did another x ray and they made me take my shirt of nd do arm movements i did all of them without any pain at all he said it is geting better and im starting physio to get my arm moving properly again and i can go back to work but no heavy lifting or anything :) im happy as i jsut hope it goes completely back to normal its still a little bit outa place but doesnt hurt at all nd i hope it all goes well . so good not wearing a sling :D

  25. pat

    Hi i fractured my right clavical on the 18th december 09 2 weeks after i went to the fracture clinic it had healed a bit i thaught it was going ok as there is not much pain .. on the 4th week i went and got an xray it hadnt healed at all since last x ray. can feel where its fractured still im going to the fracture clinic tomorrow 1/2/2010 been more than 6 weeks . the docs there r useless when i first went in they didnt even know how to put the sling on .. im so over not doing anything .. and im just wondering if smoking actualli effects healing ??? and how can u tell if it is overlapping ?? can someone please help . sk.81@hotmail.com

    Yes, smoking can have s significant negative influence on healing. I don’t recommend smoking, especially when trying to recover from a broken bone.

    The only way to tell if your bones are overlapped is to have one or more x-rays and a specialist review them. In some cases only one x-ray will not show the overlap because of the angle it was taken. That’s why another x-ray, from a different angle, may be necessary.

    Do what you can to get yourself healed. It’s no fun not being able to do the things you like.

    Hans

  26. David

    Hi All.
    I broke my L clavicle during a morning bike ride with friends after Thanksgiving. An older lady was driving and didn’t see us and took a turn right in front of us. I was drafting behind my friend he slammed his brakes I hit his back wheel lost control and hit the pavement. Its been 8 weeks now, I wore a sling for a month and every morning took it off for elbow extensions. It seems to be healing fine as there is a callus formation and the pain is slight usually in the mornings. I now am receiving Therapy 3 times a week to slowly build up my strength. Only problem now is that I am a Therapist myself, that works in a hospital, and it requires a lot of lifting to get those patients out of bed. I can’t work according to my employer until I can safely lift patients without putting myself and them at risk. This may take a long time. I may be forced to work somewhere else.
    Good Blog! Nice to hear the various stories.
    David

  27. john o'shea

    thought i might give my account as whilst i have found this site excellent i have not come across a similar situation to my own.
    i broke my collar bone in June 09. i came off my mountain bike trying to go up what i thought was a low grass verge whilst going way too fast.
    i have never hit the ground (about three foot below where i came from) with such force I knew I had to have broken something. after checking all my limbs i touched my collar bone and immediately knew it was a bad break. the xrays indicated broken into three pieces and really large over lap. it was a classic Z shape.
    Had a plate and seven screws put in after waiting in the hospital for four days. it all seemed to be going really well. was back on the stationary bike after two weeks and felt strong enough to be able to ride after four weeks. still took it easy though.
    problems started after eight weeks. a lump appeared on the scar and then gradually this started to break down and the wound started to discharge. i had probably ten visits to A&E and my surgeon to try and sort it out. my surgeon from the start said i had an infection in the wound and that unfortuantely it would be hard to clear it up. he also said as soon as the plate was taken out it would stop. had at least eight blood/swab teasts that never indicated what the infection was. i was on anti-biotics for the next four months. finally it was agreed to open the wound up and try and clear up whatever the source of the infection was. my original surgeon did this and also took out the central pin that he thought might be causing it.
    everything great for a month and i though i was in the clear. but then the leaking started again. this continued until after about a month, i came out of the shower and as usual looked at the wound and could see the plate. the skin had finally come apart. straight back into hospital and agreed that the plate had to come out. i was in full agreement that i had needed to keep it in as long as possible but due to the infection all my xrays were indicating the bone was not healing that well. it was sore to push on and there was no chance of rolling onto that side whilst in bed.
    anyway as soon as plate out discharge stopped. lots of teethering of the skin to the bone and scare really looking bad as not it has been opened up three times. i was back training after two weeks and really feeling optimistic.
    end of November i was leaving work to go back to the hospital to get the final all clear when as i steped out a small lady jogger ran into me and pushed me against a wall. i felt the bone immediately snap. not much pain as i have quite a bit of numbness again due to the three ops. when i felt it i knew it was bad so straight to the hospital for my appointment. xray showed it was a bad break even though the impact had been minimal. the break was at the site of the infection. i was gutted. the surgeon almost had tears in his eyes as he thought he had finaly gotten rid of me. anyway after seeing two surgeons that day they agree there is nothing they can do. normally it would be immediately plated as massively displaced but due to the risk of infection they need to leave it for at least a couple of months to make sure the infection is gone. next day i pay

  28. Jeff Duke

    Jessica, I am so sorry to hear about your ordeal.
    I too fear that when they remove my broken plate and the accompanying screws, that my bone will be even more fragile as there will be voids where the screws used to be.
    If I were you I would go for the quickest, surest way for the bone to heal. I was told that the voids would eventually “calcify” and it would be stronger than before.
    However, the time waiting for that to happen goes painstakenly slow.
    I will pray for your quick recovery and I hope that soon all of your pain and misery will be a thing of the past.
    Hang in there.

  29. jessica venables

    Oh its me again…. Jessica
    I had a non union clavicle so after 3 horrible months of wearing the 8 knot I had hip bone graft and a massive plate 6 screw and a vice.
    15months later I have it taken out. Brillant its healed really well, 2 weeks later after they take out the metal I wake up and lean over to turn off the alarm and crack! I have broken it again and not in the same place. Where the a screw was I have a clean break. Rubbish rubbish rubbish
    I am super fit and healthy, just have small bones I guess, so now iam back in the brace. I have seen 3 sports doctors. 1 says surgery the other 2 say brace.
    What to do?

  30. Jeff Duke

    I thought I might share my “broken clavicle” story.
    I ran over an unexpected “sink hole” with my bike back on June 20th.
    I do not remember the “fall” but I remember the resulting pain. As it turns out, I broke my right clavicle in three places and they had separated in such a way that surgery was inevitable.
    Eight screws and one plate later I though I was on the road to recovery. But fate has not been kind. After about 8 weeks I was beginning to use my shoulder again and I cannot remember the date, but the “break” area started to feel strange and uncomfortable. My wife noticed that the bump appeared larger and intense bone pain started to come back. I then went back to the surgeon who took x-rays and let me know the news, good and bad. The Good? The bones were healing nicely. The bad? The plate that I was informed could stay in forever had now cracked in the middle and the whole thing would have to be removed.
    It appears that the constant torque that my shoulder was generating started to weaken the stainless steel plate causing it to crack in an area by one of it’s middle holes.
    I guess my advice is if you have a seriously broken clavicle (3 breaks, uneven alignment), then you should definitely wait over (2) months before you do anything strenuous with that shoulder. If you bend a metal plate back and forth so many times it will inevitably crack.
    I am now facing surgery after the doctor is confident that the bones have healed sufficiently and he will remove all hardware.
    It is hard for me because I am right-handed and am an active person. I thought the material used for the plate was stronger (my assumption) and I never thought it would crack (my bad).
    I am in chronic pain and I know it will someday get better.
    I also know that God will not hand me anything that I cannot handle on my own. It happened and now I have to deal with it.
    Than you for reading.

  31. Samantha

    I thought I should share my story for those of you considering surgery. I broke my clavicle mountain biking about 6 weeks ago. I had never broken a bone or been to the ER before so the whole experience was pretty surreal.
    The ER doctor told me that clavicles often heal themselves and I would most likely just be given a shoulder immobilizer and Vicodin and left alone for six weeks. I was happy to hear this, especially the Vicodin part!
    I saw an orthopedist the next day and she told me something completely different. She said because of the particular nature of my break (overlapped more than 2 cms and separated by about 1 cm), and because I’m female (something to do with calcium) I was a good candidate for surgery. I began to feel faint.
    I had to think about it and research the types of surgeries (pins or plates). I decided that I wanted a Rockwood screw because it was less invasive and easily removable. I also imagined that the scarring would be minimal compared to the plate. I chose surgery because I felt like I should do what I can to repair the bone and ensure that it heals correctly to save myself possible discomfort in the future. I’ve heard of many people unhappy with their results after letting it heal.
    The orthopaedic surgeon that I found did a similar pin to the Rockwood. Surgery was a scary experience for me, a first-timer, but I got through it with one hiccup: the end of the screw worked its way out through the skin shortly after the surgery and now I am stuck with a piece of metal sticking out the back of my shoulder that I have to keep clean. It doesn’t hurt anymore and hasn’t since a week after surgery. The recovery time they gave me has not changed, 6 weeks.
    I am now 5 weeks post-op and I have had to do a round of antibiotics for fear that the screw opening might be infected. The screw is due to come out in a week and I cant wait! I haven’t been able to do very much because the screw limits my range of motion and I cant lift anything heavier than a plate of food. Using the arm too much hurts so I haven’t been on a bike since the break. A more ambitious person might have been able to do indoor training but I’m sticking to hiking until the pin comes out.
    Overall I’m glad I did the surgery. If the screw hadn’t worked its way out I’d be much happier. I have a 3 cm+ scar on the front of my clavicle but I’m using vitamin E oil on it and think it will look better than the big bump I’ve seen on the “natural healers.” The discomfort of the hardware is the only drawback that I didn’t foresee.
    Hope this helps, good luck to you all!

  32. Min

    I joined the broken collar bone club 3 mos. ago. Running to answer the phone in flip flops on a wet patio. Im a 37 yr. old female. The bone immediately bulged under the skin. The x ray showed a complete middle clavicle fracture, displaced with a decent sized 3rd bone fragment in between the displacement. I thought the little piece in the middle could be helpful in the 2 main bones re joining but my ortho has told me that is actually a disadvantage to the healing. The x ray stayed the same until about 7 weeks showed some decent movement with some callous formation. 5 weeks later, no changes. Today they submitted to my ins. for a bone stimulator machine with magnets, deeming me a non union. There is fuzzy look on the x ray where the bones are touching on each side of the 3 pieces a little. GOING VERY SLOW! Anyone have good or bad experiences with this? He said I will wear a patch for 8 hours a day for 3 mos. Sounds like a lot of fun. Happy to do it if it can form the union. I have MS and need frequent MRI’s so we are avoiding hardware, lol. Personally I’m dreadfully avoiding the surgery scar I’ve heard about. Reading this site is helpful, scares the hell out of me though reading how many don’t heal. I’ve never broken a bone, I’m mad that my body is not taking care of this. They keep mentioning my age being a factor, I’m only 37! The pain is better some days and bad other days. I stopped wearing the figure eight brace about a month ago. Dr. says it’s only for comfort now. It’s summer in AZ so I’m grateful to not wear it. Amazing the things you can’t do with a broken collar bone. Then again it’s amazing after this long I’ve learned to be one armed, and still be a mom of 3 running this house. I have heard that some can take more than 12 weeks to heal. Anxiously awaiting that stimulator in a couple weeks. Anyone have experience with the stimulator? What are the chances that this is going to finish healing??? Ortho says it is probable that with more time it can heal. I hope the stimulator helps! I’ll be getting another x ray about a few weeks after I get the stim.
    I thought a broken bone…. 6 weeks I’d be done. I had no idea it could go this long and now 3 more mos. without any guarantees of union with the machine. UGH. At what point do these just “stop” healing? Pain wise I ache a lot but have improved a lot in the last month. Not getting that “take you down right now cramping” anymore. Hoping thats a good sign :)

  33. Don

    Great Blog.

    One month ago I took was coming down from the top of a mountain on a gravel road and hit something…never saw it. Going 25 to 30mph. I broke my clavicle, scapula (shoulder blade), eight ribs, punctured lung, bruised lung, pneumothorax……. Fortunately a car was nearby and stopped and their was cell coverage in this remote area. Spent five days in the trauma unit at the hospital.

    I saw two orthos about a clavicle plate, but neither recommended it. However I swear that I can look in the mirror and see that my left shoulder is about 1 inch shorter than my right, and I can feel the two bones laying one of top of the other. Hopefully its only cosmetic, but I am supposed to see the orth again in 2 weeks.

    All I have had is a sling with a band that wrapped arouund my body to hold my are in.
    Lance had a plate put in, but I read that his was a compound clavicle fracture, and he had a large incentive to recover as fast as possible. My friend knows a guy that had the clavicle plate put in, and he was snow skiing without pain a few weeks later.

    Hopefully it won’t be too late if I want one put in.

    Yes it’s possible for your shoulder geometry to change after a clavicle fracture. Especially if the bones don’t heal with the same alignment as before the break.

    Surgery isn’t a 100% guarantee for a quick recovery as there can always be complications. I recommend getting more than one doctor’s opinion regarding surgery. But be sure to clearly explain your concerns and your expectations once healed. It really helps to write down your questions and take them with you when you visit the doc.

    Oh, and the comment about a friend of a friend skiing with no pain a few weeks after surgery… well, take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Even what you read here. Trust your doctor(s). They are the only people that can give you informed answers about your own injury.

    Hans

  34. mignon boyden

    Hello i broke my left clavical on July 3,2009. My husband and i went for ride on our motocycle it was a nice day out we came around a corner and slide on some gravel we went over i felled off and broke my clavical all most went for surgery the doctor scard me so i am going to see if i will heal on my own. i am so confuse i want to get better i know its been just 2 weeks. Dose any ones chest fill num after surgery? thats what the Doctor told me that there would b some numness around the area. let me know

    I have heard that there can be numbness caused by some of the nerves be cut during the surgery. My friends, that have had surgery, haven’t had the problem. But it is a risk. You might want to talk with another doctor for another viewpoint regarding your concerns.

    Hans

  35. Sue

    I broke my left clavical June 22, 2009, while loading a horse in a trailer. I was told that 15mm or more requires a plate, 12-14cm generally will heal on its own. It was also stated that surgery is the last thing you want to do because the plate is up against your skin and bothersome, and possibly be required to take it out. Anotherwards, two surgeries. I kept my arm in a sling for two weeks. Then, took it out and was very careful not to lift laterally. I continued with motion from the elbow to the hand for exercise. Shoulder rolls, back and forward continued starting the third week and this is where I am at now. Do not lift anything over 5 lbs if you can help it. An xray will be taken at 6 weeks to see healing. However, I recommend daily Calcium and VitD supplements. Eat right and be careful not to lift the arm until the dr. states you can otherwise the fuse might not happen if you rush too fast. If anything hurts, don’t do it!!! Good Luck!

  36. kathy

    Hi its me again, kathy that got hit by a van in Argentina.
    Well I am back in the Uk and so glad.
    As soon as i got back 3 weeks ago I had emergency surgery and now have a plate and 6 screws holding my clavical together.
    My physio said it was the worst case of bone displacement she had ever seen.
    One very important piece of advice for anyone with a broken collar bone is to have your shoulder and neck massaged!
    I have a huge mass on my left shoulder and back. It looks visibly different to the right side and is aching and stiff. It is actually a lot more uncomfortable than my collar bone. Of course being 6 weeks in Argentina without proper medical care didnt help!!
    Sherri..I feel it is a long time before you have to go back and see your doctor and I have been told not to raise my arm above 60 degrees while it is still healing as you can dislodge it.
    Are you seeing a physio? They can be very good wih questions. All the very best

  37. Sherri

    This is a great blog! I am sixteen years old and I broke my clavicle twenty weeks ago in a car accident and it has still not healed. I was just able to fully raise my arm above my head for the first time last week. I do not know why it is taking so long to heal but I go back to the doctor in August. Best of luck to anyone healing from a broken collar bone!

  38. kathy oleary

    The broken bone is still moving up instead of down and worse my new doctor said my arm sling was no good so I am on my 5th sling in as many weeks.
    each time i see a new doctor they tut and take the sling i have off and put on another one.
    this doctor said my left chest cavity is crushed too, great..he has advised me not to travel as he said i need total rest for a few days and travel may cause my broken bone to pierce my skin.
    still…all amunition for my lawyer here in buenos aires. the traffic is awful here, i got hit by a postal van crossing on a green light at a pedestrian crossing.
    i am interested to know if kim marrs bones did heal by themselves or did she need surgery
    or has anyone got any advice on something similar.
    thank you.. kathy

  39. kathy oleary

    thankyou
    I am a bit over my initial panic. it was so awful seeing how much worse my broken clavicle is after 3 and a half weeks.
    i am having another x ray tomorrow and hopefully it is better news.
    thanx for the advice about the sling too.
    kathy

  40. kathy oleary

    well i am so upset

    i am in argentina where i was hit by a postal van 3 weeks ago and my worst injury being my broken clavicle.
    i was incased in plaster and didnt move for 3 weeks.

    today i had the most awful seering pain in my rib an knowing something was wrong went to an emergency private clinic.

    my x ray shocked and has extremely upset me.

    the bone has moved up in cmpletely the wrong direction..it is almost piercing the skin and the bottom of it is pressing on my rib.

    a traumatologist said i was wearing a totally useless childs sling..the plaster disintegrated after 2 weeks and a pharmacist recommended me the sling..

    i now have a very tight sling on pressing down painfully on my clavicle but i assume this is right to put it back down….but surely the bone would have healed after over 3 weeks and surely even if it goes back down it wont fuse…please help please..i am a 44 year old english woman alone in argentina..i have a flight back to the uk in 2 weeks

    sorry about the text but i can only use one hand

    kathy

    I haven’t heard of a broken clavicle healing in only 3 weeks. Usually 6 or more weeks. When you return to the UK go to a orthopedic doctor to get another evaluation. Also, be careful that the sling you are now wearing isn’t causing a lot of pain, numbness, or loss of circulation. If so then you need to adjust it.

    Hans

  41. Linda Lee

    It is amazing the comments are still flowing years now from when Hans first wrote about his injury! To me it has been great reading since I broke my collarbone April 30th after crashing on a gap jump on my mountain bike. Luckily my husband was also riding that evening and could pick up the “pieces” and take me to the ER. I have never been to the ER before nor broken anything so this was all new. Luckily I didn’t get my jersey cut off of me or spend an abnormally long time at the hospital. They put me in a figure 8 and gave me percocet, then gave me the number of an Ortho doctor to see. At the ER they mentioned 8 weeks in the figure 8 – afterwards I realized this must not be correct as this apparatus is not the most comfortable or convenient, although at certain times I appreciated its support over “hanging free”. I basically had to lie face up in bed and getting out of it was the most painful of all. Showering was a mystery to me and at first I only moved very minimally. In a few days I had my ortho doctor appointment and I just didn’t care for him at all. He saw me for maybe 10 minutes, barely looked at the injury, and basically said that slings or figure 8′s would not help me and to do whatever I felt comfortable doing – great help, huh??? He was a big, wet blanket. However, he did say the pain would be gone in 2 weeks and it basically was except if I jerk the shoulder or do too much.

    The best thing I believe now that I did was to take the whole next week off from work (even though I could type at the keyboard and I’m a computer analyst) and mostly rest/sleep and keep the shoulder immobile. I did, however, get onto my bike trainer and do a few miles no-handed, just to get the blood circulating and maintain some modicum of fitness. At first to do anything was painful and tiring. I tried to use a sling as something different but my arm felt very awkward this way so I never bothered with that. I would take the figure 8 off to shower and gradually gained enough strength to take it off 2 weeks after the accident and just before my new ortho doc appointment. I had gotten some doctor recommendations from my bike club and riding friends, many of whom had their own injuries to contend with. When I got in to see the new doctor, he was a world of difference from the other one. He measured and probed my shoulder and arm and said I was doing well and that it was okay if I stayed out of the figure 8. He gave me exercises I could do to improve my range of motion as well which was very exciting. In the beginning he questioned me to see if it might be best to get surgery but we decided no as it seemed to be healing on its own. He did have x-rays taken but at this time there is nothing showing as is normal. Yet I know it’s healing as I can move my arm around without the bones moving! We have more x-rays scheduled 2 weeks from that appointment which will be the 1 month mark. I’m hoping something shows but I do know it takes awhile for real bone to show up in an x-ray.

    For me, it feels like the healing is exponential. On Sunday I did quite a bit, even pushing a wheelbarrow to do some yard work (my husband did the shoveling) and cooking my husband’s birthday dinner, plus my exercises and a trainer ride now with both hands on the handlebar, so the next day I was pretty achy, knowing I had probably overdone it. Have to be careful about that, but your body will talk back to let you know! I was advised to take Tylenol, not Ibruprofen by the first doctor so I did that but this week am off of those except for Tylenol PM in order to help me sleep. It aches alittle when I lay down. I don’t want to rely on tylenol so I know exactly what is going on and how I’m progressing. Tomorrow (May 20th 2009) will be the third week anniversary of the accident.

    By the way, I am a 56 year old female, in very good athletic shape. One thing I was grateful for is I’m quite flexible and was able to do things one-handed easily enough and flexible enough to use my legs to do things where I formerly would bend over. I’ve started drinking milk (even though the doc said it’s not been proven to help), take calcium, multi-vitamin, fish oil, and take extra care in eating lots of healthy food. The doctor believes I can ride at 6 weeks (not the kind of free riding over jumps and whatnot I had been doing, but cross country easy riding). I may sneak a ride earlier than that… I know that I cannot fall or make jerky actions while this is healing. The doc says it is like soft putty in there until it hardens. My husband and I planned to get Whistler bike passes this year but we will have to put that off and hope to ride there later in the summer or fall. Of course he will still be going and I will have to live vicariously…boo hoo.

    One thing we are wondering about is what I was wearing that night and if it contributed to my break. I had recently purchase a plastic shoulder, chest and back protector from a Motorcycle shop and wearing it I noticed how the shoulder plates kind of dug in to my shoulder alittle. That night when I crashed, the plate hit the ground and then bent at the articulated part right into my collarbone. I’d really hate to think that my armor is what cracked the bone but I’m really wondering about this and don’t plan to wear it again. I have a bike-specific flexible armor-shirt that I normally wear but in this case I had wanted something cooler so I bought this second chest armor. Maybe that was a mistake.

    Anyways, thanks everybody for the extensive comments. I have done so much reading here and really appreciate the time people put into writing.

    What a great description of your experience. Sounds like you are doing everything right. I’m not sure if the new armor you were wearing contributed to the break. That’s an interesting concern and I would hope that’s not the case.

    Btw – I hate gap jumps and avoid them when I can. Always have trouble mentally with them. So thumbs up for actually attempting gaps.

    Hans

  42. kim marr

    This is a very interesting and informative blog. I just broke my clavicle and 3 ribs (left side) 3 days ago off my motorcycle. The ends of the clavicle do not match up and I have been referred to a clinic where they might screw it together. My GP said that they probably won’t do anything and it will heal on its own, but I’m kind of old (55) and I don’t heal as well or quickly as I used to. Nobody has said how long I wear the sling for. Any advice? By the way, the collar bone doesn’t hurt much, but the ribs are a killer.

  43. Susan

    A very informative blog – some of it scary. I broke my left clavicle skiing 7 weeks ago, midshaft “30 degrees of inferior angulation of the distal fragment”. The x-ray (6 and a half weeks) shows no bridging callas. The CT scan shows faint callas but no calsification or mineralization according to my orthopedic surgeon. It was very disappointing to learn that there was no healing because I thought I was getting better. My range of motion has improved and I wasn’t getting pain at the break site, although I find I get pain in the arm and shoulder muscles, I guess supporting the shoulder. In the last few days I am actually getting some pain and clicking at the break site (not a good sign). I have now been put in a figure 8 brace (I was only in a sling for a week or so at the outset). I am an active 51 year old female and already feeling very unplugged from my normal active life. My orthopedic surgeon’s opinion given yesterday is that I am headed for a non-union and he recommends surgery, plate and screws method. He is basing this on the CT scan, his examination of me where he can feel that on rotation the two bits of my clavicle are not attached and rotating together, and my recent experience of pain at the break site. If I go for the surthery I will probably have it at 11 or 12 weeks post accident. I am trying to figure out whether I should wait longer than that because the literature talks of non-union being 24 weeks but my orthopedic surgeon says 12. I would prefer to get the surgery done earlier (although it is a scary prospect) but not if I have a reasonable chance of healing between weeks 12 and 24. I will ask my OS this question, but I wonder if anyone has any experience or advice.

  44. warren

    kudos hans,

    After a Jump on my 4 wheeler, i must of hit a hole in the road and it caused the ATV to go straight into a tree, fell on my back, and left side was on fire, After going to the ER, and getting dx as a broken collarbone.
    Its been 1 month, after the 3rd week my range of motion came back and pain is gone…except for waking up on the affected side, I havent touched any free weights, not until i get the ok from the doc, My question is they give me sling to use, for 2 weeks I wore it, but took it off, will this affect me at all, since i do have my range of motion back without any pain?

    That was about the time I stopped using the sling. As long as you have been careful about not over exerting your shoulder. It’s easy to do that because it begins to feel fine and you forget you’re still healing. The worst is that instant pain when you mistakenly try to grab, pull, or push something. Pain means you are setting back your recovery. Good luck on recovery. Sounds like you will soon be catching air again on the atv.

    Hans

  45. Micky

    Update from March 16th.

    I broke my clavicle 10.5 weeks ago. It was operated on 9 weeks ago- so far so good. I have been working on building up the shoulder muscles- trying to be cautious though as I don’t want to overcook things!
    I’m still doing the range movements and I’m doing freeweight shoulder exercises (without any weight) to increase range and to loosen it up. I also have two rotary cuff exercises to do daily.

    All in all it’s gone well so far. Everday tasks are not a problem, and I have put stress on it (carefully & controlled) doing certain tasks. I reckon to have 95% to 100% range of movement and I’m confident that I’ll achieve full fitness and strength again.

    Advice- I think that each case of a broken clavicle is unique and surgery should be considered only a logical basis.. note- not everbody needs it. Sometimes it is unfortunate but necessary to correct a broken bone surgically. Also- stick to the physio routine, and don’t push things too hard or too fast.

    David Comeau- Try the pendulum exercise x10 and gently swinging the arm from front to back x10 then side to side x10- three times a day, also try gentle front raises x10. Get some exercises to strenthen your rotary cuff too. -Hope this helps!..

    Sounds like you are well on the road to recovery. Congrats on that. And your advice is spot on.

    Hans

  46. David Comeau

    Hey Hans!

    i am looking for a physio progam to rehab my muscles. i had a bad break. i now have a plate. its been 7 weeks since i broke it. its getting better but im sure i need some physio but dont know where to start. i have no ins for that and the closest is two hrs away! can you send me some helpful info on rehab exercises?

    I don’t have any specific exercises. But I have found some on the web when searching. A couple of exercises I can think of are the finger wall climb and hanging rotation. You will have to look for these on the web for specifics. But here’s what I recall. The first is done facing a wall and then using your bad arm/shoulder side, walk your fingers up the wall. Stop just before it begins to hurt. Then back down and do it again. This helps to stretch and rehab the shoulder. The other involves lying face down on the edge of a bed or table. You let your arm hang straight down. Then you perform slow circles with your arm as if it were a pendulum. Slowly increase the radium of the circle. Stop as you get tired and also before it causes pain.

    Hans

  47. Micky

    This is an update from February 10th.
    After opting to go for surgery, I was operated on 10 days after the initial accident. I now have a fixed plate holding the bone as one piece.
    It’s now four weeks post surgery. I have about two weeks to go- left in a sling. So far, so good. I currently have a good range of movement, but the shoulder in general is very weak. I expect weight bearing physio to begin after the sling comes off. There’s apatch of numbness around the chest and shoulder- but that might return to normal over time (50-50 chance)- oh, and a 5″ scar- nice.
    My advice so far is- follow the movement range physio that you are given. Eat well. Avoid alcohol. And get out walking in the fresh air, alot!. Be positive- for how else can you look at it?
    Many thanks to the NHS- I think that some people in the UK don’t know how lucky we are to have this service.
    I’ll update post sling removal.

  48. phil shannon

    I just want to thank Hans for maintaining this site it helped me a lot nearly a year ago when I broke my left collar bone and a rib in a motorized bicycle accident Had a concussion but wearing a helmet so all i remember is riding about 18 mph, beautiful day, (slow motion)a red haze clouded my vision as I felt my self sliding rearward off my bike , I then woke up bleeding from facial road rash . I was by myself in the middle of a small not well traveled neighborhood street I had chosen because of its lack of traffic. I still do not know how my accident happened but the throwing up from the concussion was the most unpleasant part of the emergency room stay. I am 65 , and really worried if I’d heal OK, My wife found this site and printed about 30 pages for reading in bed, which I did for about two weeks. I now am lifting 15 pound barbell with my left arm and never thought that would happen, yes still riding the bike also bought a 250 cc honda scooter and am riding that to and from work.Don’t despair given enough time and, I feel,exercise You’ll be fine. Remember get walking and get oxygenated blood to that break. My bone never fully connected with a solid union or so said the ortho dr. but, as he said ” good enough !” What kind of diagnosis or prognosis is that? Well anyway Yes it sticks out a little and hurts when the weather changes but 11 months later its ok.You can do this, Thank your guardian angel that you are still alive and able to heal.Thanks again Hans

  49. Shan Yang

    The clicking is at the opposite side of the elbow…you know where exactly it is right? I think is the ligaments. Whenever i raise my arm and twist my arm left and right the clicking sensation lightens. If i straighten my arm and not raise my arm the clicking sensation becomes stronger. Sometimes if i dont straigten my arm for like maybe a week and i force is to straighten there would be this stretching sensation…like a rubberband stretching but i can actually feel the tension..and yes it can be very irritating, the feeling is like the arm lacks of stretching, so i would often raise my arm and stretch upwards or just force it to be straight. And i think my broken clavicle side shoulder is slightly lower…and it feels shorter. Not a very nice thing to think about when i look myself at the mirror. By the way i’m still breaking dancing..will shoulder freeze affect my broken clavicle side? Shoulder height? Shoulder length and etc… I hope not because i always do shoulder freeze. Oh and i’ve never had a shoulder massage…it feel uncomfortable to me because the shoulder is near my broken clavicle.

    A frozen socket, your shoulder for example, will limit your range-of-motion. That’s why doctors will ask that a patient take their arm out of a sling several times a day and bend the elbow and shoulder. Be using the joint/socket you will reduce the chance of having a frozen socket. I doubt that a frozen socket will change your shoulder height or length. Those changes can occur depending on how the broken collar bone heals. If the pieces heal overlapping or aligned differently then the geometry of the shoulder will be different that before.

    Hans

  50. barbara elmore

    Indeed a great site!!

    But I am very confused. I did it 11 days ago whilst skiing in Verbier, Switzerland (my daughter works there), I tried to keep up with her but now realise that my almost 60-year old bones are no longer 24…

    I’ve just returned from snowboarding in Switzerland. Didn’t make it to Verbier this time. What amazing snow they are getting this year. (Hans)

    After falling over some snow – I did not bother to change goggles when the sun disappeared – I broke my right clavicle (collarbone), did not realize as I thought I may have dislocated my shoulder, so skied all the way down like a beginner – I have not done snowploughs for 40 years!

    The first thing they want to do when you get to the medical centre is take an imprint of your credit card – what a warm welcome… After the X-ray (a ‘nice clean’ break) I was given a figure of 8 – a bit like a rucksack without the sack – and a very cool sling, like a ribbon. They wrote a letter for my GP or Fracture Clinic mentioning that it was better to have an operation with a pin done when back in the UK.

    Back at the A&E I was told to take off the figure of 8 immediately at it would pull back one part of the bone and leave the other one forward. Also the sling was wrong. They took a new X-Ray (bones still apart, 6 days later), gave me a ‘beautiful’ NHS sling and said THEY won’t do anything. I asked if that was because of being the National Helath and they said that privately they would do the same. Wear the sling day and night (sleeping on my back has sent my husband to another bedroom as I snore now!!), sit and stand up straight and keep the arm as still as possible. Come back in 4 weeks. Lovely, I wanted to ski again end of March as well as in April…

    I am really confused, different doctors say different things, and judging by this site many have had the same experience.

    I want to be back on those skis asap as well as ride my motorbike. A lot of you are cyclists so the position of the arms are the same.

    I have to go back in 4 weeks. Any new advice any of you can give me – or just do what this doctor tells me?

    I hate to say it but the older we are the longer it takes to heal. So it’s very important to focus on recovery. But then there’s the problem of what the proper steps should be.

    I would recommend that you find a doctor that understands sports injuries and your expectations for recovery. Be very clear how active you are and that you don’t want that hindered once the bones heal. Eventually, you will need to settle on a doctor’s advice and follow it to recovery.

    Hans

  51. Colin Munro

    What a great site. Loads of useful information here and I can identify with a lot of what is written. Nearly 2 years ago I fell off my perch out of a tree (I’m a tree surgeon!!) landed on my left shoulder breaking scapula and three ribs and bad collarbone fracture. Tried to let it heal on it’s own but had non-union. In November last year had plate and 8 screws fixed and for first few days it was bliss…..no pain at all. Then physio started and I overdid the weight training using 8kg barbells only 4-5 weeks after surgery. Physio had told me to use 5 kgs but I just used the weights I had lying about. Not the smartest of moves. Then the pain really started. Real burning sensation too. Moral of story is don’t push things too quick. Since then pain has been on and off but I’m quite active. Constant feeling of tightness in shoulder though and like there is something alien fitted…(which if course there is,a big metal plate.) I’m hoping I will eventually get used to the sensation but I’m probably just being optimistic. Thanks again for all useful info and good luck to all of you, I hope you all recover well.

  52. Shan Yang

    Hey it’s been a year since i fractured my right clavicle….after my clavicle recovered i realize that there was this clicking sensation at the joint of my right arm whenever i try to straighten, or twist it left or right…what could it be? Could it be the ligaments moving or overlapping one another? It has been like this for a least 10 months and it hasn’t heal. Could the root problem be that my arm was on a sling for too long? What if i reverse it…make my arm left arm straight for a long period of time..will it heal? Oh and one more thing…does clavicle fracture affect the shoulder length?

    It’s possible the clicking is from a ligament. Mine did that for a while and then went away. Is the clicking reduced or go away if you are relaxed and also have had a shoulder massage? If so then it’s possible the clicking is from soft tissue such as the ligament. If it worsens or bothers you then I would recommend talking with your doctor.

    Also, the alignment and length of the shoulder can change depending on how the bones heal after a clavicle fracture. I’ve seen shoulders that are pulled slightly inward, some that droop lower, etc..

    Hans

  53. Micky

    I wonder If Hans knew that this thread would become so popular?
    Well… I’m in the club. 4 days down and wearing a sling, though thankfully not in alot of pain…
    It all started after a 50/50 challenge playing football- Need less to say I was the one that went down hard!. Onto very hard ‘astroturf’- on the left shoulder. A loud ‘crack’ and lots of pain.
    After two x-rays and being told by the A&E nurse that all was well and that it should mend itself. I saw an orthopedic doctor who, said that there are two ways of sorting it- leaving it in a sling or a fixed plate- which I didn’t want.
    Anyway, I thought about it and decided that with the ends being out of alignment (and alot of grinding/clunking noises coming from the area, and a significant bump under the flesh) that I would go for surgery. So I expect to be operated on in the next few days…
    I’ll update postop!
    An interesting book I found online- http://www.scribd.com/doc/2562740/Bone-Histology-Healing-iBooktk

  54. Bob Eng

    I broke my right collarbone in a “high-energy” impact falling off my road bike at 25 mph when my rear wheel caught a protrusion in the road. My “pass alongs” from my experience:
    1. I decided not to have surgery (ORIF) after my second opinion and 2nd set of x-rays. After taking my x-rays taken by the urgent care clinic from day of break to my first orthopedic surgeon, his advice was 50/50 regarding surgery, but I decided to proceed with an ORIF because the break looked severe and far enough apart to probably not form a good union, and a delayed ORIF would not be as straight forward due to scar tissue forming. However, after seeing another orthopedic doctor (a cyclist by the way) two days later, where they took a 2nd set of x-rays using a GE low radiation machine and put them up on the computer screen (much more clear than the 1st set), the break looked much better (more aligned and closer). Not sure if they were the x-rays or something shifted in my favor between the 2 sets (perhaps it was when I was figuring out how to take left handed photos with my DSLR camera when it slipped and I instinctively caught it with my right arm causing some really severe pain). But his strong opinion, and I agreed, was surgery not necessary (the clavicle appeared very likely to heal on its own). So if you’re not sure, get a second opinion.
    2. Get an ultimate arm sling (I got mine at Rite-Aid for $30 or check out http://www.armsling.com). It’s flexible and much more comfortable than the standard cloth arm sling they sell to you at the local urgent care walk-in.
    3. If a road condition caused your accident, report it. I contacted the local city, who put me in touch with the local police department. They both agreed the road condition (asphalt protruded an inch above the road where it met the concrete for 2-3 feet) was a serious hazard and had a road crew out to repair it within a week.
    4. My trusty Bell helmet saved me from some really serious head injuries and a likely fractured skull and stint in critical care. I hit my head on the pavement hard enough to crack the helmet in half, absorbing the impact beautifully, and I had not a scratch or any issues with my head or neck. I can’t believe the law here in California is only 18 years or under are required to wear helmets. Keep wearing those helmets and encouraging anyone you see to do the same!

  55. Anna

    Hi I fractured my left clavicle on the 7th of december playing rugby on ground that was freezing over the bone has only just started nitting together and the pain is as intense as when it was first done i still where a figure of eight brace and a sling but find that when getting dressed it just feels like the bone is ready to completely snap and it also feels like it locks up followed by a horrible clicking noise is this normal im no stranger to pain ive had broken wrists a slipped disc that was operated on may 2008 but to be fair this is by far the worst. Thanks

    Some of those symptoms sound like others people have described. But I recommend talking with your doctor regarding this. Especially since you mention that the pain is as bad as when you first broke the bone.

    Hans

  56. alan

    it has been a year since my break, i completed the bone stimulator sessions, large knot on my collar bone, uncomfortable to exercise, strength lacking, feel movement, crunch sound, when arm extended fully with weight, next day soreness. any recommendations on ointments, exercises during this period. feel very tentative using arm to pick up weights. have concerns about return to motorcycle.

    The crunching might be soft tissue. I had similar sounds for a while even after my bones had fused. There are physical therapy workouts for regaining range-of-motion and strength. Search for “shoulder physical therapy” for some ideas. But I would recommend you schedule an appointment with your doctor and/or physical therapist so that you get the correct set of exercises.

    Also, I was back on my motorcycle about two months after my injury. My bones had fused by 4 weeks and I had recovered enough strength by 2 months that I felt good riding. I ride a heavy Honda VFR so I was careful as I didn’t want to wrench my shoulder too much while handling the bike.

    Hans

  57. Eric

    This a a follow up from my post from Sept 19 2007.
    It has now been 18 months since I broke my right Clavicle, and 15 months since My IM Pin surgery to repair the bone.
    I had the pin taken out Yesterday.
    This feels like I can finally close this very long drawn out episode of my life. The bone was very slow healing, that is why we left the pin in for over a year, I kept the pin,
    ( its smaller then I thought it would be.) seeing how small it is, I wonder if I really needed to have it removed at all?
    Anyway I wanted to thankyou for this site. It helped keep me sane for the 4 months I was out of work, and it has been a blessing to be able to vent my feelings to others, and read about thiers.
    And for those who have just broke your colar bone, Hang in there.

