Hans Kellner Dot Com :: a mighty fine website!

Hans Kellner Dot Com

help help

Please use your head when commenting. I reserve the right to delete anything that I find... well, anything that I want! Har har har I have the power!

Ahhem, ah, and now back to our regular sponsored program.

search search


Broken Clavicle No More!

Or maybe I should title this "What's your problem? Look at Tyler Hamilton!"

Back at the end of May I busted my left clavicle (collar bone). You can read about it here "Broken Clavicle". It's been almost 3 months and everything seems to be healed up fine. I have a nice little bump where the ends of the bone have fused together. The long portion never pulled itself back down and it now doesn't align with the small end. Thus the bump.

Occasionally my shoulder gets sore or I get a slight jolt of pain. Playing volleyball, especially extending the hands and arms out and upward, will make it sore. On the bike, if I bunny-hop or pull up sharply on the bars it hurts a bit in my shoulder. Overall though, I feel good.

During my earlier visit to see Dr. Testa, he created a workout schedule for me. It's purpose was to help me maintain my fitness and allow me to get back onto the bike and racing as soon as possible. The schedule was designed for use with a stationary trainer. He also instructed that I should raise the front wheel so that the strain on shoulder was reduced and that I should stop an exercise if any pain arose in my shoulder.

Here's the schedule he gave me for use with my bike on a stationary trainer. It's a three week plan and each day is broken into a morning and an evening workout. Having two workouts per day reduced the stress on the shoulder.

Week 1

Days 1-3
morning: 15' = easy spin
evening: 15' = same as morning

Days 4-5
morning: 25' = easy spin with high cadence (95+ rpm) for last 10'
evening: 25' = same as morning

Days 6-7
morning: 30' = alternating 5' high cadence (95+ rpm) and HR (75%-83%) with
5' lower cadence (85-90 rpm) and HR (<73%)
evening: 30' = same as morning

Weeks 2 and 3

Day 1 (off)

Day 2
morning: 20' = easy spin with high cadence (100) and HR (75%-78%)
evening: 30' = 10' warm-up,
5 x 2' increasing resistance at 60 rpm and HR (<83%) with 2' recovery

Day 3
morning: 30' = 10' easy spin HR (<70%),
10' easy spin HR (75%-80%),
10' easy spin HR (80%-88%)
evening: 45' = 2 x 10' and HR (75%-80%) with 5' recovery,
easy for last 20'

Day 4
morning: 45' = 10'-15' warm-up with cadence (90-95 rpm) and HR (<70%),
2 sets of raising HR (70%) up to HR (93%) with increases of
~2.5% Max HR (for me it's 5 beats) every 2'
evening: 45' = same as morning

Day 5
morning: 25' = easy spin with last 10' at 100 rpm and HR (75%-80%)
evening: 40' = 10' warm-up,
5 x 3' increasing resistance at 55-60 rpm and 2' recovery,
5'-10' easy spin for cool down

Day 6
morning: 25' = easy spin with last 10' at 100 rpm and HR (75%-83%)
evening: 40' = 10'-15' warm-up,
3 x 10'-12' at HR (80%-88%) and 4' recovery

Day 7
morning: 25' = easy spin with last 10' at 100 rpm and HR (75%-83%)
evening: 45' = 10' warm-up,
30' constant spin at HR (80%-85%),
5' cool down

I would also wear my sling during the workouts. I tried without it a couple of times but my shoulder muscles would start aching. I also found that sitting upright reduced the strain.

Soon after finishing this workout I headed out to Europe for a month long trip. The first portion of my trip was a bike camp in Spain. The training program above paid off and I was able to ride all of the routes and distances in the camp. Over the remaining portion of my trip I added many more miles and my shoulder started feeling better and better. Riding in the Pyrenees, watching the Tour de France live, and seeing Lance Armstrong kick butt were highlights.

Of course with Tyler Hamilton blasting the field with his broken collar bone I was getting no sympathy! But it also goes to show how quickly you may recover from this type of break.



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

Broken Clavicle (collar bone)

What To Expect From A Broken Clavicle (collar bone)

Chad's Broken Collar Bone Report

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

Posted on August 22, 2003 12:24 PM  

(217) Comments

Permanent link to this comment. On August 23, 2003 08:21 PM, Jim Carson wrote:

Thanks for posting the followup -- glad you're doing better! - Jim

Permanent link to this comment. On January 27, 2004 01:10 PM, jacqui wrote:

also broke collar bone but told i've got to hav a plate fitted which i don't particularly want. do you know anything re procedure? run a business and don,t have much time for surgery! hope you,re feeling better soon!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 27, 2004 03:27 PM, Hans wrote:

Jacqui - I'm not a doc and also don't know how bad your break is but I would recommend *avoiding* surgery. This was the recommendation from my doctor and also from my own research. The need for surgey only arose if the bone had broken through the skin, the bone was pressing on nerves or blood vessels, or the break would not heal on its own. Otherwise, our body is amazingly adept at healing itself and especially broken collar bones.

Be sure to get another doctor's opinion about your break. Also, a doctor that treats sports injuries has probably seen many busted collar bones and might give you some better news.

For now, be sure to keep that shoulder stabilized. The first week is the most important for allowing the bones to fuse back together. Too much movement and you can hamper the process. Then you might actually need surgery.

As for myself, I'm fully recovered from my break and only have a small bump where the ends fused back together.

Best of luck in your recovery!

Permanent link to this comment. On April 26, 2004 10:35 PM, John Petrakis wrote:

Hans; Sorry I missed you at the coffee shop. Cynthia gave me your website address so we could chat. Sounds like my clavicle break is very similar to yours. The training program you used is a very reasonable program and your advice is spot on regarding surgery. Allignment is very important. My Ortho has had me in an adjustable shoulder harness from the beginning. The harness wraps around both shoulders and keeps them back so that the bones stay alligned and reduces movement thus which lessens the pain while training, but it is really constricting and difficult to wear 24 hours a day. I've been in it for three weeks now. For the first week I wore both the harness and the sling. But, I still have a bump. Hope to meet you when I'm in SF next, which will be the end of July. John

Permanent link to this comment. On September 13, 2004 06:06 PM, Marcia Black wrote:

My son Corey is a Junior in HS and has broken his collarbone 5 times. This is the first time in a football injury. He is ready after 1 week to begin exercises and get to playing again!! Will he be ready to exercise yet? Marcia

Permanent link to this comment. On September 14, 2004 08:33 AM, Hans wrote:

Marcia - You really need to have a doctor examine your son. That's the only way to know.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 8, 2005 09:52 AM, kris wrote:

I broke my collar bone by hitting a tree after getting thrown off an ATV (back on Halloween weekend) it is now Feb. and I am still with a broken bone. For some reason it is not healing, WHY??? Im only 32 years old I thought it would have begun to heal by now. My Doctor tells me to wait be patient.What is a girl to do??

Permanent link to this comment. On July 12, 2005 03:06 PM, Laura wrote:

Im a 17 year old girl that broke her collarbone from falling off a horse. we went over a jump and we landed really bad. the horse ended up falling too. ive been riding for 4 years and this is the only really bad fall that ive ever had. but anyways...ive got hope for all that are scared that they may need surgery. my right collar bone was broken and displaced. the ends of the bone are now 6 cm apart. and lucky me i have that well loved little bump. i went to the orthopedic and i do not need to have surgery!!! our body does amazing things, just believe in it! mine did!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2005 11:04 AM, suzy wrote:

dear laura i need to read this , i am so upset i have been 4 days with my new broken collar bone a new xray shows the bone on top of each other and i can get no help doed it really matter if the bone is not togather?? i am very depressed i have a race in november......and am trying to believe in miracles suzy

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2005 01:02 PM, Tom wrote:

I'm a 23y old male vet student, and managed to break my left clavicle 10 weeks (!) ago. Its in the nasty 'lateral third' category. Im in a bit of a race against time to avoid having to take a year out of my course. last xray at 6 weeks showed no healing, and am going back tomorrow for another xray. Not very hopeful though cos although whilst im standing its in an ok position, when i lie down its sticking up like crazy. does anybody know how much it can be moving and still be on the way to healing??
tried to keep it still, and now my shoulder is freezing up. joy. having physio, but even the physio is scared to move it. Its good to hear from others in my situation! was offered surgery 4 weeks ago but he also said it had every chance of healing by itself and it was my decision. sometimes i wish they would decide the best treament for me!!
Good luck healing,

Permanent link to this comment. On August 16, 2005 05:35 PM, Becki wrote:

I broke my right side collar bone 2 weeks on Thursday, this site helped me through, thanks a bunch!!!! I learned alot from all you guys... I fell over my daughters scooter to break mine(not as exciting as most of you) but the pain is just as bad.... The fiqure eight sling has been a lifesaver, when I take it off now, for too long I begin to ache. I go back for a second x-ray on Friday, hopefully good news. I thougtht 2 days ago I was healed enough to stop taking my pain meds and wearing my sling... boy did I learn a hard lesson , by 2pm, I was in extreme pain, and once your in pain ,its hard to get it under control.... !!! So take my advice control your pain, before it happens!!!! This site really was sooo much help, I felt better knowing I wasnt the only one, and what I was feeling was , what was suppose to happen... so thanks again... I guess time is the only healer for this painful break, I can tell you I have gotten great at using my left hand, In the begining I could hardly feed myself, brush my hair, teeth anything.... its tough... but I am getting better everyday... thanks again, Becki

Permanent link to this comment. On August 25, 2005 08:35 PM, Marshall Gifford wrote:

I broke my collarbone on RAGBRAI, the bike ride across Iowa, on July 28th. One my teammates hit me hard from the left and next thing I know I was sliding along the highway at 30 mph. I got up and checked out the road rash, which was immense, and when I turned to see what was left of my bike, my left shoulder was really loose and moved. I am now 4 weeks into it, my road rash is mostly gone and I was able to stop wearing my sling today. The first week I couldn't move my left arm at all. Now I can move it and eat normally and the constant aching is finally gone. I still feel the bones rubbing and clicking every so often, so I know it is not healed. But at least it doesn't move every time I take a step. I can get my left arm out to the handlebars to ride my trainer but am scared to put any weight on it. So I still ride with it strapped to my chest with an ace wrap. I have been riding my trainer since day four for 30 to 60 minutes per day and feel like I am maintaining great fitness. Things are progressing but not as fast as I would like. I have a follow up visit with my doc next week. I hope to be able to hit the road again in mid Sept. after I get a new bike. My frame was totaled in the crash. Good luck to all of you in your healing.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 16, 2005 08:46 AM, Shannon Ellard wrote:

Help! My 15 year old son broke his collarbone playing hockey (non contact!) four weeks ago. Yesterday the doc said the sling could go and that he could start playing FOOTBALL! As long as there was no contact and that in two more weeks, contact would be okay. This to me sounds NUTS! My son is the Quarterback - TARGET - on his team. Anyone have any advice? I need help as I seem to be the only one worried about him.

Thank you,

Permanent link to this comment. On September 21, 2005 09:46 AM, Carol wrote:

How bad was the break? What does the X-Ray look like now? I wouldn't think that it would be strong enough yet for football. The first time my daughter broke hers playing Goalie in Soccer 2 years ago. It was a greenstick fracture and healed so well that there was no evidence even on X-Ray that it had ever been broken.However, it was 3 full months before the Dr. gave her the OK to dive on the ground or play as keeper to avoid the risk of breaking it worse.
This time is different. She broke the same collarbone falling off of a trampoline May 26, 2005. She has a displaced lateral fracture. We've moved to a new city and didn't have a Doctor. We got 5 opinions on treatment: 3 said surgery, 2 said not. I read all of the complications that come with the surgery and opted for non-surgical treatment. She had NO pain with this break and I didn't want surgery to cause any and risk complications. Just went to the Dr. today and the X-Ray doesn't look any better than it did 8 weeks ago. The Dr. said to give it 6 more months and that she can play Soccer but not Goalie. Now I wonder if we shouldn't have had the surgery. We're talking almost a year recovery period. She is devastated about not being able to play Goalie for this long. Needless to say that her team has fallen in ranking because she was the only trained Goal Keeper.
I wonder now if I went to another Dr. if it's too late for surgery. We're so disappointed at the rate or lack of healing. She is 14 years old and should heal faster than this.
Any suggestions?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 12, 2005 08:32 PM, Jan Modglin wrote:

I do not know what I have done. The right and left side of my neck/shoulders does not match. I have a bump near the center of my chest, but off to one side(right). I also have some discomfort there, but thought it was due to work related phone time. Could I have broken my collar bone and not known it.

Also, I read on another web site about a person that had the same thing, plus his eye browe line was also lower on that side. I have that also, but do not know if they are connected.

Any thoughts???


Permanent link to this comment. On October 12, 2005 11:04 PM, Hans wrote:

Jan - It's impossible to tell if you have a broken collar bone. The only way is by having a doctor take a look. Your symptoms are general enough that they could indicate a collar bone break. But they could also indicate a strained muscle. If you did break your collar bone you would recall the accident. I do know that your eye brow line will have nothing to do with your collar bone.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2005 08:22 AM, Wendy wrote:

My 12 year old daughter just broke her collar bone yesterday. Playing hide and seek of all things. Instead of just tagging her friend, she tried to tackle her and landed right on her shoulder. Of course she has been in a lot of pain but thanks to the meds she is managing the pain with no complaints. Hopefully I will get her in to see the orthopedic tomorrow or soon after. My question is that this morning I noticed that her left shoulder is higher than her right one. It was the right side that she broke. I've adjusted her splint. Is it normal right after a brake? Should one shoulder he hingher?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 18, 2005 09:46 PM, Hans wrote:

Wendy - Having one shoulder higher than the other is common. It can be long term if the bones mend but they don't align the same as before the break. That's one of the reasons it's important to keep the shoulders aligned while waiting to heal.

I hope your daughter recovers quickly.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2005 07:54 PM, kimberly wrote:

hans, thanks for this workout schedule. is this week 1 as in 7 days after the break, or several weeks after? i broke my right clavical in a cross race crash on saturday. hurts to even walk around the block right now. and i was just getting into cross!! thanks!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2005 09:22 PM, Hans wrote:

Kimberly - Dang, sorry to hear about your crash and especially that it happened during a CX race. I began the training program above about a week and half after my break. Be sure to sit upright for the first two weeks or so and not put any strain on your shoulder. I wore my sling during my workouts. You will have to wash it afterwards or you will get stinky sling and then nobody will hang with you :')

Riding the trainer is also a good time to catch up on movies. Pop one in the DVD and then do your workout. Really helps with the boredom. Oh, and if you want to ride a virtual CX race, download some of my videos and watch them:


Have a quick recovery!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 3, 2005 10:05 PM, carol wrote:

Still looking for any comments from Sept. 21st entry. The Doc doesn't even want us to come back until Jan. If the bone doesn't heal together, will she ever be able to play Goalie? Can't get a straight answer from the Doc. Is it worth going to a different Doc at this point?
Any views?

Permanent link to this comment. On November 6, 2005 04:34 PM, BRIAN GIBBS wrote:


Permanent link to this comment. On November 8, 2005 07:47 AM, Hans wrote:

Carol - If you aren't comfortable with your doctor then get another's opinion. But be sure you are not searching for the answer you want vs. the answer you are getting. Also, does the doctor you are using understand athletes and their needs? If not then look for an orthopedic doctor that specializes in sports related injuries. They will understand the needs of your daughter.

Brian - Sorry to tell you but the only way to know is to have a doctor evaluate the injury. I haven't heard of anyone breaking a collar bone through weight lifting but I won't rule it out. As I recommended above, you should seek a doctor that specializes in sports injuries. And continuing to work your chest might be making the injury worse. Scale way back on the weight or stop until you get evaluated.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 9, 2005 02:24 PM, Don Howard wrote:

I broke my left clavicle about three weeks ago. I was playing two-hand touch football with some eighth graders. I slipped and feel while trying to tag one of them. I heard the bone snap. There was no doubt in my mind; I knew immediately that I had broken my collar bone. I went to the emergency room right away. After about three hours of waiting, I was brought to radiology and had x-rays taken. There is about a 1 inch gap between the displaced bone. I made appointments to see a couple doctors. I have seen an othopedic specialist as well as a sports doctor. They informed me that my left clavicle will be "S" shaped after the 1 inch gap is filled with calcium to stabilize and join the displaced bone. My left shoulder has dropped and will heal that way. The sports doctor has given me a rope and pulley system to begin stretching the arm so that the shoulder joint doesn't lock up on me. It seems like in today's high-tech would that we would have devised a way (other than surgery) of putting the displaced bone back into place. For now, I am using a sling and enduring the pain like the rest of you unfortunate souls with fractured clavicles.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 28, 2005 06:10 AM, Dan Osborne wrote:

I broke my left clavicle 5 weeks ago playing football. Went up for a header and got tackled in mid air! came down full weight on my shoulder, heard a huge crack and ended in hospital. Just as other people have said the pain was terrible.I have great sympathy for everyone who has done the same.Its not easy being able to do just about nothing, especially when your normally so active. After hours in A&E the doctors decided i didnt require surgery which was a big relief. They told me it was a standard break i had and to keep it in a sling until i came back for more x rays in 6 weeks time. The bone is showing under the skin at the moment. Will this go down after a while or be like that forever? and are there any exercises i could do to start strenghting my shoulder again?

Permanent link to this comment. On January 2, 2006 04:08 AM, zoe phillips wrote:

hi, although i considered myself quite an accomplished boarder, i broke my collarbone in a magnificent snowboarding wipe out on new year's eve(2 days ago)in the beautiful swiss ski resort of crans montana. even though it was an exciting tour down the mountain in an orange body bag through ice and slush, sitting in pain in Sion hospital new year's eve, not speaking much french, hearing the fireworks and laughter outside was torture, plus the worry about competing in triathlons again this summer - i was just starting to improve my swim and win my runs, do i need to start training from scratch?i am worried because i was 39yrs old a month ago too, all the above patients sound younger though i would declare myself as equally fit:)it's therefore day2. i have no indoor bike trainer what can i do to help ease my way back to fitness. in great pain now and worried about the length of time it will heal and the aesthetics afterwards. the hospital only gave me a rucksac brace to wear, no sling,should i ask for one? i have read the suggestions to take calcium supplements,so assume this is a good start. how long do i need to sleep with the pillow under my spine?i can sleep for about 4 hours but then wake with intense back pain. i also experience pain when i move my jaw, is this ok?appologies for the poor writing style - i'm not usually a left handed person! right-handed Zoe ps. my thanks to enrique for coming down off the slope, collecting me from hosp and shopping at co-op for the smoked salmon, marinated king prawns and moet plus 12 seedless grapes, to bring in the new year a little less painfully!!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 2, 2006 12:49 PM, Hans wrote:

Zoe - Sorry to hear about the crash. What a rotten way to bring in the New Year! Although, if sounds as if your friend set you up in style.

If you haven't had a chance to read through the other two related pages here on my site then go and do so. There's more feedback from people that should be helpful. The links are back near the top of this page.

A sling is helpful in relieving the strain on your shoulder. But, it's important that when you use one that you also remove your arm and bend the joints occasionally. Otherwise you risk stiff joints.

Finding a comfortable way to sleep is unique per person. I found lying on my back with a pillow slightly supporting my arm and elbow helped. I also used a brace that held my upper arm close to my body.

Your jaw pain is probably independent. If it continues to bother you then be sure to have a doctor take a look.

As for getting back into fitness... Do you have access to a gym? If so then you might be able to use a staionary bike. Or even a stairclimber. But, give yourself a week or so before training again. You won't lose much fitness in that amount of time and you really need to give your body a chance to recover. The first week or so is the most important. Keep the shoulder stable. No movement during that time. Later, ease into your workouts. Look at the program I used above and adjust accordingly. Note how easy it was at the beginning.

Heal fast.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 3, 2006 10:41 AM, zoe wrote:

great, many thanks hans for the advice, will let you know how i get on :)
best regards

Permanent link to this comment. On January 8, 2006 12:31 AM, tricia muller wrote:

hi i'm trish
broke my collar bone the day before my 21st in a car accident
midshaft right side. am in the navy and was supposed to be doing a changeover to Physical Training Instructor early feb. Had surgery four days after the accident and seem to be healing well! Not being able to do any fitness is killing me!! Just want to get down and smash out 100 pushups... when can i get back into doing pushups?? Unfortunatly have to spend all summer watching everyone else surf... when can i get back in the water? Still in a sling but often wake up without it on and my arm is outstretched!! ooops!!!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 8, 2006 04:59 PM, Hans wrote:

Trish - You can keep up your fitness with a stationary bike. No impact on the shoulder and a very good workout. That's what I ended up doing and was back racing within 6 weeks. When can you get back in the water? Each person's recovery is unique. Listen to people's thoughts but stick with what your doc says. Otherwise you risk screwing up your shoulder and going back to day one.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 18, 2006 07:40 PM, sunil wrote:

i had met with an accident & my right colour bon had broken , and it heeled in step

Permanent link to this comment. On January 25, 2006 06:41 PM, luca wrote:

hello i'm luca from italy.on 28 march(two day after my 29 birthday) i broken my clavicle and other bone in a terrible car incident.the clavicle fracture was the worst.the doctor opted for a figure a 8 because surgery was full of complication.after two month my clavicle wasn't healed so they give me a bone stimulator.i was desperated for my clavicle and for the disability.i can't work.what a nightmare!but after three month there were some sign of union and after five month the bone was healed!today 10 month after the accident i have again a little pain and some movements are a little unconfortable but my shoulder strength is to 100%(i'm an olimpic wheightlifer and can to lift a 360 lb barbel overhead)so don't worry too much it is a long process but if i'm retourned to a full life also you can!good luck to all(excuse for bad englih)

Permanent link to this comment. On February 10, 2006 04:19 AM, zoe wrote:

Hi Hans, Zoe here, I'm doing ok and hopefully my rucksack brace can come off next Monday (subject to X-rays). I am left with a bit of a bump - it looks like a pyramid on one side of my neck - this is awful, will it 'go down'? Also, what do you recommed for exercise for the arm when the brace comes off, I've taken the brace off just recently on a couple of occasions and the muscle and arm definitely feels very weak, maybe it's because I'm being very cautious. How do you suggest building up it's strength again? It seems strange to think at this stage that I may be strong enough to compete again and do everything I used to do. The point of the bone hurts too. I guess it's still very sensitive, but what do you think? How long will it be before the danger of breaking it again is reduced somewhat? Many thanks in advance of your feedback Zoe

Permanent link to this comment. On February 10, 2006 09:20 PM, Hans wrote:

Zoe - Lumps are part of broken collarbones. In some cases they reduce in time. Because of all the variations of breaks and people's bodies, it's impossible to say if yours will change.

You should speak with a physical therapist about getting your arm and shoulder back in shape. Each person's injury is unique and one exercise might be good for one person but not another. You don't want to risk more injury. But I do recommend you try to move your arm and shoulder while you are recovering. Otherwise you risk getting something called a frozen socket. Movement should only be to the point just shy of pain. Again, I recommend speaking with a physical therapist.

