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What to Expect From a Broken Clavicle

The following is a funny story sent to me by a rider that broke her collar bone while cycling. She found my site when searching for more information on training and recovery from the break.

ARTICLES

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

Broken Clavicle (collar bone)

Broken Clavicle No More

NEW ARTICLE! Chad's Broken Collar Bone Report

Along with the story she mentions "I know it would've helped me alot if this information had been available when I was lost in the land of one arm. I have attached my ridiculously long account". She then adds that I may post the story if I wish.

Well, I think it's well worth posting. So here it is.

Enjoy.

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.


What to Expect From a Broken Clavicle


By Laura Erker

On March 23rd I had the exciting experience of breaking my left clavicle while riding my bike. I thought I’d put together a synopsis of what to expect so that anyone else can read and see what’s in store. If you’re reading this and you have broken you clavicle then get someone to run out to the store and get you some really good calcium. You should take 2000mg of calcium with 6mg of Boron a day! While they’re at it, have them pick you about four books to read and ten movies to go through. Further, a really funny account of the first five days with a broken clavicle can be found on line http://www.kurlancheek.com/clavicle.htm. Also, relax, it’s gonna be a while.

So, what happened? Good question, everyone has their own version of who is to blame and how it all went down. From my vantage point I only know that I was cruising along in a group, riding into a crosswind. Someone had the bright idea to put it in the gutter and everyone started fighting for wheels. Then, I heard some tires hit and "...zzt zzzt zzt crack crack crack". The bike in front of me came to a screeching halt and as I hit my brakes I went into a skid that had my back wheel hit the back tire in front of me. Next thing I knew I was picking myself up off the ground and getting back on my bike. But, as I rode away I realized that something was very wrong. Not only was my left shoulder ON FIRE with pain but I could feel/hear a clicking there that could only be a broken bone. Deciding that I was not stupid enough to try to ride the remaining 25 miles with a broken bone I attempted to bring myself to a stop and threw my bike in the dirt glad to be rid of that infernal pain machine. The pain was so intense now that fainting was the only possibility. But, I had to wait to lose all consciousness until I could hail down an ambulance, cab, person… I could see a group of cars a mile away down the road at the site of the crash, where I should have stayed. Well, hindsight is always 20/20. I hailed the ambulance like a cab and crawled in just in time to faint. I was then transferred to another ambulance and so began my new adventure into a one-armed existence.

The emergency room was exciting and the staff was very generous. All in all, a three hour affair in the door and out. It ends up I broke the distal third of my collar bone. However, getting a hold of someone to pick me up became a new challenge. I didn’t have my cell phone with me and not knowing any phone numbers I had to go on the internet to get the number of my team director, Chris Evertsen. Chris or an official was able to relate to my husband where I was located and he headed off to get me. After sitting in the emergency entrance for hours, seeing my husband come through the door of the emergency room was one of the happiest moments of my life!

Week 1 (This is movie week)

One quickly learns that it is a two-armed world out there and this will not make your broken clavicled life any easier. But, on with life.

Killing the pain. First, let’s discuss the power of alchohol. Through the ages this fine substance has been used to dull the pain of many a fallen soldier. Seeing myself as such, I broke into the whiskey with wild abandon. Choosing Jack Daniels’ as my personal ‘fav’ I set out to imbibe. If you dose this correctly you won’t have to pick up your prescription vicadin. Careful to drink a glass of water for each alcoholic drink so you avoid hangovers.

Dressing, this becomes a new adventure. You must keep your hurt shoulder extremely still. This means that the arm attached to it is completely useless. If you are a woman then forget the bra. If you must have a bra get someone you ‘trust’ to put your most comfortable one on and realize you will be wearing this item for at least two or three days. Unable to work out how to get a t-shirt on I tried my shirts that button up. You soon come to realize that buttons are not an option. Ok, back to regular shirts. I could get large t-shirts on by feeding the sleeve of the bad arm over my useless hand up to my armpit and then carefully pulling it over my head and then putting my functional arm in the other arm hole. Getting the t-shirt off again is usually a two-person project. Forget tying shoelaces or wearing tight pants, they become the enemy.

Sleeping. Most certainly, one must avoid, at all costs, rolling onto the affected shoulder during the first week. This will wake you up in just as much pain as the day you crashed. I found that propping pillows all along the length of my body helped to reduce unwarranted movement. I slept a lot, there wasn’t much else to do. But, this doesn’t really matter, as dressing, eating, and drinking will take about 5 times longer than usual, so I filled my day accordingly.

Book read: Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Movies watched: a lot!
Alcohol consumption: can’t accurately remember :')

Week 2

Now I was really starting to feel better, less pain in the shoulder and I could use my hand a bit. But my shoulder turned a pallid green. The bruising is disgusting and continued to creep down my torso for another week. But, since I only owned three t-shirts that I could manage to pull over my arm and head I just continued with the same state of affairs. It was about now that I realized I only had one thing to do to entertain myself…go to work. So, off I went arm in sling. I had only two things on my “to do” list each day. These items were usually something that would normally take me about an hour. Not now, I could spend all day working on simple problems. I had to get people to open the freezers for me and handle mice etc… But I got to talk with everyone at work quite a bit :'). I’d be able to work about 6 hours maximum a day before I completely cracked. This is when I learned to value of ibuprofen! One little pill can take a cranky/pained Laura and turn her into a working machine for about 2 more hours, lovely.

Comraderie. It was now that I learned that walking around in a sling attracts a lot of attention. People have to comment. They can’t help it.

“Fall off a bar stool?”
“Boy, broken collar bone, that’s the worst!”

I quickly pointed out that being on fire would probably be worse, but ok it’s nice to know people care.

I also learned that other injured people are most certainly your friend. You have to ask them what they did, and if they have a good left arm then you always ask if you could borrow it, or something corny like this. But, it’s fun.

I also started to get on the bike at the gym around this time. According to one man, I was great inspiration working out with my sling on. Well, I’d surely give up my inspiration status to use my left arm again, buddy! I went home suddenly after some of these visits to the gym because I would try to do too much and BLAM, pain again. Don’t do sit ups.

Doctor visit. It was mid-week that I was able to go and see a doctor. I sat there for about an hour just to get a referral to an orthopedist. Once I got in to see the nurse she looked straight at me (let me remind the reader that I was wearing my left arm in a sling and was covered with a big green bruise that covered my arm and torso)…

“So, what is your problem, today?”
“I have a broken clavicle and need to be referred to an orthopedist”
“Which arm is broken?”
(again, I remind the reader that my left arm was is a sling)
“My left arm”
“Okay, and what are you doing for it?”
I point to the sling, flabbergasted.
“When did it happen?”
“One week ago” I replied.
Surprised, “And you haven’t been in to see a doctor yet?”
“Well, no, I was just starting to feel like I could venture out of my ‘healing cocoon’.”
“Alright, let’s get you an appointment. Right, so the soonest our orthopedist can see you will be April 22nd.”
“That’s in three weeks! I have a broken bone. Isn’t there something sooner?”
“There isn’t really anything we can do for that, do you have any ibuprofen?”

Eventually I got x-rayed and was told to come back in three weeks.

Book Read: Second Foundation, Isaac Asimov

Week 3

I felt the same as Week 2 but was able to get on the trainer with my sling. I got a workout regimen from Hans Kellner on line. Very nice guy, who broke his clavicle a while back, you can go to …

Hans Kellner Dot Com :: Broken Clavicle No More

The training regimen consists of workouts broken up by Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. Wow, I thought, this guy was training at week 1. Well, straight onto the trainer then, let’s get to work. Ends up, “Week 1” should be approached more as “the first week he began training after the break”. Holding my entire upper body up on my bike trainer with just my right arm was another challenge I hadn’t anticipated. I pushed through it. Also, it seems it only took Hans three weeks to recover, that’s only as long as his workout regimen was. Excellent, I’ll only be on the trainer for one week! This is great. Again, it ends up the three week training regimen can be repeated ad infinitum until you heal, just a little heads up.

Pit of Despair. This probably only applies to women. I could not shave the injured arm’s pit! This was horrible and I began to refer to this area of my body as the “pit of despair”. This is when you realize the ultimate greatness of the Mach 3 razor. You can literally shave without lifting your arm! Well lift it as much as you can. Good luck girls!

Book read: Swimming Across by Andrew Grove

Week 4

Having contracted some kind of horrible cold (which I affectionately call “the snot blanket”) I was unable to sleep at night or workout. I fell into a depressive mood. Out of desperation I rode my bike on the road for one hour and ended up hurting it again. This is when I completely cracked under the strain of heading out into the world each and every day facing new painful challenges. I was tired of it. I wanted just one day where I didn’t have to struggle to get my clothes on or sleep! I felt that no one could possibly understand the pain I was going through. It was during this time that a friend and coworker died in a tragic car accident. Suddenly I found myself very appreciative of my situation. I was alive, fairly healthy and had people that loved me.

Back to riding, I found that I couldn’t reach the handlebars with my bad arm until the end of Week 4, this may be because I had a distal break, but I don’t know. I just kept focusing on my appointment with the doctor and the x-ray machine. He would certainly tell me that I was completely healed and I could resume my life again. Alas, it was not to be, the x-ray looked the same as the day I broke my arm. Well, I headed back home to cry, pulled myself together, bought a year’s supply of calcium and vowed not to drink any alcohol until I was better and healed! I hear alcohol can reduce your healing abilities. Also, when you break a bone you should take 2000mg of calcium a day with 6mg of Boron.

This was the week that I talked with Dr. Allan Richberg, also a cyclist. He informed me that seeing no healing after four weeks was normal for a 30 year old. This greatly lifted my spirits! He talked with me for a good 30 minutes on what to expect from my injury. He informed me that if you ride in the early healing stages of a broken clavicle you will most probably put a rib into your lung if you crash. This was alarming, why didn’t my doctor tell me this. Thanks Allan!

Book read: Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Doug Adams

Week 5

My arm started to feel a lot better now. I could lift it over my head! Also, I could start driving my car with two hands. This was great! I started really riding the trainer a lot and was able to just get my left hand up to the bars comfortably and put a little weight on it. I did seven hours on the trainer this week, good for me. Whoever thought I’d be riding my trainer so much in So Cal with it sunny and 80F outside!

Book read: Finished Hitch Hiker’s Guide

Week 6

I risked a ride on the road, against the doctor’s orders and found that my arm was ok. Whew!

Book read: Sequel to Hitch Hiker’s guide “Restaurant at the End of the Universe” by Doug Adams

Week 7

Now I am back to riding 3 times a week and really enjoying it. My body sure is tired though.

Book read: Finished Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Doug Adams

Week 8

I have an appointment with the doctor to get x-rayed again. Keep your fingers crossed. I am really looking forward to racing and just glued my ksyriums with the help of the best husband in the world, Jacob Erker.

Book read: Started Ringworld by Larry Niven

Posted on May 20, 2004 11:22 AM  

(746) Comments

Permanent link to this comment. On May 21, 2004 07:09 PM, jim wrote:

OMG, I think I've had that same nurse.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 24, 2004 03:09 PM, david wrote:

ya i just broke mine skateboarding lol.... on my summer break..i feel ur pain.. im only 14 so maybe itll heal faster?

Permanent link to this comment. On June 24, 2004 07:36 PM, Hans wrote:

David - I cracked my wrist two summers in a row from skateboarding. I guess it took me two times before I realized I better start riding better!

Lucky for you, being younger, your bones heal up faster. Keep that shoulder and collar bone from moving around. Use your sling. It should heal up fast.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 20, 2004 10:11 AM, Ed wrote:

Thanks for the heads up! I am presently in week 3 after a nasty spill and can relate to everything said thus far. I am a little nervous about week four though. I hope it goes better than yours began. I'm also glad to know that us old folks shouldn't expect the x-rays to show healng by then. My appointment next week will include an x-ray, so thanks for letting me know what to expect. I'm most excited about week five and thanks to your diary, I look forward to it. I like to run more than bike and am hoping I can do a bit of that if I'm feeling like you did by week five. I'm not sure I have the courage to risk falling from a bike quite yet. Besides, after just three days on the stationary bike, I'm already looking forward to doing something different once I get outside. Thanks again.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2004 09:32 AM, kelsey wrote:

I don't really have a comment but I do have a question. How long did most people wait to go to work? I had a four wheeler accident on 7/24 and also hurt my hip, i'm still in a lot of pain expecially my clavicle. The problem is I am going nuts just sitting here.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2004 01:38 PM, Hans wrote:

kelsey - I'm not a doc and your question is a tough one to answer. It depends on the type of work you do, how bad you are injured, how you feel, etc.. With my busted clavicle I was lucky and not in much pain. So I was able to return to work quickly. In fact, I was on the bike in just over a week.

The most important thing about recovery is giving your body time to heal. Especially the first week after the break. That's when the body and bones work hardest to mend.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 31, 2004 02:00 AM, Gavin Minor wrote:

I broke my clavicle in a high speed car crash, also broke my ankle (tibia & fibia), requiring surgery to get a metal plate and screws to put it back together. This makes things twice as difficult as you can't use crouches to get around - so no walking (or moving) for 7 weeks! It's now about 10-11 weeks since the accident, and my clavicle hasn't healed at all, they're informing me i will need another operation to get a metal plate to put it back together! I am walking (limping) now though, so the end is in site. I will never take the human body for granted again!

But on the plus side, to anyone reading this with a broken clavicle, maybe you might take some refuge in the fact that a broken ankle/leg is a lot more painful/difficult to deal with than a broken collar bone!! :) Not breaking anything is even better again! ;) Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 11, 2004 04:05 PM, Jason Kofke wrote:

My brother-in-law left his moped at my house one weekend. I figured I'd take it for a spin and impress my girlfriend at how fast I could go. She watched me crash the stupid thing and got me an ambulance. I'm into the 2nd week today. I'm a painter and guitarsit so this injury midas well have crippled me. (But I was back to painting the day after I broke it!) I've started playing my guitar today and find that the weight of the guitar and strap pushes the clavical back into place somewhat. I'm 25 and wish I didn't have this bone sticking out of my neck for the rest of my life (the doctor said it will never go down,) but at least I can look forward to using my arm sooner than I thought. Thanks for posting your story - I can't wait for week five and six. until then, making music and art will be a painfull experiance...but dosen't it make it that much better? :)

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2004 12:10 PM, Laura Erker wrote:

Thank you to everyone posting their stories. It's very sad that we all have to break things to appreciate our bodies. But, it can be turned into a positive experience. All of you are very positive. I love it!
Laura

Permanent link to this comment. On August 17, 2004 02:23 AM, Lee wrote:

Thanks Laura for sharing your story and to everyone for their postings. I broke my clavicle playing football on July 18th. I didn't know what I had done to my shoulder. I landed hard on my right shoulder, sat up and heard a grinding sound when I tried to move. I too had one of "those" nurses - who after the emergency doctor looked at it and said it was broken; she wanted me to put a gown on to take xrays. Hello - it is broken I cannot move my arm nevertheless get out of my clothes and change. So grateful for painkillers!! Anyway, I was moving my arm a bit by the end of week one and it is coming along. I am in the start of week 5 and doing physio and massage therapy. The last two days I have had sharp, crippling pains in my bicep and forearm; it feels like a spasm or cramp or more like an electric shock that won't stop! Anyone else experience this? I understand it is part of the process and more nerves releasing etc. I am not too happy about the bump from the overlap of the break but my doctor said it will lessen over years. I hope to get to the gym this week and start gradually back in. Wow to those that started training so early in your recovery. Thanks again for the stories. :)

Permanent link to this comment. On August 17, 2004 11:42 AM, Hans wrote:

Lee - I don't recall any spasms during my recovery. Every so often it would feel very sore, almost to the point of a cramp. I would massage it and then it would be fine.

As for the bump reducing over time, that's what I've been told and have friends whose bumps have reduced. I still haven't noticed yet with mine, but it wasn't that extreme of a bump.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 31, 2004 08:49 AM, Anna wrote:

Thanks Laura and Hans for posting all of this -- it's really helpful. I had a cycling accident last Wed (26th) -- broken left clavicle.

So far, seems ok -- twinges of pain but nothing major. The clavicle brace really helps and I notice the difference when I take it off.

Went to the gym on Sunday and used a recombinant trainer -- no problem -- just a bummer to be indoors during the best days of the year. But, better than going crazy sitting still. Gradually, I'll move to a regular trainer and I'll even attempt Hans' training routine.

Thanks again -- this blog really helped to educate me on the practical stuff -- not just the clinical!

Anna

p.s. Laura, I'm still a believer in the medicinal benefits of alcohol :-)

Permanent link to this comment. On September 6, 2004 01:11 AM, TERRI DUNN wrote:

My daughter 11 years old was pushed down in P.E. and broke her clavical. She is in her third day. Any recommendations for her pain other than the tylonal w/codeine the er prescribed. and the pillow thing, should I just keep her down and still? PLEASE HELP ME!!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 6, 2004 09:50 AM, Hans wrote:

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's broken clavicle.

I'm not a doctor and can only comment from my own experiences. As for reducing the pain, applying ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time may help. Apply the ice pack with a towel between it and the body so the extreme cold doesn't freeze the skin. For medication, acetaminophen or ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medicine might help. Finally, keep the shoulder from moving and in a sling as much as possible. I used a figure-eight brace in addition to the sling and found it reduced the strain on my shoulder and helped to keep it immobile.

Keeping the shoulder from moving is very important. Especially this first week of a break. That's when the body and bones are working to mend themselves. Movement can disrupt those bonds that are forming and hinder or stop the mending.

Luckily, your daughter is young and her calvicle should heal rather quickly.

Good luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 20, 2004 07:19 PM, Greg wrote:

I'm on day two of a broken right clavicle. (Motorcycle accident three hundred miles from home -- I'm very lucky...) As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the bone doesn't need much help healing except maybe a sling or figure-eight brace and respect for the body enough to permit it to heal, i.e., not to push your poor broken bone with too much activity. (I guess I will buy some calcium too!) But given that you need only "facilitate" your bone's healing with these simple steps, doesn't it make sense also to properly medicate? In my opinion, avoiding undue pain is a challenge of recovery in broken clavicles that is at least equal to that of living for a time "in the world of one hand."

Ibuprofen worked well for me on the Amtrak train ride back to my home town (600mg about every two hours between 4:30 PM to about 11PM when I finally got home) when I really didn't have to do any moving around with my arm (plush seats with a good arm rest, direct train to my city). I could alleviate pain solely with ibuprofen under those circumstances and without feeling groggy from using only vicodin -- which was important to me -- I was, after all, required to manage my transport from the hospital ER by taxi to the train station, and then alone on a train for 4-1/2 hours with two small bags, a heavy coat, and a sling! Grogginess would be really unacceptable in those circumstances, so I felt that ibu alone was the way to go.

But, at home finally, when it came time to get my sling off to get my t-shirt off, put the sling back on and give my shoulder its first icing, and then figure out what pillow to use for my head and how to lay on my back with the sling back on all night, I necessarily graduated to vicodin along with the ibuprofin. The ibu not only provides its own pain relief in addition to vicodin, but also is an anti-inflammatory, helping to cut down the inflammation that contributes to pain in all those other parts of my body that were horrifically jangled in the accident (but which thankfully weren't broken). I didn't need alot of vicodin to get the relief I needed for all this, but it was what I needed to actually get restful sleep. Restful sleep is a **very important** part of the program of avoiding misery with a broken clavicle, in my view!

But I also didn't want to go to sleep on vicodin and then wake up hours later with excruciating pain because everything had worn off. You have to stay "ahead of the pain" when you manage a broken clavicle. So I set the alarm clock for four hours later so I could wake up and take another dosing of ibu and vicodin. The point is to stay on a regular regimen of pain reliever (as directed by your doctor, of course), and take the meds promptly **whether you're feeling too much pain or not.**

Today I got the figure-8 brace from my doctor, but for now am still using my sling *too*, simply because it is more comfortable for me. I'll get rid of the sling no sooner than when it is comfortable for me to do so. I'm letting my body heal on its own (by not moving my clavicle so much), but I'm responsible to myself to be sure I'm adequately medicated to get through this tough period. I've even discovered already that for me, half of a 5mg vicodin taken, say, every two hours works with the ibu to cut the pain just fine at this point, rather than a 5mg vicodin every four hours, which makes me groggy. I'll adjust dosing as my healing progresses to be sure I'm only "adequately" medicating, i.e., to be sure I'm not feeling undue pain, but no more meds than that. It's a balancing act, alot of listening to your body, respecting what it says, and responding accordingly to help it heal and avoid any more misery than you already have to endure. It ain't fun as we all have chronicled above, but I promise you that with this kind of approach, the experience does not have to be **total** hell...

Permanent link to this comment. On September 24, 2004 10:51 AM, Anna wrote:

Greg:

Sorry about your break -- but you have a great attitude. You're absolutely right -- getting good rest is really important. I used Ibuprofen but stopped at about the 3-week point because I didn't need it ... you'll be there soon!

I had my 4-week x-ray yesterday and all is progressing nicely. The bones are generating good growth at the ends and, because of consistent use of the figure-8 brace and sling, the bones have moved closer together (woo-hoo!). The doc thinks that the bones will be nicely healed within the next 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, I can use the sling or figure-8 as needed and I can start to add more movement and put more weight on my left arm. 'Pain' is supposed to be my guide -- push myself but if it hurts, don't do it.

I'm still on the trainer at the gym but this is Seattle -- rainy season has started so it's not too bad.

Hope you're feeling better soon!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 9, 2004 07:33 PM, Junior wrote:

I stumbled across this site while searching Google for sites on clavicle injuries, and got a good laugh out of Laura's story. Thanks Laura!! Hope you're feeling better!!

While not a cyclist, I suffered a severe clavicle fracture during a bad car accident several weeks ago. I can definitely relate to Laura's pain, especially during the first couple of weeks. As she mentioned, tying shoes proved painful, so I either wore flip-flops or manuevered into my shoes without the need to redo the laces. Given the nature of this type of injury, the usual suggestion for pain management is ibuprofen. Since healing takes a while, those using ibuprofen may encounter stomach irritation and increased skin sensitivity to sunlight. Since I try to go the natural route whenever possible, I've been taking "White Willow Extract" in place of ibuprofen. (info at: http://www.nutritional-supplement-info.com/white-willow-bark-extract.html ) I read about this extract some years back and started using it after the accident. It has worked wonders for me, with no side effects. This suppliment can usually be found at your local GNC or vitamin shop. Aside from staying away from alcohol, an article I read also recommended to limit the consumption of caffeinated drinks. **Disclaimer:** I'm in no way affiliated with any herbal shop, or anti-ibuprofen coalition. I'm simply stating my experience with an alternative to ibuprofen which worked for me. Good luck! :)

Permanent link to this comment. On December 8, 2004 06:54 PM, Carol wrote:

Thanks everyone for their insightful stories - most inspiring and comforting. I am on day 4 from a broken right clavicle from a bicycle crash. I'm not a cyclist (obviously) and was taking my dog out to excercise. He was spooked and ran in front of my bike. I tried to brake with my right hand unsucessfuly, hit the dog with my front tire and my shoulder with the concrete. I have an overlapping complete break and I have the option of having it surgically set. I have swam USS competition and Masters. My primary source of excersise is still keeping up with the 12 to 15 year olds on our local swim team. I am 49 now and am concerned about it healing quickly and properly so I can swim when I'm 90. I am also a Dental Hygienist so I am out of work for a minimum of 6 weeks. Any pros or cons - advise for me?

Permanent link to this comment. On January 17, 2005 10:11 AM, Jillianne wrote:

o wow.... i am so glad i read this... i broke my collar bone a week ago... and i just started getting these neon yellow bruises...... its good to read what's in store.... im only 15 and i broke it while playing soccer.... i should hope I will be fit and ready for our games soon.... in another 3 weeks hopefully..... I'm in the figure 8 brace and i feel like someone could attach a rope to it and i'd look like i had a child's leash.... but this story made me laugh and i will be thinking about it through out this entire healing process. thank you.... jillianne

Permanent link to this comment. On January 31, 2005 08:48 AM, Nicky Willey wrote:

Hi fellow sufferers...I'm 48 and I broke my left collar bone and sprained my knee while snowboarding on Dec 17 2004, just before my birthday and Christmas, hooray.

The doctor that gave me the most useful information was the first doctor I saw at Snowshoe Mountain. He was a skier himself and had seen hundreds of broken collar bones come through. He told me that after 4 weeks I should have my range of movement back in my arm, and although the 1st week would be bad, I'd getter a little better each week after, so at the end of 4 weeks I'd be able to wave my arm above my head ok. I asked him how I'd know when I was fully better and able to go back snowboarding. He asked me if I could do a push-up before my accident? Yes. Then when I could do a push-up again, I'd be ready!

I too was very disappointed after 4 weeks to see no difference in my x-ray from the first one taken (a nice big gap between the overlapping bones) but my ortho surgeon explained that some people never grow back a bone connection across the break. My arm movement was good and the collar bone appeared to be moving as one piece, so he told me to keep wearing my figure of eight brace for a further 2 weeks (6 weeks total) and come back at 8 weeks. So, I've just stopped wearing the brace. My shoulder does still ache a little, and I have trouble sleeping because I just can't find a good comfortable position. I'm still taking an Ibuprofen in the morning just to take the edge off, but only that one a day. I have been taking 1000mg of calcium each day for the past year now anyway, so just carried on with this (prevention for osteoporosis, recommended by my regular doctor).

The good news is that I'm feeling pretty good at the 6 week mark, the bad news is...We pre-book one 'big' snowboarding trip each season and so are going to Jackson Hole Wyoming on Feb 12 2005. I found a Lacrosse shoulder brace at Dick's sporting goods that has clavical protection and big shoulder pads, so I'm going to strap myself in and give it a go.....Crazy, you may think, but hey, that's why we do these 'dangerous' sports in the first place, because we're crazy!

Good Luck to all breakees out there, if it takes an 'oldie' like me 6 weeks, then you should be ok in a lot less! Nicky

Permanent link to this comment. On February 2, 2005 06:02 PM, Mark wrote:

I broke my collar bone a week at 4 days ago playing football and I miss having use of my right arm =\. Anyhow, The bone began healing about 4 days ago and now it can support the weight of my shoulder without a sling. Im not sure why I was not given a brace but I wish I had one because my shoulders do not seem even. Does anyone else see a difference? What should I do?

Permanent link to this comment. On February 2, 2005 07:05 PM, Hans wrote:

Mark - I would recommend keeping your arm in a sling. Even though your shoulder can support the weight it's still early. Straining your shoulder may damage the healing process and possibly rebreak the bones just fusing together.

As for the uneven shoulders, that's possible. Because there is normally muscle injury along with the broken bone, your muscles are probably extremely tight. That would change the height you hold your shoulder. Similar to shrugging on one side. My shoulder was like that for a couple of weeks. But, as always, consult your doctor.

Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 5, 2005 02:31 PM, Mark wrote:

Thanks for the advice Hans, I think the shoulders are leveling out ...at least more level than when I last posted a message. Now Im getting a constant feeling of the two pieces being forced back into alignment which is good because its healing straight but bad because it feels annoying. Gotta love the daily suprises of a broken collar bone.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 12, 2005 07:17 PM, Shirley Hendrickson wrote:

I'm so glad I found all of you. One yr. ago my bull threw his head into my shoulder while I was in the process of throwing hay into the feeder. I felt something, but thought I had just dislocated or bruised something? There was hardly any pain that evening and even the next day,except when I tried to use it! I waited for my trucker to get home the next day, before going to see the Dr. Sure enough it had snapped cleanly in 2. He gave me a figure 8 brace and a sling...so I figured all was well...just wait for the darned thing to heal. It healed finally leaving a huge bump where the bones grew back overlapped. The orthopedic surgeon told me just not to let anything hit me there, for it's jutting up with very little skin to cover it. I have full strenth in my arm, but about 6 months ago I began to ache between my shoulder blades and across that shoulder and down my arm. Have had those blasts of pain in my bicept and forearm too?? Then came THE HEADACHES!!!?? Has any one had those in response to a broken clavicle?? They get worse day by day, till I have to spend days with my head on a pilloow...dosed with vicodin and ibupropin. I didn't read where any of you had those in connection with your breaks, so makes me wonder where they're coming from?? Have never had headaches in my life!! Seems to make sense to me that a "crooked" healing would throw your whole upper body out of kilter?? Like how we overcomensate when we sprain something?!! I have an appointment with a neurologist next Mo. So guess I'll spend a few more days coddling myself. Any suggestions would be really helpful, if even for empathy. Feb. 12, 2005 7:05 PM Shirley.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 15, 2005 08:29 AM, Hans wrote:

Shirley - I highly recommend you go and have a doctor checkout your symptoms. You should not be having headaches after so long a time. There may be nerve damage. Or, maybe something else that isn't related to your broken collar bone. But, go to a doctor. I really want to stress that you do so.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 24, 2005 08:23 AM, robin wrote:

I'm so glad I found this website! I incurred a spiral fracture of my left collar bone while riding 10 days ago as I was trying to train for a tri, which is now postponed by 6-10 weeks. I really want to get on a stationary bike but I'm in quite a bit of pain and I'm trying not to use vicodin (addictive) or ibuprofen b/c it retards bone growth. I just went back to work this week and, of course, regressed b/c I did too much. I thought I was incredily whimpy but it's nice to know others have similar experiences. However, depression has still taken on a whole new meaning for me.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 5, 2005 12:29 AM, J.Austin Hunt wrote:

Well, I guess I am ready to join to the club.

Today, March 4, 2005 I called in "sick" to work to go snowboard at Squaw Valley in Tahoe CA.

At about 1:00 we found the snowboard park and kicker jumps...
At about 1:30 I cleared the first small tabletop to pick up speed for the big one (10ft)

I knew I needed good spead to clear the large tabletop so I pointed, and went for it. At the last second I hit a small clump of snow and it slowed down my launch just enough to NOT clear the tabletop.

Instead...

I landed exactly where the flat part of the tabletop meets the downward sloped landing area...I landed perfectly however due to the position of my landing I was "bounced" into the air to eventually be brought down hard on my right shoulder.

Since I was in the landing area I had to pick myself up (OUCH!!) and head to the SV Med Clinic in pain. As I walked into the medical clinic I felt a sigh of relief as I knew I was in good hands; however, the Squaw Valley medical clinic does NOT accept Health Net insurance??? They wanted $150 for x-rays and $350 for the doctor to see me.

In nicer words, I told them to shove it. Luckily I was able to sweet talk the very nice girl at the counter into giving me some pain killers.

I spent the rest of the day watching basketball in the lodge, sipping Sierra Nevada and waiting for my friend to finish his day.

Now "I" get to drive my STICK SHIFT home all the way to Santa Cruz, CA! A four hour drive. My friend cannot drive a stick and remember that I hurt my right shoulder....GREAT!

Do I let my buddy tear up the transmission on my new Audi A4 Quattro while learning to drive a stick, hmmmmm....NO!

Well, four and a half hours later, we made it! The only thing I could not do was shift into fifth gear, so I got my friend to do it.

What a day...

After searching the net and eventually ending up here, I have determined that I most likely fractured my cavical. I assume it is not so bad since there is no brusing and I am not in that much pain (unless I try to undress...how much fun is that!)

I plan to go to the doctor tommorow but assume I will have to set up an appointment with an Ortho doc as well. My question to you all is this?

What would you say the extent of my injury is? I am not in much pain unless I move my right arm forward or back, or if I quickly move it any direction. It kind of has the discomfort of a sprained ankle, however the degree of swelling indicates to me that it is not simply an ACJ sprain (my whole shoulder is swollen).

Also, what are your recommendations for releaving the pain. I CANNOT wear a sling as I am right handed, do 100% of my work on the computer and drive a stick. So far I have gathered the following: Calcium, Ibuprofin, Alchohol... any one else know of any to add to this list and/or something I can use instead of a sling?

I want to thank everyone for there input here. I look forward to being a part of your website community.

I hope my story did not bore you, just needed to vent to someone. Explaning how I broke my collarbone to my work while at home "sick" is another story.

Not looking forward to tonights sleep, maybe I will hang by my feet like a bat? Anyone tried that yet? :)

Cheers,

Jah

PS: Once this has healed...I will be back to Squaw Valley to settle my "beef" with that kicker jump, and I will post a picture of myself CLEARING it for you!!!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 6, 2005 05:46 AM, Kate Daubney wrote:

2 weeks ago, while enjoying a quiet ride on my trusty horse she spooked at something in the hedge and asI result I ended up in an untidy heap on the floor, on a very rocky track. I can't say enough how relieved I am I was wearing my riding hat as I distictly remember hitting my head very hard as I impacted the ground. However, when I eventualy came around and tried to climb back on I felt an agonising pain in my right arm, which consequently was so painful that I blacked out again and fell off the horse a second time! Having limpted a mile back home (calling my loving steed every name under the sun each step of the way!) I was rushed to Accident and Emergency and was faced with an xray of my collarbone which showed the bone to have snapped with a 2cm gap between the break.

Originally I was sent away with just a sling, and with the pain in my shoulder my natural instinct was to hunch over as it was too painful to hold my shoulder back. I was refered to a fracture clinic who on seeing my break began to talk about surgery. Desperate to avoid this I asked if anything else could be done and thats when they produced the figure of eight back brace. After a lot of tears and what felt like torture they managed to prize my shoulder back into position and fit the brace and I can't say how relieved I am now, 2 weeks down the line, that they did. I've had 2 furthur xrays and both, depresingly, show absolutely no change in the break, however I'm able to lift my arm almost level with my shoulder without to much pain. As soon as the brace comes off for showering it becomes apparent just how much support it offers as unfortunatley the discomfort and high pain level returns, however at least I know its giving my collar bone a chance to heal itself and when I compare my posture to how it would probably be if I'd just stuck with the sling, it doesn't bare thinking about. I have another appointemt at the fracture clinic tommorrow so I'm preying that it will show the bones to be growing back. It really isn't until something like this happens you that you realise just how complicated breaking a bone can be. Getting dressed takes me on average an hour, and without fail my top will get caught on the brace so I'll have to dress in a differnt position depending on the item of clothing. Hair styles are limited to those of the one armed variety (at least the 'bed head' looks in) as for sleeping, it takes me half an hour to position the pillows perfectly to keep me from rolling over but the thing which has helped me sleep at night (other than codeine) is the knowledge that in all this I'm not alone! Thanks to you all for that!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 6, 2005 09:36 PM, Hans wrote:

Jah - Good description of your crash. Sorry to hear about it. I just got back from boarding up at Kirkwood and stayed away from the jumps. But, Mister Tree got really close this time.

Regarding your question about how bad you are injured. Really, the only way to tell is by seeing a doc and getting x-rays. It's not possible to know any other way. And, you don't want to waste the first week or two deciding to get checked out or not. Especially if it's a broken bone.

As for wearing a sling. You will be able to do it. I'm right handed and was able to continue typing, driving my stick, etc.. If your collar bone is broken, you definately need to immobilize the shoulder. A sling and if possible a figure eight.

As for pain meds, I was lucky and didn't have too much pain so I only used Advil. Read through other's comments on this page and on the other two pages, "Broken Clavicle" and "Broken Clavicle No More", that have links at the top of the page.

Good luck and send a photo when you do kick the kicker.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 6, 2005 09:44 PM, Hans wrote:

Kate - I feel for you. I used to ride horseback often when I was in Arizona. My favorite horse had a mind of her own. Sent me tumbling a few times. Luckily only with a bruised ego and several choice expletives

Glad to hear the figure-eight brace is working out for you. I swear by it. Your description of the pain putting on the brace for the first time reminded me of when they first x-rayed my shoulder. I had to hold heavier and heavier weights in the hand so it would pull down the shoulder and give a better x-ray! Argh.

Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 13, 2005 02:40 PM, Robert wrote:

Today I broke my clavicle while playing soccer - landed fast and hard on my right shoulder, and heard the crack. The lump on the collar bone was enough to send me to the ER. Soccer has sent me to the ER a number of times, I guess I must love to play. But that's a story for another day.

Thanks to Laura and Hans, for insights and inspiring others to share and heal, as well.

So - I was trying out for a team in the DC burbs in a fossil league - 45 and over. I just turned 45, and well I suppose this guy was only too eager to welcome me to the league. I could be really pissed about it - this match was merely a tune-up for the spring season, the tackle at close range wasn't necessary. In broken English, he told me that he got the ball first. Well, big whoop, he got me as well. I'll probably miss half of the season. but it's the part-time carpentry work I've been doing that I will really miss, I have a few people waiting for me to complete projects that most definitely require two arms and two hands.