  58. Robert

    This site has been a comfort since I broke my clavicle on 1 March. I saw my specialist on Friday and he has confirmed that the bone has healed and that I can resume normal life but avoid unplanned cycling incidents. I had my first ride yesterday. It was great to be on the bike again
    My experience mirrors many of those above and all that I can add is that surgery (bone graft with plate and 8 screws) does work and I should have insisted after 3 months of pain. It is now over 9 months since the accident.
    Tips:
    Use the sling but maintain some movement to avoid a “frozen” shoulder. Pendulum exercise helps.
    Keep coming back to this site – it’s good to know that other people understand what you are going through. They can also provide good advice and insights.
    See the post from “Leslie” Oct 2007. No point in me repeating all that wisdom.
    Thanks, Hans, for maintaining this site. It really has been a place to go when the condition was not healing and I needed to feel that I was not alone.
    I will probably never be back but I’ll always be grateful and I wish all of you the very best.

  59. Chuck N

    I’m 22 years old and I broke my left clavicle in a high impact atv accident in the middle of July. It has been over 4 months and appears to be a non union. My dr suggested a bone stimulator and to recheck on it in another 6 weeks. So hopefully that helps, as the risks of the surgery don’t sound all that fun. I’m getting anxious to get back to normal life again!
    I broke my right side 4 years ago and it healed back to what felt like 100% within 8 weeks or so.
    Ive been reading alot on this site, I had no idea so many people have had problems with the long healing and non healing.

  60. Mark

    Hi, i made a couple posts a few months back. Broke my collar bone at the end of June, its now coming up to the end of November.

    Glad to report it is healing naturally, doc said 6 months before back to full strength so thats the new year.
    What I’m wondering is I train some grappling and boxing and I know its not full strength yet so am holding off going back until January but I am keen to start back on the weights.

    I have been doing some light weights, biceps and bench press and squats mainly and am making them progressivly heavier.

    Sometime I feel a slight twinge, almost like a very slight shift in the bone, but there is no pain.
    Is this OK???

    Should I lay off the weights until new year or am I safe enough doing what I am doing and just stopping if I do feel pain?? cause the last thing I want to do is upset the healing process..

    Anyone any experience/comments on that please to let me know

    Cheers

    It’s really impossible to say if what you are feeling is good or bad. It’s very subjective what someone feels. The best is to have your doctor or physical therapist check out what you are experiencing. I’m someone that veers to the side of being more careful on recovery. Not that I was like that originally. But I have learned about pushing it too soon and then setting back my recovery.

    Hans

  61. Marci W

    I became a member when I fell off my horse on June 28, 2008. I swear he understands english — I said, “OK, let’s go” in just a nice, friendly, calm way and he took off like a bat out of hell! I broke my left collarbone in four places and my right
    leg. I had surgery four days after the accident. I’m 61, moved
    to a little town just outside the Twin Cities about a year and one half ago, just so I could have a horse. Anyway, I went to the local hospital’s ER, was referred by ER doc to a well thought of group of orthopaedic surgeons with offices in multiple areas of the city. I’m not too happy with them these days. First of all, the ER doc, the pre-op physical GP, the orthopedic surgeon, and the physician’s assistant ALL missed the x-ray and radiologist’s notes at the ER on 6/28 that my leg was broken. I walked on it for 18 days until I finally went in to the GP, said there’s got to be something wrong with the leg, and he saw the xrays and radiologist’s note from 6/28. That made me more than a little wary. Meanwhile, on 7/3 the surgeon had put a rod through the four pieces of bone –from a small incision at the back of the shoulder near the arm over to a
    perpendicular incision about 3 inches long near the side of the neck. On 8/29, about 7 weeks after surgery, he took xrays of the collarbone and the leg. He said there were no signs of bone growth in the collarbone, but the leg was coming along just fine. There was a lot of pain during that period. My arm was in a sling and I spent most of my time in a chair with my arm propped on pillows for additional support. I was taking 1500 milligrams of Vicodin, but remember the first three weeks of that time I was walking around on a broken leg. By 8/13 the rod was protruding from my shoulder about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. The entire area hurt like crazy. Meanwhile there was a noticeable bump at the base of my neck that would periodically give me little zinging electrical zaps. The surgeon said he clearly had put in too long a rod and it would have to be removed eventually. No bone growth in the collarbone. No spiny webbing. Leg’s doing fine, though. More time passes. I can feel movement like logs rolling when I bend over and again when I stand back up. Disconcerting. By my next appointment on 9/09 the rod is protruding out the back of my shoulder almost an inch, but is no longer visible and cannot be felt by my neck. My skin is so tender around the area I can barely tolerate even a Tshirt. Surgeon says it has to come out now, this week, even if the bones have not joined. They haven’t, but the leg is still fine. So, back to the hospital on 9/11. The surgeon told me prior to the procedure (in operating room and put out) that he was going to take some cultures to see if there was an infection that was disintegrating the bone, thereby allowing the rod to work itself out of my body. He told me bones cannot heal if there is an infection, so if an infection exists it must be eradicated first, then he’d like me to use a bone growth stimulator, and if that didn’t work they’d likely have to operate again. Depressing news. I haven’t been able to work and am trying to survive on short term disability. The rod is removed. Six days later the surgeon left a message for me that I have a staph infection and he is putting me on Cipro, an antibiotic. I called him back. Is it one of the superbugs? No, antibiotics should take care of it just fine. The next day the surgeon left another message: The staph infection is throughout the pieces of bone. Do I want to see an infectious disease doctor? Do I want their staff to try to get authorization for a bone growth stimulator? I called the surgeon back: Yes, to each question. He says he thinks I should be on IVs but the appointment with the infectious disease doctor is a week away. I said if I have a staph infection I dont want to wait a week before getting the IV started. The surgeon made arrangements for me to go to the hospital outpatient clinic the next day where a PIC line was inserted. ( For those of you, like me, who have little to no medical savvy, a PIC line is a tube that is inserted into a vein in your arm, threaded up your arm through the vein, through the shoulder, and down your chest to a point somewhere just above, I believe, the aorta. At the point where it is inserted into your arm, the tube is attached to a little port that allows a syringe containing antibiotic to be attached and administered). The procedure wasn’t painful, but it made me queezy. So, I went home and met with a home health nurse who came out to teach me how to give myself the antibiotic (ancef? anceph?) 3x a day. Had to set my alarm to make sure I was administering it every 8 hours. I tried hard not to think about the possible outcome of a staph infection. Scary thoughts. Within 3 days of the PIC line insertion I developed huge red welts alongside of and underneath the adhesive holdng the PIC line dressing in place. I had to call the home health nurse out to re-do/modify the dressing. By the way, MY portion of the antibiotic was $220 PER WEEK, with the weekly required visits by the nurses an additional $29 each week. Any additional visits by the nurses added to my bill. Finally, my appointment with the infectious disease doctor. Very direct. Very professional. Very disturbed with the lack of information provided by the surgeon. I had been given a sealed envelope and a disc by the surgeon, which contained, I presumed, xrays of the collarbone, case notes, and information on the cultures that had been taken. After making sure that she had everything I had been given, she stated there was only one culture, that it was labeled a “wound” culture, which meant it had been taken from where the rod was removed, which was the skin surface. She went on to say the culture meant nothing as all people carry staph bacteria around on their skin. She called the hospital and clinic. They confirmed only one culture had been taken. The doctor came back to me and said there was no way she could tell whether or not I had an infection, so the IV had to continue for the full six weeks customary. At the end of four weeks, having dressing changes about every 3 days to try to cope with rashes and itching from the dressing, having the PIC line come out and have to be reinserted, getting a yeast infection from the antibiotics, getting phlebitis from problems they had inserting the PIC line a second time which resulted in them having to pull the second PIC line out, I MET WITH THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE DOCTOR WHO INFORMED ME THAT AT NO TIME DURING THE WEEKLY BLOOD DRAWS, FROM THE TIME I CAME IN UNTIL THEY PULLED THE PIC LINE DUE TO ALL THE PROBLEMS WITH IT, DID I EVER HAVE ANY ELEVATIONS THAT WOULD LEAD THEM TO BELIEVE I HAD AN INFECTION !!! THEY TEST THE BLOOD IN THREE WAYS AND ALL WERE NORMAL.
    I believe the surgeon was just trying to justify the rod coming out. The microbiolist at the hospital that did the lab work said he did not believe I had an infection.
    So I am still sitting here with a broken collarbone, but my new orthopedic surgeon says there has been some bone growth, maybe due to the bone growth stimulator I am now using and my infection being “cured”.
    Thanks for letting me get this out. Good luck to everyone.

  62. Rebecca Hess

    I last posted in March about a right (dominant) clavicle fracture from January 2008 that had not healed. At that time I was afraid of a plate and screws. Now I am worried about the bone graft from the hip that goes with it. I am 51 years old and fairly active. I know that there is the possibility of a bone graft from a cadaver, or bone morphogenic proteins instead, but they supposedly don’t work as well.
    Has anyone had a bone graft from the hip and suffered complications (i.e. difficulty walking, running or riding a bike)? Has anyone had a bone graft from the hip and had no complications? Has anyone had a bone graft from another body part?
    Thanks for the great website. Who knew so many people would have so much to say about broken collarbones!

  63. Amanda

    I broke my collarbone the 1st time on June 14, 2008 playing soccer. I went into a tackle and both of us fell except I landed on my right shoulder on hard ground. People around me heard the crack and so did I! My break was a crack thru the center of the collarbone. My recovery went great, no pain in the next week. Complete full motion by 3 weeks and lots of callus build up. Maybe because I’m only 13 years old I healed quickly.
    At 8 weeks the Doc told me I could go back to soccer. The 1st game I got a yellow card for being too aggressive (maybe alot of built-up tension) the second game I took a bump to my right shoulder and crack it broke again!!!
    I am on week 5 right now of the 2nd break. I am completely frustrated that I can’t play soccer or basketball. My parents are making me wait 5 months this time (the doc suggest 3 months)
    My question is this: How does everyone feel about wearing the figure 8 brace during activities in the future? My parents are thinking about making me wear this while I play soccer and basketball. Do you think it would help prevent any future breaks?

  64. Kimmo O

    I crashed my bike against a lamp post on 27 July and there was a clear breakage of the R collar bone with 1 in between the centers of the bone ends. The bones were touching each other. Beginning was extremely painful…and after a week i was off the ibuprofen and out to work (shuffling papers…). Walking around with the sling was fine, as was driving my (automatic) car with my left hand…then on the 23 August went to follow up (no xray), the orthopedic surgeon felt the fracture and there was no pain and no clicking, he advised to move the arm as much as possible but to avoid heavy loads. Then, beginning September, I was playing with my dog and started to throw a ball when I felt a sharp pain!! I was really angry at myself. Today I went to see another Ortho guy who took a new x-ray…there is practically no improvement as compared to the ER x-ray and there is pain at the fracture joint, and i have less mobility in my arm than before. The bones are not touching each other (in contrast to the ER xray), but it seems like they are trying to find each other?? He recommends surgery, and i really don’t know what to do. All this talk about screws, plates…general anesthesia..really freaks me out. I wish i never started to throw that ball!! So far I’ve seen 5 surgeons, out of which only the most recent one (only one i’ve seen after i threw the ball) recommends surgery due to my “young age”…really don’t know whats better…to wait another 6-8 weeks or go for the fast option-the knife. Any suggestions? I feel like this latest ortho surgeon just wants to make money…

  65. alan

    i last posted on 6-6, i used the EBI stimulator and achieved bone union, however, my strength is way off from before and i am having a painfull time exercising and regaining complete motion. i am unable to raise my arm over my head and windmill without pain, sleeping on the injured side results in pain inside the shoulder joint. does anyone recognize ointments, excercises or a brace that may be helpful in my rehab?

    Sleeping on my injured side still hurt months after my “recovery”. It became less and less painful and finally went away.

    I found that warming up my muscles before physical therapy helped. For example, with light exercise (riding a stationary bike) and/or using a heating ointment.

    Hans

  66. Pete B

    For hans and anyone that read my prior post. Well I got back from my 2nd Opinion and took the time to chose a good DOC. This doc went over every x-ray and the cat scan with me!Explained everything. HE said I DON’T need surgery at all! My bone is taking longer to heal since i smoked and since my fracture is long spiral one!And that smoking doesn’t help either. Both ends are knitted together the middle. just needs to fill in now! He precribed me a bone stimulator to Help speed things up! I feel good! Another ct in a month i should be Fine! SO MORAL OF THE STORY! If you feel that you are healing and unsure of your doctor.ALWAYS GET A 2ND OPINION!!!!! Why do you think docs drive sick cars and have mansions! because your insurance pays for it!! So take time and do your research!!!!!!!!!!! I almost gave in to the knife! and didn’t need it! Thank god!

  67. Bebe

    It may be better to get the surgery over when you first are injured instead of waiting 30 years like I did. I broke my collar bone when I was 16 and have been in pain off and on for years. For at least the past 10 years I have avoided using my arm and didn’t realize it. When I couldn’t drive using that arm and couldn’t pick up a 12oz can of pop I knew it wasn’t something minor and when it didn’t go away after several rounds of therapy I knew something had to be done. I didn’t want surgery but when the pain got so bad that it was affecting my job I had to do it. The severity may sneek up on you and you compensate and don’t even realize it. If you have better chance of recovery with the surgery then without it and it may help prevent more problems later. Find out what the odds are. I had an 80% chance I would be better. I wished I would have had the surgery and not went through the 30 years of pain.

  68. Pete B

    HELP!! I’m 29 years old. I broke my collar bone 8 weeks ago. A single diagonal fracture in the middle of the bone. The ends were touching and doesn’t line up bad at all.I saw an ortho 2 days after i broke it He said it might heal on its own. But lets do surgery. I asked him it it was needed”He replied it may heal on its own but you may live with it broken your whole life. Every visit i came in I got an x ray.4 total he said he saw no calluss yet. I feel improvement daily and have full range of motion. I got a ct scan at 8 weeks out. the report says there is no appreciable osseous bridging accross fracture sight.Ends are intact. The ortho sent me back to work before i got my ct scan I’m a CARPENTER!How can i work if its still broken.Just went to the ortho yesterday. I went off. He said I can take you back out of work. How about a bone stimulator? Get surgery. Well i told him off got all my x-rays and ct scans and paper work back. I’m going for a 2nd opinion? Anyone have any comments or advice?This doc seems like the type that is money hungry no visit lasted longer than 5 mins. And he operated 2 times on my buddies daughter for her knee at 14 years old. God help me I don’t wanna lose my job or house and have to get surgery and a bone graft. I understand adults take longer to heal? I used to smoke cigarette i quit 2 weeks before my break.

    Yes, it’s always good to have a second doctor’s opinion. Especially when surgery is recommended.

    Adults do take longer to heal. But you are still young. Smoking is bad for bone healing. It’s a good thing you stopped before the accident. I don’t know though how long the affects of your past smoking will have on your recovery.

    It is possible to live with a collar bone that does not fuse back together. It depends on the individual’s specific break and also the lifestyle they lead. If someone isn’t that physically active with regards to their upper body then there might not be a need for a full recovery. In your case though, being a carpenter, I would think you would want and need a healed collar bone. I don’t know why it is taking that long for your bone to heal. There are many factors that can influence recovery. That’s also why some doctors recommend surgery. There’s a higher chance of full recovery. But there are risks with any surgery.

    Again, I would recommend going for a second doctor’s opinion.

    Hans

  69. Todd

    thanks ross. i’ve reduced the aleve down to 3-4/day, so i will switch to tylenol. i plan to be off pain killers by sunday, and i will look into the bromelain. i tried to work on tuesday, but i was way too uncomfortable. i don’t know how anyone can wear the figure 8. after a couple of hours, my back and neck feel worse than my shoulder. it seems like lying down all day watching movies is the best therapy. all that is missing is a swimsuit model on standby to feed me yogurt:)

  70. Ross

    aleve is an anti-inflamatory, they slow bone healing, you want to take tylenol. I took bromelain for a while. it is a pineapple extract, if you take it on an empty stomach it works as a pain reliever.

  71. Todd

    i just want to thank richard from france. his advice about reducing acidity in food is going to be my key to recovery. i just broke my cb today while going about 50 mph on my bike. some guy who was driving behind me was like “duuude, you were flyin’, are you ok.” i knew i wasn’t since my shoulder has a half inch tent, but said i was anyway. thank you to the bell helmet company for keeping my noggin intact. i have no insurance, so i’m going to rely on aleve, a sling, and prayer to the healing gods. if the bones continue to shift after four weeks, i’ll consider going to see an ortho. wish me luck!!!

  72. Jay

    Anyone who has had a bone graft from the hip tell how long until the pain goes away in the hip? I’m about 10 days out of surgery and the collar bone is doing well, but the hip still hurts. Please post! Thanks

  73. wayne chappell

    hi there on the 7 may 2008 me and a mate were out on cycle ride we had been out on the road for less than 20 minutes we were passing a junction when the driver of a blue convertable came accoss the junction takin me out i was in hospital for 10 days with a badly broken ankle,broken ribs,clapsed lung,but most painfull was a broken clavicle once i had got home it was then when it hit home how life was with right ankle and right shoulder out of action and stuck in wheel chair but thanks to my wife and friends i ham getting back to some sort of reality and cant wait to get back on my cycle if i dare 6weeks have passed the pain is starting to get bareable going for xrays next week fingers crossed cant wait to get back on feet and out of this wheelchair any one else had the same sort injury.

  74. alan

    On 4-26, I sent an entry concerning a non-union clavicle and the EBI bone stimulator unit. I wore the unit for 68 days. Today I had an X-ray, and the results were positive. I have a connection. It is not pretty, still in pain. I had my doubts but it worked, this was better than having an operation. I wear the figure 8 brace when active. Does anyone know if a custom brace or vest can be made for support? I am back!

    Good to hear you are recovering. There are some other custom braces out there. This one has been mentioned before Shoulders Back. But I haven’t had any experience with using any of them. With the amount of complaints people have with the generic figure-8 brace I would imagine some company has come up with a better option. If you find one please leave a link.

    Hans

  75. Clive

    I had a double fracture of the clavicle in Nov 2007, after a couple of weeks deabting withe the consultants they agreed the best action as to put a plate in as it seemed unlikely to achieve a good fusion. The plate went in mide dec 07 and all seemed well. But after a few weeks it was clear that the main fracture wasnt healing. Today after 6 months an x ray shows that the fracture is still there with no sign of fusion. The Consultants were quick to recommend a bone graft from the hip. Oh joy…more time back in hospital and a further 6 weeks in a sling after. Anyone been through this? Any alternatives? Why wouldnt it mend?

  76. Jay

    Ross, I’ve never heard anything about the deltoid muscle. That sounds odd. I would probably go see another surgeon and get an opinion if it’s bothering you. I’m about to get a second opinion on the large mass that has grown on my collar bone in the week since I had the plate installed. It still hurts a ton and the bone graft from my hip has been a nightmare honestly. Can’t wait for time to pass at this point, just hoping to get back to some form of normal.

  77. Ross

    i saw a post on here were a guy had his plate taken out and he broke the collarbone again hitting a tennis ball. the bone is weak for at least 6 weeks where the screw holes were at.

  78. LD

    My son had surgery a little over a year ago and had a clavicle plate put in. The surgery went well and he recovered quickly. He has really good range of motion BUT you can really see the plate through his skin and he now wants it out. He had an appointment today with the Surgeon and will get it removed in two weeks. My son was told it will not distrub the bone at all. Has anyone experienced any complications after from having the plate removed? How long is the recovery period?

  79. LD

    My son had surgery a little over a year ago and had a clavicle plate put in. The surgery went well and he recovered quickly. He has really good range of motion BUT you can really see the plate through his skin and he now wants it out. He had an appointment today with the Surgeon and will get it removed in two weeks. My son was told it will not distrub the bone at all. Has anyone experienced any complications after from having the plate removed? How long is the recovery period?

  80. Ross

    i’m 3 weeks out on my surgery. my cb does stick out more now due to the plate. i have a lot of numbness all around my cb and shoulder too. doc says most of that will go away but maybe not all.
    Didn’t have a bone graft.
    Did they detach your deltoid like mine? My doc claims it was the only way he could get the bones to line up, he said the muscle had torn in the accident and then had doubled up and was stuck to itself by the time i had surgery.

  81. Jay

    Question for anyone who has had surgery: I’m about one week out with a plate and screws, still pretty painful near my clavicle. I have a big bump now that runs the length of the plate, a very solid feeling bump. Has anyone else who has had surgery with plate and screws experienced this? I also had a bone graft from the hip, and while the hip hasn’t hurt too bad, I have pretty bad numbness and burning from the bottom of my hip to the middle of my upper leg. Anyone else experience this? Any comments would be greatly appreciated on either the large bump and how long it lasts and the tingling in my leg from the hip graft!!! Thanks much, Jay

  82. Joe Miller

    Hello-
    I broke my clavicle a few days ago (5/28/08) performing an unintentional front flip while riding fixed during a standing hill climb when my right pedal accidently disengaged. I was going pretty fast and landed square on my shoulder. I had the surgery (large plate, 8 screws and 2 pins) and immediately the pain subsided. I stumbled upon this site looking for information regarding retraining and when. So, it has only been 2 days since surgery and I don’t have much to add yet…

  83. Ross

    hi,
    great site!
    i broke mine 3 weeks ago and had the surgery about 1 week ago. doc told me it was a good candidate for surgery but it would most likely heal on it’s own. i went ahead and got it as i thought it would get me back to riding/racing dirt bikes sooner.
    after surgery he tells me he had to detach my deltoid muscle in order to fit the plat properly. i guess this is not the norm, but now he says my muscle will need to heal for 6 months before i should ride.
    anyone else have surgery and been told something similar? i’m pretty bummed now, 6 months seems like a lifetime to be off the bike for me.

  84. jessica

    Well it has been 2 months and non-union with my classic break in the clavicle. I now have to wait 3 more weeks for surgery where they take a hip graft and plate it to my collar bone. Climbing is out for me for the next 3 months. I suggest to anybody that breaks there clavicle and it doesnt seem to be healing after a couple of weeks…make the rendez vous with the surgeon for a consultation. The only reason I am waiting now is that it takes so long to make a date for the consultation and then the surgery. You can always cancel if it looks like the bone is on the mend. Will keep you updated with recovery for those who want to know. This site put my mind at rest knowing i wasn’t the only one out there with some bone issues.

  85. Gloria Urbina

    I broke my collarbone in a car accident 3/18 and finally had surgery on 5/13 TWO whole months later! My surgery consisted of donated ligaments to replace mine and tie the bone back into place. I have a bit of pain and hardly have any movement im on a sling type thing that goes across my chest and doesnt allow much movement. how do i releive the pain besides the meds? and other than ice paks?? Also, what should i be aware of in regardsd to complications and how long should i expect of healing time? Also, i am not yet able to sleep on my back and have to propped by pillows to sit up. this is horrible………… arm has been on a sling daily for 2 months! How do i keep from crampimg up???? and not hurting myself?

  86. Richard

    Hello Jessica, I dont know how old you are, but read my post above yours, may be it will give you some tips. I’m 43, and after 7 weeks, like you it was not healed at all, it took 5-6 months to heal, but it did finally… you have to be patient, I know what your going through. I missed the whole snowboard season also, and to make things even worst we never had so much snow up here in southern Quebec…well…I watched videos, the whole 5 seasons of “six feet under” …. good luck !

  87. jessica

    Well it has been 7 weeks since my accident and there is still non-union in the two ends. my doc says 99 percent of people heal naturally and I am unlucky. I don’t understand because I am really really healthy and sportive!!! It makes me so sad when I saw my friends collar bone heal after 5 weeks and he was bloody drinking everyday. So I guess in the ‘Caveman’ times I would of been eaten by the others.
    Anyway today my surgeon told me he wants to take a bone graft from my hip and plate it with my collar bone. I am so upset that I can’t climb this summer my life is so boring without my snowboarding or climbing. Its going to be my first surgery and belive me I am sooooo scared.
    I just hope its true what they tell me that I will be fully recovered after 3 months and will be able to snowboard off cliffs again and climb to the top of mountains. It seems that everybody’s body reacts to surgery different. My friend broke his back and a bunch of other bones and was skiing 8 months after, the doc was Shocked. I had a classic collar break and could be looking at the same time of recovery….crazy. I am just wondering if the bone is growing no ‘call’ hows a piece of my hip going to fix that?

  88. Richard

    How I manage to heal my broken clavicle that didn’t want to heal…
    ( I’m french, so sorry if sometimes my english is weird )
    I broke my right clavicle when someone opened his car door while I was riding my bicycle on a busy street. The doctor told me that since the two pieces of bone were in contact with each other I wouldn’t need an operation. I had to wear the sling, and everything, I was very careful and even slept on a lazy boy for a few weeks ( I dont know how I managed to do that…pain killers probably helped a lot ) because I wasn’t able to lie down on a bed without feeling my bones moving… scary ! So after 3 months my doctor started talking about non-union and having an operation, when I asked him why it was not healing he said that he didn’t know, and that I was part of the unlucky 5% that didn’t heal by itself. Oh, and I also had a capsulite on my right shoulder, so I was very depress to hear that, but most of all I was surprise how the doctor seemed not interested in knowing why there was so less calcium on the fracture site…I WANTED TO KNOW ! so I went to see a naturopath, she looked at my diet, I had pretty much the same for many years, and we found out that it was waaay too acid ! orange juice every morning, tomato sauce many times a week, a lots of dessert (almost every meal ) and when you have too much acid on your system, the only way your body can sponge it, is with calcium you have in your body… so all my calcium was use to absorb all the acidity, and that’s why there was not much calcium on my broken collarbone. Dalam ! I changed my diet, and 3 months later I had a ct scan of my clavicle and the doctor said “well, it’s 80% healed, and you won’t need an operation ! “…. It was a wonderful day ! oh, and apart from the diet, I also saw an homeopath who prescribed me Symphytum 200k for my bone, and Arnica 10m for my shoulder, I also took a calcium, magnesium and vitamin D supplement ( all liquid, because it’s more easily absorbed). I hope this will help someone who has an non-union also… before going to an operation, you should investigate more, because sometimes doctors are not realy interested in knowing why it’s not healing, they just want to send you to the operation table…but for me, the less you get cut in your life, the best it is…

  89. alan

    i broke my collar bone in late december, non union, am using ebi bone stimulator. still in pain and on medication, cannot lift. has anyone used the ebi unit and had positive results? am concerned that operation will be required.

    Others here have left comments about using the bone stimulator and having positive results. I’ve only heard positive to neutral comments and none negative about the device. I would think that since there isn’t anything negative it’s worth the effort.

    Hans

  90. Jessica

    Hi
    I broke my collar bone (classic break} Doc said should heal no problem with my figure 8 sling. It has been 1 month and the x ray looks the same as it did 3 weeks. Now the doctor is saying maybe I should consider surgery. I can move my arm a lot more than I could before, The bump tenting my skin is not as sharp so I was hoping that it was healing naturally but a bit longer than most. My life is climbing, snowboarding and surfing so having surgery is not really what I want. Has anybody else had this happen?

    Thanks for any help or peace of mind

    Jessica

    Sounds like what a lot of people go through. Reading through past comments here you will find stories just like yours. Since you are so active it might be worthwhile to consider surgery. Just realize that you will be recovering from that for a bit of time also. So make sure you get more than one doctor’s opinion about your injury and surgery recommendations.

    Hans

  91. Carl

    I broke my collarbone 2 weeks ago playing soccer.
    The doc said it’s healing up well but i have a jaggered bone edge poking the skin where the bone splintered.
    He mentioned a bone shaving operation if it keeps bothering me… i just hope a callus rounds the edge off, it’s very uncomfortable

  92. Rebecca Hess

    I have a mid-shaft displaced right (dominant) clavicle fracture since January 7, 2008. Bones are still not healed. There may be more conservative treatment that can be done yet, but I also may be looking at surgery (plate and screws) if I want to get it fixed. I am worried about a brachial plexus injury and impairment of function in my right hand from the surgery. Anyone have any comments on that? Also, has anyone elected to just live with a symptomatic non-union? Thank you.

  93. scott

    Hey all,
    Great site. Broke my left clavicle on Feb 21, while skiing, overlapping, medium break and some tenting. Go back today (3/10) for my 2nd Xray. I hope there is healing going on. I work as a fire fighter, but my main concern is triathlons. I have been able to ride, starting 3 days after, and run, starting 1 week. Now over 2 weeks out most of the pain is gone and I can hold my handlebars w/ both hands and running up to an hour is not too bad. My triathlon buddy who is an ER Doc. said 4 weeks for swimming. There is a ton of info about clavicle breaks and sports, but very litle about swimming after a break. Anyone have experience or can offer a timeline for when to resume swimming?
    I am able to lift my arm straight up over my head, but can not bring it into a stream line positon yet. Still concerned about the strain the clavicle will endure when I swim.
    Scott

  94. jon

    yeah im 15 and i broke my collar bone when i was 14 mine was sticking up.. when i broke it it didnt hurt at all it just burned then after a while i started to go into shock because i didnt know what happened for three months i had to wear a brace to keep my shoulder back it was the worst thing i have ever had to do

  95. Dave Albright

    I fell in a snowboarding accident 3 days ago and discovered this site while self-diagnosing on the internet last night. I’m not sure what the extent of my injury is. There’s a “knob” sticking up from my shoulder, that doesn’t match the other side, but it’s not ridiculously big. I’ve got a lot of range of motion and not a tremendous amount of discomfort. I don’t think it’s just swelling, since it isn’t soft. From all the messages above, I’m wondering if there’s any point in me going to the doc. I’m keeping it immobilized for the most part by using pain as my guide (i.e., I’m trying not to do anything to make it worse). Is there some reason to have a doc tell me to do what I’m already doing?

    Also, does the lump EVER go away? Or at least recede a little bit?

    Could anything other than a break still create lump?

    The only way to know if you broke the bone is to see a doctor and have an x-ray. The “knob” might just be swelling. Or it’s the broken end of the bone sticking up.

    The lump formed by a broken collar bone will sometimes recede over time. I still have a small lump and it has been a few years.

    With a basic broken collar bone it seems like visiting a doctor just ends up being a waste if you already know how to deal with the injury. But, it’s always better to have a qualified person examine your injury and give a proper diagnosis.

    Hans

  96. Robin Lukens

    I broke my left Clavicle 6 months ago, in a motorcycle wreck. It was a pretty good break (2 places), and significantly displaced, yet to my surprise, my doc ASSURRED me that it would heal just fine on its own. Well….here I am, 6 months later, scheduled for surgery on March 7. There has been no sign of the bone healing or “Bridging” as the MRI results read. The MRI also revealed a decent sized gap between the 2 pieces of the bone. My big decision now is where to get the bone for the bone graft that will be required. The doc gave me 2 options. Bone from the bone bank, or bone taken from my hip. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The biggest drawback I can see to using bone from my own hip, is the pain! Does anyone have any thoughts or input about which is better? How painful will the hip be afterwards???

    I have not undergone a bone graft. But here are the things I have heard about the process:

    1. Your body may reject the material from a bone bank since it’s not from your own body.
    2. The procedure to extract the bone material (marrow mush not hard bone) from your hip isn’t that extreme and recovery and pain is minimal.

    There’s also a third option which involves using a small amount of your own blood mixed together with hydroxyapatite. This “bone meatball” is then placed in the area of the break to help stimulate the growth. You might ask your doctor about that option.

    Hans

  97. Y.A.Brownson

    It’s me again,
    3 months after my accident (broke mine in late sept of ’07), I had another xray done showing some fuzzy bone growth around the break area. It is true that xray improvement lags behind actual improvements, because physically at this point I am already back to my regular gym and real life activities with little or no discomforts.
    I do believe I can blame my delay of healing to the fact that I wasn’t allowing my clavicle to be as immobilized as it should have been.
    Oh well.. live and learn, eitherway, I am just hoping in 2 months from now the doctor will say that my bone has finally grown back. if not, I am very fortunate to have all my arm movement as well as my pre-injury days…
    good luck to all,

  98. Richard

    Hi everyone. Thanks for all the great info. I broke my right clavicle 2 days ago. Before I read these posts I rarely had my arm in the sling, but now it’s going to stay there religiously!
    I’m just curious if you guys sleep or shower with your arm immobilized?
    I don’t have any trouble sleeping on my back but I’m curious as to whether it’s healthy to do so within the first few weeks?
    Thanks again for all your help and I wish you all the best of luck.
    God bless!

  99. Y.A. Brownson

    Liam, thanks for the well wishes. I do hope the same for you.
    fortunatelly you’re much younger than I am and I am sure you’ll heal at a faster rate than me. My advice for you is to listen to your doctor, rest and keep your clavicle immobilized as much as possible. Also to do all the exercises once the doctor clear you. Hang in there and drink your milk.
    I do believe I wont have to make up my mind about surgery until next month, i am hoping by then my bones are fused back enough(whether union/non union)to allow me to do all my activities w/ the same intesity prior to breaking it.
    once again good luck to all, keep up the positive attitude toward healing

  100. liam nelson (14)

    hi hope u get well soon but the funy thing is that i broke my collar bone on the same side playin rugby. U got any tips to help. how long do u think it would take to heal

  101. Y.A.Brownson

    I posted 2 weeks ago above.
    This morning had my 2 month dr. visit.
    New xrays show the bones still not fusing.
    I started doing light weight lifting and told the doctor that my shoulder would throb and get unusually sore afterwards and I can still feel the bones moving indipendently.
    I think I didn’t keep myself immobilized in the first month after the break and now I am paying for it. Looks like surgery is more and more a reality for me.
    I can live with the condition now, but I don’t think i’ll be able to resume my daily activities as I once before. Hence I would elect to get my condition fixed via surgery.
    So now, I’m just waiting for the doctor to consult w/ his partners about my situation. In addition, i have another appt for a 2nd opinion w/ a different specialist early next month.
    i can’t wait to be done w/ this…
    thanks to all who have shared on this page

  102. susan

    Midori,
    I heard that depending on where on the collarbone the break is, it is possible for the doctor to actually remove the extreme end of the clavicle, when it is a distal fracture. The doctor said she would have to measure carefully and look at the cat scans, but it is a lot easier to implement than the plate and screws, especially at that location. Has anyone heard of this approach?
    I am now at 11 weeks, doing the bone stim, and going back in 2 weeks for another xray. I am hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

  103. Midori

    It has been 3 months since I broke my clavicle and the doctor has declared it a non-union. This despite the fact that I approached my healing like a job, wearing the sling 24/7, taking calcium supplements, etc.
    My advice to anyone with a distal clavicle fracture is to insist on surgery (especially if the fracture is significantly displaced). Doc has advised that surgery now will involve bone grafts, recovery will take 3 to 4 months and my injured shoulder will end up narrower and lower than the non-injured shoulder. I asked the doc if a pin could be used instead, but was told that the pin is only effective on fractures of the mid clavicle. So only treatment offered is the plate and screw, which my doctor said will likely protrude through my skin.

  104. Mark

    Great site Hans. Wish I had found it sooner. Broke the right clavicle in 1993 I believe, over the handle bars on the mountain bike trying to do a little trick I had already done twice. Three is a charm you know. Complete break, figure 8 sling (hated it) bone moved a lot now have good sized knot that the orthopod said sure he could remove it…with a hammer and chisel. Fast forward to 2003 on the road bike, me and a buddy on what was supposed to be an easy day. He was in front I was tucked in behind when he pointed at the shoulder of the road and you guessed it, I looked and then went down. It took every bit of 1/2 of a nanosecond. I jumped up and said, well ya’ll know what I said. My freakin left shoulder this time. And yes my friends it hurts more and takes longer to heal the older you get. This time the break was hairline and not jagged. With percocet, minimal movement, and time, both bikes and me are back on the road and in the woods. Not racing anymore and a little more careful, but tickled-to-death just to be able to ride at all. As Team Cruel and Unusual always says: “Maybe this time the whole damn course won’t be uphill”. Do whatever it takes to keep the break from moving!! My right shoulder dropped and the shoulderblade protrudes out the back just enough to make sitting any length of time uncomfortable!! It also affects how a certain rib connects to the spine. I’ve learned how to “put it back” when it comes loose but have as yet not figured out how to prevent it from happening. peace&love

  105. Linda Kamaila

    Hi everyone. Reading all your broken collarbone stories really makes my heart go out to you – my husband just broke his and I can tell it is a painful and very inconvenient injury. I am amazed at the casual attitude of the typical ER doctor or even the typical orthopod. I’ve read every post on Hans’s excellent boards. Myself, I’m a pretty experienced masseuse and have been into naturopathy for years. When I read about all the muscle pain (and other pain) that you experience, even when the bone is healing, I just want to give everyone a little shoulder rub. We started massage on the very first day, on the opposite side of the body, which is of course very stressed by what happened to the other side! On Day 5, I was able to do effleurage (light massage) all around the break and put arnica oil on. Whether or not you’re a believer in massage (it stimulates nerves and blood flow to the skin at the very least), the skin itself needs stimulation and the pleasurable sensations help block some of the pain. My husband’s muscles were clearly close to spasm, obviously, as they tried to cope with the break, but he couldn’t feel them much, or only felt the whole shoulder hurting. He was more concerned about that sharp pains and so on. But, the muscles need some relief. We sat him backwards in a chair with his sling on, and massaged the back muscles and the pecs, also his upper arms (and armpits, with oil, to avoid the chafing). He feels much better in his resting position after massage, and he’s better able to do his little arm exercises (he’s getting the figure 8 today, we hope he’ll have more range of motion).
    Anyway, try every modality you can! If you’re usually tough and not so into bodywork, maybe you can find a friend who will at least stroke the skin on that side of the body. The nerves in that region are not happy with the break, and I truly believe stimulating them at the surface (and the muscles) aids in the body’s calculations about healing. In week one, you’re waiting for what is essentially a big blood clot to form and solidify. By week two, fibrous materials starts to build in the clot, if things are going well. It really is based on fiber (fibrin) and the platelets will be too slick to build it quickly if you don’t have fiber in your diet. So in addition to your calcium (and a good source of protein), take your boron, try adding silicon and get some Vitamin D/sunshine – and fiber. Did you know that your body senses the levels of your calcium and sends out little cells to break down your bones if your levels aren’t high enough?
    On the surgery side, we’ve been told there’s a great clavicle doctor at UCLA, but we’re hoping we don’t have to avail ourselves of him.

  106. susan

    Hi again. I went for the second opinion, and the doctor said the location of the break, the distal clavicle is very hard to heal and also hard to operate surgically since there is not much to attach it to and the plate has to go underneath the shoulder joint and then 8 weeks later, removed surgically from the position. Plus I would have to have the bone graft. Here’s my question. If anyone out there had a distal break and had surgery, what technique was used? Any one used a screw? Was anyone’s break so far over to the shoulder that the remaining part of the clavicle was actually removed and not reattached? Also, any great doctors out there in USA who you would recommend for surgery on distal clavicle?

