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


  1. Chris


    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


    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


    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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


    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

      @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

    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.

  26. Jalene

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?

  38. Jackie

    I fell off a segway in DC and broke my clavicle on 8/20/09, 12 weeks ago.Ortho Dr. has been monitoring with x-rays.Last x-ray on 10/8/09 showed light fusing and granulation, which was very inspirational for me. I am an avid tennis player and bike rider. After the last x-ray Dr. said I could ride the stationary bike at the gym, do pendulum swing with my arm and walk my fingers up the wall. He said I didn’t need the sling or figure 8 any longer. I continue with the figure 8 for posture reasons. I had told him then of my goals to get back to tennis and bike riding eventually. I am not a patient person , but I am willing to do whatever it takes to heal properly. I am 53 years old and don’t want to prolong the healing any longer than necessary. The past 4 weeks have been good, I felt really positive about my follow up x-ray and apt. today. The x-ray was very disappointing, almost looked like the bone had seperated some and did not look as smooth as the last x-ray from 4wks ago. I was so upset & angry. Dr. said “yeah , we’ll have to do surgery , it’s not healing properly “. I was in shock, he could tell I was very upset. He said we could wait to see if it will heal on it’s own. I said I would like to wait, but asked what the surgery would consist of. He said out patient , making a small incision , putting a plate in to hold the bone together and then in 6 months go in and remove the plate after the bone has healed. Ugh!!! I said I would wait & now have a follow up apt in 2 more months(8wks). I am very angry and feel that I must have done something to cause this to happen. I have my x-rays and will get a 2nd opinion
    I found this website right after I first broke my collar bone. I found it most valuable. The most important thing I learned from this site was to not do too much too soon.
    My question is : does anyone out there feel that there is still a chance that my bone will heal on it’s own? I am so afraid to do anything now.

    It sounds like you’ve being doing everything right for your recovery. But age is something that can prolong the healing. Also, deciphering x-rays requires a trained radiologists. Don’t let what you see in the x-ray fool you. It’s possible there’s growth that you don’t recognize. Or the angle of the x-ray along with other factors can change the look of the image. So it might not be as bad as it appears. And if in doubt, get a second opinion.

  39. Lin

    I am 70 in Dec and 4 weeks ago I broke my left clavicle following a fall on a cruise ship (Yes I know what you are thinking!!) I was put into a sling and given dilofenic, (which I have since been told does not help with bone calcification). The original xray showed no break, but when the ship reached Limassol I was taken to a clinic and another xray done, showing a clean break. On returning to England I consulted my doctor and at the moment I have been taken out of the sling and given exercises to do at home. From reading other experiences from this very informative website I am going to try some physio to help speed up the recovery. I am an active pensioner and want to get back to swimming, bowls and walking. I was told that after 4 weeks the bone is beginning to stick and that the only way it would break apart again would be to fall on it!!! Will avoid that at all costs.!! Sleeping been a problem and stiffness and shoulder pain bad but take heart all you other oldies, it will improve.

  40. Jeff (Pittsburgh PA)

    Back to ortho on October 12, broken bone showing smoothing and a slight shadow of new bone can be seen. Still having some pain right where the break is, especially if the muscles in that area are used. I’ve been riding the stationary bike 3 days a week and also some light jogging. Still told to not raise arm or lift any weight. The bad bruise from the collar bone down into the pec area has finally faded. No hitting the road bike again until probably November 9, really missing out on some great fall road/mountain bike/cyclocross riding.

  41. Jeff (Pittsburgh PA)

    Went to ortho today. No surgery needed, just don’t lift arm for 3 more weeks as this will cause the mending break to stay flexible. At 2 weeks post injury I wil start using an X brace along with the sling. Take 1200 mg calcium with a vitamin D supplement. At 4 weeks PT can be started, no other restrictions (trainer, hiking, leg workouts)
    *** I had a low speed cyclocross crash while wearing a Bell Sweep R helmet and still sustained a grade 3 concussion. If you take anything away from my experience let it be this: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET…

  42. Jeff

    Well I broke my collarbone 4 days ago training for a cyclocross race. I was turning from a paved road onto a gravel road and the bike went out from under me as if struck by lightning. Suffered a grade 3 concussion and collarbone fracture with what looks like about 1/2 inch overlap. Er doc said it wold heal fine but having a follow-up in 2 days with Ortho Specialist.

    Sorry to hear about that. Dang, that knocks you out for most of this season of cx. Definitely follow up with an ortho. Especially since you want it to heal without any complications that will effect your riding. Make sure the doc knows you ride and race and understands what that means to you.
    Btw – It helped me and others to watch cycling videos while recovering and riding the trainer. You might find amusing some of the cx helmetcam videos I have posted:
    Cycling Videos

  43. JM

    Yes, this is just what I was trying to say with my long post about 40 years with a non-union! Old thinking: leave it alone, if it doesn’t heal it’s not a problem. New thinking: if it doesn’t heal it will cause problems in the future so get it fixed sooner rather than later. The surgery (all surgery) isn’t as risky as it used to be, ask Lance Armstrong.
    I’ve just had a follow-up appt at seven weeks post-op, and the x-rays showed the plate and 10 screws haven’t moved at all (I was in a sling for six weeks and being cautious I didn’t take ANY chances or push it at all). My arm and shoulder ache when I do too much, but no worse than before the surgery, and now I have the prospect of being pain-free in the future. I’m seeing a physio and doing light exercises. No horse-riding for six months (boo) but I will probably comply tho I’ll be back on the bike sooner. Some minor details might need attention in a year or two, but overall I’m delighted to have had this surgery.
    Mark – if your doctor doesn’t believe in surgery, see another doctor. You say “if it was up to me …”, well duh, it IS up to you! It’s your body after all.
    Best wishes all!

  44. Mark Millman

    I would of preferred surgery from the beginning but the Doctor that I am seeing says that you want to avoid surgery if possible due to all the potential complications. If it was my choice, I would of had the surgery. To me, it is obvious that I need surgery due to the fact that it hasn’t healed after 3.5 months. I am really frustrated with this injury.

  45. Paul

    I broke my left clavicle for the second time 4 weeks ago mountain biking. I was caught out by a change in the trail and simply hit a large fallen rock at speed and went over. This break was mid clavicle, the previous was outer. I’ve learned some things from 2 expert orthopedic surgeons. The first works with the SF 49’ers and the second came from the best medical schools. I had to look hard for these guys as I originally was told the standard line about these things heal fine on their own with sling/figure 8. Not really. If the displacement is excessive the broken ends can never really heal. Some people need them very close, others don’t. Anyways, it’s a crapshoot. If you get plated and pinned they will be properly positioned and ensure healing. Plus the doc and ensure that no artery is being pinched or impacted. Why wait/waste weeks or months to only hear that you need surgery? The 49er’s orthopedic told me that professional athletes, rarely, if ever, just get slings. That’s for “regular people”. I believe him. Lance Armstrong got 8 pins and a plate and was riding pro races in 12 weeks. If you see any displacement on your x-rays, strongly consider surgery.

  46. Mark Millman

    I broke my collar bone back on June 6th and it still hasn’t healed. I almost have all the flexibility back in my shoulder so I have started doing more phsyical activities. I have noticed that I have two bones protruding now instead of the one so I think that I may have caused more damage. Also the collar bone is a little sore but nothing to complain about. My worry is that I wasn’t feeling this pain a week ago and that extra protruding bone wasn’t there a week ago. My next xray is scheduled for Oct 1st but I am wondering if I should go to emerg and find out what is going on. Do you think that it would be okay to wait until Oct 1st?

    You might give your doctor a quick call first. An emergency room visit might be a frustrating long wait without much outcome.

  47. ashley

    im 22 years old. i flipped our 4 wheeler 8 days ago and broke my collar bone. doc said its one clean break and its one of the best places to break it. its actually out of a sling right now so i can type with both hands, i mostly keep it in a sling but take it out sometimes to start moving around just a lil. i was able to get dressed yesterday by myself which wasnt too painful beings i had a button down shirt and a bra that hooked in the front. i am starting to get a bump which the doc said would happen. i go back to the doc in a few days to make sure i am healin fine. in which i believe i am. i am greatful to have a great family that took care of me for the first week while my husband had to go to work for a week. but i am tired of reling on people to open the door/ect and im ready to have my normal life back and go back to work. i will keep yall updated. ps this web site is greattt 🙂 hope yall all heal soon. have a great day

  48. Ian Hayes

    I broke my left collar bone in two places playing football (soccer) five weeks ago. The x-ray showed the middle section perpendicular to the outer parts, with a 2cm overlap. The doctor said to leave it to heal naturally and gave me a sling. My problem is i started a new job in china, 2 weeks ago, and as this was a pre-existing condition the insurance doesn’t cover it. I went to a chinese hospital for an x-ray yesterday, and it looks pretty similar to the first. The chinese doctors recommended surgery, but i hear they always do. I want to get a second opinion, but seeing western specialists out here is really expensive, so i feel cut off from the specialist treatment and feedback i’d be getting in the uk.
    I could go back to the uk and get more treatment, but my employer here wouldn’t be too happy, as it could take a long time. On the other hand it’s my body and i want it to heal as well as it can, as i really enjoy my sports.
    Has anyone had a similar sounding break and it’s healed naturally? The x-ray looks as though it’s impossible, but i’m not an expert.
    Have people found the advice from specialists useful? Or do they just recommend resting it some more. As i say it’s only been 5 weeks, so maybe the bone will align eventually, but i just don’t have access to a western doctor here to ask.

  49. george

    Wow. Forty years of non-union….I’m currently at 8 1/2 weeks without a union, but with good alignment and some calcification. I’m hoping for the best (natural union) and preparing for the worst (plate, pin and more rehab). I won’t know anything until near the end of the month. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have happy news to report. In the mean time, I’m doing my best with the physio and the time away from work. I suppose it would be easier if I were in some tropical paradise. Some day.

  50. JM

    Over 40 years with a non-union!
    Thought that would get your attention. I get alarmed when I read people speculating (and being told by docs) that you can manage very well with an untreated clavicle non-union. Well I had the middle part of my right clavicle surgically removed over 40 years ago (not a procedure that would be done these days!) and was left with my dominant shoulder “floating” as a result.
    For the first few years I didn’t notice much difficulty, but then gradually my right shoulder began to collapse forwards, and basically had to be supported unnaturally by the muscles in my neck and upper arm. Over the years the pain in my arm and neck became constant, and although fairly low-grade it was gnawing, relentless and horrible. Until recently I was always told there was nothing that could be done, but that it would only get worse. Then I found I could get a plate fitted, although it would need a large bone graft from my hip.
    I had a clavicle plate fitted, with a big bone graft (6 cm!) five weeks ago at the specialist shoulder unit in Nottingham, UK. I’m still wearing the sling at the moment, but things feel much more stable already. I see the consultant again in a couple of weeks, with x-rays to see if the bone is growing successfully. I’m being extremely careful, as after all this time I really don’t want this to go wrong. If I can’t ride my bike or horse until next year, I will happily comply.
    The thinking about treating non-unions has changed recently – the research isn’t hard to find online. It’s been recognised that there are indeed long-term consequences of leaving the structural bony shoulder girdle with a gap in it! Seems obvious to me. How I wish I’d never had the original surgery – but at the time (1960s) it was considered the only option.
    I’ll post later about how I’m doing, if anyone’s interested. My advice would be don’t take lightly the idea of living with a non-union!

  51. JohnW

    Like all of you I have recently broken my right clavicle + I am right handed so I am typing with 2 fingers, which is a pain. This happened 5 days ago, + like everyone else, I am looking for some answers on line. So far this is the best thing I have found, this thread has been going for over 2years, which shows how common, and frustrating this can be.
    Reading these stories have actually inspired me. I started a little depressed, but have realized I am quite lucky. I have a double break with a 25mm seperation, with very little pain. I walked out of my accident with bike in left hand. I feel the bones moving but no real pain. I am brusied all over, and have a fractured rib as well, but the sling keeps my right side from moving so I keep forgetting about the rib.
    Anyway, I feel a little better now that I have read some stories. I feel motivated to rest well, but find some form of exersize to keep my body going. I look back and see it was a good day afterall, the riding was great, Whistler was beautiful, the speed and the air was exlirating, but the ground was hard. My bike has small wounds but will be OK, + I could be worse. The pain is really not bad compared to others, I am just praying for quick + sound recovery so I can get upon the bike and challenge mother earth once again.
    Good healing to you all, I wish you the best. No metter what happens do not let it rob you of your joys in life, get back on the bike, but if you can’t, then find a new interest that keeps you alive! thanks for the stories keep them coming! got to go, time for more meds:)

  52. george

    I was able to drive (stick) using only my right hand, but only for a short drive to the grocery store (just to get my car moving). I’m definitely not comfortable enough yet to be driving regularly, as I’m still not moving my neck as well as I’d like–it has been exactly one month since my accident. Any thoughts on this?
    I still have some swelling in that small area b/w the neck, shoulder and collar bone. I go for my next x-ray in just over a week and I’m a little anxious about it since the tenting seems to be permanent….this site is truly fab, and all the info and stories here have really helped.

  53. Mark Millman

    I broke my left collar bone and 3 ribs back on June 6th/09. A terrible ATV accident way back in the bush. It took 7 hours to get me to the hospital due to the remoteness of the accident site. I wore the figure eight brace for 7 weeks but it didn’t do a very good job aligning the bones and the Fracture clinic Doctor indicated that they are useless. I guess that I should of wore a sling. Anyways, my collar bone is sticking out so much that it looks like it is going to penetrate the skin. Is the bone always going to be this way or should the Doctor operate?

    Tenting of the skin may never go away. I recommend a followup with an orthopedist to discuss your options. I’ve heard of some cases where the bone is filed down rather than having the full plate surgery.
    As for the clinic doctor’s comment about the figure-eight, well it’s a mixed bag on how helpful the brace, or any brace, is for recovery. There are some docs that think it’s a useful device and others that think it’s of no use. I used one and had a quick and successful recovery. So I may be biased towards using one. Regardless, it’s possible you would have the tenting no matter which type of brace or sling you wore. If the misalignment of the bones is extreme it’s going to be hard for them to move back into the correct position. And that’s where surgery is good consideration.

  54. george

    One more question: how long before you felt comfortable or able to drive?

    Automatic or stick? And right or left hand? In my case I was able to drive a stick shift within a few weeks. I think around the 3rd week. I had injured my left shoulder so my right was in good shape for shifting/steering. But I limited my driving until I felt strong enough. That was about a month after the accident.

  55. george

    Thanks so much for the advice and for keeping this page/blog going. It is very informative and even comforting, especially when you’re just waiting, waiting, waiting to find out if things are healing properly.

  56. george

    I broke my left clavicle nearly four weeks ago and would like some feedback. Docs said it was a “clean” break in the middle (toward the shoulder) and that there was some overlap. I’ve had two X-rays (one after five days and one just before week 2–that did not show much change). The ortho said I can move it slowly and as much as possible and I should wear my sling “as needed for comfort and support”. He then told me to come back for a new X-ray after 4 weeks (which would be nearly six weeks after the break).
    I can see the clavicle “tenting” my skin, which the doc said was normal–is it?? Is it also normal that I have quite a bit of range of motion already at 4 weeks. Does the fact that I don’t wear the sling all the time make a difference at this point in terms of the bone fusing? (I find it sometimes gets more painful wearing the sling than not wearing it). Any feedback would be VERY welcome.

    Everything you describe sounds normal. Similar to my recovery. I would also get tired from wearing the sling and would remove it to stretch. Sometimes I would support my arm by resting it on a pillow or the desk.
    Just be careful not to push your activity with your arm and shoulder too much and too soon. Even though it might feel good, it takes time before everything internally is solid.
    Oh, and the tenting is common. The change in alignment of the shoulder and bones can cause that. As can the overlap of the broken ends of the bones. It’s something that might not change. If instead it’s the “lump” that can be formed around the area of the break, that can reduce over time.

  57. Marie

    Hi, I am 43 yrs old, 125 lbs, not an athlete. I broke my right collarbone (I’m right-handed) and 5 ribs in a bike fall 7 weeks ago. The fracture is in the midshaft of the clavicle with moderate override. The Ortho MD that saw me at the ER said it was a 1.5 cm displacement. He recommended a conservative approach, no surgery. I was discharged with a sling and pain meds.
    My first ffup with the Ortho, a shoulder specialist (so I figured I was in good hands, since I was in his care since the beginning) was at 2 wks. My xray looked the same, I was told to wear the sling, no PT yet, and return in 4 wks. I asked about surgery, since I thought the xray looked bad. I was reassured that no surgery would be the best approach for my fracture.
    The first 2 wks, the pain was horrible, and you could feel the bone ends grinding against each other. Grip, sensation and strength from the forearm down was always good from the start. I stopped the pain meds at 3 weeks, and was able to take a shower unassisted with an alternate sling. I also started some lower body exercises. I kept up with my multivitamin, fish oil and calcium supplements (1,500 mg daily with Vit. D) which I had been taking even before the accident.
    By wk 5, I was spending time without the sling. My right arm felt like a stranger to me after I took off the sling for the first time, that was scary! It had no strength at all and I could barely move it a couple of inches forward and backward. I was careful not to move it since it was still very uncomfortable and I had popping and clicking sensations in the area of the break. In the mirror, I could also see the muscles moving around the break when I attempted to move my arm forward, accompanied by a bubbling, twitching sensation.
    On the 6th wk, I had my 2nd ffup with the shoulder specialist. Bad news, no sign of calcification. The ends of the bones were rounding off and the surfaces facing each other in the overlap area were looking a little rougher, but no callus. I was very disappointed and told the Ortho that I really wanted to go back to work and couldn’t imagine waiting another 4 wks, which was what he wanted to do! He still wanted to wait and prescribed an ultrasonic bone growth stimulator which I will wear for 20 min twice a day. According to the company that makes the device, it has an 86% success rate. (Does anyone have a success story with the use of this device?) The ortho also said that I could opt for surgery at this point if I wanted to (that statement bothers me, “if I want to”). I asked him when is the best time to do surgery, whether in the acute phase or several weeks after the fracture. He said surgery is better if done at once. At this point there was the usual rollcall of asking the staff in the vicinity whether they would have surgery given a fracture like mine, and everybody said NO. Interestingly, I asked the Ortho himself and he was the ONLY one who said if it were him, he would have surgery so that he could be back to work in 2 wks! Now, don’t we all need to get back to work, life etc?!
    I am supposed to see him in 2 wks, that will be 10 wks after my fracture. In the meantime I am using the bone growth stimulator, and getting really bored at home. I am getting some strength back in my right arm, able to lift it forward some 45 degrees, able to reach across to my left arm, can cook light meals, but still can’t touch my head or bring my fork to my mouth. The Ortho still didn’t recommend any PT at my 2nd visit. He didn’t want me to jar the bones at all and only recommended pendulum exercises. I’ve been trying to do those exercises but they hurt a lot! Are they supposed to? I found the stick exercises (lifting your injured arm with a stick) to be much easier. Doing the pendulum results in pain right at the fracture are. Certain movements also result in a tug or pull on my wingbone/scapula, especially moving my bent forearm forward.
    At my age, is the scenario above something to be expected? Should I seek a 2nd opinion? I’ve read that surgery is currently being more frequently performed on clavicle fractures and that clavicle fractures need to be treated more seriously rather than the somewhat cavalier approach that doctors take to it.
    Thanks and I really enjoyed all the posts.

    The scenario you describe doesn’t sound out of the ordinary from what I have read and heard from other sufferers. Many factors influence healing. Age being one of them and not for the better. If only we healed like when we were really young.
    Surgery does seem to be more commonly prescribed these days. Possibly because doctors figure that if someone is going to have surgery then it’s better just after the injury rather than later on. But it doesn’t seem as if the doctors mentioned here are any more or less cavalier as before. Oh, and when it comes to getting a second doctor’s opinion, I always say that the more information the better.

  58. jan

    I broke my collarbone about 7 weeks ago in a motorcycle accident. it really over laps and it is also closer to the rib cage. I am 45 yrs old. I was in pain for about 3 weeks…boy this injury hurts…but was out of the sling by 3 weeks and only wore a figure 8 for 2 weeks. My collarbone is still not mended together yet. I was borderline surgery and have opted to see if it heals. I can move my arm great now even now there is separation but it is stiff. The doc said I can always have surgery later to correct it. Hang in there..the pain does go away.

  59. LP

    im a 30yr old extreme mountin motocross rider,29 when i had my fall 1 day before my birthday. At my own party!
    I had jumped off my bike(CR500) and jumped on my friends RM250 for a short ride and was rideing side by side down a logging road looking back and to my side alot (at my buddy)and doing the odd catwalk.
    Out of nowhere it seemed there was a fallen tree across the road.It was about 2 1/2 ft off the ground and roots still embedded in the ground so when i hit it at abt 50km per hr i was not able to crash throgh it. It stopped the bike,broke the old tree in half and i went flying,landed on my right shoulder.
    So the break is further in,closer to my ribcage. So from there to my shoulder its sunken back abt a half or 3/4inch.
    Its been 13 days since the fall and i was able to take the sling off and walk around a bit today,bone still feels pretty weak!. I go back to the hospital for Xrays in 3 more days. I wonder if it has healed in a good position?
    Has anybody else had a similar break? If so, how did it turn out for yah?
    GREAT site i learned alot.

    Oh man, that’s a crazy way to crash. I think you’re lucky walking away only with a broken collar bone.
    So 13 days is still early in the healing process. But it is around the time things start feeling better. And also the time it’s easy to push it too far and re-injure yourself. Give yourself some time and let yourself heal. Lots of stories of folks screwing up their recovery just as they are feeling better
    Also, it’s impossible for anyone on-line to say if it has healed in a good position. Only a doc that examines you can give you that information. When you go back to the doc be sure to ask this question. And be sure to explain that you are physically active and don’t want the injury to heal in a manner that will hinder the activities you like to do.

  60. kathy

    Great site..but very disappointed to find you took my follow up story about my surgery out!!

    Nope, I haven’t removed it. I appreciate all the comments, including yours :’)
    Is it one of the posts you placed on one of the other collar bone pages? Take a look at the top of the article for the links.

    I have read your whole site and I thought it was very important to find out what has happened to some of the people.
    There is a huge amount about collar bone breaks but very little about what happens to them a few months later!
    I thought mine was very informative as it followed me from primative help in Argentina to emergency surgery with plates and screws in the UK..

  61. pete Corcoran

    Hiya , Im here in the Uk ,and can agree with others that the problem of a broken collar bone is taken lighlty by the medics i have seen ,and wasnt told of the importance of the bracing in the sling position ( across the chest ) . however four weeks after a simple break and not much displacement ,and three weeks of wearing the sling correctly i feel well on the way to recovery ,only all the stories im reading here, im not convinced that it will be so straightforward, i have a clicking sensation in the injury area. I have another appiontment at the orthopaedic clinic along with an x ray , i cant wait to hear im on the mend. , its hot here now ,i just want to swim ,or go out on my bike, i would also like to hear from anyone who like me is a golfer, and if i will be able to swing like i used to, .
    So good to hear from all the fellow sufferers of a broken clavicle ,and the positive attitudes of most of them .thanks Hans.

  62. heather

    Very confused:
    My son broke his collar bone 2 days ago and it seems that his pain is the worse when he walks? Is this normal? Thank you

    Yes, that’s possible since that the act of moving around and holding the arm and shoulder up can place more strain on the injured area. Along with the pain from the break there can be pain from pulled muscles and other soft tissue injuries. Also, be sure he has a comfortable and adjusted cling and/or brace. That can help reduce the strain on the injury.

  63. Kathy

    My name is kathy and I am in Buenos Aires. I am not young and I am not really athletic but.. I do have a collar bone break!!
    I was travelling in argentina and got hit by a postal van.
    I was left bashed to the side of my head,soreness all down my left side and the broken clavicle.
    As I dont have insurance I was brought to the local hospital where they gave me a head scan, apparently that is ok, and they encased my upper body in plaster.
    It has been 3 weeks and i have removed it as apparently this is not the correct treatment. I now have a figure of 8 sling.
    The pain is bearable but I really love this site advice as I feel I will eventually be back to so called normal. I am on my own so have been a bit paranoid about my break (whoops that doesnt make sense) but anyway cheers for the site! x

  64. jesse

    I broke my collar bone a month ago (in basketball strange enough). I havnt been wearing the figure eight for 2 weeks… looks like I should probably been doing that if I ever want to be able to move my shoulder again.Thanks for the help guys.

  65. Chris Hanson

    Following the breakage of my left clavicle first a quick word of warning. Avoid spending too much time looking at your trip computer whilst moving at 25+Mph cos your likely to find a car parked in the cycle lane. Oh I did feel a fool but the good news is the damage to my Trek is minimal and fixable. Have after four weeks just been given the all clear to exercise by the consultant. As a fit cycle mad 45 year old the sitting still was the worst bit but had to be done and in my case I am luckily now I believe seeing the benefit. The break was in the centre of the clavicle and from viewing the Xray was a nice clean snap. I was given nothing but a standard triangular bandage which I discarded for a home made sling after three days. The consultant advised me to keep the weight of my arm down (to the side of my body ) as he said this would help with the positoning of the two halves of bone and therfore the healing. Apart from going through a period when my wife mentioned that my shoulder skin colour was the same as Homer Simpsons (very attractive) and currently some neck and arm tissue trauma which eases with gentle exercise I feel pretty good. If i continue at this rate I should be back on the road bike in another 3 to 4 weeks I reckon. Shame that my new trek EX full susser will have to remain on display for a lot longer though.
    Main advice before signing off stay still for a minimum of two weeks even if it drives you mad !

  66. Hans (different one)

    Riddle: What do bikers and Quarterbacks have in common? Yes, you guessed it; BROKEN COLLAR BONES. Hey guys, just thought I would post. I got hit after releasing a pass on a deep fade route. Good news is the the Safety grabbed the receiver and we got 30 yards and a 1st down. Bad news is I got hit as I let go of the ball and driven down on my right shoulder. I was tingly all over from my head to my right hand. A little scary actually. But I got up and started checking myself out. Had a little pain on my collar bone so I reached under my shoulder pads and felt a significant bump there. X-rays confirmed at the ER that my clavicle was in 4 places! So it’s been 4 days… The pain has reduced but there is a lot of ‘bone bumping’ whenever I move which doesn’t feel good. I was given a sling but the orhto was definite that I didn’t need surgery. I figured out how to sit and sleep comfortably finally but I’m getting bored.. And yes, it’s hard to type 1 handed. I do better if I prop my right hand up on the keyboard and bang away..It’s actually comfortable. The bruising is looking pretty nasty but other than that my real concern is how far out my collar bone is sticking.. feels like it wants to come through the skin. I wish they could reset it somewhat. It’s almost like they can’t do anything unless they operate.. I feel like I need a clamp or something.. 🙂 Also, I’m concerned that it will grow back to be the same length as it was.???

  67. Matt Davis

    I was riding my road bike at ~30mph and hit a squirrel, which caused me to lock up and fly over the handle bars. This resulted in a fractured right clavicle (angulated, overlapping, and broke in two places), along with a fractured rib. I’ve seen the orth surgeon and he recommended a figure-of-eight brace and sling. Thankfully no surgery at this point! I was able to stop taking the prescribed Oxycodone after three days. I intend to start back on the trainer 1 week post-injury. The doc said “if you can bear it, you can do it, but employ common sense”. This site has a wealth of information. It’s obvious that no two cases are the same though.

  68. Abbey Schaefer

    Sorry to hear you are having such a time!
    One thing I found with the initial procedure was more pain than I expected from the bone graft site (my right pelvis) which made walking a lot harder than I had anticipated. Hopefully you won’t need a graft. Other than that, recovery from the surgery wasn’t much different than recovery from the initial injury.
    My surgery failed, and had to have it done again (I think I am an unlucky but low statistic).
    Best wishes for a quick recovery!

  69. Abbey Schaefer

    Hey all,
    I’m 28 years old, 8 years post fracture, and 4 years post ORIF (x2!!!). Has anyone else experienced a reasonable way to treat chronic pain resulting from this type of injury and treatment? I find that I cannot do certain activities (rock climbing, carry a back pack on a hike, etc-) without being in pain for days after. Was thinking of accupuncture before heading back to orthopaedics again. Thanks!

  70. sue

    Hi all. I broke my collar bone 23 weeks ago and still not healing!! the pain has been pretty bad and sadly i have lost quite a lot of movement in my arm now, i have been trying to excerise as much as possible but due to pain have not been able to keep the joint active.. anyway at last they have decied to operate on the bone and pin and plate it. they are going to do it as a day case and was wondering if anyone else has had this done and if so how did they get on???

  71. jeycee

    Hey everyone- Jaycee here at 44, 160lbs. Broke my right clavicle, fractured five ribs, and punctured a lung while in a bike training ride…went down pretty hard after touching someone’s back wheel! Was sent home from the hospital within 2 hrs after x-rays and the standard fig-8 brace for the clavicle. My bone was protruding out pretty bad. Too my surprise, the pain wasn’t too bad…after being short of breath all weekend, though, I returned to the hospital 3 days later to discover a partially collapsed lung. They introduced a tube through my fractured ribs and took the air out (chest-tube-thoracostomy). Back to work 7 days after the fall, and traveling red-eye for 7 hrs within 12 days. My 8-brace came off in 17 days and I have good motion, but still a good lump on my clavicle…not fun!! I wondered if it was me being too active, or this just happens to everyone (the bump). 20 days after, I have a sling that I hardly use, and I feel OK. Pain has been mild (3-5 on a scale of 10). I am sorry to read some horror stories of 6-8 weeks!! Anyone can tell me what I should expect for the coming weeks. I have a bt of a sore shoulder, and hate to sleep on my back, but not taking any pills, unless I absolutely have too.

  72. Clinton Scott

    Hi Everyone,
    I broke the distal third of my right clavicle around 18 mths ago. Ungloriously, I did it playing touch football (for the non-Aussies – rugby league played without tackling). How does one break their collarbone in a low-contact sport? Well, I did it diving for the line whilst simultaneously avoiding being tagged, which saw me twist and land directly on my shoulder.
    Anyway, I’m due for a plate and graft in approximately 4 weeks. I’m quite nervous about the recovery. I’m reasonably active (jog, bike to uni, light resistance training) and don’t want to be down for too long. Has anyone had a similar experience: nonunion repaired with plate and graft? What was the recovery like? I’m hoping I can get into something low impact reasonably soon after the operation (i.e. swimming).

    There’s several comments here and on some of the other pages (links at top) from folks that have had the plate and graft. Most describe it as being a quicker route to recovery. Take a scan through the comments and search for “plate” and/or “graft”. There’s also a search form way up on the upper left column of the page.

  73. David

    Hey all,
    I’m an active 21 year old, broke my right collarbone almost 4 and a half weeks ago, clean break in the middle of the bone, with virtually no shortening. However, the two pieces are slightly displaced, the shoulder side is slightly behind and below the other piece. I’m in a sling still, never did a figure-8, and it feels pretty good, haven’t felt the pieces clicking together since the first week. Could this mean that the fibrous bridge is forming? Too early to begin therapies? And how long before the callus begins to form?
    Sorry for all the questions. Thanks so much for all the info 🙂

    The clicking people hear isn’t necessarily from the bones moving. It can also occur when soft tissue, such as a ligament, moves about. So using ‘clicking’ to determine healing isn’t a good idea. I’ve been told that the only way to know is a bridge is forming is with an x-ray and examination by your doctor. Even then it can be hard to spot the bridge early on.
    You can read more about broken bone healing in this article:
    How do broken bones heal
    Since you are so far along in the healing process I would think your doctor has already started you on physical therapy. If not, then I would highly recommend following up with your doc and starting PT if appropriate.

  74. Anya

    Hi 🙂
    I’m 13 and broke my right Clavicle on the 31st of January. (coming up to 2 and a half weeks)I was riding a small, fat, hyper pony bareback (or rather getting on him -minus leg up)when i was just getting my balance and he bolted into a canter and i was flung into a concrete wall.
    For the first 4 (?) days I had a regular triangle sling. It was sooooo painful to sleep. It hurt to walk…. it even hurt to breath. I was kept off school for the first week then went back on Monday. I was in agony when I got home and was off school the next day, returning to school for the rest of the week. im now on school holidays for a week.
    I broke my right collar bone and im right handed so its a pain at school asking my friends to write everything for me and i have to do all my homework on the computer, (bit annoying) but im feeling better everyday.
    I have a HUGE lump on my right shoulder and i can actually see the break. Will the lump go? I’ve read that it might not.
    I’m not sure when i will fully get my strength back or when i can not use the sling. Any help?
    I hope you all make good, full recoveries 🙂

    I’ve fallen from horseback riding several times but have been lucky enough to walk away only with a bruised ego.
    Yes, your lump should reduce in size over time. But sometimes it never fully goes away. But you can use that for good show-and-tell stories.
    When you can stop using the sling depends on how quickly you are recovering and also how good you are letting yourself recover. It might be several weeks before the sling comes off. Listen to your doctor and don’t try to push it too soon.
    Recovering your strength also takes time. There are physical therapies that can help with that. Talk with your doctor about these exercises. It might take a little over a month before you begin to feel up to the same level as you were before the break. Again, all of this depends on your own level of injury and your recovery.