Time to make myself saleable again in computer work. Of course, I have two PCs I've configured in my work space that I need to pack back up and deliver, install, & final-setup at their new owners' homes. No vicadin for me.

A good friend had driven me to the ER, never a pleasant task. I told Cliff not to wait for me, but like I said, he's a good man and friend - he came in to make sure I'd be okay.

I'd really love to see the collarbone heal. I am a big believer in the body being able to mend, and wanting to mend. Having grown up in Pittsburgh during the Steelers' glory days, I am still in awe of Rocky Bleier, and his willpower to break through the pain of his leg and feet injuries to become a professional footballer, and a champion, at that.

Back to the clavicle. It's broken in two places, the xrays showing a nice wide gap of a break nearer my neck, and a contusion of a compression break closer to the shoulder. Even as I sit in the chair and type, and breathe, I can feel the bone(s) shifting. If one bone breaks into three pieces, can you call each piece a bone? George Carlin once said that if you break a crumb in two, do you have two half-crumbs, or just two crumbs?

Laura, I am not sure if you follow this thread anymore, but you were nuts to get back on that bike so early! But I am happy for you, that you succeeded, on your own terms. Same to you, Hans, and the other snowboarders, way to go.

I suppose I am glad it was too cold today to ride my motorcycle to the field; I still had manual gears to work through on the way home, but no way could I hold the handlebar let alone twist the throttle!

I took a cab back from the ER to my truck, still at the field. He was playing Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, a repeat of the Saturday night broadcast, and his tale from Lake Wobegone had the mixed morale, that we prepare for the worst to happen, and accept it because it does happen; and that we exult our thanks for everything! I felt I could relate.

So I'd better get my next does of painkiller, and keep up with the calcium intake. I love the taste of milk, and hey! Ice cream has milk in it....

Permanent link to this comment. On March 25, 2005 03:43 PM, Tony wrote:

i am on day 2 after a mt bike crash 7 mi into a 14 mi trail in moab, ut, porcupine rim. after the initial accident, i got up to ride out, crashed and landed on the same shoulder. 2 hours and many agonizing bumps later i was strapping on a sling and heading home, with my gf driving through a rocky mountain blizzard we made it home in 6 hours. question? i wad only provided with a sling, should i seek out a figure 8 brace, and why? is it for increased support and will it help in the long run? (1 post on here said it did and i was wondering if that is a universal truth)

Permanent link to this comment. On March 25, 2005 09:18 PM, Hans wrote:

Tony - My team mate just busted her clavicle. She turned to me for advice and one of the things I highly recommended was a figure-eight brace. It helps to keep your shoulders immobile and aligned correctly. These are both really important for healing. I've mentioned why on this page and the collar bone other pages on my site.

It seams like many doctors just give the advice of wearing a sling and using ice and/or advil. Well, there's more to it than that. That advice might be fine for little kids whose bones heal up right away. But for most of us, we can use a little extra help. The figure-eight sling is especially important. It worked for me and has worked for others. Why not wear one?

Hope you heal fast. Wish I was riding Moab. Sometime soon I hope.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2005 10:55 AM, Amina wrote:

Hi, great to find your website... It's Mar 27 today, and on Mar 15 I was out for a little ride, when a huge cross-wind gust caught my front wheel and (I guess) started to push me over into on-coming traffic (i admit to only having one hand on the bars, I think i was adjusting my bike jersey or something). Anyway, I saw myself heading straight for the cars, panicked, tried to counter-steer away and next thing I know the bike went left and I went right... Boom. Fell on my right forearm, rolled over onto my right shoulder and hit my head a little too. Knew right away that I'd either broken my collarbone or dislocated a shoulder, the pain was pretty bad (though not as bad as it got later, I was shakey from shock and adrenaline).
I won't go through the hospital ride, x-rays (thank god for IV morphine, that really was NOT fun), cutting off of my favorite jersey (the one from my first club ride days, that I'd had for 15 years)... turns out I managed a clean-thru break about 1/3 of the way from my right shoulder. So the Rx is the same as you've all described: vicodin + ibuprofen for pain, the Figure-8 brace and/or sling, bed-rest, immoblize the area as much as possible. An intersting note at the end: when it got time to discharge me for home, the ortho doc (they sent me there from ER) said, "Ok now, let's get your shirt on and I'll have Nurse X show you how to put the sling on." Slight problem there, Doc-- no shirt, remember you cut it off me?? Apparently this is a problem not previously encountered at Ortho! Pretty funny, they all sat around looking at me like some interesting biological specimen. "Hmmm, now what do we do here?"
I've followed the same regimen as all others in here: hit the vicodin pretty hard for the first 3-4 days or so, I was actually happy for the fuzziness because it helped cut the boredom of lying around the couch all the time. I also agree with keeping up with the pain-- welcome advice from my next-door-neighbor nurse. The figure 8 I find has been the most helpful. The sling was useful the first 3 days or so-- after that, I have only used it here-and-there, keeping my arm crunched up like that makes it cramp up painfully. I got injured on a Tuesday and took the rest of the week off, so by the time I went back to work on Monday, I'd had 5 days off. I got pretty tired on Monday though and had to leave early. In fact on Monday all I did, pretty much, was tell my war story and try to type with one hand. I was back on the fat-seat bikes at the gym by Saturday morning, complete with figure 8 and arm sling. Ditto on previous comments about sitting upright, etc. Getting my blood moving felt awesome!
Hearing from all of you is good-- I'm 36 and so now I will not be crushed if, when I go to get my first Xrays, I discover no "visible" bone formation. I will tell you that about 12 days after the accident, I have minimal pain, am totally off all painkillers (including Ibuprofen), and have good arm mobility provided I don't shrug my shoulders or try to raise my arm up above about nipple level. Based on your collective experience, I will for the next 2 weeks at leat resign myself to cranking up the tunes on the Ipod (wishing for injectable painkillers in my buttocks for the FatSeatTortureMachines at the gym).
A question: has anyone out there tried to go jogging with a collarbone break, and at what point did you try?

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2005 11:00 AM, Amina wrote:

One more thing- my husband Dave has been awesome thru all of this, having him around to help me shower, dress, give moral support, and even find me attractive despite the putrid bruise colors and nasty swelling has been beyond wonderful. Thanks, sweetie!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2005 04:02 PM, Alan Eyerly wrote:

Hey, all. Thanks for the Web postings. Nice to hear from others with similar challenges. I broke my left clavicle 8 days ago in a scary cycling accident, so my triathlon training is on hold for another 5 to 7 weeks at least. I live in Honolulu and was in great condition for the Honolulu Triathlon on April 7 and the Honu Half-Ironman on June 5 on the Big Island. It's amazing how your life can take such a dramatic turn for the worse in just one second. I'm hoping to keep up my cardio fitness by walking hills and riding a recumbent bike at the gym. What freaks me out the most is when it feels like the bone has shifted out of place. I don't know what to do when that happens. I go in for a follow-up exam with my orthopedist on April 6, so hopefully I'll get some good news. This experience makes me realize how much I love triathlons and especially my tri workout buddies. Every day I'm able to train is a gift that I won't take for granted ever again. Anyway, best of luck to everyone who is going through a similar experience. I hope we all emerge stronger. Aloha! - Alan

Permanent link to this comment. On April 2, 2005 10:09 AM, Alex Anderson wrote:

Hello, reading this makes me feel better i broke my collar bone skiing 4 weeks ago, a backflip gone wrong..i can usually do them fine but this time i just didnt make it!...so when i went to the doctor i asked him about all the stuff on hear from my uncle it took quite along time but he said kids my age collar bones will heal alot faster, and from reading the other guys story mine is healing pretty good bceause i have it where the long part didnt get fully in line and so there is the bump there where its healing over im now able to throw in baseball after 4 weeks!

Permanent link to this comment. On April 8, 2005 08:29 PM, Andrew wrote:

Lol! I broke mine 3 days ago in a skiing accident. So what's up Alex? Lol. This sucks.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 17, 2005 01:03 PM, dave robertson wrote:

This is my first one handed attempt at typing..broke collar bone 28 hours ago during group training ride...hit a hole with-out warning at 24 miles/hour..i sit on my deck enjoying this perfect spring weather reading these comments realizing i have a long way to go for healing...could be worse..cracked my helmet and almost passed out..my er dr said i had no soft tissue damage and led me to believe it was only my tolerance to pain which would hinder my motion...glad i found this site before i did something stupid!!!! going to ortho tommorrow....hope my company is understanding...i'm a corporate pilot who knows there's 1000 guys out there who want my job! got some hydrocordone...sure helps..is vicadin better? ipprophen and ice...figure 8 brace hopefully tommorrow, anything else? Will definately be on trainer soon...not my fav..am thankful for loving wife!!!! good luck to all out there..cycling is more dangerous than flying jets...but can't wait to get back out there

Permanent link to this comment. On April 25, 2005 09:11 PM, hazel wrote:

thanks for this site, its very helpful. im not a cyclist , i am travelling new zealand (im from england so am miles away from my home comforts). i broke my collar bone in three places six days ago(at a lord of the rings site), they were considering surgery and im living in a crappy campervan in minus degree temperatures. the pain had eased a lot till today, i was very cold in the night, not surprisingly as im sleeping in a converted van. think my arm nust have seized up as im in a lot of pain today. its good to hear that this is normal, very jealous of people getting to rest it though. we have been racing through the country at a great pace doing tramping and generally wandering round in the cold but cant moan too much cos still on an amazing holiday and ive already done the skydive!!!

if anyone wants to email me about collar bones, id be very grateful. creweh@yahoo.co.uk

Permanent link to this comment. On April 26, 2005 07:05 PM, dave wrote:

Oh well, so much for a fast heal..seems I broke my collar bone out on the end (shattered it is more appropriate) and will have surgery in two days to remove pieces of the bone..am hoping it will heal ok then...been riding on trainer...i can't really complain much..sounds like hazel is having to tough it out...new zealand with a broken collar bone...how did u break it?

Permanent link to this comment. On April 26, 2005 07:27 PM, Andrew wrote:

It's weird...I don't think i've been careful enuf, but it's now week 4 for me and all of a sudden one night it began to sting. I am thinking this is becuz it is healing? I dunno... Thx

Permanent link to this comment. On April 28, 2005 03:26 PM, hazel wrote:

i forgot to mention how i broke it. mainly cos its ridiculous, i was just running down a hill and i kind of just went flying and heard a crack. ive never broken a bone before or had a bad accident, so quite silly.

i cant believe how many people are saying it isnt healing with just a sling. making me quite nervous cos the dr was considering surgery because it was broken in three places but decided against it. i have an xray slip so i can go to a hospital and get one done after two weeks, so im hoping it will be ok.

anyway, best wishes for my fellow collar bone breakees.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 29, 2005 05:01 PM, Liz wrote:

Wow, this has been very helpful. In my 27 years I had never broken a bone before April 24. I was palying soccer in a co-ed league and was hit from behind by a large man. When I went down I heard the crack in my collar bone. Off to the ER and 5 hours later with a few shots of morphine my Doc confirmed it was broken. Now what should I expect??? I've read about large bumps forming on the shoulder? Yuck! Luckily no sugery needed but what should I be doing to help the healing? Im wearing a figure 8 brace and have lots of movement on my left side although I still can't dress myself. Its actually been quite a comical experience.
Im a bit worried that I am using my arm too much, I dont want to heal out of place. Any advice?
My grandma broke hers in the 1930s and her adivce... Put on a bath robe and forget the underware

Permanent link to this comment. On May 6, 2005 03:02 PM, Vicky wrote:

Brilliant! Have just come across ur web site after chatting with my mum about not being happy with how my fracture was healing - she said have a look on the internet..... so here i am. Boyfriend, Dave, thinks i'm mad, have been laughing away to myself reading down the page...reading bits out to him, but he's never been in the club so doesn't know....
Fell off a very grumpy horse who wanted his dinner 2 weeks ago, should have called it quits but i'm just too stubborn... I've never been in so much pain, i came round on the floor with the dog licking my face, kinda knew it was bad when i couldn't get up. As for the nurse who wrestled my arm into the sling with no pain killers, don't wanna go there again. Broken the distal end.
Laura you are so right, alcohol is a great healer well helps you to ignore the pain.....my poison of choice has been Stella, though i wouldn't reccomed it for the first week, try spirits, as going to the toilet is def your biggest challenge!

How come it is that when you do things like this they always come at the worst time? 2 days after i was due to take Dave to Spain as a supprise for his 30th bday, we still made it but took ages to get anywhere..........and it didn't help him taking photos of me when i kept getting stuck trying to put clothes on! Joking aside, i wouldn't have coped without him...... he's been a saint, washing me and applying hair removal cream to the hairiest armpit in the world even shaving the other one! Couldn't quite comment on his hair dressing skills, i've been seen in some interesting styles recently.

End of week 1 we were also due to go camping for the weekend! Sun loungers are imperative to carry this out if any one else is stupid enough to consider it! Gutted to go to the beach and watch everyone else surfing and playing ball games. So the end of week two is here now, i'm amazed by how much less pain there is. For any of you in the early stages it's amazing how much less pain there is...promise! Though my arm is getting awfully stiff and i'm getting nasty pains down my shoulder blade. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there anyway you can do any exercise or at least stretch out? I'm still in a normal sling, after what i've read i wonder if a figure of 8 sling would be better? I've still got a big bump and can feel the end of my bone, can't lift my arm above my shoulder or touch my face with my hand....my shoulder in still raised, is this still normal? Will the muscles relax? I can still feel the bones grating a bit too. I've taken my arm outta the sling to stretch it a couple of times as it's so stiff but if it's out too long i really start to ache. Is there too much movement you can do like Liz asked?

I saw a post card yesterday that said 'this would be really funny if it wasn't happening to me', i think that it's really important to keep your sense of humor going and laugh at situations not get frustrated by them.. though easier said than done! Oh due to move house tomorrow! Fracture clinic in 2 days, they did say if there was no difference they may pin / plate it, has anyone had this done? According to the doctor, he said they don't usually but it was a 'new thing from the States'?!?!? I really want to get back to swimming and riding, plus i've just learnt to snowboard and am worried the next holiday of doing head first tumbles down slopes is gonna take it's toll?
thanks

Permanent link to this comment. On May 9, 2005 12:58 AM, Lyndsey wrote:

Hi, good to read of others experiences with broken clavicles!
I broke my left clavicle 4 weeks ago when I fell off my horse, and landed against a tree - ouch!
Initially, the doctor said a sling would be sufficient as collar bones usually heal fairly easily.
Mine was broken in 3 pieces with a shard of bone sticking painfully up under the skin. I went back to see the orthopedic surgeon, who told me I would need surgery to fix it back together.
I had the op 2 weeks ago now, it's much less painful and I am going for my first physio session today. I will be so glad to be rid of this sling and start getting my life back to normal again!
I would just like to recommend the homeopathic remedy Symhytum for aiding bone repair - it's from the plant Comfrey, which is also called 'Knitbone' and it does just that!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 9, 2005 07:38 PM, Christine wrote:

Wow!! Glad I ran across this site!

I just broke my collar bone last Sunday and was looking for some idea as to how long it would take to heal. I just went into emergency for x-rays and ultrasounds on the day it happened (Dr. thought I may have ruptured my spleen due to the ribs on my left side taking quite the hit as well) but haven't been back since (they basically said there wasn't much they could do about it).

Did my injury mountain biking...went off a jump wrong and down I went...UGH

Love the comment about the "pit of dispair"!! Amazing, I'm not the only one who had concerns in that area. Lucky for me I too have a Mach 3 and will be putting it to the test by the end of the week!

Thanks for all of your information!!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2005 05:12 AM, Tom wrote:

Wonderful to read about other's with same ailment. Broke mine for the second time on 5/16.ER gave me the figure 8 and sent me home. Since this is second time I have an idea what to expect, BUT this time I am having burning hot stabbing pain when I try to lay down. Slept in a chair last night and pain meds did not touch this pain. Have any of you brave souls had this experience also?

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2005 01:06 PM, Lyndsey wrote:

Tom, I had the burning, stabbing pain when I did mine, especially when laying down or trying to sit up, before it was fixed. In my case it was the loose fragment moving and causing damage to the surrounding nerves & tissues. It was at it's worst for about the first 4-5 days and then seemed to ease off. I had surgery to fix it after 2 weeks.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 21, 2005 08:38 AM, Carl wrote:

I broke the middle third of my left clavicle in a hard fall in April. The bump was high and noticeable. I was in pain and couldn't move the shoulder without experiencing pain at all. Somehow I managed to get in my car, strap on a seat belt, and drive stick shift home. Two days later, I went to the emergency room. I broke it in two places as the clavicle looked like a "z". The top part of the 'z' is closest to my neck and the upper break looked like a sharp bone. They gave me a sling and told me to let it heal. They also referred me to an orthopedist. The next day (day 3), at the orthopedist's office, 2 orthopedists said to let it heal. So that's 3 professionals sticking to conventional orthopedic textbooks. For a few days I trusted their unanimous decision. When the pain subsided after day 7, I tried to raise my arm. It was uncomfortable because of the 'z' fracture, I felt something was stuck, so I sought Eastern help and went to get opinions from Chinese Traditional Medicine doctors. The first one I went to said that because I broke it in 3 places that I should get surgery. He talked about plates and screws. His comment carried weight because he's open-minded enough to consider options outside his discipline. So I bore that in mind. The second Chinese TM doc I went to thought the clavicle is fixable. I gave him a try as he broke the middle piece of the 'z' off without anesthesia (OOOOOW!). For the next 3 weeks (to week 4), I was re-bandaged almost daily to immobilize the bones. The bandages were very tight, restricting motion of my left arm and in the beginning overly tight that my arm and hands swelled. I wondered at the time if that was all necessary. In fact, I was told to pull my elbow straight back so I can pull back the clavicle, allowing it to heal better. This makes sense because one of the things you don't want is a shortened clavicle. According to the Chinese doc, supposedly the middle part of the 'z' fused with the top part of the clavicle (which is closer to my neck). So during week 4, I went back to the orthopedist for a follow-up. The x-ray seemed to suggest that either the bones did fuse or that there was a lot of calcification to dull the sharpness. There was also something that suggested that the middle piece grafted itself to the lower part of the fracture, resembling an "L". In all fairness, I should have another x-ray to make sure, but it's been almost 5 weeks and I need something more definite than these "closed reduction" methods (bones manipulated without breaking skin). The orthopedist also got me a bone growth stimulator, which from what I read in testimonials online are ineffective for clavicle treatment. My friend, an MD, thought the same. Since my injury, I've been working from home and sitting in a couch all day, trying not to move too much. It's been a real challenge because the skies have been blue over here in New York while I'm stuck indoors and long to go outside to have fun. I've tried to keep positive on my recovery, but uncertainty weighed on me and I got depressed. But I wasn't going to let things lie, so I did more research online and found some potentially helpful links. It seems that Dr Basamania has developed an IM pin method, which seems to have a high percentage of satisfaction with few complications.

Dr Basamania's physician page:
http://www.dukehealth.org/physicians/F389C81B5DCEAC8985256DFD006A9302

Testimonials for Dr Basamania:
http://cluster02.shoulder1.com/community/forums30.cfm/1366/11/1/recent
http://www.body1.com/talk/forums30.cfm?action=4&threadid=9826#28952

His procedure:
http://www.wheelessonline.com/ortho/im_pin_fixation_of_clavicle_frx

A perspective on clavicle breaks from someone who's broken both:
http://www.jpy.com/john/clavicle/

After reading the stories about Dr Basamania, I've become more optimistic about pathways to recovery. At the current time my shoulder area is still wrapped in bandages and I'm still trying not to force things.

There are a lot of cases in which malunion had long-term problems, so I'm really considering on consulting Dr Basamania.

I hope some of you find this useful.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 21, 2005 06:16 PM, Kiara wrote:

I posted a comment a while back-- this is an update. I had a complete break about a 1/3 of the way from the shoulder. I'm 36 and athletic-- had to cancel plans to do the Hawaii 1/2 ironman (june) when this happened in March! ARRGH. Anyway, I'm at week 9, and getting pretty frustrated. The Xrays at week 8 looked the same, to my inexperienced eyes, as the Xrays taken right after my fall-- definitely still a big gap between the bone pieces. I've gotten to the point where I can (carefully) move my arm up enough to wash my hair with both hands, but it aches. If I move my arm around too much, the break point hurts. Of course I'm right handed and it's my right clavicle. Wore the figure 8 brace religously for 5 to 6 weeks, then stopped because it wasn't helping anymore. However, the docs think it's helped me not have a much of a bump... I, of course, think that the reason I don't have a bump is that IT'S NOT JOINING UP! Sigh. Exercise consists of alternating between a stair climber and a stationary bike. I can do some abdominal exercises if I'm careful. I tried running at week 7 but that was too soon-- the docs say that "bones like stability," so probably better not to run (yeah but how do you keep a clavicle "stable", anyway??) Next week I'm going to another set of doctors for a second opinion on the worth of surgery at this point. Apart from the limited arm mobility and pain at the joint (which isn't bad, honestly--well, not usually), the thing that's driving me crazy is that the 4th and 5th fingers on my right hand keep falling asleep/not working right. Plus my forearm hurts. Typing is hell. I feel sure it's related to the break, because this didn't happen before. Anyone experience this?? --Kiara

Permanent link to this comment. On May 21, 2005 06:47 PM, Carl wrote:

Kiara, the big gap between the bones is a legitimate cause for concern. A bump does signify overlap and makes it easier for the broken ends of the bones to join up and find each other during the healing process. The figure-8 brace's effectiveness should depend on the fracture. The brace pushes down on part of the clavicle and that might not work for some fractures and possibly force the bones in an unjoining position. Clavicles are very difficult to immobilize. You basically can't do anything because the clavicle is somehow used to so many activities. I hope that one of the doctors you visit will give you sensible advice.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 22, 2005 01:59 PM, Stephanie wrote:

Let me first publicly thank the gods of vicadin- for they have allowed me to sleep every night for the past 2 weeks relatively pain free.

About 2 weeks ago I was tackled from behind while playing rugby. I showed up at the ER and assured the nurse that on a scale of 1-10 the pain I was experiencing was most definitely an 8 or a 9 and was ushered to the front of the line. A sling, 2 percasets (spelling?) a prescription for vicadin, a box of tissues and two hours later I was a free woman.

I spent the first few days in bed, afraid of moving a centimeter in any direction for you all know the pains that would ensue. I watched far too much reality tv, did not shower and cried a lot. Then magically, about 5 days later it became easier to get out of bed and gasp, even shower! I felt better and better until I went to my orthopedist and he explained my x-rays in greater detail and told me that I broke my clavicle in 3 places. He then introduced me to my new best friend, my figure 8. With instructions to always stand, sit, and sleep like a marine I walked out with a new definition of good posture and 4 weeks of bonding with my new friend to look forward to.

Yes, breaking your clavicle is a horrible, painful thing to happen but I think it gives you a deeper appreciation for some of the simple things in live:

Spray deodorant
Button up shirts (but not button fly jeans- avoid those at all costs)
Pillows- as many propped up as possible. Designate your comfortable sitting areas in your home and make sure that no one removes a single pillow.
Vicadin and motrin- try not to miss a scheduled dose.

Finally, I did some reseach online and I'm sure most of you know the importance of getting plenty of calcium, but don't forget your multivitamin and vitamin c. IF anyone has any other tips for vitamins and minerals to take please share! Happy healing everyone!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 23, 2005 11:09 PM, Ron wrote:

On April 4/05 my clavicle was severely damaged in a cycling accident. There are now 4 pieces of the clavicle. The end piece is jagged and presses against the shoulder causing considerable pain. Since my accident my GP, surgeon and ccupational Therapist all have told me to not wear a sling. In fact they have been vehement about it. Yet I notice on the postings that many who have suffered clavicle breaks have been told to use a sling and keep the shoulder as still as possible.

Obviously what I have been told is exactly the opposite. Surgery had been ruled out until at least 6 months have passed since the accident.
I realise the immobilising the clavicle by wearing a sling gives the broken pieces of the clavicle a chance to fuse together whereas constantly moving the shoulder gives it no chance to do so.

What do you think of the two extremes, one of doing shoulder exercises every day and never wearing a sling, and the other of keep the shoulder as immobilised as possible?
And comments would be welcome.

Ron

Permanent link to this comment. On May 23, 2005 11:10 PM, Hans wrote:

Ron - I think the difference between others and yourself is that you are scheduled for surgery. And the surgery won't be for at least 6 months. Having a shoulder immobilized for a long period of time can lead to a frozen shoulder:

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/frozenshoulder/a/frozenshoulder.htm

This condition can require a long recovery time with lots of therapy. For those with "simple" calvicle breaks, immobilizing is necessary during the time while the bones need to fuse. But I recall that my doctor had me taking my arm out of the sling several times a day to flex the arm at the elbow. Your docs recommending that you keep the arm and shoulder moving then makes sense. You mention having to do exercises but don’t mention the type. Are they simple exercises? Probably to help to keep from getting a frozen shoulder and your muscles atrophying.

So I think you should follow the advice of your GP, surgeon and occupational Therapist. That's three people giving the same advice and they are specialists.

Hans

P.s. If possible, post a comment on the site with an update on how it goes.

P.p.s. Don't let yourself get a frzon shoulder. I'm dealing with a shoulder injury at the moment and have gotten a case of it. It's no fun and worse than my broken collar bone.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 25, 2005 06:06 PM, Tim wrote:

Glad to find this site! I'm on week 3 since breaking my right collarbone in two places during judo training. Fortunately it looks like all the pieces are still neatly lined up end to end, albeit with a bit of a zig-zag. The doctor said I could have it pinned and plated to hold it in place but that it was only for cosmetic reasons. I turned him down on that to avoid unneccessary surgery. Everything seems to be sticking back together on it's own like he promised, so i'm just playing the waiting game now!

Thanks everyone for loads of information, I was amazed at just how similar an experience this is for many of us! And yes, I'd like to thank ibuprofen, button up shirts, hot showers and daytime tv.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 27, 2005 04:30 AM, Bala wrote:

Really nice blog to comfort me and my broken clavicle. I wish I had stumbled upon this site in the first week after I broke the bone !!! Thanks Laura for sharing your experience, and what a marvelous way to share :)
I was traveling in a bus and one of the rear tyres of the bus came off !!!! The bus overturned completely and the first thing I remember was waking up to blood trickling from somewhere near to my left ear. It so happened that the cartilege of my left ear was torn, probably because I fell on shards of broken glass, and was dangling from the rest of the ear. But the piercing pain in my left shoulder took my attention off the blood and the dangling cartilege.
I had a middle 1/3rd clavicle fracture with the bone breaking into 2 clean pieces. Fortunately the dislocation was moderate without any damage to the nerves.
I am into my 5th week already and healing slowly. The healing was real fast in the first three weeks. However since the last two weeks there isn't much progress. I am off pain killers and waiting for the day when I will be able shampoo the left side of my head !!

-- Jaha

Permanent link to this comment. On May 27, 2005 05:27 AM, Bala wrote:

Few things I would like to add to my post earlier. Since I broke my clavicle I have been examined by three doctors. The first doctor (Orthopod) put just the figure-of-8 brace and said I am good enough to travel 400KMs by rail. The next morning I went to another doctor, one more x-ray and he said I need a arm-pouch (sling) ALONG WITH the figure-of-8 bandage. He put some cotton padding below the figure-of-8 bandage to avoid blisters. It is month of April and I am in India where temperatures reach upto 40 degC. The figure-of-8 became too uncomfortable for the sweat and grime and I took it off in a fit of frustration and went to another doctor.
This gentleman opined that figure-of-8 has been discarded '15 years ago' as a therapy and the doctor who prescribed it must be out of his wits. He said I should keep JUST the sling and the clavicle should heal on its own.
I am into the fifth week and my left shoulder is noticeably shorter than my right shoulder. Don't know if getting rid of figure-of-8 was a right thing to do.
I would like to know what others think of Sling Vs. Figure-Of-8

-- Jaha

Permanent link to this comment. On May 27, 2005 09:36 AM, Zach Powers wrote:

I was riding a week ago in the rain when I hit a set of train tracks at the wrong angle and ate the asphalt pretty hard. Got up swearing and clutching my shoulder, it was intensely painful but I thought I had dislocated it or something. Got X-rays that showed I had broken my left clavicle in 2 places. The ER doc (general practitioner) put me in a figure 8 and told me to keep my shoulders back because that would help the bones align properly. 6 days later I went to see an ortho doc and he told me that I could stop wearing the figure 8, that it was really only for my own comfort. When I related what the ER doc had said he smiled and said "nah, that's just witch-craft". I was confused but he continued that there was really no way to imobilize the clavicle and that it would heal up fine on it's own. He basically said that pain would keep me from doing anything that I shouldn't be doing. I have gotten a lot of mobility in the last 7 days and and am able to wash my face with both hands! However, the right armpit is still just out of reach, thus, the pit of dispair... (Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't beleive they exist! - sorry, the obvious Princess Bride reference had to be made)
The real crappy part of the whole situation is that I have been training for the last 8 months , and raised $2500, for a 600 mile, 7 day charity ride from San Francisco to LA which is happening in another week and a half. I am debating whether 2 1/2 weeks of healing is enough time to get back on the bike. Doctors have told me not to, but I would be so bummed to miss the ride after all this preperation. I am considering borrowing a recumbent from a friend and riding that. However, I would feel really stupid if I fell and hurt it again. So Frustrating!

-Zach

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2005 06:26 PM, Jan wrote:

Hi all,

7 weeks into a broken left collar bone and my doctor tells me there's not much sign of union - a few white smudges on the ends that should lead to something, he thinks. Well I'm female and 55 and really thought I'd be back cycling and running by now so I'm a bit shat off.

I broke it April 12th, my fault, doing a really fast cycle in training for the Mooloolaba Triathlon. I figured I'd have a good chance of placing having done the full 1.5k swim, 40k cycle and 10 k run in under 3 hours at my first attempt one month previously. Anyway, 6.30am and dark, and I'm out on my bike. There's supposed to be no body else on this road at that time of the morning but there was another woman cyclist completely within her rights, zooming down the hill into the roundabout that i was also zooming in to. Except I didn't see her because of the trees until the last minute. I wobbled my way around her, hit the gutter on the other side and bang on to muddy grass ( it rained the night before) on to the point of my shoulder. Thank God I didn't hit the bitumen. Having acres of skin peel off is not fun - been there done that. I knew when I hit there was somethng wrong with my shoulder. From having no one on the streets, all of a sudden people appeared from everywhere with mobile phone. My daughter freaked out when I rang her to come and collect me. I insisted my new Giant bike be put in the car first, giving instructions through muffled pain to all the bystanders as to how to dismantle the two wheels. then off to the hospital. Do you want pain relief love?? No thanks, I'd just seen my mother die in a state of morphine induced euphoria, and didn't want to pass out completely - too much to do that day. Well we'll have to cut that shirt off you to take an exray. No way hosay. That's my best and most favourite cycling shirt. 10 minutes and 10 tonnes of pain later, my daughter wound the shirt off my back in one piece.

The xray showed a complete break in the distal third with overlapping of about 1 cm. Here's a collar and cuff and a prescription for panadeine forte and off you go. See you in 6 weeks. One tablet of panadeine forte later and I was off with the faries - so i started on Nurofen - and then eventually after a few weeks to just basic paracetamol every few days when the pain got real bad. I threw the collar and cuff on the first day - the weight around my neck caused worse pain and I developed a technique to wear a tight singlet and walk around clutching the opposite shoulder strap with my arm. This made me look normal when i went shopping and also was a lot less painful. Then I needed to get back to doing some exercise before I went bananas. Walking was OK but after 1km, my shoulder ached. So I tried the stationary bike at the gym where I could rest my arm on the bars.

Well I can tell you sitting on a stationary bike at the gym everday for 6 weeks is no fun. At least I'm up with all the latest video clips and know all the songs of Delta Goodrem and Bachelor Girl that my kids play. The pain went from be excruciating when I moved over the first 3 weeks, to almost better, and then for the last 3 weeks i now have this this chronic ache.

I really don't want an operation and I'm prepared to wait a little longer for the break to heal by itself. But my husband and i have booked this trekking tour around Mont Blanc and in Peru in 4 weeks time. And I'm definitely going - broken collar bone or not. I've re designed a back pack and will take loads of paracetamol, But I'm going.

Would like to hear from anyone my age - 55 - oh dear (maybe someone's trying to tell me I 'm too old to be out racing cycles) who's had a broken collar bone and how long it took to heal - with or without and operation.

Jan

Permanent link to this comment. On June 4, 2005 11:21 AM, Hans wrote:

Jan - Don't let anyone tell you that you are too old to ride or race! Here in Northern California we have many "old" cyclists. But you would never know since many of them can put younger riders to shame.

I would recommend you get a couple of opinions from doctors you trust. You might also consider seeing a physical therapist that's familiar with your type of injury. Mine has been more informative about the specifics of my injury that my doctors.

Also, if you haven't, read my two other "collar bone" entries (links at the top of the page) and the comments. More good information.

Take care,

Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On June 7, 2005 02:42 AM, Vicky wrote:

I posted a comment several weeks ago, i'm into week 7 post break now. I'm not having much joy, been to fracture clinic, they didn't really tell me anything, didn't even show me the xray they did. The specalist did say that they would still consider grafting and plating for me, but it wasn't really advisable as there would be scarring and sometimes the plates need taking out.
Went to GP for second oppinion / explanation to help me understand.... Apparently i have crepising (sure i have spelt that wrong!) in my shoulder, little nodules of bone kinda makes a cracking sound when i move it now... Lucky enough i have two lumps and a ridge where i broke my bone on a diagonal! anyway, my GP referred me to the physio,as i was complaining of aching muscles, they can not do anything about the bone obviously but they can help you feel some relief with muscular aches and pains. My physio said she raely saw people with broken clavicle, only usually when things had gone wrong- often after plating! She did say to help ease an aching shoulder, as well as gentle excerises that they give you, to get someone to rub round your shoulder blade with an ice cube. It does work!
I still do not have the full range of movement in my shoulder, taking off a jumper still seems to make me look like Houdini. I have a vist to the specalist in 3 weeks, i just want to know now if, the slight pain will alway be there and never go away - in which case i'll just get on with things- but i don't want to jepadise any chance i may have of it fixing properly. Watch this space.

For those wondering how long it takes - well i think that's an individual case thing. (i know that's not helpful when you are sat there in week 2 of your break desperate for information) When i went back to work, i found loads of people who wanted to talk to me about their experiences, one who had fixed in 6 weeks and another who took 7 months to heal (a road cyclist who'd broken his collar bone in 3 places and when he felt ready to go back to work got in his car tried to take the hand break off and managed to rebreak his bone!)
Got back on the horse yesterday, who was responsible for the accident- he seems to have forgotten.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 7, 2005 12:52 PM, Stephanie wrote:

It's official, I'm healing! Four weeks after the crunch heard on the rugby pitch I went back to my doctor, got some x-rays and found that my bones are joining up. He made me lift my arm above my head, something I couldn't even know I could do without mind altering pain. We also discussed the fact that having a figure 8 splint while out at the bar can lead people on. You stand there, shoulders back, chest out and then when someone tries to hug you, playfully knock into you or something else you freak out and scream, "I have a broken collar bone, don't touch me!" Not that this happenned to me or anything. Ok, 4 weeks down, 4 weeks to complete recovery. Good luck everyone!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 8, 2005 12:27 PM, Ron wrote:

Hi Hans,

I was sorry to hear that you undergoing painful physio. I know that all of us with a serious clavicle injury have had more than our share of sharp, nasty pain. In my case calcification has set in and I have take 2 pain killers in 10 days. However there is concern about my injury. I visited my attorney yesterday and he read aloud from several surgeon’s reports. The pieces are out of alignment and I believe that only using pins now will allow them to line up. Also the report mentioned "fibroid" although I did not understand that.

(Edit - Hans) Fibroid = "Composed of or resembling fibers or fibrous tissue"

Of course I have been encouraged to use the shoulder a lot and that means that pieces have moved more. There are two fractures so I presume that means 3 pieces although I thought there were 4 pieces. I may have mentioned in a previous letter how similar my injury is to Lyndsey’s and yet how different our treatment has been. She kept her arm in a sling, then had surgery 2 weeks later. It is almost as if there is a "British school" of treating this injury and a "Canadian school". I phoned an Ortho’s office here to see what the wait time was for an appointment. The nurse in the office said that the surgeon in question simply did not do clavicle surgery.

I realise that there can be serious problems in inserting a plate.