  107. Y.A.Brownson

    Hi all,
    28 yr old male here joined the BC club 6 weeks ago.
    Thanks Han for providing us broken collarbone sufferers with this page.
    here’s my story.
    I broke my left clavicle while playing in a soccer game, got tackled hard from behind and landed on the left shoulder viciously. Needless to say, went to the emergency room a couple hrs after the incident for xrays and check up.
    was sent home w/ a sling to wear.
    the xray showed the broken bone in 2 pieces and overlapping, see my picture here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/17290950@N07/1989684460/
    the first night I went to sleep ok, feeling a bit uncomfortable. btw, i almost passed out during the xray session in ER, that was probably the worst I felt during this whole ordeal.
    the first week went by ok, felt burning sensation around the shoulder an arm of the broken side when I moved wrong. I think this was due to the jagged pieces irritating the muscle or meat around the broken area.
    much of the same for the second and third week. had great arm movement already by the 10th day.
    went back for a 2nd xray after 3 weeks and showing no bone fusing yet, only bone growth extending out of the broken ends (rounding out). No more burning sensation, only feeling of tightness in the morning when I woke up.
    was able to go on a 15 day excursion to indonesia w/ my broken collarbone. which at this time I was able to leave the sling at home and let my left arm dangle free. No pain or discomfort.
    had another xray done at 4-5weeks mark and still showing no signs of bone fusing together, just more rounding out of the broken bones.
    I am now at six weeks mark and has been able to do pushups with feeling of pressure but no pain, the only thing cause me discomfort is doing dips. I have tried to do other light weight lifting, but has decided against it to let the bone rest some more. I have been jogging and resume to playing soccer again (very carefully). I have to say, I feel no pain but I can feel that my left clavicle are still in two pieces .
    I can still feel them not fusing and floating around during certain movement with my left shoulder. when I probe with my fingers, I do feel a gelatenous/muscle like strands building in the area where the two bones are overlapped. I am hoping this is the fibrous bridging every article i’ve read is talking about.
    at this point, it’s not the pain that’s killing me, but the thought of my bones of not fusing together (more of an emotional pain vs. physical pain). I think i’ve read every single article on the internet regarding broken clavicles.
    somedays I feel really encouraged and somedays I feel realy bummed out. its tough to keep a positive outlook when you havent experience this and see it play out to the end before.
    I don’t want surgery, but i do want my bones to fuse back up so it can be strong enough to do the stuff I use to do.
    perhaps I am not being immobile enough to let the bones heal properly, but like most of you I am way too active to just sit still for the past 6 weeks or so. i am not sure if this no pain thing is helping my healing process.
    I just wanted to share my story and perhaps someone went through the same thing I did and they can share their outcome.
    ps. my gf is really tired of me keep talking about my collarbone, so I thought to share my concerns with those who is or have gone through the same thing.

  108. COJ

    My doctor says that a figure 8 brace will just cause more problems because the strap goes right over the break there fir he said they are a bad thing to were.

    There are several types of figure-8 braces that allow for adjusting where the strap rests. It’s possible that the geometry of your break might hinder the use of a figure-8 brace. Or simply, the brace that your doctor has would not work. If your doctor feels it would not help your particular case and has made that decision honestly and without bias, then it’s good advice to follow.

    Hans

  109. susan

    I broke my left clavicle 9 weeks ago bicycling, and as of now, the doctor is calling it a delayed union. I have been reading your site and realized how i did not get good advice from my doctor. He told me to take it easy, but i’m a busy 50 year old with lots of stuff going on, so i continued to do food shopping and driving and etc. The sling was pretty flimsy and no one suggested a figure 8. I am so bummed thinking about the ski trip to park city utah this february which looks increasingly dim. Tomorrow I am going to get a second opinion. The original doctor recommended a bone stim machine, so i was wondering if anyone had any positive experience with it and how long it took to start the healing? Also, has anyone with a delayed union at 9 weeks ended up fully recovered without surgery? What are the odds? I have some pain at the site, but mostly I have pain down my shoulder blades and my neck because of cervical arthritis. Last question, has anyone successfully used acupuncture to promote healing, or chinese herbs? Thanks so much for any feedback you can give me.

    Susan

    Second opinions are always good to have. Your first doctor’s recommendation is common. It seems broken collar bones just aren’t that interesting to docs.

    There’s been a few reports that using a bone stimulator has helped. But it’s not a guarantee and insurance doesn’t always cover it.

    There are many factors that can delay healing. Sadly, age is one of them. The teenagers that comment are usually healing in weeks. Where the rest of us, as we age, take longer. Grrr. But healing can occur over time. Although it’s just not possible to say when and if you will heal.

    I can’t see why acupuncture wouldn’t be helpful to you. I don’t know if it would help the bones heal. But it can make you feel better by reducing tension and pain.

    Increased calcium intake is something I hear consistently recommended. I haven’t heard anyone mention Chinese herbs. Maybe there’s a combination that can help. If you find one report back.

    Hans

  110. Leslie

    OK, one last comment before I sign off.
    This past weekend, I went on my first bike ride since my crash.
    Yes, I was a bit nervous. I think the bike is fine since I was a good bike owner and took all the trauma to my shoulder. (I’m going to try to bring the bike in today to double check but it seemed to ride ok. The handlebar was bent inward a bit)
    My first ride was with a good friend and I rode in front. 20 miles and no pain. The next day, I rode with a group of 5 others – all cyclists I’ve rode with before and totally trust. I got in various positions in a very loose pace line. Again, a bit nervous as the light this time of year is so tricky and there was fair amount of debris on the roads. Again, 20+ miles and no pain.
    So – hang in everyone – but only with your non injured arm!
    Leslie

  111. Barry Friedman

    Following up with my post from April 14, 2007.
    ———-
    I got the pin out on 10/12/07 and it feels just great. See the pictures right here. http://tinyurl.com/2dsys9
    The surgery was a piece of cake. I got to the hospital around 8:15 AM and did all the pre-op stuff. Met the anesthesiologist who was going to put me out. Wheeled into the room and felt the second she added the good stuff into the mix because for about a minute, life is just pure magic. Man, if they could bottle that feeling and make it available at will, I can’t imagine we’d ever have another day of war.
    The she showed me the stuff she was going to add in that was going to put me to sleep. I felt it going in and I thanked everyone and wished them good luck.
    I started to panic a bit because I was still conscious and I was hoping they wouldn’t start the surgery while I was still awake. I told them my concerns, and then they kindly told me it was all over.
    Good drugs!
    So, as you can see by the pictures (http://tinyurl.com/2dsys9), it is very much out. I feel really good. The entry spot is a bit sore and I expect it will be for a couple of days. It’s been 2 days since the surgery and my wife removed the bandages today. I have about 5 stitches holding the incision closed.
    So now it’s over.
    What started as a great bike ride on 2/18/07 ended officially on 10/12/07 with the removal of the Rockwood Pin.
    As a side note, I am so damn happy that my surgeon was able to use the pin. I have seen more x-rays of the plate/screw thing and it is just so cumbersome. I don’t know if it is always possible to use the pin, but I am a huge fan.
    Happy healing everyone. Sorry we all had to meet this way :)
    Barry

  112. Leslie

    Haven’t checked in for a while. God bless you for this site. It gave me hope, helpful advice, and encouragement (as well as entertainment) for that miserable first 2 weeks.
    I am now at 5 weeks so here are my comments. Hope it helps someone else.
    - Do your pendulum swings as instructed. That’s the circles you make just using gravity. I don’t think I lost ANY range of motion!
    - If it’s a beastly hot summer – as some of you have indicated – baby powder under the arm, cold washclothing in between showers and cut vent holes in the sling. (Isn’t the design horrible!!)
    - DON’T TAKE Ibubprofen or any NSAIDs. This is a relatively new finding. Apparently, it inhibits bone healing. This is tough one b/c I think we need the anti inflammatory as well as the pain killer. ICE is a God send. It really numbs the area and calms down the inflammation. I still use occasionally.
    - Yes, increase Calcium and vitamin D (a tip I got from this website)
    - Loved the suggestion about putting the shirt on the “bad” arm first, poking your head through the collar part and then inserting the good arm. Very very helpful!
    - I was permitted to get on an exercise bike right away at the first visit (1 week later). I have a spin bike in my basement and can spin very well w/ one arm. I fact, I was pressed into teaching spin at 3 weeks! Still w/ one arm.
    - Keep the exercise up – walking, spinning, stationary biking – it helps prevent weight gain and gives you back some of those precious endorphins that you are missing!
    - After 3 weeks, I felt leaps of healing every morning. Some mornings, I still wake up w/ it aching. It does, however feel so wonderful to sleep on the side of the injury!
    - On days that I “overdo” it – i.e. maybe lift things I shouldn’t, I get a pinching pain when I move the arm a certain way. In these cases, ice does the trick.
    - My Doc did not have me wear the Figure 8 brace so I can’t comment on that.
    Bottom line, I have missed the most gorgeous Sept in history! But, I see the Doc Wednesday and am hoping for that “get out of jail” card. All my friends are asking me when I can “come out to play”. I heard that the bump you get (from the bone callus) is permanent. Not too bad. When it gets more prominant, I apply ice. Usually, the soft tissue is inflammed.
    Good luck, everyone!!!
    Leslie

  113. Midori

    Hans, thanks for the input, but there is no overlap (quite the opposite: my bone snapped at about a 45 degree angle and has not changed significantly)…I am wondering if anyone experienced narrowing when there is no overlap?

    Do you know if narrowing of the shoulder is temporary? For example, does wearing the sling for 5 weeks cause the deltoid muscle to tighten, and would this in turn lead to the shoulder narrowing? If this has happened to others, then would the shoulder return to normal width when the deltoid is rehabilitated?
    Or am I just grasping at straws here?

    All good questions that I don’t have answers for. They would be great to run past a doctor or physical therapist that specializes in athletes.

    Hans

  114. Midori

    Joe, glad to hear that you are healed. Is your limited shoulder rotation/flexibility normal and meant to return to 100% with rehab? Or is it due to a malunion? You might want to try swimming to strengthen muscle and improve flexibility…the water buoyancy should let you strengthen without stressing it like pushups/weights. Freestyle would help improve range of motion. My doc recommended starting off with breast stroke, though he hasn’t cleared me to begin doing it yet.

    If you find that you continue to have pain after doing all you can with rehab, don’t despair. My doc says you can have surgery, but I would exhaust all non-surgical avenues first, as surgery at this stage would be more invasive than if you’d gotten it immediately after the accident(eg grafts from hip to help stimulate bone growth in the clavicle, etc).

    QUESTION: did you heal with one shoulder narrower than the other?

    Mine hasn’t healed yet, and my left shoulder is now about half an inch narrower than my right shoulder. I’m worried how this might affect my swimming. To be honest, at this point, I’m regretting that I did not have surgery, but trying to keep hopeful.

    This can occur for a few reasons. For example, when the ends of the bone overlap or the angle of the bone changes. I don’t know if the change in your geometry will affect your swimming. A physical therapist or ortho doc that specializes in sports would be someone to consult.

    Hans

  115. Joe

    Thanks for the information Midori. I had a final X-ray which showed my clavicle was healed as far as bone formation. I had a single break in my right clavicle near the middle on roughly a 45 degree angle. My first X-ray showed the ends overlapped about halfway. Unfortunately, by the time the ends “stuck” they had shifted to where they barely overlapped. I think if they had shifted a bit more it would have been called a displaced fracture?
    In hindsight, I wish I had gotten a 2nd opinion from another ortho. I think general ortho’s are very conservative, although they might be correct. My doctor was concerned about infection, nerve damage, and complications from hardware. I don’t think the average doctor is up on the new Basamania/Duke pin procedures. Maybe that technology will be commonplace in 10 years. Or maybe it has been oversold.
    I also wish I had received a figure-8 brace to try. The cheap sling I was given was useless for me. It kept rotating and allowing my forearm to droop. I had more luck putting my thumb in between the buttons on my shirt to take weight off the shoulder area.
    I’m fortunate in that I can do all the activities I did before the accident. On the other hand, I can still feel tightness in my shoulder if I do pushups. Strangely enough, I played tennis a couple times and can serve as hard as I want without any after effects. I can also get a slight knuckle cracking type of sound if I rotate my right shoulder in a full arc (like a fast pitch softball motion). My range of motion is fine for any normal activity but I can notice a difference between my arms. I can put my uninjured left arm behind my back and reach up and touch the back of my head with my index finger if I tilt my head back. My right side won’t even come close.
    At my last visit the doctor said it might take up to a year for the new bone to fully harden. There seems to be a slight difference between healing and hardening. I’m over 40 so I’m sure I healed slower than a 20 something would. The pushup/bench press type of motion seems to put the most stress on a newly healed clavicle. Hopefully it will feel more comfortable as time goes on. I can do pull downs (lat machine) or pull back with heavy weights as well as I could before.
    Sorry about the long post. This is a good site.

  116. Midori

    This is for Joe, who was looking for a shoulder specialist in Akron/Cleveland area. I would recommend my ortho, Dr. Lippitt. He specializes in shoulders, clavicles, and elbow. Doc was great at explaining my options – much better than the first orthopedic surgeon that I visited.
    I broke my clavicle (in the distal third near the AC joint), elbow and ribs 4 weeks ago. (Doc advised I could get surgery for the clavicle now or try natural healing but there is a chance of nonunion due to size of displacement, or surgery later if nonunion results).
    I rolled the dice on natural healing and go back in a month to see if the glimmer of fuzz at my 4 weeks Xrays blossoms into fibrous tissue. I really hope I made the right decision in trying to heal with the sling because I am an avid swimmer and cyclist.
    ****************************************
    On June 16, 2007 11:10 AM, Joe wrote:
    Does anyone know a good shoulder specialist in Northeast Ohio (Cleveland/Akron area)? I broke my collarbone in early January and I’m still not at 100%. The original orthopedic doctor was dead set against any type of surgery. I would like to get a second opinion from someone who knows what they are doing.

  117. Dave

    Hi,
    Yeah, you’re right. Thanks for helping me get refocused. Your training program does what’s needed, maintaining the cardio. It’s a good plan. My doc is ok, I just listen for what I want to hear sometimes. He is ortho with a sports therapist background.
    With my figure-8, I may have had it on too tight. It’s a lot better now. I wear a Coolmax shirt underneath it. The stretchiness of the shirt makes it easier to get it off, and having something that dries quickly is nice.
    My wounds are more than just road rash. They are 3000-pound-truck-on-top-of-me-while-road-rashing, plus some sharp cuts from the undercarriage of the truck. I have 10 stitches, 4 of them in my knee, where the cut was deep enough that it was at the fascia. Any deeper and my knee joint would’ve been busted up. The other knee has the worst spot, where they wanted to stitch but couldn’t because there was no skin to stitch to.
    I believe my collarbone got broken from the differential of the truck hitting my shoulder as the truck rolled over me. I remember something hitting it right before I came out.
    I’m 9 days out from the accident now. Feeling stronger, and every day I can do more. It’s hard to tell the difference between the muscles being tight from being held so tightly, and actual bone movement if there is any. All I can do is wait for the next appt (2 weeks from accident) and see how he reacts.
    Thanks!

  118. becky

    I was trail riding my horse back aug 14th,she got scared and i woke up in a field,getting dark 1/2 mile from the road all i could do to get there. needless to say i was drug about 30yards through the woods. got to the er with broke clavicle 6-8 broke ribs, nerve damage down my right side, bruised kidney, abrasions all down my back they didnt see for 3 days! they wanted to do em surgery, but no insurance. maybe thats a good thing!still hurts really bad,my bone is sticking out and rubbing swelled up and still bruised. doctor wants to give me 6 months before surgery.

    i just cant do anything with my right side.

    any suggestions?

    thank you

    You might want to get a second doctor’s opinion. Also, if surgery is necessary it’s always better having it sooner rather than later.

    Hans

  119. Dave

    Wow, that’s quite a story Eric. I’ll include you in my prayers.

    I got an appt with an ortho on Thursday about my truck accident, and things look promising. It doesn’t look like I have a complete separation of the break. I got fitted for a figure 8, and that felt great. But lately I seem to get sharp pains near my underarm right where the brace touches. It may be skin irritation, pulling hair, whatever. It’s not near my actual break. Is this normal? Maybe I had it too tight at one point or something.

    Hans, thank you for the training schedule. Why is the mileage/time so low though? My doc said that I can’t do anymore damage to my break. Maybe it’s the type of break I have. But he was more concerned with my wounds from the accident getting infected with me sweating. My knees are torn up pretty bad.

    Underarm irritation is common with figure-8 braces. I partially solved that by placing a washcloth between the strap and my underarm. Also, adjusting the strap tension and position may also help.
    The training plan is meant to maintain fitness and not over tax the body. Remember that your body is trying to recover from a serious injury. Diverting energy from recovering to training isn’t what you want to do.

    I think the comment your doctor made about not doing any more damage to the break is misleading. You might not damage it more but you may hinder it’s recovery. Imagine having the bones just beginning to fuse together and then you jolt your shoulder and break the new bond. Others have posted their experiences making this mistake.

    Also, the concern about infection is interesting. You must have some serious open wounds. I’ve had plenty of road rash and cuts in my life and continued to exercise. I would think that if I am clean before exercising and then clean up (shower, bath) afterwards that my risk of infection would be low. You might consider finding another doctor for a second opinion. Hopefully one that is familiar with athletes.

    Hans

  120. Eric

    Well I broke my right clavicle 3 MONTHS ago. I wont bore you with all the details of the accident, I’ll just sum it up. I broke it on turn 7 at Virginia International Raceway on my GSXR 750 Sport Bike.
    MY first thought as I woke up and felt the bone sticking up was “well I guess I am headed for surgery” But The doctor said “No surgery, No big deal just leave it and it will find the other end and heal up”.
    Week one:
    What the heck happened????????? Did a truck just run over me?
    Along with the collar bone I hurt my right hip both wrists and had a concussion. Due to the hip I couldn’t even get up to go pee on my own. ( so much for any self esteem I once had )
    On top of that they didn’t tell me that the narcotics I was taking for pain would make me feel like I was craping a tree. (Read the warnings)
    But all in all I had good Moral on the first week because the Doctor made out like there was nothing really wrong with me at all. So I figured I was just a sissy and needed to get up and start going. (Helpful hint,,,,,, Sit Down and take it easy,,, you aint goin nowhere for a while)
    On a scale from one to ten the pain was about 8 all week.
    Week two:
    I got up long enough to get online and find this forum which gave me great hope.
    The hip was healing and I could now get up for short periods of time.
    My whole right upper half was green? My mood was still fair, although In my mind I figured I would be back to work in a couple weeks. (I am a heavy equipment tech, so heavy lifting is required) the pain had become more intermittent, but those Spasms hurt like crazy.
    My friends bought me a recliner at a local Good Will and I began sleeping in it. (I couldn’t get out of the bed on my own, so I had to wake my wife every time.) In the recliner I now had the freedom to get up and down as I pleased.
    Week three:
    Went back to the Doctor Who showed that the Xray looked worse than before.
    “Don’t worry, this is not unusual” He said. “we will tighten up the figure 8 and give you a sonic bone healing machine to use everyday” and said “see you in 3 weeks.”
    NO BETTER!!!! AAAARRRRRGGGGGG!!!
    Week 3 brought on my first of many Mass depression episodes. They would last from a few minutes to several hours. I am the main provider for my family and this was looking bad. How long before I could return to work? You can’t get help for a short term problem, It has to last at least 3 months. 3 Months!!!!!! I’ll be on a corner with a homeless sign.
    I increased my Calcium, Lysine, Boron and started really watching my diet. Only good foods, no junk food, little sugar and no Soda’s
    Week four:
    The Bone is still moving around freely. Most of the posts I read indicated less or no movement of the bone by week 4 so I was beginning to worry about the dreaded NONUNION.
    I focused on keeping the bone a still as possible all the time. My left hands only job was to monitor the broken bone and if it moved I was to quit doing whatever I was doing . I found that even walking caused some movement of the bone. (Because of the way my bone was sticking up you could feel even slight movement)
    Week five:
    The pain level was down. It was time to get the old heart rate up. I figured I can’t heal well if the blood isn’t pumping.
    So break out the stationary Bike and lets put some miles on, only about 10 miles a day at moderate tension for the first week while I get back into shape.
    The bone moved even when on the bike, but the doctor said it would not slow my healing if I didn’t do it too much.
    I could tell the bone still moved, but it wasn’t sliding around like it had been. It felt like it was at least trying to stick. Though I could feel it stick up and set back down. I thought it must be trying to heal.
    Week 6:
    Back to the Doctor
    I felt sure he would tell me it was healing and that I could return to work in a week or two.
    But the Xray showed no healing. I told him that I needed to get back to work soon, and if it was not going to heal we needed to do surgery.
    He sent me to have a ct scan on it to see if there was healing that the Xray couldn’t show.
    And the ct scan showed no real healing. Only a tiny callous trying to form (that was why it wasn’t moving quite as much)
    I said “Pin it” He said “No” Wait. He said most will show union by 12 weeks so keep using the bone healer and come see me in 4 weeks.
    Week seven:
    Put me out of my misery. I now focused on staying sane. Selling stuff on Ebay and doing anything I could.
    Still very careful not to move the bone around I started being MR. Mom. I could now drive because the Doctor took off the figure 8 brace. This was freedom that I loved.
    I took my son anywhere he wanted to go ( hey it gets me out of the house) But gas is high so after one week of that I saw I needed to stay home more.
    Week eight:
    Off for a second opinion. I went to sports medicine doctor that my supervisor set up for me.
    Hoping for a fresh perspective. He took more Xrays and looked at the ct scan, felt the bone and then said “Nope, there is no healing going on there.”
    I said “is it time for surgery?” He said “probably, but wait until the 12 week mark before condemning it to not heal on its own.”
    I asked “what do you think the odds are at this point that it will suddenly start healing?”
    He said “Its not impossible, but I am not holding my breath.”
    I went home now feeling hopeless. All agreed it probably wont heal, but none want to go ahead with the surgery.
    I really thought it was healing, but the evidence said no. It was not moving as much, and I was now doing light work with that arm. But I latter found out that most of the stability I felt in the bone was due to the muscle pulling it together and helping it hold. The only real healing I had was a tiny spot of callus growing on one end of the bone.
    Week nine: D Day
    I went back to my original orthopedic doctor. I kept him because he would be able to do the type of surgery I wanted If I had to have surgery.
    I had read here where there was a doctor here At Duke Medical center that had invented a new way to pin collar bones and had been having great success with it. People were flying in from all over the country to get him to do it. I tried to get him but the wait was another 2 months for him.
    I latter found out that my local surgeon had been at Duke when this doctor came up with this procedure and he knew how to do it.
    Anyway I went back to him and much to my surprise , he did not even flinch. He looked at my Xrays and felt the bone again, and said “well you can continue to wait if you want, but I think its time to pin it”
    “lets get on with it” I shouted, “the sooner the better”
    They set me up for surgery in 2 weeks.
    Week eleven:
    Tuesday Sept 11 2007
    Yes, my surgery was to be on the dreaded day of 9-11 but I just wanted it over so I could get on with life.
    The surgery was supposed to start at 11 a.m. Started at 2 p.m. I was supposed to be in my room by 3 p.m. but was left in corners and halls until 11:30 p.m.
    The initial pain was worse than the accident, but finally the next day at 11 a.m. They gave my some really good shot that dropped the pain way down so I could rest.
    My first bed didn’t work so they had to move me to another, and all the moving made me very sick, so the first 24 hrs was terrible, but I went home Wednesday at 4 p.m. And things got better.
    Week twelve:
    It has been a week since the surgery, and I am feeling better. I rode my stationary bike yesterday and again this morning. I was not able to do that for a few days due to feeling dizzy and having a low grade fever. The spot where they did the bone graft from hurts, but it is not as bad as some have said theirs were.
    I feel a renewed sense of positive moral. I hope the graft takes and soon I will be back to work.
    I will keep you posted, but I mostly wanted those few out there to know. If for some reason you are one of the unlucky ones that it doesn’t heal , or doesn’t heal right,
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train!
    By the way. The Xray looks great. The shoulder is just like it should be now.
    If you have the option, I would do the surgery sooner if possible.
    The worse part of mine has been that I felt fair before the surgery, but then they had to undo all the muscles that had healed and cut and stretch everything back out to the way it should have been. That puts you right back to ground zero . but, I have recovered faster than I did before.
    My thumb and index finger are a little numb, I will ask him about that tomorrow when I go in for my first post opp appointment.
    The Next day
    I just got back from my first follow up, and he has already taken me out of my sling and given me some simple therapy exercises to loosen the shoulder up.
    I hope this is nearing the end of this ordeal.
    I will re-post in a few weeks and let you know if the graft takes and how long.

    Great writeup of your experience. And what an ordeal! Glad to hear you are now on the road to recovery.

    - Hans

  121. David Hopkins

    Wow, this is nice reading for when we’re laid up. Thank you!!
    I was run over by a truck during a bicycle accident, now 3 days ago. You’d think that getting run over by a truck would get you an appt with your family doc and ortho, but apparently not, I don’t see anyone until next week. The ER doc was great though. I am just in a sling though. I am a triathlete, and am 7 weeks out from what was supposed to be my very first Ironman triathlon. Everyone pretty much counts me out for the Ironman, but I am still holding onto secret hope to do it. I don’t have to do well; I just have to finish under the cutoff times for each event. I was already ready before this occurred. The event is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run. Am I being unreasonable in holding even the slightest hope for this? Has anyone been able to do such a thing after 7 weeks? I know the doc is the only one that can tell how I’m doing, but I am really grabbing for any hope right now.
    I have the extra concern in that I have lacerations, bruises, and muscles strains on every part of my body from ear to ankle. So infection is a concern.
    I feel pretty good right now, I’ve done really well with keeping the shoulder still, and I am sleeping more comfortably now, with just Ibuprofen. The xrays from the event day look decent, like the bones butting, though certainly angled.
    I was supposed to do a half marathon (13.1 miles) this weekend (1 week out from injury). I would like to still do it, even if I have to almost walk it. I need to continue some type of fitness to have even the slightest chance at this IM. I read somewhere about someone duct taping their shoulder to run. That sounds like a decent idea but I don’t think I’ll do it even if only to avoid scathing remarks by family and friends. :-(
    I think I can swim 2.4 miles even if I miss all swimming during the 7 weeks. So the issue will be the one time 2.4 mile swim, and the running/cycling til then.
    Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you!

    I fully relate with your desire to keep fit and to remain active. But you need to think long term and avoid those thoughts of half marathons, runs, etc. while you are healing. Just one event like the half marathon (duct taped!) might set you back months.
    Luckily you don’t have to be totally sedentary to heal. My sports doc put together a stationary bike training plan. Take a look at the schedule here:
    Broken Clavicle No More!
    I’m a cyclist (Cat 3 road, Expert MTB, Masters A CX) and the workout kept me fit and able to continue racing a short time after the accident. Use the schedule as a reference and adjust it to your needs.
    My other recommendations are to get in to talk with a ortho doc. Fully explain your situation and that you are a triathlete. Explain what your expectations are when fully healed. It just might come down to an operation rather than trying to heal on your own. Finally, go to a physical therapist that has a good understanding of an athletes requirements.
    Let us know how it goes.

    - Hans

  122. Gary

    I am 12 weeks into very slow healing from a broken left clavicle – overlapping bone segments with a gap between them. X-ray last week shows a small area of bone formation/healing between the overlap at one end. Doctor says he is hoping that sliver of healing eventually spreads across the entire range of the gap and wants me to check back in six weeks. Question: he has instructed me to continue doing therapy for my shoulder by climbing a wall with my fingers/outstretched arm as high as I can go (about 80-85 percent of normal). I’ve been going up to a 90 degree angle with my shoulder but am concerned about doing this exercise any higher (raising my arm above my neck/head) as I have read that lifting your arm above your head can impede healing. Also, when I try to go higher, I get pain and feel pressure on the two overlapping bone segments. Should I avoid doing this exercise with my arm raised any higher than 90 degrees or should I go ahead and do it, as my doctor recommends? I’m confused and don’t want to do anything that might reverse the small progress I’ve made and impede future possibility of complete healing.

    The finger wall walk is a common therapy for shoulder injuries. I haven’t heard that raising your arm higher than 90 degrees will impede healing. But movement that leads to pain might be a problem. I recommend that you chat with your doctor about the pain you are feeling. Be clear about what you are experiencing and your concerns.

    Hans

  123. Robert Bestor III

    I broke my right clavicle 6 weeks ago. Front tire on my road bike blew out on a corner going downhill at about 37 mph. Not sure what type of break it was but six-plus weeks later I feel pretty good. I am 44 years old. I have almost 100% range of motion. In a few directions however I get some pain at about 95%. My question is this. How do I know when this thing is healed and I can go back to biking and soccer?

    The only way to know for sure is to have a doctor examine you. You may reach a point where you feel 100% but the bone hasn’t fully healed. But it sounds like you are close to being healed. Head to the doctor so you can get the a-ok to get back on the bike and to play soccer.

    - Hans

  124. COJ

    Broke my collar bone, 2 1/2 weeks i was better and back to doing everything i once did .. Im 15 …. The doctor said it would be 6 to 8 weeks so theres hope for everyone dont matter what the doctor says

  125. Mike O'Day

    Thanks so much Hans…Mike O’Day here, an earlier poster from early 2007…surprise, actually a physican myself 34 years..never wanted to prosletize/preach on your webpage in any way as a doc but only as a member of BCC…only wanted human experience from the BCC club..to help my recovery..and it did and gave me hope…I’m healed (bony union solid)..tho of course with about 95% range of motion at the left shoulder and normal strength..tx to dumbells and ROM exercises, vitamins D C Glucosame etc,luck and whoever cares to look at my earlier posts…THANKS HANS…OVER AND OUT

  126. COJ

    I am 15 years old and broke my left collar bone on a biking accident . I went to the Doctor and he put me in a sling and figure eight brace and tould me it would be 6-8 weeks befour it was healed. After 2 and a half weeks it felt fine so I went to the see the Doctor for a check up and he said that it was fine to take the brace off and I was healing fine. Now I am supposed to just take it easy for about 2 more weeks . I feel fine now just by times it is a bit tinder does anyone know how long this will take befour it feels complety normal ?

  127. Heidi

    Hi-I’m a 41 yr.old single mom. Back in 2004 while riding my then 10 yr. old daughter’s bike to meet her at bus stop WITH her scooter across the handle-bars(DUH),the scooter hit a telephone pole I’d passed a zillion times(LESS the scooter of course)stopping the bike-and shooting me about 10 feet thru the air where I landed in the street on my right shoulder.(I was coasting pretty FAST when it hit) OUCH! Being a mom, I was more concerned with getting the rest of the way to bus stop than with the agonizing pain I felt. Daughter and I went to E.R.,had Xrays(break very close to AC),got numbed,got the LOVELY figure-of-8(with NO instructions), was told to go home and rest. HA. Follow-up visits resulted in referral to Ortho, who insisted I should be feeling NO PAIN, and that if it was simply the “bump” that I did’t like, there really wasn’t much he could do. Saw several other Dr.s from same Ortho Dept.(This was County Hosp. as I was self employed and had no ins.,other than Medicaid) over a period of about a year. All the while, research, research…and hope and prayed my Provider directory would soon spit out ANY Orthopedic Dr! Finally I saw a surgeon who sent me for MRI-the next week I was having arthroscopic surgery to repair my SHREDDED Glenoid Labrum! Same Dr. said we’d address the obvious NON-Union after healing from surgery,and most likely would pin the bone…I was given 4 WHOLE visits w/ a phys.therapist who did NOT even want to provide therapy,due to the non-union,and stated such to Dr. Ins “politics” and expired referrals kept me from seeing this Dr.for some six months…when finally I did, he informed me that “it had been TOO long since the break, and that the ends of the bones at the break had rounded, making it impossible for him to repair” and that if I still had pain-it had to be NERVE damage.(!?)SO, he ref’d me to Neurologist. Neuro did EMG. NO damage at all. PERIOD.The END. Haven’t seen another Dr. since.I have absolutely NO CONFIDENCE in any Dr.s after this experience, which has left me unable to work and live any kind of normal life…I feel like MOST of the PAIN I feel daily comes from my SCAPULA, or under it or around it? All it takes to have it pop out(protrude) is a little housekeeping..wash a few dishes, etc…(Strangly-my daughter had argued with me in the E.R. as to WHAT should be hurting MOST-as she pointed out the PROTRUDING bloody scapula…I of course said WHAT SCAPULA?! Its my Clavicle!) I really don’t feel PAIN at the site of the break other that the horrific feeling I get when the two overlapped pieces PINCH the flesh inside.So use to all the pain I can’t really even rate it w/a # from 1-10. I have read WAY too many books in an attempt to Self-diagnose, and have a clear understanding of the shoulder and how it works…I am convinced that one or more of the muscles that attach to the scapula were torn in the accident…could this be possible? And if so, what TEST would show this type of damage? I was suppose to have a CT scan WAY back, but did not… What eases the pain for me(don’t laugh)I stand on my right foot only w/my back against a wall,lean in putting pressure on the scapula, and WALAAA!!(this also SEEMS to align the wacked clavicle SOMEWHAT. ANY BODY-any help would be appreciated! I live in Northern Cal, East Bay, and now have SSDI and Medi-Care(At 41!? :-() Supposedly – this should open up a whole SLEW of Docs for me to see…Thanks in advance-hope I didn’t put anyone to sleep! (Darn SCOOTER!)

  128. Nadav

    Hello, I’m a 17 years old male, I broke my collarbone 1.5 years ago while playing basketball, it was a clean break, in midshaft, it was cut into two, I think the break was severely displaced as I didn’t even see the bones from the outside, umlike the right side, my dominant side which you cansee the bones clearly, The doctor told me to wear a sling and that’s what I did, I don’t remember taking an xray righr before the break, I got an xray a week after it and the xray shows a 2cm overlapping and dislocation of the calvicle.
    I’m a sportman, my main sport is basketball, I really care about the cosmetics and broken side really looks bad, it has a bump and the shoulder looks real different from the right side, it’s shorter by 2 cm and it looks bad.
    The doctors didn’t even suggested a surgery, now I feel discomfort, I think about the shoulder 24/7. I feel stiffness, and I just want to be opted for surgery, is it a more complicated surgery to make at the moment after the bone has healed, than what it was before? before the two boned made a union? is it worth it? I just want to fix it, like it were before, is it possible? Guys, I really need your help, i’m young and I don’t wanna think about it whole my life… :(thank you.

  129. COJ

    I am sitting here with broken clav because of a bike accident and as I sit here and read alot of these broken clav bones are form people crashing a bike like me. Who would of thought doing something so easy could be so dangrous ??

  130. mike

    Its been 3 days now. First time in the morning that it has felt set. last night it felt like spaghety in the wind(always moving) dang the morning pain. I still dont know how to properly hold my arm. currently 50 degree angle w/ palm just above belly button. Cant see edge of elbow..tucked a little to the right…right clav broke

  131. mike

    broke my yesterday. Doc says that it is not a clean break…one of the ugliest ones that he has seen. Does this mean surgery for me? If I wait a week and it feels somewhat ok ..that means I am good to go?

  132. Randy

    I wouldn’t count on the 3 weeks unless you’re younger than 18 and it’s only a slight break with no overlapping or displacement. And even after the bone pieces heal back together you have to work on rehabbing the joint and muscles which have locked up in muscle guarding and gone through some atrophy from disuse.

  133. COJ

    How long will it take to heal a broken collar bone?

    If you take a look through the comments and replies above and those on the other pages linked at the top you will find your answer. You question has been asked many times. Sorry to tell you but there’s no way to know for sure. Each person is unique in how they have been injured and how they manage healing. It might take you two or three weeks or it might be a year. Your doctor is going to be the best person to answer your question. On a good note, since you are young there’s a good chance you will heal quick.

    Hans

  134. Randy

    I broke my left clavicle 11 days ago while bike riding. I recently switched my offroad tires for smooth tires. A car was coming up behind me and when I moved over to the gravel on the side of the road, my new tires were extremely unhappy about it and I subsequently went tumbling. From the Xrays the break hardly looks displaced at all though there is one fragment piece of bone broken off. The hospital sent me home with a sling and a vicodin prescription. I wore the sling and hardly moved the arm for the first week. Over the past 3 or so days I’ve been wearing the sling some and going without it some. I guess I was hoping to keep it from getting too stiff and keeping mobility in the shoulder. I hope I don’t end up messing up the knitting together of the bones by trying to use it too much. Maybe I should go back to hardly using it at all again for the next week or so?

    I hate not being able to do physical things. I was bike riding a lot before the fall and doing lots of push ups. Also I am a massage therapist, so threats to my livelihood like this are bad. I also like to play rugby but I have a feeling that it would be best to wait quite a while before trying to make a comeback to that … Something I am curious about and interested in is how much massage work of the muscles and shoulder area would be ok for me to perform on myself. It’s kind of fascinating and an opportunity for a learning experience in some ways because I get instant feedback for myself as far as discomfort or pain in response to massage techniques I do on myself. I might wait another week or so before trying anything else, but I am thinking that doing what massage that I can could be a big benefit for the nutrition of the areas and in keeping better muscle and joint range of motion and mobility. Not to mention the kinked up fascial sheaths and muscle tightness and knots I am able to work out in my back and shoulder which seems to help a ton with my comfort levels and posture.

    I am really concerned with when I will be able to get back to being able to give deep pressure, sustained massage again. I love massage and am extremely passionate about it and am really bummed out about not being able to work on people for a while.

    I guess what you are asking boils down to asking ‘when you will be healed’. And that’s the tough question. It took me a month before I could start applying any kind of heavy pressure to my shoulder. And even then it felt weak. I would recommend talking with your doctor about this concern. You might also consider a consultation with a physical therapist.

    Hans

  135. John

    Broke my collar bone after flying over the handle bars of my bike. Blasting down a hill while trying to put my water bottle back in its cage I feathered the brake but it locked up. Stupid me front brake. In one second The bike flipped me breaking my clavicle and fracturing three ribs. Lots of pain. Three weeks passed right arm in a sling but feeling much better. But move the wrong way and your body reminds you its not feeling to well.

  136. Danny

    I just broke my left clavical yesterday the 26. i broke it doing karate hit the ground really hard with some of the weight from my partner on me. (its no fun typing with one hand or doing anything with one hand) at the hospital they gave me a sling and some pain killers. im 16 this is my first bone break it doesnt really hurt but its un coforatable. im a very let me stress very athletic person. so its very difficult for me to sit around all day. so please let me know what i should expect.

  137. COJ

    I recently broke my collar bone on Sunday and so far have not had harldy any pain only one the first night i had some and none sence then. I am 15 does any one know how long it will take to heal? I am wering a sling and a figur 8 brace.