  75. rob

    hi wonder if u can help been 5 weeks today since my fall .. went to hospital and told me its healing very well 2 weeks and shud be able to go to gym and back to work .. said its strong the bone .. i feel ok if i went back to work and gym now .. cud the bone just snap or is that nt possible ?? thats what am worried about it dnt hurt at all now but am worriede case it suddenly snaps wen doing light weights . or cud that not happen ? thank u rob 18

    I’ve heard of folks reinjuring themselves by over lifting too soon. But if a break heals completely it should be as strong as before the break. The only person that can give you an honest answer is your doctor. Your doc would need to examine your injury and determine if it has healed completely.
    Also, if you are starting weights again, be sure to progress slowly. You don’t want to push it too much too soon. Also consider talking with a physical therapist to receive a training plan to help you on the way to full recovery.

  76. richi

    hi i broke my coller-bone 3 weeks ago and was sent away in a sling i have a week left in the sling! then i have a apointment at hospital ! it seems to be healing well i can raise arm infront above just hurts if i put weight onto it .. wen i go bck do u think i will get sling offf and be able to go bck to work and gym or will this take longer then wt i am hoping to heal ??

    It’s not possible to know if you will be able to take the sling off. Everyone heals at their own pace. But it you are young and healing well, then there’s a good chance you can get rid of the sling. Just wait and see what your doctor says.

  77. richard cunningham

    I am 19 years old and fell while running on ice . first tiem i went to hospital they told me it was broke and had overlaped a little . i have a a lump at top of chest which i think is the bone poping out a little .. he told me i needed sergery then he wasint too sure it myt heal naturally he said so he give me a sling and told me to see how it was after 4 weeks then he wud recomend surgery if nt healed .. 1) if i am in a sling and the bone is still broke can it go bck into place/rebuild itsself wiv nor operation or work needed in 4 weeks ??? 2) i do weight lifting do u think in the long run this break will affect me in anyway ???? thank u.. for any help given… richi newcastle

    It is possible to recover fully without having an operation. It depends though on many factors, including how well you take care of yourself and the injury while recovering. If your break fully heals then you should be fine in the long run. Just listen to your doctor and don’t push it too soon. There are others that have left comments here telling stories of pushing it too hard too soon and setting back their recovery.

  78. Anthony

    I broke my collarbone about 3.5 weeks ago a medial break with almost 2 cm of overlap, sucks bc i play hockey and lift almost everyday but now that’s done for a good amount of time, also just found out from the doctor i will probably not be cleared to play hockey until early feb. which is the end of the hockey season, but I was wondering how long before you could go back to squatting and other exercises that put weight on the collarbone

  79. mary

    Thanks for the response. I’m going for another x ray in a week so hope that will show something positive. I have found it really interesting reading other people’s experiences. One thing it has made me do is not be too impatient to do a lot of movement early on. It seems the more you can keep it still initially the better. The worst thing is not being able to do my hair and we’d better not talk about what is going on under my armpit!

  80. mary

    Broke my collar bone just under three weeks ago windsurfing. It has not been that painful and I can sleep at night on my back or my good side. I am in the UK and wearing a sling made out of stretchy foam, although I am not in pain without it. I am lucky that it was my left side and I am right handed. Am taking calcuim and have been putting comfrey cream on the spot (comfrey’s folk name was bone-knit) so hope that will help.However, even though I am trying to keep the arm as still as possible, I live on my own so need to get dressed, make food, go to work (I can type fortunately), walk around etc. I can sometimes feel the two ends moving. How does it heal when the ends move? I’m 57 so hope my age is not against me.

    There’s a good article on how broken bones heal here:
    How do broken bones heal?
    I’ve been told that too much movement can hinder the healing. How much movement? I don’t know and I haven’t been able to find or get a clear answer to that.

  81. Brian W

    Today is exactly 4 weeks from the day of injury. I broke my left collarbone. I was skating off the back of my friends golf cart when the one of the bearings in the rear wheel disappered. Piece of shit… I was flung off and into the curb landing left shoulder first, SNAP! I instantly knew.
    As off right now I am able to move my left arm in every direction but with limited extension. The BIGGEST thing that bothers me right now is as follows: I can grab the back of my left shoulder with my uninjured right arm without any problem, BUT when I try to grab the back of my right shoulder with my injured left arm, I can only reach the front of my right shoulder. I cant get my left hand passed the top of my right shoulder.

    Your recovery actually sounds like it’s going well. Your reach may be reduced because of the limited use you have had while recovering. Everything is probably tight. My reach also took awhile to return so don’t worry that much. I recommend you check with your doc and see about some physical therapy to help with recovery.

  82. sheila

    Also, there seems to be several horrible stories about clavicles not healing and surgery being required to mend it. Is this a common occurrence or is it more common for a fracture to heal on its own? I really cannot afford a doctor so I have not seen anyone since the initial ER visit and that doc didn’t even give me details about the x-ray, just that it was fractued and appeared to be minimal.

    I don’t know how common it is for a collar bone break not to heal. I would recommend that you have a followup visit with a doctor just to verify that you are healing correctly. Better to learn sooner rather than later that there are problems and you will need firther treatment.

  83. sheila

    Thanks for the response. This injury, though common, is much more intense than the ER doctor had given me the impression it would be. Felt good for a few hours last night but this morning…ouch! Back in the sling for a few hours. Heat really helps it feel better. Any suggestions on how much calcium I should be taking? I hate milk and rarely eat dairy so I know I am not getting enough in diet.

    If you search the site here for “calcium” you should be able to find various comments from folks for amounts they were recommended.

  84. sheila

    OK…I have had it…I am at 2 weeks and 5 days into a fractured left collarbone. Now, I sustained this injury in a car accident so I have many bruises, etc. but the collarbone fracture is by far the most bothersome of all. I went to the ER by ambulance for eval and the doc said you have a fractured left clavicle…probably due to the seatbelt. We are going to give you a sling and some Vicodin and it shouldn’t need any other treatment as minimal as the fracture is. First 3 days were terrible…I prefer childbirth to that pain. Called the ER again and they said was very common and to ice it and rest it and follow up with my regular doc. Which is great except I have no insurance and no regular doc and couldn’t afford it even if I did. Lots of popping and movement in the bone the first week and a half. Couldn’t take a shower, put on a bra, or anything. After two weeks, started taking the sling off and only using it when I got really tired. Range of motion still is very limited and lots of soreness and stiffness in the shoulder and neck. Collarbone feels funny…lots of pressure. When I try to trace the bones with my fingers, the bone is definitely not straight and smooth like my other one. Is this normal or does it mean my bone is not aligned? I have a 3 year old and would give anything to just pick her up and give her a big bear hug but that’s not possible at this point. I think at almost 3 weeks, I should be doing better. Any suggestions? Other than going to the doctor?

    Collarbones can “heal” in various alignments if they heal at all. I’ve seen and heard about zigzags, bends, overlaps, etc.. Is this normal? It seems that some doctors consider that form of recovery normal. Otherwise, why else would they commonly prescribe a sling, some pain medication, and let the bones mend in whatever manner they can? If you are concerned that your collarbone isn’t healing or causing you problems than I would recommend a visit to a doctor.

  85. Tudor

    Hi Jeremy,
    Sorry to hear that the same thing happens to you. I kinda got used to the thought that my bone fragments will not allign and I will remain with this odd shaped clavicle. The bad thing is that in this way the shoulder shortened a bit, which concerns me. People have told me that this is temporary, but I’m going to ask to my doctor as well tomorrow (3rd week check-up). The good thing is that I decided 2 days ago not to wear the sling anymore, as it was really annoying and hurt me. In this way only my muscles hurt when I’m walking, but hopefully they will stop in a few days.
    About the “tenting” of the skin I read that it is little we can do. They say it has to do more with one’s luck than with anything else. I don’t know if that’s true. I’d like to be able to sleep 3 days in a row an wake up with a “stragth-ish” clavicle. Unfortunatelly that is not possible. I’m hoping for valuable information tomorrow but not really knowing what to believe. I’ve also been told I should relax and not try to keep them alligned throught-out the day.
    I hope you’ll have a good recovery, please post your progress here.

  86. Jeremy

    It is amazing just how common this injury is.
    I broke my left clavicle nearly 3 weeks ago now. It is an overlapping fracture midway along the collarbone. I am in the same boat as the previous post from ‘Tudor’, The bone still seems to ‘float’ around, being in a flusher position when lying flat, and noticably sticking out when upright. I have been in a sling for two weeks after the accident, and am now just in a wrist support sling after going back to the hospital for the 2 week check-up. I have full movement, but recently, as of 2 days ago the bones have been aching.
    The doctor said that I should just let the bones set in the relaxed position and not try to keep them aligned, but if they align almost perfectly naturally lying down which I spend about 8 hours a night doing anyway, shouldn’t I at least try keep them aligned throughout the day?
    I have been taking calcium suppliments, and I think I might commit myself back to the annoying sling until the bones have formed a stronger bridge.
    Thanks Chad and Han for this site too, very useful info.

  87. Tudor

    Hello everyone. I broke my right clavicle exactly one week ago. The pain has subsided in 4 days and now I only have small pains from time to time. What concerns me is that when I’m laying in bed the bones seem well aligned but when I get up the sling does not maintain the same position of my arm and a bone end can be noticed through the skin.I wonder how will that heal. If I cannot maintain the same position during the night and day, I cannot see it healed.

    You might try an arm sling that velcros your arm to the side of your body. It has a band that wraps around your chest and a strap around your bicep. The strap on the bicep can be velcroed to the chest strap.

  88. david

    Well, I broke my collar bone on the way home from giving my friend his birthday present. Kinda makes me wish that I had never gone to visit him… hehe.. This is week 5 for me, I can take the sling off now and walk around with little pain, however if i start moving my arms around too much it starts to cause agitation in the shoulder area. Also, does anyone have a largely protruding bone? When I broke the bone, the part closer to the body was sticking towards the front, and now my right shoulder is about 1 inch shorter than my left. I have a very sharp bump in addition to my collar bone already protruding out. Does anyone else experience the same symptoms in recovery? I am really hoping that I can start lifting things in 2 weeks.

  89. One Armed Momma

    I broke my left collar bone 3 weeks ago on the first hour of the first day of a 7 day bike tour. It was a freak accident as I hit a 90 degree chunk of pavement while coming off the shoulder to pass. I was in the middle of no where North Dakota and had to wait for 30 min for an ambulance. After an hour ambulance ride I found out my left clavicle was broken.
    I had to sleep sitting up in bed with every pillow I could scavenge for the first week. By week 2 I could lay on my good side with a row of pillows keeping my head and bad arm raised. I am into week 3 but I can’t do much just walking hurts. I only took the pain killers for 3 days because I am nursing my baby. It was tricky at first but we have it worked out now. The worst part is I can’t even pick her up so I need some one at home with me all the time. I am usually very active swimming, biking and running. I am going bonkers stitting on the couch but it looks like rest is the best course of action. At least I had the Olympics to watch. I can’t wait until I can pick up my little one again. Anyone else out there in a similar situation that have suggestions on how to cope?

    I don’t recall anyone else commenting about recovering while having a nursing baby. I managed to cope by focusing on recovering in time for a European vacation that was just over 4 weeks from my accident. Setting a goal to focus on is a great way to focus the mind and to cope with difficult situations. And it doesn’t hurt having a good set of movies to watch or books to read.

  90. Shannon

    I just spent the last hour reading all of these horror stories, I never realized how common it was to break your clavicle, I thought I was the only idiot who decided to buy a motorcycle in this time of depression and on the second day ever driving a bike I laid it down on the edge of pavement in a deserted park!!! Anyways, I am 33 years old and I know better but I was more pissed about my brand new bike than my clavicle until I got to the hospital and waited three hours to even get an ice pack and was in so much pain I couldn’t take it. I have been an athlete all my life and had many injuries that killed me but the worst part of this collar bone break was the grinding of the bones as they shifted past each other whenever I moved. I didn’t bathe for three days because I didn’t want to move. I cried for a week because I thought it would never heal. It is humiliating to ask your mother at 33 to shave your arm pits because you can’t. My left shoulder has not seen soap in over three weeks. My question to the experts out there is, in three days I will be four weeks out,I have quit taking pain meds because I don’t want to get addicted, I am still wearing my sling outside of home(doctors orders) and I can finally touch the top of my head… hard and when do I start pushing to get more range of motion and the strength back in my right arm? I am right handed so writing was quite the task althought that is finally good but I am a veterinary technician and I am still out of several tasks at work. Any suggestions, please??!!

    How hard and soon to start physical therapy depends on each person’s injury. Pushing it too soon can delay the collar bone recovery. Waiting too long can cause atrophy or a frozen socket and then add additional time to regain range of motion.
    Others have commented that performing basic PT exercises, finger walks etc., to the limits that do not cause pain should be fine. Especially at four weeks post accident. But the best answer is going to come from your doctor. Or from a physical therapist. So I would recommend a visit your doctor or a physical therapist.

  91. Davy

    Just spent an entertaining morning reading all the comments and articles. Last Sunday, at the end of a 40mile road trip, during a moments lack of concentration, I failed to see a speed bump. Over the handlebars and fractured my right clavicle. As well as the all over body rash, and a brake lever going through the skin just below my right knee. The resulting stitches in my knee prevent much movement, and I cannot yet get on the stationary exercise bike. My cycling helmet was shattered, so really I’m pretty happy how it ended up.. The stories and experiences I have read here however, give me hope that I will be back on the bike soon, although it may take longer, me being 51 now. Thanks to all for the inspiration this gives me to grit my teeth and continue to struggle to do anything!!

  92. Kathleen S.

    I am a 56 year old woman who was happily headed out on a bike ride with my husband (on June 21) and a dog ran out into the street and knocked me over.(Please keep your dogs leased!) As a teacher, I was looking forward to a summer of reading, biking and doing some much needed painting chores around the house. No such luck. I wound up with a fractured right clavicle. Weeks 1-4 were really bad. I am right handed so I could do just about nothing except watch movies and read. I cooked, but kept it simple and often felt even that was too much. During the 4th week I began to feel better so I began some very basic arm stretches , but as soon as I hurt, I stopped. This definitely kept my arm from getting too weak. I always took my arm out of the cast when I was just sitting, that way I did not get shoulder lock. I had x-rays at the end of week 5 and I could see some bone formation! And my doctor told me I could drive!
    This was great and I am driving short distances, and I am definitely tired at the end of it. I release the brake with my
    left hand. I feel liberated. During this 6th week I amable to cook (slice and chop) with my right hand. I still feel very tight in the whole right shoulder area and have a limited range of motion. I want to pass on a good vitamin formula my pharmacist gave me. I take 4 bone healing boron, calcium, magnesium tablets along with 1 vitamin D, 2 B-6, 2 Manganese and one zinc. I eat extremely well, only fresh fruits and vegetables, limited meat, and whole grains. I have just about eliminated white flour and sugar from my diet. I indulge in one glass of wine with dinner and have a little dark chocolate each day. I have lost 8 pounds by just taking care of myself. I walk for 45 minutes daily. I feel strong and know that all my care of myself has helped. This is a long road of healing. I miss yoga whole body stretches and know that it will be a few months before I feel healed and can resume regular activities.
    My doctor was adequate, but I had to discover vitamins and good eating by myself, to maximize healing. I am hoping to be able to get physical therapy at my 9 week visit. The key is rest and care. Read the internet like this blog and you can sort out what is best for your healing. Remember that this is a slow process…..pushing yourself will not help you heal.

  93. joe

    hey everyone, joined the club on july 3 (exactly 2 weeks ago today) while long-boarding down a steep hill going faster than i could sprint. managed to get to the curb and jump onto the grass before my momentum had my body tumbling. i have been snowboarding and playing hockey since i could walk, 22 years old now, so i did what i usually do by tucking in my arms and tried to roll through the fall. when i rolled i heard a pop, which turned out to be my left collar bone snapping right in the middle, single break with the classic one piece up and one piece down look. went to the ortho yesterday to see the pieces have moved closer together with about 1cm overlap, no real pain at this point, just very afraid after reading this site at what may happen. sleep fine on my back now, bump is minimal, but bones have not fused yet. hoping they will come a little closer to normal as they try to find each other, and have set up a second opinion appt with a surgery specialist to discuss pin or plating, although i hope to not have to go that route. i am trying to stay positive but the lack of control is quite depressing. still in the figure 8 and i am very careful with movement/diet/supplement as my mom is a nurse practitioner. excellent resources being close to boston, MA and am getting the bone stimulator at the start of next week. keeping hope alive.

  94. Anne Hurst

    Hello, I’ve written previously about my 16 year old son’s broken collar bone. He was very fortunate and it healed extremely quickly and he was body boarding at 5 weeks and back playing Australian Rules football (with the specialist’s blessing) at 10 weeks. There have been no issues and at 4 months post accident, he has almost forgotten the accident ever happened. My question is in relation to the possibility of the collar bone re-breaking. I have heard of a number of people who have had subsequent breaks, including a boy in his football team who has broken the samebone 3 times!! If, like my son, the injury is fairly straight forward and you have no problems with the healing process, are you still more likely to re-break the same clavicle. I’m just wondering whether it will always be a ‘weak spot’, or whether it does get back to 100% strength eventually.

    From what I have been told the location of the break is usually stronger than before because of the buildup of additional material. Therefore, it’s more likely that a break will occur at a different location.
    The boy you mention that has broken the same bone 3 times probably has done so only because he favors that side and not because of a weak spot from the prior breaks. I have friends that have broken the same side and the breaks are in different locations. They just happen to favor one side versus the other and tend to break that side. Better being ambidextrous so you give equal opportunity to each side for a break :’)

  95. Mel

    My husband broke his collarbone in rollover car crash 10 weeks ago (thankful that was the worst of it). He had surgery to have it plated a week later. Any advice on riding roller coasters this early? We’re about to celebrate 10th anniversary and wanted to do something fun, but don’t want to cause further injury. Thanks in advance

    Roller coaster? That’s a good question and I have no idea. Also, there’s so many styles of roller coasters today and each restrains your body different ways. I would be concerned about the pressure and strains on the the plate and bone. It’s always worthwhile to check with your doctor.

  96. debbie

    hi all, my son is 14 he has broken his collar bone again 3 days ago. Its the same collar bone, we took him to the hospital and they gave him xrays and confirmed that it was a mid clavicle fracture with an overlap. He is in a sling but i feel its not right as he is slouching over which i don’t think is good for his posture and also for the healing. I rang another hospital and they said to bring him in if i am uncertain in anyway. So i will take him today for a second opinion and see how we go he’s on painstop which seems to help the pain but he must be so uncomfortable. He actually attends a sports high school and plays soccer for a club so unfortunately he is out for the season.

  97. Edith

    I broke my right clavical and 5 ribs on April 15 in fall from a cantering horse. Was told to wear the figure 8 or arm sling mostly for comfort. Pain is more constant ache than excruiciating. Went from one week of prescription pain killers to advil only. Had x rays at two weeks and 6 weeks. I was told good news, bones haven’t moved; bad news no bone growth yet. That is making me crazy. I’m 61 and am concerned if it will ever grow back. I started PT and am not doing bad. Have decent range of motion. Moving arm straight to the left is the most difficult. I’ve been concerned if I do too much, but was told if I can (based on pain) it is OK to do. Had no strength initially, couldn’t even carry a grocery bag, but that is better, have been able dig and plant and weed this week. Pool is open now, so doing water exercises also. I don’t understand if bone isn’t growing, how I’m getting stronger. Had bone density test few years back and all was great, now wonder if it should be redone. Anyone older out there? I’m at 8 weeks this week. Was told initially it would be 12 weeks, but that was before no bone growth at 6 weeks; and they won’t x-ray again till 12 weeks. What helps the bone to grown?? Was told bone stimulator might help, but insurance won’t cover till 12 weeks. Also told that rod insertion I’ve read about won’t help bone growth and that I don’t need surgery. Was broken in two places with a chip or split in the middle. I have 8 grandkids and I pick them up with my other arm, but get concerned if I’m doing any damage as I sometimes feel a strain.

    There are comments here from “older” people and their experiences and questions. One of issues with being older is slower recovery from a broken bone. One gentleman indicated it took him a year before his bone fused back together. I recommend following the advice of your doctor but also getting a second doctor’s opinion. Also, scan through the comments here and on my other collar bone pages (links at top of article) for more information.

  98. Pauline

    Hi all,
    My son is a month on from his accident. He broke his right collar bone in one place.
    Figure of 8 and a sling for 1 week. Sling for 3 and a half weeks. No longer using anything as he doesn’t need it.
    For 2 nights he slept up-right in my bed. He was in a great deal of pain and I had to wake evey couple of hours to help him adjust his postion. He then spent a couple of night on the sofa which he found mre comfortable. About day 6 he was in his bed with a cushion underneath his arm giving support. At about 10 days he was able to sleep more comfortably. At about 2 and a half weeks he was sleeping normally! He can now sleep in any position he wants.
    He had about 3 days on pain tablets then no longer needed them as he wasn’t in pain anymore
    Everyday his range of movement is improving, from very little to almost complete now.
    He was off school for 2 weeks and then a further week as the school had a holiday (he would have needed 3 weeks off school)
    The gap was circa 1 cm and we think (hope!) it might have healed. There appears to be a bump. We have a hospital appointment in 4 wks when they will do a further x ray. Things are looking incredibly hopeful, which I can hardly believe.
    Thanks Again for this wonderful site.
    Good Luck Everyone.

  99. Anne

    Quick update – my son went back to playing football at 10 weeks (I wanted him to wait until 13 weeks!) All ok so far – fingers crossed. I just hold my breath when he’s near the ball, in case he gets a heavy tackle – so far so good………..
    Good luck to everyone.



  101. Jimmy

    Hey everyone, so i broke my collar bone almost 4 weeks ago playing Ultimate Frisbee (very intense sport). but i was wondering how long would it take to heal. right now i can extend it, turn it and raise it over my head, but still sortof stiff though.i hope i dont need surgery wiht my progress so far right? i hope i heal soon though because i missing the whole season of ultimate.

  102. Laura

    Hello! Ok, so now I am 12 weeks since the break, don’t need to see the physio any more as all is going well. She just said that I needed to do strength exercises on my left (bad) shoulder, as its the muscles that are hurting. I can now sleep face down or on my right side, can’t manage the left quite yet.
    I have another xray in about 11 days, and then hopefully *fingers crossed* all will be well! It’s been a long injury, I can just about hold my arm above my head for about 5 seconds now, but hopefully I will be all set for cricket tour in 4 weeks! Reading your stories makes me feel quite lucky! x

  103. Pauline

    Thanks for this brilliant site. It’s so helpful to read of other people’s experiences.My 14 year old son broke his collar bone last Sunday 11th May 2008. He plays tons of sport and has never broken any bones. He broke his right collar bone at a pop concert! Someone bashed into him. Anyway, there is one break but the ends are not close together and seemed to be pointing in differernt directions. We live in the UK. Son is in a sling and a figure of 8. Hospital doctors spent alot of time contemplating what was best. Went for a lets see what happens approach. We have an appointment with the orthopaedic doctor Tuesday (9 days after brake).
    Thanks again for this wonderful site. I wil post how we get on.

  104. Donna

    Oh Evelyn I feel your pain… well actually I did in September 2006 and after seeing the surgeon this week I will get to do it again in the fall. I got back to my bed 2 weeks after surgery which was 6 weeks after the initial break. PT isn’t that bad your an athlete, I felt really secure doing the exercises with the plate holding everything together.
    Yep thats right that simple break that occurred on Dec 9, 2007 4 weeks after I got the plate removed did not heal. The bones have not joined. So for all those who do get their plate out, be good and don’t do anything until you get clearance. Lack of pain does not mean that everything has healed properly.
    Heather, I now know what you are going through as well. This continuous ache is driving me nuts. The surgeon gave me a choice to fix it now and give up the triathlon season or do it in Sept. Im registered for Ironman Canada in August. I figured I have put up with the pain this long what is another 3 months. I may change my mind after all day training sessions but oh well. I will look forward to the surgery in the fall, I have been assured that once the bones stop moving around the pain will go away.
    Thus my saga continues….
    Hang in there!

  105. Evelyn Rollins

    Thank you for putting this site together. I thought I’d share my experience for future sufferers. I had plate/screw surgery on day 4 after the break and am now at day 15.
    I’m a 50 year old female runner…was in a bike crash 4/30/08 where I slammed my left shoulder into the pavement, broke my clavicle near the shoulder, a type IIB fracture of the distal clavicle, with a ruptured conoid ligament, (there are a couple good writeups on emedicine you might want to check out) Bike shoe clips released and helmet didn’t show any damage (but will replace.)
    Went to ER, where they kept referring to the accident as me “falling off my bike” which sounds like I fell out of my chair or something (!) and I kept correcting them that I had a “bike wreck”… had to have my favorite 25 year old windbreaker cut off, as well as my favorite bike jersey…much too painful to contemplate taking them off.
    The ER doc looked at the xray and said oh…this one will need surgery… and gave me a shot, prescription for generic vicoden and ibuprofen, put on a sling (roughly, I screamed), directions to see an orthopedic doc in a few days and set me loose. On the way home, my husband and I stopped by Salvation Army and he bought me a recliner for $20 which has been my bed for the last 2 weeks. I spent most of my days until day 13 there, too. I gave sleeping in bed a 2 night trial and was utterly miserable, so back to the recliner.
    I saw an orthopedic doc on day 2, he took another xray and said, oh, this is one of the few clavicle breaks that calls for surgery and I had the surgery on day 4. He put a plate and 5 screws in, and repaired the ligament, under general anesthesia. The techs were amazed at my resting pulse of 46. Before the surgery, in the sling, I could find a position where the pain was not bad (on 8 vicoden/day). I came home the same day, after having been given a nerve block. The next day, the nerve block wore off and it was THE WORST, worse than any day since the accident. I took 12 vicoden/day (steady state you are only supposed to take 8/24 hours), interleaving 600 mg ibuprofen every 6 hours. I was miserable!!
    As far as clothes, I changed out of my sports bra that I had on the day of the break into a camisole that I could step into, and then pull up and put the strap up on the good shoulder, and elastic waist softball pants. Same clothes 3 days. And the sling.
    Pain got better very incrementally every day after that, worked my way down to 4, then 3, then zero vicoden on day 11 after the break. Took arm out of sling on day 11 also. Felt scary but good to let it droop down. But painful to move up or try to use.
    Saw surgeon on day 12, who checked new xray for alignment, looked good. Tried to raise my arm straight forward, very painful. Will go back to see him in 4 weeks to check bone growth. Gave me direction to go to physical therapy, 3x week for 4 weeks. First time today. Not driving yet but may try today. Put on zippered pants yesterday as well as a real buttoned shirt. Bad arm in first.
    He said he’d take the plates/screws out at 3-4 months, could time it per my schedule.
    I attacked the GI side effects of vicoden by eating lots of mixed dried fruits and drinking water.
    Overuse of right (good) wrist has led to tendonitis of it, so icing that (Grrr!).
    Taking preaccident doses of calcium citrate (1200 mg), Vit D (800 mg) and fish oil. Calcium/D in divided doses 3X day, so no one dose of Calcium is over 500 mg (approx max absorbable at one time by the body, per my reading).
    Amazed at some stories of folks exercising, sleeping, good range of motion so soon. I am really wanting to sleep some good sleep in a real bed! And wondering when that might happen! And wondering how much PT is going to hurt!

  106. Anne

    I last posted a comment, in relation to my son’s broken collarbone on 17 March – 10 days post injury. After reading other comments, I found a Sports Orthopaedic Surgeon, who specialised in shoulder injuries, and at 3.5 weeks post injury, took him there for a 2nd opinion. The doctor looked at the new x ray and advised that the bone was healing really well and in fact already showed bone formation above and below the break.
    My son had worn a sling religiously for the first 2 weeks, completely imobilising the arm and shoulder – he was still wearing the sling, but moving his hand, particularly when writing at school. In addition, after 2 weeks, he spent short periods with the sling off, but still being careful to move only his arm a little, not the shoulder.
    We’ve always had a reasonably healthy diet, but in addition my son took 3 calcium tablets a day and I tried to give him calcium rich food – sardines, sesame seeds, etc. He also avoided ‘bone robbing’ foods such as chocolate. We don’t eat meat anyway and as he’s only 16, avoiding alcohol wasn’t too much of an issue!! In saying this, medical advice dismissed the benefits of dietary considerations. We were prepared to try everything though and so went ahead regardless, feeling that it couldn’t hurt.
    We were going to Bali on holiday and my son was flying over to meet us at 5 weeks post injury. My son asked the doctor whether he would be able to body board at all, perhaps towards the end of the holiday. The doctor surprised us by saying he would be fine to body board as soon as he arrived and told him he no longer needed to wear the sling, as the bone had already ‘healed’ (though obviously not that strong yet). Basically from the 3-4 week point he was told he could do anything, restricted only be any pain or discomfort. This did not of course include ‘contact’ sport.
    My son immediately had almost full range of movement in his arm/shoulder, just slight aching after a while, as a result of wearing the sling for so long. This soon disappeared and by the time he came to Bali (5 weeks post injury), no one would have guessed he’d broken his collarbone. The shoulders are pretty even – he only had about 0.5cm overlap. We were told that any discrepancy is as a result of a loss of muscle in the area, due to lack of use and will soon improve.
    We went back to see the specialist on our return (7.5 weeks post injury). The new x rays showed more improvement and the doctor said the bone was healed and at approx. 60% of full strength. Our only issue now is at what point my son should return to full contact sport (Australian Rules football). He’s been training since coming back from holiday, but I’m wary about when he should play again, as it’s such a physical sport. The doctor told him he could go back immediately, but as the bone is not at 100% strength, a really heavy tackle could possibly re-break it. I’m thinking another couple of weeks, taking him to the 3 month mark. We couldn’t face going through the whole process again!
    After reading the experiences of other people, I realise how lucky my son has been. I thought I’d update, just to give other people some good news.

  107. Taylor

    Follow up from my 7 April & 27 Mar Entries:
    Got a 6 week post-break Xray this week. Comminuted midshaft clavicle fracture w/ 1.0-1.2cm displacement has “evidence of healing with callus formation.”
    I’m at 7 weeks post-break today. Functionality: swim, run, cycle 100%. modified push-ups (from knees) 100%. Haven’t tried full push-ups yet. Will wait 5+ more weeks (12 weeks total) for another xray to be cleared for physical contact sports (soccer, etc).
    On the playing cricket question above – Agree it’s better to wait. Saw a post about someone playing squash and snapping it with a flick of the wrist. I’ve also had a similar experience coming back from an broken bone in my foot. You’re 18 and should heal quickly, just be careful to be too cocky with it – I have that problem (eg. getting the “I probably heal faster than others” attitude).

  108. Heather warner

    Wow, who knew broken collar bones could cause so much grief considering how blase doctors are about them! I broke my right clavicle in 1999 in a major car accident. It snapped in the middle. I was on my way home from a trip and was sent to a rinky dink rural hospital. I was given a figure eight sling and another sling for my left arm which had broken and was told to go to the ER in Vancouver for further treatment. Somehow had to get home. Due to the seriousness of my other injuries nobody paid much attention to the clavicle. I had major nerve damage in my left arm because of the break in the humurus, also that break was in nonunion for at least half a year before it started mending. I was sent to an ortho surgeon specializing in feet(the wonders of medicare!) so he was not sure what to do. I could not take care of myself so my mom came out for a bit and dragged me back to Saskatchewan. I had to see new doctors and an even more strapped health care system. My new ortho promptly removed the figure 8 sling and took off the plaster cast my previous ortho had put on my left arm. And since my left arm was useless I had to use my right arm/hand to do everything when it should have been resting(and I’m left handed!) Yes medicare is free, but doctors are always swamped and getting a second opinion is not easy. I was young and in alot of pain and didn’t have the energy to get second opinions etc. I did keep asking the doctors about my collar bone which was healing but had a huge overlap and was considerably shortened in my opinion. They said collar bones break all the time, are best left alone, will heal and you will just have a little bump. I tried to tell them that I was very active in cycling, kayaking, worked in gardening etc so wanted to be strong to no avail. I was told that surgery would involve plates and screws and it would be ugly.
    Physio ensued for as long as the insurance company allowed and I mostly recovered but the way the collar bone set probably has screwed up the mechanics of my right shoulder. I get pins and needle pain in my right arm and hands when doing too much, fatigue etc. My shoulder creaks and groans and I have trouble sleeping on that side to this day. I am in life long pain from the various injuries, but the clavicle is particularly annoying! The chronic pain has altered my life so much and work is a problem. However I was able to get back on my bike, swimming, kayaking yoga etc but not for very long stretches of time or super hard as was my way. I have to ride upright or else I am in agony which is a travesty! My husband wants to go touring a la bicyclette and I know I can’t do it unless I get into the world of recumbents.
    The thing is, the other day I had to stack some firewood the landlord delivered unannounced. My husband was at work so I thought I would start. I keep insisting I am Xena warrior princess and can do anything! I did not realize how heavy the stuff was and eventually was exhausted. Later that evening I was in alot of pain and felt my right collar bone and it felt weird! I don’t think it is broken, but something has happened. the pain is terrible. I do alot of lifting at work but had to get others to do it for me the last few days. It led me to think about what if… and I found this great site. I did not know what surgery options are out there.
    But what should I do? Have I just strained the shoulder to the point that the placement of bones has shifted? Is surgery an option this late in the game? I hate going to the doctor they are so busy but will go this week.
    And a note about surgery. The thought of surgery is terrifying, but having been in a major accident and healed rather badly I can see that if I had surgery I would have most likely been better off down the road. My broken left arm should have been operated on after the accident but none of the doctors could decide what to to so left it to heal. It was in nonunion for a long time. It also did not heal straight so the arm is a bit shorter than before and a bit comprimised in mobility. I also broke my foot in another incident a few years ago and surgery should have happened but I was in the US and had to wait until I was back in Canada to see an ortho and they said they did not want to touch it at that point. This is your life, this is your body, it is amazing and can heal!

