Chad’s Broken Collar Bone Report

Here is another well done article by a 30 year old rider that broke his collar bone during a criterium bike race. It chronicles his journey from the initial break, through the ups and downs of healing, to his recovery.


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.

Chad’s Broken Collar Bone Report

By Chad Crocker

First of all, let me say that this website helped me with many concerns and questions I had after my collarbone was broken. Hopefully, my detailed account will help others in the same way.

On October 15, 2005, I was racing in a criterium and broke my collarbone. As you can see from the x-ray (week 1), it was distal third “fracture”.

Chad's broken collar bone

At the hospital, they cleaned my road rash (plenty of it), put me in a figure of 8 brace, arm sling, and gave me a prescription for some wimpy Lortabs. The ER doctor said to move my arm/shoulder as little as possible, even in the shower. When I got home, I jumped on the internet and found Hans’ website which provided a wealth of knowledge and experience from others who have been through the same thing.


The first three days after the wreck were extremely painful. I had a bad bruise on my shoulder that ran down my bicep. After a few days, it turned a funny green color. This was normal. Another lady who told her story on this site had the same thing happen. I tried to sleep in a bed for two nights. Every time I tried to get up, my collarbone moved in ways that it definitely should not have moved. So, for the next 5 weeks, I slept in a recliner. Did I mention that the only clothes I had on were my boxers, figure of 8 brace and sling? Road rash sucks!!!

As for supplements, I started taking 2500 mgs of Calcium citrate and a multivitamin everyday. Calcium Citrate is supposed to help acidify the urine somewhat to help prevent kidney stones from such a high intake of Calcium.


Pretty much the same as week #1. My brother is an x-ray, CT, and MRI tech, so I had a few x-rays taken. Absolutely no change. Of course, calcification doesn’t show up for a few weeks. Didn’t know this at the time, though. Oh yeah, it is unbelievable how much crap is on TV.


I’m finally able to put on a pair of shorts. My shoulder and bicep are still several funky shades of yellow and green. Still no improvement on the x-ray that I could see. This concerned me. Especially after reading some of the horror stories people had about collarbones not healing even after 7-8 weeks. Now I’m paranoid and keep my arm and shoulder completely immobilized. Later, a friend/doctor looked at the x-ray and pointed out that the bones are not as rough as in the first x-ray and the ends have smoothed out somewhat (signs of healing). Guess I should have left reading x-rays to the professionals.

Chad's broken collar bone


Still the same old thing. My shoulder was still hurting pretty bad from where I was slammed into the pavement at 30 mph. My moral was starting to get pretty low at this point. I really wanted to go for a bike ride, but taking time to heal is best. I kept everything completely stable and only took my brace and sling off for showering. Keeping your arm completely still at your side makes taking a shower very interesting.


GREAT NEWS!!!! Went to the doctor on Tuesday and she said the fibrous bridge between the two bones had formed. The sling came off and most of the road rash has healed. Most, not all. The figure of 8 came off Saturday. Now comes the fun part… physical therapy. When the sling came off, I could not raise my arm at all. Every chance I had, I was moving my arm as much as possible. Using a broom stick works very well. You basically use your good arm to pull up and stretch the injured arm. By Saturday, I was able to lift my arm out in front of me. Good enough. Now it’s time to hop on the stationary bike. I also started sleeping in a bed. Still have some shoulder pain near the rotator cuff.


Went to see the other doctor this week. The fibrous bridge is starting to show on x-ray. This made me happy, but I was still having pain in my shoulder around the rotator cuff area. My shoulder was still bruised. Because of the location, the doctor ordered an MRI to look for any tears or other damage. I have a lot more mobility now. Mostly thanks to my chiropractor, Dr. Michael Silver in Gastonia. I have to give this guy a big “Thank you.” He helped get my full range of motion back in less than two weeks.

Chad's broken collar bone


Everything is healing up. I still have some tenderness in my shoulder and AC joint. MRI results will be back next week. Of course, I do have some pain and tightness in my shoulder and back. All the bruising has disappeared and I have almost full range of motion in my shoulder. Still working with Dr. Silver to get more flexibility and better movement. I was on the stationary bike 4 days this week and hit the gym for some good leg workouts. I was not doing any upper body exercises until the MRI results came back clean.


MRI results came back clean. It showed a bruised bone, bursitis (from smacking the pavement very hard), and a stretched AC joint. The rotator cuff was completely intact and healthy. I received the news on Tuesday and hit the pool that night. By Saturday, I was back swimming for one full hour nonstop. I have a few MRI pictures below. According to the doctor, this is what a “healthy” shoulder should look like.

Chad's broken collar bone
Chad's broken collar bone
Chad's broken collar bone
Chad's broken collar bone


My leg workouts in the gym are back to normal except for squats, hack squats, etc. No weight on the collarbone. I went to the doctor this week for more x-rays. We were able to see some calcification. The doctor said that I was 90% healed, and could start lifting weights again in about 3-4 weeks. She was surprised at the amount of flexibility and strength that I had.

Chad's broken collar bone

WEEK #15

For the past few weeks, I have been working out in the gym with light weights, swimming, and riding my stationary bike. Still too cold to be outside. Had my last set of x-rays this week. Everything looked very good and the calcification was very visible. The doctor said that my collarbone was stronger here than at any other point and cleared me to do whatever I wanted. Even ride my bike. I didn’t mention that I had already been out for a few rides.


After several doses of supplements, quality mass builders, and prohormones that are now banned by the FDA, I have regained every bit of strength plus a lot more. Several exercises still hurt my shoulder like standing curls, but military presses don’t bother it at all. Strange, but it will just take some time to learn my new shoulder. I also added glucosamine sulfate and fish oil to my daily supplements to help with joint pain from lifting heavy. This stuff works pretty well to be sold over the counter. My right shoulder is now a little bit shorter than the left, but it functions very well. The only place I really notice it is on the bench press. All I did was adjust my hand positioning. It had little effect on how much I could bench.