  138. Charles

    Hi my name is Charles. I broke my left clavicle while doing some MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I was going over a wrestling move with this kid. He landed on me the wrong way and I heard a loud snap and I knew something was wrong with my shoulder.

    My first question was, when is this crap gunna heal so I can train some more. I love cage fighting. Ive been doing it for 2 1/2 years and this is the first time I’ve ever been injured.

    Went to the hospital, said it was a clean break (non-union). Xrays looked scary, one part was under another. Went to the ortho and he said I needed surgery… what a bummer. Said 6-8weeks maybe more. I was so pissed. I was in the best shape of my life and I was helping other people at my school train for their fights.
    So had the surgery was kinda nice… doc said count to 10-1. I made it to 8. Then I woke up and it was done! Too bad it isn’t the same for the healing process.

    Its about 2 weeks after the surgery. Haven’t used pain meds since the first couple of days after the surgery. However, now I am getting feeling back in my shoulder and it feels like the bone doesn’t belong there. It just feels foreign. ANYONE else have this feeling???

    Also I’m nervous about breaking the plate. I’ve been pretty good about keeping it in the sling. Just DON’T want to get surgery again… post surgery SUCKS! I wanna get back to training as soon as I can and as strong as I can. SO i want the bone to heal.

    kinda hard to sleep sometimes, cause Im a side sleeper…

    Any advice on the plate breaking? I just don’t want it to happen, but Im paranoid that it has happened for no real good reason… lol

    There have been a few mentions on this site from folks breaking their plates. The most likely culprit is movement and flexing of the plate. Sort of like when you bend the wire of a paperclip back-and-forth. It weakens and finally breaks.

    I would recommend you talk with your doctor about your concerns about your plate breaking. That will be the best person for information about your specific plate and concerns.

    Hans

  139. Ted

    LISTEN UP! 40 years ago I had my collar bone broke. Back then it was placed in a cast that went around the back and chest and under and over the shoulder etc. It healed perfect. They don’t do this anymore.Why? They let the shoulder heal disformed. Why? Because they don’t give a damn that’s why. You tell me. They should be ashamed to call themselves doctors.

  140. lisa

    hey there i broke my collar bone 2 days ago in a major car ccıdent the car flipped 6 times im lucky to be alive i have broke the bone completly in half an cracked my shoulda, i am currently in the TRNC but i am british they sed they will not opperate for cosmetic reasons because im only 16 they put a clavical bandage on me but i m scared it will not heal and it is very painfull do i do exercises or what please let me know many thanks lisa.

  141. LD

    Hans, your site is great. I posted earlier about my son who broke his collar bone on April 2/07. He had surgery April 18th to have the collar bone plated. His surgeon has now given him the all clear and he has the option to have the plate removed down the road. I would appreciate any advice re the pros and cons to removal of the plate. Thanks.

  142. Mike

    Hi & thanks to Hans and all contributors here…I have learned so much from all of you. I broke my right collarbone 12 days ago on 6/9/07 when my road bike disappeared from under me on a moderatley high speed 90+ degree turn…best guess is that my front tire was worn…first crash in 17,000 miles / 3 years so I know I’m lucky. I’m 52.
    I’m at the point after emergency room & 2 very good docs reviews that I’ve decided to get plated & screwed (all innuendo intended). Break is displaced by over an inch from several angles with 2 or 3 floating chunks o’ bone…middle section. Like all of you I really want the fastest but most accurate recovery. Surgery is 50:50, my choice, with one doc and preferred by the other.
    Current issue is that I have to choose the doctor… the surgery methods don’t seem to be a differentiating factor….post op treatment seems to be the biggest difference:
    One, extremely highly regarded shoulder specialist who helped me with a very successful elbow repair a couple of years ago says I’ll be in a sling for 4-6 weeks…no use!…and won’t do any significant sporting activity…bike, golf, ski…for 6 months after surgery (operation will be 3 weeks after crash and I’m already crazy with inactivity).
    The other doc, new guy to me but seems smart…cuz you all helped me be smarter… with a little less experience and reputation, says I’ll go home with no sling or figure 8 and might be biking in 4-6 weeks. I like his perspective…exercise/use based recovery, let pain be your guide. Plus, I live alone and drive 2 hrs / day to work.
    To the best of my knowledge, the 1st doc has done more shoulder work than new guy.
    I want to do the fast track, thinking that I can always slow down…while speeding up the conservative approach is less likely. In the long run, how stupid, risky, careless is the faster method than the slower one?
    Any and all advice, experiences and opinions are welcome (although I have to make a decision within days).
    Thanks!
    Mike

  143. Joe

    Does anyone know a good shoulder specialist in Northeast Ohio (Cleveland/Akron area)? I broke my collarbone in early January and I’m still not at 100%. The original orthopedic doctor was dead set against any type of surgery. I would like to get a second opinion from someone who knows what they are doing.

  144. Lucy

    Hey any advice gratefully received! I broke my right clavicle on the 11.11.06 ( run in with cow) and have been in a fair bit of pain and weakened ever since. Had a x ray 2 weeks ago which shows ‘fracture midshaft clavicle. Position has deteriorated since last x ray of 11.11.06 with considerable overlap apparent now. Healing (scar tissue) is occuring.’
    Interstingly I was given the all clear at the fracture clinic and then went on to have physio throughout December/Jan.
    Orphadic specialist now says it needs plating, possible graft etc… As I need strength to help on the farm ( feeding cattle/ tractor driving etc) and also play footie it is apparently the only way I will recover strength.
    Please can anyone advise on their experinces of similar operations, recovery etc? All sounds v scary at the moment.
    Thanks

  145. Arieh

    I joined the club three weeks ago when i had a mishap paragliding. I tried to take off from a hill near my house when a back wind blew me down forward and my shoulder dug into the earth. i thought the crack was my helmet busting, but alas after two weeks, the surgeons said the break was so traumatic that it was not likely to heal properly. we decided to give it another 4 weeks.

    my question is this. what are the effects of having a non union? does it prevent movement? does it feel uncomfortable? do we need the clavicle as one piece? please let me know, because i can already feel the pain leaving me and my motion returning. Arieh

    According to what I have heard and read, it’s possible to have a non-union and have a no problems. But it also depends on your lifestyle. If you are very active and require the support and use that the collar bone provides then it’s possible you will have problems or be hindered by the non-union. For example, if you perform physical activities like rock climbing, swimming, or perform heavy manual labor. That is why it’s very important to be clear with your doctor about your lifestyle and what your expectations are when healed.

    Hans

  146. Mark V

    I became a member on November 18 2006 around 10:30 am. A friend and I were on our way to Lookout Mountain MT.for the first day of snowboarding. The first few runs were ok, the snow was a bit crusty on top,but was softening as the sun rose. On the fifth run we took a somewhat steep run and I usually tend not to go as insanely fast as possible so I kinda got out of my “comfy zone” at least as far as speed goes, I caught an edge on my left and it dumpped me on my right shoulder (I ride goofy foot.) Nonetheless, I heard not one crack/snap, but lucky me I got two for the money! When I tried to get up to where I had lost my hat and glasses I found that there was absolutely no strength in my right shoulder area and the pain that followed from trying to push myself up was intollerable, however we made the almost 2 hour ride home. Finally in the emergency room they take X-rays and tell me that this is a very bad break,(one doctor said this was the worst he’d ever seen.) As I have read here its probably no surprise that I was given the usual 6 week recovery time. I couldn’t wait that long to go back to work, so I went back 1 1/2 weeks later. At first I was stuck in our warehouse unboxing furniture, but within 3 months I was back out delivering some of the heaviest furniture man can make. My right clavical is quite strong, but I decided not to go boarding the rest of the season to allow it to fully heal. As for physical therapy, the doctor didn’t see the need unless I felt it would benefit me, I didn’t. I still don’t have 100% range of motion, more like 85-90% still not bad for a double break.

  147. LORNE

    HELLO
    I WENT YESTERDAY FOR MY 4 WEEK X-RAY AND THE DOCTOR SAID I WAS HEALING BUT I NEEDED TO COME BACK IN 4 MORE WEEKS FOR ANOTHER X-RAY BEFORE HE CUT ME LOOSE! HE TOLD ME NOT TO LIFT MORE THAN 25 LBS AND NOT TO LIFT ANY OVER MY HEAD OR BENCH PRESS AND NO FREE STYE SWIMING YET!
    FOR ANYONE BREAKING THE COLLAR BONE BE PATIENT THE PAIN WILL LEAVE FASTER THAN YOU THINK JUST DON’T BE CRAZY! PROTECT AND KEEP IT IN YOUR MIND AT ALL TIME’S FOR 1 MISHAP CAN SET YOU WAY BACK!
    I WILL WRITE BACK IN 4 MORE WEEKS AFTER X-RAY!

  148. Val

    Hi,
    I broke my collarbone 12 days ago after my horse fell down in wet grass(first ride on him after just bringing him home…figures!!) On days 9 & 10 it was feeling much better but it was still moving around. (I am in a sling, but wrapped pantyhose around my wrist too make it less mobile.) I was more active on those two days (cleaning, walking etc). Yesterday I slept with my head leaning to the right and for all day I felt like I had a HUGE painful muscle spasm. It started hurting ALL over again to the point of tears. I went back to barely sleeping in the chair and using the vicodin. Today the muscle spasm is gone but it hurts like during the first week but it isn’t moving around. Like whenever I take a deep breath. Has anyone healed this way?? I feel like I did too much but also, maybe it found a better spot and stopped moving. I hope I still have a window to heal in still. I am not doing anything…just watching them build my new riding arena…….THIS SUCKS!!!!!!!

    Muscle spasms are common. I would have them on and off as I healed. Give yourself time to heal. Yes, waiting “sucks” but prolonging the injury is worse.

    Hans

  149. Toby Stoneburner

    Hey everyone just posting on my last visit to the doctor, he said after a long period of time looking at my collar bone xrays he said that i didn’t break my collar bone just dislocated it. It was hard to tell if i broke it for them because my collar bone was pointing into my chest. He also said that if i don’t move it and keep wearing my sling i will avoid surgery and should be back to about 90-95% of what i was. also said i can ride motorcycles still. But he said that i have to turn my adrenline and speed knobe down a bit. So to everyone that gave advice thank you and everyone else take care. I see the doctor again in 3 weeks and start physical therpy hopefully and i will post on how my vist went.SEE YA

  150. ron keith

    My story is this. I broke my clavicle in a biking accident in April/05 and it tented in the shoulder. It was visible through a shirt. Eventually there was complete dissocation of the AC Joint which resulted in great pain to the muscles of the shoulder. One physio said that it was the most damaged clavicle in 30 years. I had a great surgeon who only agreed to operate when the AC Joint became useless.
    Physio took a long time and it is boring but it so important to find a good physio and conscientously do the exercises that she/he assigns. Although I have kept the plate the shoulder is comfortable.

  151. ron keith

    I had clavicle surgery 18 months ago. I had a plate installed. the outcome of the surgery has been good. I experience little discomfort in that shoulder. But the manufacturer of the plate recommends having it removed. Should I undergo a fairly simple operation to have it removed or should I be content to leave well enough alone?

    Any surgery has its risks. If the plate isn’t bothering you then I would leave it alone. If at a later time something changes then consider having it removed.

    Hans

  152. Gary

    Just updating my March 13 post. I’ve had a bone stimulator now for two months. Unfortunately, the xrays are showing little if any improvement (still a small gap between the bones). On the other hand, the doctor was surprised that there was no decay in the bone or the plate either. He’s never run into this situation before and suggests that I keep up with the bone stimulator and avoid surgery (with bone graft) until necessary (i.e., the plate breaks). My arm itself feels fine (outside of direct pressure on the break), so its frustrating to continue to be told to take it easy and not participate in group sports. Anybody know of any other things I should be looking into?

  153. David Jones

    5 days ago I was 75.6 miles into a century when I became a club member. We had a pace line going because of a very stiff head wind. I went over the handlebars when the guy in front slowed down and I clipped his rear wheel on a narrow path..Left oblige clavicle Fx. 2/3rds in the middle.

    I’m fortunate to have found this site, it has helped me so much. I’m 65 years old… am I the oldest so far?
    Hans, do you Know where I can find a sling like you had… with velcro straps for the upper and lower arm. I’m not having much luck searching the Internet. Thanks

    Sorry to reply late. Just back on-line after a long vacation.

    I found the follow site doing a google search:

    http://orthobionics.net/Shoulder-supports.php

    They have many styles of supports including the type you are looking for. I haven’t dealt with the company so I can’t vouch for it.

  154. LORNE

    STONEBURNER
    WHEN I WAS 15 I HAD A VERY BAD MOTORCYCLE WRECK AND THE DOCTORS TOLD MY DAD TO START MAKING THE ARRANGEMENT’S FOR BURIAL!HE REFUSED SO THE DOCTOR’S SAID IF I DID LIVE I WOULD NEVER BE RIGHT! THANK GOD THE DOCTOR’S ARE NOT THE AUTHOR OF LIFE!MY BODY CAME BACK AND ALLOWED ME TO DO ANYTHING I EVER DESIRED AND THEN SOME!
    HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH FOR THIS TO SHALL PASS!

  155. Jason D

    Hi, just popping in to give some information.
    My break is slowly healing well, but needs a further 6 months to fill in and a year to become strong.
    I wasn’t able to have surgery, but would have opted for it if I had this information. So, this is for those living in Melbourne, Australia visiting this site.
    This surgeon should be able to help you with pinning or plating.
    http://www.orthopaedicsvictoria.com.au/martinrichardson.htm
    Best of luck!

  156. Rupert Morgan

    i smashed my collarbone in to 3 when i dropped my bsa scrambler at a meeting ,i got back on and started my bike and rode half the track to get to the saint johns medic ,i had it plated a few days latter ,my recovery has been very good and quick i would say get it plated if you can ,like some one else on the forum i have had burning pain on my chest ???? my only question is im wanting to get back on my bike and i also ski what will happen to my collarbone if i fall on it again ,my doctor has toll me the plate is approx 125mm long !

  157. Melanie

    Surgery went well yesterday. Still doing a bit of recovering today, but feel much better. Doctor said it will be 6-8 weeks before I can start lifting in the gym again…a fact I’m NOT happy with, but what are you gonna do? They were able to go in through the same incision as before, so now I have a sexy scar and a cool chick-on-a-dirtbike story to go along with it! :)
    Hope everyone is doing okay and starting to feel a little better each day.

  158. Toby Stoneburner

    HI STEVEN,
    My break is pretty bad if you haven’t read my last login. But mine has been broke for almost 2 weeks now and i feel 100%. I think your problem is that you have been moving your shoulder to much, your actually not suppose to move it at all so your collar bone can heal properly. Also make sure that you get calcium and vitimin D, I’ve been drinking Florida Orange Juice with Calcium and Vitimin D. Just try to help another Bro in motocross. GO BIG OR GO HOME.

  159. Steven

    I broke my collar bone three weeks ago in a motocross accident. I have only been able to see a doctor one time and that was at the time of the accident. this is the good military medicine treatment here. Anyways like i said its been three weeks and i do have a decent amount of motion in my arm just not about the shoulder. there is a steady grinding of where the bone fracture is and i do not feel like it is healing. I have been in a sling for the most part of the time. Is there any suggestions or comments that anyone has on my healing process.

  160. Toby Stoneburner

    TO Melanie and anyone else,
    I hope your surgery goes perfect for you, as for me I’m going to be down for the rest of the season hopefully not forever I’m only 24. The big problem with my break is the dislocated collar bone by my chest only because I blown out all my tendons, ligiments, and cartilige that hold my bone in place. The doctor said that the only thing that will hold it in there is scaring tissue and one more bad crash could hit my aorata and kill me because i really have nothing strong enough to keep it it place. Hopefully I can work it enough to build up some stronger tissue. The thing that really sucks is I just dumped over $800 into my CRF 450R for this season and and doing really well in the B class of AMA D14. So if anyone has advice for me please email me @ tjs832rider@hotmail.com, and I will reply as soon as posible because doctors arn’t always right.THANKS EVERYONE

  161. Melanie

    Hi all…posted back in Sept when I had my 2nd surgery on my severly broken collar bone. Posting again because I go in for surgery tomorrow to have the plate and screws removed!! Yay!! So excited. AND…doctor’s gonna shave the bone down to make it flatter like my other side is. (I’m a pretty thin girl, that’s why they didn’t just let it heal on it’s own)
    Of course, I can’t wait to get back on the dirtbike, although I may stay away from the combination of alcohol + car ramps…hmm….anyway, another story for another time. Thanks to everyone who’s posted on here – nice to know I’m not the only one!
    TO TOBY – Don’t let them tell you you can’t ever ride moto again!! A lot of healing is mental, don’t forget that.

  162. Toby Stoneburner

    On april 29 I broke my right collarbone and dislocated it by my chest blowing out my joint and nearly hitting my aorta vessal, i have a hemotoma between my chest plate and heart, poped blood vessals, broke a bone in my left hand and a bunch of road rash. from jumping a 85 ft. tripple for practice in motocross. The doctor said as of right now I will not be able to ride again. If and one has had this same break and dislocation by the chest please let me know so my passion for motocross isn’t down the hole in one day from a crash.

  163. LORNE PRINCE

    I AM IN DAY 15 SINCE MY BREAK! THE DOCOTOR SAID LET PAIN BE MY GUIDE! I FEEL GOOD AND AS LONG AS I DON’T GO UP TO HIGH! NO POPING OF THE BONE’S OR PAIN! IT IS THE 6th AND I DON’T GO BACK THE OP UNTIL THE 24th! (I NEED SOME ADVICE )I WOULD LIKE TO START SOME KIND OF REHALB ! ANY ADVICE PLEASE

  164. LORNE PRINCE

    38 YR OLD MALE!
    SCUBA DIVING TRIP!
    ME AND 9 OTHER’S CHARTED A SAIL BOAT AND 5 CREW MEMBER’S OUT OF MIAMI PORT HEADED FOR BAHAMA’S FOR 7 DAY 5 DIVING! 1st NIGHT OUT SEA’S WERE 8ft!WENT IN THE GALLEY TO GRAB A SEAT AND BLAM A HUGE WAVE HIT THE BOAT AND I CRASHED INTO A SUPPORT BEAM WITH MY COLLAR BONE INSTANTLY BIG BALLS OF SWEAT CAME UP ON MY HEAD AND PAIN BEGAN! EVERYONE WAS EITHER SEA SICK OR TRYING TO KEEP THE BOAT AFLOAT SO I JUST WENT TO MY CABIN AND TOUGH IT OUT!
    THE NEXT DAY I WAS IN A ALOT OF PAIN BUT IN MY MIND I HAD EXERCISED EVERY DAY(EVERY MUSLE) FOR A YEAR AND ALSO THE MONEY I HAD SHELLED OUT I WAS GOING TO DIVE(MISTAKE)AFTER COMING UP I INFORMED THE CREW I NEEDED A DOCTOR!WENT IN A DINGY BOAT TO CAT ISLAND DOC WAS AT THE BAR WE THEN WENT WITH HIM TO THE CLINIC(NO X-RAY THERE)HE GAVE ME A SLING AND SOME PILLS AND SAID I NEDED A X-RAY! SURE ENOUGH THE PILLS DID HELP THE PAIN AND I THOUGHT I COULD CONTINUE THE TRIP(WRONG) PILLS WORE OFF! TOLD CREW I NEEDED A X-RAY THEY TOLD ME THEY WOULD TAKE ME TO BIMINI NEXT DAY!
    MADE IT TO THERE AND THEY HAD NO X-RAY MORE PILLS AND THAT I NEED A X-RAY! HAD TO BUY ANOTHER PLANE TICKET HOME FOR I HAD FLEW INTO MIAMI AND WAS IN BINIMI$$$$$ I KNEW I COULD NOT CONTINUE THE ONLY CHOICE I HAD! MADE IT HOME AFTER 3 CONNECTIONS AT DIFFERENT AIRPORTS( ALABAMA)WENT STRAIGHT TO ER WHERE THEY TOLD ME IT WAS A BROKEN COLLAR BONE MORE PILLS AND A BETTER SLING AND TO SEE OP! WENT TO OP MORE PILLS AND LET PAIN BE MY GIUDE!
    FOR WHICH IS AGAINST EVERYTHING I HAVE TAUGHT MYSELF NO PAIN NO GAIN! ANYTHING HURT FOR ABOUT 10 DAYS!IN DAY 12 SINCE THE BREAK AND I AM FEELING MUCH BETTER AND AM NOT IN THE SLING FOR 1ST TIME BUT NOT FOR LONG FOR I AM GOING TO PROTECT IT ATLEAST 4 WEEKS LIKE THE DOC SAID!
    I HAVE PRAYED AND THANK GOD FOR MY HEALING EVEN BEFORE I HAVE SEEN THE 4 WEEK X-RAY!
    THANKS FOR KEEPING THIS SITE GOING IT TELLS U MORE THAN THE DOCTOR’S! AND I REALLY HAD ALOT OF UNANSWERED QUESTION’S! JUST WISH I HAD FOUND THIS SITE LIKE ON DAY 1 OF THE BREAK!
    PS
    WILL LET U KNOW ABOUT THE 4 WK OUT X-RAY

  165. LD

    My son broke his collar bone on April 2/07 riding his bike. I found your link and it has been very helpful. My son’s break was considered a bad one, he had a huge bump and you could see the bone sticking up in two places. The collar bone was displaced and overlapping quite a bit. After wearing a sling for two weeks surgery was recommended as the best alternative which he had done on April 18th. He is coming along great and didn’t have to wear a sling at all after. I don’t even think he will have much of a scar. The surgeon has said he can use his arm but NO heavy lifting for at least six weeks. So he will see the surgeon again at the beginning of June to see if he has the green light to (as the Surgeon put it) go wild. He can’t wait to get back on his bike again! I’ll post again later but based on the way his should looked pre surgery to after I would recommend surgery for bad displacements.

  166. ZAC

    Hey Curtis, here is a very interesting article published on E medicine:

    http://www.emedicine.com/orthoped/topic50.htm

    A few key points to note from this article is

    “No proven benefit of any specific technique of immobilization exists, so the choice of immobilization should depend on the comfort and functional demands of the patient”

    Basically this states that as long as your shoulder is immobilized there is no proven difference between a figure 8 brace and just a sling, hopefully this helps those struggling with the figure 8.

    True, although consider that a sling and figure-8 immobilize the shoulder in different ways. The figure-8 immobilizes the shoulder more than a sling and can hold the shoulder aligned. With only a sling I found my shoulder slumping forward and out of alignment. Not what I wanted when the bones started to fuse. Also, with only a sling I would sometimes reach with my bad side, move my shoulder, and generate instant pain. Wearing the figure-8 would restrain me when I made the same motion.

    Btw – There are many options for shoulder restraints. Here’s a site from a quick search

    http://orthobionics.net/Shoulder-supports.php

    that has slings, figure-8s, and other supports.

    Ill have “real” results of this in a couple of months when hopefully i can inform everyone here of effects and results ive had of just using a sling, will keep you posted.

    The article also states (specifically for you Curtis)..

    “Crosby et al examined a subset of clavicle fractures in which initial shortening of the fracture was greater than 2 cm. They found a high rate (15%) of nonunion in this population. Additionally, final shortening of more than 2 cm was associated with unsatisfactory results. Open reduction and internal fixation of these injuries is recommended for patients with displaced middle third clavicle fractures with greater than 2 cm of shortening”

    so as far as advice goes read the whole article to put that last statement in perspective… then get another medical opinion…the fact that you’re 25 puts odds in your favour so ide guess that youde be of the 85% of over 2cm fractures that do heal naturally, but im not a doctor. As for scars.. girls love them!..ZAC, Olympian in Training

    Ha! Yes, showing off scars and telling the stories is always good fun.

    Hans

  167. Curtis Lowe

    Hi Everyone – Thanks to ZAC for his post, as I almost threw up reading everyones post, thinking the worst. I also have an overlap from my compound break, but mine is almost 4cm! The x-ray looks like the letter Z – with a 3cm piece rotated beyoned vertical, and with the bones on either side almost overlapping. My shoulder is visibly less broad than the other and my back feels like it’s cinched up on the right side. I was certain i would need surgery and went to my ortho (he’s seen me for about 4 seperate broken bones and 2 ACL surgery) who I trust pretty well. He looked at the x-ray for maybe a minute, chided me on my bad luck and said I’d be fine in 3 months. Gave me a fig. 8 and said to come back in a month. I asked about surgery and he said that I may be borderline since it’s almost comming out of the skin and there is overlap, but that if I was his son, he’d make me try to heal on my own first. That “if you were my Son” thing really got me.
    I’ve been ablsolutely freaking out the last few days, as everytime I get up in the morning and brush my teeth – my mind tries to wrap around the crushed in shoulder and how it’s going to work with the clavicle being so much shorter…
    Do you have any advice or any explaination of what my Doc. is thinking? How will it work being so much shorter? I am very active and am in good shape – I surf, swim, skateboard, am 25 and not worried about scars from surgery (not that I like going under for surgery) but I won’t be able to handle losing my swimming strength. Also, the doc said he’s done the surgery many times.
    Thanks and great site you have here!
    -Curtis in Florida

  168. ann brown

    i broke my left clavical on feb 22, they told me it was a 200% break, so i had surgery on feb 28, a plate and 6 screws.
    i was in sling for one month and then i was back to using it with no pain, then after 7 weeks i started biking again and it started to hurt and it felt like something was grinding in the break.
    i went to get new x-rays only to find that the plate is pulling out at one end and the bone has actually moved from the place it was set at time of surgery.
    the doc now wants to do another surgery and put a longer plate in and also bone graft from my knee.
    not sure what to do.
    i was told i could go back into my sling for another month and try bone stimulator and see it this works.
    any advice on which i should do? surgery again or bone stimulator?
    i’m not adverse to either, just want to be out of this pain.
    thanks,ann

    I’ve heard that bone stimulators can help. It might be worthwhile to try that for a month before having to go through surgery again. Also, you will probably need to stay away from any activities (e.g. biking) that will move or stress the bone. Talk with your doctor and don’t hold back with the questions about what you should and should not do.

    - Hans

  169. Zac

    Hi all!24 year old soon to be Olympian. i wont bore you with how i broke my collar bone, its 3 weeks since the accident(2nd collar bone break for me), middle third. I have had two brothers both break their collar bones both of which healed quickly and naturally, my youngest brother 16 didn’t use a figure8 or a sling, although i do not recommend it(he was young and healed quickly). my oldest brother did use a figure 8 and swears against it, saying the muscle wastage because of it was way too much and that the restricted circulation to his arm caused all sorts of problems from numbness to pain(the ortho at the hospital here in Australia actually removed my figure 8 one week after the accident saying it is unnecessary and that they dont use it here anymore). My first break healed fine and i was back to sport 6 weeks out.
    Like the majority of you out there i am a sportsmen. I am actually training towards the Beijing Olympics, taekwondo so speedy recovery is of utmost importance. I am big on getting multiple opinions about my injuries, so far ive had 2 orthos say it will heal naturally(there is a 1.5cm overlap) and i am seeing another upper limb sport specific ortho next week. I believe healing is going excellent(always the first step….as all sportsmen should know is to visualize somethings happening and theres an increased chance it will)!!…ive been sleeping about 12 hrs a day for the last 3 weeks….i rarely go out so its immobilized as much as possible….i threw out the painkillers after a little over a week, as they apparently slow bone growth….supplements im taking include, calcium.. .glucosamine..chrondoritin. ..multi vitamin..vitamin c..fish oil.. i go outside everyday for about an hour in the sun to help vitamin d production
    The distinct bump is there which wont help my modeling career(yeh i know modeling and fighting dont mix..lol) but the way i see it its just added motivation for me to hit the gym more..ie bigger pecs and traps etc the less the bone is visible..well at least until the lump decreases.
    Thanks hans for this page, its a wealth of information. What some readers need to be careful of is that a good majority of the opinions here are from worst case scenarios.. ie not many quick healing stories… the thing is people who heal quickly will not as readily post as someones who a collar bone injury has affected them significantly…so for everyone reading these..stick with it!!… be patient, rest heaps and most importantly think positive!! if the majority of opinions for my specific case said get surgery then i wouldnt waste time, i would get surgery, most probably the less intrusive baltmain(wrong spelling..i know..lol)method..im not privately covered but the price of the best surgery is far less then the price of not being the best you can be..and siting wandering, if i fall will it break again easily?( especially in the case of a non union or fibrous union)..the view from a 24 year old Olympian in training…ill keep you posted..thanks again Hans

    Sorry to reply late. Just got back from Japan.

    Regarding the figure-8 comments… Yes, the figure-8 seems to be something some docs recommend and others don’t. I believe that a properly fit figure-8 will improve healing. It did so for me and others have found the same. Improperly worn it can cause the problems you describe. Note, this is also true of a sling or other device.

    “if i fall will it break again easily (especially in the case of a non union or fibrous union)?”
    I have been told that a fully healed break is actually stronger. But in the case of a non-union it’s a weak point. Think of the quote “a chain is only as strong as the weakest link”. A non-union is a weak link.

    Good luck on your Olympic pursuit. Think gold! :’)

    - Hans

  170. Barry Friedman

    Hello everyone… great site for those of us in the know! Painfully in the know, I should add.
    I won’t recap my entire adventure with a broken right clavicle, and subsequent surgery (five days after the accident) where I had the Rockwood pin installed. For anyone who would like to read that, it is available right here http://www.anniebarryzed.com/accident .
    I am wondering if anyone has experienced what I am experiencing — a secondary injury which is turning out to be much worse than the broken clavicle. My ring and middle finger have been numb since the accident. I am eight weeks pass my accident today (seven and change passed my surgery) and I’m still unable to close my fingers all the way into a fist. As of late, I am able to collapse them so my finger pads reach my Palm just above my wrist — but I have severe pain in the joints of my fingers if I tried to create a fist.
    If you read my blog you will see that I have left absolutely no stone unturned in my search for help with this. Some modalities offer temporary relief — a smoother set of moving fingers although I haven’t been able to make a fist since my accident — but nothing seems to last. My fingers are very swollen, my hand is usually a variety of shapes of red, blue, purple.
    All my doctors and therapists point to median nerve damage and perhaps some bruising in the brachial plexus. I would be a lot more patient with my hand issue (maybe) if I wasn’t a juggler http://www.raspyni.com .
    I have the regular shoulder stiffness, and restricted mobility that I have read about on this site. After reading every comment on this post and hearing nobody else complain of hand and finger numbing, I had to ask! Has anyone experienced this?
    I have been getting back in the pool the last couple weeks. No running, and my future as a mountain bike rider goes between “I can’t wait” and “not on your life”.
    Barry

    Your doctor’s and therapist’s suggestion that it might be a nerve problem sounds correct. I too experienced a slight numbing of the two outer fingers. That gradually went away after a few weeks. There have been a few comments about finger numbness on some of the other “broken clavicle” pages on my site (see links at the top of this page). You might also try searching the site for “numbness” to find some of the comments. Use the search form on the upper left edge of the page.

    Hopefully you will be able to find a solution and recover from the problem. And I hope to get a chance to see your juggling at some point in time.

    - Hans

    p.s. Don’t give up riding just yet.

  171. Robin Cook

    Hi All
    Very interesting site, also quite worrying (and reassuring) in parts!
    Just to add my own experiences. I broke my left clavical in France 10 weeks ago. I was snowboardinf and landed on my shoulder hard. It was a clean break, but 15mm displacement. Doc fitted a figure 8 brace, and I had an xray the following day. He said he wasnt happy and I would need surgery straight away. So I went to a hospital in France, and had a plate and 4 screws fitted.
    The thing was so painful, and coming back on the plane hurt like hell (pressure I think). Suffered frozen shoulder etc, then started having physio after a week, started to improve.
    Xray at 4 weeks showed zero bone growth. Xray at 8 weeks still shows minimal improvement, and the awkward thing is my hospital changed xray machines mid way through, so you cant really compare the old to the new xrays now! So I’m back again in 2 weeks for a 3rd xray, will be 12 weeks then.
    The good news is I have around 80% movement back (but not much strength). THe bad news is Im sure I can still feel the gap. The surgeon in france left approx. 5-7mm gap between the bones, and it appears as though its having trouble bridging the gap. I’m not in much pain (although I got an infection too!), but the doc has said if there is no improvement in 2 weeks, they will need to take a graft from my hip, shave the dead bone off my clavical and plate it all back up again. The graft is supposed to be the most painful thing ever.
    I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that it shows signs of healing, but im 70% certain it will need a second op.
    Think I was just unlucky, I assume the gap normally bridges but in my case it hasn’t. Anyway, 2 weeks to go, I’ll continue taking the calcium tablets (for what they are worth), and see what the outcome is….
    Cheers
    Robin – UK

  172. logan

    Hello everyone. I broke my right collar bone for the 3rd and 1/2 time. That is right, I rebroke it when it was half way done healing on the second accident. First accident was a simple ski accident hitting ice and going straight down on my shoulder. Second was a bmx bike accident, and then I fell off a skateboard onto my shoulder and rebroke it half way thru healing. I made it like 7 years without breaking my collarbone again, but 9 weeks ago I busted it doing ski tricks again. I was just reading everyone’s posts because I am bummed. I hope mine fuses well soon cause it is healing slowely. Probably because I never wore a sling!!! In 4 weeks I begin my lumberjack job so I need a strong clavicle. Alright, thanks for allowing me to post my feelings in here. Peace, Love, Dope. Email me. :)

  173. Jason D

    Hi all,
    I’m a new member of the BCC. Broke my right clavicle 4 days ago after coming off my 110cc pocketbike. I accelerated out of a corner and drifted a little too close to the tire wall where I clipped my left foot causing the front wheel to swing in towards the barrier and off I flew! It all happened so fast! Before I knew it, I was nursing a broken (R) clavicle. The X-rays show a typical mid break with a VERY noticeable protrusion close to the neck and what looks like an overlap between the 2 ends with the sholder end drooping downward to form a upsidedown ‘V’ shape.
    Anyway, I’ve been told by the Dr. to sling with 10 days rest; and have also opted for a figure 8 to make sure everything heals well. There was no indication from the Dr. that I would have any trouble with it healing….mmmmm maybe just hope for the best. LOL!!
    After reading almost all these entries, I have come to the conclusion that a break like this has more cons than pros. Which has seriously made me think about surgery.
    I’m not sure how strong the conventional healing method would leave my collarbone, but being pretty active, I’d like to return to my gymnastics and weight training without having to worry about the bone giving way. Has anyone with the same interests had success with just letting it heal by itself and being as strong as before? Going by the results of a couple of entries, I’m strongly leaning towards the Dr Carl Basmania method of pin fixation,( http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2001/04/collarbone420.html )( http://www.dukehealth.org/physicians/F389C81B5DCEAC8985256DFD006A9302 ) but I’m not sure if it is performed here in Australia. Also, the recovery time is very attractive to me as I do heavy work and have a small child I like to play with. It’s kills me that I can’t lift him up! :(
    I’d rather stear clear of plates, screws and bone grafts if I can help it.
    If anyone from Australia is reading this, and has knowledge of a great Orthopaedic surgeon who could possibly perform Basmania surgery, I would be most appreciated to hear from you.
    I’m currently trying to source a good sports surgeon in Melbourne who might have worked on some of the Footy players with the same problem. I’m farely sure they get the best treatment available.
    Thanks Hans for this great site. It’s been a real eye opener!

  174. Gary

    I broke my clavicle last October playing soccer (someone hit it with their head). The break had a 100% displacement. The doctor gave me a 95% chance of healing normally. After 3 weeks, the xrays had shown it had moved to 200% displacement with no signs of healing. The doctor then gave a 50% chance of healing normally, so I opted for surgery in November which consisted of a plate and screws. Because there was some scabbing of the bones (indicating it would never heal on its own), the doctor shaved the ends and placed them back together. Unfortunately, since then, the blood flow to the bone ends wasn’t enough and so they died back a small bit. Now in March, there is still no sign of healing on the xrays (some fibrous growth but no fusing). The doctor is prescribing a bone incitor and indicated it will be a race between the bone healing (if it can) or the plate breaking. The latter will result in a new surgery with a bone graft (and of course, starting from square zero). Although, I’m in no pain and can use the arm reasonably, the doctor has directed no activities that could result in falling or any lifting of more than very light weights. Truthfully, an annoying and depressing 5 months with what looks like quite a few more to come.

  175. ewa

    Hi it’s me again.
    I didn’t want to agree to have an operation and it looks like i was right.
    2.5 weeks in bed and the bones are healed. a bit of physio now and back to work after 3 weeks from the accident. yipee!
    speedy recovery to all x

  176. ken

    i broke my clavicle in 3 placeses!!! my doc installed a rod through the bone frags to line them back up. the rod had a plate and nut on each end to draw the fractures together.so far so good. the op took place on mon. feb 26,07 one end of the rod sticks out of top back side of my shoulder the other end is inside by my chest.this is all done thru two little cuts and some drilling.well i will let you know how the healing prosses goes.

  177. Scott

    Hi – I broke my left clavicle 5 weeks ago in a cycling accident. I was enjoying a spring-like late Jan. Sunday on my road bike and did not notice this 3-4″ jumbo pine-cone in the road. Before I knew what had happened I was flying over my handlebars. I took the brunt of the impact with my left shoulder and also managed to break 1-2 ribs in the process. My ortho doc recommended trying to let it heal naturally, and claims there is about a 5% chance of a non-union in a separation like mine. Another cyclist friend of mine went to the same doc, who recommended immediate surgery in his case. He took 2-3 months total to recover and said it was certainly no picnic. I had a fair amount of pain for 2-3 weeks, of course the broken ribs didn’t help and those took 3-4 weeks to really heal. Doc did not recommend a figure 8 brace, just a sling and said I could ditch that in 3-4 weeks after the accident if it felt OK. I removed the sling after 4 weeks. In the past week I have been using the left arm more and more and regaining mobility in the shoulder and arm after 4 weeks of keeping everything still.
    The X-Ray taken 5 weeks after the accident does not show bone forming to bridge the gap in the seperation. Doc said there was a slight hint of bone fibre growth, but nothing substantial yet. He said this is fairly typical as this growth starts to show up on X-ray anywhere from 4-8 weeks. My next appointment is in 4 more weeks, which will be 9 weeks from the incident. I do not feel any grinding or bone movement in the shoulder. I do feel some tightness in the clavicle area, and mostly I am trying to work through shoulder muscle rehab. My doc said I did not need to worry about moving the arm – he said I can be as active as possible as long as it doesn’t cause pain, just stay away from activities that could result in a fall – including cycling. He even recommended doing some light weight work in the gym, whatever I felt comfortable doing from a range of motion perspective. I guess he is one of those who does not buy into the notion of keeping things stable for as long as possible. I am starting to feel much better generally and returning to more normal use of my left arm each day – I have only been out of the sling for 11 days now.
    Doc still says he gives me a 95% chance of forming a union between the bone. I sure hope he is right. I hate to even think about going back and doing surgery in 1-2 months from now and then going through another 2 month recovery process.
    One thing I am struggling with – I am heading to the mountains this weekend, which will be 6 weeks from the original incident. I am an expert skiier who raced in high school and typically ski off trail expert only / off-piste sort of areas. The group I am going with are mostly intermediate skiiers. I would never consider skiing in my normal way, but I am an considering taking a few runs on the blues with them just to get some skiing in, and since I will be up there anyway. I am going more for the trip than the skiing. I am torn – half of me is thinking I am nuts to even consider such a thing, but the other half of me is saying the chances of a fall would be pretty minimal as long as I take it completely easy.