    Wow, you have been some rough times there. Do you know if your collar bone actually fused? Sometimes a break won’t fuse and you will have a non-union that is held in place by fibrous tissue. It may feel solid but another accident or strain may tear it. I wonder if that’s what might have happened when you were lifting. I recommend seeing a good ortho doc and getting an x-ray. You should also talk with the doctor about the possibility of surgery. It might still be an option available to you. If you can find yourself a good sports related ortho doc you will probably get more understanding for your plight.

  109. Laura

    Thanks!! I’ve found that deep heat is really helping it, because I think it’s my shoulder and upper back muscles that are hurting more than the break. And I still haven’t had a massive bruise like I was expecting. I promise to look after myself!!

  110. Laura

    Hello there!! I’m one of the UK Breakees. I broke my left clavicle 7 and a bit weeks ago playing hockey, i think it fractured it in collision, and broke it clean when i landed. At first the break was straight, with maybe a cm lifting overlap at the join. However, when I went back today it was lifted and had slided over the other bone piece!! I don’t remember it injuring it more, so I wonder when it moved. It’s a bit scary!
    I wore the sling (we don’t get braces here!) full time for about 3 weeks, and wear it when my arm is tired. I still cannot sleep on my side (either side!) but I can sleep on my back, and my front. I want to go back to playing cricket, as I have a tour in June, but I don’t know if that is a good idea!
    The doctor looked at the x-ray and said it was still broken, but then pressed onto the bone and it didn’t hurt at all, and so said that I seemed like it was healed, but we will give it another 6 weeks to be sure! I start Physiotherapy on tuesday as I have good mobility of my arm now, but my shoulder is so stiff!
    Is there any chance that I could cause myself more damage by some gentle cricket, or even just having it out of the sling? How long will it take the bones to join (from the xray, it looked like the top was joined, but the underneath wasn’t)
    Wondering if this seems normal?? Oh Im an 18 year old Uni Student btw. Thanks! Get well soon everyone!

    Your recovery sounds normal. Not everyone heals quickly. I’m not so sure if cricket would be a wise move until you are healed further along. Excessive movement or a jolt may set you back in your recovery. Give yourself some time to heal. It would really throw a wrench in your fun if your clavicle didn’t heal.

  111. Manie

    Hi guys, love the stories. well its been 25 days sins i broke my right clavicle, was racing quad bikes and got shot off around a turn doing 30 miles, landed on my right shoulder. Stood up jump on and felt my arm is very heavy, and then I touched my shoulder and felt the clavicle standing out, went to the doctor they said I had a bruised knee, bruised back,bruised neck, minor concussion and a broken clavicle. well after 25 days the clavicle is overlapped with no signs of healing, my pain is gone, got about 50% movement and no movement to the front. Oh and after 7 days of sleeping in a weird retarded position I’m back at work doing my usual stuff, well for the operation I will find out out next week, but for bike riding, I’m out for at least a year.

  112. John

    Just as an update.
    Sorry to read all the horror stories on here. I never even thought to ask about an overlap and the chances of the fracture healing, I just assumed it would. At 35 I was beginning to think reading on here there was little likelyhood of a full recovery. Anyway almost 5 week from the accident I’m running c 50 miles a week, swimmming at my club 2 sessions a week and should have another surf session this weekend. Keep yer chins up. Stay positive and with hard work and a good attitiude you can heal quickly!

  113. Colleen Pope

    Wow Kelly!!!!
    I am 37 yr old female, broke my left collar bone on Aug 12/07, 1 week after you. Crashed on my dirt bike.
    As of Feb 7/08 (6 months later), the break still showed no signs of healing. I had a 3cm overlap, elevated 1.5 cm with a fragment in between which the doc hoped would help promote bone growth. I go back May 7 for more x-rays and if there is no change looks like I will have to go under the knife similar to what you just had done…graft from my hip and plate with screws. I wish you all the best in your recovery. Keep posting, I’m interested in hearing how it’s going. Thanks!

  114. Bill Schwieterman

    The only thing I can say is that my surgery (6 days ago) was a complete success. I’m free of pain, have complete range of motion of my shoulder, have stabilization of posture on the left (was slumping), and have to remind myself that I broke my clavicle 10 days ago.
    Before surgery I was in chronic pain, limited range of motion, and pretty miserable.
    Now–this is me, and I’m not you. And what worked for me may not work or even be appropriate for you. It’s clear that non-surgical treatment of clavicular fractures has worked well for many for decades. But emerging data (see post above) and emerging techniques (see Acumed) have advanced the field. As someone who is medically trained, and in the business of emerging therapies (I’m ex-FDA, and work with pharmaceutical firms)–I think you should give some thought to surgery…only because the science says so…and my anecdotal experience.
    My $0.02.

  115. Amy

    WOW! Just found this site today…and wish I had sooner! I suffered a displaced fracture of my right clavicle 9 weeks ago while snowboarding. My ortho recommended surgery, but being that I have no insurance, I opted not to. I read Kelly’s comment about surgery almost a year later, and no offense, but I don’t want that to be me! I have about a 2.25cm overlap and I’m experiencing a lot of muscle discomfort in my right shoulder and some chest pain. The doc says it’s normal and that I might always have chronic pain. I teach Yoga and I’m affraid I won’t ever be able to practice the same again due to this injury. Is the pain normal? Any suggestions about whether I should go through with the surgery? I’m grateful for any input!

  116. Taylor

    Follow-up from my March 27th entry.
    Hans & Aron – thank you for your response. Really helpful to have this feedback.
    I saw a shoulder specialist who was able to give me more insight to my xray. As I said in my previous post, I thought I had 2.5cm displacement – that’s what the xray looks like. However, the specialist was able to see light and dark areas at the bone fracture site that indicated that the bone broke at an angle. So while the xray looks like there is 2.5cm of displacement, it’s actually only 1.0-1.2cm of displacement. He was impressed with my range of motion (reaching over my head at 2.5 weeks) and low pain levels. He believes the bone is getting sticky. Good news!
    I’m now 29 days post-fracture (fully displaced) and can swim freestyle (slowly) with no pain, and running and spinning 100%. Am not able to do even modified (from knees) push-ups without slight pain, so I don’t. I also have limited range of motion reaching across my body – I can just barely put stick-deodorant on. Otherwise, functionality is excellent. I can drive a car with no power steering.
    On another note, saw a post about non-union fracture. The specialist I saw said there’s a 0.4-4.0% chance of non-union for a fully displace clavicle fracture. He treated a pro cyclist who had 2 non-union clavicle fractures (one on each side). He asked him if it hurt or limited his movement/performance and the cyclist said he doesn’t notice a thing. The specialist left it and said there’s no reason to treat the non-union fracture if there’s no pain or performance inhibition. He also said that the figure-8 brace is a waste of time and effort, unless it adds comfort (which apparently is unlikely). Clearly a different school of thought than many posts here.
    So far, they key to my recovery has been do as much as I can that doesn’t hurt. I will know in another 2 weeks or so if this has been successful when I get an xray. Will post again then.

  117. Bill Schwieterman

    To all:
    Hi. I’m a 50 year old male, 5 days post-op after having a Acumed plate put into my left clavicle. 11 days ago I took a spill on my road bike, severely fractured my left clavicle (5-6 pieces or so).
    I’m an M.D., and luckily saw a young learned orthopedist in the ER. He pointed me to a recent study that he said was one of the lead papers at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons meeting in Chicago in 2006 pointing out the virtues of surgery and plating for certain clavicular fractures.
    Here’s the link:
    Bottom line: In a rigorous, randomized controlled trial–“the study authors concluded that operative treatment provided statistically significant clinical and functional improvement over nonoperative treatment of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures.”
    Just wanted to be sure folks know about this for certain displaced fractures. I couldn’t be happier here a few days post-op. Off meds, sleeping great, and anticipating a full return to all activity.

  118. kelly

    Hey Hans, i have a question at the end.. Kelly here again, I fractured my collarbone in august 07 and wrote a message aug 24th asking about the possibility of surgery. My fracture was caused by a wave. Well i just want to update and let people know what happened to me. I ended up having the fracture for 7 months, which throughout this time never fused together, i had the two ends floating as though time had not passed and my fracture remained the same as though it was the same day of the incident. Sadly i had to see a private specialist because the Nhs here in Tenerife were useless. I ended up being operated on ….5th march 08!!!!!
    They ended up doing a hipgraft as when they opened me up the two floating ends now did not reach and had rounded themselves and there was no chance of them fixing it without taking hip bone and bone marrow they put a titanium plate and 6 screws, i was 4 days in hospital, the hip was worse than the shoulder as before the op they injected anesthetic in my neck nerve, which helped post op greatly. I am now 5 weeks down the line and i have no pain but it definatley feels wierd, i have lost quite a bit of feeling through having the nerves chopped,I have reasonably good movement but have had no rehab! But a few days ago i noticed a sharp pain and later a clicking behind the plate, i went to A&E and they took an x ray the plate was in its place and there was no sign that the bones had moved…but i am sure that the bone graft has come unstuck behind the plating which is what is causing the clunking, i have no pain , is it possible after 4 half weeks for the bone graft to come unstuck, at three weeks after op the specialist told me to take off sling.???????? I would like to know your thought on this, many thanks kelly.

    I just saw your question… I don’t know if a bone graft would come unstuck. I hope you have had your doctor check it out by now. Probably requires an x-ray to really know.
    As for the sling, taking it off makes some sense as by that point your shoulder should be stable and strong enough. Plus you don’t want to atrophy your shoulder and joints any more.

    The following webpage is fantastic!!!!!

  119. John

    Hi , I had an accident in the Terrain Park in Canada 3.5 weeks ago. I thought I had separated my left AC, I have a 3rd degree separation on my my right shoulder and the pain and symptoms were the same. I made it back to the apartment, Made up a sling and got on the liquid Advill. Stopped the painkillers after a week and kep taking my arm out of the sling to excercise from day 3 onwards. Got back to the UK and only yesterday got an appointment to see a shoulder specialist. I told him what I thought I’d done, that I was back in training for a marathon and running c 50 miles a week, partially in a sling on the 13 mile plus runs and had done 1 swimming session last week without any real pain. He examined me and sent me for an x ray. The x ray showed a fracture on the clavical and told me to quit swimming and heavy lifting and come back in 4 weeks.
    To be honest I have full range of movement, the crunching, rubbing of bones etc seems to have gone and apart from some burning pain on long runs in the traps in my shoulder muscles I feel pretty good. Now that the diagnosis is not what I thought I’m now a bit worried I did too much too soon and it might not form a union, however, I’m feeling good and stronger everyday and am enjoying being able to do most of the sports I enjoy. I want to start surfing again ASAP but not sure if that might be getting ahead of myself…..

  120. tyson wall

    heyy..i done the same thing as chad..smashed my bike n broke my clavicle..mine was that bad that i had to get a pin in it, turns out it was a good thing becuase 4 weeks later i dont have to have a sling anymore..i cant lift weight or put excessive force on it but i have a wide range of motion n im back on my bike but only doin bunnyhops or jumps but that hurts a bit aye

  121. Dan Potts

    I broke my collarbone and 4 ribs 2 weeks ago in a road race. I teach spinning and would like to get back to my classes next week. I am in a figure 8 brace for 6 weeks according to my Doctor. Problem is I sweat like a pig and even if I have two braces, I cannot put on a “workout” brace by myself. I teach right after work. Any ideas?

    I suggest wearing only a sling for the class. There’s a style that has a waist band and arm band that can be velcroed together. This helps to hold and keep your arm close to your side. It’s also easy to get on and off by yourself. And, it will keep you from using that arm to grab the bars and pull or push. Both motions you want to avoid.

  122. Aron

    Taylor, sorry to ask again but a 2.5 cm overlap? As in your broken collarbone is 2.5 cm shorter than the healthy one? My collarbone is shorter by about 1.2 cm and I’m getting frequent aches and pains around the scapula (shoulder blade). Understand that yes the broken ends will probably still fuse and you “can” live a long life like that, but in my case it’s bothering me a lot, and now I wish I had surgery the first week. Not trying to scare you, but you should have an experienced orthopedist check you out, and maybe get an x-ray that compares your right and left side and the width of your shoulder, and their relative positions. I found this video, which is helpful. It’s similar to what’s happening to me: Again every case is different, and I’m no expert, but my opinion is if your bone is angulated or overlapping then fix it. Ask your doctor if a figure 8 could stretch the broken bone out at all?
    I have an appointment on Monday to see if I should have surgery, I’m so pissed right now because I wasted 5 months waiting and hoping, and now I’m at a greater risk cause they have to cut down everything that has grown, which leaves more room for error.

  123. Taylor

    Cape Argus South Africa road bike crash at 30mph on 9 Mar 08.
    Clavicle fracture fully displaced. Bones overlapping 2.5cm, but they are very close together.
    Doctor gave me a sling and said see a physio (physical therapist) after 10 days and said I could do anything that doesn’t cause pain – that the sling was for comfort only.
    I went for a jog yesterday and have slept on my stomach without pain. I can lift my arm to the side and forward above head-height.
    Reading this site is worrying me that the doctor’s instructions were incorrect – that no pain doesn’t mean no problem and that I should be in the sling with minimal movement until I get a good xray result. Am I correct?

    Yes, it’s recommended that you do minimal movement during the first two weeks of recovery. That’s when the body is working very hard to fuse the bones. Two much movement may hinder that process and possibly stop it. Don’t forget that broken bone is a major trauma. Even though it might not feel that bad you should still let your body rest and recover.

  124. Anne

    I’ve just been looking up orthopaedic surgeons, who specialise in sporting and clavicle injuries. I’m going to get a referral for my son to see one of them. The last doctor that he saw, at the local hospital’s fracture clinic was pretty rushed and when my son has his next x ray, I’d like to feel more confident about the advice we get. The next appointment will be about 3.5 weeks after the injury.
    It’s now day 10 and my son is still wearing the sling 24/7. He appears to have little pain, just reports soreness if the site of the break is pressed. There is a bit of a lump – not too big and it appears to follow the line of the collar bone. A slight raised edge can be felt towards the upper end of the lump, nearer his shoulder. I”m not sure what that signifies – its it good or bad? His shoulders are fairly level, although this may be because he’s wearing the sling. There has been no problem with him sleeping or moving. The most noticeable inconvenience is that he is having to operate one handed. Of course he doesn’t know at this stage what his range of movement is, or whether he will have much pain when he attempts to move his shoulder.
    I’ve told him to move his hand and elbow a little (keeping the shoulder still), when he takes the sling off to shower or get dressed. How soon should he attempt to move the shoulder, I’ve been reading about the problem of frozen shoulder, but of course don’t want him to disrupt any healing that is hopefully happening.
    I will make a list of questions for the next doctor’s appointment, as you advised.

  125. Anne

    I’m a little concerned, having read all the other experiences about how ‘strong’ the clavicle will be, once it has healed. What exactly do you look for on the x ray, before you can be really confident about re-commencing contact sports. Australian Rules Football is pretty physical, would you ever be ok tackling or giving your opponent a full on ‘bump’ with your previously injured shoulder. I know the timeframe is different for everyone, but can you give me some idea of what we should be looking for or questions that need to be asked when my son goes back to the fracture clinic at 4.5 weeks post accident.
    To be honest, having read some of the comments, I wonder about the advice that some people have been given by their doctors.

    My doctors each indicated that my clavicle would be as strong as it was before the break as long as it heals successfully. Luckily this was the case and it healed up strong as ever. In fact, I had a big mountain bike crash 1 year after on that same shoulder and did not re-break the clavicle. Realize though that even a fully healed clavicle can still be broken.
    When you return to the doctor have your list of questions written down. It’s easy to forget questions when in the doctor’s office. Some questions to ask are the exact questions you have here. You might also consider getting a second doctor’s opinion.

  126. Hannah

    My younger brother, 9, just broke his collarbone falling out of a tree. He’s an active athlete and very upset about this- spring soccer season just started, and he’s most of the defense for his team. Everybody says different things about recovery times, and I want to have something to tell him! Any advice?

    The good news is that the younger you are the quicker you heal. Well, that’s good news if you’re young! So tell him he’s got a good chance of recovering quickly. And also tell him to listen to what the doctor tells him. Let the shoulder rest and let the body heal. Then he will be back playing soccer in no time.

  127. Anne

    Hi, I’ve just spent ages reading all the comments – very interesting. My 16 year old son broke his right clavicle a week ago yesterday, while mountain bike riding. He is EXTREMELY depressed as it means he can’t finish his last 2 basketball games of the season, can’t continue with pre-season footy training, can’t do his part time job (trolley boy), can’t go away to Margaret River next weekend, bodyboarding and to make matters even worse, we’re going to Bali in 4 weeks time and he was looking forward to doing some serious bodyboarding there. The fact that he can’t write at school is probably less upsetting to him, but as he’s in Year 12, is very difficult.
    We went to the Fracture Clinic last Tuesday (day 4) and were told that the collar and cuff sling, issued by ER was incorrect and my son was fitted with a velcro strap cloth sling, which imobilises the arm and has another support strap that goes around the waist. I didn’t see the x rays, but apparently it was a complete break of the mid clavicle, there was no mention of the gap. The Dr. basically said, keep the sling on and it should heal in 4-6 weeks. We thought that meant everything would be fine for the Bali trip, but apparently not. The Dr. said no contact or likely impact for a further couple of weeks.
    My son has been wearing the sling 24 hours a day, apart from getting dressed and showering. He’s not complained of any severe pain, since the accident and hasn’t needed to take painkillers, apart from as a preventative measure the first couple of nights. I am hoping that he’s lucky (as everyone does, I’m sure) and that the break will heal reasonably quickly. We have quite a good diet anyway, don’t eat meat or too much ‘unhealthy’ food. My son has taken fish oil tablets and vitamin C tablets for the past 9 years and in addition is now taking 2 x calcium tablets a day. I’m also trying to give him food that is particularly high in calcium and vitamin C.
    The Dr said to come back in 6 weeks, but I convinced him to make us an appointment 2 weeks earlier, just before we go away. I am hoping for the best and just pray that at the next appointment we will be told that the bone has already fused together – it will be 4 weeks and 4 days post accident. My son arrives in Bali at 5 weeks post accident and I am wondering whether he might be reasonably ok – even to do a bit of cautious bodyboarding during the last week of the holiday, which would be over 6 weeks after the injury.
    The information available is so confusing, as everyone has such different stories to tell. Some of the sites are quite optimistic and say 4-6 weeks to heal and 8 weeks before returning to contact sports and then others talk about the recovery period being over 3 months.
    Will keep you posted – good luck to other sufferers…….

    Yes, collar bones breaks are tricky because each person’s is unique and there are many factors that influence recovery. I think your son’s doctor is being honest about recovery. It’s not fun to hear, especially with all the great activities lined up. But it’s important to think about the long run. It sure wouldn’t be much fun re-injuring his collar bone while in Bali.

  128. Rupert

    Hello Again,
    It will be 5 weeks on Tuesday and the shoulder is getting noticeably better each day. I am still taking painkillers, but not so often now. Movement in the affected arm is quite good – I can touch the top of my head now and my grip has not been affected. I picked up my bicycle last week and it seems to be fine – I even rode it for a bit on the way home.
    I have an appointment with the physiotherapist tomorrow and then a follow-up at the hospital on Tuesday – will let you know what happens.

  129. MRG

    I got jumped by 3 or 4 guys bashed my head with a bat and cracked my right clavicle.these guys were 250 lbs. I wore the sling and it only has been 2 months. how long should I wait to hit the gym again? what exercises should I do?

    Only your doc can give you the go ahead to return to the gym. Everyone heals at a different rate. One person might be able to go back to the gym in two months. But another it might take a year. It’s important to find out from a doctor if your body and injury is ready for the stress of a gym workout. If it isn’t then you risk re-injuring yourself and setting your recovery back.

  130. Dennis

    Well i was riding mt dirt bike yesterday and took a hard fall. I new that i broke mr right collar bone not from thr pain( witch there was hardly any) but from the bone stcking out, did not brake the skin but looked like it was about to. I have been riding for 25 years and this is the first real fall i had and the first time i ever broke anythink. I am just so surprised that i realy dont have any pain. It justs feels weard to have bones moving around. I am 36 and i realy hope it does not take long to heal because i cant stand the idea of not riding for more then i week.

  131. Donna

    Hey Everyone
    Ok enough is enough, it has been 12 weeks since my collar bone break ( 2nd time around). I am still having quite a bit of pain and discomfort around the break area, I can’t tell how much is soft tissue or the break itself.
    I have obeyed the surgeon’s directions and only have done assisted mobility exercises, I almost have full range of motion, require assistance for full range using my other arm. When I do this I feel a pinching in the area of the break. But it seems If I try any increased motion activities like opening the door, putting away groceries , the area starts to hurt. There was a bridge starting to form in the xrays at 7 weeks. I was really expecting to be able to start swimming in a couple of weeks.
    Last week I lifted a pail of water 3 times with both arms, kept my bad arm right next to my body and tried to just use my bicep, and shifted as much weight to the good arm. It wasn’t painful but I could feel the stress in the area. I have really paid for that this week. Something tells me Im not going to get clearance to start weight lifting next week.
    It bothers me every night and every morning I wake up with that stabbing pain in the shoulder when you first get out of bed ( do you know what I mean?) fortunately it only lasts a couple of minutes. I also can’t lay on my good side without feeling discomfort in the break area.
    I don’t remember having this much discomfort after surgery the first time. Except for the plate discomfort , the pain was gone in about 8 weeks time.
    Can anyone share their experiences with recovery around the 12 week mark?
    On the bright side, my running and cycling on the trainer is going well.
    I look forward to your comments

  132. Rupert Garcia

    Hi Folks,
    Bike crash 3 weeks ago tomorrow.
    Back from the country. Went to the doc down there and a fracture clinic – all free on the good old NHS. Loaded up on Codeine most of the time, but read a lot – all three volumes of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (so grim, but it made me feel better!) and a few bike mags! Watched too much TV! Shoulder was horrible for the first week but managed to sleep on my back with a hard pillow for my head, resting the arm on a soft pillow laying flat on my right side. I ended up laying one on the left too, to balance the equation and it was quite comfy.
    Getting up is hard as you have no leverage. Try rolling onto your good side, sticking your bum out and then pushing yourself up sideways with your good arm. If you try and sit straight up you may hurt your back, especially when you are all stiff in the morning. Have got t-shirts down to a fine art – but you must relax and breathe and do it in stages!
    The massive bruise has mostly disappeared and the pain has subsided most of the time. It still feels very sore and gritty. Seems to be healing up ok – pretty good movement. The fracture clinic doc told me that the sling is just for comfort and to try and move it as much as possible. The physio recommended a few light excercises too. I always wear the sling when I go out as it warns people not to bump into me.
    I wanna ride my bike – but I can’t yet!
    I can type though so watch out!
    Best Wishes to y’all.

  133. Alan

    What a great site – very good information here. I was doin some internet searches as my 15yr daughter broke her left clav today while sledding. As her father, I’m devasted what the kid has yet to endure. It is a clean break at the center of the clav. After seeing the xray of the break ends so far out of alignment, I was amazed the doc said the bone would fuze and heal. The ER put her in a sling and a waist support brace. I have a few questions I hope anyone can answer. Thanks –
    Must she sleep sitting up to avoid pain? Is there any other position to sleep that may not cause her pain and not inhibit healing?

    Finding the most comfortable sleeping position for someone is always tricky. Sleeping upright is one way. Others have used multiple pillows arranged so as to keep the body from rolling around and also to raise the injured side’s arm slightly off the bed.

    She was wearing a long sleeve under armor and we’re not sure how to get it off since she cant raise her arm. How will she get into and out of any top body clothing if she is not suppose to raise or move her arm?

    Cutting off the long sleeve shirt is the best option. For clothes, anything with buttons or larger than normal is going to be the most comfortable. Or clothing with larger neck openings will help. Start by sliding the injured side’s arm through the sleeve then stretch the shirt/top so that her head may pass through the neck opening.

    Is there a type of sling that stabilizes and supports the arm but does not have to drape over the shoulder? Seems kind of stupid to make her wear a sling that drapes over and puts pressure on the clav that is fractured.

    There are a wide variety of slings. The one I used didn’t have strap over the broken side. It had a strap that crossed over to the other shoulder. You might try looking in a medical supply store or web site for another sling.

  134. Rupert Garcia

    DAY 3: Back to A&E as woke up in scorching pain feeling sick as a dog. Too much codeine on an empty stomach? Had a second check-up.
    DAY 4: Doped up and feeling OK had a shower. Had to take it real slow getting a t-shirt on. Pause and relax etc. Lady at college did some ‘alternative’ therapy on me … nice.
    DAY 5: Going down to the country for a couple of weeks to chill. No internet there so…see you later.
    Hey Hans! I used to live in SF in the 80s right by GG park. Had a chrome 1984 Ross Mt. Whitney – classic! Lots of trips to the Marin Headlands – magic place. Had an ally Balance too, w/ a Manitou front end. Those were good days. I played drums with some punk and metal bands and all that too. Sick Pleasure, Code of Honor etc. Once played a show with Black Flag with my arm in a cast from a skateboarding injury – awesome! My nickname was Sal back then. Still is to some people. Anyway dudes and ladies, I am outta here! Hope you all feel better soon.

  135. jun

    hi der everybody……i also had a clavicle fracture. just wanna ask if is it ok for me to have sex with my girlfriend while im on my arm sling and just on my third week since my accident?

  136. Rupert

    Dear One Armed Bandits,
    DAY 2: 3pm. Only 3 cigs so far today – not bad. Managed to sleep about 4 hours last night, half sitting up in bed, with lots of cushions. Took off the crappy sling but woke in the same position and was able to get up with only a couple of yelps! I warned my next-door neighbour that if I suddenly yelled **** in the middle of the night, that it was not what he might think it was – hahaha! Shaved off my goatee as there’s little point in looking like a bad-ass biker type when one is as meek as a kitten. So now I look like a lawyer! The ‘consultant’ at John Radcliffe Hospital was a bit smarmy and had a budding young medical student check me out first. She was nice, but kept saying “sorry” all the time, which was slightly irritating! They sent me packing with a nice velcro sling, some codeine and paracetomol and a follow-up in 5 weeks.
    I managed a shower when I got back and was able to get a clean t-shirt on by sitting on the bed, putting both arms into the correct holes down in front of me, then gradually working it up so I just had to pop my head in. Thank God I don’t have breasts is all I can say. Had a packed lunch in my room as I couldn’t face the college dining room and all the stares/questions.
    Medium sized bruise in middle of shoulder and lots of swelling. It looks good, but I keep wanting to drop the shoulder. Must try and keep my posture!

  137. Rupert

    Hi Folks,
    Just broke mine today t-boning a car on my new hybrid and ending up on the bonnet(hood)! Typical break – maybe 1cm of a gap. Gonna see the osteo in the morning.Oh my god does it hurt! Cannot lie down for long and Karl Marx is too heavy right now anyway! LOL! In second year of college and not looking forward to the rest of term with this pain. Typing with left hand is slow! Got to quit smoking and no nicotine gum either! Let you know how it goes. Thanks for being here! Rupert 47 years old Oxford UK

  138. Shan yang

    Dammit I seriously hate clavicle fracture…it’s definitely going to be different living with a clavicle fracture till the end of my life. I can do most movements but hate raising my arm…i tend to get that uncomfortable feeling and my body is trying to reject me from going certain areas that strains my fractured bone. I keep telling myself if i should go for surgery. I just can’t live life with one side shorter then the other! It feels weird and that weird never goes away! It’s been 4 months to my recovery. Any suggestion how you are live life with an overlap bone?

    Lots of folks live with the overlap. But each person deals with it in their own way. It seems like something that really bothers you. Maybe you should speak with your doctor about the possibility of having surgery.

  139. claudia

    I’ve been reading these posts for the past week as I consider surgery to repair a broken collarbone that I received skiing 3 weeks ago. First the double 8, then the sling. All the while experiencing severe musle spasms in my shoulder and arm, a shoulder blade that is torqued into a position that is unnatural, and an arm and hand that is numb and rapidly losing the ability to move on its own will. I’m 53, very active, have a summer of cycling, golfing, swimming, hiking and motorcycling planned, and I don’t relish spending 3 months waiting to see if the bones (which according to my doctor are so displaced that they are residing in two different states). So, surgery later this week. From those of you who have had a plate, what can I expect with respect to how quickly I will bounce back? I’m booked on a cruise to Mexico the 1st of March! 🙂

    I never had to go through surgery but several folks that have commented here have gone through it. Search on the word “surgery” using the search field on the upper left side up this page. That should help you find some of the comments about recovering from a plate and surgery.
    Also, the combination of your age, how bad the break sounds, and the number of physical activities you like leads me to think surgery is a good option for you.
    Heal fast and let us know how it goes.

  140. Chris D

    I routinely put a pin in clavicle fractures. Plates bend and they leave screw holes. A pin allows you to do unrestricted ROM at 3 days. I have kids play D1 level football at 7 days. Basketball, Baseball, volleyball in 3 days. Road racing is at one week. Weight lifting is at one week as well. In rare cases are you not at sport in one month. The pin does have to come out after the fracture is healed. So unfortunately it is a second surgery but the time off for the second is 2 days. If you have a displaced clavicle fracture then find a surgeon that will fix it for you. Long term your shoulder is better off.

  141. Aron

    Well, I didn’t have the appointment on Dec 28th, but on Jan 11th. The doc took the x-ray from a very low angle, showing the entire separation between the break. Looks nasty (the image is on the website). I think if I saw that first week, I’d have surgery. It’s strange though, I feel fine, and the bone definitely moves as one, but that large gap is very discouraging to me. I had about 90% range motion and I was using weights before that x-ray. Curling ~20 lbs, shoulder exercised with ~10 lbs, I could do chest exercises and even push-ups. I actually played one soccer game before the last appointment, because I thought the appointment with the Doctor would go really good. Turns out, it’s the other way. If I fell on that shoulder during the soccer game I could have seriously hurt myself, so I’m thankful that didn’t happen. Doctor looked at the new x-ray and said no weights or sports for 2 months. =( He said everything should turn out fine, but it’ll take time since it’s ~1.5cm away said to wait 2 months before a new x-ray. I’m bummed out, and I get even more bummed out every time I see the new x-ray. I almost wish I had surgery, then I’d know that the ends are really close together and that the clavicle is properly aligned. The possibility that troubles me is that I’ll wait 2 more months and then still be at the same place. Then I’d need surgery, then wait ~3-4 months, and then take the plate out and wait ~2 more months. It’s the year of the clavicle for me. =(
    Anyone has any suggestions or advice? Has anyone had a similar x-ray and made a full recovery?

  142. David

    I broke my collarbone in Novemeber at the NYC ING marathon. I was volunteering escorting the wheelchair racers. I was coming down a hill and turned onto anothe road, looked back to see where my wheelchair racer was and must have had a loose grip on the bars because i hit a rut and got tossed off the bike.
    An ambulance was called and they felt my shoulders and told me my collarbone was broken. I refused any more service and rode the rest of the route to go to the hospital my wife works at.
    As soon as i got up from the fall i knew something was not right, and a broken collarbone was my assumption.
    10 miles later and finding a secure place to leave my bike i was in the ER. ( i stopped at stabucks to get some coffee for the er wait) They were extremely quick to see me and put me in a sling, xrays, and some pain killers. They gave me a ortho to see byt he didnt take my ins and i wasnt laying out all that money.
    My wife works in a hospital and got me in to see a good ortho who also takes care of the NY Jets football team. My Ortho appt was a few days after the accident and he immedietly said i needed surgery and scheduled it.
    Surgery wasnt bad at all, he was running behind schedule so i had to wait for 4 hours hungry, tired, and in desperate need of caffine. My head was pounding. With the exception of the post op nurse everyone was good.
    I got 6 screws and a metal plate put in. The next day was great, i took off a day from work and sat in barnes and noble reading magazines for a while and napped. I went back to work the next day. The scar is big and you can see that the metal plate is there but i dont really care.
    4 weeks post surgery the ortho said i was healing great and told me to stop wearing the sling and to start pt. at this time i asked if i could start using the trainer so my 2008 racing season wouldnt be ruined. he said no, and that i probably could after another 4 weeks.
    This past monday was my 8 weeks post op visit. He said it was healing good and showed me on the x-ray where the bone was growing, all looked good etc. I asked again if i could ride now, thinking in the back of my head ofcourse i can. he said no again and probably in 4 more weeks.
    He said that i should not even be carrying my jacked with the bad side, i think he’s out of his mind.