Take this for what it is. One guy’s story of experiencing a broken collarbone. I was very careful and did everything I needed to do for a quick recovery. All things considered, things went very well. The best advice I can give is:

1) Listen to your doctor
2) Get a second opinion (never hurts to ask)
3) Explain that you are a very active person and be treated as such. My chiropractor was the only one that treated me this way and helped my recovery more so than the other physicians.
4) Definitely take more calcium. This was recommended by all the doctors I went to.
5) Take time to recover properly the first time. It is better to lose 3 months to an injury than 6, 7, or more.

Hope this info helps others out there going through the same thing.

UPDATE (2012-04-23):

In March 2011, I started to develop severe pain in my upper back and neck that ran down my arm.  It got to the point where I couldn’t swim 500 yards which is significant because my Ironman swims were around 1 hour.  I had xrays, MRI’s, and spent 8 months in physical therapy.  The Ortho couldn’t find anything and the PT kept saying I had a muscle imbalance.  I always felt that my collarbone didn’t heal quite right and believed that was the problem.  Unfortunately, the Ortho did not think that was it.    After 7 full Ironman triathlons, I would have to say that I’m more in tune with my body than a doctor looking at pictures.  So, I started searching for a new doctor and my former motocross buddies pointed me to a surgeon in Texas (Dr. Mark Sanders).  I did a LOT of homework on this guy before making a decision to have surgery.  In January 2012, he broke my collarbone in two places and plated it back together.  He said it had healed 1.5 cm short and rotated forward.  Within a day after surgery, my pain was almost completely gone.  It actually felt so good, I walked into the doctor’s office for follow up without the sling.  I wouldn’t advise this, as the tongue lashing was extreme.  I am currently 12 weeks post-op and well on the road to recovery.  Three weeks ago, I went to the same PT who treated me last year and she was completely amazed at my range of motion and how the mechanics of my shoulder/scapula had changed (for the better).  After seeing me, she said having that surgery was the right thing to do.  Things still aren’t perfect, but are much better than before surgery.  My shoulder and scapula were in the wrong position for 6 years of intense Ironman training before giving out.  It’s going to take time to retrain it.  Time for the disclaimer.  I probably would not have had this much trouble if it wasn’t for the amount of overhead exercises I do.  Lifting weights and the repetitive overhead motion of swimming took its toll on a misaligned collarbone/shoulder.  Pushing through pain, hoping it will get better is obviously the wrong thing to do.  Especially pain that lasts for months.

My personal opinion, and that’s what it is, is to get a collarbone fixed if you are an active person.  I’ve been in both situations, and I will get it plated every time from now on.  Zero doubt.

More “Broken Collar Bone” Articles

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

Broken Clavicle (collar bone)
Broken Clavicle No More
What to Expect From a Broken Clavicle

339 responses

  1. Chris Avatar


    So I have another update after a trip to Singapore to see a Sports injury specialist orthopedic surgeon. On visual inspection the doctor tried to rock my collarbone and said it was not moving and was ‘sticky.’ Just to clarify my situation he order a CT scan which I was told previously by other doctors wouldn’t provide new information. The results of the CT scan showed clearly the break and bits of broken bone surrounding the break site and rounding on the ends of the bone. After 3 months of natural healing this scan made it clear that I was a non-union case after all…and most likely due to improper immobilization. Several days later I operated and got myself a titanium pate and locking screws. The pain was very intense for 48 hours post op, but after the initial swelling subsided I was surprised how good my shoulder felt and my almost instantaneous range of movement. My shoulder feels better now just one week post op then it did after 3 months of non operative healing. For the first time in 3 months I am finally feeling like I am on the road to recovery and will get there eventually! My only regret at this stage is that I didn’t get the ORIF surgery 3 months ago when I initially broke it. If the collarbone is just fractured with little to no displacement then immobilization is enough….but for those who are nearing 2 cm of displacement or more like me, it is a no brainer, get the operation and don’t look back! I just can’t believe that I fought it for 3 months before I finally gave in and got the procedure!

    It’s great to hear that you’ve found a solution that’s putting you back on the road to recovery. I sympathize with you regarding the decision to have or not have the surgery. Surgery isn’t something to take lightly and there are risks. I hope you will be up to full speed soon and back to the activities you enjoy.



  2. Chris Avatar


    So I have an update on my situation…I have come to realization that I have inadequately immobilized my shoulder over the past 2.5 months, thus preventing productive healing to occur. I had my arm in a sling for 4 weeks, but was very active, was carrying things in my injured hand, and started normal activities after my sling came off due to very little to no pain. As I have now been told this was a mistake. I continued to become more active as I was under the impression that I was indeed healing…but the fact of the matter was that my increased activity was keeping fibrous tissue from connecting the bones. This in combination with re injury and increased displacement from overuse has kept me from any healing up to this point. I am now a week away from 3 months from the injury date and have very little progress. A good friend has advised me to go back to the sling and complete immobilization for 4-6 weeks in order for the bones to knit. I’m just wondering if its too late already. At this stage I’m not sure if I want the bones to fuse with such a large displacement considering that I am an athlete and have hopes/expectations to make a near full recovery. Considering how active of a person I am and my inability to sit still and just heal, and considering my large displacement or just over 2 cm, I am thinking surgical intervention might be the way to go. I have never had to make such a difficult decision, but it seems like this might be the best results and the sure way to finally recover. If I do operate next week in Singapore and get a titanium plate, do you know if the plate can stay in? Does it become uncomfortable after awhile? I am worried that later removal of the plate will weaken my collarbone again due to the screw holes and possibly re fracture it again. Are you happy with your final result after operation and is your plate still in? thanks again for the insights!