  178. Trevor

    Gosh, i broke my coller bone a year ago on a mountain board and i still feel it to this day when i do push-ups and such…not to discourage any of you who just broke it and are wondering how long before it heals:)It was a pretty bad break though…couln’t even move my arm for about a month.

  179. John

    Hi,
    Just a note to encourage any new members of the BCC (broken Clavicle club) and think there is no other options other than a sling or a brace and weeks of painful recovery. I broke my left mid clavicle while attempting a 25′ jump snowboarding on Thursday 25th January 2007.
    It was quite a bad fracture which was severely displaced and only 1mm from being a compound fracture. In fact immediately after the fall I felt moisture pouring down my shoulder. My daughter was with me and I was worried she would be upset with viewing a compound fracture. To my amazement after patting inside my jacket there was no blood. The emergency Dr said what I had experienced was the body’s defense mechanism kicking in and what I felt was adrenalin pouring over the fracture. The sensation was extremely weird like water trickling over your shoulder and down your arm in a shower.
    After just 30 minutes I left the hospital with a copy of my x-ray a figure of eight brace and a prescription for Vicodin and a large bone tenting out my shoulder that you could hang a towel on.
    Now just to let you know a bit about my background and how this would really disrupt my lifestyle. I’m a fulltime athlete-running six miles a day five times a week and train and play soccer three times a week which I done for the last twenty years. I’m married with three active teenagers and I felt totally screwed and depressed.
    Until I discovered on the internet Dr Carl Basmania from Duke University and his Intramedullary Pin Fixation of the Clavicle. After a few phone calls I found a fantastic local orthopedic surgeon called Dr Eric Freedman who could perform this procedure and within eleven days of the accident I underwent surgery.
    The procedure is very low invasive and requires just two small incisions and the insertion of a pin to join and secure the clavicle. The operation took less than an hour and after just over an hour in recovery my wife drove me home. I could not believe it no pain no thousand vaults surging through my shoulder it really was a miracle.
    Within four days of surgery I was riding my bike and after nine days I’ve started light jogging and I’m even kicking a ball again it really is the difference between night and day not to mention the cosmetic difference the surgery has made.
    Now, I’m not saying this procedure is for everyone and I know a lot of people recover with a sling or a brace. However, technology and surgery techniques have come a long way and if you are active or an athlete there should be a more successful alternative.
    This is my experience and I hope it encourages any new BCC members who may feel there is no immediate hope and want to get their lifestyle back with minimum interruption.
    Regards
    John

  180. ewa

    thanks Mike
    just been to a different ortho (private as well) and she said that my “twisted pivotal” brake is not that uncommon after all and that she sees very good chances of my collar bone healing on its own. i’m very glad i didn’t listen to the first doc as he obviously likes what he does a bit too much ;)
    while the first doc said the chances of it healing on its own are 30%, the sec doc said 90%(both shoulder specialist docs!)
    i should have run from there the second he asked me when i had my last meal. (he wanted to operate on me there and then!)(London Bridge Hospital)
    will keep you updated with my progress if anything interesting occurs.
    ps: i’m only 31 and i’m not an athlete so i can afford to lie in bed for few weeks taking it easy though. Good luck to everyone there waiting patiently for their bones to heal x

  181. Mike O

    Ewa
    Im 3 months out and 59 yr old man..I have an interposed fragment in my mid 3rd fracture with ca. two cm of overriding of the proximal/distal ie “near and far” portions of the clavicle shaft…the reading I’ve done in the medical literature tends to support that you can get (almost) as good a result with plating of a non union 6 to 12 months later should you decline initial surgery, and that non union occurs withiout surgery about 15 % of the time with mid third fractures, the most common type. My ortho thought that the 8 strap for (at least four) possibly 6-8 wks at my age should suffice and lo, in my instance anyway,it appears that he was right..I’m full motion and working with 2 or 3 lb dumbells and theraband stretching with x ray of clinical union at two months…in the end, it’s your choice…good luck

  182. ewa

    hello there
    very helpful comments. i broke my collar bone 2 days ago horseriding. two emergency docs saw my xrays and said sling and figure 8 will suffice. i decided to go to a specialist doc and after seeing my xrays he said the only option is operation with the use of metal plates as the bone broke at an angle and sticks out and slides off the other bone.
    he says it will leave a scar 3.5 inches long plus he will knock me out completely for the operation.
    i’m getting a second opinion today as the operation seems too much plus leaving such long scar and the need for knocking out puts me right off.
    although there are many scenarios you have described i didn’t seem to be able to find anything about the kind of twisted unclear brake that according to my doc doesn’t heal in 70% of people as the bones tend to slide off each other.
    can anyone help please with similar story to mine?
    i’m worried that my doc who is a private doc might just be too keen to operate :(
    thanks in advance

  183. Rol

    Dustin
    There is a tremendous amout of different opinions from doctors and patients on this. My doctor and ortho say the sling is for patient comfort alone. Personally I’m 61 and I broke my clavicle mid shaft with a 1.5 inch displacement on Jan 7 in a bike crash also. I stopped wearing the sling in less than a week. You should follow what your doctors reccommend. I am one of the lucky ones whose doctors do not believe there is much of anything the individual can do to hurt or help the healing process. 16 days after fracture my ortho told me it was alright to start riding my bike again but suugested I stay on the roads and warned me not to fall off. (Why didn’t he tell me that before I crashed in the first place?)

  184. Dustin

    PS i broke it by overshooting a 40 footer on my banshee….too much speed = too much distance oops……anyways, caught a big rock and rolled, put all my weight on my shoulder, then as you guessed “SNAP!” its in 2

  185. Dustin

    i broke my collar bone 4 weeks ago, its starting to feel alot better, and the ugly purplish green bruise is gone off my chest ive been wearing a sling during the day, and taking ot off to sleep…i haven’t wore the sling in a week, and wondering if i should play it safe and wear it or if ill be ok without it, because it does not hurt unless i move my arm quickly..although theres a nice bumb where the breakage was

  186. Mark D

    Hi David,
    I’m 29 and I’ve experienced a similar injury and treatment. I have a distal clavicle fracture just outside of the right shoulder joint – I fell of a scooter at the start of this year. The specialist took one look at my x-ray and instantly recommended surgery, but since I’m not keen on going under the knife, and time is on my side (I’m a very patient person – I will be happy as long as it heals eventually), I’ve elected to see if it can heal on its own first.
    I’ve been following a general rule of “if it feels OK, i can do it, BUT, if it hurts, DONT”. It’s now been 5 weeks since the injury and it feels fine most of the time – but I’m still hesitant to put significant weight on it. I think its already returned to about 95% mobility and maybe 50% strength (but as i noted, I’m not prepared to test that!).
    Since week 4, I have been able to lift my arm over my head with no problems and I can move my arm through the full range of motion. I’ve found walking laps in a swimming pool is a fantastic way of maintaining mobility for me, the water takes the weight of the arm off & is quite therapeutic!
    The only pain I’ve continued to experience is in the morning immediately after waking up – initially (first 2 weeks) it was the acute pain of a broken bone, now its more of a dull ache around the end of the clavicle (probably ligaments/tendons & assorted bits), as the injured area gets accustomed to the weight of the arm each day. The pain is gone within 30 mins of waking up.
    I try to keep my arm in the sling as much as possible, but that gets uncomfortable (my deltoid ends up spasming after a couple of hours). Luckily I have a desk job, and a comfy workstation, so my arm can rest on the chair, & I can operate in my job with no problems. So for me, the sling is really handy for travelling to and from work.
    I have my followup with the specialist next week; I’m confident its repairing – but, if the x-rays show no bone healing, I did say to the specialist last time that I would take the surgery. However, given that my mobility is already almost back to normal, and I feel my strength is getting better as each week goes by, I now think I will wait another 6-12 weeks and see how it continues to heal before I reconsider the surgery option.
    Thanks everybody for relating your experiences – its very much appreciated!

  187. Phil

    Interesting site! I broke my clavicle, 5 ribs and my shoulder blade Nov 9, 2006. At age 63, I sometimes daydream on my bike, not a good thing to do at 15 mph. When I went down, I didn’t slide, in fact the only road rash I got was about the size of a 50 cent piece. So now, some 11 weeks out, I am worried that I might have to have surgery, which I don’t really want. I am currently planning to be ready for a TRI in April. My ortho said if it was his shoulder he would continue to wait and see. He also said I could try some swimming but if it hurt too much I shouldn’t overdo. He said spinning was ok, in fact he said keeping the body in good condition was helpful in the healing process. I have pretty much full range of motion, although the x-ray does show nearly 1 inch of overlap so my right shoulder is narrower but I have often been accused of being unbalanced so I really don’t care as long as I can get back on my bike. It was quite helpful to read many of these accounts especially some of the comments on the “noise” with movement. The pain is only a problem when I push too hard and so I avoid that when I can. I was never told that ibuprofen hindered the healing. I put in 4 miles on the treadmill today and my shoulder felt pretty good. The real test will come when I get in the pool and do something besides kick my legs. My ortho also gave me a lot to think about in regards to surgical “risks”, many of which seem to have been addressed nicely in the accounts on this site.
    Thanks for the information, Hans, it has certainly given me much to ponder as I “wait and see”.

  188. David

    Thanks for your advice Bill,
    Yeah, I am being pretty careful about putting pressure on the right shoulder at the moment. I’m pretty sure that there is a join between the two pieces of bone, and there was clouding in the small gap between them (on the x-rays) to indicate that is the case…
    I get the feeling that most of the discomfort is from a general degradation of the shoulder in general, from pretty much avoiding using it for more than two months…

  189. Bill

    Hello David, I have a distal fracture also but in two places. I am 60 and the fracture has been slow to heal. It cannot hurt to wait several more weeks; because once you left the 6-10 wk period and if it has not unioned, it very likely is not going to. This is your chance now for recovery and the join can still be fragile. I wish someone would have emphasized that with me.

  190. Eslam

    Please help.iam 21 male,first at year 2004 i was playing in the gym when i pressed a little hard on my shoulders .allthough,nothing serious happened .But,the next day i wake up i found that my clavicle bone was moved i then went to a docter 3 weeks later for some reasons .he told me that the clavicle bone was moved from it’s place and that i have 2 cho Fisrt ,have a surgery 40% for wining Secand,to leave it like that
    So,plzzzz help me ,could i do any thing to recover my body
    i have an X-ray for my shoulders if u wana see it …and Thxxx

  191. Mike O

    Well, my x rays exactly 8 wks post fx now show good callous-new bone formation though at 59 I’ve been told to avoid excess lifting and be moderate..started PT two weeks ago and have (almost full except adduction)..I wore the 8 brace 7 weeks-no longer-& cont 1000 mg Calcium 400U Vit D, Glucosamine/Chondroitin 750 mg one daily 1000 mg Vit C and multvits daily…and yes a copper bracelet on the affected side(anything that will even potentially help when older)..my shoulder dips but Nik(above poster)at my age whose looking at me anyway? I’m just thrilled to be getting well. You might try at least calcium and vitamin D, heh?

  192. Nik Rosewarne

    Hi,
    My name’s Nik, a 33 years old male and I broke my left clavicle (the distal third) almost eight months ago now, on the 25th May 2006; after having been knocked off my bike by a petrol can flying off the back of a fire engine of all things!
    In common with most people treatment consisted of a free ride in an ambulance, pain-killers (which mercifully I didn’t need) and advice to take it easy to give the break time to heal.
    After four weeks or so, I no longer needed the sling and embarked on a course of hydro-therapy and physio-therapy which helped me recover full articulation and range of movement of my arm/shoulder.
    Whilst recovering I came across this website and found it very encouraging and informative in what was a very low point in my life.
    Although I am grateful to have unrestricted use of my arm back again, I have a bony step on the outline of my shoulder which I am particularly self-conscious about, especially when I fold my arms.
    This bony step becomes more pronounced when sitting and has a squishy/gristly feel to it over the bone when standing. There is also some movement of the bone when I push down on it whilst standing in front of the mirror or when I cough.
    Overall it gives me the appearance of being asymmetric and this to be honest gets me down.
    If I may and if anyone has the time to answer me, I’d be grateful if I could ask two questions:-
    (i) How long will it take (if ever) for my particular type of clavicle break to return to its natural shape and appearance?
    (ii) My physiotherapist has mentioned that if the appearance of my clavicle is an issue for me, I could consider having the bone shaved.
    Has anyone heard of this type of procedure before and what would the risks be. Naturally I wouldn’t want to jeopardise the full range of movement, lack of pain and absence of discomfort I currently have for the sake of vanity.
    Best regards
    Nik
    United Kingdom.

    Ah the bump. The tell tale sign of a broken collar bone. There are those that excel at expounding on their various injuries. The telling of the fateful day when all went wrong and their body and Earth collided. And in the case of a broken collar bone, there to back it up, is the bump.

    What a wonderful visual device to astound, amaze, and add proof to the narration.

    Why oh why would one want to lose their bump?

    I must highly recommend that vanity be damned! Accept the bump and wield it as a weapon of discourse. Friends will gather and listen in awe. Word will spread. Soon more will arrive to hear of the dreaded day and see the bump. The excitement and wonder will become a conflagration. In the end all fear and aversion will be wiped clean and the bump will be desired.

    Carry your bump with pride.

    - Cheers!

    Hans

  193. David

    Hi,
    I’m a 26 year old male, and I had the pleasure of joining the broken-clavicle club on Nov. 8th of last year, courtesy of Judo. I want to thank everyone for posting their experiences on this board, it helped me a lot, as I live in a foreign country and communication with my orthos is possible, but not perfect.
    I broke it in one of the rarer ways, (relatively painless distal-fracture; snapped the tip off the clavicle with no apparent ligament damage, and minimal displacement, conservatively treated), and I have a question about the recovery process which is hard to ask due to language difficulties (and due to the subjective nature of the question):
    two months after breaking the bone, how do you feel in terms of strength/shoulder integrity?
    I have almost my full range of motion again, and there’s no real pain, however the is a localized discomfort throughout the shoulder, and strength isn’t something I’ve really tested. The injury was treated conservatively (very much so for the first 3-4 weeks).
    Thanks again,
    David

  194. Amy

    Hi,
    I broke my right collar bone three and a bit weeks ago, at the two week x – ray, my mid shaft fracture was fairly displaced and overlapping. I was told to return in a month and then surgery would be considered should it be in a similar state.
    I do not know if it has healed, I still have alot of pain, some inability of arm movements, grinding noises and sensations, and i can push the tip of the bone that is sticking up in and out – any chance it could be healed.

    From what you describe I would guess that it is not healed. Also, I don’t recommend pushing and moving the tip of the bone. You want the bones to remain stable so that they can form a union. Moving the bones can hinder the healing process.

    Just wanted to know, how can i help it to heal any inside info???
    also I want it to mend straight, not one on top of the other, as i want no shortening or loss of length or strength. I play lax, netball, horse ride and do gymnastics, hefty load really and I want the best recovery possible. (And ASAP)
    I am in fact returning to the surgeon in three days due to severity in pain, and associated pain in my shoulder muscles and scapula. I wanted to know, how likely he is to perform surgery after four weeks, with moderate displacement and overlap, but strong wish from me. I have also got nonunion fractures in my scaphoid, and index finger – dont know whether this is a persuasion factor.
    Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments they are so helpful.

    You mention the desire to continue participating in multiple physical sports activities and without being hindered by your shoulder. Because of this I would highly recommend that you also make sure your orthopedic doctor is fully aware of this. Be very clear about what your expectations are when recovered. It would also be good getting a second opinion from another ortho doc, preferably one that specializes in sports related injuries.

    - Hans

  195. Mike O

    Rol
    I dc’d the figure 8 strap exactly 7 weeks post fracture..at four wks my ortho waffled on whether to cont the 8 or go with sling (I never did both at same time) but finally rec the 8 so I did it another 3 weeks ( I had no visible new bone at four weeks) …I have grown a lump at the fracture site in recent weeks and I think the shoulders back continuously afforded by the 8 brace was key (with luck, vitamins etc etc)…I start PT today and have been doing 2 lb dumbell EX…In my internet scramblings plus advice of a 2nd ortho they both strongly advised either sling or 8 brace and the brace being better if you can tolerate it..I’m 59..the Journal of Bone and Joint surgery latest mag has a study about conservative vs operative Rx of mid third clavicle fractures that one ortho gave me and the mean time for full bony union per x ray was 28 weeks for non op treatment and 16 weeks for the plating..overall I’m satisfied for now with my odds (though wish my bones healed as if I were 20)..best…….Mike O

  196. Rol

    I suffered a mid shaft break of my left clavicle 3 days ago, 1/7/07 in a bike crash. I am 61 and as with Hans, hope to survive this with loosing as little biking fitness as possible. the orthapedist said I could ride the trainer with one hand now. Plan on starting today. (how soon did you start Hans?) even though the bone was completly displaced and overlapped an inch and a half I have been able to stay active and mobile without the severe pain that many report. 3-4 IB. per day have sufficed for me. I am wearing a sling but have encountered a disagreement between my doctors on the use and value of the figure 8 support strap. Emergency room put it on- family doctor agreed because of unusual amount of overlap. Orthapedic specialist said it did not help and removed it. Family Dr called another Orthapedic specialist who agreed it was helpful and provided another one for me to use. What experience have others had with the figure 8 strap? (I have not been wearing it since the OS removed it 24 hours after the crash)

  197. Mike O

    Hi Carol C..re your pains, I dont’ know if your pain pattern is typical (mine was all in the mid/3d of clavicle) ..my comment is I wished I had started the high dose calcium and vitamin D right away because I’m 59 and will heal slower; my advice to you is to get on these supplements right away & be patient with the sling and/or brace…recently I’ve just wanted to chuck the thing ’cause I have a sed job tho have not done this as there are times when I’ve inadvertently moved the shoulder suddenly in response to dropping things and trying to catch it and am glad I had the stabilization in place..best Mike O

  198. Mike O'Day

    What a find..thanks Hans.
    I fx my left clavicle Nov 24 ’06 falling over my bannister (plastic baggie on carpet) about 6 feet onto wooden floor and have mid third fx with superior displacement of proximal portion and inferior displacment of the lateral with an interposed oblique fragment..have about 1.75-2.0 cm of override..ER Rx of sling and fig 8 (8 brace only from nx day to now) and today is exactly six weeks out..1st pod in hallway consult saw films and thought Rx could go either way and 2nd pod (official office visit) was confident that non op Rx would suffice..x rays at 4 weeks showed zip callous tho maybe a little blurring of the bone ends c/w (very) early healing..I’m 59 1/2 yrs old, non smoker with sed job..I am wearing a copper bracelet with magnets lt wrist and hematite magnet necklace draped blanket fasion over fx site under fig 8 strap..I know basic accupuncture & have been self Rxing once daily for 20 minutes at two “power locales” left upper extremity.I have virtual full range of motion and no sense of grinding any longer and doing gentle ROM exercizes. I’m taking 1000 mg Ca, 400 u Vit D, 500 mg Vit C, Glucosamine/Chondroitin 1 tab, Centrum Vitam and wife’s loving attn PRN ie putting on the 8 brace. Since she had Ro Cuff surg Rt Dec 11th, we’re literally “joined at the shoulders” tho wouldn’t recommend that for your spouses..ah, life. Thanks for sharing everybody.very honest discussions..will keep you posted..Tx again Hans

  199. Bill

    I suffered a distal break of the clavicle in a bike accident in June, and unfortunately, it has not healed. Not terribly painful but still limiting. Went in for a second opinion and the doc said distal fracture are less likely to heal properly and the options were to do nothing and wait, or undergo a simple surgical procedure to take out part of the bone. That recommendation mirrors that of the first physican. Evidently, it is a 1/2 hr out patient procedure with local anethestic but entails 6 wks in a sling and several more months of recovery. I have not read of anyone on this forum undergoing this type of intervention, unless I have missed it. Wondering if anyone has experience to share in this regard?

    I suffered a distal break but I haven’t heard about this type being more difficult to heal. In fact, mine was solid in a month. I’ve also not heard removing a piece of the clavicle to allow it to heal. Maybe the piece of bone is splintered and/or free and may cause further damage? I know that others have posted comments about their operations. If you haven’t, take a look at the other clavicle pages on the site. The links are near the bottom of the article at the top of the page.

    - Hans

  200. klynnpoet

    Just wanted to say thanks to all for this site- I finally feel I am not alone. I broke my right collarbone in a car accident 3 months ago and I just found out today I will be having plates and screws put in Dec 29th- UGH! I am frustrated to get back to my life- I am into martial arts and I find the inability to get exercise frustrating! My question- How long after the surgery will I be able to get back to my normal exercise routine? I currently have been walking to get back some strength but wish I could do more.

    I haven’t gone through surgery so I can’t answer. Maybe someone else will be able to. Also, you might try using a stationary bike for workouts. It’s a great way to raise your heart rate while keeping the shoulder immobile. That will also help with maintaining your physical conditioning.

    - Hans

  201. Hans

    Daniel – I’m glad I helped out.
    I haven’t been unlucky enough to have to work through a frozen shoulder. I banged up my shoulder a year and half ago and that required lots of PT. Having a little “sedation” for those exercises would have been nice :’)

  202. Daniel McNeil

    Hans,
    I wrote re my fx clavicle back in August and you gave me good advice (mainly- “take it easy!”). I saw my ortho doc last week and the x-ray revealed the bone has mostly healed – ugly, but healed. With my new found freedom I have found certain movements causes much discomfort. The ortho doc thinks rotator cuff but the pt thinks it may be “frozen shoulder” since I have more strength than would be present with a torn rc. I start pt tomorrow – it promises to be painful. I am ready for it. I saw some internet info re freeing up the frozen shoulder under sedation and wondered if you or anyone else may have had experience with that. Thanks, again, for your help! Daniel McNeil

  203. Hans

    Ken – I would recommend checking with your local bicycle coalition and see if they have a recommendation regarding dealing with the metal plate and Con Edison. Here’s the NY Bicycling Coalition web site “http://www.nybc.net/”. Lots of good information there.
    As for your healing, it sounds like you are heading in the right direction but just need a little more time. The bending you feel might be from the two pieces of the clavicle moving independently. If it is the two pieces moving then I would recommend *not* performing that motion as it might hinder your ability to heal. But a doctor is going to give you the best information about that.
    A CT scan may provide more information than an x-ray because it can show several types of tissue with great clarity. Although, very fine soft tissue details such as found in the shoulder and knee are better seen using an MRI. I recommend you speak with your doctor(s) regarding this and see what they recommend.

  204. Jeff Brook

    Hi, I think I last wrote on March 13, 2006, and indicated that I was given conflicting advice from the 2 surgeons I saw but that I was going to see where an active summer got me. (thanks to being in Canada and our universal health coverage since I had many trips to the doctors and xrays and a CAT Scan)
    I stuck with physio through sometime in May and that paid off in getting mobility back and then staying with the exercises til end of June pretty well brought it back completely.
    My judge as to whether I would tolerate its supposed “Fibrous Union” was if I could swim front crawl without a limitation in motion and if I could wind surf (and kayak and sail).
    I am happy to announce that it passed these tests and I was back on the bike without a hitch too. I don’t think that it is 100% compared to the other side yet, but certainly close enough (>95%) to believe that my original surgeon was right (“live with a fibrous union”). And after all, he should be, given that he followed my case through many more visits., etc. than did the 2nd surgeon (the one that was relatively eager to operate) who could not have looked at things for more than 10 min. Now I recently pushed it hard doing outdoor work last month and had a week of significant soreness, but that is gone now.
    Is there a message for others going through this, I don’t know, but at least for now I can share a happy ending and hope everyone else will eventually get to the same place and so gets some reassurance from my note. Of course it took ups and downs and hard work and time, but you’ll get there!
    (and let’s hope that its no looking back for my left clavicle!)

  205. ken snapp

    Hello All,
    Well I have finished reading all the previous comments. I sort of saved a little bit everyday for inspiration and advice and am a little sad that I finally got to the end. So I thought I would throw in my experience and hopefully get some advice and feedback as well.
    I broke my collarbone riding to work at 6:30am in the bike lane going down 5th ave. in NYC. I hit a huge metal plate that ConEdison uses when they dig up the road. Well that 3-4 inch rise caused me to lose my balance and the plate took the tires from under me, and I landed on my shoulder with my full weight.
    So ER, doctor, second opinion, now looking for a third. I had a good break with slight overlap and a couple of pieces floating around. I am a chef so work has been out of the question. When I went back for my 4 week follow-up xray, the doc said two more months as the bones have not joined, but I feel that there is callus forming.
    The pain has gone away, mostly. Now I am in the 5th week. But my concern is how it is healing. My impressions are that when I move my arm I feel the bones tenting or hinging. It does not necessarily hurt but there is muscular tension. I am trying to find a doctor in network that will do a CT scan as the xrays do not necessarily show signs of healing. All this on top of meeting with lawyers to find out if I can sue the city or conedison, even though they have a “pothole law” to protect themselves. I feel that this plate being in the “bike lane” with now signs for caution, made the accident unavoidable and they should be at fault.
    Please advise as to CT scans, my healing and feelings about this hinging sensation, lawsuit, and any other words of wisdom. Thanks to all for the info, this site really helped me with my coping.

  206. Ann

    Greg,
    I suffered a similar injury in the beginning of September – I shattered my clavicle into 4-5 pieces and I broke my shoulderblade and cracked a rib. I had surgery less than a week after my accident, but I had a bone graft and a plate and several screws put in my clavicle. The surgery, along with several other doctor bills is still being all totalled up and going through insurance right now, so I am not all too sure how much it cost. Also, I had to see my orthopedic surgeon 3 times since the surgery and will have monthly checkups (with xrays) for the next year. The surgery expenses were over $10,000, excluding the doctor visits, etc. Thank goodness my insurance is covering a lot of it after I pay my deductible, but still it is expensive. Good luck. For me, the surgery was worth it. I know my body would not have been able to heal on its own without it.

  207. greg

    here is the nightmare that i’m going through. I was a passenger in a 2006 ford expedition traveling from north east ohio to southern california. in illinois on interstate 40 the driver lost control and rolled the truck at about 80 mph. I got a hell of a wake up call, just in time to grab the oh shit bar before impact. The truck rolled three times, at the second revolution I was ejected from the vehicle through the closed sunroof. The truck stopped rolling just before it landed on top of me. Luckily the trailer chaines stopped it at that point. if it had rolled over onto its wheels there would only have been a spot where i was. anyway the ambulance came and took me to the nearest hospital. At the hospital the doctor said that my right clavicle was fractured. but he would not fix it since it wasn’t sticking out. so off to cali. we go a few days later. once we got to southern california I was tricked into going to a hospital, was told were going to look at cars since ours was totaled. At the hospital they took more x-rays. The x-rays show that my right clavical is in three pieces. well no wonder i have a hard time moving, breathing, and so on. they gave me a figure 8 sling to go along with the arm sling that i already had. now they tell me that it should heal with minimal loss of motion. the accident was on aug. 12 2006, it is now nov. 3rd and ive had to return to ohio since I couldn’t get a job to save my life due to this injury. and have had more x-rays taken since my return. the condition has actually gotten worse. the bones have not healed, they are farther apart, and my shoulder has dropped even farther. I have gotten some more movement out of it but i still can not reach my left shoulder with my right hand. all the while i’ve been fighting with the insurance company to try to get this fixed. I have gone to several orthopedic surgens and they all agree that it will require surgery to correct it. plates,screws, and a bone graft. not to mention the months of rehab to regain mobility. I’m just wondering how much all this is going to cost since I have to wait for a settlement before I can schedule the operation? any feedback would be helpful and appreciated.

  208. Larry R

    Hello All,
    Today marks the fourth week since my bike accident. I met with the orthopedic surgeon last Thursday. He told me the left clavicle is healing nicely, but to take it easy for at least another couple of weeks – no biking or jogging yet. I go back in two weeks for another check-up. The pain has almost gone. I am flexing and using the arm and shoulder in an almost normal way, but it lets me know when I’ve pushed a little too much. I must say the type of sling and the way it holds or supports the fractured bone is critical in the pain department. I highly recommend a sling that keeps your upper arm and shoulder immobile as described above by Hans. No matter how hard you try, you will reflexively attempt to reach or grab with the bad arm. I find this to be especially true in silencing the alarm clock and answering the phone while in bed! The cheap sling given to me by the hospital emergency room was useless. Now, to find a really good bike helmet lamp….

  209. tiffany

    Thanks for your reply Hans… It is a funny story.
    I went in for surgery on the 26th (Thursday just gone) and had a “compression screw” put in to pin the bones together.
    It is now 4 days after the operation and I feel great. I spent the last 2 weeks trying to work out what to do and in absolute agony, and only 3 days after the operation i have almost no pain. The bones are no longer hanging in limbo they are supported by the screw.
    The x-ray is pretty cool too.
    I will do what the doc says and stay in a sling, but I am so amazed at how good the whole shoulder and arm feels. I recommend anyone who has a fracture with a slight overlap get the screw ASAP without waiting around to see if the bone may/or may not knit.
    The only thing now is to remember to do things slowly as the doc says. When I was in recovery after the operation I asked the doc how long before I’ll be back riding and he just gave me a funny look and said “Don’t even think about it for 4 months”. In my dozy state mumbled “Humph?”
    Ill get back sooner than that.
    There is an area of my shoulder that is still numb. I am hoping that it is just the nerve block they put in my shoulder during the operation. The doc did mention that some nerves may be lost near the incision site because they have to cut through. But I have no feeling on half of my shoulder, you could stick a needle in there and I wouldn’t know.
    I am off to the physio in one week and i will as him about the bone stimulator, and about the numbness.
    In the mean time take a break and visit my sister in Darwin. Then back to light duties at work, because I would go nuts not working for that long.

  210. Kristen Lee

    Hans & All
    I think I am one of those encouraging broken clavicle stories. It’s been 4.5 months and I feel great. No surgery or anything but I was extremely worried for the first few months (as you can tell from my previous postings). I was trying so hard to do everything right but still kept feeling movement in the bone pieces. Like the dr will tell you, it’s impossible to keep it immobile!
    The dr. said it would take 5 months to heal. My final X-Ray is next month. I did physical therapy — which was extremely important to give range of motion and strength. I will let you know how the X-Ray goes.
    BTW, Hans, how do you find time to post so many things?!
    Kristen
    SF Bay Area

  211. Samantha

    Melanie-
    I just had my fourth surgery In August for my left clavicle which I shattered back in March. This time they gave me a bone stimulator which I have been faithfully wearing for 9 weeks now. I have not experienced any “burning sensation” like you described, or any type of warmth for that matter while wearing it. You might want to call the hotline and ask them what the deal is. I do feel like it has been working, but I am not getting my hopes up because I have had so many complications. Because I have too much metal on my clavicle now (2 plates and 9 screws)they are unable to see if it is healing just from an x-ray. In three weeks I go in for a CT scan to see if the bone stimulator has made any difference.

  212. Hans

    Melanie – From what I have heard, but not experienced first hand, bone stimulators do help. The burning sensation you feel is caused by the stimulator heating inside your body. If the heat becomes too high then you should stop using the device. Also be sure to follow your doctor’s prescribed dosage. If the burning sensation still occurs using the amount prescribed then you should follow up with your doctor.
    —————————————————————–
    Tiffany – Sorry to laugh but the picture of the horse “farting as he ran off” busted me up. Oh, and that horse reminds me of one I used to ride. Not as spiteful but always trying to knock me off. Her favorite trick was to catch me off guard and walk under a branch just high enough that all she had to do was bend her ears down. Of course that meant, with my head turned the other way, that the branch came and smacked me then usally took my hat off. Haha! But nothing as bad as a broken collar bone.
    To get back your shoulder strength requires specific excercises. Each person’s injury is unique so don’t rely on a generic workout or advice from someone that hasn’t examined you. I highly recommend that you see a physical therapist. A good physical therapist will be able to determine a recovery plan and put you on track to get your strength back.

  213. Tiffany

    This is a grate site…
    I was bucked off a horse riding track work 10 days ago. The little bugger had dumped everyone except me, he had tried but fear kept me in the saddle. I was told he would get me eventually, and after 6 months and many near misses he finally did. 3 days before race day he was ready to win…. We cantered off ready to do a bit of pace work, then he did his normal trick of leap frog… But he really meant it this time. He did a big cat leap in the air, then when all four were off the ground, bucked. I stayed on that time, but he never does just one, As soon as his feet touched the ground he did another one. This one was huge, so off i went sailing through the air and down shoulder first onto the track. The funny thing was i heard the little bugger farting as he ran off, which meant he was bucking in glee that he finally got me. 3 days later he won at Gosford.
    The x-ray showed the left clavicle broken in the middle like a broomstick, but it was still joined at the bottom with some tissue. They sent me home in a sling and painkillers with 2 weeks off work… (i told them what i do for a living) It seemed unlikely to me giving the bone i could see poking through the shoulder. The pain was not too bad. Sleeping sucked but i still could move from the elbow down.
    About 4 days later I went to bed full of painkillers. While dosing off i kept twitching, which really hurt. Just as i was nearly asleep i did a huge involuntary body jerk, and oh my god that was the worst pain i have ever felt. I got up screaming and nearly passed out, my body started shaking uncontrollably for what sempt like forever but was probably 10 min. Then i found out what it was really like to have a broken collar bone.
    I went to the doc when i could handle getting in a car. She took one look at me and sent me for another x-ray. It is now broken completely and has a slight overlap. Now i know why i was in absolute agony that night. The doc sent my x-ray to a bone specialist and they have me booked in for a consultation tomorrow.
    Apart from the pain, i am going nuts. I have a very physical job and now i am resorted to pacing around the house (can’t drive my manual car and live by myself 29yrs)
    What i would like to know is how will i get back to full strength…..! You have to be physically strong especially in the shoulders to ride 10-15 racehorses 6 days a week. And reading these comments makes me a little worried about if i will get my strength back and how long that will take, this is my Livelihood. I want this fixed as best as possible so i can get back to work as soon as possible. I can’t wait around for months to see if it re-joins.
    Can someone please tell me which method will allow me to get the most strength back?

  214. Melanie

    looking for info on broken collar bones & came across your site. I broke my clavicle in a dirtbike accident the end of July 06 and had surgery (4 screws). I was in SO much pain I was ready to rip them out myself! The swelling never did go down as the doc promised, so I knew something was wrong. Just had a second surgery 3 weeks ago. This time they put a plate AND screws in, and it is SO much better, although I do feel a tiny hard bump that looks to me to be a screw head maybe. The injury itself doesn’t hurt at all and I’m in a regular sling with the velcro and all. BTW, why don’t they make slings a little more attractive for us girls?? :) Anyway, I received an electronic bone stimulator from the doc and actually start using it tomorrow. Wondering if anyone had any information on them – do they really work? Also, sometimes there is a burning sensation around the scar and inside. Normal?
    Ready to get back on the dirtbike ASAP! :)

  215. Bill

    To Larry,
    Received a distal fracture in mid June (bike accident), it was on the way to healing but even after six weeks, you are right, it is still very fragile. I re-injured at 6 wks and to date (mid Oct, 4 mo and counting), it is still not healed. At our ages, we need 10 weeks minimum. So stay in the sling and/or stay immobile. If it becomes re-injured, it may no longer heal on its own and require surgical intervention.
    Bill

  216. Hans

    Larry R – Yes, I had the same issue with that type of sling. Cinching in towards the chest caused pain in my shoulder. That’s why the sling I had worked so well. It allowed me to stabilize the arm against the side of my chest. It also let me free my lower arm for movement. And since my upper arm was secured, when I made the occasional mistake of grabbing for something, the arm stayed put.
    Also, it’s important to note that you should flex and use the sockets/joints of your arm throughout the day. That helps keep the joints from losing range-of-motion. So using a sling is important but in addition, several moments during the day to bend and use your arm’s joints.

  217. Larry R

    Hans – Thanks for the reply. I was given a simple sling with a neck strap with a Velcro adjust near the wrist area. The entire arm is totally encased and there is no other adjustment. Cinching it up swings the arm towards my chest causing pain. Adjusting it down so that my forearm is parallel to the floor is better, but after a while the arm starts to hurt in this position as well as the sling is always pulling. There is no provision to hold the upper arm close to my body. Simply sitting and resting the arm on my leg or a table is the best as I can use the other hand to move it around to improve comfort. I just have to remember to not automatically move the bad arm without thinking like I did this morning reflexively grabbing for a dropped book. I think I’ll go in search of a better sling tomorrow.

  218. Hans

    Larry R – Ouch! That sounded like a nasty crash. I hope you also contacted the railway or city regarding that problem. You might save someone else from the same accident. Oh, I would recommend a two light setup. I use a handlebar mounted light and a helmet mounted light. The helmet light is great since it gives a higher angle and you can direct it to areas the handlebar light misses.
    As for your shoulder, it sounds like you are moving towards healing. But, as you think, it’s important to keep your shoulder immobile to allow it to heal. I was given a sling with two velcros straps to hold the upper and lower part of my arm. If I used both it worked like a regular sling. But if I used only the upper one then it held my arm close to my body but let the lower arm move free. This was great since it was comfortable and kept me from moving my arm and shoulder.