  143. Nick

    I have just joined the 2 clavicular fractures in 6 months club.
    Personally, I’s rather not be inducted! I broke the first (R clavicle, and tore the R SC or sternoclavicular joint, it now subluxes out of place when arm is over 140 degrees)at a Track race in Indy Velodrome June 21, 2007 when someone cut into my front tire from up high. I was in terrible pain for 4 weeks, that gradually decreased to the point that by December I almost felt normal except for the big bump deformity. I had a 1.5 inch overlap, that tented terribly. Two seperate docs said, “no surgery”, even though I had 2/4 of the surgery indications. I was worried I would have different shoulder symmetry and function, but all was okay by December. I wore a sling for a week, then a figure 8 brace for 4 weeks. by 2.5 months,I returned to biking, weight training. By fall was training with my IU little 500 bike team that I captain at IU. Also,rode the Hilly Hundred with my Dad.
    So, this Jan 2nd I felt really good skiing (with family) in Breckinridge Colorado. I was jumping bumps and catching air 3-4 foot, conservative for me. So, at last run I jumped a little ledge at the bottom, and my skis grab into the soft snow (it was 41 degrees), and I do a double forward release, I twisted to avoid the R shoulder and landed on L and broke the left Clavicle. Knew it right away. Thought it was an easy visit to the ER get brace and meds and go home and experience pain and suffering and physical restrictions for the 2-3 months. You should have seen the ER doc’s face, he didn’t even look at X-ray, guess I had a huge hematoma (blood clot) size of an orange, thought I nipped the subclavian artery arches which runs closer to clavicle on the left side. I nearly passed out imagining all my blood draining away from the tear my sharp bone break must have induced. My mom and I earned a ride on the ambulance to Denver (1.5 hours) to get a die enhanced blood vessel scan, with a vascular surgeon ready to open me up and repair on site. Turns out I passed the blood vessel scan, and I was out of there in 30 minutes. I am now relieved to just have a 2nd clavicle fracture. I guess brachial plexus injuries or complications are not uncommon with clavicular fractures, so don’t let anything press down on the fractured bones. (I did do this on the first clavicle and experienced whole arm swelling from pressure on the subclavian vein. Trying to reduce the tent defect) My bone is still sticks out and is so sharp still today on the R, that if I press a heavy backpack over it it would probably break through the skin. I still hate it!
    However, a 6 year old boy had face, skull and body fractures,knocked out teeth, plus lung punctures, in the Er with me. I know I am lucky. I heard he will live.
    I hope you with new clavicular fractures will watch for nerve and blood vessels complications, and go to the doctors right away (hematoma, arm swelling, nerve changes in arm etc). I will stay fit, because the fit healer faster if we let our bodies rest.

    Way to keep up the positive attitude! That alone is worth a lot for recovery. And you might consider getting another doctor’s opinion about surgery for the right side. It’s obvious that the tenting is an issue for you. Make sure the doctor understands your concerns and also your expectations about healing. Also, be clear about the types of physical activities you perform and want to continue to be able to perform.
    Heal fast.
    – Hans

  144. Donna

    I am going to tell you a story of what not to do. I smashed my clavicle on July 31, 2006 in a half ironman race, bike portion. Finished the last 20kms of the bike route though! Had surgery with a plate on Sept 1 because it met all 3 conditions , curvature inward, displacement more then 2 cm, multiple break and my right shoulder was two inches lower then the left. Got mobility and strength back by Dec 2006. Had a great 2007 triathlon season and signed up for ironman Canada.
    The plate was bothering me so I got it removed on Nov 14. Everything looked good, surgeon warned me that there would be weak spots where the screws were. I didn’t realize how weak and was playing a very light game of squash with a 70 year old friend, did a forward flick shot and crack… broke the clavicle cleanly on a screw line on Dec 9. You don’t have to say it, the look on the surgeon’s face said it all. I had been swimming and weight training with no pain the week before never dreamed of this happening.
    On the bright side it is a clean break and should heal under the normal healing process. My coach has told me not to worry about the swimming 2 to 4 months training before the event will be fine but I have to put in my mileage in running and on the trainer. I only found one post from a runner. The surgeon indicated I could run using a sling. I found a better solution I think by using a belt so my arm and shoulder are securely stabilized and my arm won’t get so tired after a couple of hours. I will try it this weekend. It doesn’t hurt much more then normal during the run and is a little stiffer the day after the run, I just don’t know how the pounding affects the healing process. I am very careful not to move the shoulder, are there any other runners out there that can share their technique.
    To everyone else, be patient, and don’t be stupid like I was. It was one obstacle I didn’t need to overcome for my ironman dream.

    I can only add that your personal story and web site ( is inspirational. Keep up the spirit and don’t let the collar bone break slow you down.
    – Hans

  145. Ken

    I slipped on the ice and landed on my back/left shoulder. I have a big bruise on the back of my arm below the tricep and a bump ontop of my clavicle. I have pretty much full range of motion and moderate pain when I stretch my left shoulder away from my head. This was 3 days ago. I don’t know if it is broken or not. Any thoughts?

    The only way to know is with an x-ray. Although, if you can place your hand on the collar bone and feel two pieces of it moving independently then I would highly recommend going to see a doctor and getting an x-ray.

  146. Aron

    Hi Miguel,
    I updated my website with the new x-ray, it looks like the edges are softer and there seems to be some “fuzziness”. I think there will be visible new/large bone there in another month. I’m not too worried, my bone moves together with the shoulder, so there is a connection, and from what I’ve read, the bone hardens and starts showing up on x-ray after about 8 weeks… I feel a lot better too, I can move my arm fairly normal. I’m still not trying to move my arm above horizontal level, even though I feel that I can easily do this. I’d say I’m at about ~60% range and ~20% strength. The bone edge and the bone chip are giving me less troubles, even though it’s a very strange sensation to be able to feel them from the outside.
    Like I’ve said before, I could care less for the looks, as long as I can do what I was able to do before the injury. I have a similar time table as you, I took my arm out of the sling after four and a half weeks, and it’s been better and better. Each day I get a little less discomfort, a little more shoulder range, and a little more strength. I totally agree with you about taking really good care of your injury for the first 4-5 weeks. After that I’m sure it will join and it will naturally heal. I also have read that it does take many months (4 to 6) to get the bone completely solid, so I’m not in a rush. I’m getting more and more confidence that surgery will not be necessary in my case, and I don’t want to go through it either. I hope we both turn the corner with our injuries and heal strong. Take care.

  147. Miguel

    Hello Aron,
    Just got back from the orthopedist and also got my x-ray. He said that he could see scar tissue starting to form which also looks like “fuzzy whiteness”. I also stopped wearing my sling yesterday as my arm is feeling much better and felt I had no need for my sling. I also started sleeping on my good side and can even lay on my stomach so that’s been great. The doctor also said I did not need to continue wearing it and if so it is more for comfort.
    I have the x-ray but need to figure out how to take a photo and attach the picture but the bones did indeed come closer together as it is starting to fuse. My arm seems to feel better every day and I have more range every day. I also started doing those pendelum excercises. The bone takes a while to completely fuse which may be four to six months by the time it’s 100%. The doctor did say that I should not try and lift my arm yet. My next x-ray is scheduled for January 3rd because of the holidays and apparently the doctor is busy with surgeries right after Christmas.
    I am healing fairly well and I think people should continue to consider natural healing and not jump into surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary. Sometimes the doctors do push surgery but I think there are risks with that route and the bone may not fuse even with a plate and screws as some others have posted. I turned 40 in August and things look good for me but I did take good care of the break the first five weeks and have always kept in good shape and eat “right” by staying away from processed foods. I do eat processed foods as sometimes I crave them but everything in moderation and just enjoy it when it happens without the guilt.
    Anyway, good luck Jason and to everyone and hope everyone heals well.

  148. Aron

    Hey Shan,
    You might have a point of the fractured bone pushing into a muscle which gives you discomfort, I have the same thing, and it is slowly getting better. The clicking sound you describe, could it be your muscles and tendons moving over your fused bone fracture? Take it easy and keep gently moving your shoulder, I think everything will be fine.
    I just came back from my x-ray. It’s been full 5 weeks, and I’m starting my 6th week of recovery. I have a good range of motion and strength is coming back. My bones move together, but the bridge/new bone is not showing up on the x-ray. There “seems” to be some fuzzy whiteness, but I’ll let the radiology/orthopedist make the final prognosis. I’ll pick up the x-ray tomorrow or Friday and update the post. I feel good and staying positive, but it’s a little frightening not having the x-ray evidence to show it, we’ll see what the doctors say. I have another appointment on the 28th, keeping my fingers crossed that things will look better on x-ray then.

  149. Shan yang

    I do not have the x-ray results. The doctor did not really say i could take the x-ray results with me. My fracture is one in and the other out and should be around 1.4cm overlap. And I’m sure that the clicking sensation is at the fracture collarbone. I just hope the clicking subsides, if not my physician told me i will have to live with it! I will try to get the x-ray results on 26 November when i go to the hospital for my checkup. For some reason my fracture side shoulder feels lower, it feels not better supported then my non-fracture side. I break dance with my right arm(fracture side). I hope my fracture is not a non-union, the doctor said my fracture is special. He says the bone is attached together and seems to be healing so he didn’t bother. Well at least i know during the accident the 2 end of the bones are not further displaced, they are still together. And i hate the feeling when i raise my arm i can feel the extra feeling on the fracture bone.

  150. Aron

    I think it’s alarming how little attention doctors pay to fractured collarbones, especially in the ER. I had very few instructions from them and the radiologist took the incorrect angle image (as I posted earlier). I wish they moved my medial bone closer to the lateral. Right now the medial part (the one towards my heart) is positioned a little outward of my chest and a little higher than the other collar bone. I don’t care too much about this (the way it looks) as long as I get all of my strength and range! I’m done with 5 weeks now and I’m out of the sling, my bone(s) move in sync (so should I say bone?), but there is a small pointy edge on top of the fracture (from medial bone) and a small pointy edge on the bottom (from the bone chip). I’m hoping those will not bother me in a few months, but if they do I might do something about them. I do my small shoulder exercises but I’m still trying to keep my shoulder in a proper position most of the day and I won’t do any hard exercises until I see a good bond in the x-ray. I have a check up on Wed 12/12/07, so I’ll post the images on my website.
    Can you post your x-ray images so that we can see what the fracture looked like before and after surgery? I just want to share that from my reading on fractured collarbones, especially in older people, the healing can take longer, and may show up late on the x-ray; week 8 to 10. I’m no doctor, but I think you should drop the caffeine and keep eating the good foods so that your body has the best chance to heal the bone. Also I’m not an orthopedist so I don’t know how much you should exercise and move the shoulder. But I would imagine you shouldn’t try weights or full range motion exercises until the bone has healed. I hope everything works out for you and you heal soon.
    The disadvantages? Well, you definitely can’t do normal things until it heals. Did you mean the disadvantages if it stays a non-union? I’ve heard people living normally like this, but I can’t imagine having the same strength and comfort as before. Either way I’m not doctor, and you should definitely go see a few doctors (orthopedists) just to get different opinions. Also you’re 15, in the end things should heal up fine. About your therapy and exercises, are you sure it’s not your shoulder that clicks/pops? I would make sure that your bones are in a good alignment, you’re saying something about a 2cm overlap. Do you have x-ray pictures of your break? Can you post them? I think figure 8 does a good job immobilizing the shoulder and leaving it in one place (which is what you need to do). A sling can do the same thing, but it takes a little more self control to try to keep your shoulder in the same place (you can still move in a sling). I would look in the mirror and make sure that your shoulder is kept at the same height and distance as the normal shoulder. It has been two months for you so I would again talk to an orthopedist and ask him all your questions and tell him all your concerns. Take care of resting that shoulder and keeping it in a “good” position (and wear your figure 8 or sling until your doctor tells you otherwise), try to keep your shoulder in a fixed position at all time, unless you’re doing your simple exercises. I always think of a simple arm break (in the forearm). I’ve broken my left arm as a kid 3 times! =) Each break was only one of the two bones in the forearm, but they still set the bone correctly and then put a cast, completely immobilizing that bone and making it stay in the same place until it heals. So my (logical) thinking and yours should be the same, is that collarbones and all other bones need the same thing. You need to keep the bones next to each other and fixed as much as you can, at all times in the day (Except for those short periods when you’re doing pendulums and such exercises. Again I’m not a doctor, this is just my thinking. See an orthopedist and talk to him, he should give you the best advice. Again you’re young and all your bones are still growing so bone healing will definitely take place, but you have to help your body heal. Take care of yourself and I hope everything heals up fine.

  151. Shan yang

    My physician told me to do therapy. But i feel that the clicking sensation should totally subside before i do. When i do the therapy at home i feel uncomfortable at the fractured collarbone and the clicking starts to come back. What should i do! Help please!

  152. Dan Novosad

    7 weeks after motorcycle accident. Mine was a typical break, right in the middle. I went for the 2-week checkup and my orthopedic doctor’s colleague talked him and me into surgery (conventional plate on top). My purpose for commenting here: as of 6-week checkup (4 weeks after surgery), the bone is not fused yet per my doctor. I wish Meghan would have followed up after her Sep ’06 posting to tell us if the electromagnetic stimulation worked. My doc says that will be the procedure if it continues to not heal, 2 to 3 months from now. I’m 46 so I hope it’s just my age slowing things down. I’m moderately athletic, eat very healthy, and since the accident have been avoiding alcohol but not caffeine, take a lot of Caltrate plus my usual vitamins, drink a lot of milk, avoided NSAIDs from the beginning. I don’t know what else to do to stimulate the bone to fuse.
    I promise to check back in periodically to tell you my progress!
    Other details: I’ve had very little pain except the first week after surgery when it was 4 to 6 on a 10 scale. I have minimal loss of range of motion. Have been to PT twice and do the range of motion exercises at least once a day. The muscle on top of my shoulders (both sides) is alarmingly shrunken and I have considerable loss of strength but the therapist says the strength will come back quick. I’m afraid to do any weight-bearing exercises yet, other than up to 5 pounds. Feeling great, I don’t think there will be a huge lifestyle change except no hard blows from contact sports, falls, fighting, etc.
    My advice: do as much of the pendulum exercise as you can comfortably do, and go to PT as soon as doctor says to. Wish I knew if it was good or bad to go back to work 6 days after surgery (I just write, type and walk around, typical office work). Seems like even the doctors don’t know the best way to heal a collar bone.
    Hans: thanks so much for this forum. It’s very comforting to hear from others with this unique injury.

  153. Miguel

    Maybe I will email you next time as others may not like these continous posts. I think you are doing all the right things and unfortunately only time will heal the fracture so we both and everyone else will need to allow it to heal. I have been riding and racing mtb for the past 10 years so maybe I can consider myself lucky that I had no unfortunate accidents until now. Wish I hadn’t gone riding that day but I can’t undo that. But what seems worse is that I had purchased a new mtb and now I won’t even be able to ride it. The sling has worked for me so far and my doctor did not recommend the figure eight like others have mentioned.
    You should not worry about the bone chip (easier said than done) as that should take care of its own. What’s most important is proper fusing of the clavicle. All I can say is that I read some good books and watched some good movies so take this time to do other things you have been thinking about. I’ve been feeling the same as you but I try not to dwell on it too much. The body will take care of its self so this may be a good time to focus on other things in your life.
    I did an easy ride on my trainer for the first time since my injury. As Hans has posted, it’s good to start but only if you feel ready to do any activity and pool excercise are certainly a good way to start. I also read and had fogotten that excercise facilitates the production of hormones that also aid in the healing process but we should start up slowly.
    Take care and good luck

  154. Aron

    Hey Miguel,
    Thanks for sharing your story and I also have to say that agree with you too. I will take it easy as well until the end of December, just to be safe. I will also have an x-ray done next week and I’m hoping to hear good news. I take my arm out of the sling (well it’s still in it, I just release the strap) when I’m at work and in a chair. My arm rests comfortably and supported on the arm-rest and I feel no movement of the shoulder; I hope this is not doing me harm. As I said before I have some uncomfortable feeling in certain positions, but when I gently touch the broken area I feel that the little bone chip is being pushed toward the skin, so I believe that is the culprit. I also feel that sharp edge from the medial part of the collarbone slowly start pushing to my skin in some positions. No pain thou, I just feel it and it’s sometimes uncomfortable. I don’t feel any independent movement of the broken bones of my right clavicle, in fact I’m pretty certain I feel them move together when I slightly move my shoulder (might be my optimistic imagination). I hope everything heals well for both of us, that we get through this in reasonable time, and that we regain full strength and full range of motion.

  155. Miguel

    I have been reading all these posts and unfortunately I joined the group two days before you, Nov. 4th. I broke my clavicle while mtn biking down hill on a trail called rocky ridge. Unfortunately for me, I had direct hit to the clavicle when I landed on a rock. I’ve had two more days of healing and also have a x-ray scheduled for next week. I do not have a digital copy of my x-rays but mine was closer to the distal 3rd. I have done almost everything you’ve mentioned in your post. I have also read the same articles about the healing process, supplements, etc.. and I can’t agree with you more. I also feel that my clavicle is healing and do not plan on completely removing my sling until the end of December.
    Don’t get me wrong, I do take mine off while at home sitting on the couch and move it best I can so I don’t get frozen up and all. I don’t do any specific exercises except move my arm and elbow being careful not to lift the arm. In a way, I may have been lucky because I had no pain the second day except for the bruising around the area where I hit the rock. I only had one pain killer on the first night feeling afraid that I may not be able to sleep due to the pain. I did ice the area for the first few days but incredibly I had no pain due to the actual break. Sometimes it seems like it’s all healed until I move around and you notice something is “wrong”. I’ve taken care of not moving my arm except when bathing, changing clothes, or simply doing day to day things but it’s always been on the sling while using my good arm. Any movement you do, it feels like the broken clavicle moves. Sometimes it feels that I can just remove it but I also want to make sure I have as little movement as possible while it heals.
    I have been eating “right” and taking the supplements but I used to do this while I was healthy so it’s nothing new for me. One thing I did read is that one does need to eat “natural” foods, green leafy plants/vegetables, to allow the body to “absorb” the supplements and this includes exposure to the sun to obtain the needed vitamin D. Again, I feel that I am healing but I will know for sure next week when I get the x-ray.
    One thing others have not mentioned, that I believe is as equally as important, is positive thinking, visualization, meditation/prayer. I won’t go into the whole spiritual thing but I do believe it plays a large part in one’s life and situations such as these. Again, this is just another element that may benifit others.
    Some links that I found useful:
    Well, hope you and everyone else heal from this unfortunate accident.

  156. Aron

    Thanks David! I massage my shoulder whenever I can to promote blood circulation and I have been doing the pendulum exercises every 3-4 hours in the past few days. I feel that my shoulder isn’t as strong as before but I do keep moving it gently whenever I can. It feels like the bones have fused together, but I have a sharp tip at the top and the bone chip at the bottom of the fracture area get uncomfortable in some positions (borderline starting to bring a little pain). The three doctors that I saw all tell me that the body should slowly remove (eat away) those sharp edges with time. I think I’ll wait for about 6 months and if they’re still bugging me then I might ask to have them to remove the chip or file it down somehow. But that’s a long way from now =) I’m still wishing and hoping for a good/strong bond at the fracture area, and I’m also doing all the little/gentle exercises to provide some movement with my shoulder. Basically, I agree with you David, I definitely don’t want a frozen shoulder. Thanks again for your comment.
    Are you the same David that posted on “October 16, 2006”, where you waited 8 weeks and had surgery? If you are, can you tell me what kind of surgery you had? Was it a plate, or a pin? Also I know I’m younger and “should” heal fine. But if you look at my x-ray ( did your collarbone have a similar gap or a larger one? If you have x-rays that you’d be willing to share or any other advice please email me at Also, did you make a full recovery: strength / mobility? Are you planning on taking the pin or plate/screws out?
    Also if anyone knows any other exercises (in addition to the pendulums) that are gentle but help keep the shoulder from freezing please share. I believe pool exercises are great and I plan to start sometime between weeks 5 and 6.

  157. Aron

    I just want to post an update. I’m not seeing many replies or new posts, but I’m sure someone is still reading these and still wants to hear new things. It has now been almost a week since the last post, and I’m feeling better every day. I know things outside my injury aren’t really necessary to post here but my aunt is a lot better and things are better with my girlfriend (together again).
    My clavicle is better. I feel like it has fused and I also feel the medial part of my clavicle move in unison with my shoulder. I think this a good sign of a bridge forming and new bone fusing the broken ends. I can move my shoulder a little and I do so every few hours. I’ve begun doing those pendulum exercises described in my earlier posts and I can definitely feel that my shoulder is weak. I feel a small crunch in my shoulder as I do small exercises, but I do not want to push myself and re-break my clavicle. I know the shoulder is weak now too, and the ligaments and cartilage aren’t nearly up to 100%. I’ll be taking it easy and take the arm out of the sling for good portions of my day, I’ve already done this and it’s a funny feeling when you know your arm is weak and needs support holding the shoulder up. I don’t think I’ll try to put my arm up to horizontal level for one more week. So next week I’ll also go in for a check up which will be around a 5 week mark. I’m hoping to see some signs of the bone growth. I know from others on the ports that it can take over 8 weeks for the x-rays to show this, but I’m athletic/healthy and 26 so I’m hoping for a faster recovery. I’m slowly starting to get over the pessimistic view and into the optimistic view. I’m not letting this new found bravery push me to do foolish things with my arm. I’m just happy to feel progress, and I’ll be truly happy to see and hear it from the doctor. I have high hopes of putting this injury behind me in good time and to make a full recovery in a few months. I want to avoid a non-union more than anything, because it would be tough after going through all this, to have go through surgery and baby the arm/shoulder and wait 2-3 months for bones to fuse. Then remove the plate or pin and again cautiously wait 2-3 moths for full recovery! I’m very active and I’m praying it heals right the first time.
    I just want to tell everyone going through the similar injury that resting the arm/shoulder and holding the clavicle fixed in the same position for the first 3 weeks is very important. This is when your body tries the hardest to fix things back to normal. Things you shouldn’t do are smoke, drink alcohol or caffeine or take too many meds; all these things (from what I’ve read) slow down bone growth. You should give yourself the best chance to heal, so avoid them at all cost. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the figure 8, I haven’t used it and I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt me. All the doctors I’ve spoken to didn’t really speak against it, but said that it’s hard and uncomfortable to wear consistently. Meaning that in the end you might do more harm trying to move into a comfortable position. I’ve used the sling and tried to hold a good posture and a good position of the shoulder. For 4 weeks now I’ve slept like a mummy, on my back or slightly favoring my left/good side, it’s been working for me, and I won’t change this for at least another month. All in all, so far so good 🙂 I also want to say that I’ve been scared at times and I thought that things will never be right, but now I’m optimistic and I believe and hope for the best. Being a little scared is alright; it’ll actually help you take care of your broken body that much better. Good luck to everyone recovering from injuries.
    I’ll update again after my doctors appointment or earlier if there is anything new/significant.

  158. Aron

    I read a lot on the bone healing process. It is very important not to take anti-inflammatory drugs during the early stages of the healing, meaning from point of fracture to about few weeks later. Afterwards, you don’t really need them anyways. Also as everybody has probably already found out, smoking is a big no-no, don’t do it and you’ll recover faster. You should eat high calcium foods, not just calcium pills, because your body can retain more through food digestion. Try yogurt, milk, calcium fortified orange juice and so on. I read that lysine increases your calcium absorption, and low fat milk, fish and soy products do the trick. Increase vitamin C foods, orange juice helps but there are many other sources (vitamin C is important). I also read this: “To maximize the rate of healing it is helpful to avoid bone robbers such as sugar, salt, alcohol, caffeine, red meats etc.” (red meats weaken bones? Don’t know if it’s true!)
    From what I get out of all this is stay off of pain killers as soon and as much as you can, and make sure you eat as healthy as you possibly can. Eat plenty and have many meals a day, don’t lose weight, in fact gain a little (from healthy foods), and stay away from wonder chemicals. Our bodies are miracles they will repair themselves. We need to keep the broken bone steady for about a month or two (depending on age). I do understand that steady slow movements will make sure other parts of your body don’t “freeze up”, but moving a broken bone can’t be good. I mean a much simpler break as in an arm, where just one bone is broken (out of the two in the forearm), the doctor still sets the bone and immobilizes your arm in a case. Meaning zero movement of the bone; and even like this the bone takes month+ to heal. I strongly believe that being calm and rested will help more that running on your second or third week. And, for the argument about your joins locking, it’s ok to move them a little and in a controlled/supported way, but are they really going to lock up and give you long term problems if you don’t do aggressive rehab really soon? I don’t think so! What happens to patients in comas? Do they lose all mobility, no, it all comes back! I guess a good balance between resting and small activity is good, my suggestion is to take it easy and help your body heal in the first few months.
    Hans what are your thoughts on this?

  159. Aron

    Just to add, I want to emphasize the importance of a good x-ray. It’s a 2D image and you need to ask for multiple angles. Best is the angle from below your chest, leaving little or no bones in the background of the image. This is how I found out about the bone chip/fragment. Then you should also get one from the top, so that you can see “all around” the clavicle.
    The orthopedist today said that that a large bump will form (shouldn’t that have happened already?) and that the bone fragment might get re-absorbed in the large lump or new bone. Then in later stages (months away) it should slowly go away. Otherwise the fragment will just be next to my bone and should go away eventually.

  160. Aron

    I went to keep updating about every 5 days I hope that’s not a burden you people reading here. I’ll give more details n my situation and I’d really appreciate any comments or encouragements. Again “it” happened 20 days ago11-6-07, pictures are at I fell in soccer and first ER x-rays which were taken incorrectly showed that the bones are aligned almost perfect, but my second ER visit (just cause I didn’t want to wait, no pain or anything) using correct x-ray angles showed a fair amount of separation, and a bone chip. I was scared and depressed at the time. What’s more 4 days before the fracture my aunt had heart surgery and is still in the critical care unit, she’s getting better slowly.
    Oh it gets better, the same day of my aunt’s surgery I had a big fight with my 4 yr girlfriend, we broke up. I’m crushed and heart broken, I lost my girlfriend/best-friend and now it feels like I’m going through this all alone. It’s hard to feel good or even normal when so many difficult/sad things happen at the same time.
    I went to the primary care physician and talked about my x-rays from the ER on 11-26 ( There was a sports orthopedist there to so we all talked. They all don’t want any surgery, they think since I’m 26 that this will heal up just fine and that I don’t need to do anything except rest and keep my arm supported and in correct position. Which as I’ve been told is to have the shoulder at normal height and slightly backward (as if you took a nice deep breath) This is kina what a figure 8 does. The orthopedist today actually said to keep my arm out of the sling for most of each day… Saying that they will still fuse fine and that I need to have my shoulder moving. I’m not so sure about his advice, since its one day shy of 3 weeks now, and I feel like I should be doing that in week 5. I feel like I need to be as still with that part of my body so that it can heal, moving it (in my mind) will make it way more difficult and maybe lead to a non-union. He also told me to “try” not to move the shoulder too much, but to slowly do pendulums. Fixing my shoulder in place with my muscles and then leaning over so that my right arm hangs down straight. In this position I should try to do circles and slowly strengthen my shoulder, so that it does not lock up. I’ve been moving it a little here and there but I don’t feel like I’m ready to risk re-injury. Especially after being free with my arm around 11-12 (7 days after fracture) I felt no pain, just a little tight and I moved my arm feeling tightness in my fracture region. Pain came back for a few days (no ibuprofen needed) and went away in a few more days. I think I set myself back almost a weeks worth of recovery time! Well now I feel no pain, and my right / hurt side feels like my left side if it was in a sling. I feel like healing is taking place, but I’m not 100% sure. I’m going to increase the range of motion exercises in a few days and hope to keep a good balance of keeping my shoulder moving a little and not letting anything happen to my clavicle.
    I also got a referral to an orthopedist that my friend went to for shoulder/back problems. I’ll see him at the end of this week or early next week and let you know what he says.
    If you had or know or fractures similar to mine, please let me know what to expect, and if how you’ve healed. I would love to see an initial fracture x-ray and then a progression of healing with x-rays, especially up to full healed bone. If anyone has any links/pictures/advice please send them to Any encouragement / advice will be greatly appreciated.

  161. pete

    I live in the Uk where we have the wonderful NHS.
    Broke my collarbone back in august 06 and have been told I have a none union. Being NHS means you have to wait 6 months after beng told you can have an operation to actually get it, and this is after already waiting 6 months to be told you have a non union. To make this worst I could not accept the date of the operation when it came round and had to go back on the list. Yep another 6 months or very nearly.
    To cap it off on the day of the operation my surgeon tells me the bone appears to have healed, I am actually sitting on the ward bed at this point. Still in pain I cannot believe it – the pain is worst now around the joint than before. I have to get more scans and xrays which you guessed it will mean another 6 month waiting list…..
    Docter may be right. I had several broken ribs at same time which healed within weeks, could be that the collar bone end(?)has dropped down to rotator cuff and everytime I moved my arm it undid any healing that had happened. As the bone finally healed (bloody fossilised)it has now locked it in place so it hits the top of my joint when I move it. But this could have been avoided if they had plated it a year ago????
    Think I shall be going private very shortly……. has anybody else had a problem where the collarbone has dropped down on the joint?

  162. Aron

    Hi, I broke my clavicle in soccer when I fell hard and landed/rolled over my shoulder. This happened just over two weeks ago. It felt a lot better seven days after the break so I moved my arm a little out of the sling, then the pain came back, now I’m back to little/no pain. I’m afraid that I set myself back a weeks time. I know now not to move it at all, other than when it’s supported and I’m promoting circulation in elbow and shoulder. I’m very athletic and I’d like to recover as quick as possible. My question to you is when I should expect to have some normality back in my life. I think the gap (see is large, but I’m not sure if this is just my paranoid opinion. Will the bone bridge that far? Do I need to get it set, so that the bones are closer? Is it too late for that? I don’t care about the bump that is/will be visible, I just want to heal properly and in a normal span of time. I want to be able to do the things I did before. I’m worried and I’m looking for some opinions and hopefully some encouragement. Thank you all.

    Your x-rays don’t look as bad as some I have seen. For example, I saw one broken in two places with the middle piece pointing upwards. But reading x-rays requires a professional. It’s very difficult for the untrained eye to see good or bad. A professional will see healing where we might see empty space.
    As for “setting the bones”, I’ve not heard of that being done for the collar bone. It would seem to make sense. Maybe one of the reasons everyone recommends using a figure-8, maintaining good posture, and not moving the shoulder is so that the broken bones stay as aligned as possible while they mend.
    It’s still early in your recovery process. See how you feel a month after the break. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and continue to do your physical therapy. If all goes well you will have some “normality back in your life” soon.

  163. Steve W

    I thought I’d provide a final update, including a report on my plate removal surgery. I broke my collar bone on Feb. 4, 2007 and had plate surgery on Feb. 14, as reported in my two posts above (Feb. 13 and Mar. 14). The end of the plate was prominently protruding (it looked like the end of an index finger sticking out from under my skin), so the doctor said he would want to remove it eventually. In June, he announced the bone was healed and we should think about removing the plate. On July 25 I had that surgery. It really was relatively minor. I spent a total of 5 hours in the hospital, including doing paperwork. General anesthesia was applied, but weaker than before. I was more aware of things, like how cold the operating room was, but I don’t remember anything about the operation. In the recovery room, the pain level was about 5-6 out of 10. As I told the nurse, I’ve run with worse pain than that. No painkillers were administered. Afterward, I took generic Vicodin/Lortab for a couple of days, but probably didn’t need to. The incision was slightly shorter than before, about 2 1/2 inches and 10 staples instead of 3 1/2 inches and 14 staples. It followed the same line as the previous incision, so there is no additional scarring. The staples were removed after 10 days. Once again, the hospital tried to charge an obscene amount (about $11,000), and Blue Cross got them to accept about a tenth of that, and I paid $150 out of pocket.
    One thing to be aware of after plate removal surgery is that, for a period of time, your collar bone is once again vulnerable to breaking. You now have screw holes in the bone (in my case, four of them), which weakens it. Also, your bone has been shielded from stress by the plate, so it is not as strong as normal. I was told to avoid risky activities for 5 weeks until the screw holes filled in. So, no biking or aggressive running, hiking, etc., for 5 weeks. I continued to do re-hab exercises, and some controlled weight work to gently stress the bone (but not break it!). After 5 weeks, the doctor X-rayed and announced that my collar bone was as strong as the uninjured one, and I could return to normal activities.
    I’m glad to be rid of the plate. Not only did it stick out, but it also felt like it wasn’t completely in sync with the bone when I did exercise. With the plate out, strength work should now strengthen the bone as well as the muscles.
    Some observations about this whole broken collar bone experience:
    – If you’re over the age of 35, seriously consider surgery. It’s my opinion that healing success is age related, and the older you are the less likely it is that you will have full union healing without surgery (again, just my opinion). After reading this board for the last 9 months, I don’t believe the “99 % of broken collar bones heal without surgery” statement. I think that probably comes from a time when kids under the age of 20 were the only ones active enough to break their collar bones. I’m 55 (male) and I’m glad my doctor recommended surgery relatively soon.
    – Having had plate surgery, I would recommend that you look into the pin surgery that is discussed in several places on this board (also here: It seems to be less invasive than the plate surgery. Ask your doctor about success rates.
    – If you are going to have surgery, ask your doctor about bone grafts. My doctor included a synthetic bone graft (so, grafting doesn’t have to mean taking bone from your hip). The last thing you want is to have surgery and still end up with non-union healing, as has been reported here.
    – The plate did not set off any airport metal detectors, either in the US or in Europe.
    – The scar doesn’t look that bad

  164. Shan yang

    Update from oct 4. So far my collarbone is healing fine, about 2cm overlap. Doc said i should be able to return break dancing after a full recovery….but what i am concern is after a full recovery, will the fractured collarbone break easily? when i try to move my fractured side forward i feel a clicking sensation. Really feels uncomfortable…and I’m afraid the collarbone might snap. Right now i don’t really feel pain, just really uncomfortable and it feels like the fractured side, shoulder is lower then the other but is not. Really weird feeling…By the way thanks for boosting my spirit Hans!