    Hey Chris –
    Glad you were able to get a better idea of what was hindering your progress. From your description it sure sounds like surgery is going to be a better option. It’s a tough decision and something I have avoided. Note that it’s been others that have had surgery. I’ve been lucky enough to heal both times without surgery although I considered the option.

    From friends I know that have gone through surgery and the plate, all have recovered nicely. And some had their plate and screws removed. The removal does leave the screw holes but those should fill in over time. I’ve heard one must wait at least 6 weeks after plate/screw removal before doing any activity that might cause another impact to the bone. That allows the growth of material to fill and strengthen the bone. Removal isn’t necessary, just an option some take because of discomfort and sometimes because the plate breaks from constant flex or a screw begins to back out.

    Having surgery will give you a good chance of healing and length of time for the recovery. Having no surgery and waiting is more of an unknown. And you might need surgery anyways. But surgery also has its risks. Be sure to fully understand those risks by talking with your doctor/surgeon.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Chris Avatar


    So I went to see the doc a few day ago and had a follow up x-ray. It has been 2 months to the day since my break and the second x-ray looked basically the exact same as my first! The doc said he could see little to no signs of fibrous tissue connecting the break. As for my re-injury he said the bone might have moved slightly…he thought that it did look more ‘tented’ then it had on the previous visit, like the bone had shifted and was sticking up more against my skin. The pain I noticed was associated with the increased tenting but I also feel like there is pain near my AC joint that wasnt there before from my ‘jerk’ reaction. I have noticed on several occasions if I drop something and make that quick reflex to catch it with my bad arm that it will hurt momentarily. I was curious if 2 months is a long time for me not yet to be healed? The doctor was saying that in the x-ray we should be able to see fibrous tissues already and that it was appearing that I might be healing slowly or could a non-union case….But I am skeptical as the doctor is Indonesian and hospitals here aren’t the best, nor are a lot of the doctors. Do you know how long it should take for fibrous tissue to be visible in an X-ray? Considering that I don’t have visible x-ray evidence of healing after 8 weeks, my arm does feel way better then it did 2 months ago. I can lift my arm over my head and have pretty good range of motion…but still am unable or should I say afraid to try to surf yet. The Doc was saying that maybe my bones are ‘sticky’ and thats why the pain is gone, but the fibers needed to start really making the difference are not there. It sounds like I still have at least another month or more of healing…and if thats the case maybe its smarter to just get the titanium plating in singapore. All of these decisions are so stressful and the answers seem to be so unclear and ambiguous…thanks again for any advice/info.

    Sorry to hear the issues you’re having. I’ve been told and read that healing can take longer depending on the individual. Lots of factors come into play such as age, overall health, smoking, diet, etc.. Six weeks is a default length of time for showing signs of healing. Eight doesn’t sound too long. Note that it’s very difficult to see any of the healing of the bone within the x-ray unless you’re specially trained. Maybe you have been healing but the fall re-injured the newly forming fibrous tissue. This may have changed the alignment and also the pain. I really think it would be wise getting another doctor’s opinion. See if you can find one that handles sports injuries. Having another’s opinion may shed more light on your recovery.

    – Hans

  4. Chris Avatar

    Another busted collar bone story and hopeful to get some advice! I broke my left collar bone back on May 2nd this year and it is now June 26th and I feel like I may have re-injured it earlier today. I had it in a sling for 4-5 weeks as my break was bad. When I took the sling off I had muscle pains off and on for weeks but that eventually went away. The last few weeks the pain has been completely gone but I am am still unable/weary to lift my arm above my shoulder height. I have been taking daily walks on the beach of about 8-12 km and doing light swimming for the last 3-4 weeks and it has been progressing. Today I was walking on the beach and stepped on an extremely slippery rock and slid and nearly fell…but my ‘jerk’ reaction prevented the fall but massively tweaked my shoulder and have been in pain ever since. I believe I had some rotator cuff damage from the initial injury and am curious if I have pulled some muscles or possibly re-injured the healing collar bone. In one more week I will be at 2 months since the injury and feel like I have not made it very far. I have been eating healthy, exercising, and doing all of the right things, but it seems like this injury is going to be here for the long haul. I am a very avid surfer spending usually 6-8 hours in the water a day and spend 9 months a year surfing, the other 3 months working. Am I a fool for not already getting the surgery? For how active I am and how important my shoulder is for surfing, is this the best option? I am all for natural healing but after reading some of these blogs I am starting to think I am wasting my time waiting for it to heal considering how misaligned the bones were. I dont want my shoulder to be a problem for me the rest of my life! Any advice anyone? Maybe its time to fly home and get the procedure done so I can get back in the water…

    Only a doc that has examined you will be able to tell you what you might have done from the slip. It could be soft tissue such as a pulled muscle or worse, a re-break of the collar bone. I recommend going to a doc that understands your physical life style and the need to be able to use your shoulder/arm. If you do require surgery then it’s going to be a longer recovery (generally) but with a better expectation of healing.

    – Hans

  5. Luke Gazmin Avatar
    Luke Gazmin

    Hi im 16 and I broke my collarbone a week ago and I can walk around and stuff without too much pain. I was wondering how long it took for you to go back to work/school?

    Sorry to hear about your break. If it’s not too bad then you may be able to go back within a week. Always something to verify with your doctor.

    – Hans

  6. maeve mcloughliN Avatar
    maeve mcloughliN

    Hi all,
    I wish i had seen this blog sooner! I broke my collar bone last March. Skiing accident in Austria. I broke it close to the ac joint and streched the rotary cuff. I was taken to hospital there and placed in a figure of eight and also given a sling. Doctors there told me to get it checked again at home as was travelling the next day. Ouch is all I can say, it was not a very comfortable plane journey. On returning home to ireland I got to see a specialist. (it was a week after the accident) Straightaway he told me to loose the figure of eight and that they would give me a better sling.