1. Then there can be an increase in pain from it.
2. There is an increased chance of infection and of vascular problems.

A disconnected clavicle is a unusual injury. My GP and Occupational Therapist had never dealt with it before. Of course a simply clavicle break is much more common and usually much easier to treat.

I have a 5 lb weight limit for the arm. I just made a fairly heavy casserole. I may have exceeded 5 pounds with the affected arm in putting it into the oven. Oh well. The function of the arm is very good for strength and mobility. I can place the arm normally behind my back and elevate to 65 degrees from the horizontal. In fact use of the arm is almost back to pre-injury level except that I now have a weight restriction. Still I know that a lack of healing in the shoulder cannot be ignored. So we shall see what happens.

I am interested in knowing how your injury happened. Was it mountain biking down a trail, or was it in the city?

(Edit - Hans) My recent accident was from a MTB crash.

On April 4 I was cycling along a boulevard when a car door flung open and I had nowhere to go. It happened so very quickly. I had numerous injuries but all have disappeared except the clavicle injury. The motorist was given a ticket since the liability was clearly hers. As far as the insurance goes there is no question about who is at fault. Still there is a saying "The graveyards and hospitals are filled with people who were in the right in traffic."

The woman has my address from the accident report but she has never written to apologize. What a difference! I have to live with this for the rest of my life and she has an increase in her insurance rates. Some difference!

Obviously I get depressed at times, I would not be human if I did not. Just one small example of the change in lifestyle. I used to occasionally use the Internet terminal at the library. Well I tried it yesterday and found that keyboard is so high up that using it irritated my arm and shoulder. So I won’t use that again. How do you deal with depression?

(Edit - Hans) I've been lucky and haven't had to deal with it. Maybe others will have suggestions.

Sometimes I beat up myself for cycling on the streets when I knew that an accident for a cyclist could turn very ugly indeed. I always realised that the lack of protective clothing meant that it would take little for a cyclist to become seriously injured. Now I know that first hand. A few weeks before the accident I had a close call when I made a mistake, got into the wrong lane and was almost destroyed by a double-Decker bus. The incident shook me badly and should have been a wake-up call to understand how deadly is could be to cycle in the city. That losing focus for just a moment could have deadly consequences. However I was too arrogant to reach the logical conclusion. How I have paid for that lack of insight!

Victoria, BC has a strong culture of cycling. It has the highest percentage of the population who cycle of any Canadian city. The weekly newspaper just had 2 articles about cycling in the city and the government offers its employees inducements to cycle to work. Sadly the motorists are particularly slow witted and unpredictable. Despite this culture there are only a couple of bike pathways for recreation, none which can be used to go from A to B. Some of the streets are dangerously narrow.

I spoke to a fellow recently who has a wife and baby. He was recounting several close calls he has had. I tried to convince him that it was not fair to his family to keep cycling to work when he could use the bus. For example one day he was cycling in the normal position on the right when a car in front suddenly turned right, leaving him with nowhere to go. His bike slid under the car but he was unhurt. I said "For God’s sake learn from what happened to me! You just have to have one close call that turns tragic to be hurt for life. Think of your family and where they would be if you became disabled." Of course he did not listen.

That’s the trouble. Once so many of us get into urban cycling we think that we have experience and that serious injury cannot happen to us. Well, it sure can. Ironically I had been cycling fairly slowly as a safety measure in the weeks before the accident. . However I was going down a gently descending hill and let the hill carry my bike instead of braking. It is amazing how much damage can happen to a cyclist at a fairly slow speed.

It is strange that there is no protective clothing for cyclists. For example what about wearing a Kevlar vest? Would a vest that protects against bullets also protect against impact in a cycling accident? I am not aware of anyone trying to develop such shock-proof clothing.

(Edit - Hans) There is gear that is sold for downhill or extreme riding. It's similar to motocross gear but lighter weight.

I want to end by thanking you for starting the forum It is a great asset to have a place where one can share experiences and learn more about conditions like disconnected clavicle.

Finally, I was wearing a good helmet when the accident happened. Even so I had a severe concussion. Without the helmet well...

Permanent link to this comment. On June 9, 2005 06:07 AM, Cherie Turner wrote:

Hi All,

Broken Clavicle here. almost 3 weeks now. Lots of back pain and shoulder pain that seem to be residual of my bone not healing straight, we will see in a few days w/ follow up xray.

I want to suggest this brace http://www.shouldersback.net/. It may not be for use the first week, but it is definitely more comfortable than the traditional fig of 8 brace. I recommend it to anyone who has a broken clavicle...and you will look somewhat normal too!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 10, 2005 07:51 AM, Bubba wrote:

Sure is nice to know one is not alone, although this is not a club I would recommend that everyone join.

May 25th - I went high side dump off my mt. bike and collided with Earth. I don't think it moved, but my collar bone did.

I broke it about as far out as you can on the middle third..borderline distal. I think I'm lucky because the gap between the bones is about 1-2mm.

I am wearing a figure 8 harness, but may use the sling with it. I notice that I get pain in the trap muscle, kneck, pectoral and the opposite muscle on the back. I think the impact transferred to rib cartilige and/or muscles/tendons. I get a lot of muscle aches depending on position. anyone shed some light on this?

Of course, the timing on this could not be worse. Supposed to be in China now and have postponed for a month. That would be 5 1/2 weeks after the intial break. I got a sling/harness 6 days after breaking it.

So, I know most are not doctors but seasoned veterans of this injuries, what do y'all think about me travelling 5 1/2 weeks after breaking? I get pic's of this on Monday to see the progress and understand that is what will dictate my ability to do anything.

I look forward to all replies and hope everyone that has posted a story about their own break is healing well.

Best Regards,

Tim
38yr old male.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 10, 2005 08:19 AM, Hans wrote:

Tim - Sorry to hear about your crash. Take a quick look at my other 'collar bone' entries that are linked at the top of the page. Your break is similar to the one I had but I had a larger gap. I was back on my bike a month later and touring Europe. So a quick recovery is possible.

The muscle pain you are experiencing may be from bruising, strains, etc. from the accident. But some of it, such as in the opposite muscle on the back, is probably caused by compensation for the damage. The muscles opposite of an injury work to protect the injured site. This leads to muscle fatigue, soreness, tightness, etc.. I'm dealing with that now for a new shoulder injury.

Hope you heal fast. Let us know how it goes.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 15, 2005 07:32 PM, Seth Wood in Bettendorf, iowa wrote:

It sure is "nice" to hear of other broken clavicals...
About 10 years ago, I was on my 3 wheeled scooter....and somehow, I fell over sideways on my left arm/should/clavical and proceeded to break my clavical with the end of it protruding up thru the skin, not out just a big hump
Doctors said, I could get operated on and get back ~ 75% of range of motion.....and being on Medicare it was decided not to be done by doctors for whatever reason.....
About 3 years prior to that clavical break. I had a severe head injury from a motocycle accident, which made my WHOLE left side (arm and leg) paralyzed-like. I've learned to live on my own with that....for those 10 years..
Then a few days ago, I stumbled and fell on that broken clavical
Hurt like a ^&^!. So I got it xrayed again, only to show the gap between the break was still the same, only gap was farther apart. being "lucky" to live with this condition 10 years prior
life for me has changed little for me....I live with that constant ache.....Thank god for Ibuprofin!! lol

Permanent link to this comment. On June 18, 2005 11:42 PM, Lisa Jones wrote:

What a help to find this web site. My son of 10, yesterday broke his right clavical. He was playing football,fell,and screaned in pain and proceeded to throw up and become pale and white. We took him to the hospital were they x-rayed him. The bone has completely snapped in half. The pain he is suferring is heartbraking for any Mother to watch. He has been given a figure 8 brace to wear, however he is having trouble keeping a straight alignment. He is taking Ibuprofin to ease the pain but it still seem to be uncomfortable for him. He was due to play in a football tornement on the 21st and 22nd, so for him this is even more upsetting. My concern is that the bones will not join correctly as he keeps leaning to the side of the pain and i keep telling him that he must sit up straight otherwise it will permanently deformed. Is this normal in the first days to have such servere pain. The pressure the brace applies seems to be making him worse and I am suppose to tighten it in 2 days time. There appears to be no sign of bruising or swelling. It is also frustrating for him that he has to keep still, as like most boys at his age, he is normally very active. The Hospital said it should take around 4 weeks to heal but after reading these letters it sounds as though it could be longer. Any suggestion,s to cheer him up would be much appreciated! He can't even play on the playstation at the moment!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 26, 2005 12:04 PM, josh wrote:

i broke mine at the state judo tournament, dang my final match of my high school "career". it sucks so bad, i can run and stuff again but i still can't do judo cause it'll break if i fall on it still.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 27, 2005 08:09 AM, Conrad wrote:

I broke my left clavicle last week doing a hard 110 mile bike
ride on my Quintana Roo Kilo tri bike. Was only 4 weeks away
from my taper for the Full Vineman iron distance triathlon.
Basically, hit a "pot-hole" at 33 mph which threw me off the aerobars, and the bike. Landed on my left side. Severe rash
all along the left side. Very badly bruised left hip; lucky I did not break the pelvis. Also wrecked my helmet. Probably would have died without it.

Using a figure 8 plus a sling. Pain is not too bad. Except this morning. Because I have gone from extreme physical activity (trained 15-28 hours/week) to basically nothing, I have
been getting those severe calve cramps that wake you up and force you to get out of bed to stand and stretch. Well, I forgot about the left collarbone and put full pressure to my
left arm to get up out of bed. That hurt!

My fracture is a middle third, comminuted (a couple extra fragments). Did take some ibuprofen the first couple days.
Now, just a few glasses of red wine and maybe a couple asperin
before I sleep.

My season is over. Can't swim for 12 weeks I figure. Can't
do push-ups for the same I guess. Won't attempt to ride the
trainer until the rash heals up (very bad on the shoulder and
hip and knee). Have been walking. Got hurt last Tuesday.
Didn't walk the next day, but every day thereafter. 13 miles
thur-Sun. Going to walk every day this week and shoot for 30.
I wear the arm sling for addtional support to the figure 8 for
this walking. This is keeping me sane. Will plan now for
the Las Vegas Marathon December 4th and shoot to go sub 3:30:00. I do better with goals.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 28, 2005 06:43 AM, Justine wrote:

Well, let me just start off by saying that I feel much better after visiting this site and seeing how many of you are in the same boat as I am. Good luck to all of you still healing and I appreciate hearing from those of you who have already recovered because you are an inspiration to me. So last week while playing in a soccer game I was taken out from behind and landed the wrong way, breaking my collar bone. I had never broken a bone before and it was very painful, but the emotional pain was far greater and no pain killer, no matter how strong, could ever take it away. My team and I have been training for 6 months for one of the biggest and most important, not to mention by far the biggest recruiting tournament of the year. I am going into my senior year and coaches from all of the schools I am considering playin for were planning on using this tournament as their deciding factor. So if i played well, things were looking good. I basically just cried and was in a state of depression for the first 3 day. All i kept thinking about were the hours of training, running mile after mile and sprint after sprint, never going out with my friends on friday or saturday nights because I had to wake up at 6 the next morning to drive and hour and a half to practice or to a game. I'm getting better I suppose. I have started riding the bike because I was told that I could and I'm looking to come back strong and just trying to stay positive. My team leaves on Wednesday for the Regional Tournament and I will certianly be there cheering them on. If they win, we will go on to advance to nationals and if all goes well I will be able to play by then! If anyone has any good exercises or healing tips please let me know! Thanks!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 2, 2005 10:47 AM, Joe wrote:

I hit some railroad tracks at a wrong angle and flew off my bike last week. This broke the middle of my right collar bone. Everyone in this form says they are wearing a Figure 8 brace, this is what they gave me, a clavicle splint, same thing?
http://www.hely-weber.com/product.php?id=83

They said to wear it constantly for 6 weeks. Is that the same advice as everyone else? I went to work a couple days later and the Clavicle Splint is pretty bulky under my suit. Anyone know of any thinner splints that would work better while wearing a suit?

I am a week into this thing and doing well. I can dress, type, drive with two hands, comb my hair, etc…. did some interval jogging on the treadmill yesterday. The pain is focused on the break area, and only bothers me when I stretch too far.

What about a TENS unit? Anyone ever try one? I have one around the house and asked the doctor about using it, he didn’t seem to think there would be any harm in trying it. So I attached the electrodes around broken collar bone. Don’t know if it does any good but the electrical impulses seem soothing.

http://www.tensunits.com/
The “theory” is that when the body suffers trauma, the muscles tighten to immobilize the injured area. This muscle tightening impairs circulation to the injury site, which decreases the blood supply to the affected area and diminishes the healing process. TENS therapy is suppose to help stimulate circulation and aid in healing. Since I already had a TENS unit from a previous ailment, I figured I would try it.

This was 5 days after the accident, so I have only been on this TENS stimulation for two days so it is too early to tell if it is doing any good. However, the pain doesn’t seem to be as sharp and I have a bit more mobility, but this might have been the case anyway with or without the device. Anyone else ever try a tens unit?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 2, 2005 02:22 PM, Tom C. wrote:

I crashed my bike and broke my right clavicle 3 hrs ago. Kaiser was pretty fast (1.5 hrs). No Jack Danial sfor me... Vicaden is the answer. Thanks for the info. on treatment!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 8, 2005 07:07 PM, Chad wrote:

I can't tell you all how great this site has been! I broke my clavical in a July 3rd Jet Skiing incident on Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY. There are three distinct breaks and much bone displacement. I was told originally I would need surgery without a doubt. The P.A. I saw said it was the worst he has ever seen! Went to an Ortho on July 5th and was told no surgery needed. I am only in a sling and I was told (by my Ortho) that a figure 8 would do me no good. (He said it was because of the bone displacement) Any ideas on this? My real question however, is on the healing process. I was back to work on July 6th with some pain but nothing unbearable. I am completely off perscription meds (Lortab) as of July 7th. I have some range of motion but very limited. It is difficult to put on shirts! The pain all along has been very manageable. I am a competitive rifle shooter and have a important shoot (to me anyway!) the last week of September. I am 30 years old. Being right handed and having the break on the right side is the obvious problem! Is there any chance I will be able to compete. I will have had 11 weeks of healing without practice, and 9 weeks if I allow for the average 2 weeks of shooting I would need to prepare. Has anyone out there had any experience with this? The recoil of the rifle is my concearn. Will the calcium actually speed up the healing process? I was told your body needs a specific ammount of time regardless of the ammount of calcium you pump into your body. I am also now curious about the TENS Unit and would love to hear some input on that as well! This site has been so much help and nothing less than a complete inspiration!! Thank you all so much for your stories and advice! I also need to admit that this process is nearly impossible without the love and care of someone close to you! Aimee has done everything short of certain bathroom necessities to make this easier on me and I owe her everything! Love you Aim!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 8, 2005 11:36 PM, Hans wrote:

Chad - Wearing a figure-8 helps to keep your shoulders in a correct posture. This helps the broken bones mend and aligned for this posture. Without the figure-8, the injured shoulder tends to be pulled forward and in. This may lead to worse alignment when the bones fuse together. I'm not sure how it would help if the bones are so broken that they will not fuse together. But, it is possible for a fibroid connection to form instead. This is fibrous tissue that forms around the broken ends and attempts to hold them together. A connection of this type will not be solid like fused bone, but it will add some strength. So for this case it would also make sense wearing a figure-8.

I wore a figure-8 and I personally know others that have. All of us have had good recoveries. So I would recommend wearing one, especially during the first week or two, when the body works hardest to fuse the breaks. But, as always, get the opinion of your doctor if it will be a problem.

Oh, and you should be fully healed by the time your shoot comes along. I was back on my bike and riding in Europe a month after my first break.

Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On July 9, 2005 03:51 PM, suzanna degazon suzy wrote:

oh my god you have had me in great pain from laughimg i broke my clavical 7 hours ago in a competition and yes it is definately a two armed world. i am an ultra triathlete and have to travel on 2 planes on tuesday back to puerto rico!!i do ultraman hawaii in november i have done this 7 times now a clavical world for a few weeks, please keep in touch as i would love to have a training program..thank you suzy degazon

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2005 11:30 AM, David wrote:

Good to hear others are sharing my pain. I'm 2.5 weeks in from a right clavicle break from mtn biking. Here's the irony: I'm planning to do a 24 hr mtn bike race labor day weekend to raise money for our local emergency ward. I hope to be healed up by then but it's not looking likely. Thx for the website H+L.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 14, 2005 11:41 AM, Tom wrote:

A relief to find this site!! Im 10 weeks into a lateral third left clavicle fracture. had an xray today and no signs of healing (although this time was a different doctor, who didnt even show me the xray!). My shoulders now freezing up so am having physio - i think by keeping it still so long i may have made the situation worse? Doctor said that cos it isnt painful when he applied pressure to the site i should try and forget its broken (easy for him to say) and do as much as possible. He then said make an appointment for 3 months time!!! There is no way i am waiting another 3 months without any idea of my progress - i got him down to 2 months, but even that seems a long time (Im training to be a vet, so i cant do my work while its like this..).
Hope you all heal soon,
Tom

Permanent link to this comment. On July 14, 2005 12:52 PM, Hans wrote:

Tom - If you are that far along after the break and there's no healing, then your bones probably won't reconnect/fuse. I have friends with clavicles that have not reconnected and they are fine. If you are not experiencing pain or problems because of the disconnect then you might be fine leaving it as-is. Listen to your doc(s) and your physical therapist. If they think there's a problem then act on it.

Keeping you shoulder still for a long period of time can lead to a frozen socket/shoulder. My doc made sure I moved my shoulder and arm during the time I was healing from my break. But he limited the range and types of movements. Also, the first two weeks are the most critical time for the bones to find themselves and begin healing and reconnecting. That's not a good time to be moving the shoulder. Bending your elbow is fine though.

My guess is that actively doing physical therapy is your best bet now. It's tough but stick with it.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 15, 2005 08:47 AM, Tom wrote:

thanks hans,
just been given my physio exercises - 11 exercises to be done 10 times each every 1-2 hours for the next 10 days!!! i'm currently not able to lift my arm above 90 degrees. not due to pain, just physically impossible... think this could take a while!!
thanks again for your comments,
tom

Permanent link to this comment. On July 16, 2005 11:04 AM, Carolyn Faubert wrote:

Hans,

Thanks for beginning this site. I Am a 59 yr. old female who broke the right clavicle in a car accident on July 1st, 2005. The recommendations and insights to everyones' injuries have been both helpful and encouraging. One aspect that I would like to share is that if anyone seems to be having a great deal of trouble trying to get in and out of bed comfortably; try arranging a comfotable chair with support pillows for your elbow, arms and neck and use a comfortable foot stool along with this get-up and sleeping in this situation has worked for me. I have been sleeping like this for two weeks, of course, vicadin has helped a little, too.
My Orthopedic Dr. recommended a sling and swath; but I felt that my injured shoulder (clavicle) was slouching and he gave me a script for the "figure of eight brace" but I am having a difficult time trying to buy one. Does anyone have a supplier or reference for me to contact?

Thanks to all for sharing info -single handed typing isn't easy!!
Carolyn


Permanent link to this comment. On July 17, 2005 12:40 AM, Gord wrote:

Interesting website. My story and suggestions:
I was just flying down a rather easy trail on my mountain bike when I noticed some black berry bush branches stretched across the trail. I did NOT want to get scratched by thorns, so I made a little dodge. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a lack of trail off to the right. My front wheel disappeared, and I was catapulted to the ground left shoulder and head first. I was sure I had suffered my first bone break at 39, and the next day, the X-ray confirmed a mid-shaft fracture "in good position". Compared to others here, I don't think I have had the worst of it -- my pain was manageable with Advil, and I never had to use the Tylenol 3s I had. I went to work the next morning.

I am a fairly serious triathlete, so my main concern is to be able to swim without pain or discomfort.

The ER doc said I could have a sling if I wanted, but it was up to me. I would heal anyway. A week later, my physio, a swimmer, and another doctor friend, also a swimmer, pretty-well demanded I get into a Clavical Splint. Their rational was that my collar bone would heal in a longer and better position, and that would be better for swimming.

Both doctors also recommended a homeopathic Prep called "Trameel" with an ingredient called 'Arnica'. Supposed to help bones heal faster -- either that or make money for someone, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Also -- I find the 'Natural' Keyboard I have at home is way less uncomfortable than the regular keyboard I have at work.


Permanent link to this comment. On July 17, 2005 03:23 PM, Richard wrote:

Well done Hans! I've found it quite comforting to read everyone's adventures and how they are healing and building themselves back up. I'm in my forties and an avid cyclist. While commuting to work three days ago I hopped a sidewalk curb onto the pavement while traveling at a good clip. When my front tire came down with my weight above it, my Zoom handlebar snapped completely off on the left side of my bike and I pile drove my left shoulder and body into the pavement (cracked the helmet too). Ouch. I was closer to home than work and walked back home with the bike and got my wife to take me to the hospital for x-rays and a sling. The break is dead center on the clavicle and the bones are overlapping. I did not find the pain too bad and was at work within three hours of the accident. I've been wearing the arm sling to bed and this has helped me also to remain sleeping on my back. I'm only taking advil twice a day as well as a multivitamin and about 1000 mgs of calcium. To assist the healing process and align the bones I bought a figure eight sling yesterday ($25) and am going to give that a go until this mends. Keeping my fitness up has been a key concern (four years ago I fractured my femur while cycling and it took me about a year to rebuild from that one). In the meantime I'll use the gym exercycle daily and will see what I can do with the leg press to maintain my lower body. What did you do to maintain your upper body while you healed?

Thanks for all the info. Cheers!
Richard

Permanent link to this comment. On July 17, 2005 05:13 PM, Hans wrote:

Carolyn - I don't have a source for a figure 8 sling. I received mine from my ortho doc. Note that Richard above got one for $25 somewhere. So they aren't expensive.

Richard - Did you get your figure 8 online or through your doc? As for maintaining your upper body I would recommend you give it a rest for a couple of weeks while you are healing. It's very easy to strain your injury and hinder your recovery during this time. And that's not what you want to do. After a couple of weeks you should be able to start doing some upper body workouts.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 17, 2005 08:11 PM, Richard wrote:

Hi Hans:

I phoned up a couple of my local "Medical & Surgical Supply" stores in Edmonton (Canada) and just asked if they had any 'Figure of Eight slings for a fractured clavicle'. I chose a store close to home. When I went in, they measured the distance from the middle of my scapula down to the armpit while a figure eight sling was hanging over my shoulder - then they chose one model that was the best size for me and even fitted it (I walked out wearing it). (note of interest: infants can get fractured/dislocated clavicles during delivery and will often be outfitted with figure eights - they come that small).

There are quite a few on line stores listed on the internet selling figure of eights (here is a model similar to the one I purchased: http://www.medmarketplace.com/support,-four-way-clavicle-str-6766.html) - try searching under "Medical Supply" or "clavicle strap" (here's an example of another one I found: http://www.medsupplyco.com/Products/ProductDetails.cfm?ProductNumber=SCO1582UN&CFID=9304250&CFTOKEN=95782180). The figure 8s (and most other slings) come in various sizes and styles so make sure you read all the info before ordering. Prices range from under ten bucks to over a hundred depending on the bells and whistles, and how long you expect to wear one (comfort/gel straps).

Good advice about the upper body work. That makes sense, think I'll wait until I do a follow-up with my doctor before I dive back into my regular fitness routine. (I can hear him lecturing me now - Now if I would only Listen to him).

Cheers!
Richard

Permanent link to this comment. On July 19, 2005 08:02 PM, Tabitha wrote:

Great Website! Two days ago my husband had an accident while riding his ATV, he broke his right clavical, its really bad. He showed up at the front door, and his shoulder was completely compacted into the side of his chest. (he also broke 3 ribs, sprained his neck & concussion) When the doc saw the xray, the first thing he said was "lets get you booked for surgery!" The bone was sticking out of his shoulder, the two pieces seperated & overlapping by a good 2 inches. He's booked for August 3rd. Right now he's in the most intense pain ever, and he's had plenty of broken bones before! He's drugged up on vicodin and percocets(sp?) He says those are the best. Like some of the others people mentioned, he is getting an occassional sharp stabbing pain in his arm. I really feel for him. Not only has he "lost his arm" but his dignity too! I had to bathe him today.lol For better or for worse, eh? I even had to dress him after his bath. One thing though, I think they gave him the wrong size 8-sling, as its fully tightened, and is still not giving the best support. He's fairly broad shouldered, and they gave him a large, but I think maybe a med would have been better. They didn't measure. He hasn't left the recliner since it happened, thats the only place keeping him in a comfortable position. Well, sorry to ramble, but I thought maybe you all would appreciate a second hand account of what its like. After all, I am doing everything for him-but very gladly. He'd do the same for me! (hopefully he never has to. ) Good luck to you all.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 21, 2005 12:06 PM, Tracie wrote:

It's great to commiserate. It's a strangely isolating experience being home with a broken collarbone. Not sick, not disabled enough to be housebound, not able enough to do normal activities - strange space to be in. I hate it, but know that I have already gained a much greater appreciation for my body.. I feel elation at the thought of being completely healed again and hey, I've learned that i can drive a stick-shift with only one arm! I am, however, just about at the end of my rope with doctors and x-ray technicians (non-responsiveness - maybe there really isn't an answer to the question WHEN?!? HOW LONG?!) after 5 weeks with a broken collarbone. I'm a 46 year old female -broke my collarbone in a dirt biking accident. I wasn't going that fast, but WAS subconsciously trying to imitate my much more experienced partner popping wheelies on his motorcycle through mud puddles. For some inexplicable reason, I hit the front brakes in the middle of a mud slick - with a big rut in it- and was thrown like a missile about 3 metres off my bike. I landed on my right side (torn tendons, bruised ribs, foot and hip) but broke the collarbone on my left side. I lay with my face in the dirt, helmet full of mosquitoes, for about a half hour while my boyfriend raced back for the car and trailer (I remember when he reached his hand out to me - ooookay! get up now! AS IF!) I spent 6 hours in emergency (morphine drip!!!), and was sent home with a sling, a prescription for percocet and very few instructions - i.e. how do I get dressed? take a shower? sleep? when can I resume normal activities? After weeks of adapting to things like washing dishes with one arm, playing the piano with one arm (I can just sort of ping the lower keys with my left hand - which is kind of cool), I've learned to cope remarkably well, but have been given no information as to when i can take the sling off. I stopped taking pain killers after the first week and the pain has diminished exponentially from week to week. This week - week 5 - I feel 'almost normal' and am back in the gym doing low impact aerobics (no problem!! tons of fun and piles of sympathy!!! ) I walk about 5 km every day. I wonder if anyone has an answer to this question. We are planning a camping trip to Arizona, Colorado, Utah (nixed the original dirt biking and/or mountain biking plan) in a few weeks. The last x-ray I had was at 4 weeks and apparently showed 'no healing' - which seems crazy because I feel SO much better! Anyway, I won't have another x-ray until late August, but am going on vacation anyway. If my arm FEELS okay, and I can lift it at least perpendicular to my body, does that mean that I'm almost healed? I can now sleep sort of half rolled onto one side, I can do sit-ups, lunges, squats, walk forever and am relatively pain free. Can I crawl into a tent, hike in the mountains, carry a backpack and do normal camping type stuff? What are the chances after 5 weeks - if I feel okay!and I do - that the bone will break again or I'll do further damage? Apparently it was a clean (but good) break. I'm scared stiff to re-injure the bone as I've heard lots of stories, from well meaning friends, along the lines of 'well i thought i was fine.. and then boom.. back to square one'
Any thoughts or suggestions? I'm not sure I could stand the thoughts of another 6-8 weeks with a sling.
P.S. Tabitha - your husband is lucky. The pain from a broken collarbone is nasty. I will never be able to thank my daughter and boyfriend enough for everything they've done for me these last weeks - helping me to undress, take a shower, wash my feet, tie my shoes... You know it's true love when you ask your boyfriend to please help you pull up your pants and he smiles and says "Of course dear!"

Permanent link to this comment. On July 21, 2005 05:36 PM, Hans wrote:

Tracie - If you are that far along after the accident and the broken collar bone still hasn't fused then I'm guessing it won't. It's possible that your body is forming fibrous tissue around the break. That happened with mine and it helped to stablize the bone. In fact, I was riding my bike around Europe a month later without any problems.

Some of the other problems you are having, such as range of motion in the arm, might be caused by more than just the collar bone. You might have done some soft tissue damage. Have you gone to a physical therapist yet? If not then I highly recommend that you go. Find one that understands sports related injuries. The one I have been seeing has helped tremendously and given me more information than my orthopedist.

As for backpacking? Well, check with your doctor and/or P.T. person. Describe how good a backpack you have and how much weight you will be carrying. Your friends are correct about trying too much too soon. You also have the option of testing your significant other "Honey, since I can't carry anything... would you mind?" :')

Permanent link to this comment. On July 21, 2005 10:57 PM, kool wrote:

I'm glad that I can read about other's experiences fromt his site... I like to share my own experience..

I broke my collar bone on 29th may in a charity ride (on a bicycle, going down slope, lost balance - I am a beginner in cycling). Like Carl (May 21), the x-ray showed the clavicle in a "z" position, but didn't see any TCM doctors. I saw 4 othopathedic surgeons instead, 2 of them suggested surgery. Reason for surgery - my shoulder would be shorter and i would experience some restricted movements in sports like swimming free style.

I opted for natural healing and I am into my 8th week. I am still experience lot aches and discomfort. It is worst than the initial 4 weeks. All the doctor did was to give me more pain killers. Pain has been a part of the whole process since day 1. Friends with the same injury recovered within 8 weeks.

My physio therapist confirmed that on top of the broken clavicle, i had a sprained elbow (same side - left), which explained why I experience pain when I moved my arm. She is more helping than the doctor. she explained concepts, what to expect and what I could do to ease the pain.. (using heat pack)

I will be seeing my doctor on 2 Aug. I was told that if there is a non-union of the bone, I have to go under the knife. Till then, there is nothing I could not about it..

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 03:59 AM, Tracie wrote:

That makes sense Hans- the fibrous tissue thing, but the idea of the bone not actually fusing freaks me out . I have, in fact, been to a physiotherapist, but for my other non-shoulder related injuries on my other side. He was much more helpful than my doctor, in fact, and gave me some very precise and good exercises to help my leg/hip along. His advice re: the collarbone, was to come back when the bone was 80% healed (fused?) and then we could start doing some exercises. I'm fed up with my doctor at the moment - she ordered the x-rays 2 weeks ago, then went on vacation so i couldn't get the results until this week. When I called to get the results, the receptionist told me that, yes, the results had come in, then proceeded to read them to me over the phone. "X-ray shows fractured clavicle" - no kidding. THen she said, well it's only been 3 weeks - when in fact it had been 5. I don't think either my doctor or receptionist understands how critical it is for an active person to be given the green light to go ahead and join the land of the living again. Their attitudes were cavalier- and in fact my doctor hasn't even seen the x-rays; the radiologist sent her a FAX with the 'results'. My theory is that no one has examined the x-rays to determine the extent of healing... (I live in Canada - we are currently undergoing a sort of 'health care crisis'.. too few doctors/under funding in hospitals/labs etc.) Anyway,fused bones makes sense. Think I'll go back to see the physio guy. I can't really tell him anything re: bone healing, but I would assume he's knowledgable enough to not suggest anything that would injure a possibly-non-healed bone? Do you think I should take the sling off to start strengthening the arm/shoulder?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 04:02 AM, Tracie wrote:

I mean NON fused bones - but fibrous tissue - makes sense..

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 06:39 AM, Tom wrote:

Hi,
Am now 11 weeks in to a broken clavicle and no healing on xray... can lift my arm to horizontal sideways and almost straight forward but thats it. My advice is to use a sling if it helps the pain (maybe the first couple of weeks) but then try and move your shoulder to stop it seizing up and making matters worse!!
People have said that after around 8 weeks if not fused it probably wont ever on this site, but my doc showed me a study with % fractures healed at 6, 12 and 24 weeks, and it does seems that the majority of fractures not completely fused at 12 weeks will by 24 weeks. But thats startying to feel like a long, long time!! You can see a table of results here: http://www.ejbjs.org/cgi/content/full/86/7/1359/DC1 . (sorry, dont know how to post it as a link!!). Reading the abstract may help to. Its not possible to read the whole study without subscribing though. hope this helps people!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 06:42 AM, Tom wrote:

forgot to ask this: do people feel the fracture site 'moving' on the way to healing? when i lie down the site seems to bend quite a lot. it would be nice to hear that that happened to people who went on to heal!!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 12:22 PM, Terry wrote:

Helpful site!

I broke my collar bone on July 13 playing Ultimate Frisbee...told myself no more layouts but couldn't resist. According to the X-ray report, there was no displacment but when I'm verticle(standing/sitting), I can feel the breakage point(large bump) sticking out under my skin. When I lie down, this bump goes away. Does this make sense? I can also feel the fracture site moving when walking or other movements. Doctor has me wearing a sling and I'm cocerned that I should be wearing a figure 8 brace like others have mentioned.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 12:45 PM, Terry wrote:

Any tips for sleeping? After about 3 hours of lying down, my lower back is killing me and I have to get up. Tried putting a pillow behind my knees which helps a bit.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 04:26 PM, Tracie wrote:

My doctor told me that the figure 8 brace isn't used anymore - that it's antiquated and kind of like an instrument of torture - but others seem to swear by it. I've been in a sling for 5 weeks now and find that as you start to heal, it offers a lot of flexibility. I can lower it when I'm slouching (velcro) to read, tighten it to walk and do exercises. I sleep with piles of pillows - 3 under my head - one under my left arm (with the broken collarbone) to keep the arm level - another under my left leg and one more on the other side. That way I can't inadvertently roll onto the bad side during the night. After 5 weeks I can almost roll over onto either side. Anyway, I hear that sleeping on your back is good for your complexion!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 04:58 PM, Terry wrote:

Tracie - do you sleep with your sling on? Where in Canada do you live? Just curious...I'm in Ottawa and the health care system needs help.

I have an appointment with my family doctor on Wed and will ask him about the figure 8 brace. I find when I arch/pull back my shoulders, my broken collar bone seems to fall back in place and a figure 8 brace would help with that more than a sling. I guess there are 2 schools of thought on the figure 8 brace and the sling. Too bad not everyone is on the same page to avoid doubt and confusion.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 23, 2005 11:25 PM, Hans wrote:

Tracie - I think that you should follow the advice of a good physical therapist and/or a doctor that you trust regarding beginning arm/shoulder strengthening. Flexibility and strength are important but not at the risk of further injury while recovering. We can only offer suggestions but a qualified doctor and/or physical therapist that examines you will need to make the call. One important point, which Tom comments on after your comment, is the need to move the arm and shoulder so as not to "seize" up the joint. The is also known as a "frozen shoulder" (see http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/frozenshoulder/a/frozenshoulder.htm). Regarding your comment "My doctor told me that the figure 8 brace isn't used anymore". That appears to be an assumption in the medical community. But it isn't true as is obvious from those that have been given figure-8 slings by their doctors. My doctor gave me one and I recovered quickly. If your doctor makes statements that Figure-8's aren't used anymore then he must be ignorant about clavicle breaks or is set on his/her ways or treatment.

Tom - Thanks very much for that link to that informative document. After reading through the abstract and looking at the chart, there's some important points to note: "the risk of nonunion was significantly increased by advancing age, female gender, displacement of the fracture, and the presence of comminution". So there are some common conditions that can lead to a non-union. But, it good to see that there is a chance for a break to heal even after 24 weeks.