    Good to hear you are moving towards recovery.
    Your break, when healed, will normally be stronger than before. Just let it heal.
    The clicking you hear might be the sound of soft tissue, a ligament for example, that’s moving around. I had that sound but it eventually went away.

  165. dennis the menace

    OK like the rest of you, typing poorly with one finger due to right collar bone break… not as young 47, but very active including time with 13 y. o . son … day 15 of break…
    MY STORY: dr #1 emerg room. really has nothing to say but to go see dr#2 who took new x-rays and said it’s a bad break but it will heal….. i asked what about better than “it will heal” his response ” if you want surgery, FINE my wife wants a new KITCHEN ! That was not a good answer ! ((welcome to New Jersey )) So off to dr #3 who is part of the orthopedics that operated on my knee on March 07, (I know – give it up and sit on the couch) He also said it’s a bad break but will heal. No other damage is related.
    I want it to be the best i can be. Is that to much to ask. I also hear the bones will heal faster when plated together.
    I pay for all my medical premiums and all other related medcial work. (I want some service) I heard about the plates.. (sounds good to me) He will not do it……. I read about “Haige” Pin/bolt and have a call into that Dr.Basamania to fine out if somebody can do that in the NYC area.
    Any comments from people that had surgery in-place of just letting it heal.
    Thank You and Good Night !
    i’m down and depressed, can’t work and i’m self employed.. i have a 2 month “out work period” before money will be tight. Getting worried.

    From all the comments folks have left, it appears that recovery time for self-healing (non-surgery) is a gamble. Some recover in a month and others never recover. Surgery usually provides a specific time frame for recovery. But surgery doesn’t guarantee 100% recovery and there can be other complications because of it. The trend appears to be moving towards surgery for clavicle breaks. Maybe because of the better odds of recovery. If you are swayed towards surgery the sooner the better. Especially in your case where you will need to get back to work sooner.

  166. Devin Patterson

    My shoulder is slightly out of place, and my MRI came back positive should I still play pop warner football.

    Well… I’m sorry Devin but I don’t have, and I’m sure nobody else will have, any idea based on the information you gave. And honestly, your doctor is the only one that can recommend if you should still play or not.

  167. Scott Davidson

    I fratured my left clavicle snowboarding at Homewood, Califiorna on 13th March, 2005. I have broken bones before but i must admit that this was the most painful of all my breaks. My arm was put in a sling and i flew back to Scotland the following week. As the weeks and months past my break was failing to unite. The consultant treating me suggested an operation or alternatively a bone stimulation machine which i tried but to no avail. My shoulder was giving me problems when surfing amd playing tennis and so 2 1/2 years later and on 10th October, 2007 i underwent surgery for an internal fixation to have a titanium plate and 6 screws inserted. I had the operation at 9am which lasted 1 1/2 hours. A few hours later i was eating my lunch. I spent one night in hospital and was released the following day. The first week was a little painful but that has now ceased.
    I wish i had found this site earlier as from reading other peoples comments i would most definetly have opted for the surgery much earlier on. My advice to anyone in a similar position to myself is to get surgery if the fracture is not uniting. The surgery itself was not that painfull and certainly not nearly as bad as the original break.
    I have been snowboarding throughout the last 2 winters with my clavicle broken however the consultatnt recomends that i wait until March as the bone should be much stronger. Is their anyone out there who is or has been in a similar situation to myself and if so what was youre recovery period until you could play such contact sports.
    Cheers Scott

  168. judi

    Follow up for posts of Sept 24 and Oct 18. . . . I’m now 9 days post operative and my clavicle is much less painful than before surgery. The surgery took 2 hours, I was in at 6:00 a.m. and released with a nerve block in my arm at 12:00 p.m. on the same day. Lots of support (and food) from friends! I ignored the warning from the doctor and nurses to move my elbow before and as the nerve block wore off, and boy what a shock to the “funny bone” as it re-awoke after all the weight of my arm had been on it (in a sling) for 16 hours! Vicodan is a good friend, but only for short periods of time due to the constipation. I took 2 at night for two nights, then 1 at night for 1 night, then NSAIDS all the way. The first bandages are off, and the incision is about 6 inches and very tidy.
    The only remaining pain seems to be what I’ve decided is “phlebitis” of my external jugular vein. I’m been trying to get an appointment to see the Dr. to be sure and to take any precautions . . . has anyone experienced this inflammation post op?
    Surgery isn’t a walk in the park, but it isn’t as bad as I imagined. Probably much less painful that walking around with a broken collarbone for three months or more 🙂
    Appreciate your being there, and the words are support are wonderful. Keep up the great site!

  169. Brenda

    I also broke my collarbone 10 wks ago.Still having pain,only doc said my bones weren’t coming together.I mentioned about surgery and he said no surgen will touch me now. what do I do now? I also have a broken heel that is healing nice.

  170. judi

    Update from September 24 fall with horse. Thanks for the help Hans! I got a second opinion which differed greatly from my first doctor. We set a date for surgery to plate the collarbone (it hasn’t shown any sign of healing more than 14 weeks post fracture, and is still painful). Then I went to a third doctor just to be on the safe side. . . Dr. #1 says my previous fracture might be difficult to get screws into. Dr. #2 says no problem, and Dr. #3 says no problem, so I’m going to go under the knife!
    I’m really scared of general anesthesia, and the idea of what might happen post op, but things can’t continue this way. The tingling and redness at the base of the second and third finger have subsided a bit, but the break keeps my ROM very minimal and pain is continual.
    I’ll write again post-op, and I welcome any words of support or comfort!

    Having three doctor’s opinions really helps in making a decision. And surgery for broken collar bones is becoming more common. Have a supportive friend or family member with you when you go in for the surgery. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
    – Hans

  171. paul

    I broke my collar bone nearly five weeks ago now in two places due to a motorcycle accident. At this point i stil can not lift my left arm or type with it.Ive been told that i should not ride a motorcycle or lift any heavy objects for at least 6 months. Stil painfull and still in a sling with a large bone sticking out of my collar.Tking plenty of calcium and doing what i’ve been told by my gp,but still little improvement…

  172. Shan yang

    My next appointment is on 16 October .Is it too late? I couldn’t get an earlier appointment because it was fully booked. By the way, usually therapy starts after how long the collarbone recovers…I’m seriously afraid that i can’t use full range of my shoulder after i recover. Because i am a break dancer, i need full range of my shoulder like before….so i don’t have disadvantage in doing certain moves like powermoves.

  173. Shan yang

    Hey i am 15 and i broke my collarbone 1 1/2 weeks ago. During gymnastic I did a move and landed on the mattress on an outstretched arm. My right hand hit my right collarbone. Doc said to rest and visit him after 3 months, but he did not said anything about therapy. I have been trying to consult a bone specialist but there is always an appointment and i can’t stand to wait 2 weeks later. From what i think, the doctor do not take clavicle fractures seriously.
    There is a bump on my collarbone from what i can feel by touching my fracture collarbone which has that ‘A’ shape, one out and the other in. It really feels scary and heartbroken when i touch my fractured collarbone,it tells me that this is a mark that will forever will be in my life till i die! I am now using a sling then a figure 8 bandage, Doc did not say anything about figure 8 brace to me! That is why i have so many questions and wondering a sling or a figure 8 brace is better. I am a very active person and i love break dancing…anyone can please tell me if i still can break dance after recovery!
    Right now i can feel the stretching feeling on my collarbone and the muscles around the right side of my neck feels stiff. I love break dancing and i will do whatever it takes to align the collarbone even if it relates to surgery….when i try to bring my shoulder backwards i can feel a tense feeling on my neck, like the muscles are stretching, and if it gets painful i will start to have little headache at the back of my head, right side. Probably to do something with the nerves? I feel very traumatic by this and it always makes me think a lot of the scenario after i recover. I seriously can’t take any of this and wish that i could go back time to correct my mistakes. I’m suffering a lot now…i can’t bathe or sleep properly and the worst think is i am having my exams! Seriously had no mood to study at all. MY WHOLE LIFE IS RUIN ='(
    Feel like committing suicide….can anybody please tell me what i should do and whether i still can break dance!

    First, your whole life isn’t in ruin because of the collar bone break. Your young and should heal fast. You will be able to carry on and do the things you enjoy such as break dancing. It’s tough going through the experience, especially when you feel you are not getting the care and information you desire.
    At the moment it sounds like you are doing the right thing. Wear the sling and the figure-8 if you have one. Try not to use your shoulder and move it around. You want to let your shoulder and bones heal. Read through the other posts on this page and the other pages and you will find lots of information on healing.
    Also, I recommend that you try, if possible, to get another doctor’s opinion and a physical therapy schedule. Be very clear with the doctor about your expectations once you are healed. Explain the activities you will want to be able to perform (break dancing, etc). If a doctor doesn’t know that you are an active person and require the full use and range-of-motion of your shoulder they might not take as aggressive a recovery route. Remember that doctors deal with lots of sedentary people. And treatment for them versus someone with an active lifestyle can be very different.
    So pick up your spirits and realize that you get through this.

  174. Mylez

    okkay so i was playing football yesterday… the handoff.. took prolly 15 yards.. then i got tripped by a defender and crashed full speed, right into the ground and landed right on the tip of my left shoulder…. fracturing my collarbone (i was’nt wearing n e equipment =D ). Right when i fell, i felt my left arm go numb for a bit.
    First i thot i messed up my muscle or something, it was this morning when i went to the ER for an x-ray (just to get things checked out) that i found out that i fractured my collarbone (bone is still straight, just cracked.. lucky!!) Now im in a sling and im told im expected to have a full recovery in a month.
    I was wondering, how long would the pain be there? and how long would i have to wear a sling =s ?? btw im 16

    Only your doc can give you a good estimate for your questions. Nobody over the internet is going to be able to tell you. Each person’s injury is unique and how they may and how long it takes to heal is different. Luckily you are young and have a high chance of healing quick. So a month estimate is probably a fair estimate.

  175. Midori

    Zac, according to my doctors and everything that I’ve read since my injury, overlap is not uncommon. It does seem hard to believe, but the muscles that surround the clavicle will also help the broken ends find each other again.
    Most people who heal naturally do have a noticeable bump, but surgery will obviously leave you with a scar…so if its aesthetics that concern you, it is a draw. I would be more concerned with function, and though my doc said there are cases of people being able to function without a clavicle, I wouldn’t want to try it. You might consider getting a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon who will take the time to show you the Xrays, explain treatment options and what you can do to get the best outcome possible. Good luck and take care.

  176. Zac

    Hey there.
    Great information directory! I have to say I was a little more calm BEFORE I had read anything here, as I’m discovering the severity of my situation. Ignorance IS bliss.
    For a little backstory, I’m sixteen, fairly athletic, but more concerned about the aesthetics of my collarbone than my future sports aptitude, as I’m more of a model than an athlete.
    I was driving my bike down a steep hill on the way to school this morning, and being young, confident and naive really screwed me over. I took a right hand tun at about 30mph, noticed I was going too fast to clear it, and pressed my back brakes. Did I mention it was raining heavily, and I wasn’t wearing a helmet? Well, my bike slid out and I went flying over it, landed some six feet away and brushed myself off, only to look down and find a bump about the size of my thumb on my left clavicle – an obvious fracture. I fell to the ground and dialed 911 from my cell phone, while some drivers pulled over and kept me warm. Good thing, because the ambulance took 12 minutes to arrive. I get the standard (unnecessary) neck brace which digs into my collarbone and makes me even stiffer, and I proceed to get to the emergency room and wait two hours for attention. I got the normal emergency room treatment like Hans has described. Luckily I live in Canada, so it was free!
    Even more luckily I had only scratched my head, no skull/brain damage. A definite clavicle fracture, however.
    The doctor brushed me off when I questioned him, made some vague hand gestures to explain the nature of the break, said these things sort themselves out, gave me a thin brace and said to come back in 11days for another xray and ran off elsewhere, without even showing me the first xray slides.
    I was under serious nausea due to the shock and Tylenol 3’s, and when I made it home all I could bare to do was lie on the couch and take a nap. Sitting still doesn’t hurt, but as we all know it is hard to make any motion without moving the clavicle. When I awoke I felt a serious concern about the trustworthyness of the diagnosis “let it work itself out”, especially when applied to two bone-knives floating freely in my collar area! So navigating with one index finger I found my way here, where I read until the wee hours of the morning.
    My main concern is how to get my clavicle pieces back into a natural alignment. From what I’ve been able to see/feel, about 75% up the bone the fracture occurs, and overlaps the remainder for perhaps an inch. I am going to demand or create an excuse to get my xrays back in the morning, to confirm this. I’ll also look into a second opinion – though that is what I seek here.
    I read that a figure eight brace has shown some success in forcing the clavicle back into proper alignment? I’m keeping my posture fine, but this overlap is unacceptable. I’m tempted to manhandle it back into position myself! I really don’t want to resort to surgery, and I’m not sure if it would even be viable.
    The thought that a clavicle overlap may be necessary is horrifying me, and making me rather depressed. I really don’t want my young boyish figure turned into some Quasimodo, haha. That coupled with the solitude and physical ineptitude of the recovery process trial I face really won’t help my experience be stress free. Please, does anyone have any information on non-invasive clavicle realignment methods? I am very desperate and would be more thankful still for some replies.
    I’m off to try to sleep on a bed for the first full night, wish me luck.

  177. HP

    Some nutrition info to add:
    Muscle Repair: Yes, muscles were torn or strained during the injury, and if you have a large bruise it’s likely due to ruptured blood vessels in the muscle. My advice (note: I am not a physician, just a nutrition/health enthusiast) is the following:
    #1) Standard Multivitamin, any brand(ish). Many metabolic processes require certain vitamins to operate – the more in your bloodstream, the better. Warning: Certain vitamins cause problems when you overdose – do NOT take more than one standard multivitamin per day.
    #2) Glutamine – I have come to love this supplement (google it!). It is often given for surgery recovery to help muscles repair faster. It is over the counter with no known side effects, I took 500mg daily while lifting 3x a week, I’m taking 1500mg daily trying to heal this bone (and the muscle around it!). Glutamine has definitely improved my muscle recovery time in the past (lifting, sports) so I heartily recommend it!
    #3) Protein – Essential building block! Question above was animal vs. whey – whey tends to be faster to absorb into the bloodstream. Generally speaking, neither is bad. The important part is to try to keep a lot of it in your bloodstream when you’re trying to heal – don’t stick to three meals a day, and you don’t need to overeat, just try to space your meals out.
    #4) Fat & Carbs! Your body NEEDS them, don’t skimp when you’re trying to recover. Skimping on them is when you’re trying to cut weight =)
    #5) Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. As much as possible. Detailed below.
    #6) SLEEP. Lack of stress. General rest. The day after my break was pretty hilarious, I went and bought six trashy books, and my day from 11am to 4am was: Read 1-2 hrs, eat, get drowsy, sleep, wake up in 1-2 hrs, repeat. I know from lifting that proper sleep is very important to muscle recovery, and it is no stretch of the imagination to assume that bone recovery is similar.
    Bone Repair: I’m no expert in this field but naturally I asked my doc immediately for nutrition advice and read as much as I could.
    #1) Calcium: Material used to rebuild bones. WARNING: Overdose (>1500mg) can result in Kidney Stones (A Bad Thing). I am taking 900mg (3 pills, w/meals) + my daily multivitamin + a half a quart or so of Skim Milk per day, plus whatever’s in my food.
    #2) Vitamin D: Helps bind Calcium to bones – this is the vitamin that enables the process to happen. WARNING: Sustained intake of over 2500 IU/day (for adults, less for kids) can result in Vitamin D toxicity (wikipedia it). I’m taking whatever’s in my milk & multivitamin + 300 IU in my calcium pills.
    #3) Vitamin C: Helps prevent kidney stones from forming & does a bunch of other good things for your immune system & body in general. I take 1000mg in two pills + multivitamin. IIRC it is very hard to overdose on Vitamin C!
    #4) Protein, Fat & Carbs – all three are required to rebuild bone. General eating habits in a second…
    #5) Water! WATER! WATER! Think of your body as a water-based system. Water comes in, removes waste, brings new nutrients. If you get a second, go to and read the article on the single most important nutrient – WATER! I personally _hate_ plain water, aside from when I am working out I always prefer beer, soda, tea, anything with taste to water… but when I’m serious about my health, I know that I need to be drinking as much of it as possible to keep nutrients constantly flowing through my body.
    #6) Sleep. It’s just good for you. See above!
    That’s my non-physician take on nutrients for speeding up the healing process. Exercise will increase various hormone levels in your body, which will also help boost recovery – essentially your body realizes “oh wait, I have a bone and the muscle around it AND these other muscles to heal!!!” – and if properly fed and given enough rest, it should take that load in stride.
    Again, _I am not a doctor_; this is what is working for me ~2 weeks in and in my previous experience with muscle repair. I have no lasting pain past the first week beyond and have regained near full range of motion. The broken ends are noticeably less sharp and no longer cutting into my muscles when I move them too far. I’m still looking for ways to get this bone to heal faster (I want to be back in my flag football team’s finals game!) but so far it’s been more inconvenience than injury.
    – HP in VA

  178. Randall

    Wow…lots of different stories on healing times and proper treatment! My 11-year old son broke his collar bone 2 days ago playing neighborhood football in the backyard. His xray shows a clean snap…as if you hold a wooden pencil out and break it in half. There is no overlapping of the bone. The emergency room doctors intially evalutated it and an orthopedic doctor also reviewed the xrays. He was sent home with a sling and Tylonel w/codiene with an expected healing time of 4-6 weeks. He has a follow up with orthopedics this coming Friday. So far he hasn’t experienced much pain and we only give him the Tylonel before bedtime. More thoughts on wearing just a sling?

  179. HP

    I broke my collarbone two weeks ago in a flag football game. Jumped over a tiny girl that suicidally hopped in front of me when I was rushing with the ball; that innocent “GOTCHA!” face of hers will be etched in my mind forever. Thought nothing of a 5′ fall (did Aikido for a while years back) but didn’t land properly, was paying too much attention to the ball and the girl and not enough to my safety.
    Break is typical, the two pieces of the bone in my left clavicle are about 1/2″ apart and overlapping. There was only pain when I tried to lift my left arm above shoulder height, and that was pretty intense. Drove myself to a doctor (at that point I thought it was merely dislocated) and found out it was broken (x-ray : Saw a specialist the next morning, was given Vicodin and Naproxen. I didn’t need any past the first night – the break is pretty well behaved as long as I’m careful with it. The annoying part is when the sharp edge of the bones cut into muscle around the shoulder, but keeping the arm where a sling would prevents that.
    Recovery plans: I’m not so hot on being stuck with a weak left side, so I want advice. I did some body building in college, so I’ve taken an aggressive approach thusfar: Trying to keep my testosterone levels up from regular exercise (stationary bike) and some windsprints/basketball drills. Supplements: 900mg Calcium (3 pills w/meals) & 100 IU Vitamin D per pill. 1500mg Glutamine (muscle rebuilding) in 3 pills (between meals), 1 general multivitamin w/meal, 1200mg Omega-3’s w/meal, 1000mg vitamin C (2 pills w/meals). I try to eat many meals (when possible, hectic work life) spread out over the day, and keep my protein high. Trying to eat regularly, more than I need – packing on an extra pound or two but it’s important to me to keep my bloodstream saturated with nutrients. Sleep: It’s so important. Last week I had several 15 hour days (2nd full week after broken bone) and I really felt the drag. I feel at this point that getting as much food and sleep (potentially in small quantities at a time, but lots!) is really helpful.
    Recovery thusfar is going well, but I’m only two weeks in. I practiced with my flag football team today (as long as the ball’s on my right side, I can try for a one handed catch!) with no issues. Bruise is still on the left side, but fading. It aches occasionally, but my doctor said “let pain be your guide” … I jostle it occasionally but I haven’t experienced any SHARP pain, just discomfort. I went for a 5 mile run on Sunday, after 2 miles the jostling went from ok to uncomfortable, and I walked the rest.
    That’s been my experience – any and all tips on rebuilding, please let me know! The bone is still definitely in two separate, moving pieces – no fusing yet, but it’s 2 weeks in. Good luck to everyone out there and thanks for your stories!

  180. judi

    I was working with a young horse (jumping) and he mis-judged the height of the jump and fell. When he hit the ground I was thrown onto my left shoulder – broken 1/3 distal. From previous experience breaking and healing that left collarbone (non-union, but usable and pain-free) I knew what I was in for.
    I’m now working on my third month with a bone stimulator, figure of 8 brace and constant pain. Tingling down to my ring and middle finger and redness at the base of those fingers. I don’t remember having this problem in my prior breaks. Anyone?
    Finally, physical therapy should be done carefully by a trained professional who has experience with clavicle fractures. I had a bad experience with an intern who was measuring my ROM and let go of my arm to write the measurements down. OUCH! and more tingling since that time. I’m looking for a second opinion regarding this, not sure if I’m up to surgery . . .
    Best of luck to all of you, and thanks for the great place to write down woes and concerns. Keep up the great work Hans!

    The tingling you are experiencing may be caused by a nerve being impinged. I had a small amount that eventually went away. But I had no redness at the fingers. You might want to get that second opinion. Especially since you are three months into the recovery.



  182. Kyle Weaver

    Hey, I broke my left clavicle 3 weeks ago and i am playing football. I have no pain at all and i was wondering should i play next week or wait another week. You guys tell me. The doctors said wait 6 weeks. SCREW THAT. someone please tell me to wait or play.

    I know it sucks but you need to listen to your doc. There’s no way anyone that’s not a doctor and hasn’t examined you can give you the best advice.
    Also, think long term. If you ignore your doctor’s advice, go out and play, then injure yourself you will then set yourself back even farther. Why risk it and have to wait even longer to heal? Or injure yourself even worse?

  183. oopsmike

    I did a triathlon today after breaking my collar bone in a bike wreck and having surgery back in July. July, August, September. That’s a long time to be out but now that I’m racing again it doesn’t seem that long. My range of motion in my right shoulder isn’t what it used to be but it gets better every day. The day after I had my wreck I started looking forward to the day I would race again and it seemed so far away. Today was that day. Hope y’all find similar days in the near future ..

    Congrats! Glad to hear you are healthy and racing again. Ride strong.


  184. Andy

    Here Here on the narcotics and digesting food. The doc gave me lortab and after about 5 days of no bowel movements, I thought the end ofthe world had come. I am 42, a police sergeant and fell off my horse at mounted patrol training. Broke collar bone, and 3 ribs. The ribs were way worse, the collar bone is only starting to hurt now. I imagine that it is healing. I wore the sling for the first three weeks and really just move around normal now (well minus the laughing,caughing, and sneezing). have a lot of atrophy to the shoulder i broke, and imagine it will be a time before I can start building that muscle back. I am only at 4 weeks now, and taking a multivitamin, I see I probably need to get some calcium supps too. This is a great web site and a lot of encouragement. Hey, anyone fall from higher than a 16 hand horse? about 5.5 feet at the saddle.

    Heh, yup, I’ve had a couple of good falls from my horse riding days. Luckily nothing broken but ego. For a good horse related collar bone story check out Barb’s entry (April 8, 2005)

    “… when my horse jumped out of his stall-over the door- and crushed me against the door jam …”

    That one still makes me wince!

  185. victor

    I just broke a bone for the first time 2 days ago and i cant sleep due to discomfort and pain. thank you for sharing your experience since i was getting depressed with all of this pain. Vicodin can only help so much.

  186. Scott

    Hi folks,
    Great site, thanks Hans, good to see some of the comments made from others.
    God I’m bored stupid………33yr old, single, UK (god that was like a dating ad). Broke left clavicle very close to A/C joint exactly two weeks ago when I slipped in the shower of all places (yes I was alone, no I wasn’t drunk – seems to be the first two questions from people :)). I didn’t realise how bad it was for the first week so drove the 150 miles to work (stay in hotels during week) and did most of the usual day to day stuff including sitting in front of a PC all day typing with both hands.
    After work pestered me to go to A&E on Thursday last week, I finally did and the x-ray showed the break, diagonal upwards break about 2cm away from AC joint. Got sling (full arm support and very adjustable, actually very good though got back & neck pain)
    Apart from sling, no pain meds from hospital which surprised me. Question (and actually only 1 of 2 questions in post, the rest is just a rant/bored observation): doc said that smokers are 50% more likely to need surgery than non-smokers (yes I smoke), anybody know why, anything to do with some of the 5000 chemicals in them that stops the body from healing?

    Check out this article on Wikipedia that describes the bone healing process:

    Note the smoking comments in the complications section in the article.

    Saving grace: it’s less painful than last year’s fall from a bike that ended in torn rib ligaments (I think it was that anyway, felt similar to that level of pain, didn’t get myself checked out as I was abroad), reading site though, sounds like this will take a lot longer to heal…
    Since I was using arm for that first week of hell, I didn’t do myself any favours, as far as I’m concerned, recuperation started when I got the sling and stopped using the arm.
    Can’t drive, doc said that my insurance wouldn’t cover me in result of accident and I would be liable to prosecution. Car is now in work car park, besides it really hurt trying to turn the steering wheel! How long before you can drive again?

    Tough question because everyone heals differently. Can only be answered by you and/or your doctor.

    I’m at home after catching a lift from work colleague, back to public transport & taxis for now, next x-ray in one week to check for ligament damage/progress, just sent mail to Bupa to ask about appt for 2nd opinion.
    Finally managing to get some sleep at night as pain subsides. Best position I’ve found is to have a pillow down your side of the break, allow shoulder to rest on the edge of it whilst partially sleeping on other shoulder/back, also stops you accidentally rolling onto bad side. Getting up is still not pain free but getting easier.
    Not using left arm at all, no easy feat being left handed, right handed typing, shaving, washing hair and brushing teeth, that’s just plain strange to do. Forget cooking, it’s takeout and microwave meals so far.
    Miss the car, can’t play the xbox or battlefield 2142, no shops nearby, no mates nearby (thats what I get for living centrally for work). Thank god for online food shopping, bored of daytime tv (thank you peer to peer networks for some relief), bored of the internet and generally just feeling sorry for myself…
    Drinking lots of milk to get the calcium and protein up, some oily fish such as mackerel for the omega 3.
    Other things noted from the 1st week:
    Do as little as possible
    Use leg power for getting up/bending down, takes strain off upper body
    Allow yourself to smell for the first few days, showers may hurt
    Don’t try a bath, it’s hard to get into and even harder to get out of and yes it hurts!
    Keep the sling on whenever possible (or figure of 8 if it applies)
    Sneezing hurts
    Coughing hurts
    Waking up hurts
    People bumping you in shops hurts
    Ironing hurts
    Attempting to open tins, jars and bottles hurts
    Phobia of wasps SOOOO hurts
    Sitting in car when seatbelt rubs on broken collarbone hurts
    Having nothing to do means you may type too much on…..


    Anyway, friends picking me up tomorrow and I’m off to stay with them until Monday. Visits to family arranged for after then, no more need to do stuff for myself yay, looking forward to being pampered…

  187. kelly

    HANS Hi, I broke my collar bone 1/3, on the right on august 5th…this happened on the beach..happily enjoying my swim a rather large wave washed over me, producing a washing machine effect, when it was finished with the spin, it smashed me against the sea bed, causing at first a fracture that at that point both ends were together, they put a flimsy arm sling which obviously was not enough because at 3am the next morning ……WOW…it snapped completley, in the x ray you can see that one side completley overlaps the other 2.5 cm..they put the figure of 8, and that was that …i am english, but living in canary islands and i wanted your opinion hans on whether you think that this type of fracture should be operated on? It will be 3 weeks on sunday and i now have more movement however i get alot of pain in the right shoulder blade, due to the scoliosis that was already there….im feeling very low as sleeping is the worst…i always have slept on my side , will i be able to do this in the future without feeling the snapping sensation??? and pain. A lump has started to form now, I am 30 yrs old…HELP!!! and thanks

    I can’t tell you if an operation would be the correct approach to take. A doctor that has examined you will be the best person to answer your question. From what you describe, your break is similar to many that have written in here. Some have gone the route of getting an operation but most have let it heal on its own. Talk to your doctor and possibly a second doctor for the best option for you.

  188. Dave Wilkins

    rgd. day-trading (or just end-of-day trading) of just
    about anything,
    these seem to be the gold standards:
    all are professional platforms, and not very expensive for
    individual investors.
    why not check them out?
    once one is comfortable with the day-trading, this is
    the fastest order exection.
    or, an even better way to spend this down time with
    the broken clavicle,
    re-live the 2006 Florida Gator bcs championship season.
    every play of every game (no commercials):
    my favourite is the LSU and Arkansas.
    the bcs game was quite boring.

  189. Dave Wilkins

    sorry before of unpleasant desc. of vicodin.
    i’m just trying to offer a warning.
    i’d always thought myself immune from any drug side-effects.
    on that note:
    any suggestion of what is optimal diet?
    i was told the 3 most important:
    (1) calcium citrade (1500-mg)
    (2) protein (max)
    (3) water (max)
    does anyone know if “whey” protein or “animal” protein better?
    i only eat whey, but don’t know what it is.
    what else to consume in large quantities for complete recovery?

  190. Mike

    The trading I am doing is with puts and calls. They are options, a put bought says you think the stock is gonna go down by some expiration date and call is the opposite. its gambling and I didnt win this week. But, i am getting knitted. Problem is that my shoulder muscles are always hurting me. I am going for an MRI to check on tears. Did you guys tear any muscles?

  191. Dave Wilkins

    THANKS so much the inspiration i find in this article.
    i am in week #2 of recovery.
    chad, you have escaped me from an abyss of self pity.
    i am overcome with positive energy.
    today, i had assumed my golf passion was forever over,
    and my dream of dreams, to race hawaii ironman, had ended.
    how could my life change so much, so quickly, because a dog
    ran in front of my bike.
    [note]: rather than kill the dog, i bailed to the left…
    i woke-up and knew my clavicle was broken.
    and i knew there is no way to put a cast on a shoulder.
    so, if i could just tough-out the pain, why call an ambulance?
    well, i did make the call, and
    as expected in the er, i got an x-ray, a shot of morphine,
    a 3-days perscription for “pre poxypene”, and a list of doctors
    in the area.
    oh. and a $1600 medical bill…
    and lost my $160 heart rate monitor….
    and lost my $120 iPod ……….
    and lost my $200 “good luck” necklace …..
    my recovery has been 95% the same as chad’s.
    even down to the colouring of the bruising.
    i feel so much better.
    i had assumed calcification had started.
    i liberally used Vicodin for first 6 days.
    this destroyed my ability to digest food.
    i had about 4 days of undigested food in me before
    i realized this.
    “passing” undigested pasta, salad, etc. hurt as much as the
    clavicle break.
    for 4 days now. i have no desire to eat.
    for the time being, i only drink fruit smoothies,
    gatorade, tea, etc.
    please, be very wary of VICODIN…….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  192. Steven

    Thanks Mike
    My Boss is supposed to be bringing some papers to tell me whats there, It will help, but once I go on that plan I have to pay for my own insurance which is expensive and 60% income is better than none, but with medical bills and insurance my Outgo is at about 120% of my income right now.( I was fortunate to have saved all my vaction and sick days over the past 3 years so I didn’t go off payroll right away)
    I keep hoping this thing will knit together so i don’t have to go that far.
    I picked up an old used stationary bike yesterday so I can try and get back into shape. felt good just to get my heart rate up again. Who knows, maybe that will help me heal.
    I have been trying to sell stuf on Ebay, but not much luck so far, what kind of trading are you doing?