    Told me to keep it imobilised for five weeks and to return for repeat xray then. So I took three weeks of work and couldnt drive for five weeks also. He also recommended getting in touch with a physio and getting a plan in place.

    I was xrayed five weeks later and everything was healing well. Had ten sessions with the physio and eventually I got almost full movement back in the shoulder joint.

    Its 8 months post the accident now. I still get pain in my shoulder blade if I go for a long walk or even if I have a bag strap resting on that shoulder. I also get pain if I wear high heeled shoes. I’m hoping to have an mri scan done soon on the advice of my doctor.

    I’m wondering does anyone else get this kind of pain or is it just my posture or something. I dont get any pain in the other shoulder.



    It sounds like you have been taking the right steps towards healing. I also experienced similar pain which slowly reduced as I began to use my shoulder more and more. If the pain becomes extreme or you begin to feel numbness then definitely consult your doctor.



  7. Trish Avatar

    I appreciated reading your story so very much. My son is only 14 and got his broken collarbone days ago. Right before his very first hockey evaluation. He is so sad that this has happened to him especially right before his hockey evals. His first question is how quick can this thing heal. He has been sitting around and resting for 3 days and its making and restless and crazy. We were thinking about 4-8 wks is that usual? He is drinking tons of milk and resting tons. Are there any other things we can do to speed along recover time? And wont he always have some kind of pain there always??? If anyone can answer my questions it would be much appreciated. Good Luck to speedy recovers.
    Thanks signed a super concerned mom

    Yes, 4-6 weeks is the standard estimate. It varies based on many factors including age, the amount of damage, how well the individual allows recovery, etc.. Allowing the body to heal requires rest, keeping the shoulder immobilized, and accepting that it will take some time. I know the restlessness your son must be feeling. It becomes worse as the body starts feeling better. That’s when it’s really important not to overdue it as it’s possible to re-injure the shoulder and then everything is set back to day 1. Try having your son think long term (tough I’m sure) rather than short term. Things will be better and if all goes well the shoulder will be fine and without pain. Don’t forget to have a followup doctor visit around 4-6 weeks to determine if all is well.

  8. Lynn Avatar

    Have spent hours reading – thank you to everyone for sharing.

    I am a 45 year old athletic woman living in Canada. Had just started training for my first full marathon when I fractured my left clavicle in a boating accident. Paramedics and ER staff were great. Sent home with meds and sling with waist strap. So much pain, and had to sleep in a recliner. Saw ortho 5 days after the accident – clavicle in 3-4 pieces with 5 cm overlap and collapsed shoulder. Had surgery 3 days later, plate and 7 screws. Staples removed 10 days later and X-ray shows good healing.
    It’s now a month since the accident, and 3 weeks since the surgery. I see ortho in 3 weeks but until then cannot drive, work, use stationery bike, etc. I can finally take a shower on my own but must keep shoulder immobilized in sling with waist strap at all other times. I am not to run for another 9 weeks.
    This has been very difficult to handle – I suffer from depression which running/yoga/weight training helped me to manage. I’ve been depressed, bored, and isolated, though this past week has been better. I walk to the library couple times a week, have a friend drop by for coffee, and swallow my pride and ask for help going places/doing things. I’m eating well and taking vitamins and supplements. I’m still in pain when I try to do too much, so listening to my body has been really important.
    Reading spiritual books, watching Joyce Meyer sermons on YT, etc have helped me too.
    I anticipate a full recovery and look forward to running in the beautiful Canadian autumn come October.
    Good luck to everyone here.

  9. Chad Crocker Avatar
    Chad Crocker

    This is for Brad (July 30, 2012). I am 15 months post op for having the plate put in and 5 months post op for having it removed. I’ve always heard another crash with the plate can be much worse than without, so I had it removed. I’m a tall, thin guy (6’1″ 160lbs) and the plate did protrude from my shoulder. It was a minor irritation, but no pain. Like Hans said, there are always risks with surgery but both of mine went very well. I raced Ironman Kentucky and Florida in 2012 and had a personal best swim in Kentucky. Florida was very close. After Kentucky, I stopped by the Lexington Shoulder clinic to see Dr. Ben Kibler who is world renowned for shoulder/scapula surgery. I told him my story and after checking me out, confirmed that I did the right thing. He did notice some muscle imbalance/weakness and gave me some very specific exercises to do. I currently have full use of my shoulder and arm with no pain or numbness in my hand and fingers. My shoulder isn’t 100%, but is much much better than before surgery. My advice is to have a very competent surgeon do the surgery if you go that route. It’s worth the extra money to travel if you have to. Believe me. I’ve been there and done that.

  10. Shaun Avatar

    Thanks for all the info. Nah its not hurting just feel pressure on the fracture sight when i fully extend my shoulders upwards. Other movements dont cause any discomfort. Hope the feeling of pressure will go away in time?


  11. Shaun Avatar

    well i might be going to a physio in a few days and the doc said to go swimming. I have full range of movememnt with my shoulder and its doesnt hurt what a relief however i do feel some pressure on the fracture site when i raise my my arm above my shoulders. Is this normal and the shoulder is very weak.

    The pressure is something I had. It took time for things to loosen up. PT helped with this and to strengthen my shoulder. Be careful not to push it too hard. If a movement causes pain then you have pushed it too far. Use that as a guide.

    – Hans

  12. Shaun Avatar

    Dear Hans,
    Had the x ray today and the doc said theres no radiographic callus however it is said to be lagging with x ray. He gave me a clinical exam to lift my hand over my head and i managed to do it without any pain based on that he said i didnt have to use my sling and just take it easy till the next x ray in 6 weeks. So it good news to be able to use my left shoulder again. Hope i make a full recovery in 6 weeks but as for now im thankful for being able to use my left shoulder again. Cheers


    Great news Shaun! Definitely sounds like you are recovering. Don’t worry too much about the x-ray. I’ve read and heard from my docs that it’s tricky to capture the new growth (callus). It may be there just not visible with the image captured. Or, requires a specialist to see the signs of it. Oh, don’t forget to see a physical therapist or have your doc provide a PT plan.