  219. Larry R

    Excellent site. I have been encouraged from reading the comments. I sustained a left clavicle distal fracture October 2 from a cycling accident. I am an avid runner and part-time cyclist. This summer I developed Plantar Fasciitis for the first time ever from an aggressive running regimen while training (and competing) with my son who is a is a successful high school cross country & track athlete. I am 54, he is 16. The age difference is painfully obvious! To keep my fitness level while giving my feet a rest, I started spending much more time cycling. Since I live in NE Ohio and usually work until 6:00 PM, this necessitates cycling after dark (I know – pretty stupid). I have a home gym but I much prefer the road. My bike is equipped with a strong headlamp but its not much use in actually seeing what’s on the road because of shadows, oncoming car lights, etc. I use it (and flashers) to let cars see me. It was completely dark and I was really cranking (probably 25 – 30 mph) to get over a railway before a car coming up behind overtook me. I am very familiar with these tracks and knew at what angle to take them and I thought I knew where the deep gouges were. I hit the tracks and was immediately down and sliding on the point of my left shoulder. I heard a loud cracking sound and I knew immediately the clavicle was damaged. I had some road rash and my right thumb was not working too well. I had no idea at the time how this happened. I assumed the front tire must have slid on the tracks. The next morning I examined the accident site and found a brand new 18 inch square sided hole about 6 inches deep caused by a large chunk of that rubberized material found around railroad track crossings missing. At night with the car lights playing over the tracks all looked black and solid. I never saw the hole and hit it totally unexpectedly. X-rays confirmed a distal clavicle fracture, but the thumb was only sprained – not broken. The ER guy put the arm in a sling and referred me to an orthopedic guy and prescribed Vicodin and Ibuprofen. In a couple of days, the orthopedic guy reviewed all and told me that the crack was rather unusual in that the bone was split lengthwise, but the good news was that there was no compound fracture. He told me the bone should heal on it’s own in about six weeks and to keep it still as possible. I could hear the bone popping and felt a snapping when I moved my arm in certain ways. There was a lot of pain and swelling. After about three days the pain was diminished somewhat, but I could still hear the popping and feel the snapping. A large purple / yellow / bluish bruise formed on my shoulder and extend across my left chest to my stomach. After about 7 days the popping and snapping stopped, but it was still difficult to get out of bed, etc. The orthopedic guy said to wear the sling for three weeks, but after the popping and snapping stopped I stopped wearing the sling as it was causing more pain on than off. I concluded the bone is healing as the movement has stopped, the pain has fallen way off – the sling was not necessary. Now, after reading the posts on this site, I’m thinking about putting it back on again as the bone is obviously still fragile and I guess I run the risk of rebreaking it or having some other complication in some way. I just wondering if this a good idea if the darn thing causes the shoulder to hurt more when its on. Sudden unexpected movement or reaching across my chest causes moderate pain. I must say, the sling basically sucks because it hurts when it pulls on the shoulder in odd ways.

  220. Steve

    Hi fantastic site. Broke my collar bone 1 week ago – fell off my MTB. To complicate things I already had an a/c separation on the same shoulder from 3 years ago – a jump went badly wrong when snowboarding. The surgeon has seen the xrays and said it looks like the collarbone has telescoped in on itself, reducing it’s length by about 1-2 cm’s. This has also made the separation bigger. He has given me the option of leaving it to see how it heals naturally or let him operate with a pin (the pin has to be removed after 4 weeks). I am reluctant to have the surgery but am concerned of the possible long term affects of the shortenning of the collar bone. As the surgeon said it is a difficult one because he has not seen a break like this in somebody who already has a separation.

  221. Hans

    Kim – You might have pushed it a little too hard too soon. Your shoulder might be reacting to the effort. More movement is normally good for recovery but it must be done correctly. My physical therapist had me slowly building up movement and effort. I also recall having a clicking sound which went away fairly soon.
    If you are performing any activity that causes pain then you are pushing it too far. I would recommend you follow up with your doctor and/or a physical therapist.
    —————————————————————-
    Gerald – I know that others have commented about having their pin taken out. I was lucky not to have to surgery so I can’t comment. Search through the replies/comments on this page and the other collar bone pages (linked at the top of this page) and you should be able to find some more feedback.

  222. Gerald

    great site this is!! i broke my collarbone 3 months ago in thailand in a head-on collision with another motorcycle. it was late and night and the other guy crossed the line into my lane. never had a chance. i had a clean break, and the doc at the hospital recommended putting a pin in, so i had the operat ion. it’s now 3 months in, and i’m back in the states. i can feel the end of the pin (it creates a small bump near my shoulder) and the collardbone feels ok, though i get some aches and pains, and it definitely hurts a little if i accidentally push on the end of the pin (like when i wear a backpack). the doctor said he’d probably take the pin out, but that was in thailand and i’m not there anymore. have any of you had the procedure done, and is it a) costly or b) time-consuming? is there any way i can leave the pin in, or will i definitely have to get it taken out?

  223. Kim

    Dear broken collarbone friends, I’m once again looking for advice. I’m now into my 7th week and have started physio. The bones appear to be healing fine and the doctor seemed happy when I saw him last week, telling me I could ditch the figure of eight. However, this week I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain again in my shoulder, especially around the rotator cuff (I think this is what it’s called – basically where my shoulder meets my chest). There is also a lot of clicking. I have more range of motion but it’s almost as painful as the first days after my accident. I swam a couple of times last week as the doctor said it could help. Is all this pain due to the increased movement of my arm? Should I still be refraining from using it or is more movement good for full recovery. Again, help help, please!

  224. Tom C

    Mark,
    I had my collar bone plated and a hip graft used 10 weeks ago. I broke it May last year, a few months before my final year at veterinary school. I put off having the op then because i thought that if something did go wrong i would have to take a year out. I managed fine throughout the final year with just a fibrous union (although wasnt displaced much) – some of the heavier work ached a bit and the really heavy stuff (with horses etc) I had to stand back from occasionally.
    After graduating I had the surgery to be fully fit for work. stayed in hospital 2 nights, everything has gone well fortunately. the hip did ache at first – couldnt even wear jeans for first week or two, and walking a long distance ached for the first month. thats fine now. the collar bone is doing well. was in sling for 2 weeks, not allowed to raise arm above horizontal for further 4 wks (although thats not as bad as it sounds), and am now fully functional, with about 10 degrees range of motion reduced that im working on with physio.
    the surgery is a risk, and i guess ive been lucky. looking back i’m still glad i waited just in case something did go wrong. it depends on how flexible your daughters course organisers can be.
    hope this helps in some way,
    Tom

  225. Joe

    Mark,
    Check to see if the doc (or a different one) might use a synthetic bone graft instead of taking if from the hip. I had heard that the synthetic graft (referred to as autograft by my doc) was more common now. I had a 3cm displacement and a big fragment in the fracture area. I ended up with a plate and 8 screws, and there was a decent sized area that was filled in with the synthetic graft material. There is also some amount of processed cadaver bone in the synthetic graft. At 7 weeks post-op, my fracture is healing well, and the fracture lines are no longer visible. Much better than after 8 weeks from the initial break where there was zero healing.
    You might also want to check to see which plate system they are using. My doc used the Acumed plate which seems to be the most ideal offering specifically for the clavicle. (Shaped specifically for the clavicle, comes in left and right specific plates, and in a number of sizes to match the patient.) This is a bigger deal with the clavicle due to its shape, and the fact that it is so close to the surface of the skin. The more contoured shape and tapered edges help to minimize the risk of skin irritation, etc. This could reduce the potential need to remove the plate in the future.
    In the worst case, a second opinion wouldn’t hurt. This is a reasonably significant procedure, so you’ll want the best.
    Joe

  226. mark

    I’m concerned about my 21 year old daughter who broke her collarbone 7 weeks ago. She went for her 6 week check to be told she has non union of about 1cm and will need a plate and bone graft from her hip. The operation should be carried out within 2 weeks. She is a year 2 student nurse about to start her practical placement and could do with advice as to how long it will be before she is fully fit to work in what is a quite physical job. How long will it be before she can look after herself after the op, what is the worst bit, the hip or the shoulder? Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

  227. Darlene C

    Maybe someone here can give me an idea on what’s happening and what I should do. I am in month 5 of “recovery” and have been using the bone stimulator for a month. I am now experiencing a strange pain sensation in that arm (like hitting my funny bone),a cold numb hand and difficulty lifting that arm without lots of pain in my arm muscles. It seems to be getting worse each day and wakes me all night. I don’t remember doing anything to cause my arm to hurt. My doctor is gone/unavailable for 2 1/2 weeks and I’m not sure if I should wait to see him or try to get a referral to another doctor. Is this a normal pain or something more serious that shouldn’t wait?

  228. Kim

    Thanks for the advice Hans and for this great website! I haven’t really been doing any exercise to loosen up my shoulder as I was so worried about moving too much. I’m happy to be reassured that the pain is normal though. Back to the doctor next week. Hopefully he’ll tell me I can swim soon!

  229. Hans

    Kim – It sounds like you might be experiencing pain from the lack of use of your shoulder. Now that you are beginning to move it more it is complaining. I experienced shooting pain for short time but it eventually went away. Massage, stretching, and physio-therapy all will help to get your shoulder feeling better.
    Ah, and I had forgotten about getting a sore elbow from sleeping as you describe. That reminds me, be sure that you are taking your arm out of the sling several times a day and bending the elbow and moving your arm. It’s important to keep movement of the joints so that they don’t start to freeze up. I would leave my figure-8 on but take my arm out of the sling. I would then stretch and bend my arm at the elbow to be sure it stayed loose. Next I would slowly and carefully start moving my arm to excercise the shoulder joint. During this time I would be careful not to be moving my collar bone. The figure-8 helped a lot for that.

  230. Kim

    … oh I forgot to mention the sore elbow from sleeping all night on my back with my arm across my stomach, elbow propping it up. Is there no end to this horror story (or am I being slightly melodramatic?)?

  231. Kim

    This website has been my bible over the past few weeks!! Broke mine almost six weeks ago cycling. Was given a sling (collar and cuff they call it in Britain) and told by the doc to wean myself out of it after 2 weeks. Had it followed up in France after 3 weeks and was then told that the sling was not enough, despite the fact that the bones had started to fuse toegher, and that I needed the figure of eight brace for at least another 2 weeks. Now have a lot of movement back and have started to go out without the brace. However, my shoulder is still very painful (feels extremely tight) and I am woken up every morning by an angry collarbone. Shooting pains too. I guess this is all part of the healing process but when does it stop??? I’m a big swimmer and was initially told that I could probably swim after six weeks. Now pretty depressed as I know it’s not going to be possible for weeks. Conflicting information seems to be a constant huh?

  232. Scott

    I had shooting pains that lasted for about 3-4 days at about 4 weeks. Certain positions would make it worse. I was so annoyed as up to then it wasnt too bad. But then on the 4th day after he pains started I woke up and they had completly gone??
    Scott

  233. Joanna

    Hi. Found this website very helpful. I broke my right collar bone 3 weeks and 3 days ago playing softball. Dr. says it is healing well, pretty alligned (although the x-rays would appear to suggest otherwise), and the bump should not be too significant. I kept it in a sling for most of the first three weeks and am now trying to walk around without the sling and avoid getting trampled or bumped on the city streets and on the subway. Dr. has me doing shoulder shrugs and a few other exercise to keep the muscles loose. Following these exercises and any use of the arm, I’m experiencing shooting pains up and down my arm. Is this normal? Dr. does not think there is a problem with the nerves but the pain is pretty startling. Has anyone experienced this?

  234. Lynn

    Hans, just wanted to say thanks for keeping up this site, which I found via a Google search. I’ve learned so much about my injury and the healing process by reading other people’s comments and your responses. I especially appreciate your response to my comment. Out of the figure 8 at 3 weeks and feeling sore but have full range of motion and am amazed at the healing power of the body. Good luck all. Thanks again, Lynn

  235. Joe

    Hans, great site and myself along with many others appreciate you keeping it up.
    I broke my clavicle in early May during the finish of a local crit when another rider dove into the front of the pack and clipped my handlebars. I was instantly on the ground, knocked out momentarily and found myself leaving in an ambulance strapped down to a backboard. I hit the pavement at 35MPH with my hands still on the handlebars, and feel on the pedals, landing on my shoulder and hip. The only major injury was the clavicle break and lots of road rash.
    I saw two different ortho docs during the first two months. Both were of the mindset that I should just let it heal on its own with just the figure of 8 brace. My concern was that the broken ends were vertically apart and overlapping by over an inch. After 8 weeks doc #2 said to ditch the brace and start moving the arm. At that point there was zero healing visible, but not too much pain at the break site.
    I finally sought a 3rd opinion from a shoulder specialist ortho. His advice was to go ahead with surgery. He would have recommended it right off the bat since there was so much shortening of the clavicle due to the nature of the break. I went ahead with the surgery and now have the Acumed plate and 8 screws holding things together. Surgery was more involved and took 4 hours! I was told this was due to the fact that my shoulder had become used to the inch shorter clavicle for 3 months so everything had tightened up and was a tough job for two surgeons to pull back out to full size. Initial recovery was more painful than I had anticipated, but it makes sense given what they had to do. I am almost a month post-surgery now. Pain is largely gone now. While the original golf ball sized bump was removed during surgery, I now have a decent sized bump that runs much of the length of the plate. This has gotten smaller since surgery, but is still large enough to see even when I’m wearing a T-shirt. I was wondering if anyone else who has had surgery could provide feedback on how much of a bump might remain long term. I don’t feel the screws or anything odd just yet, only the bump. (The skin surface is still numb around the surgery site, so I’m not sure how different it will feel further down the road.) I’ve probably got a couple more weeks with an arm sling and then I’ll finally start working on rehab of the shoulder and get back on the bike :).

  236. Daniel McNeil

    Hans, Thanks for the feedback – I promise I’ll be a good boy. I will also make sure that the Dr understands my concerns. He’s pretty good but also brusque so I know I will have to be assertive.

  237. Sam

    I went in last week for another surgery. This one seemed to go well, but they all did until the plates broke. This time they put in double plates, injected demineralized bone powder into the clavicle, and sent me home with a heavy duty sling and swath (which i am forbidden to remove for 6 weeks), a polar shoulder (a very cool ice machine) and a bone growth stimulator that i have to wear 3 hours a day for a couple months. They beat me up pretty good during this surgery (probably so i wouldn’t want to move my arm for a while) and i have bruising down to my belly button, across my chest, completely down my left arm, and midway down my back. Needless to say, I am in terrible pain. I am crossing my fingers and hoping this finally works! I’ll let you know how my follow up goes next week!

  238. Hans

    Addison – When new bone is forming it isn’t instantly solid. Therefore there may still be movement between the broken ends. It’s very important not to be moving the shoulder and the break during this time so you don’t hinder the healing. Think about fast setting glue between two pieces of wood. If you keep moving the two pieces of wood apart the glue might not get a chance to set and connect the pieces. That’s a simplified description but similar to what can occur with your broken bones and the connection that’s trying to form.
    The clicking you are hearing might be the bones or maybe soft tissue. If it’s soft tissue it might simply go away as your shoulder continues to heal and you regain flexibility. It’s difficult to guess though which it might be. I recommend you call your doctor and explain what you have described here.
    —————————————————————
    Lynn – The popping you hear may be soft tissue, such as a ligament, moving over a different path formed by the injury. My shoulder popped for a bit, especially when my muscles had tightened up. This was normally in the morning. But eventually it went away.
    —————————————————————
    Daniel – Movement of your shoulder and your age are going against you for healing. One you can change, the other you can’t. I recommend you give your shoulder a chance and limit activites that stress and move your shoulder. Doing so now pays off later when you have a healed shoulder.
    Also, if you haven’t, you should be very specific with your doctor about what your expectations are when you are healed. Particularly regarding your desire to swim free-style. That is important information that may or may not change your doctor’s recommendation.

  239. Daniel McNeil

    I shattered my clavicle on Memorial Day, 2006. I was working on my sailboat while it was on the trailer and fell off. I have virtually no memory of the accident since I also suffered a minor head injury with loss of conciousness. I actually had surgery on the now broken rt clavicle 3 years ago due to arthritis so it was already short by about an inch. The fractures are numerous in the middle of the bone with a center piece (actually several little pieces) lying nearly vertically and the outer pieces touching it. It looks like a demented “Z”. My orthopedic Dr (the same one who did the surgery) wants only to take a conservative course waiting to see if the pieces knit together. His opinion is that there are too many nerves/blood vessels in the area and the chance for complications are too great. The severe pain at the fracture site I experienced at first (something we all are privvy to) has almost vanished. I have good strength in the arm and, luckily, no apparent nerve damage. I do have some pain elsewhere and the Dr says I may have some rotator cuff damage. I have been out of the sling and figure eight since late in July and have been using the arm carefully since then. My most recent X-ray (8/21/06) shows new bone being laid down around the fracture site. The vertical piece(s) seem to be shifting while new bone is being laid down. Due to my general lack of pain at the fracture site the Dr has said that even if there is a non-union there it may be ok to leave it as is. I have good range of motion currently. I was told in the ER that this is the best bone to break since you don’t have to do anything about it. I’m not so sure about that. I am nearly 3 months from the injury and the bone isn’t healed yet. My next appt w/the Dr is in 3 months. It seems that this is common having read over the stories other people tell. I want to get back swimming but the Dr has said no free-style, only breast stroke. I hate the breast stroke! I am 50 y/o and need to lose some weight so I will do the breast stroke. I feel very lucky that my injuries were not worse – I fell about 10 ft onto my head and shoulder – I could have been paralyzed, brain damaged, or dead. I will put up with this even if it leads to surgery. I am pleased I found this site!

  240. Lynn

    Nice to find this site and read about other’s experiences. I broke my left clavicle mountain biking right in the middle of the clavicle about 10 days ago. Doc says it is a good break for healing. Found that percacet (sp?) got me through the first week–woke up every night when it wore off (now I just take something at night). Bought a couple of button short sleeves to put on because t-shirts were too hard. Wife helps with the washing and deoderant and such under my good shoulder, etc.
    Was just using the sling they gave me but I had it so loose it wasn’t giving me much support. Every morning my bone would have set overnight and then I would rebrake it trying to get out of bed or within a few seconds after getting up-just felt it pull, then pop!! Then it popped and crunched all day long, despite being very careful and not doing anything really. So I got a figure of 8 brace and that’s been great because it keeps my shoulder from sagging, gives me better posture (hey, I’d rather heal without the sag), and the re-braking in the morning has stopped. I’ve also become more mobile, and have actually caught myself using my left arm and forgetting about the break (until it hurts). So now I added back the sling just to remind myself not to try to use my left hand.
    The only think I’m worried about is that I still hear and feel some popping going on that shoulder. I’m concerned that it might not be healing properly, but wonder if it’s normal at this stage of the game. It certainly isn’t rebraking in the morning, but…am I healing normally?

  241. Addison

    Hey Guys,
    I broke my right colar bone in three places on july 18 06 on a motocross track. i’ve just started back to work doing light work but when i’m swinging my hammer i get a really sharp pain in my shoulder. it’s really excrutuating pain. and then the other night i was laying in bed and felt a click in my shoulder. (when i broke it and was walking off the track it was clicking every step i took) when i put my finger where the break/bone is sticking up and move my shoulder i can feel the bone connected to my shoulder moving and the other peice not moving. I’ve had check ups and my bone growth is coming in but what i’m not understanding is why would it be moving if there’s growth going on. Shouldn’t it move as one by now?! And am i just having a froze shoulder?

  242. Hans

    Trinity – It’s difficult relieving the pain just after getting the break. Your body not only has the broken bone but there is usually surrounding soft tissue damage and swelling. This all adds up to a very tender shoulder.
    You might consider wearing a figure-8 brace. That’s what I used to reduce movement, keep my shoulders aligned, and stop some of the pain from the movement. It’s not the most comfortable thing to wear but it worked well for me and has worked for others. It’s good for keeping you from accidently moving your collar bone and hindering the healing process.

  243. Trinity

    hey my name is Trinity im 13 years old and yesterday during a football Jamboree (a series of scrimages) i broke my collar bone. i was brought to the hospital after 20 minutes of being on the field. and the x-rayz showed it was broken in 3 places!! all they did for me was give me 4 shots of morpheen and a prescription for vicodin. N0w its just in a sling!! Do you have any other ideas of how i can keep it still? because every little movement hurts it!

  244. Darlene C

    Thanks for your replies. I’ve talked to more professionals on this and it appears trying a month with the bone stimulator is worth a try. Looks like I’ll be a member of this “elite” club for awhile longer, at least I’m in good company! I’m not in any rush to restart the healing during the last nonfrozen days in Colorado..I’ll be inside from the cold soon enough. Does anyone know how short a collarbone can be and still be functional longterm?? The dr. said I did not need the 2 “extra” bone parts that were riding one above and one below the break, I’m not sure where they are now, but I might have extra parts if anyone needs them….Also with a plate, is it true that carrying a heavy backpack will have it come through the thin skin at the scar? I climb mountains and an avid rockhound (when I’m not tipping dirtbikes.) I’m still enjoying these hobbies somewhat but have been taking it alot easier. Ok…I’m confused again as the dr. said it did not help the healing more if I started using the sling again. I’m waiting on my bone stimulator to come by FED EX today and am relieved to know it doesn’t actually electricute or zap! Thanks again.

  245. george

    oh god, reading this site has made me feel a bit sick.
    my advice – do not, ever, break your collarbone when you have got two children under the age of 4.
    i commute by bike in london, a hazardous pastime and was knocked off my ride by a skip lorry. could have gone under the lorry. could have been a car in the next door lane when i landed in it. could have been mowed down by the guy in the car behind. but i wasn’t.
    so, i was lucky to be alive and with just a broken right clavicle.
    the pain was extraordinary. i got claustrophobia when being strapped to the stretcher (they didn’t know if my neck had gone as well) – so much so that they gave me an industrial quantity of morphine (you see, not all bad) just to get me to the hospital.
    once there all was fine. a break halfway down the bone, the two bits of bone still lined up. I was given a sling and some co-codamol and packed off with instructions not to move it. next day, a specialist concurred. but he gave me some tramadol for the night (these i do recomend, the co-codamol just block you up and ibuprofen work just as well).
    so far, so good. but after two weeks in bed impatience got the better of me and we all went on an outing to the london eye one sunday. no problem.
    then, on the tube on the way home, one of the boys jumped at me. i flinched. massive pain. nightmare.
    three weeks later i went back to the specialist for a 6 week check. not good news. now the bones were overlapping by an inch. not to worry he said. let’s give it another 6 weeks (i had flinched at the crucial bone-forming moment) and take another x-ray.
    that was three weeks ago.
    last week i felt the shoulder getting more solid and made a mental note to myself to look after it. it is out of its sling – the specialist suggested small movements might help the healing.
    then disaster. my little boy tripped right in front of me. without thinking i lunged forward to catch him. and that really hurt.
    ever since then the bones have been moving again. it doesn’t hurt but after reading everyone else’s stories i am feeling pretty down about the chances of recovery without an op. we have another baby due in november and my wife is going a bit potty with having to do all the lifting etc.
    if you can, and i couldn’t, DON’T MOVE THE BLOODY THING UNTIL WELL AFTER YOU FEEL IT STARTING TO HARDEN UP. and don’t have kids.and don’t ride in london. actually don’t do anything. just lie in bed. it’s where you’ll end up anyway.
    good luck all. may the force be with you.

  246. Sam

    Darlene-
    Although I have had some complications with my plates breaking after surgery, I would totally recommend it. I too am in a job where lifting is required and my doctor said that letting it heal on its own was not recommended since I broke it in 5 spots. Two weeks after surgery I felt great, and good range of motion and lifting ability. (This probably was the cause of my plates breaking. I think I felt good and over did it too soon). I also got a second opinion from a doctor who also felt that a clavicle that breaks in more than one or two spots should be operated on due to the high risk of nonunions with comminuted fractures. Get a second opinion! I did after four months, and if anything it just reassured me that my doctor was in fact doing the proper thing.
    I go in for surgery again next week because my second plate broke, and they are going to try one of those electrical bone growth stimulators. If you get yours before me, let me know how it goes! Good luck. I hope this helps!

  247. David

    Darlene: If I were you I would get a second opinion. I had surgery on my collarbone after 7 weeks of no union, and I am completely satisfied. Some orthopods seem adverse to surgery and I’m not quite sure why. Of course, you get a scar and a metal plate with surgery, but you also get a completely aligned collarbone. Good luck.

  248. Darlene C

    This is one club I’d like to be an ex-member of. Four months ago I tipped over on my new ttr125. Seems the combination of being somewhat short and the loose colorado gravel can make a nearly stopped bike sort of tip over and break a collarbone in four pieces. The event was described as comical and even amazing that one could hurt themselves doing it. I was certain my shoulder should not be attached to my ear, so off to the ER. Apparently if you take a regular tylenol on the way there, to take the edge off from the long 4wheel trail ride back to the main road, you can’t have a pain reliever at the hospital. After Xrays and hours waiting I was being sent home and told there was nothing they could do for me, see the ortho in 5 days. I had been so brave till this news and now sobbed “what do you mean you can’t fix this?? my shoulder is in my ear and I’m getting tired of holding this position..The xray tech gave me a sling to drop my arm in and I composed myself for this new adventure..Ok, on to the recovery with 2 months in a figure 8. My gouged muscles above my armpits will never be the same again. I’ve taken it easy and at 4 months the ortho says “it should heal, sometimes it takes 6 months, Now we should try a bone stimulator”. He has implied on many visits that the surgery is unnecessary, dangerous and will look grossly frankenstienish. I am 44 and feel as though it has taken over my life. My collarbone pivots at the break, is short,and pulls on my neck. The Dr says scartissue is causing this pulling at my throat ,causing a constant wierd gurgling burp day and night. I can’t even wear a decent bra without pain. Can someone tell me will this nightmare ever end?? I can’t work because I have to be able to lift spec.ed children..What is this adversion to surgery?? Does nature, Dr., or patient know best??..I’m confused.

  249. Tom C

    Mike – Your story bought back memories. I broke my collar bone wrestling a friend in an inflatable sumo wrestling suit at a college party – he’s about a foot taller than me as well!!!
    Hope you have a speedy recovery,
    Tom
    PS: sleeping on your back is horrible, isnt it? I found that supporting the bad arm with a couple of extra pillows helps a bit.

  250. Mike Holland

    How Ironic that I found this website. On August 6th, Last Sunday I had just got back from a nice early morning bike ride. It was a great start to my Sunday morning. After my ride, my boss and I went to visit a friend who has been off work for a month with a bad back. After about a hour we left, and I headed home for a Weekly Sunday poker game. It was hot and sunny that day. One of my poker buddies decided to climb a tree. Since it was hot out, I decided to cool him off. The garden hose was within reach, and guess what he got. Anyway, after he got out of the tree and grabbing the hose and soaking me, He decided to teach me some wrestling moves. I’m 5’6″ and he is 6’3″ about 225 lbs. After about 5 minutes I was getting tired and kind of relaxed for a second, just as he fell on my shoulder. SNAP!!!
    I have broken this collar bone before and I knew right away I was screwed. Off to the hospital I go. Surprisingly it only took 2 hours. The iniyial xray looked like I only snapped it in two. But 3 days later when I went to the fracture clinic, New xrays showed a shattered clavicle. I literally had a half inch piece of bone snapped off in the centre, with alot of fragments around it. Amazingly the doctor says it will heal on its own without surgery. I found it hard to believe, but he reassured me. He says it will be up to 3 months to heal. That really bummed me out. I was supposed to be in a mountain bike race in a week. 24hrs of summer solstice. I had to break the news to my team today. This is the second time I have injured myself prior to a big racing weekend. I am not looking forward to the next 3 months only sleeping on my back. So consider yourself lucky if you have a clean break. See ya.

  251. Ana Dujic

    Hey there, you’re accident sounds dredful, i completely understand not being able to do the things you love. I broke my collar bone exactly 4 weeks yesterday, I broke my collarbone during a rugby game yeahh not cool. Well luckily you had a clean break but i did not *BUMMER* mine won’t ever go back normally and the figure 8 brace is completely USELESS to me. So i’m glad that yours had a clean break. Now everytime i go back to my doctor he’s just giving me more weeks it’s horrible. However i was very interested to see the training schedual your doctor had prepared for you to keep you in shape.

  252. Hans

    Ewan – Thanks for posting your story and the link to the photos. Brings back memories of my break! I hope you heal soon and get back out on the bike. Sorry you are missing the great weather in Scotland. Hmm, is global warming helping summers there? :’)
    —————————————————————-
    Sam – Wow, two broken titanium plates! I’ve heard of people breaking a plate one time but not a second time. And then the infection gets thrown in there. Well I can offer one theory as to why you are breaking the plates. You said you’re a fireman and had gone back to work? How much movement and stress do you put on the shoulder? If you are constantly moving the shoulder and indirectly bending and stressing the titanium plate, then you could break it. A plate is only meant to hold the bones aligned while they heal. The plate isn’t strong enough to do more than that. Yes, titanium is a strong alloy, but the plate is thin and has several holes in it where the screws pass through.
    A plate stabilizes and supports the break. But it won’t make your clavicle as stable and as strong as before the break. Therefore, you still need to be careful using your shoulder and try to reduce movement. Once the break fuses and the clavicle is solid enough you will be able to use your shoulder as you had before. But overdoing it before then can lead to problems such as a broken plate.
    Finally, it’s never too late to get a second or third opinion from a qualified doctor.
    —————————————————————-
    tom r – Yes, it’s amazing when the bones do figure themselves out and fuse back together. As for excercises for your AC joint, I recommend that you schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. It’s better and safer to get recovery excercises for your own injury. Each injury is unique and you wouldn’t want to perform an excercise that would hinder your recovery.

  253. tom romberg

    OK. I had a follow at 6 weeks. Good news, the bone is mending fine. I had a 1 1/4″ seperation find it amazing how the bone can grow back. The concern now is an AC Joint seperation. No surgery needed at this time. I need to do exercises to get the shoulder back. Has anyone had this and what kind of exercises work. I am anxious to get back on the golf course before the whole summer is gone.

  254. Tom

    Just had my 2 week post-op xrays and all seems to be holding in place well. Doc says I should now start to use the sling less and should be driving by week 4 and working at week 6 – this seems a lot less time than some of the people on this site were told!! It does feel odd over the plate when i move my shoulder but hopefully its just re-adjusting to the new metalwork and the lack of use.
    Doc wants me back in 4 weeks to see me but no xray – the surgery connected the fragments so neatly that they wont be able to tell on an xray when the fracture has actually healed…
    Sam – sounds like you’ve been unlucky. I had a non-union for a year before finally having it plated. hope it gets sorted for good this time round. I’ve heard of using ‘stacked plates’ on other parts of the body to strengthen the repair by literally using 2 plates on top of each other. not sure about collar bones, might be worth mentioning?
    Good luck mending guys!
    Tom

  255. Sam

    I broke my left clavicle skiing in March and have had a terrible time healing. Being 24, active, and a non-smoker, the doctor assumed would heal well. Because my fracture was in several pieces, I went in for surgery 5 days after the original accident to have a plate and 9 screws placed. I did everything I was suppossed to and after 10 weeks, I was allowed back to work(I am a firefighter).
    10 days after going back to work, my titanium plate broke in half to the disbelief of my surgeon. I went back into surgery to have a new plate put in during the last week in June. This surgery included a bone graft. After 10 days, my clavicle looked great on x-ray, but my wound from the bone graft became infected and I had another surgery July 7 to clean it out.
    It gets even better. I went to the ortho yesterday after having some “clicking” and mild pain in my clavicle and it was discovered that I have again snapped my plate in half. Now I am scheduled for surgery in a couple of weeks to have double plates put in, along with bone growth powder, and a bone growth stimulator.
    What is my problem? 4 surgeries, 4 months and counting off work, and I have missed two seasons of soccer, softball, and a summer at the lake. Any advice for a non healer? There has to be something I can be doing to help myself heal! Is it too late to get a second opinion?

  256. Ewan

    Tom,
    Fistly after only 3 weeks i can’t imagine the frustration you must have over a year after your break. As for sleeping i sleep on my back but only cause its the only way i can keep the pain away enough to get to sleep – and yes i also wake at all times with a sore lower back. All i was told on leaving the hospital was to keep it still as possible in the sling.
    I guess all options are not applcable to all breaks. My break was ‘distal’ (near the outer end of the clavicle) allowing the long bit to be screwed to the corocoid (see http://www.orthoassociates.com/shoulderRCD.htm). There was not much bone on the smaller part to attach a plate or screws. This was complicated by the long end being embedded into the shoulder, so there was no chance of the bones healing as they were too far apart, also there was chance of damage being done to either the shoulder or lung.
    I had my first post op xray today and the ten staples removed and i was not expecting such a large screw!! Maybe the xray enlarges it but it looked about 40-45mm long and 5-6mm diameter. Anyway the consultant is happy with the bones positioning, yes it’ll be uncomfortable, yes i need to keep it completely immobile (other than a few 2-3 daily exercises) and in the sling for another 5 weeks.
    As for the NHS i have nothing but praise for the treatment i’ve received, guess its impossible to get everything 100% right but now your plate should allow your bones the best chance to heal together agian given time and rest. I’m slowly accepting that mountain biking is out for 6 months and next years snowboarding trip will not happen as i’d rather have a summers biking than a weeks boarding with 2 bones with holes drilled through them!
    Good luck, look to the future, quiz your doctors and take it easy!
    Ewan

  257. Tom

    Hey guys,
    I had surgery to plate my collar bone 2 weeks ago – things feel ok so far, am going back for an xray tomorrow. After the surgery I was kind of kicked out the hospital without getting any advice on what I should or shouldnt do (!) – does anyone know if you have to sleep on your back. ive been trying to do it just in case, but I end up waking up with a really sore back every morning at 4am!!
    Ewan – your type of surgery wasnt offered to me, so I have the plate and screws. wish theyd mentioned that option, because i have to keep the plate in at least a year even if it does reduce shoulder motion!!
    Thanks for the encouraging words everyone,
    Tom

  258. Ewan

    Jason,
    Thanks for your reply, i was needing a litle reassurance as at the time the consultant told me he wanted to operate i didn’t think of all the questions that occured to me over the next day.
    Once in the hospital i found out the first thing they were to do is to get the broken end of the clavicle thats embedded into my shoulder out and realign it by screwing the clacicle to the coracoid, then see how the break lines up and if it needs plated. A plate (being so close to my shoulder) would restrict movement and would need to come out later so if this could be avoided it would be.
    The op went real good according to the doctor, i’ll reserve judgement as i know it’ll heal better but the pain for the first 48hours was incredible even with codine, paracetamol and ibuprofen! Even now 5 days later its frustratingly uncomfortable not painful just irretating.
    So in summarry its now in the best position to mend, comfort is worse 5 days after the op than 5 days after the break, Scotland is having one of the best July’s in years but i’m stuck in the house, i’m about to cancel my entry in my first 24hours mountain bike race – its not worth the risk 3 months after the break!
    The stiches come out on Wednesday but not sure if it’ll be xrayed, then 8 weeks after the op the screw is removed.
    Cheers Ewan

  259. Artie

    It has been a week since I broke my collar bone. I broke it in two places towards the top neck area. I went over my handle bars while mountainbiking in Steamboat springs. The doctor said it will mend it self, but just to be sure, he wants to look at it again in two weeks. I am on Valuim, and percocet now. I may sound like a whimp, but at times the pain is pretty bad. It feels like a spear goes through it at different times. When I wake up in the morning my entire side is as tight as can be. Taking a shower is rough, and dressing is even worse.
    The Doctor says about 6 weeks or so I will feel like this.
    Hey, thanks for listening, and I am grateful that I had my helmet on.
    I will get back in the saddle soon!!!

  260. jason

    Hey Ewan,
    First off Id like to say too bad about the break. I glanced at the pics, ouch! I had my collarbone plated with bone graft back in May (above link Broken Clavicle no more July 14). I will tell you what my surgeon said in regards to having the plate removed. After 12 – 18 months I could have it taken out. He said if it doesnt bother me, I might as well leave it in. He also stated that to have it removed involves another surgery (local anesthetic instead of general anesthetic), and that there is a higher risk of refracture, especially 2 -3 months afterward due to the fact that the removal of the six screws would leave holes in the bone. Definetely something to consider.
    Your second question is tough because the healing process is different for everyone. I can tell you that for the first three days after surgery I was glad I had pain meds! After that, I ditched the meds and was quite surprised of what little pain I had. It is very crucial to keep your shoulder immobilized for the first couple of weeks (except to take your arm out of the sling to stretch your elbow). If you listen to your surgeon and physiotherapist you should have no trouble healing. I also took calcium with vitamin D tablets and followed a healthy diet. Before surgery the doc said it could take anywheres from 2 – 8 months to achieve union, so I am quite satisfied with my progress.
    I hope I helped answer your questions. Good luck with the surgery and keep us updated on your progress!
    Cheers,
    Jason

  261. Ewan

    Hi,
    Thanks for all the useful information. I broke my right clavicle last Thursday (13th) after a dog ran out in front of my bike, the first i knew of it i was lying in the road wondering what had happened. The doc said complete rest of the shoulder for 4-5 days and to go back for 2nd xray in 2 weeks. I found this website the next day after looking for ideas on what to do and not do, thanks to you guys i feel much less alone in my predicament and much more informed and have been taking calcium, magnesium and boron tablets.
    Then i got a call from the hospital asking me to go into the hospital today (a week early) for the second xray. I was seen by the consultant after more xrays in all directions and he recomends surgery on Tuesday to plate and pin it as the bones are too far apart to heal properly. Not looking forward to it at all but it beats waiting 3 months to discover they did not heal themselves and i know i’ll have a more manouverable shoulder. Currently the shoulder end of the clavicle is in front of and above the neck end, that is deep down into the body.
    Anyway its all for the best. I do have 2 questions i’d like answered by anyone who’s been plated :
    1) After the operation does the plate stay in for ever?
    (i know everyone is different in respect to their break and pain but i’ll ask anyway)
    2) I’ve been lucky and relatively free from pain so far, is the operation likey to change that and how quickly is recovery from the surgery?
    Finally, thank you Hans for providing this site and also taking the time to answer so many peoples questions over 3 years after your own break when most people would be back riding thier bike, horse, motorbike or whatever not helping others.
    Cheers Ewan
    For some photos of the damage…
    http://home.btconnect.com/yellow_peril/Clavicle.html

  262. Hans

    Bill – Ah, the problems of going stir crazy when recovering from an injury. I would recommend cross training. Go out and hike or do some stair climbs. Do other activites that you might not do because you are riding.
    When you ride your trainer, do more than just spin, focus on specific workouts. For an example of the workout plan I used take a look at the “Broken Clavicle No More” page I link to in my original post at the top of this page.

  263. Tom Romberg

    Hey All,
    I broke my left one 16 days ago. Broke the right one 4 years ago on a mountain bike. That one healed very nicely with no complications. This time I had a 160lb hay bale fall on me. I am one of the top amatuer golfers in the country so I guess I will wait until next year now. I have already gone out to the backyard and started chipping and putting with my left arm only (beat my 16 year old son 5 of 6 closest to the hole). For all of you, don’t worry, it will heal in time and you can never break it in the same place again….just a fraction from it though. For those of you who do not want to sleep in your easy chair, this time I went to the back store and got a wedge for my back and a wedge for my knees. Yeah! I can sleep in bed. For those of you who are right handed like me, does’nt it take an awful long time to type using your left hand! Ha

  264. Bill M.

    July 13, 2006
    12:20 p.m.
    I’m a 46 year old Triathlete and I recently broke my right clavicle MTB in Iowa on July 5th. First broken bone ever and I’ve had many tumbles. It’s been a week now and the slow recovery is driving me nuts (my wife too)! Home and out of work for at least the next 6 weeks. Love the advice and comments of this website. Since I’m going stir crazy at home, what can you veterans of broken clavicles recommend for stretching exercises. Still taking the dog for daily hikes in the woods and riding my trainer for 30 mins at a time. I worry about frozen shoulder and the dead feeling I have in my right arm. My ortho (like yours) has recommended nothing but rest for the next two weeks and that it takes time. What activities can you recommend help pass the time…. can only read and watch so much TV. Thanks for the helpful advice.