Terry - "When I lie down, this bump goes away. Does this make sense?" Yes. The bump is formed at the union of the broken ends of the clavicle. The lump may go away with time.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 24, 2005 04:27 AM, Tracie wrote:

It baffles me how many conflicting opinions there are regarding the figure-8 sling and it distresses me to think that perhaps I should have had one all along. I was given a crappy (as in not very durable) sling from emergency the night of my accident and had to buy another better one myself - in fact the one I bought probably has a fit similar to the figure-8 as it has an additional strap around my waist and pulls my arm in snugly to my body. Both the doctor in emerg and my family doctor suggested the regular sling and there was never any mention of the figure-8 (except when I asked specifically). I have no doubt, as you suggest Hans, that my doctor is not very knowledgable about clavicle breaks. She's been a great doctor (reasonably young - but not too young, attentive, very informed) but seems surprisingly ignorant in this case. That's one reason why i'm on this website - trying to get as many different opinions as possible to weigh my options. I've actually learned more from this website than from my doctor and physiotherapist combined. Figue-8 slings make a lot of sense to me, especially in the initial healing stages since keeping the clavicle immobilized seems to be so important.
Terry- I'd be interested to hear your doctor's opinion regarding the figure-8. Maybe it's a 'Canadian thing'! Guelph - by the way - but I studied at Carleton... lived in Ottawa for many years. I remember our health care system pre: Mike HArris' Conservatives, by the way. Yeah. a mess now.
I sleep with my sling on - but after the first few weeks i started to loosen it at night so that I could straighten my arm out. My arm was so stiff before I started to do that; it felt like a lead pipe and was about as heavy as one too. So i would move the velcro down in order to straighten it, but keep the sling on, then pull the sling up snug when I had to get up. I have NO idea if this is recommended at all (did not move my arm at all initially.. it felt too scary).
Hans, how far along were you when you started doing shoulder strengthening exercises? At what point did you start taking your arm out of the sling? I spent about 2 hours yesterday with my arm out of the sling. It seemed fine, but I'm sure I need to do more exercises as my shoulder feels pathetically weak. You mentioned that you were bike riding in Europe after 4 weeks, and I know that every case is individual, but were you actually able to ride normally at that point in time? I feel like getting on my bike (or dirt bike) right now would be scary. We're going to Moab, Colorado, Arizona in 2 weeks time and I REALLY want to bring my mountain bike.For sure I will ask my physiotherapist as I realize that every case is individual (advancing age, female gender.. !) but I was in very good condition pre: break.
4 weeks? bike riding? I will be at 7 weeks when we leave.
I sound so desperate... sigh...

Permanent link to this comment. On July 24, 2005 09:08 AM, Hans wrote:

Tracie - It appears that most doctors consider broken clavicles "boring" and don't spend much time, if any, learning how to treat them. They may be wonderful and knowledgeable doctors. But there is only so much they can know.

Then there is the problem of finding a doctor that also understands the needs of an athlete and the impact the break will have on the patient. Again, that's why I highly recommend seeking out a doctor that specializes in sports related injuries.

"I sleep with my sling on - but after the first few weeks i started to loosen it at night so that I could straighten my arm out" - Flexing and using your elbow joint is important. My doctor recommended that almost from the start. Remove the arm from the sling and work the range of motion of the elbow but without moving the shoulder. Otherwise there is a chance of reducing mobility in your elbow. Then you will need physical therapy to regain the range.

"how far along were you when you started doing shoulder strengthening exercises?" - It was wasn't until at least two months before I was actively began using resistance to work my shoulder. Before then it was only range-of-motion exercises.

"At what point did you start taking your arm out of the sling?" - As mentioned above, I would remove my arm from the sling periodically throughout the day and at night. I began doing this around the first week and increased the number of times farther along.

"you were bike riding after 4 weeks but were you actually able to ride normally" - Yes, but my shoulder was still a little weak from the lack of use. I rode carefully and I wasn't doing any extreme riding. I was also only my road bike and had to let my mountain bike take a vacation. But at that point I had a fairly solid clavicle and was quickly feeling better and better.

I know how depressing it can be. Keep your head up. And remember, we are lucky because it's curable! :')

Permanent link to this comment. On July 25, 2005 11:32 AM, Phil wrote:

I will summarize a long saga. This year, at age 49 I fractured my clavicle skiing. I was told by the orthopedist at the slopes that it would heal on its own, and to let pain be my guide. Well there was plenty of pain and crepsis and it just did not seem any better after 6-8 weeks. I should have gotten a follow-up x-ray at that point, but since I was on Health-Net, harder than you think. After 3-4 months it still was hurting, so I had a follow-up x-ray and was told that the initial injury was more of a shatter than a break, there was a "non-union" of the bones, and that surgery was probably needed from the get-go. So now I am on a stimulator 24 hours a day for two more months. If the electric stimulation does not encourage bone growth, I will need an operation for pins, or have to live with it. So, I encourage all you out there to be careful with the injury and aggressive about seeking qualified medical advice.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 25, 2005 01:05 PM, Tabitha wrote:

I have a question, I posted a week or so ago about my husband, he's been told he'll need surgery, either a rod placed in, or a metal plate. This will take plce on August 3rd, but since then I've heard a lot about the "serious risks" of surgery--was wondering what you all thought about this, and/or if any of you had any experience with it??

Permanent link to this comment. On July 25, 2005 07:40 PM, Joe wrote:

I'm on my 3rd broken clavicle. The second time I broke it, over 20 years ago, I had to have it pinned, where they inserted a rod from one end of the bone to the other. Not a pleasant experience but probably necessary for it to heal properly. I was in the hospital for a few days but didn't experience any complications from surgery and regained full use of the shoulder. Anytime you have surgery you are exposing yourself to certain risks. And if a bone graft is involved, then the risk becomes greater. I think much of the risk factor depends on your present state of health also. You just have to determine if the benefits outweight the risks. Don't know what is going to happen this time, but I'm definitely starting to look at my surgery options. I did hear about one Orthopedist from Duke University that was using a slightly different procedure involving the use of 1 screw to bring both ends of the bone together without the need for bone grafting - something I'd like to avoid. Here's a link to the article - http://dukemednews.duke.edu/global/print.php?id=2100. Hope all goes well with your husband's surgery.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 25, 2005 08:09 PM, Tabitha wrote:

Joe, Thanks a lot! I'll pass this info on to my husband. I'm wondering whether we should get a second oppinion on the procedure before he goes in for it, just in case another doctor might have a better procedure to use, or at least just for reassurance. He'll definately need surgery, but I want it to be as risk free as possible! Its really inportant to him to have full, ache-free use of his arm, especially since its the one he writes with! Right now its hanging about 3 inches lower than his left, and his whole body looks crooked! (of course that may also be due to the three broken ribs on the same side!) Anyways, we'll definately ask about this type of repair! Thanks again.
Tabitha

Permanent link to this comment. On July 27, 2005 07:15 AM, Rob wrote:

Wow we got some real experience here. I'm 45 physically active and am in great physical shape even if I say so myself. Over the past few months I've been experiencing a kind of 'clicking' sensation where my collar bone meets my left shoulder. This happens if I move my shoulder in a particular way. No pain just the occassional 'niggle'.
I have been ill this week and I've got Flu like symptoms where all my joints and muscles are seem to ache (knees, fingers, ribs, hips, back etc) along with a headache. Some parts of my body ache more than others from time to time. Anyway, this shoulder is more sensitive than usual and I feel this 'clicking' sensation even more now. I think there is some bone swelling but It's hard to tell. If I sit quietly enough I can feel a needle like pain in the affected shoulder and it sometimes shoots down my arm. Hard to say exactly because most other places currently ache with shooting pains.

"How did you damage yourself?" I hear you cry. It might have been when I did Jiu Jitsu (martial Arts). I did experience niggling sensation in my shoulder around last year summer. Mind you I felt a lot of niggles in other parts of my body after each training session because it was quite demanding. I did Jiu Jitsu this for a year until I broke my leg during a wrestling match last summer and I haven't been back since but I've been swimming and weight training instead since. Anyway this 'clicking' sensation does not stop me from doing my activities, it's just more noticeable and a bit sore now.
Any suggestions from you guys?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 27, 2005 12:38 PM, Joe wrote:

Tabitha, from my experience, ALWAYS get a second opinion...paticularily if you're looking at surgery. I'm going to see another Orthopedist in a couple of weeks to see what he has to say. I may even go seek a 3rd if I feel like he's just giving me the standard answer.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 27, 2005 04:37 PM, Terry wrote:

Went to see the doctor this morning about my 2 week old broken collar bone and asked him about the figure 8 brace(I was only wearing the sling)...he mentioned it was an old school method but couldn't hurt. I wanted to try it so I dropped by an Orthopedic store after work and got fitted. I'm glad I did as the bump on my collar bone greatly diminished once the figure 8 brace was installed. The person at the store said that normal treatment would be wearing both figure 8 brace and a sling. Then after a couple of weeks, the sling comes off and wear just the figure 8...this should help minimize the bump and the droopy shoulder. He went to a clinic given by an Orthopedist who treats NHL hockey players and that's what they recommended. I guess if its good enough for millionaire professional hockey players, its good enough for me. Only wish I found out about this 2 weeks ago :-(

Once again - thanks for the great info on this site!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 27, 2005 06:20 PM, Steve Mentzer wrote:

July 27,2005
I also stumbled on this site seeking info on broken collar bones. Mine happen last Saturday(July 23rd). Cycling accident. Left clavicle broken. No surgery required. After x-rays at emergency, was given a sling to wear. Now after visit to Orthopaedic clinic, figure 8 splint was substituted for sling. Was told it promoted better posture which facilitated better healing. Will go back in a week to x-ray affected shoulder. at my age (49) I'm not sure what results I will see. From other comments some people have made I don't expect dramatic results.
Hope to get back to the gym and at least get on a trainer and keep the legs in shape. BTW sleep has not yet been a problem. Maybe its the vicodan. HA!
Great site and great info.
Steve

Permanent link to this comment. On July 28, 2005 08:17 AM, Conrad wrote:

On June 27th I posted to the site. Just to re-cap, June 21st
bike crash resulting in a left mid clavicle break, slight
displacement, and comminuted. Plus severe abrasions on
left shoulder and waist and hip and left knee. Plus trochanteric bursitis on the left hip. Thought my season was
over.

This will be encouraging to many. And I am not a kid, but
a 45 year-old male.

What has happened is a miracle. Of course I was approaching
top form as a long-course triathlete when I went down and
my nutrition has been since last November, absolute dead-on,
ie. no processed or canned foods, just lots of vegtables and fruit, lean meat and limited amounts of good fats.

Two days after I crashed, started walking, slowly and very
short in distance. Every day. By day 5 and 6, walking 5 miles
a day. Went and saw the Ortho on day 3 who gave me a figure 8
strap to wear. Starting week 2, put my old Nishiki on a mag
trainer. Rode 89 miles on the trainer that week and power-walked 24.8. Including two hard sessions on the computrainer
with my girlfriend who is a USAT coach (she was using me!!!as
a rabbit). During that week, on day 10, had a follow-up with
the ortho. To me the x-ray looked worse than the first taken
at the ER. Looked more displaced. I pointed that out and
suggested that perhaps the figure 8 was causing further displacement because the pressure point of the strap was right
on the outer bone that was beong pushed down. He gave me
a sling and swathe to wear. When I got home, took it off because it wasn't giving me the required support that I felt
I needed. So modified the figure 8 by taking a short piece of
ace bandage and looping it around the front slings and tying
it tight, was able to move the pressure point of the strap off
of the break and on to the sternum part that was solid. The
surgeon though on that second visit did comment when looking
at the x-ray and feeling the bone that it was "amazing". I
asked if that was good or bad. He said very good. My bones
where already as he put it, solid, and not moving as with most.

Week 3, the Tour de France. Rode every day on the trainer.
206 miles that week watching the Tour. Greatest Tour I ever
saw. In fact, including week 2, rode every day for 14 days.
Also power-walked 30.4. Started thinking maybe I can get
back into that Ironman distance triathlon August 13th!!!!!

Week 4, was up in the mountains. In two days, power-walked
22 miles between 7400 and 9200 feet. 8 the first day and
14 the second. That 14 took me 3:59:30. About what I would
run a marathon in an Ironman. That sunday, did a 4 hour
mag trainer ride. Thank God for the Tour.

Week 5 of my rehab, started swimming. Just kick sets and
one-arm breast, back and free. Would have started swimming
much earlier but couldn't because of the road rash. Only during
this week were all the wounds closed and no longer still draining. On friday of that week, July 22, my third visit
with the ortho. 4 1/2 weeks after the crash. Was nervous
going in. Kept wondering if I had done too much. I always
kept the thought "do not interrupt the healing process" first
and foremost in my mind. But I still had doubts. Well, the
x-ray showed that calcification had bridged the gap! Even
the untrained eye could see that. He had me then lift my arm
which I did. He cleared me for above the shoulder activities
with pain as my limiter. Also cleared to go back to work.
That week swam 5.1 miles, rode 173, and ran (not walked) 34.
The ortho wanted me to come back for another visit. I said
no. Only if a complication arises. My bone is now of one and
improving with each day. He did say I could do that Ironman
if I wanted, but I have to be very careful since the bone
won't be at full strength until around 12 weeks. The way I have
healed, I would put myself at 10 weeks. Have to be very careful
riding. No crashing!!!!!!!

It is week 6. Tuesday was exactly 5 weeks after crashing.
Have swam every day since Monday. Started two arm swimming.
Monday, very difficult. Painful. Couldn't even stretch out
my left arm doing breast. Did try some free. Very modified.
I swim with a straight right arm recovery and full reach and
roll, then start the left arm recovery as I start the right pull. The left entry is right in front of my nose pretty much
much and is along for the ride so to speak. I can't pull
with any power. Tuesday a little better. Yesteday did
10x200 freestyle. Not very fast though. On 4 at :3:40. At
least I am progressing. Also yesterday rode 70 on my tri bike
at 18.3 mph. avg. with 2900 feet of climbing followed by a
t-run of 2 miles at 8:17/mile pace. I can now run with
my left arm un-supported (before needed a ace bandage around
my neck that I would grab on to for support as needed).

Next week is my "test". Only if I can complete the 3 day test,
only then do I re-enter that race. On Monday, run 6, ride 20,
run 12, easy swim pm. Tuesday, ride 90 with around 4000 feet climbing followed by a 2 mile easy run, easy pm swim. Wednesday, 1 hour open water swim follwed by a 20 mile ride.
That's it. There is no taper for me but rather a buid to the
race. After the test, it though will be just recovery training
the rest of the way. I feel confident now. I won't have the same game as what I was approaching when I went down. But have
been able to hold onto probably 90% of top performance.

I hope this gives someone a little encouragement. Here is
what I would suggest the wounded athlete. First, remember that
you are still an athlete. Stick with your nutrition plan.
Second, sleep as much as possible. That is when the bones
are truly immobilized and are able to heal. Do not lift the
arm above the shoulder until cleared to do so. Third, train,
but never to the point of jeopardizing the healing process.

Good luck to all,
Conrad

Permanent link to this comment. On July 29, 2005 02:43 PM, Joe wrote:

Conrad, I'm envious! You're like the Terrell Owens of broken clavicles!! I broke mine the same day you did. Mine was mt. biking though. Should have listened to that rattlesnake that tried to warn me. I tried getting back into the gym a couple of weeks after the accident to at least get some cardio in. Was doing well until the lung I collapsed started complaining about it. Coughing up blood kinda' freaked me out, so I've had to lay low until we figure out what's going on with that. Congrats on the fast recovery and hope all goes well with the race. Excellent advice also!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 29, 2005 09:03 PM, Cherie wrote:

Tomorrow will be 10 weeks from breaking my left clavicle falling from my horse. It was TORTURE for the first 3 weeks, but plenty of pain until my 6th week when I BEGGED my OS to allow me to see a physical therapist for the pain I had in my back, neck and chest. MY PT was able to work miracles.

After my experience, these are my suggestions:
1. Allow your body to heal, there is nothing you can do to make your bone heal faster.
2. Get to a physical therapist as soon as you can, they can help with your pain, range of motion, and most importantly, since they see you often will reassure you that you are healing ok. The clavicle is the only bone that holds your arm to your body, your muscles are making up for the lack of support.
3. THIS IS A MUST!!! GET THE SHOULDERS BACK device at www.shouldersback.net WAY more comfortable than the sling or fig of 8, and you might actually use it after you heal!

No more muscle pain now, just an occaisional deep, heavy pain at the break site which I am told is a normal "growing pain".

Healing and happily riding again!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2005 09:26 AM, David wrote:

Today I am at the end of my 3rd week, I would agree the first week was the worst. I did nothing but sleep. The second week I was a little more alert and trying to move around. dropped the pain killers, at this point they just were more of a problem in keeping me awake at night. The third week I went back to work doing paper work at my work ( Mechanic Normally } I had to remove my sling it was causing my middle upper back a great deal of pain and with-in two or three hours the pain went away and not more back pain. The back pain was almost worse then the collar bone pain and I had been having it for almost the past week. I still have little use of my left arm and am hoping by doing some arm stretches it will gain even more flexibilty. Here is a web site I found to help give me back some of the flexibility: http://www.racingsmarter.com/collar_bone_fractures.htm I am planing on just doing the motions without the use of the bungie untill my shoulder becomes more stable.You will have to look around since I have only come across this site last night in the middle of the night I have only one more week till I have to go back to my normal duties at work, so stated the doctor's orders, he gave 4 weeks to be back to doing my job. Hans. I am not ever sure how I came across you web page in the first place now, but I do want to thankyou and all the fine folks who have made feel a bit more normal in the time frame of the healing process. I would also like your imput on what you feel about the back brace posted, I am referring to this web site: www.shouldersback.net Once again Thanks!

Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2005 10:50 AM, marisa wrote:

Thanks to all of my fellow one-handed typists for sharing stories and suggestions! I broke my right clavicle 24 hours ago while bicycling on a bike path during an extended weekend at Lake Michigan. We were about twenty miles into it and heading back to our car and then out to lunch! Five hours in the ER - X-rays, a CAT scan... The ER MD described it as a "bizarre" break - oblique break along the length with two pointy ends Ouch! Almost fainted twicein the ER from the pain but the AC was so col that I snapped out of it! Now instead of hiking the dunes , flying kites, and more bicycling, I am holed up in our hotel room trying to get myself psyched up for the five-hour ride back home tomorrow.
How did I do it? I hit a curb cut at a bad angle snd did an endo! Thank God for helmets and gloves and for the brains to know to wear them. My helmet cracked in two places - I shudder to think had I not been wearing it...
Pillows, sling, and tylenol 3 for now - will see orthopedist first thing after weekend. My husband has been super - taking care of my every need! I am still in the scrubs they sent me home from the hospital in - I sacrifced a brand new riding jersey rather than put my arms over my head.
Funny thing - less than a week ago I flipped my recumbent trike for a nasty bit of road rash on my right forearm that is now trapped in the sling! My husband says he's going to start calling me Marisa Rasmussen!


Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2005 10:53 AM, marisa wrote:

Thanks to all of my fellow one-handed typists for sharing stories and suggestions! I broke my right clavicle 24 hours ago while bicycling on a bike path during an extended weekend at Lake Michigan. We were about twenty miles into it and heading back to our car and then out to lunch! Instead, five hours in the ER - X-rays, a CAT scan... The ER MD described it as a "bizarre" break - oblique break along the length with two pointy ends Ouch! Almost fainted twicein the ER from the pain but the AC was so cold that I snapped out of it! Now instead of hiking the dunes , flying kites, and more bicycling, I am holed up in our hotel room trying to get myself psyched up for the five-hour ride back home tomorrow.
How did I do it? I hit a curb cut at a bad angle and did an endo! Thank God for helmets and gloves and for the brains to know to wear them. My helmet cracked in two places - I shudder to think had I not been wearing it...
Pillows, sling, and tylenol 3 for now - will see orthopedist first thing after weekend. My husband has been super - taking care of my every need! I am still in the scrubs they sent me home from the hospital in - I sacrifced a brand new riding jersey rather than put my arms over my head.
Funny thing - less than a week ago I flipped my recumbent trike for a nasty bit of road rash on my right forearm that is now trapped in the sling! My husband says he's going to start calling me Marisa Rasmussen!


Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2005 09:22 PM, Tabitha wrote:

Hi all, me again. Just wondering if any of you have ever experienced any kind of chest pain after your breaks. My husband started having chest pain on the side of his break, and difficulty taking a deep breath. He says its just because it hurts so much, but I'm hoping its not a blood clot etc. I read that thats a possibility after a bone break. According to him its not just a mild pain. He DOES also have a few broken ribs aside from the clavicle, but they are not really in the area as the pain. Also the yellow bruising has started to fade. Any thoughts??

Permanent link to this comment. On July 30, 2005 09:51 PM, Hans wrote:

Tabitha - Chest pain can be caused by many things, not necessarily the broken ribs or clavicle. It shouldn't be ignored if persistent. Also, there are associated symptoms that, if found, would necessitate a call to 911 or a trip to the emergency room. Here's a site with more information:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003079.htm

I found the page above through a quick google search:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=chest+pain&btnG=Google+Search

Permanent link to this comment. On July 31, 2005 06:32 PM, Hans wrote:

David - Someone else posted a positive note about the ShouldersBack brace. I haven't used one myself. The figure-8 brace I used was very inexpensive (~$20) and worked fine. I don't see a benefit to the ShouldersBack brace vs. a figure-8 for clavicle healing.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 1, 2005 10:35 AM, cherie wrote:

Hans,

The benefit of the Shouldersback brace is comfort. The fig of 8 provides no back support, and I had terrible back pain wearing it. The Shouldersback has a band that goes around your chest to help your back.

The other benefit is that you can wear it under clothing and not look like the hunchback of Notre Dame AND YOU CAN PUT IT ON AND ADJUST IT BY YOURSELF!!!!

I would have paid 200 (or more) for the brace, knowing how much it helped in relieving my back pain. After wearing the Shouldersback, the fig of 8 seems very archaic in design.

My OT and PT approved it, in fact, my PT placed orders for them.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 1, 2005 12:21 PM, Hans wrote:

Cherie - Good information about the ShouldersBack product. Thanks for updating us.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 1, 2005 03:56 PM, Peter wrote:

Just broke my clavicle 2 days ago, mt. biking. It seems like I have it good compared to some of you, or Vicodin is just doing wonders for me. I'm using the figure 8 and not the sling. The Sling seems to put undue pressure on the injury, whereas, I feel more natural with my elbow further out away from my body. Does this sound right/ok for proper healing. The figure 8 goes under my arm so the gap it creates as a wedge makes it uncomfortable and unnatural using the sling.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 1, 2005 08:27 PM, cherie wrote:

Peter,

Your elbow feels more comfortable away from your body because it allows your back muscles to support your arm, which your clavicle cannot do. B6 will help with the inevitable back spasms.

I felt the fig of 8 pressed on the fracture site as well. Under closer scrutiny, I found the ER had fastened it on me updside down. In my quest for comfort, I purchased 3 other fig of 8 braces (plus over night shipping)...waste, they are all uncomfortable, and I found the sling made me hunch over, which could not be good.

I am heralding the shouldersback device so strongly because of how much better I felt. Now that I am almost fully healed I feel I need to inform others who suffered like I did. The fig of 8 certainly was not designed with comfort in mind, it made me think of earlier times when they probably just used a leather strap with cloth wrapped around it. Every other bone gets a friggin cast, and we have to let our broken bones grind at each other until time passes and they find a way to grow back together.

I really feel for all of you who have recently injured yourselves. May the days speed by to your 8 week mark.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2005 06:13 AM, Renee wrote:

Hello everyone! I am so glad to have found this site. I am on my 1oth day. I feel pretty much the same as the first day it happened. I do not feel to bad during the day, but the nights are horrible. At night my shoulder area throbs and I can not get comfortable no matter what I sleep on (chair, recliner or bed). I am in a fig 8 splint and a sling. Vicadin seems to do nothing for me. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? Is it ok to sleep on my side with the fractured side up? It still throbs but takes the pressure off the fig. 8 brace for a while. Also, can you tell at all when the bones begin to move back into place? Has anyone tried heating pads to speed up healing? Thank you for any comments in advance. Renee

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2005 12:55 PM, Tracie wrote:

Renee - I just passed the 6 week mark - fractured left clavicle in a high impact dirt bike accident- and can offer you a few tips based on my experience. I didn't have vicodin but percocet - worked amazingly well for me but I only took it for a week as it made me fuzzy. You have to sleep with tons of pillows and you can't sleep on your side for a loooong time - at least I couldn't. I still have piles of pillows around me when I sleep. Three days ago I rolled over onto my right side to sleep for the first time - it was sweet. I found that as long as that shoulder was totally supported, there was no pain at the site but now that I'm starting to exercise the left arm I'm getting pain in other places - my neck, my biceps (did some curls this morning in the gym... baby ones and my arm feels 'stiff')It's really hard on you, being immobile for so long - sad old tired muscles that can't hold your arm up - keeping the clavicle immobilized is one consistent piece of advice you'll find here - it's something really important. I am now only wearing my sling when I go out and that seems fine. I broke my other clavicle when I was a kid and didn't even go to the doctor (Finnish - something called SISU..yeahright) This time around I'm attempting to 'listen' to my body and basically that seems to work too - if it hurts, don't do it.
Going on a driving/camping/Jeeping holiday in a few days and hope to be able to crawl into a tent and carry firewood. Hans has good advice if you have a significant other...
hooooney...
p.s. it works for about 4 weeks - then they get sick of your whining and start to think you're FAKING IT!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2005 08:07 PM, Emily wrote:

My 14 year old daughter broke her right collarbone July 7 in a fall from a horse. The xray that day showed a complete break just slightly closer to the shoulder than the middle. The inner half of the bone was a full 3cm above the other half. I did not see how this could possibly heal but the er doc and the Children's Hospital ortho, the next day, both said it should heal ok on it's own. She was given a sling with a band that wrapped around the body also. Here in Cincinnati, the word is that the figure 8 is old guard. I wonder if she should have had it. Today she had another xray. The bones are now quite close together (not touching) and overlapped by at least 2cm. At each end of the overlap there are signs that new bone is growing. But, the top bone is quite high and the rather pointy end is not covered by much tissue. What are the consequences of having one shoulder so much shorter in length than the other? And how easily could this bump so close to the surface be rebroken? Is this a situation in whick surgery should be considered. Since her normal bone growth is about finished, do you think she should see an adult ortho (oh, you know what I mean!). Any info would be appreciated.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 3, 2005 07:52 AM, Ben wrote:

I broke my left collarbone yesterday riding my mountainbike. The x-ray showed that the bone is broken in two places. Will this take longer to heal? Would an operation be a good idea?
Btw im 18 years old..roughly how long would it take to heal by itself? thanks

Permanent link to this comment. On August 3, 2005 09:40 AM, Hans wrote:

Emily - I don't have any answers for you regarding the shorter shoulder length or the chance of rebreaking. I would recommend having her get a second (or third) opinion from another ortho doc.

As for the figure-8 being "old guard", yes that comes up. It's almost like asking people about a Mac vs. PC computer. You are bound to get many opinions for either one. From my own experience I found it worked really well. Others have commented as to the same. I think there's been only a few that commented that it didn't work for them. So, I personally go with the thought that if it doesn't hurt you and has a chance of helping, then use it.

------

Ben - I don't know if your double break will take longer to heal. Injuries are unique and each person recovers differently. Have an orthopedic doctor examine the injury. Be sure to let the doctor know that the types of activites you like to do. For example, cycling, swimming, etc.. A doctor may recommend different treatments depending on your needs.

As for surgery, I recommend it only as a last resort. But for some injuries it's the best solution. Again, get an opinion from a doctor. Get another if you are uncomfortable with the first doctor's opinion.

Being younger, 18, you will probably heal up fast. That's the lucky part of having a break when you are younger.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 3, 2005 08:46 PM, Tabitha wrote:

Hans, ARGGGHHH!! I'm so mad. I followed your advice and dragged my hubby straight to the ER. They did NOTHING, didnt follow up on the chest pain AT ALL. Just gave him a shot of pain meds. :-( AND, to make matters worse, his ortho surgeon called to reschedule his surgery for Wednesday (10th). Now he has to wait another week for this surgery which was SO NECESSARY. HA. We did get two other opinions though, which were all the same. It drives me BANANAS when someone complains of chest pain and they don't take them seriously!! ANYHOW, Thanks for the advice. I'm still worried about him though, hopefully its just some strained tendons or something...This whole ordeal is really starting to wear me down. I can't remember the last time I was so exhausted. (and I'm not the one with the broken bone!!)

Permanent link to this comment. On August 3, 2005 11:55 PM, Hans wrote:

Tabitha - Sorry to hear that the docs are making you feel that way. But the good news appears to be that the chest pain is only pain and not something worse. I would think that if they recognized the chest pain as something critical they would have done something right then and there. Maybe they are taking it seriously but don't have good "bed side manners". From your description of the injuries your husband sustained, I can see how he would be in so much pain. There's a lot of damage and all those pulls and strains aren't helping. Maybe a massage might help reduce some pain.

Also, remember to take care of yourself. It doesn't help either of you get through this if you wear yourself out.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 4, 2005 02:33 PM, Tabitha wrote:

I hope thats the case!! Thanks for your support. :-)

Tabitha

Permanent link to this comment. On August 5, 2005 12:23 PM, Tom wrote:

Hi,
My doctor says to use pain as a guide to how much i should move my arm - does anyone know if that means only do pain-free movements, or to only not move if its unbearable pain?! I must have the slowest healing fracture in the world - 13 weeks and counting... But this is a rare situation apparently, so dont let it worry you if you've just broken your collar bone! At least i can drive now, and the range of motion is slowly increasing. Good luck!!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 5, 2005 01:53 PM, Hans wrote:

Tom - Yes, pain is a great indicator of "stop what you are doing". My doctor and physical therpist have said the same thing. Determining the level of pain is a personal thing. I gauge mine based on levels of discomfort I am familiar with. For example, when lifting weights or hard riding I reach levels that are high but not uncomfortable. If the level moves from strain/soreness to "it hurts" then I stop. That level is usually way below unbearable pain.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2005 11:36 AM, kenvin wrote:

was kinda glad i found tis site as there's so many of you here who has been thru the same stuffs which resulted in a broken clavicle bone.. i too broke my right collar bone.(into 3 pieces, something like a "Z" shaped) And was told by the doctors here in singapore, that it would heal naturally but it got worst as the gap of the bone grew further apart and the bone looked like it may tear thru my skin anytime soon. had no choice but to have a metal plating plus bone grafting to fix it back. it's has been 3 weeks since the plating was fixed and does anyone know if there's any side effects to it in future? it's like i can feel the plating when i'm touching the once broken clavicle bone. it sure feels weird having a object stuck in your body..

Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2005 12:24 PM, Robert Wegmann wrote:

Great Site..

Now for proof that there is always somebody that just won't listen. I'm in week 5 of a collarbone break and was told that I was healing but wasn't healed. I was to limit myself but start using my arm. Since I felt pretty good I did some weight work that was probably over the edge and felt something move in my shoulder with a good bit of pain. Now when I reach or lean on my right arm I get a really bad pain at the point of the break and figure I've re-fractured it again. Does anybody know if this just means another 6 to 8 weeks or will it be even worse/better? I'm back in the sling and the only time I get pain is with unusual moves or lifting. Since I'm sure the Dr. will not be pleasant next week I figured I'd ask you guys what you think.

Thanks

BMX Fool

Permanent link to this comment. On August 7, 2005 01:48 PM, peter webb wrote:

i was jumping a fence with a horse yesterday anyway he fell and then i fell and broke my rt. clavicle. i have a written university exam next week and if i dont pass it i'll have to repeat the year. luckily i write with both hands, but was wondering if anyone knows any good drugs UK that don't make me drowsy what the hospital gave me is good but making me drowsy/. and how much improved should the fracture be by next wk. - the doc said not to expect any great movements! this has totally upset my study schedeule! any ideas - question mark

Permanent link to this comment. On August 7, 2005 08:01 PM, Dick Graybill wrote:

I'll keep the lurid details brief: over the handlebars on May 25. The left clavicle broke in the middle, the ends are overlapping and separated by about 1-2 cm. The gap seems to be widening and is directly proportional to the depth of my depression. Still no union (but then I'm 65). No big problem with mobility or pain. Questions: How bad is permanent non-union? Why is surgery usually called the last resort? Does a permanent lump make it difficult to carry a backpack? Austin (JAH): I'm also from Santa Cruz. Who is your doctor, and is he any good? Hans: Thanks for all the help. Dick

Permanent link to this comment. On August 8, 2005 06:42 AM, Dick Graybill wrote:

One thing I forgot to ask in my comments yesterday: What kind of results have people gotten with those electronic bone growth stimulators? My bone Doc has been mumbling about using one on me. Dick

Permanent link to this comment. On August 8, 2005 11:06 AM, Hans wrote:

peter - No answer for non-drowsy drugs. Also, don't expect too much improvement after only one week. But be very careful during that week not to move your shoulder. The first week is when the body works the hardest to begin healing. You can hinder that process by doing too much with your shoulder. Good luck with your exam.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 8, 2005 11:17 AM, Hans wrote:

Dick - It's possible to have a permanent non-union that causes no problems. I have one now that is held together by a fibroid connection. That's a connection that uses fibrous tissue. I've done several backpacking trips with my shoulder in this state, including a small lump, without any issues. But each person and their break is unique. So you will have to evaluate yourself. I think people say "surgery is a last resort" because it's considered better to heal using non-invasive techniques. Surgery can cause other complications such as infection and increase the length of recovery. I have not used an electronic bone growth stimulator. A friend used one and said it helped. But he couldn't say if it really helped or it worked as a placebo.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 9, 2005 06:24 PM, Chere wrote:

Thank you for this website - I just wish I would have looked for it a month ago!! Broke my left clavicle July 3 mountain biking and gracefully threw, errr launched myself over the handlebars. What do they say about balancing your weight? Went to the doctor yesterday (August 8) and there is no growth yet - my day of accident x-ray and yesterdays are identical. Concerned because I am lactose intollerant - only calcium is through vitamins...since the break haven't been taking as much as you suggested in your story. Didn't know about this non union thing!! Doc has me going back in 4 weeks - have to wear my figure 8 and my arm sling until then! Still having substantial pain. Is there a light at the end of my tunnel - anyone think a second opinion is in order? What is no fun - haven't done ANYTHING for one month and at the time of the fall was training for marathon. Got on the stationary bike for 20 minutes one day and alas mixture of boredom and pain set it.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 9, 2005 07:02 PM, Joe wrote:

-Robert:
I was talking to someone Saturday and he had a similar story as yours. He re-injured his clavicle early in his healing. He was told the new growth tissue is still very pliable and would reattach after a couple of days. It did, but again it is different for everyone. Let us know what the doctor says.

-I broke my right clavicle 6-weeks ago. Today I went to my 2nd and final therapy session. When you heal again you need to get with a Physical Therapist to make sure you don’t overdo it again. She has me doing a routine every other day. Two sets of high reps and light weights for lats, deltoids, biceps, triceps, and light chest work. For the immediate future I am to do “no” weightlifting over my head, or pushups, pull-ups, etc… She also showed me some stretching exercises, but nothing over my head.

-When the time is right you also ought to try swimming long, easy, gliding strokes. It has really worked for me. However, make sure you exit the pool at the stairs or steps. It still smarts to attempt pulling myself out from the side.

ShouldersBack:
The worst thing about my recovery was wearing a Clavicle Strap underneath my suit coat. Very uncomfortable. In this forum I read about the ShouldersBack, I ordered one and it was a godsend, much more comfortable at work. In fact, I still sleep with it most nights. Currently I often sleep on my “fractured” side and wake up sore in the morning. It seems if I sleep in a ShouldersBack, there is no stiffness on those nights I roll onto the fractured area. So it must offer some needed support to the injured area.