    – Hans

  13. Shaun Avatar

    Thanks hans.
    This site has been a major help as this injury has been my worse so far being stuck in a sling for almost 5 weeks now. How long did you wear your brace or sling for? And the stories i have read are always contradicting each other as some believe it can heal on its own but other say operative measures are the best hence castings doubts in my mind.

    Glad the site has helped out. I wore the brace almost a month. And the sling less and less. I think only occasionally after a month and only when my arm and shoulder would get tired. It’s true that recovery can be a real gamble. The injury is very unique per person. Especially with how each person’s body handles the recovery. And how each person makes the effort to recover. Being younger, healthy, not a smoker, can really help. But even doing all the right things doesn’t guarantee success. That’s why some folks opt for surgery. Yet there are also risks from surgery. For example, infection can occur. Or there can be nerve damage. So it’s not something to take lightly. And a good reason to get more than one doctor’s opinion when trying to decide the best route for recovery.

    – Hans

  14. Shaun Avatar

    oh ya forgot to say i have a minimally displaced fracture with 1cm overlapping and the docs believe it should heal non operatively however im sceptical. Is the lessen pain an indicator as well as not hearing the clicking sounds anymore?

    It sounds like you are lucky and healing without surgery. The bone sticking out might be from the overlap and/or the callous that forms at the break. If it’s not severe then it’s only cosmetic. Having some overlap is better than a gap. Less pain and sounds (clicking) is also a good sign. Just don’t push it as it still takes some time to heal after it begins to feel solid. Wait to see what the doctor tells you after you have the follow up x-ray. Also, be sure to bring up any concerns you have about the injury.

    – Hans

  15. Shaun Avatar

    i just broke my left clavicle about 4 and a half weeks ago. theres relatively no pain and i can move my shoulder however i do feel the bone sticking out when i do so and when i lie down. Is this normal? due for another x ray in 4 days. ps 23 ,male


  16. Isabella Avatar


    My name is Isabella and i am 13 years old. Just yesterday i was in a soccer game and a girl pushed me, i landed directly on my left collar bone and heard a crack. I was drove to the hospital, and after having x-rays taken, the doctors told me it was a bad break. One bone is up, and the other down. I am going to have to get it plated, but i have a serious phobia of needles and surgery. Does the i.v and surgery hurt? And does your shoulder hurt after surgery? Please help!!!!

    So sorry to hear about your injury. Yes, there is pain associated with surgery. Mostly afterwards when initially recovering. I also hate needles and the thought of surgery. But I’ve handled both, gritting my teeth, because I knew that it would be better in the long run. If you are really concerned with going through with the surgery, sit down with your folks and let them know your concerns. And if possible, do the same with your doctor.

    Heal fast!

  17. Brad Avatar

    Hi Chad,

    I came across your blog and wanted to let you know that you have comforted me in my decision to have surgery on my clavicle. Your situation is very similar to mine in that I broke the bone over 3 years ago and am having the surgeon re-break it and straighten it out with a plate. I am noticing many problems around the shoulder, particularly underneath my scapula at the back which my surgeon agrees is because of the shortened shoulder and malunion of the clavicle. This greatly affects my golf game and other activities that I love. Not only is the pain a nuisance but the shoulder just doesn’t “feel right” and never has since the accident. It feels pushed back and rotates improperly. My surgeon did say that the operation should “pop” the shoulder back out into position. Just hearing that gave me a tingling feeling of relief.

    Do you plan to have the plate removed down the road at some point? I am a fairly thin guy standing at 5’11 150 lbs and am thinking the hardware will likely be prominent, leading me to believe I will want it taken out when possible.

    All the best!


    I haven’t heard back from Chad if he’s had or plans to have the plate removed. Maybe he will get a chance to reply. Some folks have the plate removed, for various reasons, once the bone has fully healed. Since it involves another surgery there’s always risk.

    – Hans

  18. Kym S Avatar
    Kym S

    Thankyou Chad for this info. My 13yr son is getting over a fractured left clavicle from being spear tackled in his grand final rugby gamed. (not impressed as the ref didn’t pick it up and the so called under 14yr old boy was about 180cm and @70kg. My son is about 152cm and 50kg). It has been 3 weeks so far and thank goodness healing nicely according to the 2nd x-ray last week. No op needed. I just want him to build up his muscles for the whole chest area before he plays again next season – due this coming Sept. I’d be happy if he missed a season and does boxing, etc just to get really strong or stronger before he starts tackling again. So far he’s been so careful because he knows how important it is if he wants to play rugby again.

  19. Chris Avatar

    I love how you keep updating the comments? Tomorrow will be 8 weeks after my break. I’m in a big funk. No motivation to stay healthy! I feel like I will never be able to ride again and if I do, I wont be able to ride at the level I was riding. I don’t really have all of my range of motion back, wasn’t referred to a therapist by my doctor. Go so him again during week 12. Hoping he clears me to get back out in the bike.

    In your case, and I know everyone is different, when you were cleared to ride, would you say you were able to hop on the bike and go out for a long ride or did you shoulder still get sore and feel tender? Were you able to stand up on climbs and pull on the bars? I have a few races coming up in April, hoping I can at least get out and ride because I pre-registered for them last year! And of course, I will listen to my body, just want to hear your experience.

    Chris – I know how you feel. I’ve injured myself enough times and still, with each time forced off the bike, I feel like I’ve been set back so far I won’t return. But, the reality was that I was able to recover. Sure, not all injuries will allow a full recovery. In my case(s) I was lucky. And you may also be lucky. A broken collar bone is better than a shoulder separation. My neighbor is going through that now. Crashed in a criterium and got a 4th degree separation. She just had surgery and will be off the bike for another 6 months.