While I was healing I would occasionally feel pain at the site of the break. It would normally subside after taking a pain reliever.

How long before the danger of breaking it is reduced? You are sure full of the tough questions! Honestly, that's another question that only your doctor can give a fair answer to. Each person heals differently. I was lucky and after two months my shoulder was very solid. But others have taken a year or more to heal. Wish I could be more helpful there.

In any event, heal fast and don't worry, you will be back up to speed soon enough.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 12, 2006 12:00 PM, liza wrote:

can I just say... sand boarding rocks!!! lol.. ica, peru an amazing place to visit if you're a traveler, backpacker or anyone who would love to sand boarding in these amazing dunes. the best part were the dune buggies. but the dunes were where my accident took place. . so my brave little ass and by little I mean 5'1, 105 pounds. ..k. I decided to take the biggest hill and started coming down pretty fast, like an idiot I waxed my board. first mistake. second I started losing control of my board towards the end of the hill when.. I totally ate it. and landed on my right shoulder. yes, lame, I know. but overall an amazing time and I got to meet a lot of interesting people along the way. ok this might sound a bit odd... but I wish my left clavicle would have broke instead of the right. since that is my dominant side. but after just 2 weeks I'm surprised how well my arm feels. a book you guys might like to read during your healing time : between a rock and a hard place by aron ralston. I loved it. and I would like to thank everyone who posted their unique stories. its helped me a lot today.


Permanent link to this comment. On March 6, 2006 06:06 AM, george wrote:

It is nice to read the posts about broken collarbones. Two weeks ago I was in a metric century and crashed breaking my left collarbone. I was on the back of a small paceline and stood up to reposition myself when my left foot came unclipped. I lost control and went down hard cracking my brand new Giro helmet and breaking my collarbone. I got back on the trainer last Thursday and have spent 30 minutes a day since then. Reading these posts has given me a positive outlook, thank you for that, particularly the post that said by week 4 you were able to use both arms on the trainer. This one arm stuff is tough. I have some long rides coming up at the end of April first of May including a three day 250 miler. I have enough time right?

Permanent link to this comment. On March 9, 2006 12:45 PM, Steve wrote:

Hello fellow collarbone breakees! I broke my collar bone a month ago today. Unlike the rest of you, mine was self-inflicted. It was my work leaving-do and I got completely w*nkered on cocktails. Managed to fall down a load of concrete stairs landing right on the shoulder. I woke up dazed, confused and in pain at the local Accident & Emergency. It still hurts and comes at a bad time as I'm relocating. X-rays have revealed it is healing well. I suspect I'll be 'out of action' for a couple more months yet. ***Can anyone advise on or describe any exercises I could do to get the things going again, now that it is healing? I'm scared to move it too much, if I stretch out I get a sensation of pressure build-up, so I try and avoid moving it too much as a result. ***Could this be a nerve problem?

Permanent link to this comment. On March 10, 2006 11:39 PM, Mike Shiflett wrote:


I broke mine 3 and 1/2 weeks ago skiing. I also am a cyclist. I have not been on my bike since. I stopped wearing the sling after day 6 or 7. I use my broken side until it nearly hurts then stop using it. The sling and figure of 8 brace are terrible to wear for long periods of time. My dr said that it would take longer to heal without the sling or brace but too bad for me. I find having use of my right arm and hand to outweigh a two week acceleration in healing. Also I read lots sbout slings and braces on the net and there are mixed views. I like the one that starts getting the arm back in action quickly. I figure that if I wear the sling all the time then when everyting is healed I'll have about 2 weeks of rehab time on the bad arm side so to me it's a wash except I get to use my arm and hand a little. It is painfull especially the first few weeks. Now it's a nuisance as I get teased into doing something only to have to stop doing it and using my left hand and arm again. I have another x ray in a week so we'll see how my strategy is working.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 22, 2006 09:56 PM, Karyn wrote:

hi I'm 25 and broke and displaced my right collarbone 4 days ago on my motorbike. I have had no pain since the first night so I don't take any pain killers. I wear a sling but take it off when I lie down (which is most of the time),I stretch my arm out on a pillow and sleep and rest with it straight. Is this ok?? I have an important motocross race in 4 weeks but after reading these posts I might have to give it a miss.:( I too want to take my sling off after a week. (I dont want to get a frozen shoulder) I have walked around for a bit with it off and don't feel uncomfortable at all but I know I should keep it on for awhile, so I will be interested to see how Mikes x rays went.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 24, 2006 05:41 AM, george wrote:

Karyn, it sounds like you are doing a lot better than I was doing. I could not move my arm for about 10 days without it hurting. I am at 4 weeks and 5 days since I broke my left collarbone. Everyday now I can do more and more with my left arm. These posts have been great because I used some of the timeframes to set goals for myself, like getting both arms on the handlebars while riding on the trainer. With four weeks to your race, you would be about the time where I am now. I feel great but I could not ride a motocross race this weekend, but I am also 39 years old and you are a lot younger. The one thing I have read numerous places about broken collarbones, is that the first week is crucial in keeping your collarbone still so the healing can start. Good luck in your recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2006 02:35 AM, Karyn wrote:

Thanks for the reply George, Its funny I was thinking about getting my arm on the handlebars of my trainer as well today but lucky some common sense kicked in before I did.I'm so glad I found this site, The info is great, its like being in our own club. I'm now on the 8th day of recovery, I still have no pain but I can feel the bones shift (or maybe thats grind) a little when I walk but not like when I first did it. I also tripped and fell over on the weekend. I landed on my knees luckily but I hope the force of it didn't set me back. I'm dying to go have another x ray done just to see how its all going but I think I should be patient for at least another week.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2006 08:44 AM, george wrote:

I went Friday for x-rays. Mine was a complete break with the two halves overlapping each other. The x-rays looked the same as it did the day I broke it, still not contacting each other. I was discouraged at first, because it has been 5 weeks!!! The doctor told me that it was OK and that I could get back on the bike whenever I felt I could. I am dying to get back on the road and plan to do a small ride this week. I start PT tomorrow. I am out of the sling all together and I can move my arm 1000 times more than I could even 2 weeks ago. I just can't get my arm over my head yet, but I heard that in PT they are going to put my arm over my head whether I can do it or not. Any pain I have now is not from the break but all the muscles in my shoulder and upper arm. Even though I was doing exercises, I think I was starting to get a frozen shoulder.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2006 02:31 PM, joey wrote:

my mom sent me this link of good sholder exercises:

Permanent link to this comment. On April 3, 2006 06:57 PM, Tom wrote:


I'm a cyclist and I broke my right clavicle 12 years ago now. The break is near the shoulder end of the bone. My injury never really healed so I have a "Floating clavicle". This has affected my life quite a bit. I have to be careful how I sit. Too long leaning forward and my neck and shoulder just kill me. If you think about how many things that require you to lean slightly forward you will start to realize how big of a problem this is.

Cycling has always been a challenge. Short races are OK, but long rides are very challenging. I did a 100 mile ride last year and about 2/3 the way through the pain was almost blinding... I'm thinking about going in for surgery now. I keep reading about people that say to not go for surgey, but I can not imagine that being worse. Does anyone have stories about good vs bad surgey experiences?

Permanent link to this comment. On April 5, 2006 01:45 PM, Bill wrote:


I'm a 56 year old off road racer who broke my clavicle 3/19/06 in a motorcycle crash that also broke 2 ribs and separated my shoulder. By far the collarbone hurt the most, after emergency room visit, then family dr visit I finally got to see an orthopedic dr on 3/29. I told him I needed to be ready to go by 4/23/06 and he indicated that it would not be a problem after viewing the healing that had taken place by comparing ER xray with that days xray. The next Saturday after wraping my self in two figure 8 braces and a rib race I needed to test a change I made to my motorcycle - so I rode it carefully with no problem. Then I got brave and took it out again hit a bump and heard a SNAP and was in extreme pain for about 5 min, after that I was in pain all the time. I just got out of th Dr. office today and the xray showed that the bone did break again and it dropped down half an inch from where it was on the previous break. The encouraging thing was the doctor said todays xray already showed signs of healing.

I know this was a long post but I felt compelled to write to tell everybody who breaks a collarbone how important it is to heal for the first three weeks, the less you move it the better off you are. Because of my bad judgement I prolonged my recovery, went through unnecessary pain, and deformed my body more than it would have been. Now the dr wants me to wear braces and sling for two weeks straight.

SO PLEASE DO NOT GET IN A HURRY, LET IT HEAL, your commitments can wait!

Permanent link to this comment. On April 10, 2006 12:50 PM, Jay wrote:

I'm 20 years old and I broke my right collarbone two years ago playing high school rugby. I was told that it healed perfectly and that the only problem was that I would have a larger than normal bump where the bones fused together(in an overlapping position).Last fall, the pain in my right shoulder felt like it did when I originally broke it. I didn't think I did anything to re-injure it, so I x-rayed it to be sure. X-rays came back and everything was alright. But I didn't feel alright. I got a second opinion, and recieved the same results...IT'S ALRIGHT. So I decided to deal with the pain and keep on workin'. Three months went by and I couldn't lift my arm over my head without intense shooting pain in my neck, shoulder blade and arm. I went to see a orthopedic surgeon and he requested another x-ray. X-rays came back and showed a non-union of the clavicle. He looked at the sets of x-rays I had taken in the fall, and those too showed a non-union. For some reason the radiologist didn't see the break. I am now waiting 6 to 8 months for surgery to have a plate and screws put in. My company I work for wants me to come back ASAP and I am not recieving any workers compensation because it was a previous injury that had nothing to do with my job. I am not sure how long they will wait before they terminate my employment. I am wondering if anyone has experienced something like this and whether or not there is a case for medical malpractice? I don't want any money, I just want the damn operation right away so I can get back to normal.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 16, 2006 11:06 AM, Vikas wrote:

I am 24 years old and i broke my collarbone some 6 weeks back. I was driving on a motorbike all drunk, made a turn, couldnt see the road, my bike swerved and i hit the road divider, fell on my left shoulder and broke it along with injuries on my elbows: though i managed to pick my bike up and go home. Totally Not Necessary. Rule 1) DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!.

Next morning had an XRay which showed a break. Luckily the cracked bones hadnt displaced too much, so it was not that painful. I was prescribed to wear the 8-Ring clavicle support along with an arm sling to reduce mobility. The second day itself i was able to move around without much pain and decided to loiter around with my girlfriend. On the third day i was trying to read the newspaper when i tried to squat on the ground, placed my left knee on the floor forgetting that i had an injury there. As soon as i did that, my left arm (injured one) by reflex caught the side of the bed and i had a searing pain due to the impact. Now it was paining! I spent the whole night in pain not knowing what to do. Then i visited the doctor who tightened up the 8-Ring which gave me immediate relief. I immediately decided to rest completely and did that for 2 1/2 straight weeks. Just slept all day, watched TV, ate and slept more.

There was pain initially while getting up and lying down. Also changing clothes was a big pain in the bum. All of it went away in 3 weeks and by the 4the week, i was feeling very uncomfortable wearing the sling, so i removed it. Went to the doctor after 6 weeks whereby he told me that the join was strong and i could remove the Ring and do some shoulder exercises.
Moral 2) Make sure you rest for the first 3 weeks. Rest! Rest! Rest! and eat a really healthy diet rich in calcium and protein.

Now in my 7th week, i can drive my bike again comfortably. Only i cant lift my hand properly straight up which i think i would be able to do in a few more weeks or so. I sincerely hope i would be able to hit the gym again ( of which i am very fond of).

Just dont forget to consult your doctor whenver u feel somethings up with ur shoulder or theres some pain. Rest well, eat well and it would get perfect in a jiffy. Yeah the first 3 weeks is crucial.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 29, 2006 09:02 PM, paul wrote:

thanks for this website.....have been enlightened on the good, bad and the ugly of the clavicle break. when you are active in all facets of life, others do not quite know the distress we breakees are in, nor would they understand why we type without capital letters. i broke my left clavicle 9 days ago. flipped off mtn. bike after taking my hands off the handle bars for a split second. was on gentle downslope, on pavement...so i can't begin to figure out what went wrong. this is my first broken bone disabled list assignment - being able to learn from others has been a key to sanity. i have learned more from others than i did from the er doctors and the local ortho. i live in a fairly isolated part of nor cal - mendocino - so am going it with my sling, a lower riding, waist band sling thing that velcros my wrist to my stomach and my elbow to my side. as you all know, any progress is good, but it is incredible how one can start to feel a little better, only to go back to quite a bit of pain again. i am an avid surfer, a tennis player and by recent profession, a furniture maker. so, this is tough. thanks and good vibes go out to all of you/us. p.s. anyone have any thoughts about icepacks 9 days later.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 29, 2006 10:04 PM, Hans wrote:

Paul - Icing 9 days after the injury seems a bit long. I have heard of using ice up to 3 days. It really depends on your injury and the swelling that is occurring. If you aren't having issues with swelling then it might be wise to stop icing. You should check with your doctor.

The following site has some information about how to ice an injury:


It notes that the effect of icing diminishes significantly after about 48 hours. Here's a related article that contains more information about ice and heat treatments:


Permanent link to this comment. On April 30, 2006 04:42 AM, george wrote:

Just a follow up on my break since this site was so helpful to me. Today is 10 weeks after my cycling crash and I am doing fine. The break does not hurt but my shoulder still does from time to time when I sleep on it wrong. I was back on the trainer after 1 week, back on the road riding at 5 weeks and now at 10 weeks, I have logged 570 miles since I got back on the road. This Friday I leave for a bike ride from Myrtle Beach SC to Washington DC. (600 miles in 7 days) When I first broke it I was concerned that I would not be able to make this ride but now that it is here, I know I can do it. Keep you sprits up and good luck to you all.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 2, 2006 12:42 AM, Bill wrote:

A follow up on My April 5 post. Last week April 23 I was able to race my m/c, this was 5 weeks after original break and only 3 weeks after a rebreak, not bad for 56 year old. Doc said you can ride just don't crash again hmmm, well I fell down three times because I was going to slow, race bikes don't handle well going slow! The main thing is I made it through the race and received a finish. Today is 6 weeks plus one day and I feel fine, no soreness and full range of motion in right arm. I feel this was a remarkable recovery considering how bad the break was. I do not want to go against any Dr's orders but, I wore the brace continued to work (not to physical) and removed the brace for 2 hours a day starting at week 3. I increased time without brace every 2 days with minor exercise to prevent long recuperating time. I tried doing exercises that worked the muscles without straining them, on weekends I would fish instead of ride my bike. At week 4 I did 20 min light work out on eliptical treadmill, once I started these workouts I could felt better on a daily basis. The only other thing that I might mention is I doubled my daily dose of vitamins from week 1 to week 5 (multiple vit, fish oil vit, vit E, vit C). One last thing, think positive about your healing and just will yourself to getting better. Good luck and good bye!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 12, 2006 12:43 PM, Paul wrote:

This is Paul again, now 3 weeks since my break. I am now to the point of going crazy, sleeping on my back, wanting to do more with my damaged side, but not being too sure of how much to push things. I have been able to hit the trainer, take vigorous walks, start to push the arm and shoulder into some range of motion "actions." Just what is frozen shoulder? I feel that mine is somewhat locked, not wanting to let my arm/hand raise up above just below shoulder level. Sometimes, when I go for a longer walk, all the muscles around the break seem to seize up, which they probably are doing. I have a follow-up x-ray next week (wk. 4). Do you think I should wait until this x-ray before I keep "pushing" for more mobility? I know that comfort level, not time since the break, is probably the answer to this question. Oh well. Since I love to surf, it has been comforting to see fairly poor and windy conditions since my break. My doctor told me 3 MONTHS until I could surf. This seems like a long time. Does anyone out there have experience with coming back from the clavicle break and getting back out on a surfboard? I am a fairly mellow longboarder. Thanks again for your site. - Paul

Permanent link to this comment. On May 16, 2006 04:16 AM, g wrote:

i broke my collarbone 25 days ago.the pain has gone away and my hand can make more moves than before.i went to the doctor and he told me not to get an xray because from what he show it was fine.i made an xray elsewhere after 25 days and the other doctor told me that there where no signs the bone is sticking back together and that it had moved a little bit from its original position.i showed the xray to my doctor and he told me that i was fine and tha the fact i can move my hand in everyday routine is an indication that it is doing fine and healing.what do y think????

Permanent link to this comment. On May 17, 2006 09:37 PM, Jay wrote:

I'm 37 and broke my collarbone about 6 1/2 months ago playing hockey. I got checked into the boards and my shoulder took the brunt of the impact, shattering the left clavicle. The x-ray showed at least 4 distinct pieces - the doctor thinks there may have been several smaller fragments we couldn't see. The first couple of months were really miserable, but the doctors assured me that the bone would heal without surgery. I was able to start moving my arm again after about six weeks, but even after 18 weeks, the x-rays showed no sign of bone growth. I was told that there was some fibrous tissue that was holding the bones together, but that the bone may never fuse. One doctor, who had originally recommended no surgery, even changed his mind after the first two months, but I decided to give it more time, just in case. There was a lot of uncertainty for a long time. Even though I'd regained all my mobility, I still had a pretty sharp protrusion from under the skin and I didn't feel very good about the idea that the bone may never heal completely. However, I had another x-ray at the 5 month mark and *finally* there was clear evidence of bone growth. Since then the point has started to round out and is slowly forming into a bump. Despite how bad the break was, I've regained full mobility and am looking forward to getting back on the ice in another month. The moral of the story is, I guess, be patient. It does eventually heal - and even though at the beginning you might think that things will never be the same again - the mobility does return. If it weren't for the bump, I could easily forget the injury ever occured. Hang in there, it may be slow sometimes, but the human body has an amazing capacity to repair itself.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 17, 2006 11:31 PM, Vikas wrote:

I am back for a follow-up! Now its been 11 weeks since i broke my clavicle. Recovery has been complete. I have full range of motion in my shoulder. Theres still some deep embedded stiffness in the muscles which i think will go away with time. I have returned to the gym finally, have been exercising for a full week now. Back exercises, triceps curls and leg exercises are a breeze but i am still not comfortable with the Bench Press and i can do heavy Biceps Curls with dumbbells. For shoulder exercises i was only able to lift 8 pounds dumbbells but not more than this :-(. I think full strength would return in a few weeks or so :D. So dont get down, its get okay people! Patience!

@paul: looks to me you are quiet anxious to be back to full steam again. You just need to be a lil patient. I have never done surfing, but i can imagine what kind of strenght and shoulder motion it can take. My shoulder still cant take sudden jerks without a little pain but i think this is due to less strength in the shoulder muscles, which will improve with exercise. Also i wasn't able to lift my hands above the shoulder level from the front even after 7 weeks!. I was so frustated at times that i thought this will never become okay. But it did, i did the shoulder exercises (link is given above) and slowly in a week, i could lift my hand up. Now i have full range of motion.
So it will take time, if it takes 4 weeks to rest give it that or if it demands more, then give accordingly. A few weeks of No Surfing in return for a strong shoulder is a good deal and dont try too much to "push for mobility". That will come with patience and exercise.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 24, 2006 05:45 PM, JB wrote:

I broke my clavicle 2 days short of 4 weeks ago. I am working. It is physical. I have no real choice at this point. There are days where I have to move my arm and above the shoulder is pinchy and a little painful. This has been the most unorthodox recovery because I can't just sit and let it heal. I do have the sling on most of the time and wore the figure 8 for about the first 2 weeks off and on. I never took pain meds because I wanted at all times to know where I was at with the injury and because I've been using it. I wanted to know the exact points at which I was straining it to a place of no return? This being a 1 to 1 1/2 centimeter displaced break on my right clavicle, assuming that it is healing, is there any real danger in 'wrong' but not jerky movements. There is no clicking any more and there are no major pains with the exception of soreness or if I do something that is sudden.

I know this all sounds pretty wacky but I am in a wacky situation.

Please give advice as to how I might deal with using my arm at moments yet being sensitive (as much as I can be) to the healing process.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 30, 2006 08:59 PM, David flaherty wrote:

Yeah I broke my left collar bone on 4/20/06 playing baseball, its now beggining to heal, but i was wondering how long it might take for me to start swinging my bat again. Hopefully anyone who has ever played baseball can help. And also what kind of workouts should I be doing? Tips, suggestions would be appreciated

Permanent link to this comment. On May 31, 2006 09:21 AM, Hans wrote:

JB - Pain is always a good indicator of something wrong. If you are doing movement that generates pain then you are going too far. The problem with moving the shoulder during recovery is a double-edged sword. Movement helps to keep your shoulder from losing mobility. But it can hinder the bone healing process. A good physical therapist or orthopedic doc should be able to give you better information based on your particular break and the current level of your recovery.


David - It's been a long time since I played baseball. I would think that once your shoulder and brak has stabalized then you should be able to begin swinging the bat again. How long that takes depends on too many factors. I recommend you have a good sports doc do your evaluation and provide recovery workouts. There isn't one set of excercises that work for all people with a broken collarbone.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2006 08:17 AM, Adam wrote:

Oh man, I just found this website after breaking my right clavicle on 21 May, and now I'm worried. It has now been 11 days since I broke it. It is a full break with the two sections of my clavicle overlapping one another. My doc (a sports medicine doc) did not sling me, said I could use my arm letting pain be my guide, just don't fall on it, and come back for an x-ray at week 3. After consulting with him several days later to confirm that getting back on the bike was OK, I was on the bike trainer on day 7, on my road bike on days 8 and 9, and have gone back to bike commuting. Now I read this stuff!!! What should I do? See another doc? Either my pain receptors are all screwed up or I've just been lucky as though I have experienced pain it has been very tolerable. After breaking my clavicle going over the handlebars 1/4 of the way into a MTB race, I got up and finished the race and only needed painkillers the day I broke it. Perhaps I'm now doing damage that I am unaware of???? Recommendations please!!!!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2006 01:01 PM, Hans wrote:

Adam - Well, I would stay off the bike just a bit longer. It really sounds like your sports doc is taking a very lax attitude dealing with broken collar bones. Keeping the break immobilized for the first two weeks is really important. That helps to allow the broken ends of the bones to find themselves and begin fusing. Movement can disrupt and break those bonds that are forming. The first two weeks are when the body tries the hardest to form the bonds.

You might be lucky in that your break might be such that the bones are staying rather immobile. But I wouldn't risk it. Stay off the bike or only ride a trainer (off the bars) until you get the follow-up x-ray. At that point you will get some indication on how well you are healing.