Good luck with your recovery. After six weeks I am back to “moderate” swimming, biking (but not falling), running and light weights. Even so, the Orthopedic Surgeon wants to see another x-ray in 4 weeks. Last week’s x-ray showed new growth, however, it is a bad break so he wants to continue to monitor it during the healing process.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 10, 2005 12:52 AM, Joe wrote:

Chere, I can relate to your concern a bit. I broke my clavicle on June 21st - mt. biking of course. After 3 weeks, the x-rays showed no sign of healing. I went back in for another set of x-rays on August 6th - (6 weeks) and I'm just barely starting to heal. The pics showed a very thin thread of calcification starting to connect the bones. The doc said I can lose the figure 8 and just go with a sling when I'm out and about. I'm probably looking at 14 weeks total before this thing is considerably healed. I'm 50, so this time frame isn't that unusual. Luckily, I didn't experience any pain with this break - I've broken it 2 other times. The last time I had to have it pinned. The only pain I've had from this one was from keeping my shoulder immobilized for so long. With a sling and a figure 8 this might be a concern for you. You really want to avoid shoulder freeze also. One thing the doc showed me, which I think is a good idea, is to use your good arm to move the other one around. Nothing above the shoulder of course. This way you're not putting much pressure on the injured area. I notice I get some pain in the shoulder when I do this but not in break area. And even that is starting to subside after a few days. I know the pain can suck the life out of you, but I think keeping active as possible is very important, whether it's just getting out for walk or enduring the stationary bike as long as possible. It not only keeps the blood circulating but really helps to improve your mood. My feeling is not to go for a second opinion yet but wait to see what the next set of x-rays show. If you still not seeing any healing, then see what another orthopedist...maybe one who specializes in sports medicine...has to say. Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 11, 2005 10:23 AM, Bonnie wrote:

This is an excellent site. The old saying misery loves company sure applies. I broke my collar bone on July 13 when I passed out during a ride. This is my second one. The first one was broken clean through and hurt much worse than this one. This one is broken two thirds of the way through and is healing quite nicely. It is really important to remember to wear your figure 8 brace, especially if it is broken clear through. Also, if you doctor does not suggest physical therapy, be sure to mention that you would like to go. The doctor waited too long on the first one and I got what they call a "frozen shoulder". This on top of the broken clavical is just horrible. Good luck to everyone with their battle wounds and thanks to everyone for sharing their stories.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2005 07:07 AM, Ben wrote:

Is it a must to wear the figure 8 brace..its now a week adn a half ago since i broke my collarbone...it seems to be healing quite nicely as there is no more pain and i cant feel the bones moving anymore. im able to use my arm without pain and the figure 8 brace doesnt seem to push the shoudler back much further than it already is. so is it a must to wear it?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2005 11:13 AM, Hans wrote:

Ben - It sounds like you are almost to the point of not needing to wear the figure-8. I would recommend wearing it a little longer. Four more days at least. The bones have just fused but the connection isn't necessarily strong. The figure-8 will help to maintain support and possibly prevent you from tearing the connection.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2005 01:22 PM, Tabitha wrote:

Hi All! My husband had his surgery yesterday and he is doing OK, except for the 2 large incision sites they made. And the pain. lol They put in a large screw that runs the length of the bone, with bolts to hold it into place. For anyone with break as bad as his-the surgery turned out to be very necessary. The surgery was supposed to take 90 minutes and actually took 4 hours, because when the surgeon got in there he realized that it was a lot worse than he originally thought. If we had left it alone it never would have healed, and he never would have regained proper use of his arm. I have posted pictures online for his family & friends to look at (and anyone else who wants to) so if you'd like have a look. Feel free to post your pictures if you have any (of your breaks) and let me know what you think!! I'll be posting pictures more as the healing goes on. Thanks for all your support! This site has been a very valuable asset to me during this time!

Signed, A very relieved wife that this is almost over. ;-)
Tabitha

http://groups.msn.com/StevesClavicleFracture/shoebox.msnw

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2005 05:52 PM, Ruth Wood wrote:

I just broke my right clavicle 3 days ago in a car accident. I'm wearing a brace and taking white willow bark at night. As much as I dislike the thought of having a funny shaped collar bone for the rest of my life, I opted to not have surgery mostly because of the expense and no health insurance. I ventured online today to find some "support". Stories of others, how they broke theirs, how they cared for it, how it healed, long-term effects of a clavicle break, etc. This was very entertaining and uplifting, although it hurts to laugh right now, and I will NOT sneeze for another few weeks, believe me. My mother-in-law is an herbalist and I've always been keen on natural, alternative stuff. So if anyone is interested, here's some things to take so your body can heal itself faster and better. I was shocked to read about so many who's bone wasn't even beginning to fuse after 4 weeks or so. Maybe it's common, but that doesn't seem right to me. A good mutl-mineral, as Laura pointed out, it very important. One very good product that can be taken with the multi-mineral or in large doses on its own is Tissue Mend. Read about it at: http://www.drugfreehelp.com/herbs/formulas/tissue_mend.htm
Buy it at: http://www.eherbsplus.com/search_results.asp?PAGE=3&txtsearchParamTxt=%2A&txtsearchParamType=ALL&txtsearchParamCat=ALL&txtsearchParamMan=4&txtsearchParamVen=ALL&txtDateAddedStart=&txtDateAddedEnd=&txtPriceStart=&txtPriceEnd=&txtSale=

Another thing I am going to begin doing this evening is taking homeopathic remedies. they are listed below.

Latin Name: Ledum Palustre
Common Name: marsh tea, wild rosemary
Description: Used for falls and bruises, puncture wounds, black eyes and other eye injuries, stings, rheumatic pain, sprains and strains, swollen extremeties, or face, or stiff tendons.

Latin Name: Symphytum Officinale
Common Name: comfrey
Description: Used for prickling pains, black eyes, and fractures. This remedy acts on bones, joints, and tendons

Latin Name: Calcarea Fluorica
Common Name: calcium floride, fluorite
Description: Used to increase tissue flexibility and for unwanted bone growths, deficient tooth enamel, back pain, and swollen adenoids. In children, it helps bone development in relation to learning to walk. Pains are often better with motion and heat.

Basically, I'll be taking the calcarea morning and night for several weeks. Doses will vary depending on who you talk to. I've got 30x potency. I'll desolve 2 tablets of symphytum in a fourth cup of clean water and take a tsp. of it. If I feel less pain or any kind of response, I'll take the same amt. of ledum 4 hours later and alternate between the two. That's the instructions I was given. Probably after a few days, I can take it morning and night instead. So there you go. Happy healing.
Oh, and one more thing, Arnica is awesome to take as soon as possible after the injury has occured. You can get take it orally or topically.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2005 07:48 AM, John wrote:

On July 17th, my 24th b-day, I joined the elite broken clavical club. I wish I could say that I broke my collar bone by riding a bike, playing football, or something worthy, but that’s not the case. I had a barstool slammed into the back of my head and when I lost my balance and fell to the ground, I used my arm to break the fall, also breaking my collar bone. I’m active duty in the Marine Corps, and lets just say that back in the day..it would have been ok to go back to work all busted up and share bar fight stories, but now, the command really looks down upon alcohol related incidents. So, the night that it happened, I took a trip over to a civilian hospital to get 37 stitches and a sling that was too small. They gave me a few percocets and shot me up with morphine…so the phone call to my command was pretty humorous because I really didn’t have a clue what I was saying due to all the drugs that I was on. I just knew I was trying to get out of work on Monday.
So Tuesday, I took a trip to a Navy medical center to get x-rays. The doc was real cool about the situation and explained to me healing process and how much of a pain in the ass it is to have a broken clavical. He also told me it was probably the 3rd worst break that he’s ever seen and it would probably take me about 12 weeks to recover from this. So there goes everything I was just working hard for…5 days lifting in the gym, 3-8 mile runs in the mornings. The day of incident, I was 5-11 208 pounds and just working on getting stronger. Almost a month later, I’m still 5’11 lol, but dropped down to 195. My diet has been all screwed up, partially because I have been depressed from the situation, but the other part is because it was such a pain in the ass to do dishes for the first week and a half.
The first week was hell. I had my girlfriend cut 3 of my t-shirts off of me because it was too much of a struggle to get out of them. Trying to get in uniform was even worse. And like I mentioned..my diet went to crap. I barely ate for the first 3 days because of the percocets they had me on, which I stopped taking after that because of the drowsiness. I was just so down and out because I kept playing the situation over and over in my head and kept wishing I just walked away instead of mouthing off to about 6 dudes. I was even more mad about not being able to lift or at least run. I hate running, but I was getting cabin fever from all of this crap. And my dog was being a pain in the ass. I dreaded taking him for a walk because he likes to pull. I managed though.
The 2nd week offered a little bit of relief. Now it only took me about 2-3 minutes to put on a shirt and I was back to my diet at least. Still no exercise. I went down to get the collarbone checked out in the middle of the week and also get the stitches taken out. The start of the 2nd week I decided I wasn’t going to wear the sling anymore. I was tired of everyone seeing me with it on in uniform and then having to explain what happened. I hate drawing attention. So I see the doc in the middle of the week without the sling on, and the cuts and bruises on my face were disappearing…a complete 180 from the previous week. The doc was shocked to hear that I wasn’t taking the meds and that I wasn’t wearing the sling. He gave me some motion exercises to follow and said if I felt like I could go on a stationary bike or maybe a short jog, to do so. But, if I felt the slightest bit of pain…not to push it and just wait. So, just jumping up and down in place, I could feel my collarbone couldn’t take the jarring movement of a 2-3 mile jog. So, I just sat out the rest of the week.
Week 3…amazing. I waited until Tuesday of week 3 to attempt a run and to my surprise, I had no pain and full movement in my left arm. It’s amazing what being sidelined for 2 weeks will do to you; from running 8 miles with no problem, to starting over, and running 4 miles and stopping several times on the way. I could feel my bone was starting to mend and I had full mobility with my arm. Oh, I didn’t mention I have been sleeping on my couch so I wouldn’t roll over on my collar bone in the middle of the night.
Week 4- I went to a conference in Atlantic City and noticed when I woke up, I was experiencing bad stiff necks. I could feel slight pain in my collar bone that went to the center of my back. I’m not sure if that was from laying in a bed for the first time and rolling over, or just part of the healing process.
Week 5-This is the start of week 5. Tomorrow, I’m riding back down to the Navy hospital to get more x-rays, see orthopedics and talk to my doc again. The stiff necks went away, but I believe a calcium deposit has formed over the bone and it caused this huge lump to stick out of my collar bone area. I could really give a shit what it looks like…I’m just curious to see if the bone has fully mended and when I can get back to the gym. Well..that is my experience so far. I wish everyone a fast recovery that is dealing with this same experience and any advice that can be shared would be awesome.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2005 10:51 AM, Terry wrote:

I was told the bump on the collar bone is normal. The bump on top of the collar bone poses no health concerns, but a large bump on the bottom of the collar bone may affect some nerves. So if you feel any numbness or tingling in your arm/fingers...get it checked out.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2005 10:57 AM, Mary wrote:

On August 5, 2005, I was in a motorcycle accident (car pulled out in front of us) and broke my left clavicle along with both knees being ripped open. The best part is that I am left-handed. I can't do much and I can't walk very well either. Thanks to everyone that shared their stories here. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my frustration. The depression is killer. I just want my life back. My clavicle broke and came through the skin so I had surgery and was sent home in a sling. It is now the enemy and I greatly despise it. When it is done serving its purpose, I intend on burning it. I go back to the Orthopedic Surgeon in a week and it sounds as though they will put me in a figure eight brace at that time. I'm glad that I found this site, it gave me an idea of what to expect in the coming weeks. I hope everyone recovers quickly w/ little pain and can get back to living their lives.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 16, 2005 10:22 AM, conrad wrote:

7 1/2 weeks after breaking my left clavicle, I completed the
Full Vineman Triathlon (iron distance) in Sonoma county California
this past Saturday, August 13th.

Granted, I pushed the recovery process to the limit, but
nonetheless, shows what can be done.

No one here should lose any faith and hope. Be positive and
focussed and you will heal.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 18, 2005 06:09 PM, Peter Hsu wrote:

My broken clavicle from 18 days ago has healed very fast, however, the overlap has shortened my shoulder length and the angles of the overlapping bones seem to leave my affected shoulder in a permanent "shrug" compared to my good shoulder, so not only does it look shorter, it looks like it's higher too.
The two triangular ends of the break overlapped at what looks like the two shorter (furthest apart) ends of the triangles and although I 've been told it was a radial break so that much of the length I though I was losing (the two hypotenuses of the triangles plus the overlap) is less (because parts of what I was considering the triangular ends were really the same piece of bone but I'm seeing the radial half of each end.

Has anyone else had this problem? Is there any good methods to try to elongate my bones at this timeframe (weeks 3-4). I've put my figure 8 back on and cranked it super tight even though my doctor says it probably won't do any good any more. I've also made it a point to stretch my shorter shoulder back as often as I can while at my desk job at work.

Has anyone else had similar issues with shortened bones and had any advice to lengthen them? thx.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 19, 2005 08:50 AM, Ruth wrote:

Can anyone explain what might be happening if I suddenly feel a burning, ripping pain at the point of the break? I was attempting to nurse my daughter when her head bumped my arm. That was 3 days after the break occured. I was ok after a while and it looked to my husband like the bones were more where they ought to be. Then a couple of days later, my son was attempting to place a pillow under my arm for support and I felt it again. After laying on the couch for some time I attempted to get in bed and when I was almost flat on my back, there came the pain again, only it lasted quite a while. Since then (I'm on day 9) everything has been ok, but the bone looks like it did originally, with the bones kind of bent toward my neck at the break and there's a litttle jagged piece that pokes up. Now, one thing that I've not done is take any pain medication except for asprin. I haven't taken it consistently, just at night for the first 4 days or so. I'm not sure what I would have felt, if anything at all, if I had been taking something strong all along. Anyone tried "straightening" theirs on their own?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 19, 2005 09:56 AM, Hans wrote:

Peter - I don't think you can do anything at this point in time for the length of your collar bone. If the angle and length that the bone has fused will cause you problems then I recommend going to an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible to have it evaluated. If the doctor recommends surgery it's better having it done sooner rather than later.

Ruth - When I had pain such as you described, it was normally associated with an action that jarred or bumped my break. It was a big red flag warning me to not do that. I would highly recommend you try your best not to bump, jar, or move your shoulder. Each time you do so while the bones are trying to fuse back together you risk undoing the healing. If you aren't wearing a figure-8 than you should try using one. It helps to stabilize the shoulder and keep your alignment. In essence, it is helping to "straighten" the broken ends of the bones.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 20, 2005 05:24 PM, Steve Mentzer wrote:

I can attest to Hans comments to Ruth. I am currently at the end of my fourth week of healing my broken left clavicle. About 3-4 days after the break I lost my balance in the shower and fell against the stall. Of course it was the left side. I got such a shooting pain, I about cried. It was definitely a "don't do that again" warning. My recovery now is progressing well I think. I will have more x-rays taken Tuesday and the movement I have in my left arm is much better and pain free. I am off the meds(Vicodan)and the figure 8 brace has done wonders for my posture.This according to my wife. Good luck to all in their recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 22, 2005 04:12 AM, N. Osgood wrote:

this os a most informative site. Nothing like reading about lengths of healing time and simular symptoms.
We had an intruder on June 4th, and I took a tumble down the stairs,landing on the right shoulder (I'm right handed ,and paint murals for a living ...well,used to)The granite floor was unforgiving.No bruising for three days,so I ignored the pain and set granite cobblestones (54 jumbos) in the patio, making sure not to raise my arm above waist level...could't anyway
The patio looks wonderful,and probably,using the shoulder was a good thing. At 56,it is going to take a while for full range of motion to return,but I can, at least shift the gears on my truck now,without reaching through with the left hand to shift.
The "portabello mushroom" bruise that extended from inside the elbow,all the way to my armpit, vanished after one week,and I was able to brush my hair again, without reaching across with the left hand, not to mention other personal actions needed by the right hand.I can now raise the arm just above shoulder level (not pushing it) and rotate the shoulder....but still no reaching across the back.I think if you don't use it,it would be worse, but I do pace myself.My husband says he thinks it's amazing how it is coming along...no sling,or cast....and the only pain medication I've used is Flexall...eases it a bit. Pain meds wouldn't work for me...I'd feel no pain and reinjure myself....I do landscaping too.I can hardly wait for this to completely heal!!! And it will...slowly, but surely.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 22, 2005 07:39 PM, Tabitha wrote:

******Update**** Hi All!! Well, my hubby had his surgery 10 days ago, and its doing really well! They took his stitches out today and the xrays showed excellent healing. There have been no real complications. I only wish they had done it right when the accident happened instead of waiting-and delaying- him 3 weeks. Hope you to get well soon!

Tabitha

Permanent link to this comment. On August 23, 2005 09:49 AM, Joe wrote:

Any golf or tennis players out there? If so, how long was it before you started playing again? I am at week 8 of a collarbone break. I am no longer seeing a physical therapist; however she thought I could “ease” into golf or tennis at week 12. Would like to hear from anyone else about when they started playing golf or tennis again.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 23, 2005 07:30 PM, David wrote:

Ruth, I am in my week 7 after my injury, I too experienced the feeling everything was tearing apart at the littlest things I would do. I am now past that phase and I would agree it is better to make sure no sudden movements are done until movement is somewhat regained. I am feeling better everyday, I do have an appointment with a bone doctor/surgeon. At week 4 I had another xray taken and they felt it was not healing, I am not sure if it is or not. The pain is still there as a dull ache, but with some Advil it seems to be ok. The harder I try to use it, the worse it seems and always seems to ache more at night after working all day and better in the morning. I am now able to use my arm to wash my hair with out alot of stiffness or great pain in rasing my arm. My goal is to go to my appointment on Friday and have them tell me this is all normal and that it is going to take alot longer then the 4 weeks my doctor told me it would take to be able to go back to work and do all I was doing before. I certainly am not to that point yet. But each week that goes by seems to be better. I broke the same collar bone when I was 9 and do not remember much about it. I am 42 now and will certianly remember it now. I am Thanksful I found this site, It helps me feel better and not so worried that it is not healing fast enough. Thanks!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 24, 2005 06:30 PM, Ben wrote:

Its now just over 3 weeks ago since i broke my collarbone into 3 pieces...the pain is gone and i can use my arm freely again..i jsut cant lift heavy things.
The only thing im worried about is that the bones are growing together wrong..because i got a lump on my shoudler now..and my shoudler is quite a bit shorter than the other one.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 26, 2005 03:26 AM, Andy wrote:

I am now in week 12. Broke my clavicle diving for a ball in a softball game. Everything I have experienced seems very similar to what most here have gone through (the immediate pain, sleeping on the couch, figure 8 sling, and very slow healing.) I have full range of motion in my arm and within the past week or so have stopped feeling the sharp pain down my bicep caused by, what felt like a pinched nerve somewhere in the break area. My problem is that while I can do most things, the doctor says that I am still not healing at the break point. So I have been fitted with some sort of electric thing that supposed to stimulate bone growth. Seems silly to me, but I'll give it a shot. Would recommend, based on limited research, Tylenol rather than Ibuprofen-type pain killers. Some things I've read seem to indicate those drugs may slow the healing process. That's at least worth some further investigation.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2005 11:56 AM, Gina wrote:

I'm at day 6 of my broken clavicle. What a miserable injury! I've broken my right wrist 2x and my left wrist 1x...I think the pain in this clavicle is the same as the pain from all broken wrists combined!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2005 12:00 PM, Gina wrote:

I'm at day 6 and this sucks so bad!!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2005 07:03 PM, Ian wrote:

I'm in to week 5 since the soccer accident, week 4 since the operation to have a screw put in. Just got back to work this week after going nuts in the apartment on my own...

I have another two weeks before my check-up x-ray where they will hopefully decide when to take the screw out. The pain is fine, none at all but I'm still limited to no movement in the sling.

The worst thimg by far is sleeping! Anyone else suffering badly from lack of sleep? I find I can go for 3 hours max before some little back muscle fatigues and wakes me up. I still have to have the arm supported by folded towels to stop any movement, I don't think my back likes it.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2005 07:25 PM, Terry wrote:

Ian - I'm in week 7 and haven't had a good night's sleep yet. Similar problem my lower back wakes me up after about 3 to 4 hours of sleep. Try putting a pillow or two under your knees. Or try sleeping on your side with the bad arm supported by pillows...i had no luck with this position but maybe you will. The bags under my eyes are growing...good luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2005 07:37 PM, Ian wrote:

Oh joy, so I have another few weeks of zero sleep to look forward to... not sure if I'm allowed to sleep on my side yet.

Next week I'm allowed to move my forearm out and in (while bent) to avoid frozen shoulder. I asked the doctor about lack of sleep/back muscle pain and he said "welcome to shoulder surgery". He's very good actually, a specialist in shoulder reconstruction. He works out of the same practice as the Australian Rugby Union physician (he referred me originally) and they specialise in sports injuries. I can't fault them so far. Health care in Sydney seems pretty good.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 30, 2005 06:51 AM, Terry wrote:

Or you could try sleeping in a chair...a lazy boy would be the best...wish i had one.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 30, 2005 09:38 PM, Ian wrote:

A lazy boy would be great... I tried the pillow under legs technique and it gave me an extra hour - that or or I was just more knackered.

My physio recommended a squashy ball to squeeze when my arm is extended and I found that lying on this (with the ball under the muscle that fatigues) helped a lot more. Pressure on the muscle whilst I breathe must give it a slight massage effect and stop it fatiguing (sp?) so much. Or something. I'll try again tonight.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 2, 2005 05:08 AM, JLB wrote:

Hi, broke right clavicle 4 months ago, mid shaft and displaced (overlapping). Although I’m feeling normal the bony lump is presenting problems. My two main issues are the car seatbelt, as on right side (uk), and back pack straps. Can anyone help? I know this isn’t much to worry about really. I would like to thank you in advance for any help you can provide… This is a great site, thanks.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 2, 2005 07:40 AM, Hans wrote:

JLB - Is your lump causing you pain or discomfort when you have pressure applied to it? For example, from the seatbelt or backpack straps? If not then you shouldn't have any worries as long as the bone has fully healed. I have done all day backpack trips with the strap on my lump and without problems. But, pay attention to how you feel. If there is pain or it becomes sore then you will need to back off.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 2, 2005 09:55 AM, JLB wrote:

Thanks Hans… About my lump… I have some prominent points: Top, middle and bottom (compound fracture). Although the bone is healing well these points are stimulating nerves in the skin when pressure is applied. I have been informed that there is a possibility that bony remodelling, in the future, may possibly help. Originally it was suggested that trimming the bony was a possibility in the future. However, at my last appointment I was told that this was unlikely as it could present even more problems. In the mean time I’m wondering how to cope because I would love to get a back pack on again and forget about the seatbelt. Also, has anyone found wearing something on their lump and putting pressure on the nerves helps the nerves adapt or whatever? I would be grateful for any suggestions or help. Good luck everyone!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 2, 2005 12:28 PM, Hans wrote:

JLB - I can't answer about helping the nerves adapt. A physical therapist might provide some help with that. But here's a possible solution for using a backpack. You could modify the strap so that it's split in the middle so that the two sides go around the lump. Purchase a spare strap for your pack and try modifying that. Oh, and don't even think about not wearing your seatbelt! :')

Permanent link to this comment. On September 8, 2005 06:59 PM, cjordan wrote:

Sept. 8 Candace
June 14 my husband and I were riding our tandem bike when the front tire blew. The front of the bike jack-knifed and I was thrown off the bike; the next thing I knew I was on the side of the rode awaiting a ride to the ER. At our local hospital it was determined I'd broken both the left clavicle and the left scapula (shoulder blade) and would probably need surgery so I was sent by ambulance to Mayo Clinic. After several more hours of xrays and MRIs I was kept overnight and the following day they decided I didn't need surgery afterall. The orthopedic doctor said this injury was an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. And it was absolutely horrible! I spent the long hot summer in a shoulder immobilizer; being left-handed it was doubly hard. After 10 weeks I was in therapy, just using a sling, and starting to feel better. I'd learned to do many things with just my right hand. I felt really like I was going to be back to normal just in time for my teaching job to begin. The first day back with the kids I felt great- I realized I could brush my hair and teeth with my left hand! I'd learned to right pretty well with my right hand! On the way to bringing the kids to the bus, they decided to play a little hopscotch and I felt so good I joined in. Foolish woman! I tripped on my sandel, went right down and knew immediately I'd broken my right clavicle! Which the trip to the ER confirmed. So talk about depression! It's been a week and I don't have full use of either hand plus a lot of pain. I tried to go back to work today, but it's just not possible because of the pain and there's so many things I can't do. Maybe in another week. I'm using the figure 8 which I couldn't do with the first injury because of the broken scapula. I guess it's a lesson in patience. That's really the only thing I can take away from it. One week down and maybe I'll feel good again in another three.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 8, 2005 07:07 PM, Kelly wrote:

First, this forum is awesome. It's very comforting to see that my aches and pains are normal.

I broke my right clavicle two weeks ago tomorrow while mountain biking. I was actually on a local BMX course that just consists of nothing but steep jumps. Yeah, I'm an idiot. I hit a jump too fast, flipped upside down, and landed on my head/shoulder. My helmet, which is stronger than a human skull, was cracked in seven places! Without that helmet, I'd be dead. Soooo, even with all the pain (which is intense), I am thrilled that I'm not dead or paralyzed.

I think my range of motion is progressing OK. I'm not using the sling, which I hate anyway. The main source of pain is the constant throbbing in my arm muscles. At this point, my shoulder only hurts when I move it awkwardly or try to push or pull with it.

One question: since my break started fusing a week ago, I have experienced constant, low-level tingling in the tip of my right thumb. Anyone else have this problem? I see the doc next week for a follow up x-ray so I'll see what he says about it. That's the only symptom I have that I didn't see mentioned above.

Again, thanks for the forum.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 8, 2005 09:53 PM, Hans wrote:

Kelly - Tingling is one of the symptoms of a broken collar bone. In some cases it's an indication of a nerve being pinched or hindered. Be sure to mention it when you see your doctor. You can also cause numbness or tingling by wearing your sling incorrectly. Make sure it's not too tight.

Good luck and glad to hear to wore your helmet!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 04:49 AM, Tracie wrote:

Here's a sorry update. Week 12 and I have non-union of the bone. My arm aches about 50% of the time, especially at night. I return to work next week (teaching) and was told to keep my sling on!!! at 12 weeks! (I'd stopped wearing it several weeks ago) so i wouldn't be tempted to use my arm. Any similar experiences? A nice add on to my situation is that I've recently discovered that my TMJ (in the jaw) has become dislodged or damaged - most likely due to the impact of my accident back on June 18th, but possibly from popping my ears so much driving through the Colorado Rockies. I had expected to be back to normal by now... far from it. This really sucks.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 08:14 AM, Renee wrote:

I want to know if anyone out there had a hard time of adjusting after getting rid of the figure 8 strap. My doctor wants me out of it completely by Monday. (My next appointment.) My shoulder has been hurting since removing it (not alot - just lightly throbbing or pressure) and I get a dull lightning bolt pain running down right in front of my back shoulder blade. My shoulder has been popping and catches and crackes occationally. Can anyone tell me if this is normal after wearing a splint for 8 weeks? I really need to get back to work and I have been told I must have a full release from doctors care order before they will let me come back. I am a sustitute teacher. Thanks everyone!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 09:56 AM, Paul H. wrote:

Hello all, fun site! I broke my right collar bone back on August 8th. I was rising my bicycle and hit a pot hole. The ER put me in a sling and sent me one my way. The x-rays looked good, broken but still some contact. My two week follow up with the ortho showed that the bones had moved apart. My guess is after the swellingwent down, things shifted. The added a figure 8 harness to my sling. Two weeks later and it is getting better. Today I'm strting week 4 with the sling/harness combo. No pain, just clicking/popping at the bone if I move.

The doc was optimistic. He thinks after my check on the 29th f sept I can go down to using just a sling or harness alone for 2 more weeks. It will be 10 weeks when it is all said and done.

I had broken the same collar bone as a kid (age 10 and 12). It healed in 4 weeks using just a figure 8. My recent research indicated that since I'm 30 now. the bone is calcified and will heal slowly. Under age 20, the collar bone is mostly cartiledge and heals fast. Oh the joys of growing old.

One question for all of you out there. Any lingering side effects of the break? I have had a tough time swallowing since the accident. It actually moves the bone when I swallow! Any clues? My research indicated a ton of possibilities from muscles to sternum injuries. When I mentioned it to the ortho doc he just said it could be muscles and left it at that. I guess I'll wait until the 29th to quiz him again!

Thanks for the stories. Its eerily comforting to know that I'm now alone. The world keeps moving and you seem to stop. I'm very impressed be those of you able to carry on normal lives (riding bikes!) after such a short time. Hopfully the doc will clear me to in 3 weeks!

-- Paul H

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 10:43 AM, Terry wrote:

Renee - I stopped wearing my figure 8 brace after 7 weeks and my shoulder was quite sore and painful. I think its the muscles trying to awaken after not being used for such a long time. Each day that goes by gets a little better and with physio it is helping a lot.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 11:54 AM, Renee wrote:

Terry - thank you SO much for your reponse! I was hoping someone would say something like that and put my mind at ease. My doc. said if all was OK I wouldn't need therapy but I will wait and see...I want the same quality of life I had before. I ran off all the exercizes I found from a link someone had posted way back in the forum. The x-ray will tell on Monday. It really does just feel like it is really weak from not being used in so long. Thanks again, I will keep everyone posted as to what happens on Monday.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 12:02 PM, Tracie wrote:

Just back from physio - the guy got my x-ray reports (I'm at 12 weeks now) and said that the first x-ray showed that the break was a good one, but clean - bones almost touching apparently. Next x-ray at 4 or 5 weeks showed the same thing but no healing. I found out today (not from my doctor, but from the physio guy) that the last x-ray - done at 10 weeks - shows 'displacement' of the bones. My arm has started to hurt recently and the bone, which used to lie flat, now seems to be jutting up... apparently on top of the other one. He said I'll have to see an orthopaedic surgeon, who will probably have to reset the bone and/or give me a figure 8 sling to wear. Has this happened to anyone? I'm so fed up... I was good - everything was perfect - but now it's all displaced. i can't recall having done anything to knock the bone out of alignment... maybe slouching too much?
What does anyone know about surgery in a case like this? What would they do? Is it always necessary? Can the bone still heal or connect if it's become displaced??

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2005 02:07 PM, Tracie wrote:

p.s. Hans - re: your comment weeks ago about using the figure 8 sling? I am kicking myself that I didn't insist on getting one from my doctor. Doctors are hard to come by here these days and it's like we have to be grateful to even have one. i didn't argue with mine, did NOT pursue the figure 8 issue and look at me now!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2005 03:03 PM, Blair Guinea wrote:

Hey everybody....
{from new zealand n medical treatment is free}

{100 % distal third fracture clavicle left shoulder}

thanks for the info and words of confidence !

i am 46 and fell off my motorcycle dirt biking coming up to 7 weeks .........first week after crash, x ray n doc said, in 2 weeks take off figure 8 brace and begin slight movement, i did so.......fine so far but last x ray 1 week ago, another doc said NO MOVEMENT ! and another 4 weeks off work after a final x ray then.......and if more muscle tissue is apparent, more thab bone tissue/callus, then they will operate and put metal in my arm.
SHIT ! my argument if that were the case {which i 100% hope it isn't} why not do this in the begining !!!!!!

my suffering people we need more help and guidance !!!!!!!!, as it seems our recovery is such a hit and miss affair and at the end of the day, you get so pissed off being SO LAZY particulally when i am so healthy and fit !!!!

damn i miss riding my XL 250 HONDA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

anyway, my arm feels ok, and for the 9 millinth time feeling for the callus which is obviously there but still feel a fraction of broken bone {moving independantly} maybe its my imagination.................because i am so damned fed up !!!!

i suppose we have to look at this phyilisophically ??? as really we have to rely on 'mother nature' to do his or her shit
and be happy we can spend endless hours on pc games or reading or if you have it, being bored,,,,,,,,DAMN !

ok thanks n girls, be interested what u say n traci do not loose hope, you'll be back on ya trail bike soon !

shit my wife wants me to sell my bike, YEAH RIGHT !!!

take it easy ya'll........you got to and have no option

be happy.............cheers blair

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2005 05:06 PM, Tracie wrote:

Blair - my boyfriend asked me 2 days ago if I didn't think I should sell my bike because this is so bad... I almost slugged him. He's got a big KTM (along with a couple of Hondas- XR/XL.. even an old TL) - and has never had an accident. He's 46 too.
I guess he's just A BETTER RIDER THAN I AM! I'm becoming a misery to be around... depression is setting in despite my desperate attempts to keep it at bay . It's really tough finding ways to have fun with one arm, when 'fun' used to be dirt biking, mountain biking, skiing, swimming, back-packing.
Who would have thought I would still be wearing a sling at 12 weeks ????

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2005 05:59 PM, Blair Guinea wrote:

ktm 450 or 510 {nice thumper}

Traci,

sure you feel that way but my sling is still on @ 7 weeks, well should b, but i just hold my arm close and try to keep my hole arm as immobile as possible.
i read earlier this morning a guy had a 'mal-union' @ 16 weeks, but generally is accompanied with a great
pain, so with that fact because i only have slight pain intermitantly and i do feel a relative 'mal-union'on the fracture site i should be improving ?????.

hope this accounts 4 u 2............

do not get down, remain hopeful........and chill out

cheers blair

ps i know the old tl's 2

Permanent link to this comment. On September 11, 2005 06:52 AM, Ben wrote:

Im 18 and broke my collarbone into 3 pieces during a downhill mountianbike race about 6 weeks ago and believe it or not ive been riding again since last week. i dont feel any pain in my shoulder while riding. Even the doctor has allowed to cycle again..as next week i have another dh race. i jsut cant afford to fall onto it again at the moment
ben

Permanent link to this comment. On September 11, 2005 04:40 PM, Hans wrote:

Tracie - Sorry to hear the bone is not healing. It's possible that time will allow it to heal. Sadly for those of us that aren't kids the healing process can take longer. Women can also take longer to heal than men.

You didn't mention if your doctor is a orthopedic doc. If not then I highly recommend that you find a good orthopedic doctor to evaluate your shoulder. It's also important to be up front with the doctor about your expectations and the activites you like to do. This will help the doctor determine the best route. I mention this because some doctors don't seem to understand the needs of athletes or those that use their arms and shoulders for specific activities. It might be fine for some (e.g. in-active people) to go on with a mal-union or the bones fusing together at a shorter length, but that won't do for others.

Be strong and be confident in how you want to heal.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 11, 2005 04:56 PM, Hans wrote:

Ben - Welcome to the busted collar bone club. I was lucky to never have a major injury when I raced DH. Beat the heck out of myself but nothing busted. As for healing in such a short time... of course, because you're 18!!! Yup, you have the luck of being young. That's when to bust 'em.

As for racing so soon... well, you know the risk. I would recommend taping up the shoulder beforehand. Make sure to give it plenty of support in case something does happen. And I hope you have a good set of armor. My old Dainese suit saved plenty of skin and problem some bones.

Good luck racing!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 11, 2005 05:58 PM, Blair Guinea wrote:

Ben

so envious of you,
take it easy going back so soon man !