  265. Henry Lyautey

    I found this on a google search. I was riding my motorcycle 2 weeks ago and a van turned in front of me and I T-boned it. I have the classic bottom of the full face helmet breaks the clavicle into 6 pieces mess. My ex gf came to the hospital and I got to spend the night with her (cool). I told her I would do anythng to see her again. The cop gave us both tickets! He came to the hospital to give me mine. What is up with that? Improper lane change? The ER Doctor told me I would need surgery to put the mess together so I didn’t sweat going dancing the next night. I am a swing dance instructor as a hobby. Well, it turns out, no surgery needed. That figure 8 thing is a pain. The strap presses right where the break is so I quit wearing it. I have 90% movement in my arm but the bone still pops now and then. I grossed out the secretary at work popping it for her. I have a knot the size of a baseball and it keeps growing. Of course the other driver was not insured so I am going around with my insurance company and hope to be riding again soon. I shortened the wheelbase of my bike 5 1/2″ and raked the whole side. I figure it’s totalled, but the adjuster hasn’t seen it yet. I definately want it totalled. Mike LaRocco (MX racer) said years ago that he loved racing because he got to meet so many nice doctors. Maybe that applies to motorcyclists in general! I found out that my ex gf is seeing someone else and I made a comment about that she didn’t like and now she won’t talk to me. I’ll send her some flowers and ask her to come to traffic court with me. She is sooo cute.

  266. Hans

    Joe – From what I was informed, the strap (figure-8 is what I used) is only meant to help keep your shoulders immobile and to hold a good posture. In doing so it indirectly helps with aligning the broken bones. But its purpose is not to force the broken bones into alignment, only for stabilizing. For now I recommend wearing the strap for this purpose and then when you meet with your specialist, discuss alignment.
    Surgery is always an option. But I know folks that have healed without surgery even though they had pieces of their collar bone shattered off.
    Hope this helps. Let us know what your specialist recommends.

  267. Joe Onley

    I broke mine yesterday, and cannot seem to get the strap they gave me to set the break properly, is this normal, or will the specialist I see in two days help me with something better? Just an opinion is all I seek. I believe there is a couple pieces in there, like it shattered, so perhaps surgery is in my future? Thanks for any help you can give.

  268. Hans

    Dale – Sorry, but I don’t have any information regarding that procedure. Please feel free to post any information you find though in case someone else happens to be looking.
    ———————————————————–
    Sonny – It’s not possible to give an estimate as to how long it will take for your collar bone bump to go down. Each person’s bump and how their body deals with it is unique. Mine wasn’t that bad and only took a year before it wasn’t that noticeable. But I have friends with several year old bumps that still stand out.
    ———————————————————–
    Bill – Glad to hear things are working out. Sounds like you are doing everything right. I’m told that excercise which increases blood flow within the body and particularly to the shoulder is helpful. So your hiking is probably a good thing.

  269. Bill

    Good news for those with recent breaks, 2.5 weeks out, healing is occuring with my break, despite being 60 yrs old. Advice from Hans and this site critical to the process re: keeping arm immobile in sling. Used no medications so as to be aware of pain. Also taking daily doses of calcium and Vitamin D. Dr, recommends no outdoor biking for 6-8 wks from initial injury. Trainer is fine. Cautions that a re-break might neccessiate pinning. I added hiking into my training schedule.

  270. Dale Kane

    I ran across this site while searching for anyone that has my problem. I had a grade III AC shoulder separation repaired with a cadaver tendon and two fiber wires sitting on top of some Marlex mesh. This “repair” is sawing through my collarbone, perhaps caused by fall that hairline fractured the site where the load was on the bone from the tendon and wires.
    The surgeon is now recommending bone marrow to pack in the “notch” as well as a Titanium plate and screws. The current plan is to leave the tendon and wires in the middle of my bone. I have found no record of anyone with this complication from an AC separation repair. If anyone can be of any assistance, I would greatly appreciate the help.
    Cheers,
    Dale
    Dale_Kane@mba.berkeley.edu

  271. jon

    Recently I had the non-union of my right clavicle fixed with the help of a titanium plate. It is exactly 6 weeks to the day after the operation and I feel great! I had xrays taken two weeks ago and the doc said he saw bone growth and it is showing good signs of solidifying – Great news!! He even asked me to do a few pushups which I did with no pain. My only real concern now is gaining the strength back in my right shoulder which just so happens is my dominant side. The doc told me not to push myself just yet until he sees me again in late July. My range of motion is decent – about 80% – and I feel ready to start strengthing excersises, but dont want to delay the healing process. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    P.S.: my advice for all of you that have recently broke your collarbone is to listen to your body. I chose to ignore what my body was telling me which resulted in two years of misery and pain which could have been avoided. Get a second opinion, there is nothing to lose.

  272. Hans

    Danny – My doctor recommended that I take my arm out of the sling to simply move the lower arm and the shoulder socket. But he didn’t want me doing weight lifting or heavy work with it.
    By using the arm it helps to keep the joints from tightening. There’s something called frozen shoulder/socket that can occur when someone doesn’t use their shoulder. The socket loses range of motion from lack of use. Physical therapy for that can be as big a pain as a broken collar bone.

  273. danny

    i’m working on day 7 now after i broke my left clavicle playing soccer (got tackled, fell on shoulder and crack…) it is now overlapping and obviously i’m hoping for a quick recovery. unlike most of you, i don’t have any pain whatsoever but x-ray clearly shows a cracked clavicle. has anybody any experience with working out the lower arm to get the blood flow going in the shoulder in hopes of a quicker recovery? I’m wearing now a fig 8 and a sling just to keep it stabalized. great site and speedy recovery to everyone!

  274. Bill

    I learned of a second orthopedist who is also a biker and may go for a second opinion. My guy gave the impression that this break was not a big deal and even said I could bike real easy. I also believe the break is beyond the attachment point of the clavical to the shoulder, right at the very tip. The shoulder is still stabilized as a result. But still, some of the comments on this site and responses are of real concern.

  275. Peter

    I just returned from the orthopedist and he, like Bill’s guy, recommended Tylenol over the anti-inflammatory medications because studies are showing they inhibit bone healing. (Probably good to have some unmasked pain to remind my to keep it stationary.) He told me I should be on my trainer in a week or so and on my bike in a month. Hooray! Thanks for the site Hans.

  276. Hans

    Bill – Sorry to hear about your mishap. I would highly recommend you keep your shoulder immobilized during these first two weeks. Too much movement can hinder the healing process. That’s why wearing a sling and/or a figure-8 is so important during that time. It paid off for me and also for others. Also, docs will sometimes prescribe what’s good for their average patient. That’s typically a sedentary person and not an athlete such are yourself. So be sure the doctor you have recognizes your needs and expectations for recovery.

  277. Bill

    Just broke distal end of left clavicle on bike avoiding a truck pulling out of a blind driveway (pulled out without checking for traffic) I ran off the road and fell on the shoulder. Although painful, did not realize it was broken until x-ray next day. Orthopedist recommended Tylenol over ibubrofen or other NASIC type medication stating that these medications were shown to inhibit bone healing. However, the tylenol does not touch the pain as effectively. No slings at this point. Xrays were in digital format, have a copy. Re-visit in two weeks to check healing. Good site! Nice job!

  278. Hans

    Peter – Your break is similar to mine, the one described in the entry at the top. It took me a month before I was back on the bike. But, just as people are all different so are collar bone breaks. You might be lucky and be able to recover quickly. No matter what happens, keep your head up. A broken collar bone is a bummer but something that we can recover from. And it makes for a great coversation piece when talking about cycling battle scars.

  279. Peter

    The only bone I ever broke in my life was my left clavicle. I broke it skiing in 1991 at the age of 41, it healed in 6 weeks as a bayonet (overlapping) bond while I wore a figure 8 brace. It was a very painfull experience.
    I broke it again the day before yesterday when I fell from my road bike trying to avoid a wheel touch with the guy I was drafting. This time was much less painful. I road another 25 miles before going home, cleaning up and heading to the ER. The X-rays showed a break of about 2cm off the distal end of the left clavicle. I see the orthopod tomorrow morning. I need to be back on my bike within a month. After reading this thread I feel disillusioned. Anyone have a similar injury to my most recent one?

  280. David

    Tom: I’m way older than you — 52 yrs. old — but i have had a very good experience with surgery. After 8 weeks of a non-union I pushed for surgery, and had the surgery at week 10. The results were great, including an aligned collarbone and return to full activities. I’m not sure why some doctors are hesitant to recommend surgery when the factors suggest a strong chance of a non-union. It seems to me that you are far too young to have limitations on your activities, and even though there are no guarantees in life and surgery, surgery seems like the right option. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  281. Tom

    any advice?
    I broke my left collar bone in May 2005, and thanks to the great UK National Health Service I was put on a very long waiting list for surgery, complicated by being in my final year at college. Have just received a call saying i’ve been booked in for surgery next month!! they’re going to plate it cos its a non-union.
    Its much less of a problem than it was at first, i have a good range of motion, although it does strain it if i have to push or pull a heavy abject and its stopping me from doing things like sports with friends, swimming in the sea, etc. any experiences of the surgery?? i’m worried that it could be worse afterwards! but i’m 24 and dont want to spend the rest of my life feeling restricted to what i can do – although how much is psychological i dont know!!
    any comments would be really appreciated.
    Thanks. Tom.

  282. steve boat

    i previously wrote on the 3 jan 2006 had op on 1.6.2006 six months after accident. involved taking out protruding bone, crushing it up and using the fragments to fuse the ends together. i think its better than having a plate fitted hoping to be back at work in 2 weeks. in a sling for 2 weeks. i am a plumber so i need it to be strong will write in again later. once again brilliant website wish everyone good recovery.

  283. Hans

    Chad – Yes, a tight shoulder is common. One cause of this is something called “frozen shoulder”. This occurs when the shoulder isn’t used over a long period of time.
    Physical therapy to recover range-of-motion can be tough. Your PT person should have given you advice as to how far to go before stopping. It’s usually based on a pain level. If you are going to the point of a lot of pain then you might be going too far. You should discuss this with your PT person.

  284. george

    I had more pain in my shoulder than I did where the break was, in fact, I thought I had done something wrong to my shoulder as well. At 11 weeks after the break, I was getting very concerned and told my wife that I can not live with the pain the rest of my life. The doctor told me to keep a check on it and come back to see him for a cortosone shot if the pain did not improve. I am at 14 weeks now and the only discomfort I ever have is still from my shoulder, but I have seen a drastic improvement over the past three weeks. The only problems I have now are when I try to lift something with that shoulder over my head. Hang in there, it should slowly get better.

  285. chad

    Hey Everyone.
    I shattered my collarbone playing hockey (open ice hit)in late april. It has been over a month and the healiong seems to be going good. I have recently been doing “range of motion” exercises but can’t do all of them. My shoulder really doesn’t want to be moved in certain positions. At times there is alot of pain, especially when trying to raise the injured arm above my head on its own. Does anyone have this tight pain in shoulder? (probably from being in-active)

  286. Patrick Boyce

    At 54 years old I guess I win the old-fart cyclist broken clavicle competition for this website. I broke it 6 days ago while training with my racing team (had an “explosive” flat and slid on some gravel on the pavement.) The dumb part is I’d been dropped on a climb and the rest of the (younger) crew was around a bend already–and no cellphone. Somehow I repaired the flat “one handed” and rode the 15 miles back to my car. I broke my other collar bone 20 years ago in a criterium but also had a separated shoulder that time and it took about 3 months for the whole thing to heal. This time (unlike 20 years ago) I have this huge greenish-yellow bruise on my upper chest and shoulder and was researching that when I read others’ accounts here that mentioned the same thing. So now I’m reassured–thanks. I only lasted until day 4 before I had to strap down my arm and get on my Lemond “spinning” cycle for 15 minutes. Then yesterday an hour and today 90 minutes, plus 30 minutes walking on a treadmill at 12% incline (I really, really don’t want to gain back the off-season weight I worked so hard to burn off this spring!)

  287. Geneen Fogarty

    It’s been interesting and scary reading everyone’s experiences. I am 2 weeks post right clavicle mid shaft break. Broke it skiing. I’m in the figure 8 and using a sling. I’m nervous about possible non union and the waiting stinks. Ortho would prefer to see if heals ok to avoid risks of surgery. Does anyone have website info on the surgeries that are used for this?

  288. Brett

    I just wanted to say (or more appropriately type with my only functioning arm) that this site has been a great help. Full of insight, good stories and I think its a great outlet for people who all share a similar situation. Like everyone else I just broke my (right) clavicle on 4/22/06 in a cycling fall.
    Over the past year and a half I have really been getting involved in triathlons and mountain biking. 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.
    The story is this: my off season training went awesome. When my friends and I started mountain biking a couple of weeks ago I was dropping them like flies – 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 confidence. So on 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.
    The crash hurt alot and right away. After getting up from the ground and composing myself 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 trail 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.
    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 haven’t touched the vicoden they gave me at all and today I haven’t even taken any motrin.
    Now, into day three I’m already bored out of my skull and cursing the fact that I acted so carelessly.
    I did go see an Orthopedic/Sports Med doctor yesterday and have been told just to relax for another couple of weeks until my next appointment.
    Hopefully I’ll be back to at least a good work out on the trainer with a week or two. Thanks for posting your workout Hans – it gives me something to look forward to each day until I’m fully recovered.

  289. ned

    Great site. I broke my right collarbone about 5 weeks ago playing hockey. It broke real good too, the bone is currently in 3 pieces, but so far the Doc doesn’t think I’ll need any sort of operation.
    Amazing how one little bone can make us so useless.
    Thanks to everyone for sharing.
    Ned in Canada

  290. debbie

    Hello everyone i just want to share my experience of a 3 time broken collar bone.When i was 2 I fell off my uncles shoulders and then when I was 12 i was young and stupid and decided to do cartwheels down a hill at our trailor needless to say i had a bad break.Now I am 41 and I fell down the stairs last week and the doc said I fractured my collar bone again.He said I didnt need a sling and to try to use it as much as possible now I dont know about this as I have alot of pain.Just wondering if I should get a second opinion or should I trust my doctor??……Deb

  291. Lil Fox

    My son shattered his collarbone at lacrosse 2 weeks ago- 3 breaks, prognosis not good. He just got surgery with a plate and screws. Surgery went great! The hospital surgeon recommended NO surgery because of the severe breaks and risks involved with surgery. We went to another surgeon for a 2nd opinion, Dr. Chris Talley in Vero Beach, Florida who is a Sports Medicine Ortho Surgeon and Dr. for the Dodgers baseball team. Dr. Talley is a young and super-skilled surgeon. We went from hopeless to a back to normal son because of Talley.

  292. JOEY

    IT’S BEEN TWO WEEKS SINCE I BROKE MY COLLAR BONE (DUE TO FALLING HARD OFF MY MOUNTAIN BIKE). I’M LUCKY IT WASN’T MY NECK. tHE BREAK IS CLOSE TO MY SHOLDER AND i CAN MOVE THE BONE UP AND DOWN(AND FEEL THE BONES GRIND), WHICH MAKES ME THINK THERE IS NO UNION. YIKES. IT DOESN’T HURT THOUGH. THE ORTHOPEDIC DOC(AT WEEK 1), AFTER EXAMINING EXRAYS AND Q&A, TOLD ME TO LET PAIN BE MY GUIDE. IF I DO THAT I WILL NOT USE MY SLING AND CAN MOVE MY SHOLDER FREELY WITHOUT ANY PAIN, SO LONG AS NOT APPLYING HARD PRESSURE. WHAT TO DO? SHOULD I TAKE MY CHANCES WITHOUT THE SLING OR WEAR THE SLING. i WANT THESE DAMN BONES TO MEND BUT i’M NOT BUYING INTO THIS SLING BECAUSE THE BONE MOVES EVEN WITH MY ARM IN THE SLING. MY COLLAR IS DEFINITELY DEFORMED AND I’M SURPRISED IT DOESN’T HURT. PLEASE PROVIDE YOU OPINION ABOUT THE SLING AND “LETTING PAIN BE YOU GUIDE” FOR BONE UNION.

  293. Bryant

    Hello all,
    …..I broke my collar bone snowboarding a week ago on March 11th. I’ve done the whole drill mentioned many times over by posters above. I’ve been to the ER and Orthopedics. There I received the figure 8 harness, a sling – both of which I was supposed to wear 24hrs a day except to stretch and shower – and they gave me some vicodin for pain. I was told to come back in 4 weeks to check on my progress. I’m a 22 year old male and was hoping for a speedy recovery, however I don’t know if this is going to be the case. The break was clean but had fairly good sized gap between the bones (1/4″ or so???). So, apparently this is what the figure 8 harness is supposed to correct, because x-rays after the harness is worn showed the bones pushed back together and touching.
    …..However, after 8 days I still feel like the bones are moving and rubbing on each other. There isn’t too much pain, but it just concerns me because this would mean the bones aren’t bonding. Should I worry? Is this normal? I’ve been fairly careful with my shoulder, trying not to move it much at all, but its extremely hard going on with daily life while doing this. I can make the slightest movement with my body and still feel the rubbing. I would say I have a fairly good range of motion when I try to move my arm but it’s if I try to move to fast that i get some pain. So, mostly I’ve let pain be my guide on whether to move or not.
    …..I’m an avid guitar player and have managed to find a comfortable position to do this. The break is on my left side, so this would affect my fretting arm and hand, which is my left. I am careful not to support the weight of the guitar with my shoulder, so I rest my elbow on the arm of a chair and just pivot on that part of the arm if I need to change chords up and down the fret board. I’m only moving the arm below the elbow, but does this move the shoulder? Is this still bad? I can do it and pain free, but would this prevent the bones from bonding? I am petrified that I’m going to go back in after 4 weeks of healing to find that there has been no bone growth and that I’m going to need surgery after all.
    …..Also, I know it’s known that you’re not supposed to smoke cigarettes because of the nicotine, it prevents bone growth. LoL, well my next question is can you smoke marijuana (there is no nicotine involved)? This has come up a few times because I’m in a college environment, but I’m wondering if I should just kick the smoking all together. Sorry about the long post, any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks and hope everyone is healing well,
    - Bryant -

  294. Jeff Brook

    Hi Again-
    I last wrote on Feb. 4 and my accident was last Aug. 15. My first ortho said a fibrous union and live with it because the break location was not a good candidate for surgery, with only a 70% chance of a good outcome. Plus, the hip bone graf and slow recovery would not make me a happy camper. Fortunately, I was able get a second opinion. Both surgeons concur that people do ‘live with’ my situation and do most of all they want to and both agree that there is no harm in delaying surgery for up to a couple years. However, from there, the second surgeon differs. He said it is a non-union and he would have surgery if it was him. He predicts 90% chance of good, speedy recovery and he uses synthetic bone so no hip bone graf would be needed. The final advice was to ‘go for it’ and see what I can and can’t do, but expect that overwork will lead to post pain. I have experienced that and am leaning towards signing up for surgery now, but will continue to push it and see if it is livable. Does anyone know if synthetic bone is now common in surgery?
    Of course a 3rd opinion would be best but, I doubt that would resolve it. I have been able to xcountry and downhill ski at ~90% of last year so we’ll see how this spring and summer outdoor activities fare and then go from there.

  295. david

    John: I was in a similar situation, I had an overlappping mid-clavicle fracture and finally had surgery after waiting 7 weeks for the bones to heal on there own. I’ve been very satisfied with the surgery. If a perfect union is your goal, I think it’s more likely that you’ll need the surgery. In the end I told my surgeon that I didn’t want to wait any longer and let’s do the surgery. I think non-unions are also more likely depending on one’s age and severity of the break. Also, be sure you are seeing the right kind of orthopod who specializes in upper body/clavicle injuries. Good luck.

  296. John Vasse

    I broke my left wrist and collarbone on Feb. 23rd after flipping my road bike at about 30 mph. My concern is that the doctors in so many examples in this thread are satisfied with less than perfect unions where bones are overlaped, not touching or skewed. It seems to me that if the union isn’t perfect surgery is indicated and accepting any other prognosis is just foolish. I want my collarbone to heal in exactly the position it was in before the accident. I am an entertainer by trade and have to sling a guitar over that shoulder and probably will have to for the next 10 years. I’m only in day 13 since my crash and my Dr. wants to let the bone heal naturally. I would prefer surgery now to get the alignment correct and make sure the collarbone heals without delay. Being 54 y.o. makes very leary of letting the bone heal naturally. Why are Drs. so put off by surgery in these cases?

  297. Chele

    My boyfriend was in a motorcycle accident last Thursday and broke his left clavicle. He’s in a lot of pain. He lays on his side most of the time. Will he heal normal this way or should he be laying on his back? He also took the fig 8 and the sling off because it was, he says, closing in on him. To be honest, I don’t know how much more of his moaning I can take. When does the pain get better?

  298. Cristina Lalli

    It is really helpful for me to read these stories, almost overwhelming, but helpful. I broke my clavicle playing rugby in late July and it is still not quite healed. It is officially pronounced a non-union, and I am nervous as to whether or not I should opt for surgery. I’d love to get back into rugby and backpacking as soon as possible, but I know it will be a long journey no matter what I choose. I just don’t know what will be more beneficial.

  299. kimberly

    i broke my collar bone in late Oct 05 (posted on the other part of this site) in a cyclocross race. well everything healed nicely and i was back on my bike in early Jan. On great early morning ride, I hit some RR tracks wrong (b/c I was being TOO careful, i think, and had slowed way down. I’ve been over those tracks at speed so many times!!) and went down on the newly healed collar bone. The ER doc and the MD I saw a few days later said I hadn’t rebroken it b/c there were no new breaks on the xray. However I could feel things moving and I was in a lot of pain, so I saw another doc who decided that I must have broken the callus which wouldn’t show on an xray. I’ve now been in the figure 8 (i totally believe in the fig 8 over just the sling) again for 6 weeks and return in 2 weeks for another xray. Nothing seems to be moving and the pain is almost gone. I am so ready to be back on my “real” bike. The trainer and spin bike only do so much. Someone told me that if you break it a second time in the same place (basically what I did, i guess) it’s much harder to heal the second time, which really discouraged me. Has anyone heard this? This site is so great. It’s very reassuring to hear stories of other athletes who have dealt w/ this. Although so many people on my team have broken their c-bones, when you’re in the middle of it, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the world with this annoying situation!!

  300. David

    Lynn May: I had surgery on my clavicle in early November, and have been quite pleased with the results. Your job sounds like it requires heavy weight bearing. I think heavy weight-bearing on the shoulder after surgery must be done cautiously and with advise of ortho/physical therapist. As for my scar, it’s fairly long(3-4 inches) but its not raised. After 4 weeks, my surgeon had me massage the scar to break-up the adhesion to the bone. Also using some ointment containing almond or coconut butter was recommended to me. Good luck

  301. Lynn May

    Hi, my name is Lynn, I broke the left clavicle dec.28 it was very painfull been to the ortho. he says bone is not healing, I kind thought that being that the bone is pertruding and brusing the skin. I now have to have surg. feb. 27 I am not looking forward to that. NO MORE PAIN. I am on a leave of absents, I am aircraft structual mechanic . I need my shoulder to be back to normal. will it? and is the scar very noticeabe. any advise will be appreciated. Thanks for the web sight.

  302. Hans

    Brian – A follow up visit and x-ray would be good thing. Without that there’s no way to know how you are healing. If your doctor doesn’t specialize in sports related injuries then I would recommend looking for one that does. They will better understand your injury and your use of your shoulder. As for paying $800 for the visit? Well, that sounds a bit high. An x-ray is around $150 and a visit about $400. Sometimes you can negotiate fees with a doctor when you don’t have insurance and will be paying yourself.
    Good luck.

  303. Brian Maloy

    I broke my left collarbone in a fall from my road bike on 10/23/05. I took my eye off the road for a split second and when I looked up my front wheel was hitting a 3-4″ round branch in the road. After a visit to E.R. and confirmation by an M.D. and X-rays I was sent home with a $95 sling and pain meds. 8 days later I followed up with another M.D. who confirmed I did indeed have a broken collarbone. He advised me to return in a month for follow up X-rays. His $800 bill for my 10 minute consult dissuaded me from returning since I have very limited health insurance. After about 8 wks. I started some light weight training. Trouble is I still have persistent pain when attempting to lift light weights and even during normal houshold activities. Am I correct in thinking avoidance of any weight training and good diet will allow me to heal, or should I bite the bullet and go back to the same or another Orthopedic MD for a followup/treatment?

  304. Jeff Brook

    Hi Hans – Your condition is very reassuring. I saw the surgeon two days ago. He made the very convincing argument that I should basically assume that my collar bone is healed because the fibruous union is stable and there is no pain. “Get on with it.”, he says! “Operating would be a big mistake!”, he warned. From your experience, you’ve now echoed that advice. Psychologically, that makes a big difference to me and so I feel better already. Just need to get the shoulder mobility back, which he said was not directly related to the fibrous union. He did not encourage an electrical bone stimulator, more or less suggesting what the article I found on the internet indicated, which is that if the electrodes are implanted it seems to have a benefit, but he was unconvinced about the external ones. He did not say for certain that it was not worth trying, but certainly did not pursue that angle with me any further. And finally, he also said that even though there is no bone on the xray or the CAT scan he has cut a person open under such circumstances only to find there was bone.
    Either way, I’m getting on with it.
    I doubt I’ll ski a double black diamond in about a week from now when in the Rockies, but a single diamond for sure! Double diamonds can wait for March!
    Your website has been invaluable in allowing me to hear from you and others and for me to whine.
    Thanks!

  305. Hans

    Jeff – I have a “Fibrous union” from my second shoulder inury. It’s been very stable and I have had no problems using it. Initially it was a bit flexible and that really bothered me. But over time it has stabilized and I can’t tell that it’s not solid bone.

  306. Jeff

    Good luck Michael, your story goes back a month longer than mine, but I’m not through yet since surgery has not even been tried (could be my case or could be the Canadian health care system that tends to delay such things). I’m back to the surgeon this Thursday and now have a good lead for a comparable surgeon for a 2nd opinion. I will talk with them about electric stimulator. What I read in a medical review on the issue indicated that electrodes needed to be placed inside the body by the broken area in certain configurations for best results. That article did not talk about devices where the charges are external, which I assume is what you have and what Hans is talking about.
    Above I said fibrous non-union was my diagnosis, but what the surgeon really said was “fibrous union”. Heard of that Hans?
    Been doing physio since late Dec. and have got reasonable improvement, but am suffering from ‘impingmet’ in the shoulder joint when I move my arm in certain ways when the elbow is above my chest. Very painful. Plus even if mobility is back to 100% from physio I still have that little issue about no bone growth (“Fibrous union”) to worry about. Sounds pessimistic, but I am hopeful that one day it will be old news for me.

  307. Michael Brauner

    I broke my clavicle in a bike race in a very similar manner to the very first entry. I went over the bars after a guy crashed in front of me in the 40+ IN/KY district race in July. It was a nasty fracture, lots of pieces. I opted for surgery. All went well, but I started normal activity too soon and the plate and screw fixation fell apart. I walked around for months with a titanium plate sticking up into my skin threatining to poke through. My Doc. said that I could not make things any worse by riding, so I started up riding again and did the hilly hundred in Nov. The bones had not healed in the mean time and I just recently underwent a revision surgery. This time they had to take a bit of bone off of my hip to replace some of the dead dissolved bone on the clavicle. The hip graft sight really hurt. I also have an electric bone growth stimulator. So when the Doc. says “take it easy” Don’t mess around. Take the time to let it heal. I go in for the first post-op films tomorow(six weeks post-op) I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My sling is getting kind of funky.

  308. Hans

    Jeff – You should look into getting your doctor to prescribe an electronic bone stimulator. There’s good reports about using the device for healing. But it’s difficult to get a doctor to recommend it or an insurance company to cover it since they are expensive. Here’s more information:
    http://www.ebimedical.com/patients/faq.cfm
    http://www.orthopedictechreview.com/issues/jun00/pg28.htm
    I think that would be a better solution than surgery if it works as described.

  309. Jeff Brook

    I previously posted a story on Nov. 27, 2005. In early Dec., after a CT scan, the surgeon told me it was a fibrous non-union and in a location that is difficult to operate on due to it being closer to the shoulder where finding places for screws is trickier and where the strap can irritate the shoulder. His recommendation was to see if I could live with it as is. Forever! After the shock of that advice, I started physio because the 4 months of reduced activity has not been good on the shoulder. No good news yet. I can do quit a bit with it, but motion is clearly limited and there are ‘clicks’ inside.
    I think that when I see the surgeon again in early Feb. it will be time to push for surgery, despite the poorer odds the surgeon states due to the break location. Are there others out there who can share experiences of a postive outcome after surgery in a location futher towards the shoulder?
    My second guess of the surgeon’s advice in early Dec., which was to use it as much as possible for the next 2 months, isthat it is better to gain some mobility and strength back before immobilizing it should the surgery be required after all. But gee, I don’t know. I have started the process of getting a 2nd opinion and know that I can’t live with it as it is. I need a fully functioning shoulder!

  310. steve boat

    i had a bad accident while riding my bike on 13.11.2005 i was out for the count and shattered my left clavicle. thankfully i wore an helmet. the helmet split right through. the doctor put me in a fig.8 but it cut off my ciculation so i had to make do with a sling had to sleep on my back but in the morning i experienced exteme pain when i tried to get up. i went back for another x-ray 3 weeks later but no new bone was forming.advised to move it as much as possible and given stronger pain killers. been off work since accident. got on the indoor trainer 2 weeks ago. it seems better but is still moving about. due for another x-ray on the 11.1.2006 hopefully it will be better news.still dont feel like riding on the road yet but about ready to go back work. brilliant website wish i had found it earlier so much i have learnt from other people thanks.

  311. Michael W.

    Well, it is 6 1/2 months since I crashed my bike, and today I rode my bike for the first time.
    I am 61, and cycle regularly, at home and on trips all over the world. On my usual run into town in June 2005, I hit the kerb at high speed, slammed into the sidewalk with my right shoulder, and ended up in an ambulance on the way to emergency. At the time, I was more concerned about my bike, and making sure that it was locked-up OK, and didn’t realize that I looked a mess, with my clothes all ripped and bloody, etc.
    There is an overlap of about 2cm between the two ends of the clavicle. X-rays taken at day-1, 1-month, 2-months, and 4-months all looked exactly the same, with no callus formation evident. This was diagnosed as a non-union joint. Also, I had kept my arm in a sling for the first two-months, keeping it as still as possible, and ended up with a severe case of frozen shoulder; I could hardly move my shoulder at all; it took 4-months of physiotheraphy to fix this.
    Finally, a C-T scan taken at 5-months after the crash, showed that callus was starting to form across the joint. Hurray! Now I just have to get the strength and mobility back into my shoulder (I still cannot sleep on that side, it is so sore).
    Some notes about the first few weeks:
    - I was prescribed Tylenol-3 with codeine. It certainly helped with the pain, but immediately made me constipated. I stopped taking it and switched to Ibuprofen instead; I took the maximum recommended dose for about a month and then gradually reduced to nothing after about 2-months. And I took calcium with magnesium, and vitamin E (I have no idea whether it helped the bones mend).
    - After the first two sleepless nights after the crash, I resorted to walking around the house at night, and sat down in a Lazy-Boy chair, and promptly went to sleep; I slept in that chair for about 2-months!
    - Because the Lazy-Boy chair was in front of the TV, and because I was awake early each day, I watched the whole of the Tour de France live each morning (starting at 5a.m. my time). Well done Lance!
    And now I feel almost normal again. It has been a long haul, but it felt great to get on my bike again.

  312. Hans

    Don – Your shoulder is smaller probably from muscle atrophy. It’s amazing how quickly this can occur. I would recommend you find an orthopedic doctor and physical therapist that specialize in sports injuries. Otherwise, you may end up being treated as a non-athlete. For example, your non-union with a fibrous connection is probably fine for someone that isn’t an athlete. But in your case it may cause problems or even inhibit you. Make sure your doctor understands your physical needs. If they don’t understand then find another.

  313. Don Howard

    Han, thank you for having this web page. My name is Don, and I broke my collar bone on October 14. I am 38. I was playing football and landed on an out-stretched arm. The last exray I had taken was about a month ago and still there’s no union. It’s only the fibrous tissue holding it together. I do a lot of gymnastic activities which require a great deal of balance and upper body strength. I have notice that the shoulder with the broken collar bone is small. I’m worried that I will have decreased strength, balance, and range of motion. I don’t know what to do. If you have any advice for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  314. Hans

    Sonny – It is possible to move and perform excercises with a non-union. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ok. You mention that the “bone had healed fine”. Do you mean that you had previously confirmed with an x-ray that the bones had fused? If so, and the bones are fused, the sound you hear might not be the bone grinding. Instead it might be ligaments or other soft tissue moving around. If you are unsure that the bones are fused then I would recommend getting another x-ray. That will confirm if you have a non-union and the possible source of the grinding noise.

  315. Sonny

    Yes hello i have posted before and i just needed to ask a question. I had broke my collar bone on the 26th september. I was told that it was a bad break and would take a while to .
    heal. Any way i had been wearing a sling for about 7 weeks and my bone had healed fine and it did not hurt or anything. The only problem is that i do not know why i still have grinding sounds when the bones are healed. My doctor didnt even re xray me cause he said that when i did the excercises in front of him that it was fine. Will i be disabled when i am older if my bone carries on with the grinding and soz mark but mine didnt hurt either lol.

  316. Mark

    4piece CollarBone Update…
    I submitted a comment above on the 3rd of october, 5days after I broke my left collarbone in 3places. Although it was in four pieces, all the pieces were touching, so i was just given a normal sling, and sent home from the A&E.
    I find the stories of people saying that it wasn’t that painful, or you waited a week before going to the doctor, quite unbelievable, because let me tell you i have never experienced such pain in all my life.
    I play football at a very high level, and was very fit when the accident occured, so i expected to heal quite quickly.
    However, 4weeks later, i was still sleeping bolt upright in a chair, and even the slightest movement to try to stand up resulted in serious grinding and cracking noises and even more pain. Have to say I was quite worried I wasn’t healing, or maybe that there were some other complications.
    Then, just like that, the next weekend, i started improving drastically. Sling came off after 2 further weeks (6weeks) was driving in week 7, pressups in week 8, and now in week 9, the physio told me i can start back doing light weights in the gym. Phenominal!
    So i suppose, the moral of my story, for all you broken collarbonees out there, there may be hope yet! The initial phases may be quite slow, but have patience, you may be like me and recover in different stages of dramatic improvements, and never look back!
    Good luck ;-)

  317. Nick

    A TALE OF TWO COLLARBONES
    I found this site back in June of this year when I fell off my bike and broke my left collarbone. I was riding at my local velodrome and fell the full height of the banked turn. One of my new pedals disengaged accidentally. The ends of the bone were about 1/2 inch displaced. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who has done many clavicle pin or plate procedures, and he recommended trying to let it naturally, advice which seemed to carry more weight coming from someone who “did that procedure yesterday” than it would have from my regular family doctor.
    I wore a figure-8 strap for 4 weeks, wore a sling for about 2 weeks (I think), slept in a chair for 10 days, took vicodin, etc. Luckily, I was able to get back on my bike trainer after 10 days, train almost normally (on the trainer) a week after
    that. Luckily, the TOur de France was just starting, so I had good TV to watch while riding the trainer. How I laughed, sitting on my bike with my arm in a sling as as Lance Armstrong’s foot popped out of his pedal starting the prologue time-trial (same &%#$@&* pedals!).
    After 3 weeks i started some gentle shoulder rehab exercises. The bone healed (with a big lump) after about 6 weeks. I was back on the velodrome at 6 weeks (with new pedals on my bike), and raced in a 6-day race at 8 weeks, which included madison
    racing with hand-slings, so my shoulder was tested to the max.
    Apart from testing my wife’s patience due to my inability to help out with our 18-month old son for a few weeks, the whole experience was not that bad for a broken bone. I didn’t miss a single day of work.
    Now the not so good bit…
    In October, I was making the most of the unseasonably warm weather, and getting in “one last session at the track”, when, I crashed again. This time, it was the right collarbone. It didn’t seem as badly displaced as the other one, and it didn’t hurt that much (or maybe I was just concussed!).
    I wore the figure-8 for 4 weeks, but this time no sling – it was my right arm, which I need more for driving (car and computer!). I slept in the chair for a few days, but within a week I was back in bed, and off the narcotics. I took some
    ibuprofen for 10 days or 2 weeks. I left it 2 weeks before riding my bike, but only because my season was over. I had been through this before, so it didn’t seem that bad. The bone wasn’t sticking out like the other one, so I expected it to heal even quicker. Again, no missed work days.
    So far, so good, but after 4 weeks I noticed that although a lump of scar tissue had formed around the fracture, the bone was definitely still moving like it had a hinge in the middle. I went back to the same ortho, who said, “its probably going to heal, come back in 3 weeks”. 3 weeks went by, no change. Went back to the ortho again, who said “we’ll give it 4 more weeks, and then seriously consider surgery. I give it a 50% chance of healing itself.”
    So here I sit, 9 weeks out from the 2nd accident, no pain for the last few weeks (apart from a kind of pinching pain if I do something stupid like lift a heavy object), but definitely a 2-piece collarbone. Looks like I am going to be having surgery just before or just after christmas, complete with bone-graft etc. 6-8 weeks in a sling – not my idea of fun… :-(
    So if anyone reading this has broken their collarbone recently, make sure you really take care of it in that healing window which seems to be 10-15 days after the break (at least that’s when I think it was for me, a 36 y.o. male). I don’t know if my negligence, or just bad luck has got me in this position, but its worth a few days of reduced mobility/activity to avoid it. I would suggest a figure-8 AND a sling.
    Thanks Hans for a great place to share the misery!

  318. Courtney

    I am a member of the club since Thanksgivig day. Riding for turkey…. Little did I knoe that I would spend it in the ER with a slight head injury and broken right clavivle with major overlap.
    I knew when I hit the deck that it was broken. ughhhh.. I saw my sports ortho and knew what he would say. Yep, I have had the surgery. Plate and five screws. I was just starting my foundation period as my racing season starts in Feb. Cat 3, was going to turn pro late in season………
    I will keep you guys updated. For any racers. This week I am only allowed to rest and be driven for visits with friends for one hour. The more time I am asleep, the more my body will heal. Trying to get ogg pain medsssssss… Vicodin… Yuck… Can’t go to the bathroom.
    Hans, this is a great site.
    Courtney

  319. Jeff Brook

    As I read through these stories I get a sick feeling in my stomatch. I had a bike wipe out on Aug. 15, 2005 due to an unnoticed flat (or blow out) on my front tire that didn’t let me turn left when I wanted to. Lucky I was wearing my helmut! That was all I could think, plus @#$@$ since it was the first day of my vacation! 25+ yrs ago I had broken the right one and it healed fast. Consequently, I was STUPID and did not take it easy enough, trying to have some semblence of the planned for sailing. Simple little accidents doing that and even working in the kitchen lead to obvious irritations. Now it is 3 months and some days later. I’ve had two visits to a specialist and still there is noticable, as there has been since month 1, movement inside. One month of stringent non-use of my left arm between the 2 visits only made the muscles sore and a little more soreness in the collar bone.
    The ortho surgeon told me to start using the arm again and scheduled a CAT Scan to look for evidence of healing that the xray does not show.
    Besides making me feel sick, the stories above make me believe I must get surgery asap. Would I be overly optimistic to think that the best outcome now would be that I could get it fixed without a bone graft – just surgery? Seems like ski season is now a write off and I should hold on to hope of sailing next summer. People keep telling me that the surgeon is one of the best and ‘he knows shoulders’. I hope that means I can trust him and he will get me into surgery as soon as is proper for my best interest. Traping around getting second opinions takes time that I probably don’t have at this stage anyway.
    At least I was wearing my helmut (now cracked right through!)….