As for your lack of pain, you are lucky. Each break is unique and each person unique. There are many factors that determine the level of pain. No pain is a good thing. But no pain doesn't mean your break is healing correctly.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2006 03:11 PM, Adam wrote:

Thanks Hans! After speaking with my physcial therapist and reading here, I have scheduled an appointment with another doctor that in a conversation last night recommended a taping regime to keep things in place. The appointment is for Monday, which marks two weeks since; hopefully I haven't missed (or screwed up) this 2 week window of opportunity.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 2, 2006 04:39 PM, Carl wrote:

i need some help i have broken my clavicle , has been broken for 4 weeks now i still have some pain when i lift my arm straight up in the air or move in fast in one direction is this a normal thing to happen or could thier be something else broken aswell, i looked at my x- rays today and it looks like thier is a little crack at the top of my shulder iam not realy sure. it isnt a break right thru. this was done during a football accident.
thanks carl

Permanent link to this comment. On June 5, 2006 02:01 PM, Adam wrote:

Just to update my situation. It seems different breaks require different levels of care. I saw the second doctor, he took one look at the x-rays and totally agreed with the first's diagnosis and after-care treatment. Apparently, with the main two sections of my clavicle overlapping one another and another little piece wedged in their there is very little room for the bones to move around -- it would in all likelihood take a good jolt to get things to budge. So back on the bike! Woo hoo! Good luck to all of you and I hope this information helps some others out too.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 5, 2006 04:14 PM, Hans wrote:

Carl - Shoulder pain is common. There might also be some soft tissue damage. I wouldn't recommend trying to read your x-rays. It really requires a specialist to see what is and isn't wrong. I suggest following up with your doctor and explaining the pain and issues you are having. It might simply require more time and probably some physical therapy. But follow up with your doctor.


Adam - Great news you lucky dog! There are going to be a bunch of jealous people here reading your comment. Now just don't go crash on it and then have to come back here with a bad report. :')

Permanent link to this comment. On June 6, 2006 09:22 AM, Tammy wrote:

Hello all. I've been reading everyone's helpful comments. I am inspired to go back to the gym now that it's been a week after my clavical break. Slippery train tracks on Market St in SF are hard to avoid on a bike! But there is one thing I need advice on that wasn't covered in the comments on this page. My clavical bone is broken into four pieces. I have two conflicting doctor's opinions. One says I have 60% chance of natural healing, and if it does I will have a sloping shoulder, a pointy bump (it almost cut through the skin three days ago but the pieces keep moving around), and I will have 80% mobility with a loss of overhead mobility. He suggests getting the plate, but he also suggested getting a second opinon. The second doc says it'll heal naturally, no need for surgery, the bump can be filed down later. I can clearly see two bumps now, one behind the other in a verticle alignment. Eek. I concerned that a sloping shoulder may lead to over compensation somewhere else in my body, like lower back pain, resulting in problems that may arise later in life. The sling has been on since day 1, I've stopped taking the pain killers and my left hand is learning new tricks, but I need help with deciding surgery or no surgery. Thanks. Tammy

Permanent link to this comment. On June 7, 2006 06:47 AM, John Maas wrote:

I'm in my mid 50's. Around three weeks ago I took a bad fall that produce a banged up rig cage along with a broken collar bone. During the first week after the fall I saw the local MD twice, once for the broken bone and again for some breathing problems. At the moment everything would seem to be healing up except for the clavicle break.

Anyway, what I'm thinking about is how long should I wait before going back for another x-ray to check progress with the break. Also, I have an orthopedic surgeon that I've seen before with good results. I'm thinking that maybe I should go to him instead of my MD in the general premise that he would have more experience with this sort of thing? And of course I could always go to a doctor that specializes in sports medicine.

So, anybody have any ideas about this?


Permanent link to this comment. On June 7, 2006 01:43 PM, Adam wrote:


First off, see an orthopedic specialist. My orthopedic doc has me coming back at 3 weeks post-injury to take another x-ray to see how the healing is progressing.


Don't know how to advise as far as surgery or not but I do have some of the same concerns as you as far as over-compensation. I'm planning on seeing my physical therapist about that.

Good Luck to both of you!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 7, 2006 02:55 PM, Hans wrote:

Tammy - Yes, Market street is a nightmare for cyclists. Oh, and I've kissed the pavement because of the cable car tracks over on Columbus. Luckily I only left some skin on the road.

Surgery or not is such a tough question. I am biased towards no surgery because of the risks involved. But others have had surgery and have had great success. I would recommend getting more than one doctor's opinion. And it's important to be very clear about your expectations and how you use your shoulder. Someone that rock climbs versus someone that is sedentary will have very different needs for their shoulder. If a doctor doesn't know your needs then they might suggest the wrong treatment.


John - Yes, Adam is correct in suggesting you see your orthopedic doctor. Getting a second opinion is important and getting one from a ortho doc is even better. As I mentioned to Tammy above, be sure to explain your expectations and needs for recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 12, 2006 06:53 AM, Geneen wrote:

I broke my right clavical 4/11/06. Wore the figure 8 for 8 weeks. Using bone stimulator for last 5 weeks. Definite improvement on use of right arm but I still can't lift it higher than shoulder level. Started PT last week so doing painful excercises that I see are helping w/mobility. I am starting to think surgery might be the way to go...Has anyone regained full mobility going the natural route after 12 weeks??? or even longer....???? Thanks for any info...Geneen

Permanent link to this comment. On June 13, 2006 10:53 PM, ontheshelf wrote:

Thanks Hans for providing a great site! I am not a cyclist, but I am a fellow athlete who has also broken their clavicle. I broke my right clavicle while playing rugby two years ago. Anyways, I healed up really quick (about 6 weeks), and I was back to my normal activities without any discomfort. I had a huge bump at the break site and was told by the orthopedic surgeon that as long as it didn't cause any pain, that there was no need for surgery. No pain was a result of it so surgery had never crossed my mind. That was until March of this year, where I began to notice severe discomfort when reaching for things above my head, lifting heavy objects, etc. Since I had a very labour intensive job (oil drilling rig), I figured that there was no way I could keep on dealing with the extreme pain I was left with at the end of each shift (burning in the shoulderblade, weakness in the arm and lower right back pain). I had the problem checked out by an orthopedic surgeon, who stated that I had a malunion and that my collarbone had never actually fully healed and that it was only being held by fibrious tissue and was a result of the severe displacement when the original fracture occured. I was puzzled to say the least because this was the first time I had complications since the break in the spring of 2004. Now I had the pleasure to deal with this great inconvienence that has put my professional life on hold. I talked with the surgeon about the best possible procedure and he highly recommended a plate and screws with a bone graft to fix the problem (based on my job, age-21 and overall health). The big day was on May 16 at 10:00am. The procedure lasted two and a half hours. It is exactly 1 month post op and I can already feel the difference stability makes. My shoulder does not droop down anymore and my arm doesn't feel like it weighs 200 pounds! So my advice to anyone with a clavicle fracture is to take things slow to prevent complications from occuring in the future. Plate and screws may not be for everyone and you should discuss your needs to the doc. Good luck to everyone. I am concerned however, that I will not be able to perform my job the way I used to as a result of my added hardware (doc says back to normal but he hasn't had a broken collarbone or a physically demanding job). If anyone can assure me that Im talking crazy, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
P.S : Also, has anyone had this procedure done and how long was it before you were able to work again. All this time off is causing me to go nuts!!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 14, 2006 09:53 AM, Adam wrote:


Just curious ... at what points after your clavicle break did you have follow-up x-rays taken?

Permanent link to this comment. On June 14, 2006 11:02 PM, ontheshelf wrote:

I had xrays taken the same day of the break and at two weeks, four weeks and at six weeks. I was also asked to come in at 6 months after the break to get another set taken. I went over the final xray with my doctor and by what I had seen and what he was telling me, it was clearly a union. My question as to what happened has not yet been answered because my GP could not provide one. My ortho surgeon assumes I broke it again without realizing and that the fiberious tissue seen on my xray this spring was it trying to heal again. I find it hard to believe this theory because I cannot recall an actual incident where I might have done such a thing. It is kind of scary to not actually know what caused this.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 21, 2006 01:53 AM, Max wrote:

I broke my right collar bone 3 weeks ago. Drinking too many beers and riding a bike turned out to be a bad combination. People call me a dare devil, and I admit that I'm a active person. The doctor told me it would take 6 - 8 weeks for it to heal. I freaked out! I live in Sweden, and everyone who has been in sweden knows that we sweedes live for the swedish summer. Summer pretty much started the same day when my bone was broke, hence my frustration. Two days ago I went wake boardning with my mates. Turned out well. I had to use my left arm only. Didn't do any massive jumps or anything... Couldn't even do 180's coz my right arm wouldn't hold the rope.

It was a good wakeboard session! My shoulder is pretty sore now though... Well, you live and learn I guess.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 23, 2006 07:20 PM, Kristen wrote:

Hans or others -
I broke my collarbone cycling on June 10...

Q: What can you do to promote a full union after week 2? And what's the story on desk work and sitting/typing? I see encouragement for immobilization and have found that even staying home "resting" doesn't equate to immobilization since you can't set/cast the bone; there are always needs to get up; move; cook; read sitting up; pay bills; go to drs appts for this accident and a skiing accident I had earlier this year (!); live. the first week every time I laid down or got up I could feel it move (with the result that trying to 'rest' felt worse than walking around!)

Reading this site I think I pushed it too hard over the last few weeks. The drs took it pretty casually & everyone I had talked to said they were cycling within 5-6 weeks & on trainers by Day 2 or 3. Originally the pieces were perfectly aligned, but as of Day 10 the part next to the shoulder had descended so there was a partial lineup but not perfect alignment anymore. Dr says this is still fine, the pieces are close together. I was in a sling/working part time Days 1-6, resting mostly out of sling days 7-9 (now reading this site I think this was crazy), and have been in a figure 8 since Day 10. The dr says I don't need to wear a sling ("overkill" sinc I'm in a figure 8).

I love this site and I confess some stories provokes worries that neither dr did (both have been very positive)

Permanent link to this comment. On June 24, 2006 04:21 PM, Hans wrote:

Kristen - I was sitting/typing a week after my break. I would slide my arm out of the sling and use the chair's arm rest for support. But I had to be careful not to start leaning on that arm and applying pressure into the shoulder. Additionally, I would continue to wear my figure-8 sling. Since it was difficult to extend my arm forward I raised my chair and slid the keyboard closer to my body. This allowed me to get my hand/fingers close enough for typing. A little akward but it worked.

I wore the sling along with the figure-8 since it helped when my arm/shoulder became tired and provided support. My doc wanted me taking my arm out of the sling several times a day. He also asked me to bend the elbow and shoulder joints to keep them limber. This reduced the chance losing range-of-motion. But he did stress not to do any movement to the point of pain.

To help promote healing I tried to keep the shoulder on the broken side immobile as much as possible. Wearing the figure-8 most of the time, sometimes even when sleeping, really helped. Then I took additional supplements, calcium, etc..

I hope this helps and that you recovery quickly.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 24, 2006 05:10 PM, Kristen wrote:

Hans - thanks - this is encouraging. BTW I am a fellow-Northern-CA-er (Bay Area)

BTW The most ruefully hilarious thing is that my natural reflexes still think my arm works -- when I start to drop something my right arm instinctively reaches out to grab it even though I broke my right clavicle (ouch!). I suppose we could all keep adding to these lists. I cut a slit in the neck and back of a t-shirt today to get into it....

Permanent link to this comment. On June 26, 2006 12:30 PM, Adam wrote:

I took the keyboard totally off the desk and placed it in my lap. That was a VOILA realization!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 28, 2006 07:29 PM, Jake wrote:

Hello, I broke my collar bone on June 4th in a motorcycle accident. I new it was broke because I could see the bump on my clavical...and it hurt! I was hurting for a couple of days. I went to see the orthpedic three days after the accident and got an x-ray. The break was about an inch apart. My Dr. recommeded that I have surgery otherwise it might not have healed due to the large separation. So, I opted for the surgery. However, it was not a plate and screw surgery. The Dr. used a Rockwood pin to align the bones back together. After surgery it felt better. I'm now on week three after surgery. The only downfall with the surgery is that you will get a scar due to the incision in order to put the pin in. I have another x-ray apt. in a week to see how things are healing. There are new alternatives that make it better to opt for surgery then letting it heal on it's own. But definitely talk to your Dr. about this option. Happy healing to all!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 30, 2006 11:50 PM, HD wrote:

Well, I just found this site while looking for a broken clavicle "how long does it take to heal" search. I figured I would let you know about my experience with a broken collarbone.

It happened March 4, 2006, while motocrossing in the deserts of Las Vegas. I was riding by myself, although other dirtbikers were nearby, and I went over an unfamiliar hill. Well the other side was more of a drop-off than I expected, the bottom had no width to ride down and back up, and the other side was too far to jump over the span. So I ended up crashing into the upward side of the hill. My right shoulder smashed into the inclined hill. Crack...and an immediate bump on my right upper chest...yeeeeouch!!

I could tell something was wrong and could feel some pretty serious pain there, along with a sharp part of the bone trying to push its way out of my skin. I managed to lay there for a while until a couple guys on a quad and another motorcycle showed up. I stayed on the ground because I had to get the air back in my lungs...haa. Once I stood up I was seeing stars and finally everything went white. I couldn't see but I could still hear, but I stayed standing. I was told later the "white" was pain...haaa.

The guy on the quad wanted me to leave the bike there and he would take me back to my truck. I said no way was I leaving it out there. I finally had one of the guys lift my bike up and start it for me and I rode it back to my truck, about three miles in the desert. That was fun. I went home, dropped the trailer/bike off and drove myself to the hospital.

X-Rays comfirmed it, it was broken into three pieces. I saw the X-Rays and thought "how is that ever going to get back together?" The bones were completely misaligned and there was a big space between the pieces. I was given the surgery or "heal on its own" option. Because they had already placed the figure 8 on me I was already experiencing the joy of wearing that thing. It was extremely uncomfortable. I seriously was leaning toward surgery. They told me not to take the figure 8 off. They said it would have to stay on at least 6-8 weeks if I didn't have the surgery. There was no way I could wear that thing that long. Besides, I needed to get back to work.

I chose surgery. My injury happened on a Saturday. On the following Wednesday (March 8) I went for the surgery. It went well. They put about a 7 inch plate and about 8 screws through it to hold it on. One screw was needed to attach the third piece to the bone shaft. It doesn't go through the plate at all.
I didn't have to wear that figure 8 anymore and only had a sling I could take off if I didn't feel I needed it. The sling was to control pain. I was given a prescription for pain meds which I was able to stop taking in about 3 days, and then only for a couple more nights so I could sleep. The scar was about 8 inches long.

Once I removed the bandage, after about 4 days afer the surgery, I was horrified. The scar was a bright purple strip and was about 3/8 of an inch wide. What I didn't know was what I was looking at was a skin glue, Dermabond. Designed to reduce the scar visibility. The actual stitches were placed under the skin and were the type that absorb into your skin with time. No Frankenstein stitches are there, only a line. The purple Dermabond eventually pealed off like strips of rubber. It wasn't as bad as it initially looked.

I went back to work May 20th. I was light duty but at least I wasn't burning up my sick time.

After the surgery I have had monthly visits for X-Rays. Each month showed progress. I could see the fusion working. I just had my last X-Ray and Dr visit June 29. I am healed!! I don't have to go back and the Dr said I can resume normal activity. That's cool. Because this has been a painful reminder that I'm not a young guy anymore at 45. There is no bump, I don't have to worry about a non-union or an eventual surgery to fix that. The scar is almost invisible with my tan and with the exception of the occasional numbness of the skin below the scar, I'm pretty happy. The numbness came from cutting the nerves to do the surgery, which is one of the possibilities of having surgery. Another is infection, which I didn't experience. My mobility is about 90% and only because I need to start stretching it out and rebuilding strength.

One thing I think I should warn everyone about is when the DR says don't take the figure 8 off, listen to him. Pre-surgery I was at home alone and felt the figure 8 should be a little tighter. I decided to try and tighten it myself. Well I got the straps bunched up in the locking device and had to take it off to fix it. After my shoulder had been held back for 2 days and I took the thing off, my shoulder spazzed and moved forward pushing the broken part of the bone out and against the skin and it was trying to push out....I was dying!!! It took some serious mental concentration to stop the spaz and the pain and move my shoulder back. The figure 8 went back on...and I left it there...haaa.

If you are having a hard time trying to decide the surgery or not route, I would suggest looking at the distance between the bones and the angle they are in. Too much space or too much angle will be a tougher healing process and, from what I've read, a greater loss of mobility. There is always a possibility you may have to have the surgery later to correct a non-union if you try to heal without surgery. That is a lot of wasted time if it has to be fixed that way. Then you have to wait again after the surgery for that to heal.

Just my two cents...if it happens to me again, gosh I hope not, I know which route I'm taking.

I know this is long. Hope I didn't bore too many of you. Take care. HD.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 2, 2006 10:28 AM, Hans wrote:

Kristen - Hey there fellow NorCal-er. NorCal is such a great place. But it sure sucks to be busted up here since we have so many outside activities to miss out on.

Your comment about reflex grabbing busted me up. Once I reached for a glass that tipped over but the pain stopped my grab. The glass fell and spilled the drink on my lap. So I ended up with a sore shoulder and a wet lap.


HD - Thanks for your story. Dang, that crash sounded bad. Yeah, I can relate about not wanting to leave your bike. It's the same reason we jump up from a crash and check the bike before our own bodies. How many times have I said "Yeah, but how's my bike?" :')

Permanent link to this comment. On July 7, 2006 06:15 AM, Nick wrote:

On July 1st I took a nasty tumble in a bicycling race and snapped the right clavicle in two places.
This is my 3rd fracture.
The first urgent care I went to gave me a two-strap sling and lateral immobilizer and said to check back with ortho.
I went to the ortho as dictated and he said that he would do nothing until bone was protruding through the skin even though you could see the skin "tenting" through the swelling.
This ortho gave me a different style sling to wear.
About 5 hours later I was in the E.R. because the bone had scraped away so much skin that I was bleeding under the skin: the same ortho was called and he maintained his stance.
After a little research, I found out there's a better method than plate&screws and "let nature take its' course and hope for the best": the Basamania procedure.
On the recommendation of the ortho who fixed my knee 8 years ago, I saw a different ortho who specializes in shoulders and elbows.
I'm going in for a variation on the Basamania surgical procedure today at 2:15 PM.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 10, 2006 06:20 PM, Fred Wright wrote:

On june 21st, I broke my left collarbone in a fall on an icy patch while hiking alone in the local mountains.Although my arm was in considerable pain, I hiked out and drove home.

My daughter drove me to the Emergency where an x-ray confirmed a break on the distal side, about 2 1/2 cms. from the shoulder joint with about 1/2 cm. displacement.

This came as a real shock since I am an amputee, and although healthy and active at the age of 54, I depend entirely on the arm that is supposed to be immobilized for healing.

In any case, I booked off work for the month, and have been trying to use a sling although I can't avoid using my hand for the basics.

Like another personm who posted here, I'm using pain as an indicator for limiting my arm mobility and have thus far have experienced more discomfort than pain. The swelling and bruising now seems to be subsiding and I am actually recovering most of the mobility although I'm still not lifing anything heavier than a teakettle and using using the arm only in bent position, close to the body. I could actually do without the sling but am still trying to use it for a few hours a day.

However, being already past the critical 10-14 day "gluing stage" I'm worried just how much the use of my arm, as well as my age, may be delaying the fusing of the ends of broken ends of bone.


Permanent link to this comment. On July 10, 2006 09:52 PM, Hans wrote:

Nick - I just did a little research on the procedure you mention. I found this interesting article:


And Dr. Carl J. Basamania's site at Duke Health:


It sounds like an interesting procedure and a heck of a lot better than a plate and screws. It would be great to hear how your procedure turned out.


Fred - Yup, I hate to tell you but age is against us when it comes to healing. It's true the first two weeks are a critical time for healing. But the healing doesn't stop then. The body will keep working to heal the bones. In some cases, if the body can't fuse the bones back together, it will create a fibrous union. That can sometimes provide enough stability.

I would recommend you keep using your pain indicator for use of your arm. Just take it slow and work up to more range of motion and heavier objects. You might also consider a consultation with your doctor and a followup x-ray around four weeks after the break.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 12, 2006 11:33 AM, George Elias wrote:

What a find this site is.
I broke my right collarbone on May 13, and it's been 2 months of fear, stress, rehab, and finally just yesterday, good news. The fracture is showing signs of healing, and my doc said I won't need surgery. He said it's creating a fibrous union.

I'm an athlete, in my early 40s.
The bikeride I made that day was the best I'd done since last Fall.. I rode about 15-20 miles, even stopped halfway to run steps at a local stadium. 3 blocks from home I made a left turn I've made a thousand times. Problem was, there was an oil slick I didn't see in time.

The wheels went right out from under me like I was on a sheet of ice. I was falling to the left then sharply overcorrected and lunged to the right. I tried to roll at impact, but my entire body weight landed on my shoulder. I still managed to roll a few times and ended standing completely upright. I knew it was broken. Not too much damage to the bike, just a twisted handlebar and seatpost. I walked the 3 blocks home and my buddy took me to emergency. Out in less than 2 hrs with only a sling.

3 days later to the ortho.
He said it was aligned well and should heal, but that there was a 10% chance of surgery. 3 weeks later still not healing well, so he ordered me a bone stimulator and I was to wear the sling 1 more week, then start rehab.

That was 5 weeks ago.
Thing is, it's been a struggle with rehab. Something not too many people have mentioned here. I have to do 2 sessions at home everyday. About 12 or so different exercises. Half using a stick. (I'm a person who did 50-100 pushups, chinups, pullups, dips, not to mention the weights, and 1000 various situps and crunches for strenthing 3 times a week. Biking and running another 3 days.)

I still have pain, but never with the bone. It's more in the frontal area of the joint. It's one spot that I describe as a "speed bump". An area that I have to pass through every time I move up and down. Once I get past it, I can move well. Has anybody else experience this? The doc says keep doing the rehab, and it will eventually fade. He says it's because the rotator muscles are weak.

Also, any info on a fibrous union?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
George in Ohio.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 12, 2006 11:38 AM, George Elias wrote:

I almost forgot -
My doc told me yesterday that I could ride again! And do light jogging. But no pushups, chinups, etc, and definitely NO weights. I see him again in 2 months. I don't get it. The pressure on the handlebars for a long period can't be much less than doing pushups. These are the sorts of things I couldn't think to ask him in the office. (You always remember these things on the ride home from the office!) ;-)

Anybody have any similar experiences or advice?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 12, 2006 11:48 AM, George wrote:

One more thing, I promise!
Does a fibrous union ever harden and calcify into bone?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 12, 2006 01:55 PM, Nick wrote:

George, sorry to hear about the healing not going so well.
This my 3rd broken collarbone and the previous 2 healed up pretty good.

Since someone inquired, my surgery didn't quiote go as planned.
What should've been a 1 hour procedure (Basamania) was abandoned after 2 hours of trying to get the pin in.
The ortho opened the top part of my shoulder because he figured he would just have to re-set the bone.
Here's where he hit a snag.
In addition to the two very visible breaks, one end had slammed so hard that it had multiple smaller fractures that created a Y-formation.
Any attempt to tighten the pin would've caused splintering, so the doc had the O.R. re-setup and repositioned me for plates and screws.
The next day sucked because they had me on morphine the entire time and the prognosis is: 1 month minimum in a completely immobilizing sling, 3-5 months for bone fusion, and the plates and screws will have to stay in for a minimum of 1 year, but more likely 15 months.
Absolutely no riding for at least 3 months!
Oh well, time to join that great sport...walking!
The missus is really big into homeopathic healing and has bought this gunk from the Dr. Christopher line that's supposed to be really good for tissue and bone damage.
The meager amount of research i've done seems to indicate that comfrey is supposed to be really good for breaks, perhaps it may also help inthe solidification of a fibrous union.(?)