Hans thanks for the site

cheers Blair

Permanent link to this comment. On September 12, 2005 05:06 PM, Tracie wrote:

Hey Ben, 18 years old and riding mountain bikes 6 weeks post break.. sick with jealousy I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My 19 year old daughter had a bike accident this summer (stitches etc) and was riding again one week later.
Thanks for the words of encouragement Hans - went back to work today for the first time in 12 weeks (teaching) It was tough standing all day supporting the arm, still sling bound and the pain was near constant (that old ache), but the distraction made it tolerable. More x-rays this week - and i hope to get an appt with an ortho surgeon soon. So far my family doctor hasn't recommended one and that is my big problem. We have OHIP (health care is free) but have to get a doctor's referral to see a specialist.
ah well... work at least lifted the spirits somewhat - got lots of sympathy and help from students carrying books etc. - can't be all bad when you get the sympathy-book-carrying thing happening!
Blair - it's a 450 - my boyfriend's KTM - sweet bike. I have a Suzuki DRZ but sometimes ride the old TL - I love that old bike. I used to ride the 250 XR but fell a few times and couldn't get the bike off of me, so have opted for easier to handle. The little Suzuki goes alright too.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 12, 2005 06:29 PM, cjordan wrote:

Renee, I am surprised your doctor won't give you a release to
go back to teaching! I was not fully recovered from having a left side broken clavicle AND scapula when I stumbled and broke the right clavicle. The emergency room doctor saw no reason why I shouldn't go back to work in two days! Well I tried and I was in such pain, besides not really being able to use either arm, that my principal told me to take sick leave for a week. So I'll be back next Monday.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 13, 2005 01:57 AM, Renee wrote:

Cjordan, I have been released to return to work today. (See my next posting). My doctor had NO problem with me returning to work right from the start it was the school liability insurance that kept me from working until I got a full release. Everyone here is lawsuit crazy and the school did not want to take the chance.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 13, 2005 02:15 AM, Renee wrote:

Hey everyone. Wanted to give you all an update. I went to see a very well known orthopedic surgeon today for my 8-week follow-up. The x-ray showed no improvement of the clavicle. (I have a 2 ½ cm. displaced fractured clavicle along with a loose fragment and had a fractured rib). Because I have regained much of the mobility in my arm he has released me to return to normal activity at my own discretion. He is sure that because I have regained mobility in that arm with only limited amounts of discomfort, the bone, muscles and tendons are beginning to heal properly. I have been told that it will be approximately four more months until the bone will be rejoined completely. I am not to do free weights or push-ups for at least a couple more months but I can return to jogging and working out on hydraulic resistance machines. Physical therapy, I have been told is only needed if I can not regain back my original strength myself or if I develop more or different pain. Sleeping comfortably is still a problem for me. The cracking and popping in my back scapula I was talking about earlier I will probably always have as he thinks it is where the rib has healed, developing a large bump so that it catches the scapula. Nothing can be done for that. There is no pain involved it just sounds really disgusting. I do not return to see him again unless complications develop. Hope this helps out some of you by providing you with some of the information you are looking for. Take care and best wishes to all.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 13, 2005 05:04 AM, Derry wrote:

Hi all - Its great comfort to read all the comments of those in a similar situation to myself. Just writing a quick note to share my experiences. I broke my clavicle about 10 months ago in a rugby tackle - the xray showed a very large displacement - the doctor in the ER recommended a figure of 8 and to come back in three weeks to see a specialist. After coming back in three weeks the orthopedic surgeon re-xrayed the shouldered and told me that the bones were too far apart to fuse properly; as Hans has explained in other posts I explained to him I was very keen to get back into the rugby again and that I led a very active lifestyle (golf, water sports, rugby, soccer)etc. Based on this information he advised me to go for the operation as the natural healing process might not allow me to fully participate in my sports - due to the bone never joining properly. I had the operation which was a success and resumed my rugby playing et al. The surgeon did warn me there was a slight risk of a rebreak on the clavicle from a fall, where the bone will try and flex on impact and the plate remaining ridgid thus causing the bone to break at the end point of the plate. Guess what thats exactly what happened and I find myself back in the same situation as last november. I am currently awaiting a operation for Thursday to have the old plate removed and new one put in. Hey c'est la vie, the only problem is my wife is insisting I give up the rugby now and I can't say I blame her as she is the one who has to act as Florence Nightingale during my "rugby accidents" which she does a great job of btw, but I dont know if I'm ready to pack in the rugby yet. Anyway god bless ye all and a speedy recovery to all those in healing ;-)

Permanent link to this comment. On September 13, 2005 06:14 AM, Terry wrote:

cjordan - when i read your original post, my jaw just dropped...i can only imagine your pain. Hope you get use of one of your arms soon.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 11:32 AM, Mike wrote:

I am a 46 year old male recently involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in a broken left clavical. The bone is broken approx. mid clavical and is an over lapping break which is pushing the top portion of the bone outward resulting in a large lump from the end of the bone protruding. I was shipped to ER by ambulance and treated. I was refered to an orthopedic surgeon the next day, who said I should have surgery and a plate installed due to my line of work (HD mechanic)which involves heavy lifting and heavy work. He also said 90% of clavicle breaks can be left to heal on their own, but felt I should have surgery due to the type of break. I was not able to have surgery for appox. 1 week so I decided to travel home and have my family doctor and a local orthopedic doctor look at it. They looked at the initial x-ray that was taken, and feel it should be left to heal on its own. He had me wear a figure of 8 sling along with a arm sling. It has now been just over 1 week and the over lapping bone still doesn't look very good. I am seriously thinking about the surgery. Any complications that might result from surgery and plating ???? The surgeon says it is a simple procedure! I am confused, but to me the surgery seems to make more sense than letting it heal and having surgery done later. Any one else have surgery and plates?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 12:50 PM, Tracie wrote:

Mike - We are in the same boat - but I'm 12 weeks into it now. Broken left clavicle due to a motorcycle accident - I'm 46 too, but female. In my case the bones were not overlapping at first, but are now. I haven't even been referred to an orthopedic surgeon (family doctor has to refer me - hasn't yet- will she? guess I'll find out at my next appointment on Monday) I would love to hear the answer to this question too. At this point, I have near constant pain in my left arm - it radiates from my shoulder down my arm - but this has only become an issue since I returned to work last Monday. I stand all day; I'm a teacher. Seems a lot of people are told to just let it heal on its own. My question is, is it possible for bones to still fuse together when they are displaced? If so, is the healing process more painful? I would be happy to go without the surgery if I thought that eventually the bones would fuse on their own and the pain would go away. So ditto for me...any info on surgery and displaced bones?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 01:05 PM, Nathan Stewart wrote:

Hello All,

Great to read all the similar stories and very educational I might add. I think THIS is going to kill me...sitting still and all.

I broke my lt collar bone on the outside 1/3rd in a Downhill Mtn bike crash at Whistler, Sept 2 '05 - Dirt Merchant...Was a little to hot over a table and missed the transition...bottomed the bike out and then got tossed forward.

I was given the sling treatment by the docs so far, but after doing some much needed research on company time (Work / life balance 'eh)I have decided to get a figure 8 brace to try it out...Friends tell me they will keep the bone alligned better to aid fusion of the bones.

I have an appt w/ an orth surgeon in 5 days, but I want to have this heal naturally so I will exhaust my options.

BTW, I'm signed up for Ironman Canada next year, with the goal of getting a spot for Kona, so I gotta get training...AAAAHHHHH !!!

Things to remember, docs and surgeons are authorities on these fractures but tnot experts...that is why a forum such a s this is sooo good to learn about best practices which will help us out in the long run !!

Peace and heal well !

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 01:31 PM, Dee wrote:

My son is 12 and broke his left wrist and right collarbone on May 21, 2005 in an accident on his bike. We thought all was fine, until he just started running track for school. He's having alot of pain in his shoulder while running, or playing sports. He actually finished his last 1/2 mile holding his shoulder yesterday (and managed to come in 5th place out of about 40 other boys). He has x-rays today and sees the dr tomorrow. I'm rather nervous now, hearing about others have become displaced after weeks of good x-rays. It's almost 17 weeks post and he's only 12 though, so I'm trying to think with the "kids heal faster and better" mentality.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 01:42 PM, Josh wrote:

Hi all,

Lots of familiar sounding stories here. I broke my left clavicle after getting hit by a car while out running September 1. The fracture is on the outside third, and looked more displaced when x-rayed 6 days later. Both the first and second opinions I got from othopedic surgeons was that surgery was an option, but many people live with the mis-alignment without any symptoms. It's also possible the bones will unite down the road, although I was told I'd still probably have a bump. Because the bone fragment connected to my shoulder is in several pieces, they said the surgery could be complicated and there is no guarantee of good results.

I've decided to wait it out and hope for the best. Running is my main hobby, so I'm not as about the impact on heavy lifting or getting banged around.

I'm wearing the figure 8 brace. It doesn't feel like it's helping, but who knows. Hopefully I can start riding a stationary bike and running again soon.

Here's to speedy recoveries for all, and I look forward to hearing peoples experiences.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 07:10 PM, Ian wrote:

I posted a while back but thought I'd update as a few are thinking of surgery. I'm a 30 year old male BTW.

I broke the left clavical on the end third playing soccer at the beginning of August (I'm now post 7 weeks). I went to A&E on the Saturday of the accident where they x-rayed and referred me to an orthopeadic surgeon on Thursday. The problem was that apart from the main bone pointing up, then tendon connecting to it's underside had come off so was not pulling it back in to place with sufficient force, thus the bone wouldn't heal that great. He gave me two options -

Option 1 was to let it heal naturally and be left with a bump. If this didn't heal well then I would need surgery where they would take bone from the hip to sort it out.

Option 2 was to have surgery straight away.

I went with option 2. I had surgery the following Monday (9 days after the break) and had a screw put through the collar bone and in to the top of the shoulder blade where it rolls over the top of the shoulder (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/nadiapriestley/32544859/ for the x-ray just after the operation). Hurt for a couple of days but nothing unbearable. 2 weeks of keeping the shoulder absolutely still was tedious but it had to be done.

Anyway... yesterday was my 2nd follow-up with the surgeon, now being 5.5 weeks post op. It has healed incredibly well, solid, no bump and I start 90% full movement of the arm from now onwards. I still have to have the screw taken out but this is a minor procedure. The whole the screw leaves will take approx 3-4 months to completely fill up but after that it's as good as new.

So, my view is that if you are offered surgery by a proper shoulder orthopeadic surgeon then take the opportunity.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 15, 2005 10:06 PM, cherie wrote:

Hi,

I'm 35 and I broke my left clavicle mid third back in May in a fall from my horse (does any one else know that Madonna broke hers a few weeks ago in a fall!). Anyway, it will be about 17 weeks or so. I had physical therapy from week 7 through week 12, which helped in getting rid of all the pain and I thought all was well. Well, last week my shoulder started bothering me again, but not at the break site...it felt like my shoulder was dislocating. So I called my PT, he said the outer third of my clavicle healed at a twisted angle, which has changed the whole dynamics of my shoulder. It healed this way because of overlapping at the union site. My clavicle is pulling my scapula forward, and this is causing my humerus bone to stretch on the tendon the holds it in place...and that it was "popping out" YIKES...he said it was a good thing I came back. I am back seeing him once a week, doing specific exercises to strenthen my shoulder so that it accepts the new "dynamics" of the bones. He also mobilizes the joint to move in the proper range of motion, which feels very good.

The good thing is there is not much pain, just discomfort. My break site lump is actually bigger than before (I was told that increased activity early on would cause this, but that the size would go down over the years). Although I have full range of motion, I am still uncomfortable lifting anything heavy, as well as wearing my seat belt, as it lays on my break site, but I still wear it of course. I still can't sleep on my side.

I just want to say I empathize for all of you. Breaking a collar bone is very serious, but our Dr's usually say "it will heal on its own, here's some darvocet". I know how painful and disabiling it is. Its just awful. Time will heal your break and you will feel better soon. Get in to physical therapy as soon as you can so that you can start retraining your chest muscles to work again, and to strengthen your shoulder.

I have posted here before, and each time I recommend the shoulder's back device...it is MUCH more comfortable the the fig of 8. www.shouldersback.net

Hoping weeks pass quickly for all of you!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 16, 2005 08:33 PM, Blair Guinea wrote:

Hey YA'LL.........Hans, Tracie everybody

Yeah yeah........i symply cannot wait to be mobile once again, well i am to a degree, shoulder healing ok I THINK and arm in sling after 7 weeks, can feeling bone tissue forming !, so very brief but this really is DE' best site your gonna get, can't wait 2 ride my bike again {few months away maybe}......Tracie , Cherie, hang in there.......

Cheers Blair

ps. the thing is others do not really understand the mental torment we all go through
I mean damn, it just ain't like a wee cut on the finger !!
WE NEED INSPIRATION + BOY OH BOY {OR GIRL} WE GET IT HERE
THANKS SO MUCH

Permanent link to this comment. On September 19, 2005 08:09 AM, Amber wrote:

First, like everyone else, and to everyone else, thanks for publishing your experiences to help the newly initiated...

My Story - The last monday of August, going a tad too fast (clearly) down Mt Tam, my SantaCruz and I parted ways with me being the more bung up: broken left clavicle (distal third), broken left 7th rib, punctured lung, nasty hip pointer, a rather sizeable chunk of my left elbow missing, and a fruity hematoma on my left thigh being my list of items to nurse back to health. SantaCruz: Nothing. Not even a scratch.

I have to say, compared to many others here, I feel very lucky in the pain management department. So far, the most pain I experienced was just getting off the mountain in the ranger's truck and the ambulance... and what was killing me was my rib, not my shoulder. Since then, after just 48 hours I found I didn't need the vicodin and after about 10 days I stopped taking the motrin.

I fully commiserate and agree that sleeping is the pits. Basically, it's two hours at a time, at best, and I've come to enjoy being up at 2 and/or 3 and/or 4 in the morning and seeing the fox run by my patio doors in the dark and watching the sun rise. (Or, at least, I tell myself that I really enjoy this...)

About my shoulder... I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon and visited him about 10 days after the crash. He said surgery was the normal recommended course for my break (Group 2, Type 2), but since the x-ray showed bone fragments he said surgery was not recommended as it usually didn't yield good results. He then told me that the bones may not union (freaked me out), but that many people live with non unions and have no problems. I guess you, Hans, are a good testiment to that. I told him the sling was driving me nuts and he, after testing my mobility and finding it was really good, told me I could chuck it. So I did.

The following week, just this past Thursday, I visited the physical therapist and he said to use the sling. That the best chance I had of getting the fracture to union was to keep the bones as immobile as possible. And, of course, he gave me some simple exercises to help ensure my shoulder doesn't "freeze."

I am going nuts not being able to bike. And the thought of a non union is still freaking me out. And, perhaps more than anything, is not knowing how the dang thing should "feel" so as to know if it's healing well or not.

So here are my questions:

1. For those of you that experienced a union, could you feel it unionizing? In other words, did the bones move around and then, suddenly, one day they didn't? Did you observe any gradually changes as it healed or did it just happen for you without your attention? Did it move around still at week three, or was it already still?

I am particularly curious about this because I would swear that I had a fragment that floated forward during my first 10 days and would cause pain in the forward part of my shoulder, right at the shoulder joint. I could feel something hard just under the skin. So I extended my arm slowly straight out from body creating a 90 degree angle and just that simple action would move what ever it was back somewhere. This happened twice and has not happened since so I'm hopeful that what ever it was is okay.

I can't tell what the main bone should or should not feel like and it's driving me crazy. Am I over thinking this? Is it too soon at three weeks to tell? (FYI, I am 41.)

2. My bone was consistently "tenting" my skin so after week two, with the swelling gone and feeling pretty good, I decided to put my bra strap back over my shoulder thinking that maybe that would be a good thing: 1) it would certainly help stablize the bone and 2) potentially keep it closer to the distal end so that they could union. Have any of you ladies done something similar, or know if this is a good/bad idea?

To all who, like me, are in the process of healing... chin up, and think happy thoughts of returning to doing what you love.

Cheers,
Amber

Permanent link to this comment. On September 19, 2005 10:41 AM, Josh wrote:

Good news from the x-ray today today (18 days since the fracture). I had posted before and am a 38 year old male with a fracture on the distal third. The x-ray today showed much better horizontal alignment between main collarbone and the fragment attached to the shoulder than there was 12 days ago, and the doc said if it heals in this position I should be fine. So still some possible pitfalls, but it looks good.

Amber, it sounds like your fracture may be similar to mine. You must have a high pain tolerance 'cause I took the vicodins about 5 days and I only had bruises and abrasions other than the fracture, not nearly the other injuries you did! My docs similar said the surgery would be complicated by the fact that there were multiple fragments, but left open immediate surgery as an option for me to decide.

I'm not sure if the bones are 'uniting' but I did notice that Friday when I clapped my hands I felt a bit of 'popping' in the shoulder but now I don't. The bump on my shoulder is definitely still there, but it seems like its lower than it used to be.

Also since the first x-ray I've been wearing a figure eight brace pretty much non-stop other than in the shower. I think the theory is not so much that it's pushing the main collarbone down, but keeping the distal fragment up.

I have another x-ray in 10 days, and I've been cleared to start running again (yay!).

Everyone keep the faith, and good luck.

Josh

Permanent link to this comment. On September 19, 2005 05:24 PM, Hans wrote:

Amber - Ah, Mt Tam! I've left some of my own skin on that mountain. But nothing as bad as what you describe. Ouch!

As for your questions, I can answer the first but not the second. I'm not yet to the point of wearing a "bro" (Seinfeld reference).

There have been a few people here that have commented about noticing a change from movement to no movement. As if the bones out-of-the-blue became connected. I noticed something similar but it occurred over about three days.

Btw, if you haven't looked at the training plan I used to maintain my fitness while off the bike, check it out. The link "Broken Clavicle No More" is near the top of the page.

Good luck and heal fast. Oh, and when you are back riding the bike and spot a Sycip rider in the bay area, it might be me so give a holler.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 21, 2005 03:05 AM, Ryan wrote:

Yea guys ,
This Clavicle business is getting old. I broke mine a month and a half ago skateboarding. Never went back to the doctor cause they already want 1000 bucks from me and im poorer than dirt. I am aware this is probably a big mistake. Well to make matters worse i was jumped walking home from a local bar and along with a black eye, I recieved a freshly rebroken clavicle. Its been two week since then and im feeling a bit better. I can move my arm in every direction with little pain but i have a huge bump. when i push down on it i can feel it giving way a little bit telling me its still broken. Sure hope it heals cause i cant get surgery, its not an option without insurance. Well , wish me luck as i do all of U. Il give it 2 more months before i decide to blow my brains out. Insurance is a must.Lesson learned

Permanent link to this comment. On September 21, 2005 07:54 AM, Amber wrote:

Josh, I don't know about the "high pain tolerance", I think I just got lucky. But thanks for sharing the additional information regarding your healing process.

Hans, bit relieved to hear that you're not into wearing "bros". ;0) Thanks for the additional/restated info and that's right, I had forgotten you posted your fitness program. I'll have to check with my rib doctor and see what she thinks. Hopefully, I'm at a stage where the rib won't be a problem and I can follow it.

And I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for a Sycip rider and give 'em a holler. :0)

Ryan, I hope you are in no way serious about blowing your brains out. No insurance is, for sure, no fun. I am looking for work, having moved here just a couple months ago, and obtained coverage just to cover something catastrophic. My emergency room visit will be mostly covered but all my follow up appointments are going to be directly out of my pocket. So I feel your pain. Have you spoken with any Doctor's office directly about your situation? Perhaps you could get treatment and they'll allow you to have a payment plan to pay it back? Also, they may be aware of some kind of assistance you can receive to help you through this situation. Now's the time to act and see a Doctor. It could make all the difference is how you mend and feel two months from now. At the very least get yourself a sling and keep the arm immoble.

To all still in recovery... let us mend well, and mend fast!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2005 01:43 PM, Tracie wrote:

Here's a positive update - first good news i've had in the nearly 14 weeks since my dirt biking accident. Saw the orthopaedic surgeon today and he told me at last, to TURF THE SLING! I'd stopped wearing it earlier on, but my doctor told me (she was wrong) to put it back on. My bones are displaced but he thinks there's going to be a union (slow going probably due to my age - 46- and likely gender - female) and said it is a good thing that the bones are overlapping - a stronger clavicle will result. I've got frozen shoulder. That's why my pain has been awful. Here's some advice (from my personal experience) that I think is critical. Make sure you get the arm out of the sling whenever it starts to heal, get moving it - but obviously avoid impact, heavy lifting etc - because frozen shoulder really sucks. I've got an appt in 6 weeks to check out the bone growth. For now, it looks like surgery isn't in the picture, and i've been given a green light to get moving again. No biking yet, no canoeing, and aerobics isn't even a good idea, but I may be able to ski in a few months. He even said I can sleep on my side (the non broken one). Oh, and one more thing he told me - which I had originally been doing - listen to your body... do what the pain allows you to do. There's a teensy light at the end of my tunnel! skiing!! and yeah, I'm Canadian - skiing is my sanity in the winter time.
Amber - re: can you feel the bone when there's a union? While my bones haven't connected yet (though there is some growth) I too felt weird touching the bone - what's it supposed to feel like? is it moving? Well, mine does move around, but the guy today told me that the clavicle is solid, despite the jutting up bones (overlap) It feels worse than it is, in other words. It moves when i move, even when I sneeze, but that's okay if the bone is growing back fibrous tissue that's holding it together. Because I'm fit,extremely active,(excuse me - USED to be) have a healthy diet etc. I had thought my bones would be healed after 6 weeks or so, but he said it's quite normal for healing to be this slow when you're over 40... so don't get freaked out if they're not healing as fast as you expect them to.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2005 03:51 PM, Amber wrote:

Hey, Tracie! After reading so much about your woes I am so happy for you; I'm glad you're at last hearing some positive news! And thanks so much for the words of encouragement. I think part of my freaking out is not being able to *do* anything. I ride almost everyday. Or, I guess I should say, used to ride almost everyday. Anyway, there seem to have been changes over the course of this week and, if I'm not mistaken (and please, please, I hope I'm not), they're changes for the better.

I think your comment about chucking the sling is interesting. My doctor said I could two weeks ago (just 10 days after the crash) but my PT said I shouldn't. So I've been wearing it almost all the time. There are occassions, however, when the muscles in my arm and shoulder ache so badly. I mean, they really hurt. And the only way to relieve them is to take the sling off and move my arm around more than my PT recommended.

So I'm trying to strike a balance between "immobile" and using it. And to do exactly what you said, "listen to my body."

The thing I'm finding hardest to figure out is how to relieve the tension in my back. It's like the muscles on the right side are trying way too hard to compensate for what's happening on the left side. And my back in the morning is so sore from spending too much time sleeping flat on it. But I digress...

My next check point is scheduled next week with the PT. I have two more weeks after that before I get x-rays and the first real official word of where I stand and how much longer I'll have to wait before I can do anything but walk... and type. :0)

Man, it seems like forever.

Thanks again for your advice and interest, and for sharing your well deserved good news! You go, girl!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 23, 2005 07:59 AM, Terry wrote:

Its been 3 weeks since not wearing any type of support and I am now battling frozen shoulder. I still can't raise my arm pass shoulder level but physio twice a week and daily workouts are beefing up my anorexic shoulder and giving me more strength/movement. The pain of getting rid of frozen shoulder is almost as worse as the collarbone break. But at least I can run and get some exercise which helps a lot mentally. My advice would be to ditch the sling as soon as possible which would help prevent frozen shoulder. The light is getting wider at the end of the long tunnel. Too bad it was such a warm/sunny summer here and now its over :-(

Permanent link to this comment. On September 23, 2005 05:52 PM, Tracie wrote:

Amber - it's bizarre that I feel like (not that I ever wanted to be) a real 'pro' at this stuff by now. Can't believe it will have been 14 weeks tomorrow, since my break. It sounds to me like you're doing exactly the right thing by listening to your body. Frozen shoulder really does hurt as much as (Terry!) if not more than the break. Don't get it!If it's any consolation, even though walking was all I could do back in early August, a trip to Colorado, Utah, Arizona - hiking around Arches Nat'l Park etc- was a huge lift for my spirits. I'm almost never still and go through life at breakneck speed, so I've attempted to get into a kind of 'zen' frame of mind (as if...aaaaaaaaaarrrggh!! I'm about as far from 'zen' as you could find) and slow everything down for awhile. It IS really hard keeping still, but a friend of mine died of cancer at 39 - 3 kids - and another woman I know has arthritis so bad in her mid 40s that she's had almost every joint in her body replaced - oh, and my mom told me today that she's going blind. Temporary pain is tolerable (provided it remains temporary) right? I found that fast walking - long walks - we have lots of nice trails in the city where I live along the river etc. - was great and kept the initial depression at bay. Hey, some people never do more than walk. We've got our bikes to get back on...and the trails will still be there when we're healed back into bionic women with our bones 3 times as strong as they were pre-accident (ha!!!!!!) take care..

Permanent link to this comment. On September 23, 2005 07:49 PM, Steve Mentzer wrote:

Update. Have not posted since Aug. 20th.(week 4). Am now at week 9 and am back riding and working out at the gym. I still suffer a little stiffness in the morning but I figure it's my age(49)and the healing process. No frozen shoulder syndrome or nasty lump to report and I attribute that to the figure 8 brace. I really believe it helped heal the bone properly. Hope everyone's recovery goes the way they would like it to. All for now.
Steve

Permanent link to this comment. On September 25, 2005 03:53 PM, Blair Guinea wrote:

Hey Ya'll [c.f.f. collarbone fracture family]

Got 1 more week to go before i return 2 work...........i cannot wait !.
My distal third fracture I am sure is improving daily, although if i try there is afracture of movement between the 2 bones though having said that, it is almost impossible to lift my 45 degree's which I am sure is a good sign and after a bit of careful work and phyisio ? and of course the soft callus hardening etc
[being soft there is still a tiny movement}
.........i cannot wait to get back on my trail bike {maybe 1-2months} . And sure as ya'll say, listen 2 your body, it is the most obvious doctor we have !!!!

This broken clavicle has / partially is a shit ride and I'll be so glad when I am fit and 110% mobile once again........
Ah Tracie ?

Thanks again ya'll [hang in there Ryan]

Cheers........Blair

Permanent link to this comment. On September 26, 2005 01:28 PM, Tracie wrote:

right on Blair! It's gonna be 120% for me when this is over with!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 27, 2005 01:33 AM, Ryan wrote:

thanks guys for the support,
im feeling better today than when i first posted. i just discovered that i can do a pushup after all this time. Not bad. I figured the odds were on my side. Nevertheless, this particular injury can get U very depressed. Im sure it sinks in to just about everyone who has experienced a broken clavicle at some point during the healing process. Just hang in there. I know im not done with my miserable journey, but it is getting easier.
On a side note, I met a guy who had his clavicle removed yesterday at work. That was a bit of inspiration for me to hang with this painful adventure and not sink into a rut. Oh well. I am just still anxious to be 100% again. Hang in the everyone. just get some nyquil and whisky for the hard nights and wear your figure 8 even when its stinky ;) bleach water rocks

Permanent link to this comment. On September 27, 2005 08:36 AM, Hans wrote:

Wow, I go away on vacation for a little and the stories come pouring in!

I have a quick comment about frozen joints. My doctor was very clear that while I wore the sling that I should take my arm out of the sling several times a day to move the joints. I was not to move to a point of pain but enough to keep them active.

Ryan - Yeah, a stinky figure-8 is nice. To keep mine from getting nasty I would wear it into the shower. It was summer so it was even more important keeping it clean.

Glad to hear from everyone about lots of success recovering.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 29, 2005 01:28 PM, Mike wrote:

Have not posted since Sept 15/05. I originally broke my left clavicle in a motorcycle accident. The bones were over lapping at mid clavicle. The original doctor in ER and surgeon I seen the following day, said I should have surgery. He said 95% of clavicle breaks can heal on their own, but felt I should have surgery. Problem was I could not get in for approx. 1 week after the accident.
Well, I decided to return home and see if I could have surgery done in my home town. My home town surgeon at the hospital, looked at my x-ray and prescribed a figure of 8 brace along with a sling, and said let it heal on its own. I went like this for 2 weeks, and decided to call the original surgeon I had seen after the accident. I am now glad I went with the option of surgery, as the muscle was been pinched by the over lapping bones. I was also having lots of muscle spasm's in my left arm and chest, prior to surgery. Its now been approx 1 1/2 weeks since surgery and I have good movement in my arm and do not were a brace of any kind. I still have to control my urge to use my left arm, or I pay, with lots of ache's for a couple of days. Just glad I went with the opinion of the first doctor and listened to my body. Hopefully the rest of the healing process goes as well! How long before the ache's start to subside? I will probably seek physio in another couple of weeks.
Take care everyone and be patient.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 30, 2005 04:21 PM, Glenn B. wrote:

I'm 56 and joined this club on Aug. 1st. I was riding back to the lower 48 and dumped my bike at Summitt Lake in the Yukon. I wound up flying back and having my bike shipped back.

I've not done the figure 8 as the doctor I go to seems to think the sling will do the trick. After 9 weeks the shoulder still has a dull ache. I now only wear the sling when I go to bed and that's mostly so I don't throw the arm around in my sleep. I go back to the Dr. on Oct 5 and we'll see how the bone is doing and whether I need surgery or not. I'm hoping for the "not" option.

I've learned a lot from reading the postings on this site and the feeling that one is not alone is a great assurance. Keep the posts going and I'll keep reading.

Glenn

Permanent link to this comment. On October 3, 2005 11:28 AM, Dave wrote:

Just broke mine yesterday racing my dirtbike. Came up the face of a tabletop, got crossrutted and sent my bike sideways 15 ft in the air. When I came to, and realized who I was and where I was at; I knew I broke my collar bone. When i was knocked out; i had Led Zepplin's "Thats The Way" playing in my head. Here's a picture, hope it works. Cut and paste.

http://www.bajamx.com/Track_Facility/Main_Track/gfx2004/a20.jpg

I'm 31, it sucks. Vicadin* is working ok. Getting up off the couch is painful; my abs are pulling my sternum separating the break. Best thing to do is roll over and get up from the side.

I'm hoping I'll be out of this sling in a week or so.


Permanent link to this comment. On October 3, 2005 01:11 PM, Tracie wrote:

You're funny Dave - I guess you can tell your friends 'I don't know how to tellya, I can't play with you no more..'
I wish I'd broken my collarbone doing a tabletop like that - at least you've got a good story. I was thrown off my bike (landing on my collarbone) going through a stupid mud puddle,not even fast.. way cooler how you did it. Put the bike away for awhile - but go out and talk to it from time to time.. I haven't been able to ride since June 18th - the day of my accident - but I go out and start her up from time to time.
HEre's my advice - not that you asked for it but frozen shoulder is nasty. Crank the Zeppelin (in lieu of revving the engine) , take lots of pain killers, do what your body tells you to do, and do not get a frozen shoulder. Take your arm out of the sling and start moving it even just a tiny bit before it freezes up.
STEAL AWAY NOW...STEAL AWAY... nice and loud !!
p.s. I'm almost out of the club now. Collarbone is coming along just fine.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 3, 2005 04:19 PM, Terry wrote:

I had my final x-ray today and after 11 weeks the collar bone has fully healed. Yay! but now the frozen shoulder problem. The doctor told me that after 12 weeks and you still have trouble moving your shoulder then it could last up to a year before the shoulder "thaws" out. He advise to be aggressive with early treatments and bear thru the pain.
Now i need to find a Frozen Shoulder newsgroup :-)
Had my physio guy beef up the treatment today and could feel the shoulder joint popping as he tried straightening my arm over my head...and man was it painful.

Tracie - found some good frozen shoulder exercises at http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2000/09_00/pa_sandor.htm
The pendulum and table crawl are the best. Could feel the shoulder joint cracking and popping with the table crawl. A painful and strange feeling but at least the joint is moving.

Listen to Hans and Tracie...keep the shoulder joint mobile.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 4, 2005 07:42 AM, Cheryl Kennard wrote:

Hi, my name is Squirrel. I broke my collar bone in 2 places, was riding with my boyfriend on a quad in Secunda in SA on the 23rd Sep 2005. We were doing a U turn near a slope wheel must of missed the edge or something. Me wearing a white slippery skirt went flying off, then in his fall he hit me and then the bike came rolling. Lucky my boyfriend Ronald realised and kicked the bike away from falling on us. I get up and felt my whole right side go numb, I mention it to the guys they tell me Im just in shock as we take my helmet off I see the bone sticking out. Went to hospital got a good drug shot in my ass. Everything seemed better as the pain had just shot in and started to subside just after the XRays. The worst was sitting down and then standing up again. Got a sling and went back to where we were staying as we were down 4 a wedding the next day. On monday went to a dr in jhb,just leave and let it grow. Sat 1 Oct I was putting a shirt on and think I stretched a bit too much to get it on as I was in pain again. 1 thing that helps is just to relax in a nice warm hot bath for awhile. Next day I notice that the bone is sticking out more the piece where the bone broke, so this is how I came to find this site today as I was hoping to see if anyone else has had the broken bone poking at the skin, and if it could still heal normally or if they would need to operate. Well made an appointment for tomorrow, so hopefully all will still be ok. Its not that painful just more like some1 is poking a knitting needle from my inside into my skin. The pillow thing for sleeping also did that, having a pillow under my arm, sometimes I'd take arm out the sling. I miss sleeping on my side. It's amazing what we take for granted like our right arm, u feel absolutely useless not being able to cut your food ect. Take care every1

Permanent link to this comment. On October 4, 2005 08:48 AM, Carleen wrote:

I broke my left clavicle in half, 1" from the shoulder, 4 weeks ago. I broke my collar bone while crash landing my CR125r dirt bike on a motorcoss track while jumping a table top in 4th gear. My latest xray showed no healing and a separation of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. The larger of the bone is hanging below the shorter piece. My ortho provider is terrible. Will this gap fill in? I am 38 year old female, will this slow my healing due to my age.Help I want to ride again.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 5, 2005 09:25 AM, Hans wrote:

Squirrel - Those dang quads! Well, good thing the quad didn't land on you two. Nothing like insult to injury.

Your break reminds me of my friend's break. She crashed in a mountain bike race and broke her collar bone in two places. The middle piece of bone rotated and poked straight up towards the skin. It looked like a finger poking upwards. She had it checked out by several doctors. All said that she would be able to "heal" fine but her bones would always be disconnected. Since she was very active and wanted to continue to compete she elected for surgery. Also, having a disconnected collar bone can cause poor posture.

I highly recommend you get a couple of doctor opinions. And if you aren't wearing one, get a figure-8 sling or the ShouldersBack (http://www.shouldersback.net/) support recommended by others here.

Heal fast.

Oh, and no more riding a quad in a slippery skirt!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 6, 2005 08:33 AM, Angela Cosby wrote:

I don't know if this will work from England but I'll give it a go!
I broke my clavicle in half on Sunday, 3 days ago, while out running. I WAS training for a race this Sunday so thought I'd better 'role' and protect my legs! After sitting in casualty all day came home with a simple sling, appointment to see doctor in a fortnight and instructions to take paracetemol as it is believed that ibuprofen inhibits healing.
NO one prepared me for the pain, and I am 48 and have given birth to 3 kids. So finding this website saved my life, I thought I was going mad. I now have stronger pain killers from my dr. and am surviving on booze and ice packs.
Really need to get back to work, I teach and keep hearing about my kids going off the rails. NO-one is prepared to tell me how long I'll need off. My dog is going mad as he's used to a 5 mile run everyday. Mind you until I can get underwear on I'm going nowhere! Thanks for the site I no longer feel alone.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 9, 2005 10:42 PM, Ron wrote:

It has been several months since we communicated. I tried to describe the fact that my clavicle had sheared off and risen above the shoulder with only skin restraining it. You said that you had never heard of so critical an injury. However it has become much worse.

My surgeon was loath to operate and kept telling me that some people with my condition are able to live many years without surgery. Never did he do full disclosure and tell me that the clavicle could completely disconnect if it were not operated upon.

That is what has happened. The ligments were keeping the clavicle in its normal place in the chest wall. Then the ligments loosened off and the clavicle is now pressing forward with only the skin restraining it.

That finally got the surgeon's attention. Even then he scheduled surgery for 30 days after this crisis occurred. That is a long time to wait for treatment with an emergency!

Really we are talking about shoulder reconstruction rather than a shoulder operation.The operation will last 2 hours and I get only 1 night in hospital when I would prefer many more since there will be problems of infirmity and pain.

My surgeon is a good shoulder specialist but even so I am afraid of lasting pain. I already learned after the accident how painful the shoulder can be but then I knew that the shoulder was healing. However there was no bony union.

I do wish that I pressed harder for surgery in mid-summer, had gone to a private clinic, and paid for it if my surgeon was not able to do surgery within a few weeks then. Of course if I had gone for a consultation to a private clinic I would have been told about the dangers of not operating, something my own surgeon never told me. It is all about prevention being better than cure.

My surgeon said that he will install a plate in the shoulder. He said the great majority of patients find it irritating and ask to take it out after a few months. However you said that you know of patients who have tolerated a shoulder plate very well.

Thanks for your advice in the past. Please advise others on just how important it is to get a second opinion from a specialist when a serious clavicle injury occurs. There may be some debate among surgeons about clavicle surgery but there is no doubt that I should have had surgery months ago.

You can imagine how careful and constricted my life is with my clavicle hanging so loosely against the skin of the chest wall.

(edit: added additional comments)

By the way the only reason that I am getting surgery is because the shoulder deteriorated so much. I live in Canada where we have a very poor public health care system. One example of this is that surgeons often give out no printed or clear verbal instructions about post-op care prior to the operation.

However if the operation is done in a private clinic then the patient receives much printed instructions before the operation. The reason is that the surgeons in the private clinics care about the results since they can be fired if their success rate is not high enough.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 10, 2005 04:46 AM, JLB wrote:

I am posting to let u know my story. I fractured my right clavicle, displaced midshaft clavicle fracture, 5 months ago. I was described to me as a bad break. The ends overlap with a fragment positioned behind. It’s very pointy under the skin.

Yes, it has taken a long time but the results are surprisingly good. When first presenting at the fracture clinic I was given the decision of surgery or not. I left the decision to my consultant, they are experts. He decided to leave it for 4 weeks and review but radiographs showed no healing. However, the fracture was more stable by this time and I started physiotherapy, shoulder mobilisation. (It has all been progress since. At week 8 a callus could be seen. I could now lift my arm above my head but positions were still painful. I was taking revenge on a stationary bike by now. I started jogging again at week 10. Help my posture, strength and I feel healing significantly.)

Continue week 4: Also, the sling was putting pressure on the fracture causing concern as the skin looked very sore and thin. This was avoided by replacement with a poly sling. This improved my quality of life. It has one strap to go round your shoulder of choice and another to hold the arm support round your waist. This provided support even when going round bends in the car. The positioning could be adjusted and stability at the fracture site was definitely increased. I think the improved alignment following fracture is due to the success of this sling (http://www.medlockmedical.com/orthopaedics/polysling.htm). I’m not saying this is the best sling just that it worked for me.

Today, my final appointment, 5 months post injury and new bone can be clearly seen. Since the injury the prominences of bone under my skin have remodelled, rounded. I have been reassured that remodelling will eventually leave only a smooth lump. Has anyone had such a successful remodelling experience with a big break (I appreciate alignment will different to pre injury)?