  193. Mike

    Hey Steven, I am not sure many people are looking at this anymore but I am. Don’t you have a Long term Disability Plan? Is it not enough to cover your families expenses? I have a Short Term Co plan and then a long term kicks in after 3 Months. The LTerm pays 62% or something and I bought it up in my benefits pckge to about 75% of my salary(Avg past 3 Yrs I think) Anyway, there is a disability policy for all people. You first check your company, then Health insurance, the state, you know the deal. Do the calls and you will find benefits for you. It sounds as though you are a little worse off than me. I just had no idea it was this tough to get right back to things. My Collar Bone is still in a good amt of pain after the 3 weeks but my Dr didnt say anything about it not knitting up.
    I have been playing with options trading online if your interested. The market is very volatile, which makes for a good chance to turn a profit daily. I made a few hundred yesterday but as most dudes dont tell ya, I had been down in my trading account a little. Since I have been home though, day trading minimally but picking up speed with it, I have been making money. Usually I just buy something and watch it a week or two and try to make 100 or more per week. It had been working until I got in one deal that sank me temporarily back to neutral. I am working my way back to the black. Fun though.
    Make some calls.

  194. Steven

    It is curious to me that out of all the comments I have read here almost no one is talking about finacial hardships due to this.
    I am a heavy Equipment Mechanic and So I have not been able to work.
    Its been 7 weeks, and still no sign of Bone union. Only a small callus in the ct scan. and the bone is still quite loose.
    the doctor took me out of the Figure 8 brace last week and said it just wasn’t doing anything.
    I have to get back to work.
    Has anyone else went seven weeks with no healing and then went on and healed?
    The Doctor wants to wait until 12 weeks and see, but if I get to 12 weeks and it still hasn’t healed, that means surgery and another 8 to 10 weeks before I can go back to work. As you can imagine that would be devastating to me and my family because I am the main income at home.
    Any thoughts?

  195. Mike

    Well, I guess you didnt expect all these comments but thanks for taking the action and getting some information for people like us on the web. I have googled and found you guys chatting it up and feel better about feeling so crappy. I broke my collar bone clean, 2 Fridays ago in a Friday Night Race Series, going about 27MPH. Hit the ground off the road so minimal Road Rash, nice for that but this sucks. I am not even making money day trading with my $50.
    So, I went and got certified as a Spin Instructor the day after, it is amazing what Pain meds can let you do, and since have been in pain. First week was just all Pain and immobility.
    The amazing aspect of this whole ordeal was the absolute lack of urgency and concern from the medical community for this injury. I am in the Healthcare Field and it took me lotsa calls and a few different offices before I was set up with a great Dr. It seems he is right on, says no surgery or pins are necessary and I need to srop moving now that I can move my arm. I really think I can ride but the risk of what could happen on a fall is trememndous. Cut arteries, punctured lungs and bad further damage. I can ride on the stationary bike but will give it a little more time before I get going. This is the beginning of the third week and I am still hurting with many different movements. I will check out your exercise routine and think keeping Aerobic capacity, leg weight lifting and some riding stationary is a good short term plan. How does that sound? What happens if I keep moving around and working with little concern? Anybody have long term concerns now?
    Thank again!

  196. oopsmike

    It’s been about two weeks since I broke my collar bone in a bicycle accident. The ER doctor told me that the break would resolve on its own and that I should wear the figure 8 and sling for 4-6 weeks and then go see an ortho for rehab. My primary care physician told me to go see an ortho right away. The pain in my shoulder had diminished and I was starting to get some mobility back. I even started riding the stationary bike at the gym. But I still had severe pain in my upper back even though spinal x-rays showed no damage. It hurt a LOT to lay down and sit up. I figured it was best to see an ortho sooner than later. My first ortho appointment was yesterday morning. He took follow-up x-rays that showed a complete clavical break and the ens of the bone weren’t even close to touching. It would never had healed on its own and my shoulder instability was causing my upper back pain. He scheduled me for surgery yesterday afternoon. I now have a long plate screwed in at several points along the break. The bone was broken in four places. So from what I’ve heard and read, upwards of 90% of clavical breaks resolve on their own. In some bases (e.g., compound fractures) it’s obvious that surgery is needed. But I guess in some cases like mine, people tell you to give it time but time won’t help. It’s just a question of how soon you find out thast surgery is needed after all. I can’t imagine enduring that kind of pain for a few more weeks before going in to see an ortho and finding out that I needed surgery all along. My advice is to see an ortho sooner than later, especially if you have a feeling that something isn’t right ..

  197. Adele

    Hello. Been reading all of the comments as im interested on how other people are dealing with a broken collar bone.
    This is the second time I have broken my collar bone. The first time it was my left hand side and didn’t take that long to heal as it was just cracked. However this time it is my right hand side, and the pain im getting is unreal! I live on the Isle of Skye. I have a cg 125cc as I am only learning, however I wanted to prove a point to my boyfriend (who also rides) that I coiuld ride my 125 to inverness and back. I made it to inverness but when back on the island, the roads where wet and my back tyre slipped away from me. I didn’t know what to do and put on the brakes, this did not help.
    it’s been just over a month and my doctors have not really told me anything, apart from when I will get an xray. I have had no advice from them. I am going to physio as I can not move my arm whithout holding it myself and even when I do that my arm isn’t moving that much. I don’t know what to do, any advice on what I should say to the doctors?
    Also how long where you or anyone off work? Iv been sighned off for 6 weeks which is nearly up and like I said I can’t really move my arm. I was told by physio that I should be off for three months untill it is healed.
    I work in a local supermarket and management are not understanding at all and iv had a bit of hassle from them, quote the words my manager used to me ” you have fucked me about! I would have been asking for a death wish if I was going 90mph on wet roads” which my reply was ” Im sorry but my 125cc only goes 60mph and I wasn’t even doing that speed”
    They also pulled me up as I was spotted in a pub, however I explained that I went in to let my brother know what happend to me. They decided to ignore the that statement. Im 20 years old and was hoping that someone could give me some advice on what to do in this situation?
    Thanks Adele

  198. John

    Hans – I just broke my collarbone yesterday (was suppose to go MTBing today so very bummed). It appears to have been one fracture and a chip out the backside – not to bad pain/mobility wise. I can move it around a bit. Anyways, the ER doc gave me a figure 8, no sling. Should I have a sling in conjunction with the figure 8? Also I took the 8 off last night when sleeping as it was just too darn uncomfortable as well as took it off in the shower. I just made sure to keep my arm at me side at 90 angle. Is this really bad? Thanks 🙂

  199. David S.

    Great site, love the race vids!
    After reading all of the collar bone break stories, I’ll throw mine in for consideration. Last fall during the first CX race of the season I got clipped by another rider on a fast downhill on the last lap and went down hard on my left shoulder and head in some 2-3″ rock (yeah a crazy course). When I got up I knew something was wrong, but smacked my brifters back into place and got back to racing (I was sitting third wheel before the hit). During hard breaking (at barriers) I would feel things ‘shift’ and lots of pain. Finished seventh, “talked” to the jerk who clipped me, and went to see the on site Doc. He was actually excited to see my injury!? He’s an ER doctor. The good news, I have really strong bones (no clavical break). The bad news, my ligaments aren’t as strong as my bones. I had an anterior sterno-calvicular dislocation, in other words my collar bone was torn from my breast bone. Ouch! The Doc said that he had only seen 5 or 6 in his entire career. I have since learned that these are fairly rare. My Ortho said that they only opperate on the worst cases or for ‘posterior’ dislocations. So just let the tendons heal. With the joint not being a weight bearing joint it should be close to new with time. The recovery and therapy was very painful. I had very limited ROM. I had a really tough time sleeping for about a month. There were days that I wish I had broken it instead. So if any of you are feeling down about your break, it could have been worse. Heal well.

  200. oopsmike

    I’m a triathlete and just broke my right collar bone this past Monday night in a bike fall. Ambulance, ER, Primary Care Physician follow-up, more X-Rays, pain meds, Motrin, etc. I’m wearing the figure 8 and waist wrap. Reading this site and y’all’s stories have been very helpful and encouraging (though sobering at the same time). So thanks! I’m at the very beginning of the recovery process. Could have been a lot worse but I’ll miss most of the season ..

  201. Josie

    First off.. this website was great.. now to my story.
    Playing tennis, i took a nasty fall on my left shoulder and found out at the hospital that it was a clean break. Doc says it should be healed in 3-6 but i wonder. Now this all happened a day ago. They sent me home in a sling and i was left to tough it the way i am 13. So the first night was excruciating and felt awkward. The bones weren’t aligned and it was very weird. So eventually i went to sleep on a soft bed on my back… now i didn’t get much sleep that night. I woke up in more pain then i went to sleep in. So getting up and dressed was a challenge but i went in the hot tub and that took the pressure off my shoulder. But getting out was bad. i was so tense.. so now ive been reading and watching movies.. so im wondering when ill be back at tennis and loosen up.. any help

    Lucky for you you’re still young. Generally the younger you are the faster you heal. But, each person’s break is unique. So there’s no way to tell you exactly when you will be healed. It also depends on how well you make an effort to recover. Listen to your doctor and give it time so it can heal. You will probably be ripping top spin serves in no time.

  202. Dawn

    wow, what a great site! i have to say, i think i have a unique situation, as i’ve managed to break both clavicles during one biking accident 4 weeks ago. yes, both. 🙂 i thought the right one was worse off because i’d landed on that side, had road rash on my shoulder blade and it hurt a lot more, but as it turns out, i broke the left one in two places.
    the first few days were comical hell as i had to wear a zipper up muumuu type nighty so that i could use the washroom by myself! so much for wearing slings… so i just basically did nothing for the first week but sit propped up in bed watching movies and wondering what forces of nature required me to learn this lesson! one collar bone would have been tolerable, but 2 is a bit ridiculous, let me tell you!
    after about 10 days i could dress the bottom half of me on my own, the top half still requires me to wear things that slip up feet first or zip up, haha. and since i thought my left arm was doing so well because it hurt less than the right, i used it more in doing everyday things. well, back to get more xrays after 10 days and it showed a displacement and a potential non union happening on the left side. crap. doc seems to think it would still heal on it’s own. but i had more xrays last week, and no change… it’s been 4 weeks. i’m frustrated, for sure, but hopeful that i will still achieve a union. i came on here looking for an answer to the figure 8 vs sling question, as i was given two slings, said they don’t use figure 8’s anymore. trying to keep my shoulders in proper alignment felt like they needed to be held back. do you think it’s too late to try a figure 8 after 4 weeks? there’s apparently not much calcification showing up on my xrays yet, but i wonder if this could have something to do with my body having to deal with two clavicles as opposed to one, so maybe my healing will be slower in general? any thoughts???
    wishing you all a speedy recovery!

  203. Margaret

    Hi reader!
    I just want to reiterate the value of finding this site – so comforting, informative and up-lifting! Go Google, thanks Hans!
    To the broken and mended, thank you all for your contributions. I have learned so much sharing your experiences and find it so interesting to read what adventurous sports you are all up to at such different ages.
    At 42 years old, I bought my first mountain bike on Saturday and took to the beautiful residential streets on Sunday with my boyfriend. Enjoying every minute, I approached a speed bump in the road and thought it a good idea to not ramp it but slow down a touch and pressed both brakes (no one told me about the flying effects of applied front brakes), found myself hitting the tar with a thump and crack and watched the bike land on me. &%#@! I couldn’t believe what had just happened

  204. Duncan

    HI. heres my story atm its been 12hrs since the incident. Last night i was play rugby in the under 16’s and there was about 5mins left and we needed to score to win and i toke a run straight at a guy and hit him hard shoulder on shoulder and i felt something click i thought it was just my shoulder and i kept going. about 10 seconds l8er i couldn’t move my arm s i went off and felt my collar bone and it was sticking out about half a cm and i said to the coach i had broken it, him and every1 else tells me it be in a lot more pain if i had. Mum then took me to emergency and after 30mins the lady gave me 4 pannadols like 1.5x what you’d take for a headache and said it wasn’t to bad. 1hr later they xray me and they said “WOW we had know idea it was that much out” and gave me adrenaline for the pain, xray showed my left clavicle snapped in half in the centre and displaced by about 1.1cm. thy they put my in a clavicle brace just a figure 8 around each shoulder to pull then back, worst thing is its long weekend and i gotta wait 3 till Tuesday before the surgeon decides to operate and put the bones back or not. At the moment in sitting here in a lotta pain trying to pass time. anyway I’ll post again in a week with the news if any1 wants to know lol.

  205. Jason

    Ok so the doc reckons it’s ok, just to slow down physio. he does think I very possibly may get non-union. How bad is non-union really (as a musician and sportsman) – it feels like its just plate time. Anyone have non-union and are living with it fine?

  206. Jason

    Ok saw the doc and it’s ok (ish), been told to slow down the physio. He did say I’m quite likely to have non-union though and so maybe an operation. Some people seem to think non-union’s the end of the world, is it possible to live with it (as a musician and a sportsman) or is it simply plate time? Basically how bad is non-union really? Anybody else have non-union and are ok?

  207. Jonathan

    Hey sorry i have a question though,
    do you have any problems with your collar bone now? and have you broken it again and do you have full motion?

    No problems with my collar bone. And I had full range of motion after it healed.

    But I don’t have full range of motion now because of another crash. I injured my shoulder and that has only healed to around 95% range of motion.

  208. Jonathan

    HEY, im 14 turning 15 i broke my right collar bone about three and a half weeks ago. first week was pretty bad, i was in a figure 8 brace and couldn’t do much myself. rested it for the week after that ( was able to put on clothes , take shower, etc.)
    week three almost full motion of my arm. today got my figure 8 brace taken off. hopefully it’ll heal soon

  209. ivan

    Hi, wow didn’t know so many people break their collarbones.
    I broke my clavicle 1 week and 2 days ago.
    The doctors here dont give much information.I broke it while playing soccer,fell awkwardly on my left shoulder.
    The doctor just told me to go home and the bone will heal itself. Ask me to come back in a week, atleast they gave me the x-ray copy. Gave me some pain killers and magnesium. The triangular arm sling they gave was horrid. I looked like a injured soldier from battle. So I went to a pharmacy and bought my own sling which cost about 5usd.
    Anyway the first 2 days was hell. I could not even step out of the car with my left side, cos everytime i stretch my leg, my shoulder would be in absolute pain. Even they had to slow down if they went over a speed bump, or i just grip my arm in fear make sure my shoulder doesnt move a muscle.
    3-4 days was much better, not much pain apart from accidently moving my arm in the wrong direction. I started driving, its automatic ok! Still feel the soreness. putting on a shirt was a torture…slow and painful
    5-7 day i could wake up in the morning without having someone pull me out of bed. i stopped taking painkillers which is bad for your liver but i still take salmon omega and calcium.
    i can move my arm half way up and forward and back slowly and only to a certain extent….could button up my own 501’s
    8-9 day i can take the sling off and stretch my arms. Wearing the sling to long now makes my arm tired. sometimes i take it off and then put it on again.I still have sore neck and shoulders. Putting on clothes has become a little easier. But i can still feel my shoulders has not really healed fully.i can walk without the sling but my shoulders get tired very fast. But im still not doing any kind of physical activites.
    ok then be going to the doctor tomorro,hopefully my bones have started to unify…. wil b updating later. thnks for all the info guys.

  210. Jason

    This site should be prescribed by doctors!
    I’m 18 and I broke my left collar bone (right handed luckily), skiing, over 8 weeks ago. Here’s my story:
    Day 1: French Doctor gives me figure of 8, tells me it”ll be about 4 weeks.
    Day 3: London Doctor gets rid of my figure of 8, puts me in a collar and cuff (just supporting the wrist – I now realise how **** that is)
    Week 4: Begin physio – as this is ‘normal’ according to the physio.
    Week 5: Doc looks at x ray and puts me back in sling, blames me for starting physio too soon (I was advised by the physio).
    Week 6: Screw this, go to a specialist, puts me in broad arm sling (supprots whole arm) for 2 weeks.
    Week 8: Specialist feels its going well enough to (re)start physio (I go to a new physio!)
    Week 9: Feels like my shoulder’s dropping – ‘cliff edge’ feels like its getting even bigger. Back in sling, going back to the doctor.
    Sorry there isn’t really a point, I’ll update, but this is just to emphasize the importance of the early stages of healing. Thank you for this reassuring forum, it has really helped. Any advice? I just want to re-break it and start over/surgery, but I’ve got exams for a month now and I need to be conscious!!

  211. Nick

    After Breaking my collar bone in Late September. I want to start lifting weights so this does not happen again. When ever i start to lift it feel like ” someone stabbing a knife into where i broke my collar bone ” even when i stretch. Why would this happen ?
    – Nick

    It’s hard to say what might be causing the pain. The break might not have completely healed. Or there’s a nerve that’s being impinged.

    I would recommend you follow up with a doctor regarding the pain you are experiencing. Having someone examine you will be the only way to know for sure.

  212. jai

    hello hans,broke my right clavicle 18 months ago. it has never healed and after a third opinion i will go under the knife in august this year.The planned procedure is for bone grafting with the iliac crest bone and fixing it with a distal clavicle plate or if distal fragment isnt large enough they will use a hook plate.If there is still a non union they will do a procedure called a Weaver dunn.When the initial fracture occured they found out i had osteoporosis.They only gave me a sling and told me to come back in six weeks.On my second consultation there was no healing of the bones and talk about plating,”come back in four weeks,keep the sling on”.on my return they said i was ok even though there was a spurr nearly piercing my eh!

  213. Orph

    Hi just saying thanx for answering my questions i am going back to play rugger in about 2 months and i am looking faward to getting back i have left it 6 months in total after breaking and the excess bone around the break has worn away leave a nice kink in my collar bone but it is normal width again, thanks

  214. Paul

    Hello all,
    I broke my left clavicle (i’m right handed, thank God) 4 weeks ago yesterday. I’ll try to be detailed. I am very active, 25 yrs old, and in a serious fitness re-lifestyling.
    Was in a MTB race, just a couple miles from the finish, and just hauled a little too much ass through a very fast and rough section. Came off the pedals, then over the bars, flew for a good while, then landed hard directly on my shoulder. There was a course worker manning this notorious spot, and he said he heard it snap. I didn’t believe him at first, but after a 30 min walk pushing the bike through the Texas hills I was about to cry. Luckilly the aid cart came around. Stayed around the course without pain killers, just a makeshift sling and cold packs, for another 6 hrs to watch my buddies race. That hurt, but at least i finally won in the raffle!:)
    So, X-rayed the same day, had to cut my new jersey off. No horizontal overlapping or too much separation, but a vertical separation of about an inch. One clean break. Doc put me in a fig-8 brace, vicodin, said check back every 2 weeks.
    First 2 days are the worst. As stated, getting out of bed in the morning will likely be the roughest part. Showering is interesting. Hurt pretty good.
    Week 1: I bought a recumbant stationary on day 3 and had ridden 52 miles in a week. figured out how to do the fig-8 myself. drove on day 4, manual to boot. just had to shift when i didn’t need to turn.
    I am in the process of training for a marathon on June 23, so getting back to running was paramount for me.
    Week 2: Off the vicodin, it was making me act weird. As soon as i felt able i was walking a couple miles at the track. Tried jogging a couple times with no luck. Learned to lock my hands together at my chest, so my upper body would move as one, and i could run with little or no pain for a couple miles. This was tiresome and hard to maintain with sweat pouring down.
    Got my 2 week X-ray. Looked largely the same, even though i thought i felt the bones were together. However my range of motion and lack of pain were very surprising to my doc. The break had stabilized. Told him i was training for a marathon and had been running, he was surprised. said if it didn’t hurt i was good to try. he is a fellow runner, so he knows my dire need to get out there. got a nice sling which allowed me to run without pain as long as i wanted. said come back in a month.
    week 3: Vitamins and supplements paying off. Taking a multi, calium/magnesium, glucosamine/chondroitin, various energy and recovery drinks. Running with the sling and fig-8, working my milage back up. very little pain unless i forget i’m hurt and move wrong.
    week 4: (present) i ran 36 miles last week. just wearing the fig-8, no sling needed anymore. i can use my left arm for alot of stuff. to help get dressed, do hair, light lifting. feel very good. no pain hardly ever.
    I am in no rush to ditch the fig-8. i have 2 actually. i don’t see why someone wouldn’t want to wear it unless it was actually on the break. I might wear it forever! ok not really. but i feel naked without it. will finish the 8 weeks with it.
    Almost back on track for marathon training.
    Won’t try the MTB till after the run, should be good to go by then.
    I expect to see some progress in 2 weeks on the next X-ray.

  215. Burry

    I love this site! I broke my collar bone in February and had a ton of questions identical to the ones above. My experience was a little difference by the sounds of it….
    I broke my left collar bone (and I’m left handed) and separated my shoulder snowboarding. There was about one inch separation between the bones and it hurt like hell when I first did it. However, I was not put on a figure 8 brace and I was out of a sling after 6 days. The more I moved my arm, the better it felt. If I went a day without moving it, I would be up all night from the pain. It is so important to keep those muscles in motion. After only 5 or 6 weeks I had a good bridge formed and for some reason, the only time it hurts is when I do my makeup or drink coffee with that arm (odd). But I’ve een doing yoga, running and had full range of motion after only 4 weeks. The point to this is DON’T immobilize your arm too much and don’t sit around and let your muscles deteriorate. My doctor was impressed because I ended up not even needing physio and my recovery time sounded much shorter. I hope this helps anyone else, because I hated having to learn this stuff on my own!

  216. Michele

    My son broke his collar bone Friday while playing football with some friends. He is a typical teenager, no patience and crabby as all get out and it has only been 1 day!! He is wearing the 8 brace constantly and the sling occasionally. We have found his arm gets red if it hangs down, so he has to keep it bent or in the sling. I was not shown the proper way to use the brace but I think I figured it out although it seems tighter under his arm pit. I would appreciate some advice on the proper brace positioning and what is the best position to sleep in.
    Also, what you do about school, did the other children stay home or continue to go during the healing process?

    You might refer your son to some of the other comments from teenagers that were also too rushed to start activity before fully healed. One re-broke the healing bones and damaged the shoulder even more so that he has nerve damage. Ah, but getting a teen to listen is something I can’t help with! :’)

    The figure-8 brace is a tricky contraption to adjust. Especially by yourself as I learned after a few attempts. As all figure-8 braces are not the same my advice may or may not work with the one your son is using. But, with mine I would have it adjusted so that it was not over tightened. It doesn’t require extreme constriction. Adding additionally padding between the straps and body can help with irritation. Too much movement can also work against the brace and cause irritation.

    For sleeping try using extra pillows to restrict movement (rolling around) and to prop up the arm/shoulder. Some have found using a reclining chair to be easier to sleep in.

    – Hans

  217. Claire Benson, Cumbria, England

    Michael McMurray wrote:
    “Use this experience to make changes you never considered about fitness or how you care about your body.”
    This has definately happened to me as I turned the negative situation of being in a car-crash with a drunk-driver last November & having surgery to fit a plate to my left clavicle, into something totally positive & have made changes to my life.
    The healing’s going really well & the whole crash was a definate reality check. I’m probably fitter now than I have been in a few years. I’m taking part in sponsored runs to raise money for cancer-charities & I’ve also decided to sign up for the London Marathon next year. Something I’d probably never have done if I hadn’t been in the crash. I hope you’re all able to make a positive change to your lives in some way & not let a bad experience get ya’s down.
    Happy healing vibes coming across the pond to you all xxx

  218. Michael McMurray

    Update from the April 11th post – Cat3 Cervelo wanna be…..;)
    2 weeks after surgery – 17 staples out on 4/16 and they also took the cast off my broken hand. It’s amazing how much you take for granted being able to use your good hand/arm – I will never look at a person with prosthetics the same again. Prognisis is good – healing well. I now have a plate with 7 screws – 3 on each side of the break, and one to attach the “floater bone”. The wound is really sore, like a sunburn, and the nerve sensation around the area is slowly coming back. I apply Aquafor and Aloe Vera everyday and it helps. Bruising is significant but fading. Shoulder and chest is really sore as my Ortho said I was “really busted up in there”. The large fragment torn into my pec muscle, he also retreived a thin chip and removed it. Also had to sew two stitches in my pec. The good news, riding my trainer since 4/16…yes, the Videos and Techno music help me spin and recently I have been incorporating intervals and climbing into the routine. Riding up to 2 hours now and it’s all good. From the waist up I have about 80% range of motion which allows for some effective cord stretching and light resistance work. Minimal atrophy thank God but my shoulder is weak. I have personal trainer that is helping me through a very specific program for stregthening/stretching – not only for that area but for total body for balance. I am eating higher protein, taking calcium & glucosamine, and am on Celebrex for a month which is awesome stuff(not for everyone….). For those of you considering surgery don’t be afraid of it too much – I was busted up pretty bad. Most fractures do not require it. I am 47, and it also was a personal decision to do so…I wanted my body back the way it was…..well, sort of.
    Follow-up on the 14th of May and hopefully I will have the healing in place to start some outdoor riding then. However, like an earlier post reads, and as Hans recommends, rather sacrifice 3 months of patience and allowing the healing to be complete, than start back too soon and lose 6 months to your ego. I will update you all again later in May – to Hans and everyone out there stay the course. Use this experience to make changes you never considered about fitness or how you care about your body. Good luck.



  220. Jo Johnson

    I broke my clavicle while on an airport shuttle bus on Easter Sunday. Stood up to zip my suitcase shut and at that moment the driver had to slam on his brakes to prevent a collision. Slammed hard against the dashboard and then dropped to the floor like a rag doll. A SLOW trip to the ER confirmed that I had broken my clavicle and had some heavy duty bruising all along my right side from the hard hit. OUCH!! The first week was brutal. I have had three major surgeries in my life and the pain from this was right up there. It has been 11 days and I am definately feeling much better but the pain is still bad at night. I found this site by the great God google and it has helped me tremendously. It is like cyber chicken soup! When I find myself completely discouraged, I just head to this site and it gives me immediate comfort. One question, I am a flight attendant and my job requires me to push and pull heavy carts. Any idea how long I will be out of work? Also, I was told I should have NO movement on my right side and others say they we’re advised the opposite. I’m very confused. Thank you Hans for starting this site. You are all in my prayers!

    Sorry to reply so late. I’ve just returned from a trip to Japan. On those long flights I had a good opportunity to see the constant “push and pull” the attendants needed to do. With a broken collar bone that would be very difficult.

    I don’t know how long a recovery you will requre before you may work again. That’s a common question but the answer is different for every person. Following up with your doctor will be the best way to know.

    As for “no movement”, that’s important for the first week or two so that it gives the broken bones a chance to start connecting. Movement can hinder that process. Bending your elbow should be fine. Just restrain movement that shifts your shoulder and might move the collar bones. That’s also what a figure-8 brace is great for handling. It will restrain the shoulder and allow your muscles to relax so they don’t need to constantly hold the shoulder steady.

    After a week or two it’s important to start moving your arm and working the joints so that the joints don’t lose their range-of-motion. Use pain as an indicator when to stop movement. This is also where a physical therapist can give advice on recovery

    – Hans

  221. Ant

    Well I had my final follow-up appointment at my Ortho yesterday, 6 weeks after MTB crash (clean break no surgery was required). I wore a sling for 1 week, only took one pain killer each evening for first week, was on indoor trainer 2 days after crash (doctor said fitness and ongoing activity resulting in increased blood flow will speed up recovery). At week 3 check-up no visible progress on X-ray but it was important to see the alignment was OK. I was riding on the road doing 80 Km sessions by week five. At yesterdays appointment doctor very happy with alignment and the bone is generating nicely. So he declared it clinicaly fixed and advised no contact sport (hard knocks) for a few more weeks. By then the clavicle will be stronger than before it broke. Anyway I’m very happy as I got to spend the weekend mountain biking. Great stuff, great site……. Get well soon everyone. Cheers



    I can answer about having trouble sleeping. That’s a common problem. It can be difficult finding a comfortable position. Try using several pillows to place around your shoulder and body. The pillows help to keep you from rolling around and to position the shoulder and arm so it doesn’t hurt. Also, others have used a reclining chair for sleeping. The upright position relieves some of the stress on the shoulder and provides more comfort.

    – Hans

  223. Michael McMurray

    Before i start….thanks for this site!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is going to sound like a broken record……I broke my right collarbone on March 29th on my Road Bike(thank god the $5000 Cervelo is fine……). I went home from the hospital in a sling and on some great morphine…..I’m 47 and noone would turn on any Hendrix. The following Tuesday I saw my Ortho and he recommended surgery – 1.6in horizontal overlap, .4in vertical gap with two good sized splinters, one which was poking my pec muscle. Was riding a stationary trainer 5 days after the break. Surgery was on 4/9. It’s 4/11 and i feel great. Called ortho today and i can drive and do whatever but I must rest – and I am stubborn – but I am resting. Have good range of motion in the shoulder and I am typing this with no pain – even with a cast on my right hand – which I also broke; darn speed bumps. Stiches come out on 4/16 and I plan on doing therapy right away but taking it easy. I ride 10,000 miles a year as a Cat3 masters rider so my fitness and base is awesome.
    What can I expect? i here so many different healing periods. i am being told with my plate, 4-5 weeks to resume outdoor riding. I am already riding on a trainer with no PAIN – and that is my gauge.

    First, I highly recommend letting your body heal before pushing it too hard. Be smart about your recovery and training. If you start to fatigue or generate pain then back off. And don’t forget it’s very easy to get to the point without pain then try something too hard and re-injure yourself.

    Now on to a good note. Since you were already active and fit before the accident that will help with a quicker recovery. I’m also a Cat 3 masters racer and I was back on my bike just after 4 weeks. But I didn’t have an operation. So, again, keep positive but don’t push it.

    Also, if you didn’t read the other collar bone pages (link at top of this page), there’s one that outlines my training plan. Good reference for maintaining fitness.

    – Hans

  224. Peter Lloyd

    An update from above. I’m now eight weeks out from my operation to plate my collar bone back together, last week I saw the doctor for the the second time since the operation. Movement has been getting better and better, to the extent that I now almost have a full range of motion. I can still feel a twinge when I lift anything, and that way I can control what I lift. The physio told me it’d be ok to swim, so I’ve been back in the pool doing an easy 500m. And the Doctor was very pleased ‘excellent progress’ he thought. From the X-ray he was sure that the original bone had knitted back together (finally after five years broken!) although wasn’t sure about the bone graft. Anyway the shoulder feels great now – I hardly notice it sometimes – and much better than it had been as a non-union. My posture is better, I feel more relaxed, less tired at the end of the day. These are small things but in my view the operation was definitely worth having.

  225. Virgil

    Thanks Ant, got a bit of an update so when people read this, it may cheer them up.
    Today was my 2nd week into the break and I already have the ‘healing bump’ which has been reducing every few days. I can move my arm much more easily, now carry drinks and bring the cup near my mouth (don’t want to push it though) I’m still babying it a little, because what scares me the most is dislocating it. I’ve been taking normal over the counter meds for minimal pain every now and then. What hurts is my shoulder from lack of movement, but at this point i’m getting to use it more.
    I’m very happy to be where i’m at so soon. I hope other people can read this and be assured that as long as you don’t go wild, the only downside to this break is having to take it easy.
    I do have a question though… how strong is the inflammation? As far as keeping the bones in place? I don’t even like to walk by doors or near people thinking if I get bumped I might knock the bones out of alignment, haha.

    Funny you should ask. I just watched the movie Unbreakable that contains a character played by Samuel L. Jackson with a genetic disease that allows his bones to easily break if knocked into. Luckily you don’t have that!

    As for your question, it’s difficult to answer. Bumps shouldn’t be a problem. Just be careful lifting things and straining your arm. If your shoulder starts to hurt then back off.

    – Hans

  226. Trace

    First, I’d like to say that I’m thankful to have found this forum. It’s been comforting to know that I’m not alone in the world.
    I, too, broke my right collar bone. I was riding my motor scooter when I had an encounter with a car. The car won. The car either backed out the gas station in front of me, or was travelling the oncoming lane and turned in front of me. All I know is that suddenly, there was a car less than 20 feet in front of me blocking my path. I remember planning my route aroud the back of the car. Next, I’m picking myself up off the pavement.
    I was checked out at the ER. One ruptured ear drum, and one clavicle broken in 2 places. They sent me home with some pain killers and a sling. I saw the Ortho Dr. several days later. I was told to use my arm as much as the pain allows. 8 weeks later I was stil hurting from the bottom of my rib cage to the top of my shoulder. The muscles apparently have to compensate for the lack of structural support. After more x-rays, the Dr. recommends that I have it surgically repaired.
    The surgery was 2 1/2 weeks ago. The collarbone feels much better now. My shoulder joint now aches when I try to move too far. Pain radiates down my arm toward my elbow also. I hope this will lessen over time. Again, my Dr. told me to use my arm as much as the apin will allow. I start physical therapy soon. I hope that PT will give me my range of motion back. I’m more than 3 months into this experience and ready to feel better.

  227. Ant

    Hey Virgil, Dont stress if you are feeling comfortable live with it. I broke my RHS clavicle on 3 March (for the 2nd time) in a MTB spill. I wore a sling for the first week and was advised that once I can do without the sling i.e. operate without discomfort I should drop it. I did after 1 week and started to drive. Since then I have achieved almost full mobility of my arm above head already. I do doubt the fiborus bridge has happend as this takes several weeks. So I stand by the advise I got, as long as it doesnt cause pain use your arm. Pain is the indicator that you are doing something to soon or just being plain stupid.