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2006 12:49 AM, Kristen wrote:

Sorry to hear that the surgery wasn't a perfect slam dunk - best wishes!!!

It's hard to believe it's now been 4 weeks and 4 days (I'm counting) and about 2 weeks since my last entry. My next x-ray is 7/19. I am looking forward to it so much, hoping for a good prognosis. It feels like the bone has stabilized now (I don't feel it moving anymore). I believe it is healing in an overlap now - I can feel the end of the break near the skin on one side, and the point beyond the break seems lower. Has anyone else healed through overlapping bones? (Has anyone else become obsessed with feeling the bone to guess how it is healing???!) The first week I couldn't even look at myself in a mirror because I didn't want to catch sight of the protruding bone, now I am checking constantly! (Has it gotten more "normal" in the past 8 minutes?!)

I'm still wearing the Figure 8 diligently although I take it off for a few minutes during showers - I have 3 that I wash and rotate. I assume that is OK (?!) - the X-Ray will tell all...

Yes, I can't believe that it is so gorgeous here lately, and I am not cycling. I am hanging out with cyclists who are going out on this ride, that ride...I confess the indoor biking isn't the most thrilling adventure I've ever done in my life.

George in Ohio,
My dr. told me to practice my range of motion with my arm (letting pain be my guide). So I now actually have excellent range of motion (although a week ago I couldn't raise it even level with my shoulders). I definitely experienced the clicking in my shoulder at first but it's lessened considerably. I've been told not to push, pull, lift anything, or drive still. I find it surprising that my dr. told me to start gentle range of motion movements after about 3 weeks. It's paying off in the arm mobility; hopefully my break will also heal well!

A very sad story - a cyclist (Pat) died in the last week. That, in combination with my accident, are big lessons in the importance of absolute focus and attention to safety, even when riding a route you've done 1000 times or a place that seems so easy its boring. That's how my accident happened, and I've definitely heard a lot of similar stories (like the one above) where the accident happened in the territory of the familiar.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2006 12:20 PM, George wrote:

Kristen, thanx for your input. Some days the range of motion is better than others. Now they've said I can add light (1-2 lb) weights to my workouts. Still hitting that pain point though while standing and lifting the arm to level. Everything else is going great.
The trouble is with short arm movements.
For instance, if I try to brush my teeth, the shoulder locks up and I have to bend my head down to reach my hand. But if I bend forward toward the floor and relax my arms, then the affected shoulder sort of "pops" into a looser position, and I can then raise my arm to brush my teeth, wash my hair, wash underarms, etc. But then it's on the way down that I hit the pain point again, as I lower the arm. Shortly before my hand is at my side, my shoulder hits that point, and I flinch slightly as the joint reestablishes it's "lock" position. One way I can lower the shoulder smoothly is to point my elbows outward as I lower the arm like a chicken wing. Then it lowers without hitting that pain point.

Is this, in fact, the symptoms of a locked shoulder I'm describing? Anybody with a similar feeling out there? I can curl 10 lb weights with no problem...
...I guess the old adage is true - "No pain no gain!"

Sorry to go on about this. Just looking for someone to commiserate with.

George in Ohio.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 14, 2006 09:10 PM, jason wrote:

I broke my collarbone two years ago and I was told after 12 weeks that it healed, but is was a fibrous union. My doc told me that usually this causes no problems and that possibly over time, it would calcify and turn into solid bone.. In my case he was wrong. I lived a normal life for one year post fracture until one day, POP! It turns out my fibrous union was really weak. This pop caused my collarbone to twist - yeah twist. So instead of my fibrous union being in an overlapping position, it was now shifted 180 degrees downwards. This caused extreme pain with day to day activities. I saw an ortho right away - it was now referred to as a non-union with severe displacement and a floating shoulder. It was highly recommended I have surgery right away - so i did. I had a bonegraft done with plates and screws to correct the problem. I am exactly two months post operation and things seem to be going alright. Still pain and my range of motion is not that great, but I feel like I am better off. I see the doc on the 19th, should now more after xrays are taken. I still may need another two - three months before I can go back to work, though. This has been the worst experience of my young life - I am only twenty years old. The doc said I will probably always have discomfort in my right shoulder, which is my dominent side. I hope your fibrous union will hold up, because mine sure didnt. I have read many stories of people - young and old - able to live a normal life with a fibrous union, so there is hope. One day I feel great like nothing ever happened, the next day Im in a doctors office discussing surgery. Not a pleasant experience if I must say so. Good luck with your healing process everyone.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 16, 2006 09:45 PM, Phil wrote:

Hey guys, I broke my left collar bone about 5 weeks ago during school. We were playing football in Phys. Ed and I went for a diving catch in the N-zone, although I scored the winning point and was the un-official hero of the game, sadly, I broke my collar bone by landing on my shoulder with outstretched hands. By now of course I'm feeling much better and feel very confident about using my left shoulder and arm to do things, I would estimate that I've recovered to about 80 - 90% movement thus far.

I just wanted to emphasize as many others have already done how important it is to keep your shoulder and arm immoblized for the first 2 or so weeks. Even if you feel up to it, don't try moving it as this can severely increase your recovery time and affect the way your collarbone and shoulder heal up. In my case the bone was very close to the surface of my skin, I was becoming paranoid about whether or not I would wake up in searing pain one night with a bone sticking out of my shoulder (This is also due to the fact that I consider myself a bit of a 'hypocondriach' and I'm always scared out of my pants of having some sort of life threatening illnesses and whatnot). So to play it safe I stopped sleeping in my bed and parked myself back on the couch for some late nights sitting up, trying to get to sleep. Another thing I might add is that if your doctor will allow it, try and get some sleep inducing drugs. Rest is very important as this is the time when your body does most of it's healing, so sleep as much as you can.

Also, it's important to STAY POSITIVE no matter what. I apparently had a somewhat rare break where the ends of the bone were bent. Despite this, the doctor says I'm healing rather unusually well and the bones are setting themselves straight and back into my shoulder. The point is, even in the strangest circumstances, psychological state is extremely important to healing up. Some people can almost "will themselves" to heal. Although it can be very boring, you gotta keep your hopes up and think happy thoughts, if you have a kid going through this then try and do things with them to cheer them up. Take their mind off of the injury and let them know that thy can still have a good time and things are going to be okay. People in depression can get very sick and stop healing well, keep this in mind.

Now, I'm a very physical person... I'm extremely heavy into martial arts, which many of you will know is very physically demanding and can hurt quite a bit and I love sports, particularly the rough sort. The doctor says I should be able to resume regular activites by next week. This is great news because sitting on the couch and watching terrible television all day long is very degrading and makes for a bad summer.

Finally I should mention that I'm 15 years old (or young, rather) and healing is obviously much easier for me. So don't gauge your own injuries' healing with mine if you're any older as this can make a dramatic difference. Anyway, I wish everyone the best with their recoveries and would like to thank everyone for posting on this site which has become an invaluable resource.

Have a good one.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 16, 2006 10:53 PM, Hans wrote:

George - A fibrous union may calcify and turn into bone but it's not guaranteed. It can provide plenty of support though. But it depends on the physical activites that are performed. A fibrous union might not be good enough for someone that places large amounts of stress on their shoulders.

Being able to ride vs. lifting weights and other load bearing activites makes sense. Casual riding shouldn't place the levels of strain on your shoulder as you might lifting weights. Just don't try taking your bike out for a "big air" contest :')


Nick - Sorry to hear the operation didn't go as planned. Sounds like you really banged up your shoulder.


Kristen - If your shoulder and bones have stabilized then it sounds like you should be able to ditch the figure-8. That should make you happy, especially in the hot weather.

Thanks for the note about thinking and riding safe. I had met and ridden with Pat a few times. A very nice person that will be missed by many people.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 17, 2006 01:23 PM, Tom wrote:

Hey guys,
I'm having surgery to plate and bone graft my left collar bone non-union tomorrow - its been over a year and whilst not too bad i just wanted it sorted out for good (and reading jason's notes above about fibrous unions giving way has helped confirm my decision!).
will let you know what happens,
Tom, England

Permanent link to this comment. On July 18, 2006 10:44 AM, Fred Wright wrote:

Hi again Hans,
Thanks for your feedback on my initial posting. Just thought I'd offer you this update on my situation, 4 weeks after my break:

Went to my GP who had the radiologist's report on the x-ray taken 22 days after the break-- disappointing to hear that the x-ray showed a displacement of "half the width of the bone" and "no signs of calcification."

In the 4 minute consultation I was afforded I asked the GP if 'no calcification' meant the same as 'no fibrous union' and he said it did. (Right or wrong?) He recommended another x-ray in 2 weeks which he said should be time enough to determine whether there was any sign of spontaneous healing or whether I should pursue the surgery option.

In answer to my query about how much I should limit my range of motion in the meantime he recommended " avoid playing rugby."

While my purpose here is not to offer a negative impression of my GP (or of the Canadian public health care system!)
my question is:

Given my age (54), my difficulty in immobilizing my arm (it's the only one I have) and the nature of the break (distal third) what is the likelihood of non-union?

Finally, given these factors-- what is a reasonable amount of time to wait before concluding that surgery is the only option? To be honest, in my situation I can't imagine how I could possibly cope while recovering from surgery. Survival depends on at least 20% mobility of one arm-- surgery would have to be absolutely the last resort!


Fred W.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 19, 2006 11:36 AM, jason wrote:

Just an update from my previous post July 14. I have finally achieved a union that involves bone. Doc looked at xrays and said that it looks like a nice neat union with strong bone showing. He did the pressure test (lol... pressing down on it as hard as he could it seemed) and it didnt budge. I was advised to strengthen my shoulder before I return to work. I should be ready to go by the middle of August or so. Getting plate and screws put in has turned out to be the best decision I have made regarding my collarbone. I feel great and I am only nine weeks post op. Still a little pain though but it is definetely tolerable. Any suggestions as to what sort of strength excerises I can do? I asked the doc and he said what ever feels comfortable.
Fractured clavicle of the distal third = fiberous union = non union = plate and screws/bone graft + 9 long weeks = a union FINALLY!
Good Luck Everyone!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 19, 2006 06:35 PM, Nick wrote:

Jason, congrats on the good news.
One strength/endurance exercise I did the last time I broke my collarbone was to hold a five-pound weight at arm's length straight out from the shoulder sideways or forwards. Hold it there until you can't hold your arm up any longer. Rest until you can hold it again. No definite amount of reps, I'd just go until I couldn't do it any more or had to take off to do other things.
Increase the weight as needed/desired.

Tom - best wishes. The plate and screws are a bit uncomfortable at first, but after a few days you probably won't notice much other than muscle tightness/stiffness.

I'm a little under 2 weeks post-op for plate and screws. Just got the stitches out today.
Got another post-op in 6 weeks. Sling until then.
The good news is that my ortho gave me the go-ahead to get my bike on a stationary trainer...just no reaching for the handlebars.
The doc must have talked with the ortho who put me and the rest of my family back together 'cause he said today "for guys like you, I won't start physical therapy until at least 6 weeks post-op".
It sucks being stuck in the sling for another 6 weeks but right now I'm just happy to be back to showering instead of bathing and ecstatic about getting back on my bike even though it's just on a stationary trainer.
Hang in there everyone. The "cripple-time" sucks, but eventually it'll heal.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 19, 2006 10:47 PM, Hans wrote:

Fred - No, 'calcification' and 'fibrous union' are two different things:

Calcification : the formation of calcium deposits in the tissue which can lead to hardening of the tissue.

Fibrous Union : the joining of a fracture by fibrous scar tissue. The scar tissue is formed by excessive tissue repair caused by the trauma.

Your question about the 'likelihood of non-union' is difficult to answer. It requires a skilled doctor that has examined you. Even then it can be hard to estimate. Along with the difficulty answering that question is trying to answer how long to wait before deciding surgery is your option. I know age makes recovery take longer. I wish I could tell you how long. If you haven't already, take a look through all of the comments on each of my broken clavicle pages (links in article at top of this page). Look for comments from others that are near your age.

Again, I wish I could offer more help.


Jason - Glad to hear you are healing. I would recommend you see a physical therapist. You might need to work on both range-of-motion and strength. You don't want to do the wrong workout and injure yourself. A good P.T. person will set you up with a right plan.


Nick - You are getting on your trainer just in time to race the Tour de France virtually. I spent many hours on my trainer when recovering. Lots of watching races, movies, etc. while on the trainer.

One suggestion is to rotate your handlebars upward so that you don't have to extend your arms as far. As you heal further lower them back down until they are in their original postion.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 21, 2006 01:01 AM, jason wrote:

Thank you Nick and Hans for your advice. Im going to see a P.T on Monday and hope to get my strengthening process underway. I agree Hans that your age plays an important role during recovery. The ortho told me before surgery that if I was twice as old, he would most likely refuse to operate because the risks would outweigh the benefits (infection, delayed healing time and continued risk of nonunion). So, surgery may not be the best solution for everyone. This webpage has been great for me and has helped me to realize that I am definetely not alone with the problems that arise from a broken collarbone. Anyone that has healed with no problems, congrats and good luck. For those that have hit a roadblock trying to achieve a union, keep your head up and don't get depressed about your situation. It is amazing what positve thinking can do for someone. Thanks and Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 27, 2006 11:39 AM, Lee Bramley wrote:

I broke my right collar bone 4 days ago falling of a BMX, snapped in half, quite a nice one. The bone doesn't seem to be lining up when i stand or sit but when i lay down it lines up quite nicely. Has anyone else experienced the same thing? as i dont see how the bone can fuse together if it keeps moving. Any comments would be appreciated.
Lee in London

Permanent link to this comment. On July 29, 2006 02:25 PM, bonnie wrote:

Lee - I broke my left (middle third)14 days ago after a nice pseudo cyclocross accident (just me being a little crazy off of the side of a calm street while road training with some friends)...
my rims got caught in a large rut between the grass and the road.. i flew over on my head and shoulder...ouch.
It's not lining up with i stand or sit in the now smelly figure eight (thanks to a midwestern summer heat wave) although when i lay down it does the same thing. i wasn't very impressed with my $500 5 minute trip to the ortho last week, as he gave me a figure eight (a large-
i'm 5'3"), and basically said it really didn't matter if i wore this or a sling. I am wearing only the figure eight (thankfully a newly purchased small) at this point, most of the time just the 8 without the sling. Last night a friend hugged me a little too tightly and it seems to have set me back a little, at least regarding intensity of pain. Great website, look forward to getting back on a (stationary) bike tomorrow.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 31, 2006 08:34 AM, Nick wrote:

Lee & Bonnie.
Sorry to hear you've joined the club.
I'm currently working on my 3rd broken collarbone and have been in both the figure 8 and slings.
This time around I opted for surgery, but the previous 2 times I wore the figure 8 brace.
Somehow the bones just kind of figured out how to connect to each other in spite of movement. As long as you don't try doing any large motions involving your shoulder you should be ok.
The last time around I had to get x-rays every week, but this time I'm only scheduled for 2: the first at 12 days post-op and the second at 57 days post-op.
Being that my last experience with a figure 8 wasn't so good, I'd recommend having from fresh xrays taken at the 3 week mark just to make sure everything's lining up and growing.

My doctors also said it makes no difference if you wear the figure 8 or the sling, but honestly, no that I'm in a sling, I'd much rather wear the figure 8 again.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2006 12:42 PM, Lee Bramley wrote:

Thanks guys, iwent to the quack today actually and he put me in a figure 8, bit uncomfortable, but i think i'll stick with it, the sling was driving me nuts. He also said as you did, it makes no difference if you wear the figure 8 or the sling, so fingers crossed we sdhould all line up quite nicely & not look like we have a 3rd shoulder growing from our collar bone. Good luck with your recovery bonnie & Nick with the surgery

Permanent link to this comment. On August 3, 2006 07:49 PM, Fred W. wrote:

Hi Hans,

Follow-up on my "distal 3rd" (very close to shoulder)left clavicle break on June 21st. Just got my 6 week x-ray and was VERY disappointed there was "no surrounding callus formation to indicate interval healing."

Did I probably screw up the gluing stage by using my arm too much (not for sports, but for daily household activities)?
Is there still hope or does 6 weeks without any sign of callus pretty much indicate non-union?

I have to wait 2 more weeks (thanks to Canadian medicare)before I finally get to see an othopedic specialist. Unfortunately, it pays here to be a squeaky wheel which I'm not comfortable being.

Meanwhile, I wonder if I'd had more pain (I've had almost none) or greater lack of mobililty-- whether that would have forced me to immobilize my arm more in the critical early stages.

To all sufferers in the early days of youtr breaks:

Consider that pain-- by forcing you to rest-- may be your best friend!


Permanent link to this comment. On August 4, 2006 06:04 AM, Nick wrote:

From what I've read, a break in the distal third usually requires surgery. Healing time thereafter is approximately 10 weeks.
In regards to using the arm too much for around the house type deals, that could definitely set you back, especially if you were trying to perform unsupported lifts with that arm.
The last time I snapped the left collarbone I had a no-lifting restriction on the left side and a 50 lb maximum on the right.
Even though I vacation a lot in Canada I have no idea how the medical system up there works, but the surgeon who put me together this time is great. His name's Gregory Lervick and he's based in Edina, MN. http://www.ocpamn.com

Other news:
I'm 4 weeks post-op and almost 5 weeks post break today.
I ditched the sling yesterday and other than the muscle and tendon stretching pain from letting the arm hang freely the shoulder feels great.
Shoulder mobility is still highly limited, but that'll get worked out in time.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 4, 2006 08:57 AM, Fred wrote:

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your insights.

Wish I could have followed the 'no lifting restriction' regimen but I have no choice-- my left arm is the only one I've got (the other's prosthetic) So until I get this fixed I'm down from 50% function to about 15%!

Guess the lesson here is not to rely on an emergency ward hospitalist's opinion but to get a proper diagnosis from a orthopedic specialist ASAP--it obviously saves a lot of time, and frustration.

Glad to hear you're on the mend.



Permanent link to this comment. On August 5, 2006 03:04 PM, Bonnie wrote:

Good to hear that post surgery is going so well, and even out of the sling! How long (previous breaks that healed with figure 8s) did you wear the figure eight each break? I got a "shoulders back" brace (had been mentioned on this website by someone) and took off the 8 for a day and felt the difference after about 12 hours - def not enough support for now. I am on day 21, haven't been back in a trainer for various reasons yet.. but my Bianchi is getting pretty anxious, and I've gained a few pounds.. yikes. ;) Everyone here in Milwaukee seems to be on a bike, looks way too inviting right now.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 5, 2006 10:56 PM, Hans wrote:

Fred - Don't give up hope yet. Age and also your need to use the arm on that side are probably hindering healing. But you still might be healing. Try to maintain reduced movement of your shoulder and then let's see what the ortho doc says at your next appointment.


Bonnie - So your evaluation of the "ShouldersBack" brace is that it's not enough support for your shoulder? Does it maintain a proper posture and shoulder alignment?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2006 01:10 AM, Brent Loveridge wrote:

Hi all,
Had the misfortune of joining your club last sunday, bringing to an early finish two great weeks of skiing. Posted my Xray and photo here,



I have had a very stressed out week, with different Doctors telling me different things. On Thursday the specialist said no to surgery, because the risk of nerve and blood vessle damage was too great, and to not wear the sling so much, because exercise was good for the shoulder. My GP could not believe that one.
Finding this site has been fantastic, I have read all three threads and found the stories of others very reassuring. The explainations of the healing process have also been helpful.
Based on what I gleaned so far, mine is classed as a break of the distall third. I have broken the shoulder end into two, a bigger bit and a much smaller chunk.
Initialy I had confidence the sling and time, but as the swelling has gone down, so the amount of movement in the shoulder has increased, the pain level has also gone up somewhat. I truely do not see how the bones can heal decently like that. I can't afford to wait for two months to see if it heals without surgery, the time lost will mean that I will still be on the mend when our summer cycling season starts. Having missed the last one, and lost so much condition thru being laid up with a neck and nerve injury, I am not going to miss this one.
I am off to see another specialist this week for a second opinion, and with what I have learned from site, I am better armed to push for the surgery.
Thanks all, I will let you know how it goes.


Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2006 06:36 AM, Nick wrote:

Bonnie, the last time I wore a figure 8 was 19-20 years ago (a freak accident during a wrestling match in 7th grade). I think I wore it for 8 weeks, but I know I was worming my way out of it much earlier than that: Probably around the 6-week mark.

Brent, that's one nasty break. I see you also got the funky jaundicing on the chest. That's actually one of the reasons I sought out a second opinion from an ortho. I had read somewhere that when that happens, it's not a good sign. Hopefully you'll get good advice from the second specialist. Not one of the 4 doctors I saw (2 GPs in urgent care and 2 orthos) said to take the sling off other than to shower and put on/remove shirts. Even a pullover shirt was pretty much out of the question until almost the 4-week post-op mark. Hopefully you'll get some good advice from the specialist you're seeing this week.

Sidenote: I don't know if this happens to everyone, but with the plates and screws surgery, the muscles and tendons in both my neck and broken side became very, very tight. Now that the arm is hanging freely, they're starting to loosen up. Also, there's kind of a strange numbness below the collarbone that runs the entire length and about 1 inch below it. You can feel that something's touching you and it doesn't hurt, but it does feel strange. The doc said the "numbness" would last about 8 months.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2006 07:51 AM, Bonnie wrote:

Hans - the shoulders back seemed to hold my shoulder back nicely. Just didn't seem to give enough support to hold everything "up" as much as the old figure eight. They have some great reviews from various magazines on their site. It's honestly something I will use to keep my posture more upright after I'm healed more, so for me it was still a good investment.
Brent - thanks for the time frame. It's been 3 weeks and 1 day and I was hoping to be out of it by August 17, when I leave for the Canadian Rockies (Jasper)... we shall see. I am going to follow your advice and schedule another appt with my ortho to get a second set of xrays. It's raining here in the Midwest today, and I can feel it in my collarbone quite a bit today. No pain, no gain.. ;)

Permanent link to this comment. On August 12, 2006 07:39 AM, Nick wrote:

Hi everyone. How's the healing going?
Pretty good here. Yesterday was the 5 week post-op for me. I went to see the surgeon because I felt this rather odd bump and thought that the plate may have shifted or a screw was coming loose.
Talk about an excellent doctor. Even in spite of a full schedule of people that (I'm sure) are in worse condition than I, he saw me on a moment's notice.
The x-ray still shows the fracture sites and will for a quite a while, but the everything was in alignment and the fractures looked considerably smaller than in the 12-day post-op xray.
Although getting back on the road or any lifting is still out of the question, a semblance of normalcy is returning to our household. I'm starting to use my right arm for small tasks such as brushing my teeth, driving, and getting dressed. Overall the range of motion is pretty good: no reaching above shoulder level, but I can hold my arm out both sideways and forwards at shoulder height.