    With my collar bone, I was on a trainer a few weeks after the injury. See my workout here: Broken Clavicle No More!. A month later I went to Spain to attend a road training camp and then over to France to watch Le Tour. Put in some long miles and climbs. Initially I did experience shoulder fatigue. It wasn’t too bad and I used it to gauge when to back off. Massage also helped my shoulder.

    All of those first rides were on the road bike. On return from the Spain/France trip I slowly transitioned into riding my MTB. I didn’t want to risk riding off-road and crashing so I was cautious. After 2 months post break I felt fairly good and was riding MTB more often.

    My suggestions would be to take it easy on the recovery and not risk anything. Another crash, even a small one, might set you back to where you started. The cost of that is more than reg fees for those races. Think long term. And you might want another doctor or orthopedist’s opinion. One that works with and understands the needs of athletes. It might come down to having surgery rather than waiting. In either case, you will heal and be able to ride and compete again.

    – Hans

  20. rocky Avatar

    hi, my son 11 broke his left clavicle while playing football in school. 3 weeks back. day one x-ray showed broken bones in the shape of alphabet A, now after 18 days bones came down but they were apart from each other there was a gap which was not in the day 1 x-ray. he has been in 8 brace /cast since. too much worried why did the gap come which was not earlier and weather the bone would join or not??? doctor seem to take it very lightly, saying come next week for x-ray
    he has not given any multivit or calcium etc……
    donnt know wat to do, when asked doctor told us its going to take 3-4 weeks more,and he shud be out of any games or exercise for next 4 months…
    need to go and take other specialists opinion too……………

    Your son is young so that’s a good thing. Healing is usually faster and easier the younger they are. I don’t know why the gap has appeared. It might have been there earlier but not visible in the initial view. Reading x-rays requires special skills. What may look like a problem to you or me may not be anything to worry about. Your doctor, an orthopedist, or x-ray technician can give you better information. It won’t hurt having another doctor’s opinion. They might see something the other doctor missed.

  21. Katie Avatar

    Hello all,

    I fractured my clavicle 4 weeks ago and I am still in so much pain when I move the wrong way. Did anybody experience extreme discomfort in their sternum? If I move my arm too fast I still get tremendous pain. The pain often shoots up into my neck. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I am a 29 year old healthy female.

    Thanks everyone

    I didn’t experience that extreme a level a pain after 4 weeks. Nor the way you describe it. Have you had a chance to follow up with your doctor? If not then it would be worthwhile to do so. Also, have you had a chance to have someone work on your soft tissue with light massage? The injury and the way your muscle structure supports the shoulder can lead to strain and pain. Hot showers, baths, hot tubs and/or light massage helped my shoulder recovery by reducing the muscle fatigue and strain.

    – Hans

  22. Jason Avatar

    I had a similar incident playing rugby, although i was put in a figure of 8 brace for 7-8 weeks!!. My break was in 3 places and the bones were quite seperated making it even harder to heal. After 6 weeks there was still a 2cm gap inbetween the bones and no sign of calcification. Sleeping was so painful as any movement during the night would wake me up with a sharp pain and having sex was much harder haha. After having numerous xrays and seeing the doctors at the end of the 7th week they decided that my bones were not going to heal and that i needed surgery. A metal plate with 6 screws was put on top of my collar bone and screwed in to hold the bones in place so that they could finish off healing. I was left with a big scar and im having physiotheraphy on my shoulder to gain full motion and strengh. Its been 11 weeks since the surgery and it still feels quite fragile at times, im trying to get into rugby again starting off with no contact but i cant help not getting involved. If the doctors had operated on me from day 1 instead of waiting 8 weeks i would have been completly recovered by now.

  23. Mike Avatar

    Hans, great blog. I’m glad to see such great response to this problem! There is now a minimally invasive approach to clavicle surgery. I don’t know if I can post the company here but you can easily search it on Youtube \Minimally Invasive Clavicle Surgery\. The first one that comes up is How to Fix a Clavicle. They do everything with just a 3cm incision! The pain after a plate is greatly related to the size of the incision which can be 5-6 inches, and Jess to answer your question, you should rest. With a plate is is basically a race between your bone healing, and the plate breaking. Using this new system which has really taken off (my friend just broke his collar bone and had it fixed with this system, he was back to work in 3 days)and my friend literally had zero pain within 24 hours of surgery.

  24. Jess Avatar

    Thanks so much for the stories! I broke my right clavicle snowboarding 4 weeks ago. The orthopedist told me I would have to be plated and although it was a scary thought I am much happier after the surgery. The 3 days before were hell; I couldn’t sit up, lie down or eat with out being in agony. The surgeon repaired part of my trapezius muscle that the collar bone had pierced and that is probably what relieved the most pain. 48 hours after surgery I started regaining active range of motion. I started going for long walks on day 6. By the end of week 1 I was on the elliptical cross trainer (no arms) and stationary bike. Now I have almost all of my motion back and I can feel some strength but my physio therapist is continually telling me to take it easier and rest. I want to be active again and the plate is holding my clavicle together pretty tightly, is he just being safe? I need to get back training for squash ASAP and he is saying 10 weeks! I don’t understand if it doesn’t hurt how I can be hurting it.

    1. hans Avatar

      @Jess – Even though it doesn’t hurt, it’s possible it still hasn’t fully healed. And if you were to fall or stress the site you might re-injure yourself. Then it’s another chunk of time recovering from that. I know it’s tough waiting, I’ve been through it. But think of the long term and being able to have a shoulder that recovers fully and allows you to do the activities that you like.