  228. Virgil

    Hey, I have a few questions. I broke my collar bone on the 24th of last month so my recovery has been only slightly over a week. Long story short, I fell off my ATV not paying attention at about 40mph. Was spring break in Mexico (Peurto Penasco) not the best place to break a bone. In mexico, that is. Anyway I seen the Dr., got my X-ray and he basically went right to it explaining my break was clean, but overlapping badly. Probably an inch. Then he strapped me up a little overly tight with the figure 8, and for the first time I felt SOME pain, and a little odd movement.
    Got to the states, took two more X-rays confirming my thoughts – that figure 8 popped the bones back to meet up. That was last Monday, exactly one week ago. Now, the brace is still on, no sling, and i’m very concerned. I don’t know if my tolerance of pain is excellent, but I literally feel no discomfort to speak of. Getting in and out of bed I just help myself with my good arm. I’m trying not to use my bad arm much and i’m sure that it’s helping.
    Basically my question is, it’s impossible to have the fiborus(sp) bridge already after one week right? I feel no bone movement when moving in and out of bed, nothing. I really need to get back to work though, so I wanted to ask some people with experience if at the area i’m at now with no discomfort to mild moving, would it be OK for me to drive a car and take it easy? I drive for a living, i’m a lot attendant at a very big car dealership. I really need to get back to work as funds are dwindling. Looking for any input.

  229. Virgil

    Hey, I have a few questions. I broke my collar bone on the 24th of last month so my recovery has been only slightly over a week. Long story short, I fell off my ATV not paying attention at about 40mph. Was spring break in Mexico (Peurto Penasco) not the best place to break a bone. In mexico, that is. Anyway I seen the Dr., got my X-ray and he basically went right to it explaining my break was clean, but overlapping badly. Probably an inch. Then he strapped me up a little overly tight with the figure 8, and for the first time I felt SOME pain, and a little odd movement.
    Got to the states, took two more X-rays confirming my thoughts – that figure 8 popped the bones back to meet up. That was last Monday, exactly one week ago. Now, the brace is still on, no sling, and i’m very concerned. I don’t know if my tolerance of pain is excellent, but I literally feel no discomfort to speak of. Getting in and out of bed I just help myself with my good arm. I’m trying not to use my bad arm much and i’m sure that it’s helping.
    Basically my question is, it’s impossible to have the fiborus(sp) bridge already after one week right? I feel no bone movement when moving in and out of bed, nothing. I really need to get back to work though, so I wanted to ask some people with experience if at the area i’m at now with no discomfort to mild moving, would it be OK for me to drive a car and take it easy? I drive for a living, i’m a lot attendant at a very big car dealership. I really need to get back to work as funds are dwindling. Looking for any input.

  230. Randy P.

    Update: I’ve just tried to stay as immobile as possible after waking every day and have been able to keep the fracture from separating. At 4 weeks and 5 days, I have now kept the fracture together for the last 6 days. It is now pretty strong and I am out and about for about half a day and resting in a recliner for the rest of the day. I’m still wearing the figure of 8 as it definitely supports the weight of the arm and shoulder and keeps my injured shoulder pulled back in position. I’ve been taking a maximum dosage of the following vitamins and minerals for 3 weeks now. Vitamin C, D, E, Coral Calcium, silica, lysine, Omega 3-6-9, and Resvereratrol and a multi. While sitting around all day I would continually monitor the gap and overlap of the fracture by feeling it through the skin with my good hand and try to stay in a position that kept everything lined up. This was tedious and seemed a endless job but I feel it has helped to heal it in the right position. At night I laid flat on my back after about the second week, propping the injured arm and shoulder with pillows to keep things all lined up. The hardest part was sitting up without upsetting it until it started getting solid.
    Well, it feels so good to move around now without worrying about whether the fracture is going to separate. At nearly 50 years old I feel so blessed that I am on my way back to my “old” self. I hope this has been helpful to others and wish you all the very best!

    Congratulations on your recovery. You are also a fine example of how to help oneself recover from the injury.


  231. Brian Merrill

    I just got back from Glamis Sand Dunes. So here I sit reading all of these stories about broken collar bones. I wonder if this bump on my right collar bone will just get better and go away? Nope. After reading all of this I think I need to go to ER. Darn it! I don’t want to miss any work. I operate a power plant and there are only two of us that work there. But we’ll see. I think I’ll rest a little then go in. I was jumping a little 4 foot jump on my CR250 and the landing was too soft and I went over the handle bars. I’ve done that before and only pushed the helmet cam into the the sand. This time I felt my shoulder change position. I should have been wearing shoulder protectors. I hope it heels before next Halloween. That’s when we hit Glamis again. But there is all the jet skiing in the summer. I’ll slow down when I’m 80. Right now I’m 57.

    Helmet cam? Where’s the footage from that? That would be exciting to see!


  232. Steve W

    Here’s a follow-up on my surgery of four weeks ago. I’m free of pain now (and not on any painkiller drugs), but am still not allowed to use my shoulder. I saw the doctor on Monday, and he does not want to start any re-hab for at least another two weeks. This was disappointing to hear. I’m wearing a shoulder immobilizer (similar to the one pictured here:
    which I like better than a sling. For one thing, you can free up your lower arm, while keeping the upper arm immobilized. I’m allowed to do some arm exercises, such as curls with light weights, that do not used the shoulder joint. I’m walking about 2 miles a day for exercise, or using a stationary bike if it rains. This week I’ve started mixing in a little bit of jogging to get my heart rate up.
    The plate itself is made of a chromium-cobalt alloy. It is attached to the top of the collarbone with four screws. This positioning surprised me a bit when I saw the X-Ray, as I thought it would be attached to the front. I guess it won’t be stopping any hockey pucks! The screw closest to the outside of the shoulder is about twice as long as the others and goes through the collarbone into the bone below it. The plate, when viewed edge-on from the front, is flat, while the bone is curved. This means there is a gap at the end between the plate and the bone. This was also surprising to see. It shows up as a noticeable lump from the outside. When the doctor saw that he said “Oh

  233. Randy P.

    Another one bites the dust! Ok, my friends all tell me I’m not a kid anymore but at 49 I still feel 29. Well, let’s say I did until I was out riding in the desert on my Honda XR-650R on February 23, a little over two weeks ago. I went over the bars and landed on the back of my head (helmet attached)and my right shoulder. My collar bone was clearly fractured and was sticking up against my skin.
    With no insurance I opted to have some friends research a bit before running to the emergency room. General consensus seemed to be there is no real rush or anything that really needed to be done immediately except address the pain and try to keep the bone in place. Well, I downed a lot of Ibuprofen between that Fri. and Tue when I saw the Ortho. A friend loaned me a regular sling and tried to buy me a 8-sling but couldn’t find one anywhere. I had to sleep sitting up, I couldn’t begin to lay down. The bone was moving around a lot and it scared the crap out of me when it would poke up against the skin or pop back in and out of the opposing side of the fracture and I thought I’d pass out from the pain when it did.
    On Monday I went to get X-rays at an imaging center. With no insurance, I was extremely nervous about needing surgery. Well, the young lady walked out of the developing room and slid the x-rays up on the light. A little under her breath she said, “crap, that thing is shattered!”. Uhggg! All my hopes were just shattered as well. I asked her if it was really that bad and if she thought I’d need surgery. She looked over her shoulder and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I really can’t comment on the x-rays, you’ll need to talk to your Dr. about them” Oh, thanks!!! So off we go feeling a little bit less optimistic to say the least. Another very long night of trying to sleep sitting up.
    Tuesday at 4:30 pm I saw the Dr. The pain was bad, I was crouched over trying to keep the bone in place as I walked into the examination room. The Dr. walks in, throws the x-rays up on the light for 5 seconds and says, “Oh that doesn’t look too bad” Calls for the nurse to bring in a figure 8, he puts it on me, says don’t take it off for a month and come back then with new X-ray. Then asks, “anything else I can do for you?” Wow, I was so shocked! He didn’t even examine me. Nothing! The visit actually was over in 3-4 minutes and a minute of that he was chit-chatting with my lady friend about her German accent. I was like, Ah! Well could you give me something for the pain? His reply was, “Oh sure, isn’t that what people actually come to Drs. for?” Wow, I was so shocked! I couldn’t believe my ears. He gave me a prescription, and out I went, no instructions on what to do, what not to do, Nothing!
    After I had some time to get over the shock, think and do some investigation I called the Drs. office that Thursday with a couple of my most pressing questions. They wanted me to make another appointment to answer a couple questions, but later agreed to have the Dr. call me that afternoon. Well it’s Monday and I haven’t heard a thing. Does anyone know a good Ortho anywhere near Lake Havasu City, Arizona?
    Here’s my question:
    Will the bone just fuse one day? That boggles me. One day it’s flopping around the next day it’s not? I mean the bone is loose right now (17 days), but I have a lot less pain and when the bone is matched up to where I think it fits together there is no real gap. So do I try to hold it there this early in the game? It usually sticks overnight but always breaks loose after I’m up about 15-30 minutes. I’ve tried staying as still as I can for about 36 hours but I live alone and I just cant stay that still. Gotta eat, drink, and… Is it just to early to grab. I haven’t really heard anyone talk about this.
    Anyway, I made myself resourceful on the internet with all this time on my hands. I have found some interesting information that I hope will be helpful to the rest of you.
    1) Do not use anti-inflammatory over the counter painkillers for pain from fractured bones There is much research that shows (NSAIDs) impede healing of bones, drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
    2) If you smoke, quit! Smokers heal up to 60% slower than nonsmokers and in some cases never heal properly at all.
    3) Nutrition plays a big part in the healing process. Along with calcium there are other important enzymes vitamins and minerals that help the tissue and bones heal.
    I’ll keep you updated. Good luck to everyone!

  234. tommy

    I am a 54 year old male ,slightly overweight!I had a fall from my bike about a year ago,treatment was a brace and painkillers,the doc at the hospital I went to here in Thailand was’nt really interested!so after a year and still feeling movement at the break I went to the government hospital in chiangmai,they recommended a plate and a bone graft,that was two weeks ago now I can feel movement at the plate,is that normal?by the way the care for a foreigner in the state hospital is wonderful,very caring!fantastic staff!but you have to pay!



  236. cheryl

    My 17 yr old son broke his right collar bone a week ago. He was running full speed in a baseball drill and was plowed over by another player. He has alot of bruising and swelling. At first look from the specialist he was recommending surgury. Four days after the accident they have put him in a figure 8 and took another x-ray. Our doctor says he leans toward surgury 55% and not doing surgury 45%. He also went to other specialists one of which is the best in our area. Both of the other specialists say not to do surgury just let it heal. He is very active (plays 3rd base and pitches) we want to do what is best for long term continued playing. Any suggestions who to believe. We need to make our decision by tomorrow if we want to do surgery, as they want to fix it on Friday if we decide.

  237. Peter Lloyd

    An update from the post above. It’s now four weeks since I had my collar bone plated. I’m now out of the sling although I get small twinges every now and again, nothing big though. The collar bone now feels quite solid. The dressing came off a week ago and the incision was a neat 20cm long. Dissolvable stitches have made it look very neat. I’ve got a good range of motion – the Doc was impressed. So much so he said that I didn’t need physiotherapy – I’m not sure about this. I get an X-ray in 4 weeks when I’ll know if the bone is knitting together. Fingers crossed. :-))

  238. Annette

    Sam the horse bucked me off in the woods and slam dunked me like an arrow into the ground, creating a hairline fracture in the clavicle. I was given the brace to wear for a few days, then told to switch to a sling. (?) Do hairline fractures heal more quickly? Or slowly? Could there be torn ligaments not yet identified? Sam is fine- he galloped home, leaving me in the woods to painfully trudge home.

    Ouch! I bet there were no oats for Sam after that little maneuver. A hairline fracture may heal faster because the bone is still connected. But care should still be taken not to place stress on the collar bone as that might hinder recovery. As the bone is weakened another impact or strain may further break the bone.

    It’s always possible that there is unidentified ligament damage. If you are concerned about possible damage then I recommend you speak with your doctor and express your concern.


  239. Ky

    Im 14 and I was playing football at school during lunch…..long story short..I got sandwiched by a strong and fat kid… The strong kid was like a truck and the fat kid was a wall. I felt and heard it break az soon as i got hit. I knew i wuznt gonna be playing anything 4 a while. I tried putting my shirt on and all this pain shot to my shoulder. It turns out I broke my right collar bone. I cant do anything 4 about 8 weeks but I’m gonna take a little more time 4 it 2 heal so i dont hurt it during high school football. its barely my first week and it hrts alot but Im just glad that Ill be able 2 ply football again…eventualy. And Im sorry 2 all og u who were less fortunate than me…get better soon

  240. Peter Lloyd

    I broke my collar bone five years ago after falling off a mountain bike. It never knitted back together although I only recently found out that it was a non-union. I’ve lived with it quite happily with no decrease in strength or mobility but over the years I noticed my posture was becoming worse, with the shoulder dropping, and I’d get aching towards the end of the working day, driving, and curiously just standing around not doing much (art galleries were particularly painful). Last year I went to see the Doc about it who told me an operation was possible, but not without risks. Two weeks ago I had an operation to plate the bone back together and here I sit. It seems to be getting better day by day and movement is quite free and painless, I can see that my posture is better, and the big bump I had is gone. So fingers crossed it knits back together!
    I remember when I broke it the Doctor expressed some concern about a bone fragment on the X-ray and sought advice, although in the end she put me in a figure of eight and a sling. When I got back to Holland, still in some pain, the doctor there threw away the figure of eight, told me there would be a bump, and that was that. So I guess the moral is that you never know if it will knit back together. I would say if it doesn’t knit get it plated as soon as possible.

    I wonder what effect throwing away the figure-8 had on your original recovery? It’s funny how some doctors feel it’s not worthwhile and just remove it. I have heard no strong arguments for not using it.


  241. Anila

    Hi, My mom – she is 58 yrs – had a fracture in collar bone last week, and she has difficulty in sleeping – Any ideas on how to sleep so that pain is reduced?

    Try using several pillows so that you can form a cradle around her. Some have found propping themselves up sitting style helps to reduce the pain. Use the pillows for this or find a good “easy-chair”.


  242. Steve W

    I broke my right collar bone a week and a half ago (Super Bowl Sunday!) while rollerblading. I was on a greenway path and had to swerve to avoid a little kid coming straight at me on a scooter. I bailed out on the grass, but slammed my shoulder into the ground. Apparently that was enough for my 55-year-old bones. Fortunately, no road rash or any other injuries. Initially my orthopedist said I wouldn’t need surgery, but yesterday, after a second X-Ray, he said I would. I’m going in tomorrow to have a plate put in. I was encouraged to read David’s post of Oct 16 above regarding surgery. He and I are of a similar vintage. If I have to have surgery, I’d rather do it early in the process, rather than lose 8 weeks as he did. I hope to have as good a recovery as David seems to have had.
    The funny thing is, I’m not in a lot of pain right now. I took a generic form of Vicodin for about 2 days after the accident. But, I’ve watched too many episodes of “House’ to want to get hooked on that stuff. I switched to 2-3 Aleve a day for most of last week. Yesterday and today, I’ve been on nothing (except a couple of Tylenol last night), since I can’t have any blood thinners going into the operation. The pain level is only about a 2 out of 10 (it was at least 9 out of 10 the night of the accident). My arm’s been in a sling the whole time. Haven’t had trouble sleeping.
    By the way, the ER doctor put me in a figure-8 brace and an arm sling. The next day, the orthopedist said “Well, the first thing we’re gonna do is get you out of that brace. It’s not doing a thing for you.” I’m not sure whether it would have helped, but I was glad to be rid of it, since I couldn’t adjust it without outside help (all of the adjustments were in the middle of my back). I’ve been wearing just the arm sling. I can shower, shave, and get dressed without any help.
    I was hopeful going into yesterday’s meeting with the doctor that I wouldn’t need surgery. I’m well aware of the risks of infection and general anesthesia. The lack of pain, the fact that it looked “OK’ from the outside, and the fact that I had read that 98% of collar bone breaks don’t require surgeries, had me hopeful. The X-Ray presented a convincing case, though. However, now that I see Chad’s X-Ray above, it didn’t look any worse than that (looking at those pictures, it’s amazing that the bone can heal across that gap). I’ve been going to this orthopedist for 25 years and this is the first time he’s recommended surgery for anything, so he’s not knife happy. I have to assume he thinks this is my best chance for full recovery. He mentioned arthritis as a possibility down the road if I didn’t have surgery.
    Anyway, as they say, minor surgery is somebody else’s surgery. Wish me luck. I’ll try to report back to provide another data point as to whether surgery is worth the trouble.
    Aside: I had to laugh (in a cringing misery-loves-company kind of way) at austin’s post of Jan 22 above. Jeeze-oh-man, you got hit by a freakin’ hockey puck right on your plate? I can barely stand to think about how much that must have hurt. I assume you’re OK, since I didn’t see any follow up. Maybe that plate provided protection.

  243. Marty

    I crashed my road bike October 9, 2006. My right clavicle broke in the third nearest the shoulder. (yes, I am right handed) The ends overlap by about 1/2 inch. I was given a figure 8 brace, sling, and pain pills to help me sleep. The Doc said I shouldn’t have any real problems as long as I kept it immobile for a few weeks. It was a simple break with a sliver broken out. The brace was nearly impossible to wear because it put pressure right on the end of the piece that was laying on top of the other. The sling tended to pull my shoulder toward my chest. This aggravated the break and pulled my bruised back crooked and out of align. This pain was worse than the impacted rotator cuff, which was really sore. I made slings out of two large hankies. They pulled straight on my neck, didn’t pull my shoulder in, and were much more comfortable. It seems the only long term problem I am having is that the overlapping bones healed shorter, and made my shoulder turn in. Now it has to be trained to a new position it hasn’t seen in 63 years. I was on a recumbent tricycle after two weeks. I was on a two wheel recumbent after three weeks. In seven weeks, back on my regular bike. I think that the biggest concern should be to keep the shoulder pulled out and back so the ends of the clavicle are just together, not overlapping. My shoulder muscle tension wouldn’t allow that. Yes, I healed well enough, but I can tell my old shoulder is still going to take a long time to be normal. The doctor didn’t seem the least bit concerned. He was right when he said it would heal up just fine. A friend my same age said his shoulder took three years to adjust. After nearly four months I can do anything I want. It just hurts like hell. Us old folks apparently have problems youngsters don’t.

  244. Jenny

    oh crap, I meant his right clavicle, not his arm, I don’t know why I typed arm. guess I am delirious from all the care he is needing……

    I corrected your typo for you. Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself. That’s also important.


  245. Jenny

    My husband (age 29) broke his clavicle when he fell off his ATV during ice fishing on Jan 27th. The ER people were nice, but the Ortho sent a nurse to tell us about the break. I like the medical field and detailed information, so I was a bit disappointed not to be shown the x-rays or be told the exact specifics of his break. He has a follow-up appointment with a different ortho this friday so I hope to learn more. anyway, they sent us home with a simple crappy sling. I managed to find a brace that goes around his bicep, his hand, and his abdomen. He says it is helping, but I still am curious about the figure of 8 brace…I read conflicting reports. It just seems like he is in an awful lot of pain despite immobilizing his arm…he can barely get up/move around. It just seems like other people report being a bit more mobile vs completely reduced to laying on the couch…I guess I am just a bit worried that the ortho/nurse didn’t tell us enough and that his break is worse than we think.

    It’s only been a short time after your husband crashed. I wouldn’t worry too much. The amount of mobility is very specific to the individual. There can be other injuries involved that limit it. The muscle strain and soreness from my crash limited my mobility more than the break.

    The type of brace you purchased I also used. It helped since it kept me from moving my arm and shoulder. I used it in addition to the figure-8. The figure-8 is great since it immobilizes the shoulder and keeps it held back so that there’s no slumping. Not moving the shoulder is very important for recovery.


  246. Lee from Sydney

    since my question on 23 Jan, my GP explained that surgery is a good option, BUT they won’t normally operate if there is broken skin nearby [eg shoulder laceration, as I had] because of the fear of infection and, when the laceration has healed after a couple of weeks, the bone is already knitting and – why bother? There is also the concern about a major artery lying just under or behind the clavicle. It seems that for most of us, the new situation leaves us with almost 100% mobility as before, so it’s not seen as a big issue. Claire, thanks for your reply and I hope yours has worked out really well. x

  247. Claire Benson, Cumbria, England

    Lee, I broke my left clavicle 2 months ago, (was hit by a drunk driver). Mine snapped right through the middle & I was told surgery was the best option. I’m not an expert about it, but if you’re not happy I’d definately get a second opinion from another doctor. At the end of the day you’re the one who’s gotta live with how it heals. Good luck x

  248. Charles

    I broke my coller bone 3 weeks ago while jibing…I still have a figure 8 sling so my bones heal correctly but i have no pain what so ever…I can rotate my arm (up, down, etc) I can lift a 30 pound weight without pain…people really do heal differently

  249. Lee

    I broke my left clavicle in a mtb prang in the Snowy Mountains ten days ago, plus extensive lacerations. Broke my helmet, but no head wounds AT ALL. The collar bone has a complete break, off centre. Action has been to keep it in a cuff and collar sling or similar position, though I often have the sling off. I have found GPs to be laid-back about it – keep it in a sling for 3-6 weeks and let it heal itself. I have wondered why surgery to align the two sides of the bone is not adopted as a norm – it wouldn’t seem to be a hard job? What do others think?

  250. austin hamilton

    I broke my collar bone about 5 years ago. Had surgery, and I still have the plate and screws attached to my collar bone.
    Last night a puck hit my collar bone/metal plate. It is sore this morning, I still have the same range of motion as before I got hit. It is sore when I move it. There are no bulges, grinding noises etc. Should I be getting this checked out, or should I wait a couple of days?

    It might just be sore and bruised from the impact. Keep watch for any changes for the worse, such as bleeding or increased pain. If it doesn’t begin to feel better after a few days then follow up with a doctor visit.

  251. Tracy Wilkins

    I hit a dog on my road bike on November 26th (nearly 8 weeks ago) and ended up with a compound fracture of my right collarbone. Saw the Ortho doc a few days later, and he recommended that I stay in a sling and let it heal, but was a little concerned about all the sharp points sticking out everywhere (it wasn’t a clean fracture by any sense of imagination).
    During my follow-up at nearly 4 weeks, he showed me the fiber bridge that had formed, and told me I could lose the sling, and start as much physical activity as I could without it hurting, so I started running and riding the spin bike. I started some stretching exercises the following week, and added light handweights the next week.
    I’m slowly getting my wind and legs back, but from the shoulder perspective, things aren’t healing nearly as fast as I would prefer. I’m predicting that it will be 12 or more weeks before I have reasonable range of motion and relative freedom from pain. At this point, any stretching motion across my chest is very constricted, and I can still feel the huge lump where the breaks are grating on themselves and other bones/tendons.
    I tried a push-up the other day just to see what would happen, and had a lot of pain and could still feel flexing in my shoulder that shouldn’t be there. Needless to say, I stopped that in a hurry.
    At 47, I was in the best physical condition of my life, so I was hoping my recovery would be quick, but unfortunately that is not the case. As others have mentioned, this injury is no fun at all. I wouldn’t wish the pain I’ve had on anyone!

  252. Steve Finnan

    I came off a mountain bike 5 weeks ago. Had surgery 3 days later. Broke my right collar bone in 3 places, had 7 screws and 3 plates to try and put back in shape. I find the movement to be maybe 50%. I find the nerves around the area are herting. eg over the plates.
    Is fish oil and calcium really all that good? I got told if it doesnt get fixed this time it wont get fixed.
    what are the pros?cons of having the plates and pscrews removed?

  253. Drew

    Firstly, love this site! Thank you Hans. Words cannot describe how much better i feel having read these comments.
    I’ve allegedly shattered my clavicle 5 days ago in the terrain park at whistler blackcomb. I say allegedly because I never felt any pain. I’ve broken many bones over the years through various extreme sports and am very familiar with that distinct feeling, but all i experienced was slight numbness and my common sense telling me to get it checked out.
    So i went to the hospital and $700 bought me a jar of tylenol and a sling. I didn’t even get to see the xray!! No explanation whatsoever, 6 weeks, see you later.

    I just had to emphasize your comment since what you experienced appears to be the norm. Oh, but I would also add the several hours of waiting around in the emergency room.

    – H

    looking in the mirror, the bones are clearly broken and appear to be overlapping by 20cm. Will they still knit together like this? I have full movement in my shoulder, but i’m keeping it in the sling for now. I can feel it moving and grinding when i walk – no pain, but it does psyche me out a bit.

    There’s no way to know if your bones will join. Each person’s ability to heal is unique. A doc that examines you will give you the best information.

    Movement of the shoulder isn’t good early in the healing process. If you are feeling the bones moving and grinding then you are hindering the healing. You should do what you can to immobilize your shoulder. A figure-8 brace is great for that purpose. And even though it doesn’t hurt you should still take it seriously. Otherwise, living with a non-union or surgery may be your future.

    I know i should get a second opinion, but i’m in a resort town in a foreign country. i doubt there is a specialist here i can trust. Thanks for letting me tell my story. Will go buy calcium tablets right away. I almost wish this injury did hurt, so i would take it seriously. At the moment i’ll be back up the mountain in 2 weeks (i’ll be staying well clear of the jumps though!)

  254. Meghann

    Hey folks, here’s an update on my broken clavicle (Sept. 12, 2006)…. So, it seems that some people just DO NOT HEAL. lol At 7 weeks my regular doctor ex-rayed my clavicle and told me it was healing, that he didn’t need to see me again unless I had a major problem with it, and to continue to take it easy. Now, I’m no doctor but I saw that x-ray, and to me it looked just like the FIRST x-ray, plus I still had some discomfort and I could tell the bones were still shifting around (my break is widely separated)…. so I called a specialist and made my own appointment, regular doctor be damned.
    The specialist takes one glance at my x-rays, pokes around at the (still slightly swollen, very tender) break and says “We can’t tell anything from these x-rays, you need a CT Scan.” Okay, fine… so I have the CT scan and guess what? The specialist actually called me in to look at the CT on the computer, just to make sure I understood there was ABSOLUTELY NO SIGN OF HEALING. This is at 13 weeks, folks…. 13 WEEKS & NO HEALING! Apparently, some peoples bodies just don’t produce the “bone callous” that it takes to heal a separated bone like this, and lucky me, I’m one of them! lol So now I have a machine called an OrthoFix Physio Stym…. basically a harnassed unit that emits an electrical pulse/magnetic field, and is supposed to stimulate the bones to regrow. I have to wear it every day for 3 hours, anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months, but hopefully it will start to cause the bones to heal. I go back to the specialist for re-eval at the 6-week mark, but hopefully I’ll still avoid surgery.
    Moral of this story…. GET A SECOND OPINION! And not just from another general practitioner. If you have doubts about how you’re healing, (and let’s face it, you know your body best) don’t be afraid to see a specialist and have it evaluated by someone who deals with these things everyday. While you can live with a broken clavicle, and ultimately deal with it not healing, if your lifestyle demands a higher level of strength or activity, you REALLY want to get this taken care of, and there are other alternatives to surgery out there! So, be well and happy healing to all of you…. I’ll keep you posted on the machines’ progress! 🙂

  255. Claire Benson

    YEY for this bonding-broken-bone site, I don’t feel so alone now. *s* I’m a cheeky 35 year old biker chick from the UK & was in my mates car 4 weeks ago & we were unfortunately hit by a drunk driver (insert numerous swear words & huge sigh of relief I wasn’t on my bike). I broke my left clavicle (& a few ribs for extra measure) & had to have a plate & pins put in my shoulder three days after the crash.
    I’ve been given 3 exercises to do by the surgeon & I see him again on the 15th Jan to find out how things are going. X-rays one week after surgery showed everything inline but with a gap of atleast a cm. Hopefully it’ll all heal up ok & the gap will fill up. After reading some of your comments I feel pretty lucky as I have no loss of feeling and have a pretty good range of motion already. I’m dying to go to the gym but am concerned on what’s ok to do. Sitting on the stationary bicycle is ok I’m sure. Unfortunately it won’t be my Yamaha Fazer 600!
    Anyway, healing thoughts going out to you all. Take care x

  256. Harris

    i broke my colar bone about 8 weeks ago and i have no pain from range of motion moving. But the thing is iam a breakdancer and it requires me to put alot of weight on my arm, which is still hurting. I am scheduled to travel to the yukon for the canada winter games around Feb 20 and i need to start training soon. When do you expect i will be able to put my full weight on my 1 arm with no worries? how can i speed this process?

    It’s not possible to give you an honest value on when you will be fully healed. It varies with each person and depends on many factors. Your doctor is going to be the most reliable for that information.

    To help speed your recovery you can focus on letting your shoulder heal. Don’t use it or stress it too soon. Listen to your body. Pain is not a good thing. Also, taking supplements such as calcium has been recommended. If you search through the comments on the broken collar bone pages here you will find more information that others have left.

    – Hans

  257. Mark

    I broke mt right collarbone while bicycling on Nov 30. Hit a wet, slick spot on a piece of pavement that was banked the wrong way, and landed HARD on my right side, snapping the clavicle in the middle. The two pieces were separated by 2 or 3 cm, but the first two doctors I saw said it would be fine, the ends would find each other eventually and would mend with a bit of a lump in the center. I didn’t like that answer, so I found the best shoulder specialist I could on short notice and sent him the xrays — he said it needs surgery, no question, so two days later he put in a pin. Three weeks out now, it seems to be going well — so glad I had it pinned up, as before my shoulder was sagging down and I didn’t look symmetrical. Now things feel pretty good, and I’m out of the sling, able to dress and shower with no help.
    I’ll heed the advice here and try not to push things too quickly, but walking seems pretty boring in comparison to biking and tennis. At least it’s not spring/summer!
    Strange thing about my injury is, the collarbone never really hurt much at all. The road rash and general bruising was much more painful, and I didn’t have to take any pain medication for the fracture itself (I took a little for my hip and elbow which were bruised pretty good).

  258. Hans

    Mark – I would recommend reading through the various posts on this page and on the other collar bone pages linked at the top of the article. There’s lots of information about what to do to recover.
    Quickly though, the best thing to do right after the break is to keep your shoulder immobilized for two weeks. Wearing a figure-8 brace in addition to the sling really helps for this. Movements during the first two weeks can negatively influence the healing.
    Oh, and since you indicate being involved in various sports, I would also recommend you get a second opinion from a doctor that understands and recognizes your physical needs once healed. If you require surgery you will be able to have it sooner rather than later.

  259. mark f. pickels


  260. Jeff

    Jeff – My eleven year old daughter is now 8 weeks into this. X-ray still shows small line, doctor says she needs to wait two more weeks before she can resume contact sports. This surprised us, since x-ray at ten days in showed it was well aligned and we expected fast healing. Doesn’t this seem long for someone her age? Now I’m wondering if the roller coasters she rode in Orlando (small ones, but coasters nonetheless) at 7 weeks in could have reinjured her (although she’s had no pain for several weeks and didn’t have any pain on coasters).

  261. KM

    Broke my collarbone three weeks ago in a road bike accident. Snapped off the end of the collarbone such that it is ‘nonaligned.’ Had surgery and a plate inserted immediately. Since then, I am a little better every day. On the trainer 5 days after surgery. Physical therapy the following week. Raked leaves yesterday. Will be riding outside 6 weeks after surgery.
    My ortho doc and several folks in his office ride and are sympathetic to my need to get back on the bike. Of the @150/year broken clavicles he sees, only @ one requires surgery. The post-surgery is *very* painful, but at least I don’t have to wait and wonder about whether or not I will acheive a union.

  262. jigz

    ahoy.just got my r collar bone fractured 3 days ago on a scooter while practicing for a race.i was shocked to see the xray and demanded to make a surgery said no coz it has the same tenure of recovery and possibly much longer to heal if surgery takes place.put me on a fig 8 brace no arm sling(provided myself when i got home)bills, medications, bye bye doc.
    1st day is pain day,but able to sleep on bed(shallow),drive(w one hand),put shorts n shirt(shrt sleeve shirt),take shower on my own.
    2nd day, getting the hang of it.learn what position doesnt hurts my shoulder.oh yeah, getting up on bed really needs a lot of practicing to do(i’ve overcome that)push your good side of the body on the side of the bed then take off in sitting position.whoa!does it hurt?practice.
    3RD DAY,i’ve found out that people really heals’s up to you how to approach the situation or the trauma.traumatic or positive got medications, Doctor, supplement, also the web for info.what more could u get to heal

  263. Hans

    Veronica – I highly recommend that you have her see a doctor. It might be better having her get a second opinion from another doctor. The injury may be impairing her circulation and pinching nerves.
    Also, wearing a brace such as a figure-8 may cause some discomfort but it will help in the long term. If it helps to allow the broken bone(s) to heal faster and aligned better than it is worth the slight discomfort. Having the figure-8 properly adjusted will also reduce or remove any discomfort. I used one and believe it worked for me.