Now to kick this blasted bronchitis that set in this week...

Permanent link to this comment. On August 12, 2006 07:56 AM, Hans wrote:

Nick - Good news! Sounds like everything is going well. Did your doctor give you excercises to perform? Or have you seen a physical therapist to help with the recovery?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2006 10:51 AM, Nick wrote:

No therapy yet.
The ortho's a pretty conservative guy in terms of ordering surgery and therapy. At the 12 day post-op he said "for guys like you I won't even start therapy until at least 6 weeks post-op." He probably won't order p.t until the next post-op on August 30th.
A little digging around on the Internet turned up that there's a rather standard set of exercises for p.t.
Here's a link with a good explanation and diagrams:

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2006 09:06 AM, Tom C wrote:

I'm now four weeks post-op after surgery to plate my 'distal third' break after a non union developed with conservative treatment. It feels pretty good, and like Nick I can move my arm in all directions but have been ordered not to lift above shoulder level.

I wore a sling for 2 weeks post op and did as little as possible - the shoulder didnt really hurt, although the hip bone graft site ached for a week or so! (couldnt even wear jeans for about 10 days!!) At 2 weeks the doc was happy with the x-ray and advised me to wean myself out of using the sling and that i should be driving by 4 weeks and able to do most things (below shoulder level) by 6 weeks.

I've been doing my own mild physio exercises since not using the sling and they seem to have worked for me:

extending elbow 20 times, three times daily lying down in first 2 weeks whilst in sling

Then after 2 weeks, leaning forward and moving forearm in a circle with sling support ('pendulum exercises' - doc said they dont involve collar bone movement or stress). 20 reps 3 times daily for 5 days

then after a few days when i felt more confident, lifting arm (not in sling) out straight to the side, at 45 degrees, and out in front 10 times each, 3 times daily. The out in front one was hardest, so i took it easy at first.

Then i repeated this , with an increasingly heavier object in my hand (not too heavy - just a book, can, etc), adding weight every 2 days until today, when i feel pretty comfortable.

hope this gives people an idea of what to expect after surgery. and to any recovering surgery patient, did you ever feel like something was 'catching' now and again in your shoulder? the plates not sticking out and doesnt feel loose, and theres no pain, but especially when i'm lying down it feels like some tissue catches and is then released - maybe some fibrous tissue from the surgery?? i'm tempted to say it gets dislocated but it really doesnt feel that serious.

keep up the good work Hans - this site has been so helpful to me through all this. Thanks.


Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2006 09:23 AM, Tom C wrote:

Forgot to mention - i also increased the amount of time i took the sling off each day by an hour or so, spread throughout the day. It was about 10 days after the 2-week point before i stopped using it altogether.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2006 11:10 PM, Brent Loveridge wrote:

Hi All,
Just updating for my busted collarbone. Break occured on the 30 July 06, last post here was 06 August. I have decided to supply as much visual documentation as possible to aid others, and so have changed the way I labelled my pictures in the last post, hence the links in the last post no longer work.

First xray is now here

First shoulder photo is now here

Whats been happening since the last post, not a lot.
After talking with my GP, and reading this site, I decided to get plated. I also saw a sports doctor who refered me to another Specialist. He could not see me till the 14 Aug, so I figured I would wait and give him a shot anyhow.

I was not experiencing any great pain, and was on Tramodol (opiate based pian killer) to help me sleep at night. I don't normally sleep on my back. Unfortunatly some of the side effects of opiates include an itchy skin rash, and water retention (couldn't pee for 5 days, and put on nearly 3 kgs) so I got the GP to take me off those. First toilet stop was a goody!
I could feel the bones thru the skin, and with gentle pressure could get them to line up quite nicely, no pain involved, just a gentle creak and clicking noise. As the swelling went down, the bits started moving all on their own, and now I have a large lump, and an equally large hole out side of the lump. I can press into the hole and actually feel the gap between the bigger bits of bone. Spooky.
The GP put me on panadol and voltaren, which do not do much at all for me, but with a couple of shots of port I sleep fine.

Went to the new specialist yesterday. Got a new xray here
This xray did not come out as clear as the first one, but you can see that the outer end of the bone has come away from the shoulder joint, the smaller chunk has also floated to a different position. It is now partially obscured. The gap between the broken ends has increased slightly as well. What you can't tell from the xray is that the lateral offset off the broken ends has changed somewhat, with the bigger broken peice rotating, so now the bones would look like an X if veiwed from above. Perhaps this picture shows it better,
You can see the upper point, which is the end of the bone still attached to the breastbone , and the lower point is the inbd end of the larger broken piece.
This photo roughly compares the height and position of the shoulder, and the line of the two collarbones,
There is a bit of difference there.
Well, what did the new Specialist have to say,
Based on the xrays and pysical exam, he gave me a 60% chance of a union, not straight, but a union. He would then leave it for a few more months, and then operate to remove the protruding bone ends. Not impressed with that option!!
He did make the comment that "if I was a soldier, and was expected to hump a pack around the hills, I would be plated up right away, but seeing as I am an Airforce Aircraft engineer, it is not so important to have a good collarbone" HELLO, WHAT!!!
He also told me to stop wearing the sling, stop any medication, and then to use pain to tell me if I was using my arm too much. Given its only been a little over two weeks since I broke it, I am not keen to risk any healing I am getting at this stage. I left his office with the sling off, but put it back on later that night as the shoulder was starting to ache a bit. I will take the sling off for stuff like this, I have my arm resting on the desk.
Well, thats it for now, off to the GP to let him know what the specialist had to say.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 16, 2006 12:06 AM, Andrew wrote:

Well my clavicular failure was just over 48 hours ago at the staff picnic while playing football. I had the ball and had a clear field to the goal line, and was being chased by my boss but tripped on some uneven ground in the semi darkness (about 9pm). It was painful but I've felt worse, and though the others there thought dislocation I figured break.

It is near the shoulder end, and not too painful and I have so far taken less than half the dosage of Tylenol 3 and ibuprofen I could have. I am using a sling and trying to keep it stable, but sitting still drives me nuts. I spent 2 hours or so today cleaning my apartment, but of course that would have been about an hour with 2 good arms.

I am going to try to go back to work tomorrow and see how it feels at my desk, with a few modifications (keyboard on the lap and so on). I have a trip coming up and hope I can be driving in about 4 weeks, but not sure that is feasible.

My girlfriend works at the hospital where I had the x-rays done and she has already burnt a copy of the files for me (she works in Radiology!), so I should have them by tomorrow. New desktop wallpaper!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 17, 2006 08:25 PM, Fred wrote:

Hi Hans,

Final follow-up on earlier postings. After getting a 50-50 prediction of union on my distal collarbone break of june 21st-- great news! My 8 week x-ray shows good callus bridging the displacement gap and the orthopedic specialist saying that in 3 weeks: "all restrictions can be lifted" on use of the arm.

So to all you older breakees out there-- don't get pessimistic-- hang in there-- these aging bodies (this one's nearly 55)still have amazing recuperative powers. Best of luck to all of you,

Permanent link to this comment. On August 20, 2006 11:34 AM, Angela wrote:

Thanks for your stories. They have helped me a lot. I have a 7 year old motorcross racer who fractured his left collar bone approximately 7 weeks ago and now has broken his right collar bone and may have possibly refractured his left one. Needless to say, motorcross is over. Just feeling bad about the whole thing. Since the collar bone is a frequent break I don't feel so bad. Just waiting to get him home from the emergency room and to an ortho tomorrow.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 23, 2006 07:23 PM, Bonnie wrote:

Been five weeks and three days. I saw my ortho today and he gave me the thumbs up to ride. I rode (outdoors for the first time!) about 12 miles. Not much, but it was so different, a great feeling! I didn't put much weight on it, most of the time I just hung it by my side (gotta work up to it)... but it felt great. Thanks so much for the postings here. I really didn't know if I'd get to this point, at times I felt dreadful and although I still have some pain, it felt so good to ride. Good luck to all, keep a positive outlook. And take lots of Calcium/Vit D/Mag. :)

Permanent link to this comment. On August 25, 2006 10:39 PM, Andrew wrote:

Now almost 2 weeks into the healing process. Pretty good bump on that shoulder. I had another X-ray the other day and it appears that the gap is slowly closing, a good sign obviously. Everyone of course asks me if I did it cycling, and so far I have made up several different stories, the truth getting boring. I have been able to work since 2 days after the accident, though sometimes uncomfortably, and occasionally without the sling for short periods. That is mostly because the rest of the arm and my back starts hurting from the relative inactivity. I'd rather a bit of motion than more painkillers.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 26, 2006 05:02 PM, Nick wrote:

Congrats Bonnie!
I just got out for the first time yesterday evening for a measely 2.3 miles, but it felt great.
Tonight I went out for a little over 8. Nothing but muscle pain. Like yourself I kept the majority of my weight on the non-affected side but managed to hold on to the bars with both hands.
Today is 7 weeks + 1 day post-op and for the first time since the break I was able to lift my arm above my head with virtually no pain but I did feel the unused muscles stretching. This Weds I should have my final post-op and can hopefully get into some weight lifting to rebuild the muscles in my right shoulder and arm.

That's great news Fred, you'll be back in action in no time now. Just keep slugging down the calcium.

Right there with you on the motion vs painkillers. Muscle atrophy hurts! Honestly I think that hurts more than the break. I was supposed to be wearing the sling until August 30th but ditched it on August 4th because it was more comfortable out of it than in it.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 5, 2006 01:17 PM, jessica wrote:

This site has been awesome in making me feel better about my busted collarbone! I broke mine just over 4 weeks ago, mountain biking. Long story short, I had x rays at the beginning of the 4 week mark and it didn't show any evidence of healing yet. The orthopedic surgeon wanted to hold off on surgery, and I go back October 3rd for more xrays. The pain is much better, with today being the best day that I've had so far. My arm's been out of the sling all day today and I plan to run 5k. I tried a 5k run last week, since the surgeon said that I could run, as long as there wasn't a lot of pain. The part I found most painful was my pec muscle and my left arm muscles. Felt like they tightened up. I didn't wear my sling out that day, so I was just holding it up. I have a feeling today's going to hurt, but I am going insane!! I was going to wear my sling today and see how it feels with it on. I was just wondering if there was anyone else out there who was running with their injury and whether or not it delays healing. My physio also said that running shouldn't affect the healing. I just know its going to hurt! Thanks for any advice you guys have!!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 8, 2006 07:47 AM, Nick wrote:

Greetings everyone.
A quick update: Last Wednesday I had another post-op and x-ray and the results looked good. The major break is almost completely healed: Only two small fractures left where the bone shattered. The smaller, second break isn't even visible on the x-ray anymore.
At present I'm only scheduled for one session of PT and one more post-op. From there it's just a waiting game until October 2007 to get the plate and screws removed.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2006 02:11 PM, rod wrote:

I'm 6 days into a broke right clavicle. I am wearing a sling and I am really feeling a lot better in the last few days. I go to see my sports med dr. in a few days, but this question is killing me....I have a 12 gauge skeet shooting competition in exactly 6 weeks from today. Will I be able to shoot? If not, what about the opposite side? Any advice is appreciated.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2006 10:27 PM, Hans wrote:

rod - I don't know if your break will be strong enough or not to handle the stress of the shotgun. One worry would be firing before you have planted the shotgun firmly and whacking your shoulder or collar bone with the kick. If the break is still in the process of healing and fusing then I can imagine rebreaking it. The other problem is going to be your muscle strength in your shoulder. You might have problem holding up your arm on the broken side. Shooting on the other side might be the better option, especially if your shoulder isn't healing fast enough.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 17, 2006 12:28 AM, Romeo Lim wrote:

Rod, I competed in an IPSC handgun/shotgun competition 8 weeks after I broke my right clavicle. Handling the recoil from the .357 Magnum shooting with bent elbows was no problem but the 12 gauge was another matter entirely. One shot and I gave it up, it is too dangerous since the recoil pad transfers all the recoil energy directly to the shoulder, pushing the clavicle bakwards. Don't risk it man, let it heal some more.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 17, 2006 07:47 AM, Kim Emanuel wrote:

Broke the bone 8 weeks ago with almost a complete heal in place. I do notice there is a deep but slight pain in my shoulder when I extend/strech my arm forward and upward >> othersise the arm has wide and almost unrestricted movement >> have not been to physicial thearpy yet >> anyone think thearpy will really help or will normal movement and usage work this out?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 17, 2006 06:03 PM, Byron wrote:

I broke my collarbone 4 days ago and it seemed the ER was not too concerned, gave me the figure-8 sling, wrote a prescription and sent me on my way. I am wearing the sling 24/7, but how do I know it is holding the shoulder correctly. I take it off once per day to shower and change shirts and adjust the tightness. Anyone have any insight to what you should feel to make sure the bones are aligning correctly. My Ortho appt is not for another 5 days and I am worried with all the talk of the first couple of weeks that I could be screwed up and didn't know it. Thanks...

Permanent link to this comment. On September 18, 2006 05:08 AM, Simon wrote:


I broke mine playing rugby, 1st game of the new session, got tackled from behind and driven the ground on my side,heard the bone snap as I hit the dirty and the rest of the team pilled on top!!

Its been 8 days now and I still have a lots of painful moments, when the ends seem to clash together, also the muscle around the neck seem to go in spans allot. I have a collar and cuff sling type thing which seem to more comfortable than a normal bandage sling, I get a lot pain in the back of head and neck and in my triceps.

I broke my left collar bone some years back and also dislocated my shoulder, should have stop playing then. that heal up ok, with a bump in the middle.

I don't no why but this time it feels different. I only hope that it heals as well as the last time.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 18, 2006 08:07 AM, Nick wrote:

From what I've been able to gather, there's a pretty standard set of PT exercises for a broken collarbone and they all seem to focus on range of motion.
Many years ago when I broke the left collarbone I was not assigned any PT. Just wear the figure of 8 brace until the bone fused together and resume normal activities thereafter. The stiffness and muscle pain disappeared after a couple weeks of normal usage.

When last I was in a figure of 8 brace I had to wear it 24x7. No taking it off even for bathing. As long as your shoulders are held up and back and you're not in excruciating pain you should be good to go. Other than the chafing in the armpits I recall the brace being rather comfortable. An occasional twinge of pain, but for the most part I didn't even notice that I was wearing it or that the collarbone was broke (unless I tried to lift something unassisted with that arm).
The main thing is to keep the shoulder as stationary as possible. Oh, and don't lift anything with that arm if you can help it.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2006 05:39 AM, David wrote:

Broke my collar bone 4 weeks ago motorcycle racing, the break was in the middle of the bone the doctor said it should heal fine and told me to come back in 8 weeks. Like everyone it was really painfull for the 1st 2 weeks but the thing is its been 4 weeks now and I am able to move my arm and do normal things without any pain or movement in the bone yes my shoulder is a little weak from not moving for a while but other than that I feel fine. I have a race in 2 weeks time and was wondering would I be able to compete in it as I feel I could without a problem?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2006 07:45 AM, Hans wrote:

David - That's a bit soon after the break. It sounds as if your bone has stabilized but that doesn't mean it's fully healed and can take the stress of racing. Also, if you're racing off-road that would be even more risky.

You might also consider talking with your doctor or getting a checkup a day or so before the race. Your doctor may find that you're healing extremely well and give the go ahead.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2006 10:03 AM, David wrote:

Thanks for the advice its on-road racing but then again if I took another fall I could do it more harm. I'll see if I can get to see the doctor a day or so before the race and see what he thinks because the last thing I want is to make the injury worse and have to miss out on the action even longer.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 25, 2006 05:20 PM, Rodney wrote:

I am now 3 weeks into my break, and I can definately tell a lot of difference. I am getting back a good range of motion in my shoulder, but I am feeling some of the same sharp pain as Kim stated. Is this normal?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 25, 2006 11:45 PM, Hans wrote:

Rodney - Feeling radiating pain during recovery is common. But if it persists for several days, is so strong it's unbearable, or is accompanied by numbness then I would recommend you follow up with your doctor. There's a few other comments on my "broken collar bone" pages regarding this type of pain. You should be able to search the pages and find the information.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 12, 2006 10:37 AM, Kathleen wrote:


Has anyone had the Basamania Pin Procedure. Please let me know. I am scheudled to have it 11/06.


Permanent link to this comment. On October 12, 2006 08:52 PM, Hans wrote:

Kathleen - I know that someone commented on the procedure on another page on my site:


I don't know more than what I have read about the procedure.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2006 04:54 PM, Ann wrote:

Hi all...thanks for your very helpful info. On Sept 2, I was mountain biking and when going down a hill, I flew off my bike hit the side of my head (cracked my helmet) and think I landed on my left shoulder. It was the most painful injury I have ever felt.
After getting escorted out of the woods on a four-wheeler by the local EMT's, I was taken to the ER to discover that I shattered my collarbone, broke my scapula, and cracked a rib. Finally, I was able to get in to see an orthopedic surgeon a few days later, who told me that I needed surgery because my break was so bad. Two days later, I had the surgery, complete with a plate and screws put into my collarbone as well as some bone graft put in to repair my bone.
Now I am about 5 weeks post surgery. I still have to wear my sling most of the time per doctor's orders and am doing some codman stretches. It is really frustrating because I feel like I should start PT but I still need to heal quite a bit. Any thoughts/common frustrations anyone? I have been able to walk a lot and get back on my bike trainer, which has totally helped my sanity.
I tried to read through the posts, but it doesn't look like anyone else has had this clavicle/scapula injury here yet.
Question about surgical scars: I am getting bumps near where my plate is on my clavicle and the doctor told me to massage it daily to keep scar tissue from building. The area still seems more swollen than the other clavicle, too. Does the massage really work? Any suggestions? Also I know I am a girl so I am not quite as into "battle scars" as much as many guys, but I have a thin, but long scar (about 8 inches) that is pink. I am hoping it heals up well, too. My doc and many other people say it looks pretty good so far, but to me it looks huge! Anyone with knowledge as to how long it will take for the scar and clavicle area to be less completely obvious and big? Gee this entry is quite lengthy and I have so many questions...this has just been a super tough injury for me, both mentally and physically, sidelining me from everything that is my livelihood. I am sure you all understand. I am so thankful for this website!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 21, 2006 09:56 PM, DEE wrote:


Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2006 12:33 AM, Hans wrote:

Ann - Yes, it's frustrating having to wait while the shoulder heals. But it's important because it's so easy to re-injure while the bone try to mend.

Massage of the scar can help. How long it takes for the injury to "not be obvious" isn't an easy question. It depends on your particular injury, your age, your skin type, and so many other factors. While it does heal you can work on and use more and more stories of how you got it. :')


Dee - Quick feedback about posting: please don't use ALL CAPS. It gives the appearence of yelling and it makes it harder to read. Now let me see if I can answer your questions.

Ouch, it sounds like you have a very painful combination of injuries. The rotator cuff tear can be very painful and take a long time to heal. I injured my rotater cuff and it took over a year to heal. The pain decreased over time but I could still, a year later, move it a particular direction and get a sharp pain.

Using pain is also an indicator you should use when doing any of your excercises. Performing any action that causes sharp pain is an action taken too far.

Also, have you had an MRI for your shoulder? An MRI can provide more specific information about the injury and any coexisting problems. Having one for my shoulder gave my doctor and physical therapist more information and allowed them to prescribe a more specific path for recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 26, 2006 02:26 PM, Lindsey Paquette wrote:

On July 2nd I broke my right collar bone, as of today is has noe healed, I was dirt biking and flew off, my doc told me it was a bad break, I just found out today, 10/26/06, almost 4 months later that I have to have surgery. I'm a single mother of a 1 and 3 yr old. This is very dramatic news for me and I'm not taking it very well. They will do a bone graph from my hip and add some plates! Any advise on how long it will take to heal?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 30, 2006 07:54 AM, Hans wrote:

Lindsey - Healing time varies with each person. But I have commonly heard lengths of 6 weeks to two months to heal. At a later time you may also have the plate(s) removed. That will require another surgery and recovery. But with a bad break it might be your only option. I recommend you discuss these concerns with your doctor.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 1, 2006 12:34 PM, Richard wrote:

Hello... I am 46 years old..
On Aug. 9th I broke my collarbone due to a fall.
The x ray showed a non union break with about a 1/4 inch gap between the break.

At week 6 there was no sign of healing so the Dr. said it would be my decision to decide if want surgery. He said most likely it won't heal, but he couldn't say for sure.
I said, "Should I come back in a couple of weeks for another x ray to see if any healing is going on"? He said most likely it won't show any healing at that point, and if anything, the x ray might just show some scar tissue, not the much needed bone callous to fill in the gap.

I got a 2nd opinion around week 8, and that Dr. conferred w/ my original doctor after seeing the the latest x ray. But he did mention to me that 90%-95% heal on its own. The 2nd opinion doctor also said an option is, that I don't have to have the surgery, and I can just go on with my life as is, broken collarbone and all etc.. but he did not recommend this, just saying it's an option..

So, I was at the outpatient surgery office at the end of week 9 to get the surgery.
While I was going thru the pre-op's w/ the nurses and the anatheisiologist, they asked if I had any pain in my collarbone. I said I really have no pain. Then my Orthopedic surgeon came in and felt and moved my shoulder etc. and said
"It doesn't seem to be moving as much as it did when I saw you 3 weeks ago. If you're not in pain, you really don't have to have this operation".
I said, "But can I function with a broken collarbone?" and the Dr. said "Yes, if you are in no pain"
So now I said "What do I do doc"?
He said, if it was him, he would not do it now...
(unfortunatly he had no x ray machine at the outpatient surgery office to check my collarbone's status right there at the moment)
So I left the outpatient surgery offices w/out having the surgery.

It's been 13 weeks now since I broke it. The bone seems to still move, but not like before. Before it would make a small cracking your knuckle sounds when I moved the bone etc.. Now it seems like the bone is just bending like tension/rubberband when I touch it. (no knuckle cracking sound now)
Is that a sign of healing?? Or could this just be scar tissue thats maybe keeping it more still?
I will go in for another x ray next week, but I know what the doctors will say to me "It's my decision if I want the surgery or not" and when I say, "What would you suggest, do you think it will heal"??, they give a neutral answer "I don't know.."
Thats when I get so discouraged... Especially if the x ray still looks the same as it did when I first broke the collarbone. So frustrating....(I'm hoping & praying that the x ray shows some progress this time after 14 weeks)

I just don't know what to do? Can it still heal without surgery after this many weeks?? Do I still maybe get the surgery?? Should I wait longer?? Is it ok to carry on w/ a broken collarbone forever and not have surgery on it?? Seems scary but I've been doing it so far...

I think i can function w/ my everyday life at 90% the way it is/feels etc... I do still feel a little minor discomfort if I try and sleep on the broken side, and sometimes my shoulder feels a little sore, but other than that it I can function pretty well. I can work etc...
Have you heard of cases where they heal after many months??
Any advise you can give me would be greatly appreciated..
Sorry about the length of the letter...