  320. Barb Nydam

    Hi everyone, I have posted in a couple of times as the saga of my recovery has continued. I am now 5 1/2 months post surgery where I had the plate, 5 screws and a bone graft from my hip to repair my collarbone that was not healing. I had my horse accident in Jan. 05 and my surgery in May 05. I did also have frozen shoulder and could not move my right arm above about 40

  321. Hans

    Sonny – That’s a difficult one to answer. It’s possible that the bones haven’t fused back and still rub. Or, as you mention, there’s a piece of bone causing the grinding. Another thought is that it’s not the collar bone but some other shoulder problem. For example, muscle and ligament rubbing. I would recommend a follow up with your doctor and also an x-ray to track the progress.
    Also, you mention wearing the sling for 7 weeks. Make sure that you are taking the arm out of the sling and moving the joints. Not to the extent of pain but enough to keep from getting frozen or stiff joints.

  322. sonny

    ye high i have had a broken clavicle for about 7 weeks now i have kept it in a sling for all of those weeks and the grindings still hasnt gone i move my arm and it doesnt hurt and my collar bone so could it be that the bones has healed but there is a piece of bone still loose.

  323. Hans

    Colin – Make sure the figure-8 isn’t so tight that it cuts off your circulation. Adding additional foam padding between the straps and your shoulder will make it more comfortable. The importance of the brace is to keep your shoulder immobilized. It’s worth the anonnoyance in the long run.
    =====================
    Suzy – Ouch, sorry to hear about your daughter.
    Yes, as others such as Colin above can attest, the figure-8 can be annoying. But I highly recommend it. There’s been references by others to a better brace from http://www.shouldersback.net/ but I haven’t used it. It might be worth looking into for your daughter.
    Yes, when I first broke my collar bone was in 2003. Within a month I was riding again and haven’t had a problem with it since.

  324. suzy

    Just came across your blog(?) Was researching broken clavicles, as my daughter broke hers this past saturday while riding a 4wheeler–(she also has broken jaw & possible C2 vertabrae fracture)–Anyway, we’re runners (my daughter is on cross-country team)–the “figure of 8″ thing is annoying–She complains that I have it too tight, I think not tight enough though! We’re going to the orthopedic Dr. friday about the collarbone & C2–(she’s also in neckbrace) I showed her your pic with figure of 8 so she’d know she’s not “the only one” lol :o) Did your injury happen in 2003? How are you doing now?

  325. Colin Beet

    I broke my clavicle 10 days ago. I didnt go to the doctor for four days and when I did he put me in a figure of 8 sling. I went back again after a week and was told I was not wearing it tight enough. It is fastened with velcro and goes under both arms. Now it is driving me mad it is so tight. The annoying thing is that the shoulder really does not hurt. Just the strap is sending me crazy.

  326. Jerry Vos

    Thanks for the informative site. I broke my left clavicle 8 days ago and seem to recovering well. I’ve been resting at home for the last 8 days although because I sufered a mild concussion spent some time at my girlfriends place being obsevered for the first 48 hours. I’ve been wearing this figure 8 brace and i hope it is working. I am a teacher and preparing to go back to school for at least a few days a week. I have been doing some keyboarding with the left hand and hope i’m not hampering my healing by trying to be to active.

  327. Adam hindle

    Hi my name is adam wen i was 8 or nine me and my brother were show off 2 these fit!!!! girls so we padded up the flor wid materesses and then my brother choke slamed me lol it hurt all i heard was CRACK!! ouch i couldnt move so my dadt picked mi up and my bro started cryin lol the gd part was the morphen lol nice webby

  328. Hans

    Mark – Yup, one hand typing is tough. Especially when you have to do it for work.
    The noises you hear can be a combination of ligaments, muscles, and the bones. Bone movement noise is a bad thing. You want to keep the break as still as possible so that they can heal. Think of it like two pieces of wood you are trying to glue. If you constantly move the pieces around or pull them apart the glue will never get a chance to connect. Are you wearing a figure-8 sling? If not then get one and use it. I’m wearing one in the photo at the top of the page. If you haven’t, read through this page’s comments and my other collar bone pages (linked near the top) to learn more.
    As for diet, milk is good. But to be sure to get the right amount it might be easier to take a calcium and a multi-vitamin tablet.
    Good luck!

  329. Mark

    I’ve just found the only thing in the world more painful than a broken collar bone – typing with one hand!! Painfully slow that is!! I regret to say that I’m not a cyclist, but broke my collar bone 5 days ago playbing football. Therefore I hope it’s ok that I leave a comment here :-)
    I can’t lie down on my back at all without severe pain, and so haven’t slept a wink in 6 nights. The hosp tells me that the two ends are overlapping and it’s just a question of letting it fuse. But the pain is still awful and i can hear it cracking and grinding all the time. Sometimes if it cracks, I have to wait for it to crack again before the pain subsides.
    Shouldn’t it be improving even a little at this stage? and is the cracking normal?
    Apart from this, I just have one other question regarding recovery. As an athlete, I am keen to get back to full strength as quickly as possible. Can anybody suggest what sort of foods I should eat / a nutritional diet of some sort in order to get the bone healing optimally? lots of milk i suppose, and protein?
    Thanks a million.
    P.S this site is savage. It’s great to know i’m not alone!

  330. Pat

    What an eye opener this site has been. I think I’ve had a quack tending to my break!
    At the first X-Ray and for a few days there after, there was virtually no overlap in the two halves. Then one day there was an inch and a half overlap. I have been told that the overlap is normal. I will be having another X-Ray tomorrow with the quack. He says that the shoulder will grow to match the other side. Is this true, I have seen this being asked repeatedly, but no answer. The two parts have now fused, but the shoulder is very noticably smaller. I fear that this will result in complications in the future, as well as looking a bit daft. In summary:
    Does anyone know if the collar bone lengthens to match the other?
    If not should I insist that the bone be rebroken, and aligned preperly?
    Last, but not least, thank you for this page. It is very useful and informative.

  331. Hans

    Jeff – Yes, people recover. I know other riders that have busted their collar bones three times. Each time they were lucky and healed up. Recovery depends on so many factors. The crappiest part is age. Yup, being real young pays off huge for broken bones. Btw – I doubt you have lost as much strength as you think in that short a time. And if you are able to use the muscles again soon they should quickly get back up to where you were.
    Oh, I consider you lucky to have only a busted collar bone after a 90 mph crash. Even with my leathers I wouldn’t want to hit the ground at that speed.

  332. Jeff Richards

    This site makes me feel worse. Does any one heal after this? I broke mine 3 weeks ago. Lost control doing 90 mph on my bike. It does not hurt. Only when I try to raise my arm above my head. I don’t think I need the sling though. It’s amazing how quick you lose your strength. I excecised religously. Now I am a shadow of my former self. Maybe I should get the surgery. It’s not healing.

  333. Dieter Dyck

    Just wanted to say “Thank-you” to all the participants here. A very good friend of mine who recently broke his collar bone (about two months ago) cycling, has to see the doc tomorrow and is not feeling hopeful. The sharing of these experiences has at least allowed him to realize that he is not alone. Thank you all!

  334. Dominic

    Hi’
    I subscribed to the ‘Broken Clavicle Club’ on August 30th, 2005 at a rugby match. They gave me a sling at the ER, but an Ortho gave me the figure of 8 thing. I have the small lump on my shoulder, and I feel some pain when I lower my arm. Is this normal, and when can I return to the game?

  335. Catherine

    Hi,
    I broke my collar bone two weeks ago today. Doing an awsome Mt Bike downhill. Really upsetting, as it was the last hard hill of the day too … I keep thinking “if only…”. Anyway, started Hans’s wind-trainer programme today (thanks Hans) and am hoping I will be back on a road bike within the next three weeks. However, what about running? I am an avid runner? Can anyone tell me a realistic time frame to get out there running again? And – here’s the biggy … Mountain Biking? I know that I have to be fully healed before I can tackle that one. I have a big race goal in 6 months, so am hoping I will be back on the mountain bike well before then,

  336. Elle

    Hi guys, excellent website!
    I broke my right clavicle on 9th July, bucked off my throughbred!! I have pretty goo dmobility in my right arm, apart from some shocking pain that seems to come and go, it feels a lot like electricity running down my hands and on the back of my head. I have quite a lot of pain on the fracture site too. I saw my sepcialist this week (sixth week) and he said the bones had not fused together and there was really no change from the day of the accident. He has suggested to wait another six weeks and see if it grows or not and I am a bit hesitant to wait that long in discomfort, when most likely , I will need the operation. Any advise? Thansk everyone.

  337. Ian Clarke Fenland Clarion CC UK

    Hello, not only do I share a birthday with Madonna I share a broken collarbone too!
    this is my 2nd break, but in the same place. 19 yrs ago I broke my collar bone completely. they gave me a fig’8 bandage and I now believe that was wrong for the type of break I had. It took 8 weeks to get back on the bike and about 5 years for it to fully heal (I thought), with a big lump you could almost hang your hat on. A cycle race in the UK (on 13th aug 05) on a 200m grass track saw a crash in the last lap whilst I was going for 3rd place. The bone has broken where it never healed right in the 1st place. The surgeon said it was only held together with scar tissue for the last 19 years. The x-ray was the scariest thing, with the ends of the bone 1.5 inches apart. I can’t sit or stand upright for long and have to sleep sitting up at 45 degs. Great!
    So in 2 weeks I should get a graft and a plate, and at last start to recover. I also know a UK olympian, Bryan Steel who was told to have his healed bone, broken and plated just so he could get a little extra power for the Sydney Olympics.
    At least they gave me 3rd place despite not finishing my last race.

  338. SUZY DEGAZON

    HI HANS, I AM THE FEMALE TRIATHLETE THAT BROKE HER CLAVICAL ON JULY 8TH. THANK GOD FOR COMPUTERS, AS THE ADVICE I HAVE READ HAS ALL BEEN SO USEFUL. FOR 3 WEEKS I DID NOTHING NO BIKE, RUNNING OR SWIMMING. ONLY LOTS OF WALKING. AS I LIVE ALONE I HAD TO KEEP MOBILE. I HAD A SLING AND FIGURE 8, I REALY BELIEVE IN THE FIGURE 8 A LOT OF DOCS SAY A SLING IS ALL YOU NEED.MMM, I HAD A BEAUTIFUL DISLOCATED FRACTURE? MADE EVEN WORSE TRAVELLING ON 2 PLANES BACK TO PUERTO RICO FROM CANADA. AFTER 3 WEEKS I REMOVED THE SLING AND HAD..5% MOBILITY IN MY LEFT ARM. I LIVE NEAR 1 MILE OF BEACH, SO EVERY DAY FOR THE PAST 2 WEEKS I HAVE BEEN IN THE OCEAN DOING MOBILITY EXERCISES FOR MY LEFT SHOULDER. AS I HAVE NO MEDICAL INSURANCE,I HAVE TRIED TO DO THE PHYSIO THERAPY MYSELF WITH INPUT FROM FRIENDS AND I DID SEE A GREAT ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON 3 WEEKS AGO AND HIS ADVICE WAS TO KEEP MOVING AND TAKE ANOTHER XRAY (DUE NEXT WEEK) WELL NOW I CAN SWIM BREAST STROKE BACK STROKE AND SIDE STROKE FOR 1 MILE AND YESTERDAY I RODE MY MOUNTAIN BIKE FOR 90 MINUTES. I ALSO RAN FOR 90 MINUTES (THAT WAS SORE!)
    MY ADVICE TO ANYONE WITH A BROKEN CLAVICAL..IMMOBALISE THE AFFECTED SHOULDER AND GIVE THE BODY A CHANCE TO HEAL , I TOOK 2000 OF CALCIUM, ALSO MAGNESIUM ,VITAMIN C IN MEGA DOSES (NATURAL ANTI INFLAMMATORY) AND JOINT MINERALS TO PROMOTE STRONGER LIGAMENTS THAT KEEP EVERYTHING IN ORDER. IT HAS BEEN A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS BUT AT LAST I AM MORE INDEPENDANT!! A BROKEN CLAVICAL HURTS! THANKS FOR THE GREAT SITE I HAVE ENJOYED READING ALL THE ARTICLES PUBLISHED , READ ROMANS 5 3-5 !

  339. Hans

    M. Sperry – It’s hard to say how he’s going to feel riding in the van for that long. I would recommend several pillows so that he can arrange them for support of his arm and body. If he’s wearing a figure-8 sling then that will help hold his shoulder in place. Especially important if there are jolts. I highly recommend the figure-8 sling. There’s more information on my other page “What To Expect From A Broken Clavicle”. The link is near the top of this page. Good luck and have a safe trip.

  340. M. Sperry

    Hi, my 10-yr-old son fell off his bike when he was going pretty fast and broke his collarbone last week. His pediatrician referred us to an orthopedist who said that the bones are slightly overlapping but they should heal together okay. We’re scheduled to leave on a 15-day vacation which begins with an 8 hour drive through MA/CT/NYC/NJ, which will start at the end of his second week of recovery. How’s he going to feel riding in a van for that period of time? What do quick stops in the van do? The traffic can be terrible so there’s usually a few quick stops. We’re debating whether it would be best to delay the trip a few days or just do it and get it over with. Any advice on how to make the trip more pleasant would be appreciated.

  341. Steve Mentzer

    Hi, It’s been a week since my biking accident that resulted in a broken left clavicle. I was initially put in a sling and given some meds(vicadon). After a visit to the Orthopaedic doctor, they put me in a figure eight. I am 49 so I wonder how this will affect my recovery. I am a avid cyclist and this time off the bike is tough. How long should I wait before trying any exercise? I would like to at least keep my legs in shape. Any suggestions would be most helpful. Thanks!
    Steve

  342. Hans

    Suzy – Sorry to hear about your crash. What a rude surprise at 3:30am in the morning!
    The first thing I would recommend is that you have a good orthopedic doctor that understands athletes take a look at the injury. Especially since you are a triathlete and need a good shoulder for swimming. A collar bone can heal by itself with only a sling and brace if you are lucky. But don’t count on that. Find a good doc and make sure that they understand the type and level of athlete that you are.
    Until then, stabilize your shoulder with a sling and a figure-8 brace if you can find one. The less movement the better. The first week or so it is very important that you don’t move the shoulder around. Keep your arm in the sling and your shoulder in a figure-8. Read through the comments on the website for more information.
    As for training, give yourself and shoulder a chance to recover. At least for a week and a half to two weeks minimum. Don’t underestimate your injury. Your body needs its resources to repair the injury. Training do more harm than good. It was difficult for me to accept that advice at first but I’m glad I did. I was back training a short time later and off to Europe to ride a month after the break.
    Take a look at my other “collar bone” page for the stationary bike training program I used. It might not be for you but at least you will have an idea of how I stayed fit and able to get right back on the bike.
    Cheers.

  343. Suanna (Suzy) Degazon

    Hi,just read your web site as i came out of hospital 5 hours ago. i am an ultra distance triathlete, i had swam 5 miles and cycled 200 plus miles it was 3.30am and guess i just switched off for a second. the next thing i was flying through the air at 20mph, hitting the ground first with my left shoulder then my rudy helmet protected noggin as usual the first thought was my aegis bike..then like you i forbid the hospital to cut my hammergel jersey! no damage, phew then could i make the last 5 loops, then the ambulance hospital xrays…yep a nice fractured clavicle i am in quebec and now have to travel on 2 plnes to puerto rico on tuesday.the pain is aweful i am in shock as i am always training. so i loved to read about your adventures. i really cannot see me doing nothing for 6 weeks! looks like the indoor trainer and no work i am a scuba instructor…hope you can give me some advise

  344. Dave Greenfield

    At mile 33 of a 40 mile ride on May 28, 2005, I momentarily looked up to make a turn. The next thing I knew I went flying over the handlebars. Must have hit a rut in the road. Hit my head (thankfully, I was wearing a good helmet) and my right shoulder. Broke the clavicle in several places and tore ligaments. A good samaritan took me and the bike home. The ER doctor had me x-rayed. put me in a sling, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way. The orthopaedist recommended no surgery and continued sling. Will be taking a new x-ray soon and seeing the orthopadist about four weeks after the accident. Pain now is rather minimal and I can sense better mobility in the arm. As for training: walking hills, recumbent bike in the gym, leg machines and wonder of wonders, paddle boats! There is a large lake nearby and these boats are the next best things to bikes. At least I am outdoors. P.S. I am typing easily with both hands. Its been frustrating but the alternative (no helmet) could have been catastrophic. DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT A HELMET!!!

  345. Barb Nydam

    Hi, I posted in with my woes on April 8 and now I am 2 weeks post surgery with a plate and screws, and a bone graft from my hip. When the dr finally operated on me, 5 months after my accident!!!, he found the two ends of the collarbone had healed over and were surrounded by soft tissue and that the bone was starting to be reabsorbed. Kiara- your story is almost identical to mine. I also was in less pain as time went by with the broken bits just nesting into the soft tissue and the ends healing over. The standard dr m.o. is to wait 3 months before declairing it a “non-union” and then by the time all the tests and waiting for surgery it takes even longer. I knew at 8 weeks my collarbone wasn’t healing and I still had to wait. I had several drs. give me the “just wait and see for 3 months” story. I agree with what others have said on this web post- push your dr if you have that gut feeling it isn’t right. You know your own body and you live inside it. You need to get things started so that you can get fixed asap because the longer you wait, the longer the recovery and rehab will be. I also have the nasty side effect of all this trauma of frozen shoulder syndrome. I am encased in a sling and cannot move my right arm for another 6 weeks, by that time I will have lost function in my right arm for 7 months. I am hopeful with good physio I will regain function again. The surgeon had to reorganize my shoulder and re position it when he put the plate in so all my neck and shoulder muscles are screaming at me. It is worse than the deep bone pain. I woul love to be pain free for just one hour! So I wait for nature and positive energy to heal me. I am using the TENS machine to help with pain contol on my hip-yeouwchh!! That was a nasty shock to wake up to–he said he might have to take bone from my hip for a graft, but I was hoping he’d use donner tissue. Ah well, scars make me ineresting I suppose. My shoulder scar is 5 inches and my hip scar is 3 1/2 inches. They just go with my c-section and ankle surgery scars. So Kiara,let me know how you recovery goes! Bye, bye.

  346. Kiara

    Kiara here again, a few days after clavicle surgery (ORIF– open reduction internal fixation, + bone graft)… doing OK, sore as hell, vicodin is a great drug… when the doc opened me up, found out that my clavicle pieces (at 10 weeks, approx) had healed up alright– just not to each other! bone ends had scabbed up nicely but no way in hell were they ever going to reconnect. So, again, for anyone out there reading this… if at about 8-10 weeks you still feel the bones moving around (I had very little pain at this point, by the way, but what I had was persistent), GET A SECOND OPINION about surgery, especially if they still want you wait and see if you’ll “heal naturally” (!). Ha! :) –Ki

  347. Hans

    Kiara – I think you’re doing the correct thing by going ahead with surgery. Especially since you’re experiencing pain and the numbness in your fingers. That’s a good sign of nerves being impinged. And you are correct about getting a second opinion and to trust your body. Let the doctors know what you’re feeling and be forward with what is going on.
    I also know how you feel about being knocked off the endorphin rush. I’m still going through recovery for my busted up shoulder (soft tissue this time). I’m in physical therapy and have another 5 weeks to go. So it will be a minimum of 2 months off the bike. Longest time off the bike than I can recall.
    Let us know how your surgery goes. Heal fast.
    Hans

  348. Kiara

    Hi ya’ll–Kiara here– I posted a comment to this thread on 8 April, about 3 weeks after I busted my R clavicle. It’s now 3 June, about 10 weeks out, and I’m still having a lot of discomfort/pain at the break site and when I move my arm above the horizontal or across my chest. I can feel movement at the break site, and I have some tingling/nerve impingement in the 4th and 5th fingers, right hand. The 8 week out Xrays showed a little “fuzziness” between the two separated pieces, but no definitive bridging of any kind. I’m in the military, and my military docs were saying, “well, it’s STILL too early to say if you will/won’t heal…” The heck with that! I got a 2d opinion last week from a civilian ortho specialist (who used to be the team doctor for the University of Hawaii, which is where I live right now). He looked at my xrays, felt the crepitus in the break itself, listed to my symptons, and also listened to my litany of woes (pain in the break site, limited mobility/strength, can’t bike, can’t run, fingers keep going numb, etc.). He’s done about 60 Hagie pin surgeries and over 120 plate-screw surgeries, and said that in his opinion, I am (a) definitely healing VERY slowly, and (b) would benefit from surgery. Doc said the plate-screw option in his experience has far fewer complications. He warned me that there would be a visible 3-4 inch scar along my collarbone.
    Based on this consult, I got someone to pull some strings for me and yesterday saw another surgeon at Tripler (Army Medical Center), who confirmed that at this point the chances of my healing on my own are getting very small… my body’s adjusted to this state of affairs, however unsatisfying/painful it is for me! So…. I’m scheduled for sugery 7 June– plate and screws, plus a bone graft from my hip. Yuck. The doc’s frightened me into promising to be very, very, VERY good and to keep the shoulder as immobile as possible and not to raise it above 90 degrees for at least 2 months. He also showed me Xrays from another surgery he’d done– and, hallelujah, at 6 weeks out the guy was starting to get some bone bridging between the two pieces!
    From all the reading I’ve done on this thread and other research, it seems that the first month is the crucial period to get your body to form that connecting bridge. So I’ll grit my teeth and just deal with the endorophin-withdrawal. I hope this information helps other folks out there– I agree with the last writer, GET A SECOND OPINION. It’s your body- – listen to it. As athletes or aspiring athletes, we’re more in touch with our bodies/body mechanics than most… if something doesn’t feel right, then fight to get some answers. I wish I’d pushed harder for surgery 3-4 weeks ago, when I felt things weren’t going anywhere. :) Ki

  349. Patrick Utter

    I broke my left clavical on 4/24/05 diving for an outfield softball (the ball bounced out of my glove :)) I was treated in the ER with xrays, ultra sound, and a figure eight and arm sling. Saw an Ortho the next day who said it would heal in 8 weeks as is. I was in extreme pain for two weeks and was recommended from my boss to get a 2nd opinion. Went to a Seattle Orthorpedic and Fracture clinic where 2 orthopedics looked at it and they both agreed surgery was need in order for it to heal properly. Also, a bone was pushing against my skin that was degrading my skin. There was also two chips that broke loose from the break.
    I now have a plate and screws. I feel more complete and in less pain than prior to the surgery. I know that surgery is not the route for everyone, but my advise is to get a second opinion with a orthopedic that specializes in fractures (like in a fracture clinic). My doctor said my recovery will be about 8 weeks and then I can live a normal life. Only time will tell.

  350. bud Blumenthal

    i’m busted since four days, clean break, strange in that the edges of breaks are rounded indicating a previous break apparently. can’t ever remember such a thing, but..
    what makes me pissed is that the 8 and sling are pretty prehistoric tools. these things hold it all from above which means that it is all hanging from the collar bone itself! it seems obvoius to me that tha arm should be immobilized and lifted and angled just so, but definitly from underneath! it all shou rest on the waist or hips so as to completely relieve the shoulders. if nobody writes in with wonder brace that i can locate and purchase i will have to make my own which is bogus and also difficult under the circumstances. bud

  351. Barb Nydam

    I broke my r collarbone and 6 ribs (in 8 places) on Jan 11/05 when my horse jumped out of his stall-over the door- and crushed me against the door jam. I was in the hospital for a week and then home. I have been wearing my figure 8 brace 24-7 for almost 3 months and I am hopeless without it due to pain and discomfort. My physio was concerned with it not healing so I began getting more xrays, a bone scan and a ct scan that showed complete non union of the collar bone. I saw my ortho dr today and he has put me on the urgent surgical list-which in bc means a 2-3month wait for my turn under the knife. I have already spent 3 months knowing it wasn’t healing because I can see and feel the bone moving at the break site. Yuck and it gives me the creeps. I am pissed that I have to wait so long and nervous that the plates, screws and bone graft are not going to solve my problem, Does anyone out there have a surgery success story for my spirits? Wish me luck. Barb

  352. Hans

    Kiara – When I did my follow up x-ray for my collar bone there was a definite sign of the ends pulling together. That was about a month after the break. By then my shoulder was feeling good and I was starting to get back on the bike.
    I recently had to see my doc about my shoulder. I managed to bust up my humerus and not the collar bone this time. When we were looking at my x-rays he also looked at how my collar bone was doing. It’s been a couple of years but it had never fully fused back together. He noted that it’s probably a partial connection. A fibroid connection I believe and since it wasn’t bothering me that I shouldn’t worry about it. He made the comment that they don’t treat by x-ray. He means that although the x-ray shows the collar bone not fused, that doesn’t mean there is a reason to “fix” it. Since I experience no pain, my collar bone isn’t moving around, and I have been able to use my shoulder without problem then there is no need to worry or do anything.
    So, the best I can recommend is wait a bit longer and see how you are feeling. Do a follow up with your orthopedist and evaluate at that time.
    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  353. Kiara

    Hi, I joined the collarbone-break club on 15 Mar 05… riding my bike, of course… I have a complete break about 1/3 from the shoulder (distal, ends overlap a bit. I’ve been in a figure 8 sling and started riding the stationary gym bikes (sitting upright) about 5 days after the accident.. trying to be careful not to move the shoulder, but I was going nuts not getting any exercise. I’m 36. I just now had some Xrays done, I’m at about 3.5 weeks, and they show absolutely NO healing, very depressing. If anything there seems to be slightly more separation of the bone ends than I remember from the first Xrays right after the break. I wonder at what point should I expect to see some visible healing? And how many months of non-healing (worst case scenario) before I become a surgical candidate?
    Kiara

  354. Chris

    Thanks for sharing your story Hans! and everyone else. I broke left clavicle on the 17th of Feb., fell off me skateboard. So thats six weeks tomorrow, I have been out of sling for more than a week, though i wear it when i go hiking. I feel pretty good, and i am comfortable on my bicycle again. Praise Jesus! I am wanting to do some PT excercises. best wishes to all that are healing.
    Cheers

  355. Bernie

    I’m also a snowboard casulity. We did the figure eight for 2 months with a sling, then started on ultra sound theopy (20 miuntes twice a day a day for 3 months). The bones overlap but moved further apart with one end heading out through the top of my shoulder. It was back into the sling for two more months with continued ultra sound treatment. At 7 months nothing was healing (nonunion)so surgery was done with the long 4.25 inch screw longwise in the bone. The bones were finally lined up but the healing still has not happened. I am now one week from a year into to problem, the screw is just about to come out through the top of my shoulder (it stickes out 1/2 inch above my shoulder) and will have to be removed if it breaks through. I also had the bone graft from my hip. A catscan shows no significent healing. The next plan is to remove the screw and replace it with a plate and screws. What a pain! I can only sleep flat on my back and the pain is constant mainly at the ends of where the long screw is. I’m not so sure these guys working on me know what they are doing. All I know for sure is that was the most expensive snowboard trip I’ll ever had. In fact, this has cost more than all my ski trips combined for the last 54 years.

  356. Hans

    Lela – Sorry about your accident. Gravel is something I always keep an eye out for when I’m on my motorcycle. Losing the front wheel and control is spooky.
    As for your operation. I have friends that have had their clavicles screwed back together. Not sure of the type of screw used. Oh, and some have the screw removed once the bone has fully healed. It’s another operation but they don’t like having a foreign object in their body. Might be a placebo effect but they feel better without it.
    Not familiar with the bone graft procedure.
    Good luck and update us if you have the procedure done.

  357. Lela S

    I broke my collar bone in a motorcycle accident (gravel on pavement in a corner) 6 months ago in september. Just found out yesterday that they will do a new procedure on me. This entails a canulated screw and bone graft. I have a non union and have been working since 2 days after the accident. The doctor said with high impact injuries like this the bone dies and you are more likely to have a non union that will never heal. He has only done two of these so I am curious to see if anyone else has done this procedure. He said that this will make my clavicle more stable and we will never have to take the screw out.

  358. MAX

    Hi guys i broke my clavicle about 6 weeks ago in a snowboard accident.For the first 3 weeks i didn’t use a sling or a figure of 8 thing because the doctor said a should be fine.After the 3 weeks i was still in pain so i went to a fracture clinic and the doctor there gave me the figure of 8 thing.I wore it for 3 weeks and then i went for x-ray and they said the bone is starting to heal and they told me to take off the figure of 8.Now after 6 weeks the bone is hurting me when i keep my hand down and i always tend to keep the shoulder up so the bone wont hurt me but like this the muscles in my back kill me.The thing is i saw the x-ray and my clavicle is overlaping is going to be shorter with about 1cm.Any of you guys have an overlaping clavicle?can you please email me and tell me how long does it take for the pain to go away and if you are feeling ok with the shorter clavicle?My email is lulus_ro@yahoo.com thanks.

  359. Jerry

    I guess this is pretty common – January 1st was a beautiful day (60 degrees) here in central Pennsylvania. I’m a runner/biker and been having some foot pain. I promised to not run a day in January (which is very hard for me). So like all of us on a nice day …. I had to get out. Took the bike. 45 minute later I hit a dog. He was running down a drive way that was dug in about 3 feet so I didn’t see him coming. We met instantly so there was nothing I could do.
    I broke my right collar bone and 5 ribs (3-7). It happened so fast I can’t remember even preparing for the fall. Fortunately people were outside washing there car. Nobody wanted to claim having a dog that I described and he/she was nowhere to be seen.
    Emergency room xray was taken and then when I got back to the bed the Nurse moved my arm to take blood pressure again. I almost fainted. 5 days later I was at the bone Dr. and the new Xrays shows a complete overlap while the old one showed perfect alignment – I know exactly when that happened!!!
    5 weeks later the ribs are feeling much better – I avoided people with colds like they had malaria. The collar bone still wants me to be in a sling. If I take it off for too long (and not use it) I get more pain later.
    I agree with everybody else – I desperately want to get back to my routine but I don’t want to do anything that would set me back and I’m going crazy wondering if it is really healing.
    Obviously it could have been worse but I don’t ever want to do this again. To bad we don’t get to choose.

  360. David

    Hi there, I’m currently recovering from 4 broken ribs (3-6) and broken clavicle on my left side. I was a passenger in a car that crunched into a lampost….
    6 weeks now since the accident, my Ribs are fuseing together nicely. But my clavicle is stubbonly refusing to mend. It was shattered into 4 major fragments. The doctors are only treating it with a full arm sling and painkillers. I’m expecting another 6-8 weeks before the bone begins fusing… 12+ weeks.
    This site may of intrest to some of you.
    http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2003/1203/housner_pa.htm
    My Shoulder is noticeably lower, but I have not problems with lower arm movement or sensation. I’m confidant of a complete recovery, and am learning new levels of patience :-)

  361. sue

    apparently the clavicle is the most common bone for anyone to break.. but an awful lot of bikers seem to share the ( entirely unpleasant) experience. Including me. ten days ago on an icy downhill track… is it true that lance armstrong continued to ride with a broken clavicle??? i cant believe it.

  362. Larry

    Reading these entries makes me realise I’m not alone.
    I broke my collar bone 5 weeks ago when I rode speedway
    (dirt track in the US). I hi-sided and landed on my shoulder
    which pushed the shoulder about 4″ into my body.
    (I’ve seen the video!!)
    Serious muscle bruising (no pain no gain as my brother says)
    and a collar bone break. Not too bad I thought, I have friends
    in wheel chairs.
    However, my collar bone has now healed, but my shoulder
    is now about an inch narrower due to a seriously overlapping
    collar bone.
    ?????????
    Can anyone please tell me if there is any drawback in having a
    shorter collar bone ? I am currently battling to have it cut and
    repositioned, but I may be wrong and a shorter shoulder may
    be as good. (Function over looks anyday!!)
    Feel free to mail me directly (please :o)

  363. Mark skinny boy Bowsher

    i broke my r clavicle on 14th nov and have now started getting sharp shooting pains at certain posistions in my arm 2 weeks later, the main pain has gone and ive come off pain killers now. is this the normal thing to happen and how long is it likely to go on for? also i want to get back in my gym and do weights again as im losing my bulk!,how long should i leave it for this and will it be weaker now than it was?

  364. Hans

    Rich – Sounds like your ER nurse doesn’t know how to have fun! :’)
    I don’t recall any burning sensation during my recovery. Only aches and some pain. I would suggest a quick call to your doctor for some advice.
    As for having surgery, avoid it. Get a second or third opinion before going that route.

  365. Rich

    I broke my collarbone on a dirt bike 11 days ago. At 39 the ER nurse said don’t you think you’re getting a little old for that kind of stuff. No! My four year old daughter is just starting out and will need some guidance. Anyway, the collar bone area felt really good the first six days probably due to the pain medications. Now I am starting to get a burning type sensation at different times throughout the day. Anyone out they know if this is a normal part of the process. The fracture site is displaced and the doctor is not sure if surgery is going to be necessary. I really hope not. Any insights?

  366. Pete Floyd

    I broke my collar bone racing in Cuba October 14, 2004. Reading all the comments have eased some of my fears about my treatment (Nothing) being adequate. It also has set some realistic goals as to when at 64 I can ride again. My pain is basically gone and I am not using my sling. Taking off five weeks after my first year of riding bikes, Guess the break was good timing. My fellow bikers were great keeping my spirits up after my fall. Thanks guys at Mike Fraysee Sports.

  367. Brent

    I broke my clavical late July 2004…nasty high speed fall due to hydroplaning as it started to pour cats and dogs unnanounced on a timetrial bike on a long descending grade coming into a corner on a smooth bike path…found myself in the woods tasting my own blood in the rain near an oak tree, with a burning feeling on my back(road rash)and a lump and sharp poking spot near my collarbone and also a grey-out or feeling of great impact not sure if I hit my head or not. Worst thing was being 5 miles away from anything on a 10 mile loop. Got rescued by the only other guy on the bike path…ended up in emergency room and all is finally coming back as I road my bike since the crash yesterday!!!…:)

  368. Hans

    Scott – I know how you feel but listen to what the docs say. If you do anything to cause the break to tear apart again you will be asking for surgery or for a worse fuse of the bones.
    My doc insisted I use the sling. You may feel the strong enough not to use it but in reality, your body is working hard to repair itself. The more stress you put on your shoulder the harder it is on your body to repair. Give it and yourself a rest and let it heal.
    Also, it’s a little late in your case since the bones have fused, but it is very very very important to keep the shoulder imobilized right after the break and until it fuses together. Otherwise, movement may hinder the fuse process and the bones may never join.
    As for riding now, sure you could but if you make one small mistake and smack that shoulder again you could easily break it again. Then you’re back to day one or worse.
    My recommendation would be to get some good DVDs to watch while you spin on the trainer. I watched a bunch during my recovery. Cycling DVDs helped the best to take my mind off the fact I was stuck on a trainer.
    I followed my doctor’s advice and was on the bike in a month and riding around Europe.

  369. Scott

    I broke my right collarbone on the 4th of August. Clean break with and island too. Pain is pretty much gone. Mobility is coming back to the point where I can lift my elbow above the shoulder. What I can’t figure out is the many different approaches to treatment and healing. I have heard and read many different medical opinions. Sling, no sling, do what doesn’t hurt stop what does, no movement, movement is good. The bones stopped moving last week. Okay what I really want to say is I want to ride tonight. Yes I am impatient. Yes I may be dense, but it’s killing me. Can’t I ride for the most part with one hand? I have done a couple of miles easy like that. I am going insane and won’t ride the trainer. I won’t I won’t I won’t!

  370. Hans

    Dave – Bum luck about the collar bone. So, I researched the figure-eight myself and found docs that said it’s good and others that said it didn’t really do more than a sling. Oh, none said it was bad for you. I personally found that it really helped to keep my shoulder from moving around and kept the collar bone in place. I also had a total break (distill) so it was important to keep it from moving.
    Now, if you’re finding that your collar bone is still moving around then I would really suggest you do whatever possible to keep from doing so. That means get a figure-eight, or stay in bed, or whatever you can. If you keep it moving around like that during the first week or so you might not ever let it connect and start stitching together. Then you might end up getting the knife to have a plate screwed in. Fun!
    Good luck.

  371. dave

    Ay up Dave Engerlalalalang here. Oops broke my right one yesterday ouch. NHS Dr put me in sling and said it would be ok in 3/4 weeks apparently the figure 8 is out of fash now (see NHS site) cheers for exercise advice much appreciated. Try comphrey tea. Apparrently miricle herbal ‘boneup’ or wot ever. typing with one hand tres pain in the arse so ttfn
    Oh hang on this was my main point: Every time I move so does my bone coz its a complete break how can it possibly heal like that? My missus insists i stay in bed all day but its doing my head in already. Anyone got any clues? ps when i lay in bed in slots necely back in to place ie no lump then when i stand up it pops out again this cant be right can it. Feck knows. Giz a clue someone cheers

  372. Anthony

    hey i borke my collar bone and i play football and i really want to play its august 5 and that makes it the 5 weeks since i broke it i our practice starts on the 17 and i really have to be there so i can start. today i went to the doctor he said my bone was healed and that it looks great and then he said 4 more weeks but i dont kno what to do i really need to start football and i really want to play so i think i am but i need some advice PLEASE HELP !!!

  373. Michelle Zeiler

    I broke left clavicle ONE year ago and still broken. surgery I dont want. Ive tryed bone stimulators a electod unit and no luck yet. bone denisty test done today and ct next week. pain level so so and one know of Bone Up vitimans. Any one will this long of broken clavicle??????? Help

  374. Joe

    I head off to surgery to fix my collarbone tomorrow. As it happens, I am one of those lucky 10% who don’t get better on their own. My non-union has turned in a mal-union. Ick. I’m getting screwed (and plated) in the morning.

  375. Karen

    I recently broke my collar bone bike racing a kid in my Youth group. The bike had no rear brakes. (I actually knew that at the start.) Anyway, I was going as fast as I could and did not allow enough room to stop and crashed. The impact was so hard my petal removed a chunk of concrete from the curb. The worst part is I lost. I will challenge him in checkers until I heal.

  376. Jon Griffith

    I did it! I broke my left clav. I am opting for surgery because of how sharp the bone is and how displaced it is…yuck…talk about painful! And this sling is getting funky!