I posted a month or so ago concerning my pointy lump. I raised the issues I was experiencing with the stimulation of skin nerves running over the fracture. This has been much less of a problem since and I feel remodelling has helped, as above. I can now wear a backpack again. I have selected a back pack to suit my new anatomy. The strap just avoids the lump being an ‘S’ shape. Lowe alpine backpacks are particularly good but I brought a berghaus as it suited other needs to. My other issue was the seat belt. This was easily solved with a seat belt shoulder pad. I hope this is of help as it was the little things that were getting me down.

I wish everyone good luck. Life will be normal again, it just takes time. Make the most of the opportunity to rest. Take care and respect yourself.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 10, 2005 08:03 AM, Hans wrote:

JLB - Good to hear you are healing well. Yes, remodelling (reshaping) of the bone should occur over time. I was comparing collar bone stories with someone the other day that had broken one side five (5!) times independently. He described that bone as looking like links of bratwurst. In his case, each of the lumps have remodelled. In my own experience, my lump has also reduced in size. So it's possible your lump will improve over time.

Thanks also for writing about your experience and suggestions.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 12, 2005 10:46 PM, Sam wrote:

Hey guys... it seems as soon as injury happens off we go to the net... and that is what i have done as well. I broke my left collar bone last sunday ( 10 days ago ) bike riding. What i want to know is what can i take for the pain. I read earlier on about White Willow Extract so i will check this out but what else can i take. I am taking Nurofen capsules and they kinda work but the pain over the last 3 days has been much worse then the first week. Is that commen ?? i suspect as the bone joins stiffness and pain comes with the territory. I wonder if others also had similar experiences. I am off to doctor for x-ray on Monday. Any advice would help.. Thanks for some great info above. Sam.

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

Sam - Ibuprofen or some other over-the-counter pain medication is what is commonly suggested. A doctor might prescribe a stronger medication if the pain is really bad. If your pain is increasing it might be from soft tissue soreness. Some of that can be damage from the accident. Some can be from your muscles compensating for the injury. Be sure you are resting your shoulder enough. Also, make sure your sling or figure-8 sling is adjusted properly. If you can get a gentle shoulder massage that can be very helpful in relieving the muscle tension.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2005 12:10 AM, Rachel wrote:

MOTHERS WITH BROKEN CLAVICLES - READ HERE

Great site. I noticed though that there is a lack of people who have kids to look after. I broke my clavicle 3 weeks ago at my 8 year olds birthday party. I was showing the kids (all 24 of them) how to use the inflatable slide we had hired. I RAN down the slide and bounced off onto the ground landed full force on my left shoulder. I knew at that moment I had done something more than bruised it. Anyway, I bravely carried on handing out goody bags until all the little darlings had gone home. My mum and dad took me to the hospital and after an x-ray it was confirmed. The following day I had an appointment at orthopeidic (cant spell, sorry) They basically sent me home with an awful sling which cut into my neck if I had it tight, or when I loosened it, it didnt give any support. After a couple of days of suffering, my mum bought me a sling from the chemist which is easier to adjust and some thick foam which I put under the strap to protect my neck. Much more comfortable. The first week was awful. My hubby goes to work at 7 in the morning, so he had to help me get dressed before he went. Then, I had to get my 8 and 3 year old ready for school and walk them there. Each step I took jarred my arm and the only way I could make it better was by having a folded up scarf under my arm. Anyway, I asked the school if my eldest could have a week off with some schoolwork to do, but they said no! I had everyone offering to help take them to school, but Im not the sort of person that leaves them with other people very often. Anyway, I struggled on by myself and Ive now reached the 3 week stage. My shoulder is still painful, I have been using my hand but being careful not to pick anything heavy up. Im experiencing soreness myself, so Im glad ive just read the entry by sam (above) the only way I can describe it is like when u touch a graze. Ive got a slight lump. Hopefully this means its healing. Im really concerned about getting back to work. Im a care asst and I have a cleaning job too. At the moment, I cant drive, so I cant get to either anyway. Im expecting to be off from the care job for a while yet cause I have to lift people into bed. Does anyone know how long it could be before I can drive? I never used much pain relief cause I cant take ibuprofen cause I get asthma. Anyway, Im going to see the doc again on thursday. Ill let u know how I got on. All u out there with broken clavicles. Spare a thought for all the mothers out there that have had to carry on regardless cause we have kids to look after, and think yourselves lucky that you can just take it easy! lucky you! Thanx for a brilliant website. Rach

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2005 09:41 PM, Bill T wrote:

WOW, what a wealth of information. Thanks much. I am writing this for my husband since he doesn’t like to type!!

My 57 year old husband has ridden to work and back on a bicycle for 22 years and has never had an accident until Monday, a driver wouldn’t move over to give him room on the shoulder. He had to take the curb and flew over the handlebars. The rest is history. Broken clavicle. Got back on the bike and rode 3 miles to the hospital. Our daughter is the Technical Supervisor for the Radiology department. Said she’s never seen one that bad. Goes to the Ortho docs tomorrow. Thanks for all of the information. We now know what to expect and what to ask. He can take a lot of pain but the pain is still so bad that he feels like he is going to vomit and/or pass out when he showers or changes his shirt. He is taking pain pills and ibuprofen. Sleeps with a body pillow on the right side (right clavicle break). Which he said really helps. Doc also gave him a sling which he wears all of the time.

The Doc that saw him Monday said that instead of being misaligned his is vertical to the horizontal bone. He has a large bump. It even hurts him when he eats. He is an electrician by trade and right handed. From what we hear from our doctor and the radiologists is that surgery is usually not suggested for a broken clavicle – Our question --- will it hasten recovery? Does anyone have any guesses on recovery time? Tomorrow we will know more. Thanks again for being there for him.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 17, 2005 02:36 AM, Squirrel /Cheryl wrote:

Hi Bill got info that u asked about and a little advice for others, I wrote about 2 weeks ago. I went back 2 a doctor and he referred me to a orthopaedic, he took 1 look at me and the xrays and told me what happened. Ends up 1 of the broken pieces had moved and was now vertical and that was the bone poking my skin. He straight away said surgery tomorrow. Now being with out medical aid, I needed to make a choice either go to goverment hospital and wait for how many days and who knows how qualified the doctor would be, or make a plan. My doctor said it needs to be done a.s.a.p as it could poke right through my skin and also before the callous starts growing as then it would be more damage to repair. Made a plan and my company offered to help me with the money and I pay them back. The next day I was admitted to hospital, I was so nervous and scared as its my first time in hospital. The op went better than my doc expected. They put a plate and screws in. The best thing about having the op is that it does heal quicker up to 2-3 weeks I was told and It wont even seem like u broke it. Hope that helps. The next day you are discharged. Get good pain killers after the op, but heres some advice take the pills and not the injection as it works better sure the injection works quicker but as it wears off you feel nausea and it doesn't last as long as the pills. The only mission after the op is getting up from a lieing down position and then the normal dressing of course. I went off my pain pills a day and a half after my op,as all the pills can make u constipated wich is worse so try to only take pain pills when u really need to. The only pain I really feel now is in my back from having my arm forward and in a sling all the time so started on pills again. One more thing is that u should exercise your arm slowly in differnt positions as far as you can go b4 it hurts too much as u need to move your joint by your shouldr. The reason for this is that the muscle or joint can become lazy and stiffen and can loose its ability of motion wich means you will be spending more money doing physioherapy (sorry cant recall the spelling). Hope this helps every body its info I got from my doctors. Take care

Permanent link to this comment. On October 17, 2005 03:12 AM, Travis wrote:

2 days ago I just broke my right clavicle for the second time in 8 months. I am very frustrated right now because I was just starting to get the motivation I needed to start eating healthy, exercising, and lifiting weights. Last time I broke my clavicle I wasn't about to put the amount of pressure needed to bench press for 4 months. I can't bare to wait that long to get back to my normal routine. My break is not as bad as some of the others on here. I still have some function with my right arm, I just can't raise my arm too far from my body. I just want to know everything I can do to make the healing process any faster. I read someone say they took calcium and boron? Also, not to drink alcohol, which would be tough for me since I am a 22 year old college student, but if it helped the healing process I would do it. I also don't wear the figure eight because it was uncomfortable and my doctor told me it didn't help heal the bone any quikcer it was just supposed to make things more comfortable. Is he correct in that statement, or should I wear it? All I wear is the sling and that's only when I'm waling around outside. Anyways, thanks for any comments. I don't feel so bad after reading some of your guys stories, talk about perserverance.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 17, 2005 10:18 AM, Renee wrote:

Anyone out there healed up without a lump? I have full mobility back even though lifting over 5 pounds or so can sometimes still be painful so I am trying to be very careful. Crossing my injured arm across to the other side bothers me as well. I fractured and displaced my clavicle at the end of July. My bone fractured and displaced downward unlike most who seem to displace upwards. I have no lump, but would almost like one just so I would know it was healing....so my question is... has anyone made a complete recovery without a lump? Am I healing being that I have regained mobility? Should I be concerned? You can feel where the break is but no lump has formed. I need to be able to snowmobile by January. Should I request another x-ray in the next month or so? I have to pay out of pocket, but want piece of mind. Any thoughts?

PS. Rachael, I have two very active boys. One 7 year old and one 9 year old. Taking it easy is a complete joke isn't it? When I first got hurt they were still out of school for the summer, so I had them home with me all day every day for the first month after getting hurt. They did their best in the beginning to help out. They carried laundry up and down the stairs and followed me around with the vacuum cleaner etc. It gets old real quick though - for the husband and the kids. Best of luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 17, 2005 07:50 PM, BillT wrote:

Went to the Ortho today, didn't take another xray, only got to see the PA, see again in 5 weeks. Does this sound normal? did put me in a figure 8 brace instead of the sling. Hurts more, feels better --if that makes sense.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 18, 2005 10:22 PM, Hans wrote:

Bill T - Hearing stories like yours gets my blood boiling. Let's hope that karma catches up with that driver.

There's some great comments/feedback from people regarding surgery. I opted not to have surgery since my break didn't call for it. Others have and have had quick recovery. But there is always a risk of complications from surgery. Make sure to get more than one doctor's opinion.

Also, asking for a guess on recovery time will give you all different answers and probably none correct. Every break is unique as is the individual and their ability to recover. Therefore, listen to your doctor and if possible, get a second doctor's opinion.


(Just read your second post) Glad to hear you got yourself a figure-8. I wore mine as much as possible, even to bed. If you got one with thin foam pads it might get uncomfortable after a bit. Find some additional foam and use duct tape to make better padding.

I can only guess that you didn't get another x-ray because it's only been a short time since the first x-ray(s). Also, I guess that you or the doctor decided no surgery since you will be waiting 5 weeks to follow up. But, if surgery is still on your mind, I would think you would want to follow up sooner. Everyone says it's better to have the surgery done sooner.

============

Squirrel - Nice to hear back from you. It sounds like things are looking better. It also sounds like you have a good grasp on the situation. Let us know how things go with the recovery.

============

Travis - A second break within one year? That really sucks. As for your doctor saying the figure-8 doesn't help, well I personally disagree. It helped me and I know that many others have written about how it helped them recover. One of the benefits of the figure-8 is that it keeps the shoulders immobile and aligned well. This helps the healing process since you limit the movement the broken ends and therefore give them a chance to reconnect. Think about two pieces of wood that you are trying to glue together. If you keep pulling them apart you keep breaking the bond. Do that too much and you might never get them to attach.

It's also wise to cut way back on drinking alcohol. It leaches calcium from the bones. Oh, and sodas and caffeine will also do this. Not something you want when you are trying to mend.

============

Renee - Healing without a lump? Yes, that's possible. But it also means you don't have a cool lump to brag about when you hang out with the broken collar bone crowd. :')

Seriously though, no lump is fine. But to know if you are healing correctly you will need to follow up with your doctor.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 19, 2005 01:58 AM, Rachel wrote:

Hi, its Rachel again

Just want to say thanx 2 Renee for your words of wisdom. I havent formed a lump either. I was concerned about the fact that it might not be healing. Going to see the doc tomorrow (Thursday) so I'll let u know what they say.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 19, 2005 12:51 PM, Renee wrote:

Rachel-
Just a quick time frame note for you. My ortho. had me in a sling and a figure 8 for the first three weeks. After the third week he had me stop using the sling and released me to drive. I continued to wear the figure 8 until the 8th week. Best of luck Thursday. Let us know what happens.

Renee

HANS - You don't hear it often enough. Thank you for this sight and all you do. I don't know where we would all be without it and YOU!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 20, 2005 08:48 AM, Leo wrote:

I stumbled upon this site and have found it very interesting to read other people's stories. I broke my collarbone 7 weeks ago when I was hit by a hockey ball. Thankfully it was a clean break, the two ends of the bone were aligned and I was just put in a sling. Five weeks after the injury I returned to the Fracture Clinic where the Doctor felt the injured area and, happy with how it felt, sent me away with a couple of exercises.

I've not had an x-ray apart from the initial one in A&E - do most of you have a second x-ray? I sometimes think I would like one for my own peace of mind!

And do others feel physio is important or just to use your own "home" exercises? I will be very grateful for any comments.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 20, 2005 09:20 AM, Hans wrote:

Leo - The need for a second x-ray depends on the individual. If there are still complications then it makes sense. But if the healing process has gone well, the shoulder feels solid, and there's no pain, then why have an x-ray? I believe it's better to reduce the amount of radiation in your body.

The type of exercises you perform for recovery are important. Your own "home" exercises might not work the injured location correctly. Or worse they might inhibit recovery. Follow the adive of your doctor or physical therapist. Luckily, most of the exercises I was prescribed could be done easily at home.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 20, 2005 10:07 AM, Amber wrote:

Hi all, Amber here just checking back in...

I just got back from the doctors, I'm just shy of 8 weeks since my crash, and had follow up x-rays and all that and... I am psyched! He said it looks like my shoulder is healing well with just minor displacement (which I think happened when someone accidentally bumped me in the shoulder with their backpack). My range of motion is excellent (according to my physical therapist -- even made the Drs eyebrows go up which, for him, seems like a lot). He said I could start riding again which, on the one hand I'm very excited about, on the other hand, I don't want to screw this up. He said the callus is a lot stronger than I think and that a simple tip over wouldn't hurt it but that I wouldn't want to do an end-over and land on it (like, duh!). Does anyone else have any advice regarding this, either through personal experience or through their Dr?

And I second Renee's comment. Hans, thank you very much for hosting this blog on your site and for your continued comments, interest, and support.

To all: stay positive, and may you heal well and quickly.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 20, 2005 12:54 PM, Rachel wrote:

Hello again!

Got back from hospital today. They signed me off for another 3 weeks. Ive still got to continue wearing my sling until I go back again, but he told me to rotate my shoulder up to 5 times a day to stop it going stiff. I didnt have another x-ray. He said there is no point as the healing wont show up after only 3 weeks cause the bone density is only thin!! I hope thats helped some of u cause I was expecting to be xrayed again too. Apparently at around 6 weeks, I should be feeling a lot better and will have an x-ray then and possibly physio. I just cant wait to be able to drive again!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 21, 2005 04:33 PM, carl wrote:

Hi,
Great reading all your stories, I wish I had found this
site earlier as its full of helpful iniformation.
Anyway I broke my collar bone about 2 months ago when I fell
off my bicycle at speed, somewhat the worse for drink!!
I fell real hard on my shoulder, didn't even get a chance
to break the fall with my arm. After I hit the ground I heard
a click...click which I assumed was two ribs breaking at the back so I knew I had done some damage. I put off going to
hospital that night as I didn't fancy going in drunk and
also facing a long wait on a Saturday night (peak time).
When I woke up the next day (when the alcohol had worn off)
I certaintly knew about it, I could barely move the pain from my ribs was aweful, it took me about 20 minutes to get out of bed, the ribs on my right side felt like they were made of broken glass! I had pain all down my right side, hip, ribs and shoulder, it was like I had a stroke down my right side and I was half crippled.
Anyway I got my father to drive me to A&E where the receptionist asked me a series seemingly pointless questions:- name, address etc...to which I basically answered "Have you got any painkillers!!" (My father supplier the appropiate info, he was pushing me around in a wheel chair at the time such was my mobility). I would add that my ribs felt every bump in the road on the journey in.
Anyway got some painkillers and had my X-rays which showed
a break with about a 1/2 cm gap at the outer end of the clavical. Not much sign of broken ribs but apparently they
are not easy to spot and even if they do there is basically
nothing that can be done for them (If you like breathing that
is!!).
Sent home with more painkilers which were good for the pain
but no help in the healing process as they allow you to use
your arm more. Another appointment in 3 days and more X-rays.
The sling was fairly useless for support, seemed to drag my arm
out of the socket! Another apointment made for a week later.
I noticed my shoulder was becoming 'hunched up' so I made some
effort to try and 'straighten it out' which was probably a
mistake as the next X-rays showed the gap to be even bigger,
about 1 cm. I decided to just let the shoulder do what it wanted to do at this point, the 'hunching' was probably the
bodys attempt to bring the bones togeather.
I got off the painkillers as soom as I could (after about 5 days) as they don't aid healing and only serve to allow you
to disrupt the natural healing process, the pain tells you you
shouldn't realy be doing that.
After about 2.5 weeks the pain from my ribs eased a little,
enough for me to notice the pain from my shoulder anyway!!
Things gradually got better from about 3 weeks, did some
cycling after 4 weeks (easier than carrying shopping on foot).
6 weeks in and a futher X-ray, zero sign of any new bone in the
gap, although I don't think 'new bone' shows up anyway.
The Doc said I could bin the sling at this stage, I had quite
good movement by now and not much pain but I was still worried
by the crystal clear 1 cm gap.
2 months on now and things continue to improve, I can even
sleep on the 'bad side' a little but I have to be careful.
I should have booked a 'open appoinitment' for about this time
but I didn't bother, I think it's basically a way of discharging you but I would like to see a X-ray which shows
some bone forming in that gap as that is my main worry.
The Doc said that if it was not healing I would feel pain when
he pressed on the break however I am not entirely convinced,
an X-ray with some indication of some new bone formation
would put my mind at rest.
My shoulder feels OK most of the time now but I do get some
discomfort at times with certain movements,I guess I will
just have to wait and see.
I don't know how bones heal but if the bone is going to be
1 cm longer for some time (or permanently?!) I am bound to
get some discomfort as the tendons and ligaments will be
strained.
I will just have to wait and see, even if it doesn't heal up
properly I guess it will be 'good enough' especially when
you consider the alternative of an opertation which had it's
own drawbacks (MSRA Anyone?).
Anyway if its not feeling close to 100% in another month I will
go and get another X-ray done to get a better idea of what is
happening, I would expect to see some new bone growth by then.
I am 41 by the way, and a smoker, I did hear that smokers
bones don't heal as well as non-smokers.
My main worry has always been the size of the gap,and how the
bones will 'know' how to join up.
I have always had trouble finding the break, there is no 'lump'
which some people describe but maybe this is because it is
at the outer end and hidden by ligaments etc?
I probably worry to much though, I have broken my arm several
times before but they are a different kettle of fish.
I guess I was just expecting too much too soon.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 22, 2005 01:23 AM, Blair Guinea wrote:

Hey Ya'll,
Yeah yeah after physio and 10 weeks of partial agony........I rode my bike XL250 {bajatractor} very carefully around the front yard. Shit no wheel stands just yet ha ha............my arm is feeling pretty damn good now, its been such a long depressing painful road.
Back at work to........that another mind story in itself !!!!

Anyways ya'll Tracie, Hans..........thanks again for all ya detail and help.......it got me through and now I'm out the other side it really is such the best feeling in the world and all that matters is our health and riding dirtbikes.
Cheers ya'll n Hang Loose !!!!......Blair

Permanent link to this comment. On October 22, 2005 02:57 PM, Steve Mentzer wrote:

Travis, I'm with Hans on the benefits of the figure 8. I wore one 23 hours a day from the first week through week 7. A total of 6 weeks. It's been 13 weeks since my break and I still avoid sleeping on it but in all other respects have full use and all strength back. My question is when does the bone fully heal? I know age (i'm 50) diet and overall health play a part, but is it like 8 months or a full year? Everyone seems to have a different idea. Travis, good luck with your recovery and as far as weight training goes, be patient.
Steve

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2005 10:41 AM, David Cherubin wrote:

My name is David and I broke my left clavicle biking about 6 weeks ago, and it has been a miserable 6 weeks. I am 51 yrs. old and I broke my clavicle at midshaft in 2 places and the break is displaced. No bone growth after 6 weeks, and a frozen left shoulder to boot due to following doctor's orders and not moving my left arm for 5 weeks. I'm now in physical therapy 3x per week to unfreeze the shoulder and then decide on surgery or not. My doctor said that he has seen people resume full activities with non-unions. I want to get the show on the road and have the surgery. Although I am new to biking I want to be able to ride hard, lift weights and in general lead an active lifestyle. Would appreciate thoughts and info. on surgery vs. non-surgery in situations like mine.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2005 11:51 AM, Hans wrote:

David - Your doctor ordered no movement for 5 weeks? You should find another doctor! A frozen shoulder is worse than a broken clavicle.

It's possible to have a non-union that's stabilized enough for certain activities. Your body can build fibroid tissue that helps to hold the bones. But you will need to follow up with a good orthopedic doctor that understands the needs of an active individual. I hear too many stories from active people that are recommended treatment for someone with a sedentary lifestyle. Let your doctor know exactly the types of activities you want to perform and that they understand those activities.

I'm a proponent of non-surgery. But others have commented here that having surgery was the better option. Take a look back through the comments on this page and my other collar bone pages (linked at the top) for more feeback.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2005 06:07 PM, Sarah wrote:

i am a 13 year old gymnast and cheerleader and i broke my collar bone 2 weeks ago. i cant tell how bad the break was from the xrays but i dont think it was too bad. i have competion in 6 weeks and i am hoping to be able to stunt and tumble.It will be the 8 week mark. I dont know if this is a realistic goal or not. I have been wearing a sling.What should i expect (improvment wise)each week? i just want to be back to normal and be able to do what i love to do!!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2005 09:43 PM, Hans wrote:

Sarah - Luckily, at your age you should be able to heal fast. It's not possible to tell you how quickly you will improve. That depends on each person and their particular injury. But, to give you an idea, I was back riding my bike a month after my break. And a short time later I was strong enough to compete again. So there's a good chance you will be healthy enough. For now, just take it easy and let it heal. And listen to your doctor but let your doctor know what your goals and timeframe are for competing.

Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 25, 2005 07:26 AM, Terri Coleson wrote:

Hi, I'm Terri. I broke my collar bone a week ago when I took a turn too fast at the bottom of a fast hill on my bike. I was tired and trying to get home too fast I guess. HA

Anyway, I don't know the medical terms but it is broken in two places with the middle piece sort of floating beneath the two other pieces. I went for an x-ray yesterday and the Dr. said everything is looking good so come back in a month for another x-ray just to make sure it is healing good. Until I read this site, I really didn't know what I should have asked him. When should I start moving my shoulder around so I won't get the frozen shoulder I've heard about here????? I still have a lot of pain (trying not to use the heavy pain meds during the day) so I don't think I could do any moving now but when should I start?

Hans, could you tell us what exercises your PT gave you to do at home? I know you are not a Dr. but it would be nice to have an idea of what kinds of things we need to be doing.

Like others, I thank you so much for this site. It has helped a lot!

-Terri

Permanent link to this comment. On October 25, 2005 09:52 AM, Hans wrote:

Terri - It's important to keep the collar bone immobile as it's trying to mend. Movement inhibits the healing process. A figure-8 brace works really well to stabilize and support your shoulder.

But moving your shoulder joint and arm is important. Bending your arm at the elbow and taking it out of the sling occasionally during the day will help to keep the joints from freezing up. How soon you can move the arm and shoulder joint depends on your injury and other factors such as swelling. Always use the pain gauge. If it's painful then stop. I only slowly began moving my upper arm and shoulder joint a week or so after the break. I never tried to stretch or push it too far. As the swelling and pain reduced I slowly increased my range of motion. But I was very careful not to hunch or move my shoulder so that it moved my collar bone. Again, the figure-8 helped. At first I didn't do any particular exercises. Only simple range of motion actions. For example, moving my arm away from my body. Later, once my break had reconnected, I began more specific exercises.

Someone posted a link to a site with standard exercises for a frozen shoulder. Ok, here it again:

http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2000/09_00/pa_sandor.htm

These are good once your collar bone has formed a connection.

Hope this helps.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 25, 2005 03:56 PM, AnnaKate wrote:

Hi, I broke mine 4.5 weeks ago, and the images on the x-ray showed the bones to be at different angles and pretty far apart. All the stories of malunions are discouraging, and I will deal with that when it comes. My question is why does my entire arm ache when I am walking after 20 minutes, or stationary cycling after 10 minutes?? I wear a sling, and I try loostening, tightening, taking it off when I am biking...but it still aches??? Is this due to raised heart beat and atrophy...thanks, annakate

Permanent link to this comment. On October 26, 2005 06:51 AM, alan Cook wrote:

hi, broke my shoulder 4 days ago and suffering in a similar fashion to others. is it ok to drop my lower arm out of the sling now and again as long as i sit still and prop my upper arm with a few cussions. also sleeping is a real problem as codine seems to mess up my stomach and cause severe cramps so all have is paracetamol which is pretty ineffective.

my other concern is this. along with the shoulder break i also tore a muscle which means i wont be able to lift my arm horizontally, not that i could right now in any case. i'm hoping this will heal along with the bone re-jigger, as such. but,if i need surgey to patch up the muscle wont that require immediate physio ?

thanks so much for this site. beats watching movies etc.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 26, 2005 03:09 PM, Rob Vaughan wrote:

hi im 50 and broke my collor bone power kiting on the 15 oct - damn i should know better at my age !! im suppose to be going diving in egpty on the 1st of dec. anywy a few questions
1) how much movement you recon i have and will i able to do some diving ?
2) in the uk the gave me crappy hessan sling which just fall apart. can any one recommend a better trype sling with web site so i can see a picture
3) when will i able to drive ? i have a gear shift

thank for the help.

rob :)

Permanent link to this comment. On October 27, 2005 12:14 AM, Rachel wrote:

Hey Rob!

I broke my collarbone 4 weeks ago and Im still not driving. When I went back to orth, they said I have to keep it in a sling for another 3 weeks. I got a sling from a chemist (Wilsons) its much better cause I can now adjust it myself. The sling they gave me at hospital cut into my neck and gave me neck ache, so when I got this one, I also bought some foam and put it under the strap which goes round my neck. After 3 weeks, I wasnt relying on the sling so much, and I found I was holding my arm up myself without realising. I can raise my arm upto my shoulders and out to the side about the same amount. It doesnt hurt now unless I lye on it. Hope that helps
Rach

Permanent link to this comment. On October 27, 2005 04:40 PM, Cherie wrote:

:( What's worse than having a broken collar bone? Nothing!
I broke mine back in May from a fall from my horse. I have been mostly pain free since August/September when I stopped going to physical therapy. After a while, I couldn't help but notice that although I have pain-free range of motion, I still treat it like its broken!! It feels like it has been duct taped together, and my arm is weak. I am uncomfortable wearing a seatbelt, I'm afraid to lift anything very heavy with my left arm, and I still protect when sleeping, walking through crowds, etc.

So, long story long, I go back to the OS, he xrays it and said I have "questionable delayed union", so he sent me for an MRI, which I had yesterday. He said the next step will probably be a bone stimulator (Hans have you heard about anyone using them with success?), but I think I know what I'm going to be told next week- surgery. My arm is getting weaker, not stronger. I have strange numbness in my arm, and the break site feels "heavy".
My biggest fear when I broke my collar bone, was being told that it would heal on its own, suffer, than find out that I need surgery and start the suffering all over again.

Glad I kept all my braces.
F***!,
Cherie

Permanent link to this comment. On October 29, 2005 09:53 AM, Hans wrote:

Cherie - I have heard good things about bone stimulators. You are lucky if you will be able to use one. I would try that first before trying surgery.

Oh, your arm might be getting weaker because you aren't using it. At least, according to what you wrote that sounds like the case. Were you doing strength exercises in physical therapy? Maybe you need to continue with those.

You should mention the numbness to your doctor. That's important information. It might be nothing or it might be something such as a nerve being compressed.

Good luck and let us know if you get to use the bone stimulator.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 31, 2005 10:11 AM, Cherie wrote:

Hans,
I go in Wednesday to discuss results of MRI. I have been using my arm normally (gym, back to riding, etc), just not able to use at normal strength, or it literally feels like it could snap. My PT was surprised to find that I had questionable union, since the exercises we were doing (and I contined to do) should have stimulated bone growth. I am going to ask OS about a false joint at the union site. It feels like I have a joint there, which would explain lack of pain, yet odd sensation and weakness.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 1, 2005 08:39 AM, Art Ariaz wrote:

Hello all! I broke my clavicle 4 weeks ago playing flag football. I played six years of full contact football with practically no injuries and I decide to play in an intramural college flag football league only to break the middle 1/3 of my left clavicle while diving for a pass. I knew exactly what happened when I hit the ground with the tip of my left shoulder and heard the snap. I got up and rotated my arm around and I could feel the bones knocking and grinding on eachother. It was severe pain. I walked to the sideline and told my buddy to take me to the hospital. He just kinda looked at me puzzled because he didnt know I was injured, no one knew I was injured because I just got up off the ground and calmly walked to the sideline rotating my arm. By the time I convinced him to take me I was feeling light headed and nauseous. When I got to the hospital they immediatly gave me a shot of demerol right in the buttock area. This was a good thing because it took away the pain and made me feel relaxed and kind of happy for a while. The next few days were rough because of the pain. Vicodin was my savior for that first week. The second week was alot better but still a little pain when I would have to go sit in class and listen to lectures all day. The third week was really good I could lift my arm and rotate it practically no pain at all. Now this week I cant even feel the slightest bit of pain. I can lift my arm above my head move my shoulder back and forth and even lift things like a laundry basket. What is concerning me is that I have a huge lump where it was. It is kinda sharp and jagged. Is this normal for it to feel jagged when I touch it. I havent gone to the doctor because there is practically no pain at all and I can move my arm and everything and I wore my figure 8 brace for only 3 weeks. I would like to return to weight lifting as soon as possible but I know it wont be in the near future. If anyone has any advice I would greatly appreciate it. Good luck to all my fellow clavicle fracturers.
Art

Permanent link to this comment. On November 3, 2005 07:54 AM, Cherie wrote:

Hans,

Have you heard of people living with non unions? My MRI report yesterday was inconclusive...OS and radiologist are sending me back now for a CT scan. I had a heart to heart with OS though..asking him what he thinks is going on. I thinks I have a false joint. He said surgery is the only correction...and it is a messy, high risk surgery with a high risk of complications. Basically, if my bone isn't healing on its own, surgery won't really help without a bone graft.

Since I am not in a lot of pain, he is basically suggesting I live with nonunion.

If I had the option of surgery the first week or so of my injury, I would have gone for it.

I'm so pissed!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 4, 2005 06:49 PM, Steve S wrote:

I came across this site today after doing a google search for broken clavicles. I have to say I found most of the stories very informative. Today, Nov 4, 2005, I was unfortunate enough to crash on my motocross bike. Besides the initial pain of the crash and the blacking in and out my body did not hurt to badly until I tried to stand up. While trying to stand up I felt my shoulder just collapse. I sat back down and felt my left clavicle and realized I had broken it. The pain was not real severe and I think my left ankle was actually hurting worse. My buddy made me a sling out of a tie down strap and we headed off to the hospital. After about a thirty-minute drive to the hospital (friend was driving me) and waiting in the waiting room for about 15 minutes I was able to see the doctor. I chose to go to an orthopedic surgeon instead of the emergency room since I figured they were going to refer me to one anyways. They did several X-rays of my left shoulder and of my left ankle and provided me with the good and bad news. Good news was my ankle was not fractured and was only sprain. Bad news was my left clavicle was completely fractured, just shy of being a compound. The surgeon informed me that there was no hope in slinging it to repair it and advised me that surgery would be the only other option since the chance of a non-union is likely. He said that he would make a small incision over the fracture area and retrieve the part of the bone that was just hanging down towards my ribs. He would then re-align them and place a metal plate over the fracture and attach it with screws. After that he said I would have to wait till Monday to have the surgery. He splinted my arm, put a brace on my ankle and gave me a prescription of Oxycodone and I went home.
My biggest problem right now is just trying to move around. My foot is swollen and I can't really put any pressure/weight on it to walk. Also since it is on the same side as my shoulder injury, I can't use a crutch or cane. You don’t realize how much you use your shoulders until it’s broke.
I do have a couple of questions I was hoping you guys could help with. Have any of you had the surgery and how was it. Also someone mentioned earlier about taking 2000 mg Calcium and 6 mg of Boron during the recovery time. Where do you get pure Boron, all I can find is the Boron (Trivalent Chelate) form, which I heard is not as good.
Thanks,
Steve

Permanent link to this comment. On November 4, 2005 08:45 PM, Rob Vaughan wrote:

3 week - update rob - i am 50. had a 3 week x ray. could see some inprovement from orginal break. doctor advised me to keep sling on for another 3 weeks. bought my own sling which was much better than the rubbish one the nhs gave me. i can now do my own sling and not dependent others. no driving - damn !!!. i asked about fig of 8 splint and said they NEVER RECOMMEND that now. my next x ray is 28th nov (mon) and fly out to egpt on the 1st dec. looks like no diving -- sob sob, just hope the sling off by then !! also taking calcium - not sure what it does but no harm. no pain - just bored bored !!!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 5, 2005 01:40 AM, Rob Vaughan wrote:

I's so bored now started doing blogs

Permanent link to this comment. On November 7, 2005 12:15 AM, denn g wrote:

Hi, I broke my right clavicle 2 weeks ago playing floor hockey, I slammed hard into a concrete wall.

I just needed a place like this to vent and talk about my injury. Broken collarbone is more common than I thought (245+ replies), WOW.

I'm in week 3 of healing, sometimes you think it will never get better. I mostly read or watch movies to pass the time but it is boring not being able to play sports.

I'm 27 and beginning to think I'm not invincable like before my injury. We can feel so strong at one moment and at the next we're like children, again.

I don't usually take my body for granted but the time of my injury I was tired and should not have been playing a competitive sport. Live and learn.

Next monday I get x-rays, finger crossed, I hope the bone is being knit. The human body is amazing, I will try to treat mine like a temple.

Thanks Hans & Laura for a place to talk about broken bones.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 7, 2005 03:04 PM, rachel wrote:

Just a quick progress report. Im now on week 6 of my recovery and all of a sudden last week, I actually noticed my arm felt like it was attached to me again. In fact, I took my sling off, forgot to put it on again and did my ironing without even realising. I go for an x-ray in three days which Im hoping they say I can return to work. Keep your fingers crossed for me and Ill let u know what they say

Permanent link to this comment. On November 7, 2005 04:17 PM, Terri wrote:

Hi, I'm Terri and just finished week 3 of one armed living. It is really interesting reading everyone's stories but then again everyone is different so I'm not sure if what I'm doing is OK. OK, I'll explain myself better. I'm a 41 year old wife and mother. I have two kids (thankfully old enough to do most things on their own) but I still have to clean, laundry, etc. Anyway - My break was pretty bad (I think) broken into 3 pieces. Until now I have worn the figure 8 brace all the time(which I think is the most wonderful invention!) and my sling most of the time. Today I left my sling off and did a lot with my arm. OK not alot compared to normal but more than I have been doing. NOW TO MY QUESTION - as long as things don't hurt, can I continue using my arm as much as possible? I know I should call and ask the Dr. but you know how it is trying to get a hold of them. Just give me your suggestions. I don't want to mess anything up but I don't want to just sit around when I could be doing more. Understand? Anyway, thanks for your help.
Thanks, Terri

Permanent link to this comment. On November 7, 2005 05:48 PM, josh wrote:

Progress report - - I'm in week 10, and x-ray last week showed no union yet. Doc said I don't need to wear the brace anymore and we'll look again in another month. First few days after the brace came off, the shoulder muscle felt fatigued at times, but that may be from disuse. I'm back to running 45-50 miles / week and the shoulder muscle sometimes feels tired after long runs, but not always and never to the point I have to stop. I feel like the arm is at 90% now, it's going to be a tough call if the option of surgery comes up again.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 8, 2005 04:56 AM, Rachel wrote:

RE: Terri
Read your message and Im in the same boat as you as regards to having kids and household chores to do. Ive only just stopped using my sling at 6 weeks. I found the first day my shoulder had a dull ache, but its now 4 days since I last wore it and I actually think its helped to do chores round the house as its kept my shoulder from going stiff. On the other hand, my break isnt as bad as yours, its a clean break and seems to be healing ok, so I came to the conclusion that if it hurts to do something, I wasnt going to do it. Im itching to get back in the car again. I tried to move the gears, but it made my shoulder ache for a while after. I dont know about you, but after all the time it takes to heal, its not worth breaking it again just for the sake of the house being tidy. I hope that helps!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 8, 2005 07:30 AM, Hans wrote:

Art - You describe your lump as sharp and jagged. It's difficult to compare with others since each is unique and descriptions are subjective. If you aren't feeling pain that's a good sign. But, I would recommend a follow-up x-ray to evaluate the break. Especially since you want to begin weight lifting again.