Permanent link to this comment. On November 1, 2006 11:37 PM, Hans wrote:

Richard - It sounds as if you are getting good advice from your doctors. It's possible that you may heal after many months. There's a few comments sprinkled throughout the pages here from folks that have had success waiting.

Some people continue on with their lives without their collar bone ever fully healing. Those that choose that route do so because their lifestyle doesn't require their collar bone to be 100% healed. On the other hand, an athlete or laborer that requires the full strength and mobility of their shoulder would probably choose a path to healing the collar bone.

I recommend that you evaluate your own physical lifestyle and the demands that you might place on your shoulder. Also look at what your expectations are when you are "healed". Discuss these with your doctor so that you may both come to a better idea of how to continue your process of recovery.

I hope this helps.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 6, 2006 06:53 PM, jk wrote:

after motorcycle crash i was sent from er w sling after dislocation/fracture (they're not sure) 11/30. i can see bone bump at end of clavicle sort of near adams apple, at its joint. (bump looks like when you bump head.) At er they held me till ortho team assessed surgery since it near vascular stuff couldnt press back in. they decided against surgery. attending tried to gently press in but "whole area is moving together, bone not loose." sent home w sling. first appt w ortho 12/11 (12 days later). Pain alternates at fracture pt, & neck, & shoulder blade.

Four questions:
1. Is this too far away for first appt?

2. ER guys said sling was just for comfort, the important thing is to keep elbow against side, to immobilize next joint over f clavicle. So i stopped using sling but mimic it. i find i minimize pain w/o sling more than with--either holding my arm in sling position (hand on chest, elbow braced against side); or hand straight down, elbow braced against side; sometimes in addition using other hand to hold other end of clavical (extra immobilization). while flat i can straighten arm along side.

Question: is it ok to not use sling but do what i describe in paragraph above, using pain as my guide?

3. Can one be on back too much at this stage? Hurts least while lying flat on back, either on floor, or futon w pillow under w\elbow and head. I get up till feel pain then lie down. (the transition down is the most delicate, i do say.) but really am considering 24/7 in bed since this minimizes pain & strain!

4. Hot showers on shoulder blade (but not fracture) ok to bring blood to shoulder and neck?

5. Can a good chiro shove joint back in better than ortho? Or is it too late day 5?

Permanent link to this comment. On December 7, 2006 05:46 PM, Hans wrote:

jk - I'll try to answer your questions:

1. That doesn't sound like too long a wait.
2. Using pain as a guide is a good thing to do. Although not wearing the sling might cause you to exert your shoulder more than you should be. It's very important to keep the shoulder and clavicle immobile during the first two weeks. Without the sling you might generate additional movement which can hinder recovery.
3. I don't know if there's a limit to the amount of time laying down. I would think it would become very uncomfortable after a while. You might try a sofa or large chair with pillows to prop up your arm(s) and hold you upright. That variation has helped others for sleeping or just resting.
4. If there's still swelling then heat isn't what you want to add.
5. I would highly recommend you wait for the ortho doc.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 11, 2006 05:04 PM, Josh Quigley wrote:

Hey everyone 2 weeks ago i broke my collar bone in a ATV accident and broke in half i am 18 years old and have very little pain but everyone here makes me feel better about how their breaks were. Everything is going good i hope and hopfully being able to go out and rip it up in a month

Permanent link to this comment. On December 16, 2006 05:02 AM, Bob Smith wrote:

64 Year old male. Fractured Clavicle June 5th bicycling in Austria.
Rode 5 mi. to hospital where Dr. said “yup” broken clavicle. Took X-Ray which confirmed fracture of approx. 2cm. advised that I more than likely should have surgery but a decision to do this should wait 5 days. Advised him I would return to USA for this and was placed in a figure 8 brace. They gave me enough pain medicine for the trip and sent on my way. Packed up my gear and had local bike shop send half my gear and my bike to family in Germany, no way could I carry more than one pannier. Arrived in USA 3 days later and immediately saw my Orthopedic. He took X-Rays and rolled his eyes (he had repaired my torn quad tendon one year earlier). I should mention this Ortho is very experienced in fractures as he spent time practicing in Lake Tahoe. First thing he said is surgery should be avoided at all cost as in most cases a break like this is likely to heal on its own. Gave me an arm sling and a prescription for an EBI Bone Growth Stimulator and said come back in 6 weeks. I did not like the arm sling and bought a Helly & Webber figure 8 Clavicle Brace as this allowed more use of the arm. HMO would not authorize BGS as it was too early to suggest a non healing fracture, non healing is usually determined if there is no progress for a year. Three months later still no healing and as I just turned 65 Medicare approved the Bone Growth Stimulator so I was fitted with one. The EBI pad that sits over the clavicle measures 4”x 2-1/2” and easily attaches to the Helly & Webber sling with velcro. This device requires 10 hrs. of use a day and when worn attached to the sling makes the wearing and placement of it over the fracture very easy to deal with. My December 15th visit to the Dr. showed there was finally some filling of the gap and the ends seemed to be firmly attached though there is still quite a bit more required to be considered healed.
For the first 2 months there was pain and discomfort in most every thing I did. Sitting at a desk and holding the phone could become very painful during the first 6 weeks. In the 3rd. month I began feeling better, had complete range of motion. I began riding again but was very careful about not using the right arm more for than normal daily activities.
By the way, at four months I had a second opinion and this doctor wanted to operate immediately When I discussed how I heard the bone graft from the hip might be more painful than the initial fracture he said he would be acquiring the bone from the bone bank (ie: cadaver). My regular Ortho said if he felt an operation were needed at all he has successfully used ground Sea Coral as a paste to fill the gap or maybe simply rough up the ends of the fracture and attempt to join the ends without a graft at all. But he said this is still to early an option to consider, repeating; let’s see how it goes with more time.
Hope this info is helpful to those reading these posts as I’ve found other peoples experiences very helpful in the making of my decisions on how to deal with this injury. Bob Smith, Westerchester NY

Permanent link to this comment. On December 17, 2006 09:21 AM, marlon wrote:

on december 12 i broke my collar bone wrestling and region torments is januray 6 im 14 do u think i can wrestle on the 6th
its been about 3 weeks and im feeling fine but my doctor said i cant play any sports untill 6-8wks wat is normal healing time for sombody my age

I would think that is a bit early to begin wrestling again. Recovery time is different for everyone. Your doctor is going to give you the best estimate. And the 6-8 weeks time your doctor gave sounds like a fair estimate. Remember to think long term. If you try to wrestle too soon and break it again you might be out for even longer.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On December 19, 2006 02:17 PM, Dr. Mom wrote:

Marlon - My 13 year old son is on week 8 of his collar bone break (hockey puck hit him between two pads) and the doctor won't release him until January 5 MAYBE. Our doctor is being very conservative but wants to be sure his bone is fully healed until he goes back into the net to avoid rebreaking it. I know it's hard to imagine you not being able to do sports for 6-8 weeks or longer, but it goes by fairly quickly. Just remember, even though it feels better, it is still healing and you don't want to risk breaking it again and starting over. This is the same advice I give my son, you're probably rolling your eyes like he does, but be patient, you'll have many more sport seasons ahead of you.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 1, 2007 06:09 AM, Sam Veal wrote:

A year ago in October I broke my right collarbone while time trial training. Initially the Ortho Doc said I would heal without surgery. SIx weeks later I was back on the bike (off-road and on-road)with only a "spike" and a "click" as a reminder. I thought I was past it until almost a year later ( and several MTB and road bike events) I was playing tennis and I had pain the area. A visit to the Ortho Doc and a MRI revealed an "incomplete union". After a final 8 day MTB trip to North Carolina, on November 29 I had a "Clavical Revision" surgery requiring a cadaver bone graft, 8 screws and a metal plate. Initially told the healing process would take 6-8 weeks, I was scheduled to participate in a 50 mile MTB event at week 7, however, at my Dec 22 Doc visit, He told me to forget the MTB event, keep my sling on for 2 more weeks, and stay off the trainer until he sees me on January 22. I am 54, was in pretty good cycling condition, able to do a century in under 5 hours and MTB climb without stopping. I am concerned that this much time off the bike and no cross-training is going to leave me unable to get back to my previous level of fitness. I had plans to compete in several events this year, but now am not sure. ANy ideas on a good "come-back" plan ?

Two weeks of no activity shouldn't effect your endurance that much and can quickly be regained. But pushing it past two weeks can cause a longer and harder period of recovery. I'm surprised your doc won't let you train, even on a stationary bike. Using the right setup it's possible to spin on a stationary bike so that you don't use your upper body or move your shoulder. That's what I did when I first started recovering from my break. You might want to follow up with your doctor regarding this. Clearly explain your needs and how you would like to train.

When you are able to get back on a trainer, the workout at the top of this page is the one I used and got me back up to speed.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On January 14, 2007 12:01 PM, nick wrote:

im twelve yaers old and i broke my collr bone playing fotball on the 9th and im going on a cruise on the 26th will i be ready to do phisical activitys on it? ps ive been reading and a childs collorbone heals in 3-4 weeks im i consitered a child?

Sorry to hear about your break. Luckily you are still young enough that you might heal in time for your cruise. Follow your doctor's advice on healing. Don't forget that the less movement of your shoulder the better. A visit with your doctor before you leave will also be a good.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 17, 2007 08:34 AM, Dr. Mom wrote:

My son was released last week (week 11) from collar bone hell after breaking it during hockey try-outs. He was able to play a period in two games over the weekend, while I did not breathe during his time in the net, he survived unscathed. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments throughout the recovery period and best wishes to you who are just starting your journey.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 8, 2007 11:41 PM, Andrew wrote:

I am back after a few months. My experience is somewhat like Richard who was here a few months ago. Age is similar (I am 48), healing (or lack of) is similar. In other words it does not seem to have rejoined and I am not almost 6 months since the break. My GP recently retired and I only have seen the docs in emergency and radiology. My GP's practice was taken over by a guy who did nothing for me, did not examine me and did not even look at the X-rays, so I have not gone back after the one visit. The good thing is my girlfriend works in Radiology at a local hospital so she can get me a requisition for X-rays anytime, and have one of the residents look at it. Anyway I think I will go in for another soon though I am sure it will only confirm what I already know, the dis-union. It actually appeared to be joining up after a few weeks and felt so good after 2 months or so that I was almost back to normal. Then about late October or so I was moving a cast iron bathtub (300 or 400 lbs!) with a friend and I think it separated again. It is not VERY uncomfortable but basically has been less comfortable than it was and clicks some and the gap seems to open and close depending on the angle I hold my arm at. I am considering get some consultation on pinning, but really don't want to have surgery. Moral: don't carry any antique bathtubs too soon folks!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 22, 2007 11:18 AM, John wrote:


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


Permanent link to this comment. On February 24, 2007 11:38 PM, Darren wrote:

Hello everyone

I joined the club last Monday as I was mountainbiking in the Sierra Nevada, a beautiful place to hospitalise yourself! I went over the handlebars on a steep downhill and crushed my shoulder.

Still painful now (Sunday) and preparing myself for the worst when I go to hospital on Thursday. I also tore two ligaments and both the Dr in Spain and in UK have suggested surgery so looks like a bad one. Now I am off to a job interview, hoping the sling will get me the sympathy vote!!


Permanent link to this comment. On March 4, 2007 03:52 PM, Gary Spolar wrote:

My clavicle was broken badly on December 21st, '06 when I fell off of a ladder. The ER doctor told me it was bad, gave me his card, and said to come see him in 30 days at his office/practice. I scheduled to see him in 3 days, to go over some stuff, and get a better feel for what was going on, because I had quite a bit of morphine in me when in the ER, and couldn't remember much from the hospital visit. He looked at the x-rays with me in his office, confirmed again that it was a bad break (splintered, twisted, etc...) but that I would be fine if I just wore my sling. He gave me two, a standard sling, and a figure 8 type that holds my shoulders back. He said it did not matter which I wore, and that I should just pick the one that is most comfortable. I wore the standard sling. I of course learned later that the figure 8 sling is the one that pulls the clavicle back, reducing the chance of the bones overlapping. The doctor never told me this.

At the 30 day appointment, he looked at the x-ray and said those words again, "This was a very bad break". He then said, "There are doctors that would operate on this, but not me. Not anybody I studied under. You'll be fine. You'll have full range of motion." My x-ray clearly showed that the part of my collar bone coming from my shoulder had grown under the part of the collarbone coming from the middle of my body. Overlap is atleast one centimeter, and the bone is filling in, but in a weird place. He says that this is fine. No need to wear the sling anymore at four weeks, and I should be able to resume most work activities by the six week mark.

At the 60 day, or 8 week appointment, He takes another x-ray. He says those words again, "This was a very bad break". I inform him that I have had a nerve twinge in my hand when grabbing things at certain angles, and he says that would not come from my collar bone injury. He tells me that we are done, there is no need for future visits or x-rays, and that I should be able to return to work by the 12 week mark after my injury, maybe 14. This contradicts his earlier statement that I could return to work at 6 weeks, which I never did, because I cannot push/pull at certain angles, and I sweep chimneys for a living. He also tells me that I will not need any physical therapy, after I told him that I am having so much difficulty and discomfort!

I'm not sure what to think anymore. I am still unable to (safely) return to my work duties at more than nine weeks since my injury, and I am ready to call a lawyer, although I'm not sure it would do any good. I do not know if I will heal well enough to carry/lift ladders, and surgery at this point would be quite intense because the bone has already healed around blood vessels, nerves, etc. The time to operate would have been before the bone had filled in, as noted by another doctor that gave me a second opinion on my injury at about 6 weeks.

Do you think I will continue to heal up to twelve weeks and beyond, and have less discomfort when I reach at odd angles? Is it possible to get compensation for mis-siagnosis that results in my lack of surgery, that leaves me unable to work? I make $188,000 per year in gross sales sweeping chimneys, and now I may be left with nothing because of my doctor's mis-diagnosis. I am very scared.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 13, 2007 10:12 PM, Jason D wrote:

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

Thanks Hans for this great site. It's been a real eye opener!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 15, 2007 01:01 PM, Jason D wrote:

...Sorry, the correct name is Basamania.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 15, 2007 06:49 AM, Scott wrote:

Hi Folks
Stumbled across this thread 4 months after breaking my collar bone which happened during what I can only describe as pulling off a sub human save whilst playing in goal, at 5 a side football (soccer).
I visited the hospital and following an x-ray was given the bad news of the clavicle fracture. It was later at night and the doctor on duty gave me some painkillers that wouldn't have helped a mild headache and a sling made out of a bandage (in the UK it s all about costs on the National Health). I was told to come back in a week and rest my shoudler completely, which I did suffering a pain worse than the initial break whenever I had to move. On returning to the hospital the next doctor I saw swore at his colleague's incompetence and gave me an adjustable shoulder sling which I must say helped alot more. 2 more visits to the hospital and 2 less than convincing doctors later I was told that my clavicle has fused and I could go back to work in 2 weeks (total healing time 2 months).
The huge bump in the middle of my shoulder was a concern but the doctor said this would go down in 1-2 years. Once I got back into moving it again, I was checking out the unsightly bump in the mirror and was stunned to see that my right shoudler (the side I broke) was about 1-2 inches marrower than my left. I even measured the distance to confirm this and it was indeed narrower.
To all the people posting on here saying that surgery aint the way to go, I'd say that many have been lucky or received better advice than I did during the healing process. The bone has healed in a Z shape and lost a fair part of it's length. I have went back to my doctor and gotten him to refer me for surgery, as I'd rather deal with that than having a shoulder joint that is completely out of allignment for the rest of my days (as a qualified Shiatsu practicioner I have a pretty good idea of the severe problems this will cause in the future).
My advice to anyone who suffers this terrible injury:
1. I although they tell you to keep your arm in close to your body during the healing process (by way of a sling), make sure you are not compressing your shoulder area too much as I am sure I must have been. Just bring it in so that it's at a similar distance to your other shoulder.
2. If you aint happy with the advice the doc gave you or feel that your rehab isn't progressing as it needs to, then get another opinion.
3. Ask to see the x-rays of the healed bone yourself so you can make a more informed decision.
4. Arrange to see a Chiropractor or Osteopath once you are well again to check your shoulder allignment.

So at the moment I am faced with a 26 week waiting time before I can even see the surgeon regarding possible surgery. My doctor said he would research for the most knowledgable one in Scotland to see me (so I'm hoping for a good experience). Unfortunately there don't seem to be any lists of surgeons who have trained in Mr Basamania's pin technique, so I do not know if anyone in the UK operates in this way. Anyway I will post here again once I have any more info on my case. So surgery or no surgery? The jury is out on both it seems, but I'll be going for it otherwise I'm lookin at severe mobility problems in later life. Hope this huge account has helped someone out there make a more informed decision on thier injury.

Good advice. I would also like to add that one of the reasons I recommend wearing a figure-8 sling from the start is that it helps hold your shoulder back and aligned. This may help with keeping the clavicle aligned and reduce the chance of it healing in a shortened state.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 18, 2007 02:31 PM, Casey wrote:


I hate the hospital and I currently live a far ways away from my family doctor so I figure I'll ask people with similar experience. I had a minor clavicle fracture about 5 weeks ago that almost broke through the whole bone but left enough connected so that it healed pretty easily. I wore the sling for a little while but mostly I just waited each day as it slowly got better and started using it as soon as possible as long as it didn't hurt which is what the doctor had said. Unfortunately, I didn't follow all of the doctor's orders. I was feeling pretty good last week so I decided to skateboard a little bit earlier than I was supposed to, but only doing flatground tricks that I couldn't fall on my shoulder doing. I got a little too confident and I ollied off about a two foot high drop and fell onto my elbow, pushing up onto my collarbone and it felt about the same as when I originally broke it (which was surprisingly not as painful as I would have thought). In a few days, however, I was feeling pretty good again and I could raise my arm all the way above my head. I figured I'd take it easy and that I learned my lesson, but yesterday I went to shoot some basketball because I've been bored of not exercising for so long. I don't know why, but I thought maybe I could dunk without stressing out my shoulder since it's not the hand I shoot with. I was wrong, and I hurt my collarbone again and it felt like it kind of popped but it didn't hurt that badly. What I'm worried about is that now after these two post injuries I've felt some weird/numb sensations throughout my arm and hand. I still have full mobility of my hand and fingers, but my fingers sometimes feel a little numb and I feel like my muscles in my arm feel a little weird sometimes. I also have what feels like muscle spasms in my shoulder. I figure maybe I just stressed some stuff out after not using it for a while, but I want to be sure not to have any nerve damage. My life is based on sports so if I lost my arm it'd be terrible.

Sorry to reply late. Just got back from Japan.

So it sounds like you might have injured some nerves. I would highly recommend you have a doctor examine you. It might only be temporary but it's still important to have a doc take a look.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On May 11, 2007 05:08 AM, Mike wrote:

Joined the club on 12th March 2007, whilst skiing in Austria. My injuries were 5 Fractured Ribs, a partial collapsed lung and a Fracture of the left Clavicle at the outside end of the distal third. At the time my Clavicle was the least important of my injuries. I spent 7 days in hospital in Austria and as I was effectively in bed for 7 days, no Sling or figure 8 strap was applied. I did have physio whilst in hospital and was told to move my arm up & down & from side to side.

My ribs and Lung have healed but I have grave doubts about my Clavicle. The Austrian Doctors wanted to take the conservative approach. There was no rupture of the tendons and the bones were almost in line but there was a small gap bewteen the bones.
They said it would heal naturaly. This was backed up the doctors here in the UK some 3 weeks later. Now nearly 9 weeks later i do not feel as though it is healing correctly. I have full movement of my shoulder but it feels as though there is a 20KG weight sitting on my shoulder. I do not believe that the bones have knitted. I can still move the bones in my shoulder. Does anyone think that this will heal or will I have a non union? If I have this non union can I live with it? I am 53 years of Age. I gave up soccer over 20 years ago and I have no intention of taking up weight lifting so does it really matter that I have a non union?

I hate to say it but age goes against healing. It may take several months to heal. Don't give up hope. Also, follow up with your doctor and get another x-ray to see how the bone is healing. It might be healing just fine. If the bone doesn't heal and you end up with a non-union, that is something many people live with without any issues. It depends on your lifestyle.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 12, 2007 11:43 AM, orca wrote:

Hi, i broke my right outer clavicle in a cycle crash, in short the first week i had a normal sling on.
The second week i went to see a sports physio for some pulsed magnetic therapy and pulsed laser treatment, sling put in the bin and the day after i was out on my bike again !
The third week i was out on my road bike every other day doing 40 miles sitting down all the time.
Starting my fourth week now and my shoulder is now starting to ache, this is the first pain or ache i have had since the accident, not sure weather i am doing the right or wrong thing, my doc says if i was in pain then something would be wrong so carry on with your training.
Any help appreciated !

Muscle ache is common during recovery. Pain is a bad sign. To relieve muscle ache I would get a gentle massage of the shoulder and neck muscles. Also, a warm shower or bath can help relieve some of the muscle ache.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 16, 2007 01:55 AM, Ian wrote:

Really useful site thanks !
Broke me right clavicle in two places in motorcycle racing high side two weeks ago now (never knew pain could be so bad !). I am also a keen road cyclist so pondering anything more than a few weeks off either bike is a non starter !. In the week post accident I sought consultations from 3 independent consultants for advice and opted for surgery last Thursday with one of the top guys here in Scotland. Following surgery the bone feels really weird but is 100% better that pre surgery and less than a week post op I have about 60-70% use of the shoulder with no pain. I still try and wear the sling for most of the day, but not while sleeping, do lots of mobility exercises and today am determined to get back on my turbo trainer !. Best off luck fellow breakers !.


Permanent link to this comment. On May 21, 2007 02:26 AM, Scott wrote:

"I sought consultations from 3 independent consultants for advice and opted for surgery last Thursday with one of the top guys here in Scotland"

Hi Ian

I am also in Scotland and am awaiting an appointment with a Glasgow based NHS surgeon who my doctor referred me to so I could get my poorly healed clavicle operated on (you can read the story of what happened a little further up the page). Just a quick question m8, what was the surgeons name and what method did he use on your broken bone?
Thanks in advance


Permanent link to this comment. On June 28, 2007 09:12 PM, Brendan wrote:

I'm Brendan
i too have found this site very useful, and actually very re-assuring cuz it says exactly what my doctor said lol
ya i broke my left clavicle from being retarded lol. I broke mine cuz for some reason my friends and i had a dumb idea during my graduation party to stand on a skateboard and get pulled by a truck... well it was fun and all til i hit the ground doin 22 mph lol.(what a great grad. gift hahahaha.) well i ended up breaking my collarbone, my wrist in 2 spots, my ring and pinky knuckles and dislocated my thumb lol.
well my thumb, and knuckles and one of the wrist breaks is basically healed, but my other wrist break i was told will heal after a total of 8 months... and my collarbone would be at least 6 months lol i really messed it up.
but i am hoping for the best and after reading all of these i am re-assured that it will infact heal its self giving time, so thanks lol, but however still majorly sucks cuz i cant play guitar :( lol well thanks again

Permanent link to this comment. On August 30, 2007 08:56 AM, James Millen wrote:

I Broke my right Clavicle just over a week ago playing football. I ran into the near post from a corner keeping my eye on the ball and not the defender that I crunched into. I landed on the ground clutching my shoulder and felt a lump on my collar bone which I knew instantly I had broken. I went to the hospital and was seen by someone in A&E who sent me for an X-Ray. The results showed That I had a complete fracture through the bone but wasnt too badly out of line, I was suprised about this as the lump suggested alot different. I went back to the fracture clinic yesterday and had a chat with the Osteopath who said he would send me for another X-Ray to check there hadn't been any further movement. As they had only taken a X-Ray from face on I suggested that another be taken from above or another angle for my own peace of mind which he agreed would be a good idea. Sitting with the same Oteopath after the X-Rays he showed me the one taken from staight on against my original taken on the day of the break which looked about the same only marginally out of align, he then showed me the one I had requested which showed the bones about 6mm apart from one another, adding 'good idea you requested a 2nd X-Ray my man' I will give it another 7 days and if the bones havent moved then it will be more than likely surgery involving a plate.
As I am a keen golfer and footballer what are the chances of the muscles contracting enough to pull the bones back into line, and is there anything I can do to help as I would obviously like to get back to full fitness soon as poss (like everyone who has posted on this site).