  264. veronica

    My boyfriends daughter broke her left clavicle about 5 weeks ago then just friday broke her right she is slumped forward and her shoulders seem to not be aligned they didnt put a brace on her like last time because they said it would cause her discomfort but it seems to be healing incorrectly . The nurse at her school is even concerned .her fingers were swollen and dry and there seemed to be no circulation in her arm ….help

  265. Orph

    hi i have recently broken my collar bone for the second time in the space of about four months, the docters said i could start to play rugby in november 06 wen i broke it in july or towards the end of july 06 will the bone be weaker and would i be able to caryy on playing rugby once it is healed? thanks

  266. Trace

    Another Reid update. Went to doc yesterday and he was able to take off the sling and the figure 8. He can start hockey practice on the 10th of this month and his first game will be the 25th (which would be exactly 6 weeks). Reid is happy. He said the collarbone is healing very nicely. Kids heal fast. Im just worried about how he will do with the body contact but only time will tell I guess. Thanks to everyone here who gave me some useful information…….
    Apparently Reid is proof that the young are very resilient.

  267. Hans

    Jeff – There are some basic physical therapy excercises for recovery after a broken collar bone. But each individual’s injury is unique and one excercise might not be right for another’s. I recommend a visit to a physical therapist.

  268. Tracey

    Just an update on Reid……he saw Doc today and he said keep figure 8 and sling on for another week for sure. He is sending Reid for x-rays on Thursday morning and we have to see him in his office Thursday afternoon. Sounds to me like he is thinking 6 weeks for sure…..but who knows. Doc said he will not give any guidelines about returning too hockey until he sees what the bone is doing. Doc said we must be sure he is healed or else he could go out on the ice and break it again just by doing a slapshot. Would not want that!!! He said if it broke again it would more than likely require surgery.
    I’ll keep you updated….

  269. Jeff

    My 11 year old daughter broke her collarbone four weeks ago. The figure eight and sling are now off, she has no pain, and doctor said she can start “range of motion exercises.” But, he didn’t give her any, and I’ve read conflicting info on when to begin what. Any suggestions on good exercises to do between now and the next four weeks (when she’s supposed to be cleared to begin sports again)?

  270. Hans

    Meghann – I haven’t heard of anyone having their collar bone “set” without surgery. I’ve had friends with their collar bones broken in two places with the inner piece perpindicular to the two attached ends. Each friend’s doc told them they could just leave it to “heal”. That’s the nature of the collar bone. You can actually get along just fine with your collar bone not healed back together. BUT, it can cause issues with your lifestyle. Someone that is physically active and requires the additional stabilization the collar bone provides should want to be treated more aggressively.
    I always recommend getting a second opinion, especially if you are not satisfied with your first doctor’s advice. But be sure you are providing your doctor with enough information about your lifestyle and how you use your shoulder.
    Mark – Thanks for writing your story and enforcing the advice about wearing a helmet. I’ve had my share of split helmets and lucky to have been wearing them.
    Tracey – Yes, it can take some time to heal. But, it varies greatly with the person, the injury, and how well the person makes an effort to heal. Luckily, the younger the quicker to heal. It’s very important though to let the injury heal. As Nick wrote, it’s not wise to push it too soon and risk re-injuring (good job Nick!). A 2-3 month recovery may turn into a 6 month recovery by not being careful. Thinking long term when young can be difficult to do.

  271. Nick

    I play hockey 2. I am 13 years old & i got hit in practice and ” Fracture ” collar bone. Near the tip by my shoulder. The orthopedic said i am goin 2 be out for 3 months as of Septermer 21, 2006. I am in about 2 months my hockey season. As of right now i see the doctor on November 1, 2006. Tomorrow i am goin on the ice and just shooting and skating NO HITTING ( can cause serious injury ). I am probley goin to play in my first game on probley in November i will only play about 3 shifts in the game. I would guess he would be out for about 9 weeks.( BUT I AM 13 & I AM NOT AN ORTHOPEDIC ) I am out longer because i broke it near the shoulder.

  272. Tracey

    HI there. My 8 year old son broke his collar bone last week in an exhibition hockey game. Got checked by the boards….it was a clean hit. He is very eager to get back on the ice. I’ve been telling him six weeks. He sees his doctor on Friday. It sounds from all I have read here that it could be much longer….is that right?? He would be crushed if he is out for 3 months. That would only leave him with the last month of hockey…….he would not like that. He is in a figure 8 and a sling…..which the ER doc said he really only needs (the sling) for 24 hours…..but my son feels much better with it on so I’ve been leaving it on……..though at night now he takes it off to watch tv and moves his arm from the elbow down around. Anyway, Im rambling……any input would be appreciated….thanks

  273. Mark

    I don’t see one to quite compare with my story.
    July 15th I was riding MTB with my two sons who are 14 and 16. I am 45 and was a little rusty, but I try not to get to carried away!
    We were riding at Wisp resort in Maryland and on the second run down an intermediate trail I got slightly off track in some high grass. No big deal I thought, I’ll just ride it out. Well when the slope leveled out I hit something in the grass, Never figured out what! Next thing I know I’m over the bars rolling on the ground try to catch my breath. I knew I hit hard and should lay still till I assessed the damage, but I just couldn’t grab any air. So I slowly roll over and manage to squeeze in a breath or two. My sons are there asking if I’m OK, I tell them I think so give me a minute and then I move again. At that point I get the sharpest pain in my right colarbone I’ve ever felt! “Crap, This hurts, get me a ride I ain’t going anywhere”. So off one kid goes to get help.
    I take my helmet off and it is shattered, Not a good sign as I disscovered later! It took over an hour for them to slap me in a neck brace, tie me to a backboard and haul me off for many Xrays and Ct scans.
    The verdict, Fractured C7, T3, T4, T5 Vertabrae! [stable thankfully], Fractured right collarbone. 2 days in the hospital, released with a whole stock of pain killers :] and a miserable Minerva back and neck brace holding my neck and back stationary.
    Two weeks later I went in for follow ups, my back and neck look fine. The orthopaedic doc takes a look at the clavicle xrays and says, “You’re going to want that pinned, It’s a mess”! It was scattered and not even close to being together, wonderfull.
    They had to work out special OR procedures to hold my neck immoble during surgery and on August 22 they put a pin through the center of the bone lengthwise. Dr said it would take him about 20 minutes to do it. It took him an hour and 45 minutes! He thought the bone was in 3 pieces when in fact it was in four. He could not get the pieces lined up without doubling the size of the front inscision. It was supposed to be about an inch or so long, in fact it is about three inches long, but he did a nice job sewing it up and the scar is not nearly so wicked looking as the ones I’ve seen of people who had the plates. I’ll take the pin!
    I went back at 5 weeks and he sees signs of the fibrous healing, but still some big gaps. I go back at 9 weeks and hopefully it will be at the point the pin can be removed. I’ve been told to be very carefull as the pin is narrow and will bend. If it bends it is in there for ever! The plan is they leave the end of the pin out at the shoulder end, under the skin, then they take out two retaining screws and pull it out when the bone is healed. I can’t wait!
    The back brace I wear has been on three months and comes off in 4 days. The following week the pin may be ready. So sometimes this stuff can take a long time to heal.
    I would be happy to have only broken my collarbone!
    Don’t land on your head!!! Always wear the helmet, Please! I’d be sitting in a corner babbling and drooling if I had not been wearing it! Or boxed and planted!

  274. Meghann

    I broke my left collar bone 5 weeks ago in a biking accident (went over the handle-bars, direct impact to the top and front of the shoulder). The break is in the outside third of the bone, towards the shoulder. It still has about a 1/2 inch separation with no evidence of a fibrous bridge beginning to form. My doctor seems pretty casual about it… he just keeps telling me to wait and come back in two weeks for more x-rays. I was given a figure 8 brace at the ER but no sling, and I stopped wearing the figure 8 brace about a week ago (with my doctor’s permission) because I had persistent pain and numbness in my arm from the shoulder to wrist, and even some in the hand. The pain seems to be MUCH worse when I wear the figure 8 brace. I saw my chiropractor today to get another opinion, of sorts, and he seemed to think they should have “set” the break within the first few days. Does this sound right to anyone? I’m becoming VERY frustrated because I don’t seem to be healing and my regular doctor doesn’t seem concerned by this. The Chiro put me on a calcium supplement and Diothermy therapy every day for the next two weeks. Any ideas?

  275. Michaela

    I have resently fractured my collar bone and i found that when you are in bed prop up pillows around you and try to get up out of bed quite early the earlier the better and get your shoulder moving it will prevent pain has anyone else got any tips about sleep with
    a fractured collar

  276. David

    Rob: I had similar advise, but after 8 weeks I had the surgery partly because I didn’t want to wait any longer. I think some benefits of surgery is that you get a better aligned collarbone. I also think that whether you try to live with a non-union is a function of your lifestyle. The more active your lifestyle the more you should consider surgery. I had surgery about 8 weeks after breaking my collarbone in a cycling accident. I was 51 yrs. old at the time, and I had a compound overlapping mid-clavicle break. 4 weeks after surgery I was able to start light exercise, and 8 weeks after surgery I was able to exercise with some vigor. 12 weeks after surgery I was back to full exercise with the exception of heavylifting. I concluded a full season of serious recreational cycling(about 2,500 miles), and just had my 1-year post-op visit with my orthopod. My shoulder feels great, and there are no plans to remove the plate. I do have some very minor numbness in the chest area which was a result of cutting through some nerves during surgery. The scar has healed quite well, and I have no limitations. I made the initial mistake of seeing an orthopod who was not a specialist on upper extremities. This led to a frozen shoulder which complicated my recovery, so my advise is to be sure you’re getting good medical advise. Good luck.

  277. Rob

    I broke my clavicle 4 weeks ago now. The broken ends overlap by about 3cm. The surgeon said that he thought there was a 50-50 chance of the bones healing without intervention. I see him again tomorrow and we are going to discuss alternatives. He has expressed a strong view that if the bones do not heal to leave them broken as opposed to plating them; he expressed the view that I would have a full range of motion and it should not affect its strength. I was somewhat suprised by this but if it works then it saves any risks that surgery entails; I don’t care what it looks like as long as it works. has anyone had such advice, or have any views on that advice?

  278. Hans

    Karim – I would recommend that you see a physical therapist or an orthopedic doctor. Three years is a long time since the original accident. It’s difficult to know what may be causing you problems. It may have been caused by the original accident and you have developed degenerative condition. It would be wise to have it checked out now rather than waiting any longer.
    Nick – Listen to your doctor. He’s correct that you don’t want to risk injuring it again. That would delay your recovery and may cause more extreme damage. I do think 3 months seems long. I was able to begin bike racing 2 months after my break. But, everyone heals differently. So follow up with your doctor in 3 weeks and listen to what he says. By then it might be good news and he will recommend a quicker return to sports.

  279. Nick

    I broke my collar bone on September 21 , 2006. I play hockey. I was going down the ice and i was hit. i broke it near the shoulder ( ” hairline fracture ” said doctor ). so i have been out for awile. The first time i saw the orthopedic he said it is healing fine ( about 1 week after ) he said stay out of sports for 3 months. I saw him the next time ( 3 weeks later, last Thursday ), he had an x-ray taken. He told me it was connecting and something about something ” Sticky “. I said OK, and he told my parents i can’t go back out on the ice, because if i fall i might hurt it more. He said if i was an all- star kid then it would be fine going out there but you have to take a RISK of not hurting it.Then he told me around 3 months AGAIN untill i can be in games. Do you think i will be fine going to practice this week, with no contact, or do you think i should wait 3 weeks untill i see the orthopedic.

  280. Karim

    I broke my collar bone a bout three years ago and i have had tighnes in the area since, latley i have had pain and crepitus with movement, mostly circumduction etc, does anyone else have these problems?? i have been doing rotator cuff exercises due to thought problems in this area, but not much effect!!

  281. Hans

    Anthony – It’s an ongoing joke about how most people that break their collar bone will return from the hospital with only a sling and some Tylenol at a cost of several hundred dollars and several hours of time. If you didn’t even get a sling then I think you were really shorted! :’) And yes it’s odd that you didn’t even get a sling.
    Tasha – A figure-8 should be snug but not so tight it’s cutting off circulation or causing chafing. It’s meant to help hold your shoulders steady and aligned while you recover. Wearing a sling in addition helps to take of the stress of the weight of arm on the shoulder. It also helps a bit ro reduce movement which is so important during the first two weeks after a break.
    It’s important to note that stretching and moving your arm to excercise the joints should be done during the recovery. Not using your joints can lead to problems. If you read through the comments on my various “broken collar bone” pages you will find more information about this.
    david – You are actually healing at a good rate and should feel lucky. Just give it a little more time. It’s also not possible to give you answer as to when you will be healed. That can only be done by a qualified doctor that examines you.

  282. david

    im 15 and im a golie i fractured my collar bone 4 weeks ago today by screwing around in pe. its happened to me before so i just went to the nurse and they called my dad to pick me up, since he is a doctor he took me to the hospital he was seeing patients at i didnt go to the er i just took x rays and i didnt even see them they said i could go and my dad would see them when he was done working. my dad said it was a clean break and i need a sling so i gotone at the pharmacy. by 3 weeks i had full range of arm motion but a small pain when i lifted it up straight up, i was hoping to be healed by this week but obviously im not, about how much more time should it take me 2 heal because soccer season starts in a week

  283. Tasha

    I broke my R clavical on Sept 30 when I went over the bars of my dirtbike while at a motocross track. I packed up my bike and drove the hour drive home thinking everything was fine. I decided to go to the ER just incase and after 4 hours of waiting the doc walked in, said I broke my collar bone, and walked out. He barely would have the time of day for me. I went back to the hospital on monday as the sling was giving me grief. The head nurse took off the sling and put on the 8 brace. She didn’t seem to know to much about them. Does anyone know how tight I should have the brace? Also, should I be wearing the sling as well?
    After reading this forum I have decided to try for a second opinion plus request to see the xray so that I know where exactly it is broke.

  284. Anthony

    I find it intresting that no one has mentioned how difficult it is to type with one hand. Anyway, I’m about two and a half weeks out from a break to the middle of my left clavicle. Two things make my experience worth writing about. One, I no longer get along with geese. One decided to take flight 15 feet ahead of me on the bike path and I was doing 18-19 mph. Knocked me off. It happened so fast. X-ray shows a clean break. Orthopedic doc says “how does it feel?” I reply pretty good as long as I hold it like this. He asked me I would be comfortable with that and with a “yes” reply I sent away with no support at all. So far I think everything is okay. I was wondering if anyone else has been sent home with niether a sling nor x-brace?

  285. Graham Anscombe

    Hi Andy
    I really think a second opinion would be good although I did actually see two different people when I first broke the bone. The first guy I saw the day after the accident was a really old chap who looked like he was probably a consultant filling in for the normal guy. He basically said go home and do nothing and come back in two weeks. When I went back I saw a different chap who said that the x-ray showed a slight increase in the distance between the ends of the bone, but nothing much else, again go away and come back in three weeks.
    Well during week 5 I got rid of the sling and actually felt okay. I wasn’t in pain and was able to move the arm gently and my slumped shoulder had returned to normal upright stature. I went for my 5 week checkup and saw the second normal guy again who pressed my bump very firmly and then lifted my arm up to 90

  286. Andy Babington

    Thanks everyone for sharing experiences.
    Graham, like you I am from the UK,and also have a fracture in 2 places, which I did on the 7th September. I you are considering getting a second opinion, which my doctors, in the NHS, offered, find out who the shoulder specialist is and ask for them. I wish that I had got a second opinion earlier in my treatment, I’m seeing the shoulder specialist on Thursday 5th October.
    I’m making progress with movement, I can now reach both my arm pits which is also good news for those around me.

  287. Graham Anscombe

    Hi, very interesting this. I’m from the UK and 5 weeks ago I broke my right clavicle in two places in a bad fall leaving a fragment in the middle. I’m a bit concerned about my progress even though the hospital has told me there’s no need to come back now. They only took 2 x-rays, one on the day of the accident and one two weeks later. They didn’t bother x-raying in the 5th week.
    In the UK they don’t give you a figure of 8 brace, just a sling. I am out of the sling now, but my shoulder is very weak. I don’t have any pain in my shoulder, but the clavicle itself still feels funny even though the doctor said that it had united (after pressing the lump quite firmly). I don’t “feel” like I can really exercise the shoulder that much due to the wierd feeling in my clavicle.
    I may decide to go and get another opinion.

  288. fortezza

    I slammed into an opponent during a soccer match a week ago, fracturing my clavicle. I am feeling a lot better now, but of course I am very careful not to stress my shoulder/arm where the break is. As far as exercise, I am doing limited weight exercises that do not involve my upper body, and lots of cardio on using the recumbent bike machine. Hopefully I will be back to soccer in a few weeks, when the next season starts.

  289. Hans

    Nick – For broken bones, the younger you are the better and quicker you will heal. Since you are 13 there is a good chance you will heal sooner. But it’s not possible to give you a fair answer to how long you will take to heal. Only a doctor that has examined you will be able to give you a fair answer.

  290. Hans

    Andy – Conflicting advice is the norm for collar bones. I don’t know if your injury will lead to a joint problem. You should specifically ask your doctor about that. I would recommend that you be very clear with your doctor(s) about what your expectations are for healing. Make sure that your doctor understands the type of activity you want to be able to perform and what problems might occur with one treatment vs. the other. Also write down a list of questions for your doctor before you go. It’s easy to forget once you are there.
    Nick – It’s possible your ortho doc had a chance to better evaluate your x-rays or received advice from another specialist about your injury and recovery time. But, three months does sound like a long time for someone your age. No matter what, now is the most important time for you to work on your recovery. Keep your shoulder immobilized. Use a sling and figure-8 brace. The first two weeks of healing are when your body is working hard to heal. If you move your shoulder or your arm too much then you risk setting back the healing. If all goes well you will begin to feel better in a couple of weeks. If you don’t make an effort to let yourself heal then your doc’s second estimate of three months might come true.

  291. Nick

    Hi i am 13 years old. I was play hockey. I was at practice when i got hit into the boards. I fractured my Collar Bone on SEPTEMBER 21, 2006 . When i was at the ER the doctor told me i was out of gym and contact sports for 6 weeks. I have my arm in a sling right now. I went to the Orthoprdic ( THE SAME ER DOCTER ) and he told me that i am out for 3 MONTHS ! He did NO tests to me when i was at the orthopedics,all he had was the same X-Rays.

  292. Andy Babington

    I also broke my collar bone in 2 places in a mountain bike spill, the bone is now shortened and displaced by about 3/4 inch, making a Z shape. I am concerned that it will effect my strength and movement, my other sport is kayaking. I have seen 2 doctors but I am getting conflicting advice, one is recomending plating, the other rest and support. I am going to see a third doctor tommorow. I am concerned that if the bone heals in the Z shape that it may lead to joint problems in the future especially with the kayaking.

  293. Ana Duiic

    Thanks Hans i went to a sports therapist and got an amazing exercise programe as well as PHYSIO which is my life right now i’m beginning to play flag football slowly but that isn’t working out too well for me. However my recovery is just golden, well compared to what it was before so thanks for the advice!

  294. Hans

    mac – Sorry but there are no easy answers to your questions. Each injury and person’s ability to heal is unique. You might get lucky and be healed in 4 weeks. Or you might be 3 month person. There are many factors that influence healing. If you haven’t already, look through the comments on each of the collar bone pages I have published. There’s others around your age that have commented. That might give you more insight.

  295. mac

    I took a nice fall off my moped(yes, i’m ashamed) and gave myself a hell of a scare. Wife drove me to er and found a real clean break of clavical, almost thru the skin. The PA in the ER put me on darvocet and a 8 brace. The first night sucks, the broken bone is moving and the figure 8 is about as fun as a punch in the nose. I finally gave in and took a darvocet around 3 am since I was keeping my wife up. Went to ortho today and he basically tightened the figure 8 and told me to have fun doing nothing for the next few weeks. I am 39 and in good shape, How long will this bone wiggle? How long after accident did those of you start to drive a car again? I need to drive for my job. Any ideas on a realistic expectation?

  296. Blake

    Sounds painful. I’m a goalie that uses a fairly small chest pad. I hadn’t sinched it up in a while I guess, and it slipped down just enough that my collarbone was exposed. Took a shot that I estimate at about 80 mph right off the left side. Impact of the ball split the bone in two. I kept playing for a bit, as even though it broke, it did not come apart immediately. It just felt like a really bad bruise. I even took one more shot. About a minute later I started to chase a shot that went behind the cage, and the running motion caused the cleavage that was created by the shot to actually snap. That…hurt…bad…
    Good news is that it was the championship game of a tournament, and I was able to make it back from the ER with five minutes to go and watch my team win in a tight one.

  297. Hans

    Blake – Ah, I remember my Lacrosse days. Luckily, the worst I had was getting clocked in the helmet by a shot as I crossed the crease. Hit me so hard I spun in place for a bit then came back to the real world. At that point I see guys charging right at me since the ball ricocheted off my helmet, straight up in the air, and then was dropping back down on top of me. Ended up getting clipped and knocked on my butt before I had a chance to react.
    But, enough of those memories and back to your question. I recommend that you leave the sling off. I went through what you described. But by having the sling off you will force yourself to begin using your range-of-motion and strengthening your arm and shoulder. Just be extra vigilant not to overdure moving your arm.

  298. Blake

    I broke mine during a lacrosse game two weeks ago. After one week my doctor told me to take the sling off and just use the figure 8. I can already lift my arm until it is about level with my shoulder, but anything further isn’t possible.
    One thing that concerns me about not having the sling is that I will sometimes forget that there is anything wrong with the arm. I will then start to use it and that will cause some discomfort. Also, with the arm more or less hanging around, my shoulder gets extremely tired. Should I be back in the sling with the brace?

  299. Hans

    Christie – I recommend you speak with a physical therapist about how soon and what therapy to perform. You want to be bery careful not to perform movement that will inhibit your healing. Also, since everyone’s injury is unique there is no set time as to when to begin PT.
    Loss of range of motion can occur when recovering from a broken collar bone. Performing hanging arm rotations and elbow bends can help reduce that problem. Speak with a qualified physical therapist and that will be your best route towards recovery.

  300. Christie

    Broke my clavical (shoulder area) exactly 2 weeks ago. Does anyone know how soon after the break should a plan of physical therapy begin? I am a dancer and need to regain full range of motion. My doctor told me to see him in three more weeks, but until then I cannot raise my arm either forward or out to the side.
    A friend of mine who is a nurse says I should already be involved in physical therapy for my range of motion. What has been your experience?

  301. Hans

    Ana – I recommend that you find a good sports oriented physical therapist to help you setup a recovery training plan. It’s important to find one that works with atheletes and will understand your needs.
    Also, surgery for a broken collar bone isn’t rare. It’s actually a commonly performed procedure. If you read through the comments here and on the other broken collar bone pages you will see others having surgery. But, surgery has its risks so you should always be sure that’s the best option.

  302. Ana Dujic

    I broke my collar bone exactly 4 weeks yesterday and i feel the doctor i have really couldn’t care less about how mine is healing. All he keeps saying is oh 3 more weeks 5 more 10 more. I mean it must not be healing properly. I broke it directly in half and was told that it’ll never go back together again because of the position it’s in. However surgery is very rare on collar bones and i was told i needed one but they could not perform that procedure because of the lack of blood flow i have in that area. I’m very interested in the athletic program for collar bones because i’m quite the athlete with rugby, soccer, wrestling etc. and need to stay in shape without it affecting my healing process.

  303. Hans

    janice – Riding indoors on a trainer is fine as long as you are not placing weight on your shoulder. I started a training program soon after my break (follow the link “Broken Clavicle No More” near the top of this page to see the workout plan). Initially I would ride with my hands off the bars. Over time, as my shoulder healed, I would lean forward and use my good arm for some support. Eventually I was able to lightly rest my other arm on bars.
    So don’t let your break keep you from excercising. Just train smart and don’t do anything that causes pain in your shoulder.

  304. janice

    Ask and you shall receive. I came across this site while searching the Internet for medical documentation re: fractured clavicle. Almost two wks ago while road riding I fractured my right clavicle, a few ribs and suffered a concussion. My ortho MD did not put me in a figure 8 brace, he told me to wear a simple brace and to “do nothing with my right arm”. I wanted to find out more about what, if anything, I could do to facilitate a rapid and anatomically correct recovery. Sorry to learn that many others have also suffered as I am. I have found this site inspiring to say the least. Pedalling is my passion and trust that in time, before winter arrives in the northeast, I will be back bicycling. Although I had to cancel my plans for a Century ride in VT to celebrate my 46th birthday I am grateful that my injuries were not worse and that the weeks rains kept me from picking up my brand new bike from the bike shop and my crash was on my old bike, which really did not suffer much damage considering. So I know have a new bike to look forward to and of course typing with two hands.
    I have a life fitness cycle that I intend to use in the meantime. Pros and cons on biking indoors during this healing process?
    Id rather be biking!

  305. Caryn

    Matt, I am in almost the exact position as you. I’m 17 and my break is 17.01mm (3/4″) apart and is not looking good. I was recommended by the ortho to wait 5-6 weeks and see how the healing process goes. If it is not healing well, surgery is a scary but realisitic posibility. He however did not recommend a figure 8 brace. But a couple of people (including the emerg doctor who first saw me) said that I should be wearing one. So I went out and picked one up. And despite the immense uncomfortability I’m going to see what happens with it.
    *Crossing fingers!*
    Caryn, Ontario, Canada

  306. Matt

    Hi; Just back from Pismo, Oceano Dunes.
    I hit a “kid’s figure 8” hidden in the dunes & went over the handle bars 4th gear pinned… Broke my collar bone & x-rays show overlap of about 1 1/2 inch. They gave me a sling @ Grover hospital. I’m 17, Should they have given me a figure 8? Can I just buy one w/out going back to my ortho since our insurance won’t pay for second opinion..
    Matt Wills, Calimesa CA

  307. Hans

    Brian – I encountered similar pain for a short time after my break. My ortho indicated if it persisted after a couple of weeks then I would need to follow up with him. Luckily, it soon went away.
    (Re: C & A… Small world!)

  308. Brian Beach

    Hans and Chad,
    Great site. I’m 6 weeks into bike race related clavicle fx just like Chad’s X Ray but with no bony callous and I also have had one weeks duration of nerve pain from my left upper arm to wrist. This is intermittent but severe possibly from bracial plexus pressure. Anyone with similar symptoms? Outcome?
    Hans, Courtney and Abbie say hello.
    Brian Beach,Tioga Velo Club, Owego, NY

  309. Hans

    Kel – I haven’t met anyone that wears shoulder protection for that reason. It would make sense if the collar bone hasn’t healed properly. Although I’m not sure there are any braces or pads that would be comfortable to ride with and help if you were to take another fall.
    Jill – Hiking should be fine. But jarring the bone and any activity that causes you to jar or move your collar bone is not good. Movement, escpecially jarring, can set your recovery back. Also, your body is attempting to heal and is using resources to do so. If you deplete your resource because of extreme or intense activites then your body has less resources to devote towards recovery. So I would recommend scaling back a bit and giving your body some rest and time to recover.

  310. Jill

    I fractured my left clavicle (middle, maybe slightly proximal break) 3 weeks ago in a MTB race. Some fellow racer friends who have broken c-bones in the past keep telling me how quickly they were back on the bike while my doc tells me to rest, rest, rest. I am very active like the rest of you and have been wondering if the hiking I have been doing on weekends (starting one week after the break) is OK – I have been doing 6-7hr hikes in the mtns of Colorado. IS THIS OK or is it somehow stopping my bone growth. For the most part, it does not hurt to hike, but once or twice a hike I seem to somehow stumble and jar the bone, which does hurt quite a bit. The thing is, I seem to jar the bone doing SOMETHING every day (just living)! I also started on the trainer 1 week after the break and was able to rest both hands on the bars 12 days after the break but had to take another week off due to surgery on my right hand (also from the MTB wreck). I will start on the trainer again tonight. Can anywone tell me if my activity level is stopping my bone from healing ((esp the hiking)?????? Thanks!!!!

  311. Kel

    I have just broken my collar bone for the 2nd time and had it plated for the 2nd time. I had complications with the first break that resulted in requiring surgury to plate it back together.
    Anyways, I was wondering if anyone who has broken their collar bone now wears a shoulder brace or similar protection when they ride?

  312. Hans

    Vicki – Luckily, your son is young and that helps for a quick recovery. As for how soon, well it’s not possible for anyone that has not examined your son to give you a time frame. Since your son is very active, especially with swimming and tennis, I would highly recommend you have another doctor evaluate him. One that understands the needs of an athelete. The ER doctor’s advice about figure-8 braces was incorrect. I used one and had great success with it. If it is worn incorrectly then it can be uncomfortable. Also, it’s really only needed for the initial few weeks when the bones are beginning to fuse back together. It’s at that time that it’s very important to keep the shoulder aligned and not to move the collar bone.
    You will find that opinions on the use of the figure-8 vary widely among doctors. I heard both sides and decided to follow the advice of my doctor and use it. I realized that using it would either help or do nothing but it wouldn’t hinder the process. Therefore, since it offered a chance of helping the healing process I went with it.
    There are many more comments about using the figure-8 on the site here. Read through a few of the other pages linked back at the top of the page to find them.

  313. Vicki Martin

    My 12 yr. old fractured his clavicle last night. Being an athlete like the rest of you, he’s devastated. He has a 4-day long course swim meet this weekend and forget tennis camp for the next 5 weeks and scout camp the 1st week of July. I guess he’s in for a long boring summer. My question is…does anyone have any sense of when he might be able to get back to swim practice or tennis again and is the fgure 8 brace helpful? The ER doc said they’re extremely painful and not that helpful so he sent him home with a sling and pain meds. The ortho can’t see him for a week, of course, but the nurse said they don’t use it either.

  314. Chad Crocker

    For Dana (May 17), my fibrous bridge was very stable when I came out of the brace. My doctor was able to push on it without any movement. My AC joint is a different story. It was very loose and that has not changed much at all. If the fibrous bridge has formed, give it time and take extra calcium. You are on the road to recovery.

  315. Dick

    …just another clavicle story. I am writing this with a simple sling on my right arm. Last night I decided I’d try out my 17 year old son’s mountain bike for the first time. Followed my older son (a wild man) through an overgrown trail next to a creek. Plowing through some vegetation, I didn’t see a small drop-off ahead. Found out how touchy the front disk brakes were. Did a flip forwards over the handle bars and landed on the right shoulder. Landed with a big thunk like meat hitting the locker floor…or an All-Star Wrestler being slammed into the concrete outside the ring. Fortunately the helmet did it’s job. Didn’t know what hit me. Got up, shook myself off, and continued riding for about another half hour, even though the shoulder was sore. Thought I could just “shake it off”. Couldn’t sleep last night very well. Sore this morning, so I went to see the Doc. X-ray confirmed a very clean 90 degree brake through the right clavicle. The ends are in place and stable. …Thinking I might be doing too much risky stuff for an old f*rt, (almost 54). What’s worse, I have to get up and practice dentistry in the morning. What gets me is that in the last 12 months I have road biked about 4500 miles without ever falling off my bike. I was on an unfamiliar bike for about 10 minutes and broke something…. bummer….

  316. Dana

    Eric D./Chad/Hans-
    I seem to be in the same boat as you two. I am at 5.5 weeks and was just released from the figure of eight yesterday. The x-rays showed the fibrous bridge holding the bone ends together. However, now that the brace is off I can feel some “play” in the bones. Doc said don’t worry, they’ll stick. I don’t want to put the brace back on (almost 100 degrees here and 3 inches of foam makes it feel like the seventh circle of hell) but I can’t figure how the bones will continue to heal if not absolutely still. Doc said kids hang from monkey bars at this point. Thats great and all except I am 35 (wow, when did that happen?). Anyway, I guess my question is did you feel the same thing when coming out of the brace? How strong is the fibrous bridge?

  317. Doug

    Broke my clavicle on 4/15/06 riding my bike. X rays looked exactly like those pictured, I was out of the sling in the second week (never had a figure 8 brace) and currently have no pain with full range of motion. Sometimes when I pick things up with my arm I have a sharp pain, but nothing else. Still bruised in my chest though 🙁 I feel sorry for this poor guy that was in a figure 8 for 5 weeks! I guess people heal differently.

  318. Hans

    If you haven’t checked out my helmet cam videos, then click the Videos link in the top menu then click in the Cycling Videos section. Download the videos and watch them on your computer while you ride your trainer. Helps kill the boredom and it’s just like being there! :’)

  319. Eric D.

    I busted my clavicle 6 1/2 weeks ago bike racing and seem to be on the exact timeline as Chad. Range of motion is almost normal, I do have some posterior shoulder pain, but it’s improving daily. I’m still not riding outside, and am going crazy being limited to the trainer. It’s May the weather is beautiful and all I can do is stare at it through my window while going nowhere on my trainer.(Thank you to World Cycling Productions for Tour, and Giro DVD’s!)
    For all those out there with new fracture- Hang in there they do heal eventually. You will get paranoid but try not to. Try to stay active. I rode a stationary recumbant bike from the first week on with my exercise sling on. (get 2 slings, wear it in the shower after exercise to clean it and for comfort) I know the pain is horrible, but hang in, it gets better! Ignore any information on the web that says clavicles heal in 2-4 weeks. I work in the medical field and bones do not heal in 2-4 weeks. It’s a complicated process that takes time. The best medication is a tincture of time, apply liberally.

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