  25. Peter Avatar

    Thanks for posting and maintaining your site. I’m a survivor as well, actually a recovering survivor. Yours is the only site I could find that had images of a non-surgically healed clavicle. I’m definitely interested in seeing more examples of what everyones non-surgically healed clavicles look like. I was initially pretty concerned about having a funky clavicle, but if I crash on my bike again, which is more than likely to happen, I’m more concerned about having the metal and screws near those arteries in the area.

    1. hans Avatar

      Glad the information helps. I’ll ask my cycling friends if they have any images from their collar bone breaks. Then post any I gather.

  26. Jalene Avatar

    I broke my collarbone in june of 2008,in a motorcycle accident. I had to have surgery. I now have a metal plate and a bunch of screws in my collarbone. My problem is is that i did not recieve any physical therapy. had my 16 weeks off got the staples out and was told i could go bak to work in 2 weeks. It is now 2010 and i still have the hardware in there and im in so much pain. I can barley raise my arm in the air or put it behind me. The er said x rays dont show anything wrong but it could be inside. I just need to keep ice and heat on it and take anti infalmitories, nothing helps… so was the dr wrong not to give me physical therapy and just send me bak to work? any thoughts on this would help thanks

  27. Hillary Avatar

    Hey, Thank you for this.
    I broke my collarbone 8 weeks ago and can see I need to step-up the therapy intervention. Kaiser is bad at this, so I’ve been paying out-of-pocket, which is now no longer affordable. I’ll go back to my chiropractor now, as a result of your experience. I broke the bone in a motorcycle spill, btw. My “sport” is mostly yoga, some weight training and a lot of fun/play/cardio stuff. At 47, I’ve been worried I wouldn’t heal well. It also bugs me that they didn’t try to realign the bone. It looks terrible to me; but, hey, it’s only been 8 weeks.

  28. Ann Avatar

    My 8 year old son broke his right collarbone last Saturday. This is the 2nd time(happened for the first time when he was 4)
    doctor took an x-ray and my son is in a sling. One of my friends is an orthopedic surgeon (retired) but wanted to look at the x-rays and he thinks my son’s original break never really healed. He recommends us to get another x-ray in 3 weeks to double check it really is healing, otherwise he has a non-union collarbone which would need surgery I think.(he has never seen this in kids in all his years of practicing) I don’t even want to think that far, I’m hoping it will heal.
    I looked up nonunion collarbones in kids and there’s only 2 cases reported, so
    I think my son will be fine. Fingers crossed!
    Anybody seen this before?

  29. Steve H Avatar
    Steve H

    Hello all – great reading here. I’ll keep my story concise and short – feel free to ask for details. I’m a 38 yr old male in well above average health, mostly a runner but do other athletic things as well.
    I broke my left clavicle in a bicycle crash on May 25th. A one inch piece broke out of the middle of the bone and rotated 90 degrees vertically, and that little piece was itself broke into two pieces, thus four pieces total. First ortho surgeon i saw basically gave the ‘let it heal naturally’ advice.
    I got a second opinion from a highly regarded ortho surgeon and he recommended surgery in my case. So on May 29th i had surgery. He clamped the two one inch pieces together, reset them in-between the two end pieces of the bone, and installed an anatomically S-shaped titanium plate on top of the collarbone.
    Within 5 days i was out of the sling and on day six i visited my ortho surgeon again and he pulled my arm all the way above my head and said, “see? full motion.” — i’m not allowed to lift any weight with it yet but i can move it up to level on its own, and higher if i push it up using a broomstick.
    the clavicle still feels swollen and the bone needs 6 weeks to heal, but so far the results are promising. I start physical therapy tomorrow. Needless to say I am a HUGE fan of having surgery. I’d easily have been in a sling for 4-6 weeks hoping the bone ends find each other. Forget that. i should be effectively fully healed now after 6 weeks. Updates to follow. //Steve

  30. KMac Avatar

    Hi all, 6 weeks ago i broke my left clavicle playing aussie rules football. The break was in the middle of the bone and was bad enough that the 2 ends of the bone werent touching, but were sitting about 10mm apart. Most people said that collarbones were ussually left to heal naturally which was fine with me as i was hoping to avoid any form of operation, but the orthapedic specialist i was referred to took 1 look at it and said “surgery”. That afternoon i had day surgery, a 4 inch long plate and 8 screws put in at a cost of $2000, and was home that night. The next few days were a bit painful but a steady stream of pain killers took the edge off and having an office job meant i didnt even miss a day of work. 6 weeks later i am extremely happy with the surgery and think the $2000 was well spent. There is no pain at all, i have most movement completely back and will this week start swimming and doing light weights, in the hope of getting back into full sport again in 6 weeks or so(12 weeks in total from the time of the initial injury). Every injury is different, but if i did the same injury again i wouldnt hesitate in having surgery again, as other people who have left it to heal naturally can sometimes still be in pain or find that the bones havnt knitted back together months later.
    Hope this info is helpful, and good luck everyone with your recoveries!

  31. mel Avatar

    I broke my left sided collerbone last saturday while i was cycling home late at night from work…funny because the last thing my friend said to me before leaving work was “be careful on that bike”…famous last words!
    I got on my bike rode down the road,got completley distracted by a parked car and all of a sudden i had smashed into a huge metal lamp post…and was thrown off my bike to the floor.It didn’t really hurt at first..just felt i got home,took painkillers and went to bed.
    Next morning ..slight pain but nothing bad,even went running with a friend.But within a couple of days i was in agony with it so i took myself to A&E and they Xrayed me and told me the bad news….i cried in…good thing was is that its a nice clean hairline break.
    They sent me home with a sling and me feeling rather shocked.I am now in my 9th day and am still feeling huge discomfort and pain..first 2 nights were torture…couldnt get a bit comfortable..and was just counting hours down untill i could have more pain killers…..:(
    Sleepings got a bit better and can sort of get to my right side.
    Just want to know if anybody shares same sort of story?…and do i have a quicker chance of healing with a hairline fracture?
    Love this website and like to read peoples other experiences…and to know it wasn’t just clumsey me.
    Get wel to you all.x

    I would think you have a better chance of recovery with a hairline fracture. But it’s still a fracture so be careful on your recovery. No need to make it worse by pushing yourself too soon. Others have left comments here about doing that and causing their recovery time to be extended.