Its good to hear other people stories as I think that sometimes you can sit there thinking you're on your own and feeling depressed about will I ever get back to how I was.

One more thing to anyone who is not entirely happy with what the doctors are telling you dont be afraid to ask as I did, its the best thing I done.

Your bones may pull back together on their own without the muscles. Here is a good article on Wikipedia that describes the bone healing process:


One of the best things to do at the moment is to stabilize the break. Limit movement and use of your shoulder. Also note the complications section in the Wikipedia article.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 30, 2007 12:08 PM, midori wrote:

I broke my left clavicle in the distal third. Five weeks have passed since my break, and the swelling is gone, but the bones have not healed and my left shoulder is now about half an inch narrower than my right shoulder.

For those who did not have surgery, did you heal with one shoulder narrower than the other?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 4, 2007 07:20 PM, Alex wrote:

Hey my names Alex and I'm 19 years old,
I've been reading this page every single time I get depressed about breaking my clavicle and it has been a great relief. I have a distal 3rd break of my left clavicle and my right thumb is broken so I have incredibly limited use of both hands. I broke them skateboarding down a giant hill in the dark. Brendan, your story really freaks me out because we were skateboarding behind the car just a few nights before my break and now it seems like I got lucky for not doing what you did. I think we topped out at around 22mph too before speed wobbles but we were towing 3 at a time. Hope you heal quick. Anyway, thought I'd give a miniature rundown of what to expect because that seemed the most helpful for me. The actual break is nothing compared to the first few days. I skated home after I fell but wouldn't even think of doing that even now because of pain. The first few days involve lots of pain killers and movies. Sleep is near impossible as is leaning back in chairs because it pushes on the bones too much. I was able to get decent sleep after about a week and could bear to sit in certain chairs but even a month later it hurts a bit. I find it helpful to sleep on my back with an extra pillow under my head to keep my should blades slightly elevated. Also, propping up the hand is helpful. Over the course of a month, pain has been really random. Some days I feel fine, others I can think of nothing besides the pain. I guess I have less advice than I thought because I don't have much more to add about my experience. I saw a doctor today who gave me some really shady information. He said it was too early to see if it was healing even after a month and that we should just keep waiting to see if it heals before considering surgery but didn't really give me a time frame except to say it takes 3 months for a clavicle to heal. I guess I will just continue to wear the figure-8 and hope for the best. Anyone else have a lot of pain after a month? Has anyone had a doctor tell them "it's to early to tell if it's healing" after a month and then not had surgery?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 8, 2007 11:38 AM, Christina Roth wrote:

My name is Christina and I broke my left collar bone in a very bad accident. My break was pretty bad I have a bump that is the size of a Tennis ball and it has been almost a year and still looks the same. I think I might have nerve damage or something because it hurts so much.. the doctor had told me that within a couple months I would be able to do the stuff I was doing before I broke it, well that wasn't true. Anytime I did anything that put strain on it, it would hurt. Sometimes my whole arm feels funny and I even have pain up my neck that has given me ear aches to. My question is, is it possible to have nerve damage that would cause this much pain? I'm going to the doctor on Thursday to see about getting surgery and if that is a wise option.

I don't know if nerve damage would cause the pain you describe. But it does have the signs of a nerve being impinged. It's a good thing you are getting another doctor's opinion. It sure sounds like you have more going on there then a simple collar bone break.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On October 15, 2007 04:39 PM, Bernie wrote:

Bernie here, 37, cyclist.

First off, prayers out to everyone with this very precarious injury. I've been a one-handed typist for 4 mos now, and just found this website. My break is one-third of the way in from the shoulder.

My main problem has been keeping the medial side from sticking up too much and trying to keep both ends aligned as best i can (initially, the medial piece was pushed forward too). No one at the doctors office really new how i should keep my arm. By day 10 i was so frustrated i was about to schedule surgery, but then thought i had nothing to lose, so i started to boldly (and fearfully) move my arm around to see if i could align things better to avoid plates and screws. I was finally able to roll my shoulder back for better posture without the medial bone sticking up if i shrugged my shoulder. This helped the lateral bone-end meet the other end better (i think). Things were much more stable and pain free this way so i adjusted my sling accordingly. I was afraid that having a shrugged shoulder may be ultimately bad, but after some fusing i now can bring the shoulder back down without the bone sticking out and with no apparent loss of flexibility.

i have a new problem, though, that may negate all my "hard work". A few nights ago i awoke to my arm jerking violently and heard a cracking noise. i've been in a sling 24/7 except showers so my muscles have atrophied and stiffened. I was fairly pain free the previous 2 wks, now the pain has returned as bad as the first few days. i'm assuming i reinjured/tore some of the fusing process. I am seeing the Dr. in 2 days, so hopefully i will have more info about how my two problems are actually showing up in new x-rays.

BTW, i just saw this article (link below) on a new collarbone surgery method that looks like the best solution i've seen so far, but i havnt done anymore research on it. Anyone familar with it?

Yes, a few folks have looked into the Basamania procedure. Because of the limited number of doctor's qualified in the technique it's not easy to have the procedure scheduled. But it's a promising new technique.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 15, 2007 08:58 PM, Bernie wrote:


i meant to say i've been injured for 4 WEEKS, not months.

Sorry, Bernie

Permanent link to this comment. On October 27, 2007 12:23 PM, John wrote:

I broke my left collar bone about 2 and a half weeks ago playing football.
It seems to be fairly displaced from the x-ray-hope this does not add too much to the recovery.It's in a shoulder brace at the moment.
Funny, I was about to start upper body weights the following day.
I've mainly kept to a stationary bike and walking to keep fit.
Can I still work the lower body safely with weights?
Also I saw exercises at the following link:

but when should I start these, how often should I do them and when should I move to phase2?
Also whats the quickest time anyones got back playing football with this injury?
I've enjoyed reading everyones stories here.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 10, 2007 11:58 AM, Linda Kamaila wrote:

Any advice on sleeping? My husband broke his clavicle in two places on Thursday, has been sleeping in a recliner. He tried to lay down on his back in a regular manner last night and had immediate worsening of the pain. He has a sling, but will see doctors this week about the figure 8. It's very hard to understand why the ER personnel are so unconcerned and say so little - they didn't really tell him to restrict his motion as much as people on this board are saying to do. They also told him he could take his sling off to sleep, but it hurts so much to take it on and off, that seems ridiculous.

I've gotten him the micro-calcium supplements, with boron and all the other related things in it, plus a silica containing supplement (horsetail) and we just started arnica (homeopathic 30 4 each half hour). He was in less pain after two doses of the arnica, but who knows if that's the reason, he's also lying still.

So...just between you guys and me, how long will he be sleeping in the recliner? He seems to think this is going to be better and that he'll be driving in a week. What do you think? Can anyone say how long they slept upright? I am much less optimistic, but I don't want him to be pessimistic, he'd be depressed to hear of non-unions at 4 months and such, and I can see the bone sticking up near his shoulder (about three inches from his shoulder joint), and it presses against the skin. Is that the distal third?

Thanks for any support, encouragement, information. Oh, and I read that a bit of sunshine (natural vitamin D) encourages fracture healing, so he's doing that too.

Sleeping in a recliner is a popular choice. I haven't heard much input on how long folks have continued to sleep upright. But using pain as an indicator of when to begin sleeping in a bed is a good strategy.

I would hope that your husband takes a double break a little more seriously. It's true that some collar bone breaks are healed up in a short time (a month). But there are plenty of stories from people about waiting months or even a year or more to heal.

The lack of concern from medical professionals regarding collar bone breaks seems to be the norm. Maybe they are considered too uninteresting.

Restricting motion of the shoulder and the break is important during the initial weeks of the break. But it's also important to not restrict movement of the elbow and shoulder joints. The joints need to be moved to maintain their range-of-motion. My doctor had me taking my arm out of the sling and bending my elbow several times a day. And moving my arm and shoulder socket to a point where it just started to hurt. But movement that pulled, twisted, or strained my shoulder and collar bone was forbidden. It's just too easy to be lifting or moving something and then go too far and set back the recovery.

It's important to let the body heal. A broken collar bone, no matter how "trivial" it might be considered, is still a trauma to the body.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 12, 2007 10:13 AM, Linda Kamaila wrote:

Thanks, Hans. Seems to me it's a pretty major trauma, and yes, the doctors were pretty unconcerned. He's going to see an orthopedic person next week. I think he's getting the idea about keeping it really, really still (!) and the bump has nearly disappeared, thank goodness. Not a lot of bruising, either. I'll try and post about how long he sleeps in the recliner (he tried laying down last night, night 4, and it didn't go so well).

Seeing an ortho doc is probably a good thing. As for sleeping, search through the comments for how folks have used pillows to help with sleeping in bed. Usually it involves placing several pillows around for support and to keep from rolling around.

Note: There's a search form in the upper left side of the page. Type in the word "pillow" and click search.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 16, 2007 08:31 PM, Pete wrote:

Hello Hans –

Great website! I broke my right collarbone while skiing last March. It was a single, mid clavicle break, with a fairly large separation of the bones. I had broken this same collarbone 30+ years earlier in a bicycling accident, and had a successful recovery using a simple figure 8 brace. The pain for this latest break was fairly intense, but nothing like with the first break. I went to a highly recommended surgeon in my area who believed that going conservative was the best approach. No sling, no figure 8, no surgery. I questioned his wisdom about not wearing a figure 8 brace, and he said there had been extensive studies in Sweden that indicated that wearing a brace gave you no better results than doing nothing. Apparently, there are a large number of surgeons who believe this myth. The x-ray taken at 7 weeks showed the bones had “found” each other, but there was a huge overlap making the shoulder much shorter which in turn caused a 2 inch drop in the shoulder height. The shorter collarbone caused the shoulder blade to start “winging” in the back since it had nowhere else to go but out. The winging caused significant pain to both my shoulder blade and upper middle back. It also made breathing more difficult. The surgeon confirmed at that visit that the winging was a mechanical problem caused by the collarbone injury, and recommended giving it 6 more weeks to see if the pain would resolve. I asked about surgery to correct the deformity, and he was very hesitant to do anything, but referred it to a colleague who said he could plate it to get it back out to length, but couldn’t guarantee resolution of the winging. I questioned the plating method (vs. pinning), and he said that pinning wouldn’t work. I started searching for other alternatives and was fortunate enough to find this website. I saw where several people had successfully used Dr. Basamania in Durham, NC to have their collarbones pinned, so I searched for every article I could find related to Dr. Basamania’s method. I liked his approach since it seemed the least invasive and minimized muscle/tissue damage. I searched my city to find someone who was trained on Dr. Basamania’s pinning technique, but never found anyone (I’m in a large city with lot of surgeons). Ended up contacting Dr. Basamania who is now with Triangle Orthopaedic Associates in Durham, and sent him my medical records and some pictures I took of myself so he could see the level of mal-union/deformity. I ended up having him do the surgery in September. I met with him the day before surgery, and he answered every question/concern as good as or better than I expected. His current techniques are well beyond anything you’ll currently find listed on the web. One new thing I found out on that visit is his technique avoids severing of the nerves in the shoulder – another plus for his approach. He has to be one of the best, if not the best doctors I’ve ever used. He really has a passion for helping people with this type of injury. Surgery went well, but mine was such a mess that it took him nearly twice as long as expected to correct (nearly two hours). He is a perfectionist, so he took the time to fix it right. The “before” and “after” shots are simply stunning and a testimony to his incredible skill. The hospital, staff, etc. are the best. Went home the next day and have had a good recovery. The scar is nearly two inches long, but falls in a natural crease, so it doesn’t feel weird. The biggest difference I initially noticed was how much easier I was able to breath. I’ve been taking calcium/magnesium, vitamin D3 and Boron supplements as mentioned in an earlier post, and those have seemed to help speed up my recovery. At six weeks he said it was healing incredibly well, and that he would make the call on the pin removal after seeing the next x-ray. Mobility has been very good. They gave me a sling, but I’ve never had to use it. I took pain killers only on the day after surgery. I’ve had some soreness/tightness in some of the muscles (rotator cuff, shoulder, etc.), but he said all of that is normal since they are trying to adjust to their new homes.

After going through all that I’ve gone through this year, I feel that surgery could have been prevented if only my original surgeon had simply put me in a figure 8 brace and/or sling during the initial healing period. It simply does not make any sense to think that a break like that is going to get any better without doing something to prop up the arm/shoulder while the collarbone heals. Mine never had any chance of heal correctly. If your surgeon (irrespective of degrees, position, or reputation) recommends doing “nothing”, find another surgeon. If you end up needing a second opinion like I did, contact Dr. Basamania – regardless of where you live.


Permanent link to this comment. On November 19, 2007 05:40 PM, Linda Kamaila wrote:

Can't imagine no sling or figure 8 brace. My husband is using both now (mostly the brace, but he keeps forgetting not to use his right hand). He's not to the end of week 2. The figure 8 brace has been a godsend. Found out about it here, ER never mentioned it. Our family doc prescribed it 4 days after the break, he was fitted on day 5. He is still sleeping sitting up (when does that ever end??) but at least he can sleep in the bed now with lots of pillows.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 21, 2007 06:41 AM, Pete wrote:

Hi Linda,
Sounds like your husband is in big time pain with his break. A bad break will cause sharp pain any time he moves. Sleeping is the worst part of this injury...even with my recent surgery I still end up moving around too much in my sleep and wake up in pain because I got something contorted. Have your husband try malic acid for the pain. It's all natural (from apples), and takes the edge off the pain. My guess is that he'll be miserable for a month or so, then start to make big steps.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 8, 2008 06:52 AM, Colleen M. wrote:

I originally wrote to this site on the 28th March 07 having broken my right collarbone on the 19th Feb 07. I have referred back to this site many times and it's been really helpful, thank you.

I'm still having problems nearly a year on, firstly I'm having to deal with headshaking from left to right because of nerve damage (which wasn't there initially, came on some 6-8 weeks later and then went away, only to return), on top of this the Osteopath that is now treating me, tells me my bone healed so badly that all the shoulder joints are out of alignment, causing the muscles across the shoulderblade to be really sore and tender, although I do have my strength back, I sometimes get enormous cracking noises and forget about lying on that side in bed for any length of time.

So if anyone has experienced anything like this and has any recommendations/suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Sorry don't want to give others at the beginning of their recovery a bleak view but I'm sure there must be others that wore the figure of 8 and were really careful, like me, but are still having problems.


Permanent link to this comment. On January 9, 2008 08:27 AM, Lynne wrote:

I broke my right clavicle in late August riding my bike. The break wasn't too severe, and I am 23 and in great health, so I was expecting it to be a fairly quick recovery. Now it's January, and I still have a non-union. In December, the doctor decided that it had been long enough with little enough progress for me to get an ultrasonic bone growth stimulator. I have been trying to use it every day, but I'm still scared that I'll end up needing surgery.

Hopefully, I can nip this thing in the bud before racing season starts again. If I don't get surgery, the doctor said that at this point my only other option is to just live with a fracture non-union. It barely causes me any pain, and I have almost a full range of motion. Is this a viable option for a young athlete?


Living with a non-union may be viable. I have friends that still ride and race with non-unions. But it might not be viable depending on the type of physical activity you perform, how bad the break is, etc.. I recommend that you talk with an orthopedic doctor that specializes in sports related injuries. That would allow you the opportunity to discuss your injury with someone that should understand your physical needs.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 9, 2008 10:44 PM, taylor wrote:

i just broke my left clavical tonight snowboarding. its a clean break, hurts pretty bad,and the pain meds aren't fixing it. I am just 19 i dont really know what the deal is will they give me something stronger than vikadin?


Permanent link to this comment. On January 10, 2008 09:25 PM, taylor wrote:

Okay, scratch that last post... Today i found out its a bit more serious. My doctor told me one week from today i will have to have surgery because its a severe break. He said he will be placing a pin into it for two months then removing it. My question is what is the difference between a pin and a plate? does a pin actually stick out of my skin so they can remove it? If anybody knows a reply would be a great help.


The pin won't stick out of your skin. It is inserted through a small incision and threaded through the two broken pieces of the bone. Later, it is removed through another incision.

A plate requires a larger incision as it must be placed across and screwed into the ends of the broken clavicle.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 31, 2008 12:51 PM, martin wrote:

HI guys
I broke my left clavicle 3 weeks ago while riding a motorbike on a tropical island which had bad roads in Thailand. I saw an orthopedic doctor who said the xray showed the ends of the fracture were close together so i declined surgery and took the figure of 8 brace and sling option. 3 weeks down the line I have had another xray which shows healing has started..I can move my arm a little now without getting a big pain like before. problem is my arm and hand have swollen and if i bend the arm back its painful over the inside of the elbow and also near my wrist (there are no other broken bones so iguess the pain must be muscle aches). Has anyone else had a swollen (larger looking) arm/hand while having theirs in a sling for 3 weeks? the fracture is still fairly tender sometimes, yet other times when the brace is tight it seems ok. I have the bump that everyone is on about too. in fact i though that the bump was the fracture, but the doc said that the fracture was underneath. I took the brace off today for the first time but decided to put it back on again after a shower. sometimes it feels loose unless i press on it with my neck to tighten it or get it tightened. some docs say its useless (google figure of 8 and clavicle etc) and im wondering the same. I think it helps getting up in the morning...i roll on my side first, fold my legs in to the fetal position then use my good arm to lift me up...I can get up a bit more normally now though 3 weeks on. like to hear about the swelling though and if anyone else had it.


I would highly recommend that you contact your doctor soon about the pain and swelling. That doesn't sound like a normal recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 31, 2008 07:13 PM, Chris wrote:


I broke mine 12 days ago and have been wearing a figure 8 brace for the last full week. I only wore the sling until I got the brace because it made my shoulder and arm hurt very badly. I too researched the figure 8 online and even my DR said there is no evidence they work. I am using it to keep my clavicle in place because without it my clavicle crunches and I think it moves. So I am going to wear it for another week or 2 for support. I bought the Hely Weber brace http://www.dme-direct.com/hely-weber-clavicle-brace/ and it is much more comfortable than my first one which was almost unbearable! I highly recommend it! It has made my life much less painful. My arm is now less swollen but it was for the first 10 days or so. This is a brutal injury but I am glad I found this post to be able to compare stories and for helpful tips. Good luck to all on the road to recovery.



Permanent link to this comment. On February 1, 2008 07:40 PM, billy wrote:

hi my name is billy and i am having surgery on my nonunion calvical next week, it hes been broken for 3 months. how long will my recovery be?

Permanent link to this comment. On February 2, 2008 01:55 PM, LD wrote:

Hi Billy,
My son broke his collar bone last April and had surgery soon after. The surgery went very well and his shoulder looked so much better after. I wouldn't rush the recovery period everyone is different. The Surgeon gave my son the green light to go after about six weeks and a couple of X-rays. My son left the plate in but has been talking now of getting it out so we'll see how that goes. Good Luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 5, 2008 11:55 AM, Dan Gallagher wrote:

I broke my right collar bone this past Friday in the distal third. The bone Dr. gave just one look and recommended surgery - my family Dr. agreed. So they did the surgery yesterday and the pain was pretty bad this morning (now I'm taking vicadin). In my case the Drs. didn't even give me a non-surgical option .... I guess because the separation was so great and because the break was in the distal third. Did anyone else have this experience? Thankfully the surgery seems to have gone well and hopefully too, it means the recovery will be faster.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2008 07:45 AM, cole wrote:

i broke my collar bone 2 days ago and i was wondering if there are any work outs i can do for my lower body and my core. i play football and have been lifting sinse december. what should i do?

There are lots of workouts. Even riding the stationary bike will help to keep your fitness. The trick is to perform exercises that don't cause you to strain your shoulder and collar bone. Using weight machines can help isolate the movement. For example, the leg press or leg extension machines. Working the core is a little bit trickier as those exercises tend to use and strain the shoulder. I'm not sure what the best would be for that. Maybe someone else has some ideas.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 27, 2008 05:07 PM, Bravada in Hawaii wrote:

Dear all, I am so glad I found you. One weeek ago, April 20, 2008, I fell from my racing bike and I had a broken coller bone now. I was training for the Honu half Ironman next month May the 31st. I am happy I can train in the stationary bike and I may star doing power walking next week. The Dr (who by the was was very mean to me) said that I dont need surgery but that I can not do any triatlon any time next month and that I can not take any pain medicine either! I am changing bone doctor for sure-believe me! I dont need that when I am a very active person... with feelings. I am seeing the Sports Medicine Dr tomorrow at the University of Hawaii and I will ask him for a second opinion about my race and about a training program to follow during recvery. I am taking pain medicine anyway while in pain since my hip and left leg hurt a lot sometimes. Do you guys think I can do the race? I read abou this older triathle that did the ironman 17 days after she broke her collar bone. What about supplements I read about this one taking calcium nitrate. Please let me know your thoughts.
I so happy I found you,
Wish me happy and speedy recovery

There are too many factors and each person's break is unique. So the only one that can give you a fair estimate on when you might be able to race will be your doctor. But it's not impossible for someone to recover in the time you have before the race. I was able to be back on a bike in a month after my break. But I count myself lucky. I think you are doing the right thing going for a second opinion and to a sports doc. Having a doctor that understands the needs of someone with an active lifestyle is very important and can have a big impact on your recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 28, 2008 05:54 PM, Bravada in Hawaii wrote:

Thanks so much for your reply,

That is what I thought that everybodys broken wing is unique. so far, I am getting fatigue so easily and My left leg and hip hurt a lot in the mornings. Today is the 8th day after the fact and I am looking forward to have more energy and do some stationary bike and power walk. Maybe later this week. I will let you know more later,
Bye for now

Permanent link to this comment. On May 11, 2008 10:46 AM, Pete wrote:

Hey guys. Quality site Hans. very useful!
Aight.. heres my problems.. having a feew drinks and playing stupid man games last night with the lads from work. the weathers beautiful for once here in england.. summers starting. its nice.
anyway.. i rugby tackled my boss and landed badley.
that instant i knew that wasn't good. a few drinks had me in not too much pain.. though mentally.. i feel freaked out cause somethings wrong inside i cant see or change.
anyway.. straight to hospital.. x-ray within half hour (record i swear). i was right.. drunken mates were wrong. snapped my clavical. its not as bad as the xrayz i've seen here and on wikipedia. the bottom of the bone is still intact..the impact pushed the left side near my neck up.. the right sides down a bit.
my main concern is mobility factors later on. i weight train heavy & its a love in my life. i was going to start MMA or boxing soon.. not looking likely. night stick to yoga instead.
i know everyones unique and that.. but you guys rekon it kileky in the sapce thats been created by the snap.. that new bone will simply form.. or will somehow the piece be drawn back in.
i don't like the new shape thats left.. but iguess its tough shit really.
has any one had experiences where the shape dramaticlly pulls backin to similar space of its original allignment !?
also.. pain.. its not been 24 hours.. and generally i'm feeling mobile. to my frustration its my wanking arm. and my mouse arm. in theory if i rest my arm on my desk whilst typing. no strees on the clavical.. this would be aright right !?
Safe, much Love peeps x

Ah the drunken tackle collar bone break. That's a new one I need to add to the list!

So it sounds like you busted yourself pretty good. It is possible for the body to "pull" the broken ends back towards each other and fill in the gap. It depends on many factors though. The distance of the broken ends from each other, how much movement occurs in the break area while healing, your own natural healing abilities... It goes on and on and that really makes it frustrating trying to find information. Just note that the first two weeks are very important for letting your body begin this mending process. Too much movement during this time can hinder the mending and delay or even stop it. Keep your arm in the sling, don't put pressure on the shoulder, and don't do any activities that will strain or move the collar bone.

You mention doing weight lifting and other sports. I highly recommend that you have a second opinion from an orthopedic doctor that specializes in sports injuries. You may heal on your own but if you heal with poor geometry in your shoulder you impact your active lifestyle.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2008 04:12 AM, Srivasa wrote:

Hi Folks,
My son had a fall from his bike as his skided on road. He has a AC-Clavical fracture as the Doctor calls it. The Surgeon-doctor advises surgery otherwise he says the healing may be slower and the broken bone ends joining with unpredictable results. Surgeon says it is a minor surgery during which a plate will be fixed by screws to align the bones and after six weeks plates too will be removed by another surgery. In these days of medical advancement is it oK to have the surgery done. What are the pit falls, if any. In these coloumns I read many avoiding surgery even if it means living with a slight hump or slight disability in using their arms as before fracture. Why not decide on surgery straight away instead of waiting for the body to perform a miracle to heal itself. Is surgery such a dreaded stuff nowadays. Can some one give me the correct guidance as I am unable to decide on Surgery.

I find this a vey useful blog site.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2008 12:09 PM, Pete wrote:

thanks for the reply mate..
i got a second opinion from a specialist on my dads health insurance.. said pretty much same as the nhs a&e doc. only bonus was the tip on pulling both shoulder blaeds together in order to help things slip into place.
he insists geometry will sort itself out back to the norm.. though this could be general psych tactics on reducing my worry.
no activity for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time is the only thing thats certain. gonna take up swimming & yoga in a month when i get back to london. i was getting to big anyway lol.. lifes about balance after all.. his simply reinforces the tact i gotta calm down :P
the musculer pain went today for which i feel amazing. i can get out of bed on my own without feeling like i'm dieing. had my first shower in 4 days.. my armpit was smelling like a dirty vagina lol. i exagerate not !!!
one tip i note to anyone reading this is GIVE up doing things for yourself.2 days ago i made breakfast. a the weight of a bowl pushed my bone out further and reduced me to tears for a day that felt like a life time. not cool.
to think a week befor i was picking up 120 kgs............
i am visciously independant.. however that ain't going to work.
i spent 24 hour on my ass playing final fantasy 12. life passess by & thing feel good. freaky but good.
another tip... i had my dad put my mattress at aa tilt by placing pillows underneith. it makes sleep amazing & also makes it possible to get out of bed. which was impossibly challenging last week.
other tip.. for when it hurts real bad.. standing up from sit down.. place your good hand to the back of your head and apply pressure. this some how re distributes pressure away frm the clavical. noticably so.
i can't wait for this to be healed. hoping i'm back to norm in 2 weeks.. enough to party a bit. uni'is just broken up for the first year.. & theres this girl .. snooze you loose you know :P
i miss my motorbike.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2008 12:13 PM, Pete wrote:

btw to srivasa... my dc said surgery could cause it not to heal. sure i might have a bump. dnt know about disabiliy.. i believe in rehab & phisio to help me achieve wht i wish. i'll just have to work with it.
face it.. the body is a miraculous thing. have faith bro

Permanent link to this comment. On June 5, 2008 09:30 PM, Sebastian wrote:

I Fractured right my collar bone in atv wreck 6 weeks ago. 2 weeks ago i got my x ray and the connective tissue was visible from the x ray and the doc said to start my therapy. But yesterday my friend slap me on my right shoulder pretty hard. I didnt feel any pain on my collar bone or anything i still could lift my arm up and do my therapy excercises without pain, Phew..but i am really worried that it broke agian and my doc is out of town for 2 weeks. so my question is if the connective tissue broke would you be able to feel the pain.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2008 07:08 AM, Will wrote:

Hi there fellow collar bone break sufferers! Broke my coming off the MTB in Scotland 3 days ago now. Have a sling and have fabricated a figure of 8 using a physio's latex band (really good for posture and holds shoulder blades closer). This blog has been great and has helped me come to terms with the challenge. I am national standard veteran (43 years old) hill runner and duathlete with a full programme of events. The x ray revealed that the broken ends sit next to each other - I can feel them meeting! Keeping my fingers crossed that i can get on the static trainer and get some uphill walking done within the week. Off to the French Alps tomorrow with the family. No hill running or road running for me though. Any thoughts on when to start what exercises?

I've been told over and over that the first two weeks should be mostly rest. Your body needs time to for recovery, especially at the beginning. Starting exercise too soon just diverts resources from healing.

I began my recovery training program around two weeks after the accident. As you can see from the schedule it begins rather easy. But it soon progresses harder. This allowed me to maintain my fitness and be ready to ride again once I was given the green light.

Also, everyone's injury is unique. So recovery times are all different. Listen to your body and try not to push things too soon. Many comments here from folks that pushed it too soon and re-injured themselves.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 29, 2008 10:11 AM, Jessica Venables wrote:

What a bloody nightmare the collarbone never thought it could cause such problems!

I had a clean break, the bone tented my skin but my Doc said it will heal no problem. I had a smelly figure of eight brace. Non union of clavicle so after nine weeks I go to the surgeon and he does a bone graft on my hip. Then plated it to my collarbone with 7 screws and a vice. The hip graft hurts like mad the collar bone feels fine. It has been 6 weeks and the Doc says it looks good although he can't tell until another 4 weeks if it is a solid union. Wow soooo long to wait. The x ray looks the same to me after the surgery and 6 weeks later. Now I am starting rehab. It took quite a long time for the hip to feel good. Now I sarted walking uphill, indoor bike and swimming like a dog with a floater under my stomach. Does anybody know if it is normal for the xrays to look the same? I totally forgot to ask my doctor this Q.


Permanent link to this comment. On July 29, 2008 11:39 AM, KP wrote:

I too broke my collar bone 2 weeks ago downhill mtn biking. Like many of you mine ending up overlapping a bit and I have a bump now. I haven't worn a sling for the last several days as I find it more comfortable to be able to move my arm around freely. I've found that if I move my arm to far in certain angles/directions then I get shooting pains (nerve like) in my bicept on that side. Has anyone else experienced this?

I have a follow up w/ my Dr next week and will probably get another xray to see if the bones are fusing properly. But I'm curious if others had muscle pains in their traps, shoulder and arms.


Permanent link to this comment. On August 22, 2008 10:08 PM, marie wrote:

I fractured my clavicle at the distal third. (I also collpased a lung, and fracture ribs). This occured during a bike accident. It has been 4 months. I seemed to be improving very slowly, though fracture was not healed. Recently, I took a rough train trip from Chicago to Calif. After, I began to have sharp, nerve-like pain druing certain arm rasing movements. This pain is so excruciating that it sends me to my knees. I can push on the fractured bone with little to no pain, so it seems to be more of a soft tissue issue. Has anyone else experienced this? I am 46 years old woman,and expected a slow recovery, but I thought I would progressively get better--not worse. I am very discouraged, as I thought I'd be back t normal activity by now. Any help would be appreciated.


From what you describe it might be an impinged nerve. I would recommend you check with your doctor.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 4, 2008 08:10 AM, Renee wrote:

This is such a great blog, i only wish I would have found it sooner. My daughter, 13 yr old, broke her right collarbone on June 4th. It was a clean break but the bones lined up okay. So she wore the figure 8 brace for 4 weeks and then began light activity recommended by her doctor. At her 7 week check-up the doctor said my daugher's collarbone healed great and it was "like a new bone" He let her go back & play soccer again. She played the 1st game fine, but in the 2nd game she took a small bump to the right shoulder and broke it again. So we are on week 3 of the new break in the same exact place. Basically she either has some real bad luck or we received some real bad advice. Now she is out of soccer & the middle school basketball team. She is very depressed because sports is all she did in her spare time.

She has a new doctor who is a sports medicine doctor. He seems great and understands what a body endures during sports-I believe this is what the 1st doctor lacted.

Although, her bump is pretty large this time and the bones just feel real weird. The x-ray doesn't reveal anything unusual. Does anyone that has had multiple clavicle breaks have any advice? Also, I'm worried that since she has broken it twice it might mean she will be more prone to re-breaking it again in the future. I would really appreciate any advice. Lastly, I have her on 500mg of calcium w/ vitamin D; any advice on this too?
Prayers for everyone else going through this-this is such a terrible injury.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2008 12:49 PM, Gerry wrote:

I am a 51 year old male who managed to break my left clavical last Christmas Day playing pond hockey. I won't say anything about being checked by my 13 year old nephew.
The broken ends of the bones are approximately 4 cms apart and are not showing any signs of healing after 9 months. My latest X-Ray shows some fibrous growth but not much. I have seen two orthopedic surgeons and they both have said to wait until January 09, if there is no signs of healing by then they may operate.
Luckly I have enough movement to prevent a frozen shoulder but it is still quite painful and the muscles are starting to lack definition and tone.
I have been taking Magnesium and Gluclosamine on a regular basis along with Cod Liver oil. Is there any other supplements I should be taking to help expediate bone growth? My physio therapist has recommended an Exogen Unit, electronic bone growth stimulator, has anyone used one of these devices with sucess?
Any advice at this stage would be greatly appreciated.

For supplements, folks have mentioned taking Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Omega-3, Boron, and multivitamins.

A couple of people have written here about using a bone growth stimulator. It's usually hard to have covered by insurance so that limits the number of people using it. But those that do say it does help. I have not used one so I don't know.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 16, 2008 09:35 AM, Lauren wrote:

Broke my left clavicle last Saturday in an Ultimate Frisbee collision, its not too bad, but not too good. I saw the ortho Monday and he has given me the option to straighten out the bone and lift my shoulder up surgically with a pin (my clavicle looks like ^ instead of -).

I'm leaning toward getting the surgery if it means getting my left arm and shoulder 100% back to normal, but I'm still very unsure--what do you think I should do? I'd appreciate advice, I'm so torn and my doctor has left the decision in my hands, with no reccomendation. Help!

Good luck to those still recovering, I now know your awful pain ;)

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2008 01:51 PM, Ed wrote:

Two weeks ago while on an early morning bike ride I ran over some debris in the road that sent the bike into the curb at about 20mph. Lots of road rash and a broken right collarbone. I saw an Orthopedic sports doctor who put me in a figure eight and I go back tomorrow for x-rays. The difference in my story from everyone else's is that I'm 68 years old and expect it will take a lot longer for me to heal. I ride between seven and nine thousand a year and would sure like to hear from anyone around my age who has gone through this. Thanks.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 24, 2008 08:45 AM, Daz wrote:


Broke my left collarbone(not technical) on 30th June by cycling into wall.....

It did not heal and surgery was required though according to the doctor it got a bit 'hairy' as a bone fragment had come away and when they tried to remove it cut my artery and took the team over an hour to sort.

Because the end of the bone is so thin they could not get all the screws in and my doc is scared the plate will pop up, he has signed me of work for 5 weeks....

Can't wait to get back on my back.

Glad i did not need a graft from my hip as they used all the broken fragments and stuck them in.

Cheers All

Permanent link to this comment. On October 30, 2008 03:38 PM, Jeremi Kentz wrote:

Hey all,
I broke my collar bone in a crit and was a bit up in the air about surgery as it was not needed according to my Doc. However, I did opt for the surgery, and one plate and 7 screws latter I have to say it was the right decision. I was in spin classes 7-8 days after surgery and I was back on my bike in a little less than 3 weeks after surgery and even playing a bit of ultimate frisbee. I have full range of motion and little to no pain form the hardware. I have a friend who broke his collar bone 2 years ago didn't get surgery and still does not have full range of motion. In short I am sooooo glad I got the surgery and would highly recommend it.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 9, 2008 05:02 PM, Gerry wrote:

To follow up on my Sept 10th post.

I have been using the Exogen bone growth stimulator since the beginning of Oct 08. The seperation in my shoulder was at 3.9 cms when I started and there was no sign of bridging 10 months after breaking the clavical.
After two months of use there is now signs of bridging and the gap has narrowed to 3.1 cms. I have been using the Exogen for 20 minutes a day everyday. The draw backs are the machines are very expensive and have a limited life span of six months. My employers provided the machine for me but I would say it has definetly helped me avoid surgery.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 3, 2009 02:23 PM, David wrote:

I broke my left clavical on new years day skiing. I haven't been to the Dr yet but had an x-ray at a urgent care. I am surprised that most of the breaks are the left side. This blog has given me a lot of questions for the Dr.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 15, 2009 09:13 AM, Terry wrote:

Broke my left clavicle playing football almost 3 weeks ago. Was literally just given pain killers and put in a sling to begin with but when I went back for an x-ray a week later the doc said it was displaced and I should have surgery. I was happy with this because I thought it would heal quicker.

Anyway, I went into hospital for the op and after being kept waiting for 2 days they told me they couldn't do it for a week. Right up to this point, any movement of my left arm/shoulder was very painful - getting up out of chairs or bed was agony.

I should have been in for the op 2 days ago but I cancelled it because it has really started to improve in the last week or so. There's a big bump on my clavicle but it doesn't really hurt anymore and I am gradually getting movement back in it. I take the sling off now.

I'm hoping that the enforced rest of my 2 days in hospital pushed my recovery on and that the bone has fused and is starting to heal. It feels loads more stable than it did before, no more popping, clicking etc and the swelling has gone.

I'm going in for an x-ray on Tuesday.

My biggest worry is that it's not healing and I'm just wasting time not having the op but if thats the case then I will just get booked in for it after my x-ray on Tuesday.

How do you know when it is healing properly?

I get no pain provided I make no sudden movements or lift anything with my left arm. It feels stable, getting easier and easier to move and it is definitely getting better each day.

I feel more tired in the late afternoon than usual and do get dull aches in it a couple of times a day. And the odd sharp pain in my neck.

Am I on the mend??!

The only way to know if you are healing with your bone fusing back together is to have an x-ray and qualified doc review it. I've also been told it can be hard to see growth in an x-ray too soon after the accident.

So you might be healing but not necessarily how you might want to heal. Others have "healed" without the bone fusing back together and had no further problems. Talk with your doc what your expectations are once healed. That may help you determine if surgery is necessary.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 21, 2009 05:41 PM, Mom wrote:

My 13 year old daughter fractured her clavicle during P.E. 6 days ago. She has always had a high pain tolerance. It's been surprising seeing just how painful this fracture has been for her. Hers looks like ^ on the X-ray. Orthopedic surgeon believes she'll have an easy, full recovery. Gave her a sling. I asked for the figure 8 brace because she's standing so hunched forward as well as leaning to the side of the fracture. She's very tall and is an elite athlete so I'm very concerned about getting her back to 100% structurally. Asymmetry in her upper body will likely significantly impact her performance in her sport, and increase her risk for future injury. Got a second opinion from a sports orthopedic surgeon who agreed with the prescribed treatment of the first. Anticipate mild activity in about 4 weeks, and building up toward full activity beginning at about 8 weeks. I started wondering about use of anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, etc) and rate of fracture healing. Did a Google search and literature seems to favor conclusion that NSAIDS can lead to non-unions. I don't believe that most surgeons are aware of this. Am stopping the ibuprofen and switching to Tylenol for pain control. Still using the ice intermittently too. I can't believe that she pretty much had a bag of ice on it for the first 3 days and nites (no off time)!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 25, 2009 09:23 AM, Grant wrote:

Count me in the ranks of broken clavicles from cycling. Mine is a distal third break, likely a non-union, so I'm looking for answers and feedback from anyone who opted for surgery. The original injury was August '08. I took a hard impact directly on my right shoulder which snapped my clavicle in the distal third close to my shoulder. Lucky me, it was a compound break. It took me almost 3 months before I could do anything with my right arm. I feel pretty good now but not 100 percent. I'm back to lifting weights and have decent range of motion. I can even play tennis okay but forget about basketball, the sport I miss most. The big problem is the tightness I feel in my muscles and my drooping right shoulder.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 29, 2009 10:50 AM, Mary Clark wrote:

61 year old female, broke left clavicle on March 30, 2009. Seven weeks later (wearing Figure 8 and sling 24/7 and returning for exam and X-rays weekly, then biweekly), CT scan showed only preliminary signs of healing, bayonet apposition, and possible non-union. My orthopedist has ordered a bone growth stimulator, but I have not yet received it. Finding few reports here of success with this device on a broken clavicle. Would be grateful for an encouraging word from anyone who has had good results.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 29, 2009 11:27 AM, Jeff Duke wrote:

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

Permanent link to this comment. On November 5, 2009 07:50 AM, Mark Hofstetter wrote:

I'm a 47-year old male non-smoker. On August 23, 2009 I fell off of my mountain bike while riding with my family. I went over the handlebars and fell directly on my right shoulder, then my head (I was wearing a helmet!), and then the rest of my body came tumbling to the ground. I knew something was wrong immediately since I couldn't breathe and felt severe pain in my rib cage and right shoulder. A trip to the emergency room diagnosed broken ribs (front and back) and a broken right clavicale. I was sent home with a sling and pain killers. Two days later I visited my doctor and was fitted with a figure-8 brace and more pain killers. Surgery was offered but not recommended. The next 4 weeks were spent moving very slowly, sleeping sitting up in bed, and keeping my arm and shoulder supported with the sling and figure-8 brace. At 7 weeks I began physical therapy which has been very successful...but painful. I was surprised at the significantly reduced range of motion in my shoulder and lack of flexibility in my right back and chest muscles. I'm at 10 weeks after the break and have started very light weight training (my main fitness interest) and feel that I will eventually be able to fully recover. I still feel pressure on the actual clavicle break site and am told that it will eventually go away. I'm back to doing all "normal" activities around my home and work and look forward to slowly increasing the weights I can handle in the gym.

During my first few weeks of recovering I felt that I wouldn't be able to workout again and was very concerned about peripheral shoulder injuries due to trauma. Everyone kept telling me that I would recover. My advice is to watch the painkillers and the side effects, go to Physical Therapy when prescribed by the doctor, and have some faith that your body will eventually heal. Once healed, get into shape since being fit enables a faster recovery if an unfortunate accident happens.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 18, 2010 12:51 AM, Rick wrote:

I recently broke my clavicle after coming down a hill with an ATV and Having the right front tire stuck up on a little trench and paralyzing the ATV and sending me flying over the handle bars. The bone broke almost right at the center, and the pain was not that bad. It took me close to two hours to get to the hospital, 20 min at the waiting area, 20 min for x-ray, and then the pain catched up. The nurse gave me some vicodin wannabe pills and the Doc prescribed a sling. The next day I was at the Chiropractic's office and he prescribed the figure 8 brace(big difference from the sling!). I took a whole week off of work and just laid there on the recliner almost all day.(special thanks to my wife for putting up with me!) That helped a lot. I am now on my 6th week and the Doc took off the brace at the beggining of this week. I get a sting every now and then, but I try to use my arm as much as possible to kinda excersise. Looks like it's healing properly. I have a little bump to remind me who is the boss! ATV is gone.

Just my two cents... Rest as much as possible with no movement of the arm. Easy on the Meds. I took them every now and then for the first 3 days. Don't get impatient. Time heals all wounds(wise words)I wonder who came up with the slogan?......

Thanks to all for reading, and Good luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 17, 2010 04:21 PM, stacie wrote:

I have a right distal third clavicle fracture. It has been 10 weeks and the doctor is saying there is a nonunion. My shoulder and whole arm are agony. I am due to go back to hospital in 2 weeks to find out whether surgery is the way to go. Has anyone had this experince before, what is the likelihood of having surgery?

Yes, you can read lots of folks comments on these pages about having similar issues like yours. You might also consider going for a second doctor's opinion. Especially when considering surgery.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 8, 2010 10:51 PM, Allen wrote:

I broke my clavicle 2 weeks ago when I got a xray the doc told me about 6 weeks and ill be good to go but i surf for a living and I need to get back in the water ASAP I tried today to go for a paddle out and i could not paddle as i could before. It felt very tight and I have never felt this before I turned right around and rode the white wash right to the beach. I have been wearing my sling for 2 weeks now im wondering when I should remove the sling and if i can start any rehab workouts? I do not want to over do it so I was thinking about just starting with raising my hands over my head like if i was doing a shoulder press. I just do not want to over do anything so if you could please give me a good time frame when I can start my rehab that would be awsome of you. I really miss the water and not being able to get in but I do not want to push to hard and make things even worse and be out longer. PLZ give me some advice and a positive way to look at this because honestly Im feeling a lil depressed about this and now my relationship is starting to be effected. I have a smoking hott GF but I have been treating her so wrong because I have been so down I have really just shut her out and pushed her away and im feeling horrible so i could really use a moral booster right about now thanks

AKA Aldis

First, give yourself time to heal. Don't push it too soon by heading out to to the waves. It would totally suck re-injuring yourself before you had a chance to heal. If all goes well you will heal and be back in 6 weeks.

As for when to begin rehab, that all depends on your level of injury. I highly recommend talking with a doc and asking about a time frame and a basic set of rehab exercises. Be clear that you are active and use your shoulder and need to recover full ability. If your doc doesn't understand your needs as an active person then look for another.

Rehab exercises can be as simple as performing finger walks and pendulum swings. If you look through some of the comments here or search the web for shoulder rehab you should be able to find some exercises.

Take it slow and give yourself time to heal. It's tough, I know, but if all goes well you will put this injury behind you.

Add Your Own Comment

* (not made public)

* Required values to be able to Publish.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Hans Kellner. All rights reserved.