  32. ganjasmoker Avatar

    or8 boys n girls i had a seriouse car accident a 120 mph crash thru a brick wall n then into a tree was left dead on the scene with seriouse head injuries craked ribs broken colar bone memory loss all sorts lukely i was saved by the amazin paramedics in england or i wudnt be here today i have no pain in my ribs or head or even my colar bone but im planning on becuming a plumber when im older and iv heard that colar bones can hurt everytime u lift something which would effect my future jobs im only 17 at the moment athletic person and im hoping that it isnt the case ive read alot of these coments and theyve helped all iv had is a sling iv wor it for around 4/5 weeks now by the sounds of it iv not got long left till im out of the sling just wondering if any1 else has pain lifting or movement in their arm after the accident feedback would be very helpfull as all the doctors in england just say itl be ok and dont really do alot other then look at my x rays then make another apointment in few weeks if any1 could tell me wether lifting after few months weeks even years after given the ok from the doctor is hard or painfull

  33. Simon Avatar

    Broke my collar bone 4 days ago when riding my MTB off road at night with my neighbours aged 25 and 22. I am 54 years old and obviously not infused with a decent level of common sense.
    The UK Health service processed me in A&E over a 5 hour period and sent me home with a simple sling and some 30mg codeine phosphate pills for the pain. The doctor in the A&E thought I had quite a complex break and told me she would refer my X-Rays to the ‘trauma team’ to look at the following morning. They were supposed to call me if they thought it was necessary to have a surgical intervention. They didn’t call, but the system does not allow for me to contact them (as I have no names or telephone numbers) so I have no idea if they actually reviewed my case or not. The NHS may be ‘free’, but is is also poorly run without suitable checks to stop the possibility of things falling through the cracks.
    The whole experience was very disempowering and unsatisfactory.
    The good news is that I don’t actually seem to be suffering the same pain levels as is typical for most of the posters on this blog. I have stopped the painkillers since yesterday.
    I am due to get a check up at the ortho unit in the hospital on day 8 after the accident. I don’t have much expectation to receive a decent level of advice (since I have had virtually zero to date) and I am thinking I should get a second opinion from a specialist that I will pay for.
    Any thoughts as to what would be the best time to get the second opinion? do I get one now, wait a couple more weeks or what?

    You’re not alone when it comes to night riding and common sense. I’ve banged myself up in the same situation. But we’re staying young that way, right? 🙂
    As for getting second opinion, I would recommend sooner. I assume you are physically active and would like to recover to where you can continue being so. This is important information for a doctor since it will influence the recommended treatment. And if surgery is selected then sooner is better to reduce trauma if the bones have already started fusing and to reduce the overall healing time.

  34. RD Avatar

    I currently have a fractured collarbone.
    And I discovered that when I sleep with a broken collarbone, I can use my good hand to lift up and support my head whenever I move around in bed, or when I’m trying to get up out of the bed.
    Supporting my head with my good hand helps to lessen the pain during movement.
    I also found that slightly raising my bad shoulder by moving my bad arm upward and inward, also helps to reduce the pain during sleep.
    The combination of lifting and supporting my back of my head with my good hand, and also slightly raising my bad shoulder helps a great deal to relieve pain when moving around in bed.

  35. william Avatar

    I fractured a couple of ribs on my left side back in Sept 2008 while mobilizing for Afghanistan I trained for two months and then sent overseas the swelling and pain never ceased for the whole deployment, and when we demobilized I was a med hold for three more months, finding out also I had traverse abdominal tears I was refrad back to my guard unit now I going to the VA clinics, now I’m being diagnosed with possibly nerve damaged and herniated disk the pain is 24/7 the WTU at Ft.Knox was a morale buster also while being treated with meds only. Seems I got addicted to that and I’m still flying.

    Sorry to hear about the pain you’re having to deal with. Do what you can to get off those meds. They’re hard on your body. Maybe you can get an outside doc to examine you and find a better route to recovery.

  36. Joe Avatar

    Hello, I broke my collarbone last week and it does not hurt anymore. I can almost raise my arm horizontally to my shoulder but I feel some pain. Should I not do this because it will slow down the process? My friend thought it was funny and he pushed my shoulder, it hurt a little bit but do you think that it will make the injury worse? How long will I be out for? I am 15 years old and I want to play lacrosse again.

    Lots of information already posted here about what and what not to do. But I wouldn’t recommend moving your arm so much as to cause it or the shoulder any pain. You are dealing with a broken bone and they don’t heal in a week. If you’re not careful that will just prolong your injury. Oh, and goofing around like what your friend did can further hinder the healing and worsen the injury.
    Most docs say 6 weeks to fully recover. And not feeling pain isn’t necessarily an indication that you are fully healed. To be sure, talk with your doctor. That’s really the only person that can give you the best medical advice for your injury.

  37. Malay Avatar

    This is Malay from India, 34 years old Male. I broke my right collar bone and 2 ribs on sep19 on a high speed car crash. I was on figure 8 brace and a sling and religiously used them for 6 weeks, some times removed them for showers. On 6 week appointment doctor suggested me to remove both brace and sling and referred me to physio Therapy department.
    In PT, they asked me to do pendulum movement, crawling fingers on wall blah blah, which i’m doing. However i’ve lot of pain on my shoulder which i’m not sure if it’s due to stiffness or due to accident and some pain on my collar bone also.
    Is this pain normal. BTW my doctor suggested me i can drive after 3.5 months from date of accident and 5 months from date of accident. Do you really wait this much time?

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