Cherie - Yes, I am living with a non-union now. That break developed a fibroid connection which holds everything rather well. I have been able to do use it without problems. Evaluate the type of activities you do and discuss them with your doctor. If it turns out you perform activates that would require a fused collar bone then you will need to consider options for fixing it. Weight lifting is one activity for example.

Steve S - There's a few comments from people that have had surgery. Nobody has complained of problems. Take a look at the other two pages linked at the top of the page and the comments on them. There might be more information.

Terri - Yes, if your shoulder does not hurt then slowly begin to use your arm. Rachel is correct in that moving your arm is helps to keep you from getting stiff joints. Just don't move your arm to the point of causing pain. Also, be aware of the use and forget you are still heeling. No lifting heavy objects for example.

Josh - I remember that dull shoulder ache. I would use a heating pad and massage the shoulder to help with that. It should go away soon as you use the shoulder more. As for surgery, it really sounds like things are going well as-is. It's possible to continue with a non-union. I've had one and it hasn't caused me problems.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 8, 2005 01:20 PM, Tracie wrote:

nearly 5 month update..sigh...I'll say it one more time. DO NOT GET FROZEN SHOULDER!! Broke the collarbone on June 18th (dirt biking) and just had another x-ray today. Ortho guy said it could take up to a year to heal completely although I can resume normal sports and activities provided I don't fall and avoid major impact. A bigger problem is that I still have limited mobility of my left arm due to frozen shoulder - I put the sling back on (doctor's orders back in August) instead of following my own good - it turns out - instincts, which included removing it and exercising. I can ski this winter, provided my frozen shoulder (weak/mobility issues) doesn't cause me to fall and break the collarbone again. Anyway, my orthopedic surgeon recommended intense and aggressive therapy The physiotherapist said go easy - didn't want to risk re-breaking it, and my doctor back in August, told me to keep the sling on until the bone was completely healed...ahhhh.. the wisdom of professionals. Failing recovering from physio - for hte frozen shoulder, not the clavicle break - surgery is always an option.. he said..
as if
For anyone in the early stages of a broken clavicle, keep it moving, if only in short bursts,because frozen shoulder can last months or years. Incredibly, I still cannot lift my left arm above my head with ease, putting the seatbelt on is a strain, and the left hook I feel like using on the various 'professionals' who have all given me conflicting advice, is sadly ineffective. Listen to your instincts.. and get second, third and fourth opinions.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 8, 2005 05:45 PM, Terry wrote:

Tracie - I feel for you. I had that stupid sling on way too long and developed Frozen Shoulder. When I thought my collarbone could handle the treatment...I gave the green light to my physio guy to be aggressive and it was one of the most painful moments in my life. After 2 months of physio 3 times a week and countless hours of rehab...I can now lift my arm over my head and have 75% mobility. The doctor offered me cortisone shots but I declined. Try to get rid of Frozen Shoulder thru physio as surgery sounds nasty...they put you under so you can't feel the pain and wrench your arm until its mobile. Unfortunately this force can tear the tissue inside your shoulder and could take months to recover.
A friend of mine had Frozen Shoulder a few years ago and after many months of aggressive physio she was able to get mobility in her shoulder. Her and I now have a connection and discuss who's physio was more painful :-) I'm hoping to gain full mobility in the next 4 to 6 weeks.
I went to a massage therapist after my most painful physio sessions and it helped with the soreness.

Good luck and you will get better...it just takes time and a lot of work.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 10, 2005 12:25 PM, rachel wrote:

Hi Everyone, its me again. Well, just been to have my shoulder x-rayed again only to find it has overlapped the other half I broke. Not too happy cause the doc said if its not better within the next few weeks we'll have to discuss other options (Surgery was mentioned) After I saw the doc, I had a word with somebody in physio, and she said about 90% of these fractures heal this way with no problems afterwards. She put my mind at ease a little more. I can now drive (6 1/2 weeks) and go back to work but only light duties. Got to do exercises 3 times a day and going to physio at the hospital next week, so Ill see what they say then. Good luck everyone

Permanent link to this comment. On November 10, 2005 12:35 PM, Hans wrote:

Rachel - Having the bones overlapping is better than not touching. That gives them a better chance of fusing together. From your description I highly doubt you need surgery. If the doctor is really pushing for surgery you should go and get another opinion.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 10, 2005 01:47 PM, Tracie wrote:

Rachel - I have the same thing - overlapping bones which were not originally overlapped and the orthopedic surgeon told me the same thing that Hans says. If they overlap they will eventually be stronger. I mean if you think about it, two bones on top of each other fused together are a lot stronger than two fragile ends joining up together. They don't look that sexy, but after several months of collarbone recovery, who the hell cares?

Permanent link to this comment. On November 10, 2005 02:18 PM, Hans wrote:

Tracie - "They don't look that sexy"... well... it depends on the crowd you are hanging around with. Get a bunch of cyclists together and they just love to show off their "sexy" collarbone bumps! :')

Permanent link to this comment. On November 11, 2005 07:04 AM, gary wrote:

Hi everyone. I broke my collar bone on the 4th October mountain biking, attempting a drop off which went horribly wrong! I landed on the front wheel and went over the handlebars and landed heavily on my right shoulder. I ended up with a complete break overlapping by about 5mm maybe more. I was given a sling and told to rest. I went back to the hospital last Tuesday after about 5 weeks and the x ray showed that not much healing has happened. The doc told me to take my sling off and use it as normal and to come back in 6 weeks and there was a 50/50 chance I'd need an op. I can now move my arm to just above my shoulder and rotate with no pain but actually feeling the bone with my other hand feels awful! I'm driving now and can operate pretty well apart from the odd twinge of pain and an ache down my arm so I'm hoping it will fuse in the middle although I've a concern with the length of the bone as it's overlapping...even though I have full movement...any thoughts?

Permanent link to this comment. On November 12, 2005 06:18 AM, JLB wrote:

Gary I can relate. I broke mine cycling too. Mine is overlapping about 1.5 – 2cm (a fingers width), its was on the margin for surgery or not. I showed no healing for 8 weeks. I am now healed without surgery. I was also using mine before any healing on the xray, only limited though. I'm six months post injury. I am unaware of the shortening unless I feel the lump and think about it. I had the pains too but they have passed over a long time and with use and strengthening. I have taken every opportunity to use my arms and strengthen them daily. I’m probably stronger now than pre injury. We left it without surgery as I wanted function over the very low risks possible with surgery. Also, I didn't want a big scar and the problems associated with this. There are disadvantages with both. I’m sure you will get a good result from either treatment but this is my story. Get a second opinion if you are worried. All the best.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 12, 2005 12:34 PM, Pete wrote:

I'm male, 35 - three weeks ago today I went over my handlebars on a YZ250 at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan. The motorcycle landed on me on the way down and I have a broken clavicle. The first week it actually seemed to be healing - pinching soft tissue, and then suddenly the pain stopped. I felt great. I was put in a figure-8 sling at the ER the day it happened, and hadn't been out of it.

Then, I am emberassed to say, it separated during sex. POP! Pain came back. I thought "OK, it will join again..". The second week I had a checkup x-ray and found that the shoulder-side of my clavicle was about 2 inches lower than the sternum side. Doc realized that my figure-8 brace was WAY too loose, so they cranked it down and gave me a whole bottle Soma and sent me home to put a heating pad on it. After another week if there's no change, Doc says I get referred to an orthopedic surgeon.

The figure-8 brace freaking HURTS. It doesn't hurt my shoulders or the break area, but my ARMPITS. It's digging so deeply into my armpits and GRINDING THEM RAW. I wedged some soft flannel padding in there, but to no avail.

What options do I have? I can really detect no activity after a few days even with the brace cranked down as much as possible - is it possible that I have a A/C tear as well that is leaving that part of my clavicle hanging? Can I take this stupid brace off at intervals every day to wash and stretch?!

I am so frustrated and I don't want to have surgery!

Any help appreciated.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 13, 2005 11:30 AM, Pete wrote:

Update: I had someone take the figure-8 brace off yesterday after I noticed blood everwhere. Put the sling back on for the night, expecting to go back into the brace after it was washed/etc., and when I woke up this AM the clavicle had popped back up and partially fused. Duh. Figure-8 brace was just to intense in this instance.

The problem that remains is that I think the shoulder-side of the clavicle needs to go AROUND the stump of clavicle that comes off my chestbone. It has joined to the bottom of the "stump" and is definitely not right. Guess it's time to suck it up and go to an ortho doc.

Screw the figure-8 brace!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 13, 2005 10:16 PM, Hans wrote:

Pete - I hate to say it but it sounds like someone told you the wrong way to use a figure-8. Wearing one should not cause you pain, especially intense pain. And wearing one fitted to the point it causes you to bleed? That's crazy.

From reading your first post it sounds like the figure-8 worked fine getting your break stabilized and a connection to form. But then you used your shoulder too soon and broke the connection. Then your doc decided to crank down the figure-8. After that you experienced all the problems. It's speculation but maybe the doc didn't adjust the figure-8 correctly.

The figure-8 is used to assist in stabilizing your shoulder. But it can't do all the work. The person wearing one must make an effort to keep their shoulder immobile. Over-tightening the figure-8 to compensate for more movement is a bad idea and can lead to problems such as you have described.

So, don't trash the figure-8 so soon. Find someone to adjust the figure-8 correctly. It should be tight but not to the point of pain, causes numbness, or loss of blood flow. I wore one and highly recommend one.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 14, 2005 10:58 AM, Raichel wrote:

Hi, I broke my collar bone on Oct. 30th. After a pretty bad fall with my horse, I can't tell all the details because I was knocked unconscious but long story short(after a million ppl telling me) we were jumping broke the pole broke in half he then tripped over it fell down I was launched off i landed head first my horse did a somersult over me (which we think broke it). Blah blah everyone says I'm glad to be alive, and a lot of people who have similar accidents have died or have been in a coma Also, my good fiend said they all thought I snapped my neck that's why they were so scared. Personally I don't think it's true and this stinks pretty bad. At the ER after rough handling from a nurse and still not coherent, yelling at the Dr. that he was a liar and it wasn't broke got it put in a sling and told I could back to school on wed. this was sun. thurs. at the latest. Yah that was a lie as I am going on my 3rd week and I still can't dress myself let alone sit in those chairs for hours. I don't know how bad my break is( even though I saw the x-rays) and I just went to my 2nd orthopedic the last one I saw on fri. after my break said I would heal fine just leave the sling on, my mom decided to get a 2nd opinion. Well, he put a figure 8 on and said it would take me 2 months to heal, I'm 20. Needless to say it hurt a lil and it still hurts to hold up my arm on my own for an extended period of time. I just hate it I look ugly as it is, before I looked like a pregnant lady with one arm( I couldn't get my arm through my shirt) Now I look like the hunchback of notre dame with 2 big of lats. I just don't know what to do, I thought it would be bette by now. The first OS said one day by the 3rd or 4th week I would just wake up and I would feel all better. Nope no not at all, vicodine is still my friend and my mom still has to be too close b/c I still cant do most normal things by myself oh and get up from lying down HA nope. Is there any hope? But anyways I'm sorry for the spastic rambling I just wanted to say it was nice to see other people know what I am feeling like. And it was nice to have a little chuckle.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 14, 2005 03:55 PM, denn wrote:

Hi peeps

Check out these exercises for broken collarbones, click the picks to get bigger diagrams.

http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/sma/sma_brknclav_rex.htm

DISCLAIMER: Ask your doctor when you can start these exercises, don't just start doing them on your own accord.

----

Permanent link to this comment. On November 16, 2005 12:49 PM, Pete wrote:

I am happy today. It's been a few days since I took off the figure-8, and today I went to have another set of x-rays taken. The bones are ALMOST aligned! Very jubilant. Doc says to come back in two weeks for another x-ray, and that I was right for ditching the sling. The strap went right over the break and was pushing the clavicle down and not letting it move. Also, I was prescribed Soma [muscle relaxant] because I am very muscular and they thought that maybe my muscles were fighting correct movement. I was having a lot of spasms, and the Soma settled them down, but the spasms stopped when I took off the figure-8 sling. I just can't wait until one morning when I will wake up and my arm will feel "joined" solidly again!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 17, 2005 12:06 PM, Pete wrote:

Raichel, chill out. I joined the "Clavicle Club" on Oct 28 and I was freaking out all last week about it not fusing, etc. I've had three sets of xrays done plus the initial crapass one they shot at Lakeshore hospital, and if you were to make an animation out of them [hey, that's a great idea for an animated GIF] you'd see my clavicle slowly moving back together. It's not fused yet, but as I near week three, I feel the joint getting more solid every morning.
Our bodies are remarkable, you just have to let it do it's thing. Go have a look-see at your xrays, I'm sure your doc's office would be happy to let you look.
I know it's frustrating. I keep questioning how I did this to myself in the first place - I should have been more careful dune-jumping at 40 MPH. Now I'm missing out on all the cool things I used to take for granted - had to give up my tix to see Ravi Shankar in Lansing, not being able to ride my bike or run..can't work in the garage, can't drive my GTO [stick]! Glad it's winter. It just snowed for the first time here in MI last night.

You're not alone!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 18, 2005 02:04 AM, gary wrote:

Hi everyone again. Thanks for the advice JLB I'll hold out against surgery as long as I can. However yesterday started having sharp pain where the bone is under the skin as if it's catching a nerve or something. I'm thinking maybe something has moved as had a cough lately....not the best thing for a broken collar bone! The pain is uncomfortable and quite intense at times but does feel almost superficial, and maybe just part of the bone healing itself. Anyone experienced this?

Permanent link to this comment. On November 18, 2005 11:21 AM, Liza wrote:

Hi read all the great post.
I joined the club Nov. 7th. not an athlete, just a cool mom running the children's wagon down the road so they could have joy rides. A little too fast and oversteering by son and mom flipped out backwards and landed in the road hitting my head and I quess my the right shoulder. The hospital put me in an arm sling pain pills and said come back tommorrow.The next doctor said yes bad break new pain med. the other pills made me itch by the way the seconad did also. My break looks like a z strecthed out with the middle broke in two peices. shoulder bone drops 1-2 cm then out to shoulder all this is touching. They made no recommendations for care here's arm sling go home see you in two weeks. I woke up monday didn't feel right call nurse said are you moving to much I said very little like they said. I started adding moist heat and took arm out of the sling now after talking with her. I'm off to see new doctor in the big city. He may say let it just heal but if not he's one of the best surgeons
Pain just tylenol. I used many homeopathics and vitmins.I can post From the book Smart medicine for a heathly child. Use same protocal on son for his arm last year. heals faster. I still think 8 sling was needed. bot with the drop I may be wrong. It will be nice to have a doctor that actually tells me more than ya you broke it. I KNEW THAT. SECONDS AFTER I DID IT.
I do hair for a living and I need to hold up my arms.
I find the most pain comes from the muscle .
now I get muscle tremors when up and moving.
I don't know if I should still use the arm sling I think my arm may be freezing up. It can be hard to move and had to work to get the elbow to move again and I'm very weak.
Please forgive typos with this new left hand typer.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 20, 2005 02:32 PM, Steve S wrote:

Well, today is day sixteen after my break on the 4th of November. My ankle is about fully healed, still hurts when I move certain ways. As for my collarbone, the doctor did the surgery on Monday, the 7th of November. They made about a five-inch incision above the clavicle bone, realigned the bone and put a metal plate on top of it, which they attached with six or eight screws. By the 9th of November I did not need the sling anymore and was able to move my arm around somewhat. On November 16th, I went back to the doctor and had a couple of more x-rays done and they removed the staples at the incision site. Doctor said everything looks good and released me for light duty work starting the 21st of November. But since its Thanksgiving week I am going to just take this week off and start light duty on the 28th of November. As of today I can move my arm around fully as long as I keep it under shoulder level. Anything above shoulder level starts to cause a little pain. Doctor said hopefully by mid-December my shoulder should be good enough to return to regular work. Since the accident I have been sleeping in the living room recliner, as I feel most comfortable there sleeping on my back. I have a waterbed in my room and I can say it hurts to lay on with a broken shoulder. I am still wearing the sling while sleeping just because it secures my arm to my side and I don't risk moving my arm the wrong way and waking up in pain.
The doctor said within six months the bone should be completely fused and I have the option of removing the steel plates. He said unless they bother me or happen to come lose, there is no need to remove them. Anyone else still have these steel plates in and if so do they bother you?
Anyways, good luck to everyone.
Steve

Permanent link to this comment. On November 21, 2005 09:01 AM, Eric West wrote:

Yea, it sucks.... I just broke my right Clavicle last nite in a 4-Wheeler wreck. I was sent in the air 20 feet, and slid/rolled/filped for 180 feet.... So all of Y'alls Information has been helpful.... Thanx.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 21, 2005 05:33 PM, Liza wrote:

Thanks for up date Steve I'm looking at having surgery.

Two different docs said best could heal but feathered bones fragments are pushing bone up and the main break are not close. 1st doc said I could wait but When asked if it was him what would he do? Answer Surgery but he can't do it. said let get 3rd oppion from surgeon he said yes but it my have final say so. Call physical therapist to get his Ideas on to have or not recovery care between the two and he said if he had my break he would have surgery better recovery. If only the dump bones would have not moved into worst position.


Eric sure feel for you hang in there I've read this sites post many time each time get something more,.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 21, 2005 10:39 PM, Jewel wrote:

PLEASE HELP!

I have just broken my clavicle (and dislocated my shoulder) this past weekend during a ride. I got the shoulder back in, but the clavicle break was just confirmed today in an X-Ray. Now, I have a decent arm-sling, but I need your help- does anyone know if there is a place I can find a used figure-8-brace? I don't have health insurance, so getting a brace from the doctor, with another painful bill, is not truly an option. I really don't know a good place to buy one is, (and I have a small frame- 95 pounds and 5'1"- petite, you could say). Can you recommend a place, or if you have a child's brace whom you no longer need...?

Also, my break wasn't completely through my clavicle, but from the top through the marrow- but the bottom part of the bone, (I'd guess about 15-20% from the X-ray), is still attached at the break. My question is am I going to have a lump, or how big of a lump if I do, (compared to someone with a complete break).

Finally, going back to the no-insurance thing, aside from the over-the-counter or herbal pain relievers and the additional calcium with boron, what can I do at home to help myself heal faster and better?

I truly appreciate all your help!!!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 22, 2005 02:38 PM, David wrote:

Here's my follow-up on my Oct 24th posting where I explained that I am a 50-year-old who broke his collarbone on Sept 11th in a biking accident. My break was was pretty serious in that it was in 2 places and displaced. After 5 weeks of waiting for my clavicle to rejoin my patience grew thin with my orthopod who wanted to send me home for another 4 weeks. At that point he said well why don't you get another opinion from a surgeon who does upper body surgery. It was at that point that I realized that not all orthopods are the same insofar as some specialize in hips/knees and others specialize in clavicles, etc. So my first bit of advice is to choose an orthopod who specializes in clavicles/upper body. When I went to an orthopod who specializes in clavicles, he immediately said that after 2 weeks i should have been moving my arm/shoulder, and now I had a frozen shoulder. He immediately started me on physical therapy to un-freeze the arm. It wasn't fun but after 2 weeks I started to make progress. But at week 7 the bones were still not joining and I made the decision to have surgery. On week 8 I had surgery which entailed re-aligning the clavile, shaving the 2 main pieces of the clavicle, plating the 3 pieces together, and a bone graft. The bone graft was taking a boring from my iliac at about belt level. This sponge-like matter was basically placed between the bones to encourage bone growth. I am now 2 weeks post-surgery and still sore. I'm not allowed to do any exercise except to move my shoulder in 3 directions to try to keep the shoulder somewhat loose. The clavicle is feeling better and I'm optimistic. Fortunately, I'm an attorney(save the jokes), and work has been the least thing affeceted by my injury. Time will still tell, however, as the bones still have to join to form a good, solid union. I'm glad I had the surgery, as I wasn't comfortable with the idea of waiting several more months for possible bone growth, and then after 6 or 7 months having to make a decision about surgery or living with a non-union of the clavicle. It's been a miserable 10 weeks, but hoping that in a few more weeks I'll be cleared to begin to exercise, and that by the spring I'll be back on my bike pounding up the hills. Since it's cold here in the northeast my condition is slightly more bearable right now, but I'm still going crazy with not being able to workout, etc. Hope this is helpful, and let me know if you have any advise for me.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 22, 2005 08:41 PM, Bill T wrote:

This is week 6 for me.I'm 58 and broke it when a car ran me off the road on the way home from work -- I ride (rode) 7 miles one way every day for the last 20 + years. Went to a doc (#3) that said "if its in the same room it will heal" Well last xray shows it starting to get "sticky" I gues that means healing. I asked to start physical therapy and the ortho doc said wait another 3 weeks. I have been in a figure 8 since day 7 - before that a sling. I still hurt like crazy. Still get up during the night for a couple of tylenol. Still off work. Electrican by trade. Can't lift my arm at all, haven't been able to since I broke my clavical. I've been to three docs at this point and just hope this is going to heal on its own. Thanks All. What would we do without this support. At least I know I'm not the only one getting the run around or else they are telling me the truth. Who knows. Hans - thanks for the opportunity to vent. I guess I am thankful I am here with my family for this Holiday season. Have a great Thanksgiving all.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 25, 2005 01:09 PM, Roberta wrote:

Came across this site today. Crashed over my handlebars (road riding) October 30th, when I broke hard to avoid two dirt bikes who appeared suddenly in the midst of our paceline (they hadn't seen us). Landed on my head, but no loss of consciousness, and only a scratched (not broken) helmet. But broke left clavicle and right wrist, and have compression fractures of spine. Also experience extreme vertigo when I tilt my head. My orthopedist was in the paceline, so I knew right away about the clavicle, and realized the right wrist also hurt and I was screwed. Talk about being no-handed!
After tons of x-rays at ER, my orthopedist came to set the wrist. ER released me with a figure 8 brace, a magic shot that put me out for first night, and script for codeine-acetaminophen. After 5 days, took that only at night. After another week, down to ibuprofens. X-rayed at doc after week 1 and week 3. Week 3 x-rays didn't show bone growth in gap. I guess from these accounts, this isn't that unusual, but it did depress me at the time. Figured I was using left hand too much, since right hand had even less mobility. Pain is down at the break, but if I'm overdoing it, i.e., upright for several hours, the whole shoulder hurts. Have been using left hand to feed myself for two weeks. Will revisit doc in another 3 weeks. He did mention electrical stimulation next if x-rays show no change. Has anyone had positive results from this? BTW, I'm a 54 year old female. Thanks to my hubby for cooking, cleaning, dressing me, becoming my hair stylist, etc. etc. and thanks to my friend for donating her button down shirts from when she broke her clavicle last year skiing.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 26, 2005 02:21 AM, JLB wrote:

Gary, I think I know what you are describing... Its sound very simalar to what I experience. My pain was caused by skin nerves running over the fracture site being over sensitive. If I ran my fingers over the fracture site and moved the skin side to side, over the fracture site, the pain was sharp in nature. It took quite some time for this to settle and wear a backpack or a non padded seat belt. The nerves have settled with time. I also had some strange pains from time to time even though it was healing. Im not trying to say your fine but I had a simalar sounding experience which has healed.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 28, 2005 04:18 PM, JJ wrote:

Another one to add to the club.

First, thanks for the info. I broke mine playing hockey...er that's ice hockey to my Yankee friends...as if there is another kind. ;-)

I'm on day 6 so lots of time to go. But this isn't as bad as a shoulder dislocation I had a couple of years ago.

Like my dislocation, for this injury I'm banking on a 6-8 week recovery time broken down as:

First week: Move as little as possible.

Week 2: Keep arm in sling most of the time, but take it out a couple times per day to move arm in non-painful way (i.e bicept curls with no weight. Also make fists, squeeze tight & relax.)

Week 3: Hopefully sling is totally off. Try to introduce more motion using pain as guide.

Week 4: More range of motion exercises, if pain levels are low introduce some resistance. Last injury (dislocation) standing in a swimming pool moving my arms around was great exercise. Maybe get a few sessions of Physio as well.

Week 5+: More of the same. Start skating again.

Week 6+: Goal is to have equal strength in both shoulders.

Week 8: If all has gone well back to playing...(I hope!)

Cheerio!

JJ

Permanent link to this comment. On December 1, 2005 01:31 PM, rachel wrote:

Hi All,
You may remember me from a couple of weeks ago. Well, im on week 10 of recovery now. I must say, feeling much happier about my shoulder. Ive been having physio and Im back to doing everything I did before except for heavy lifting. I still find it uncomfortable sleeping on the side that I injured, but apart from that, Im fine. I didnt think it would ever be right a month or two ago, but for those of you out there that are feeling the same as I did, I hope this keeps your spirits up a bit! I have to climb my fingers up the wall in order to get my arms above my head and build my strength up again, which seems to be working, and ive been given a length of latex to pull! Anyway, Ill sign off now. happy recovering

Permanent link to this comment. On December 1, 2005 11:38 PM, Rob Vaughan wrote:

Hi all
51 male - broke kiting
week 6 since break - x ray number 3
1) x ray similar to number 2 ie broken ends still showing and a sort of mist around break
2) little pain onyl when lifting or raising high
3) dull ache in arm and hand
4) DOCTOR SAID CAN GET OUT OF SLING !!
5) But advised no biking for 3 more weeks :( (not sure why)
6) Back driving at last.
7) o yea -- they di say that they never recommend a figure of 8 in the UK? not sure if anyone had been given at advise in this country.

ROB :)


Permanent link to this comment. On December 2, 2005 12:06 AM, Hans wrote:

Roberta - If you can get "electrical stimulation" for recovery you are lucky. I've heard good results from it. But it's usually too costly and insurance won't pay for it.

=================

Rob - Yup, it seems that asking doctors about using a figure-8 will give you as many different answers as there are doctors.

But, I used one and believe it helped me heal quickly. I was back on the bike after a month. Others have also had good luck using one. There are some that have had problems. Most have been issues with fit and comfort. I think that has to partially be due to the cheap design of some of them. The straps and padding on mine were rather cheap and required modification to make it comfortable. A few people have recommended a product similar to a figure-8 that is called ShouldersBack (www.shouldersback.net). I haven't used it though.

As for doctors not recommending a figure-8, I have yet to hear a good argument why not to wear one. If someone would find some valid information against wearing one I will gladly post it.

Until then, I still recommend a figure-8.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 5, 2005 07:45 AM, Dan wrote:

WOW! and I thought I was the only clumbsy one. On Nov 5 2005, I rode my Motorcycle down from Austin to Bastrop, hit gravel that was on asphalt while going about 5-10 mph. The result is that I dropped the bike and crashed into the windshield of the cycle which snapped the clavical driving one piece down to the lung area and the other top portion got wedged into the trapezia muscle in my neck. Bastrop has no ER rooms and I really didnt want the accident on my driving record. So I got a wrecker driver to upright my cruiser and headed to Austin. BTW, the wrecker dude gave me a tip on uprighting the bike cause I couldn't lift it - turn the handle bars towards the ground which causes the front tire to lift the bike as you bump the seat with your butt.

Thank God for helmets as that one got toasted too - cost me $300 but looking at it and realizing that the cushion inside was gone and I had no head injury it was worth every penny as a clavical would have been the last of my problems.

I rode the bike to Austin (35 miles)and my sister told me that Saturday night in Austin - I would be the last person seen given all the stabbings, shooting, wrecks, and crap. I went to a small town ER to get it x-rayed just so I would know what was broken besides the clavical which I already knew was broken because I couldn't feel the bone off the collar. The Doc said it would eventually heal but I would probably look like Frankenstein as the bones were seperated by an inch and a half.

I got a sports med orthepedic to look at it (if you are athletic - make sure you find someone who handles sports injuries - best way to find out is to call Sports teams or Universities and ask who the team doc is). On the phone his assistant said that they never see clavicals that need surgery. Yeah, well they did this time and I had surgery 2 days later with a metal plate and 10 screws that look like they came from metal shop. The doc said it would take 45 minutes of surgery but it took him 90 minutes as he had to pull one peice of the clavical out of my neck and the other off my lung. Duhhh, I told him that when I took a deep breath it hurt!

They did the surgery on an outpatient basis and I went home that afternoon. They gave me Lortab which I took after the local and general started to wear off. I noticed that it made me sleepy and I noticed that the drug builds up so you get knocked out sooner the next day.

Best place to sleep: on a couch with the bad arm up and 3-4 pillows to elevate your neck so it is horizontal with the spinal cord. Small adjustable pillow under armpit. The couch keeps you from rolling onto the bad side and allows you to sit up more easily.

Drugs: I took last Lortab 48 hours after surgery and went to using Alleve. BTW, the doc called me up on the weekend to see how I was doing and told me that I could take Tylenol in between the Lortab schedule. Anyway, knowing that injuries can lead to drug addiction, I have always gotten off the hard stuff ASAP. I switched to ALLEVE which is an anti inflamatory and was taking 2 evey 12 hours. A bit strong but I am 49 yrs old, weigh 250 lbs and lift weights (gorilla). I was at work on Tuesday and have only used one hour per week going to the doc.

2nd best place to sleep: your bed - 5 pillows all over the place so you can feel comfortable. I got a 7 foot roll of stretchable/elastic bandage (like what you see for knees) and tied a knot in it and place it around my waist. Then I wrap my injured arm's wrist two times and make sure it is as loose as possible to eliminate cutting off circulation to the hand. This immobilizes the arm so I don't have to wear that damn sling at night. It didn't do any good as the arm would come out of the sling and be in my face in the morning anyway.

The stiches are out and I am going back in 2 weeks for the follow up Xray. I am taking the calcium stuff and eating a lot of ice cream. Since I can't go to the Gym to lift weights or ride my cycle I plan on just getting fat. All I want is to be healed up come spring so I can ride the bike, jet ski's, and lift weights. I hate watching TV!

Pains: It seems to evolve from inside injury to skin irritation like you have skin removed from your shoulder and it is open to air - ouchhh. I think they gave me shot in the side of the arm as it feels that way. I am getting an occasional electric like shock under the affected arm's pec which I am not sure is related to the sling or what. And I have a pain in my chest bone 3 inches below the incision and the skin looks irritated. Maybe this is from the surgical clamps or they broke my ribs fixing me?

Best advice: The clavical gets very little attention from the medical community if you see your XRAY and the bones are not in line with one another - be concerned as you could end up looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame. 2 doctors told me that and also, it may not be that bad looking at the X-ray but my Doc was surprised to see what he found. This bone does a lot of good things including your posture so you don't want to screw around waitng to see if it heals on its own.

Currently, I wear the sling in public so no idiot comes by and slaps my shoulder and I like the support it gives. The doc says i can get out of the sling at home as long as I don't stress it by lifting anything etc. Also, he mentioned that the metal plate is going to break soon and that he wants it fused before it breaks. I am guessing that he had to hammer the plate to fit my bone and the 10 screws have weakened the plate which looks to be 4 inches long,1/8 inch thick and 1 inch wide. The screws are about 3/4 inch long and go through the bone and plate and in some cases are in muscle tissue. The pain is not that bad it is more irritating than painful.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 5, 2005 08:40 AM, Pete wrote:

^^^^ Dude, I don't want to be around you when you break that metal plate. Ugh.

Pete here again. I'm just starting week 6 and haven't had my sling on for a few days now. I actually braided my own shoulder-length hair today for work, which is a milestone. I've been very fortunate to have the job I do - I'm the grantwriter for the Saginaw Art Museum, so no heavy lifting, and a flexible schedule. I picked up a Micro$oft ergonomic keyboard that helped out a lot.

I go for my next x-ray checkup this Wednesday. I can tell that it's still not lined up properly, but it feels pretty solid. My shoulders are level, so that's a plus.

This blog thing is a great resource, but there's like three alone on the Hans Keller site, it would be great if this were reorganized into a searchable message board like phpBBS. I set one up for www.bulldogmc.com - it was free to host and create. Just a thought.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 5, 2005 12:47 PM, Hans wrote:

Dan - Gravel patches on the road are no fun. I'm riding like a baby after it rains and washes the gravel onto the corners. I could just see myself hitting one of those on Hwy 1 and ended up down in the ocean!

======================================

Pete - Good idea about setting up a message board for these pages. I never thought these entries would get the attention they have. I'll look into it.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 6, 2005 08:22 PM, Larry M wrote:

I am a 52 yr old male and broke my clavicle on August 24th when I dumped my motorcycle going to fast on a 90 degree curve. Emergency room doc told me to wear a sling for a couple of weeks so I wore it for three weeks but did not use my arm at all for seven weeks. Went to a ortho for a check up and second opinion at week seven because although I had no pain at the break point I could feel movement between the bones and shoulder was starting to freeze. X-rays showed soft bone matter around the break so he said it was going to heal OK. He said I could exercise my sholder and raise my arm up above my head but my shoulder was stiff from lack of movement. At no time did anyone mention physical therapy. I went back last week,(week 14) for what I thought was going to be the last x-ray and start therapy for the stiff shoulder but the x-ray showed very little change and no hardening of the new bone tissue. They gave me an Exogen ulta-sound device to use 20 min. twice a day but did not want me to undergo therapy for the frozen shoulder,until the bone started fusing. I can move my arm straight out and up but not much to the side so I have about 50% movement in the shoulder.How can I keep it from getting more frozen without moving collar bone? Does anyone have any experiance with an ultra-sound bone healing system? They say it has a 91% success rate. Going back in 5 weeks to find out.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 7, 2005 05:40 AM, David wrote:

Larry: I had a somewhat similar experience to you with the frozen shoulder, except I had surgery on my clavicle after week 8. Prior to surgery, from week 5 to week 8, my orthopod wanted me in physical therapy, and it was a great help. My orthopod also wanted me to do some movements of my shoulder in a pool using the resistance and buoancy of the water. After surgery, my surgeon told me I had to stop physical therapy but could go back in the pool once my incisions were completely healed. I'm nearing 5 weeks post-surgery and hoping to get the greenlight to begin light exercise and to return to physical therapy. Good luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 7, 2005 10:05 AM, cherie wrote:

Larry,

I broke my collarbone back in May and was recently diagnosed with non/delayed union. OS gave me a bone stimulator last week, but it electromagnetic, not ultrasound. It must be very effective, I know my inurance company required MRI and/or CT before they would approve it. The manufacturer guarantees refund to my insurance company if I use it as directed and my bone doesn't heal. It is computerized, so they can tell when I use it (30 minutes a day). It is doing something, since I now have pain at the break site (yay??). I was told I would need to use it for "several months".

FYI..for those of you who use aleve, there is evidence that it prevents bone healing (study on broken tibias proved it), and my OS has advised me not to take it.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 19, 2005 07:52 PM, Brie - 19 - NY wrote:

On October 28th I was shot through my collar bone. I had emergency surgery to remobe the bullet and pins and a plate was put in. Tomorrow I am having it removed. They said it was healing really well. The cast sucked really bad. Glad it's off. But it wasn't like this was the first time I have broken something. It wasn't even my fault this time. I was at my soccer game and someone tries to kill me due to a family vendetta from since before my parents were born. Hmmm....Go figure!

Permanent link to this comment. On December 20, 2005 09:28 AM, Gary wrote:

Hi everyone. Update. I broke my collar bone falling off my mountain bike back in October. Just been to hospital for my appointment and I've been told it's a non-union so I'm off for an operation on the 3rd Jan. They can't pin it because of the type of break so they're going to put a plate all the way along held on with screws. Bit annoyed I've had to wait all this time to be told that but hey that's life! I suppose I'll be joining the one-handed club....again! I'll keep you posted of my progress and good luck to everyone out there.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 27, 2005 03:03 PM, Donna wrote:

Hi all, I broke my collar bone on July 3,2005 due to a motorcycle wreck and have been wearing the brace for 5 plus months, and the silly thing still hasn't healed. The doc said we have waited long enough for it to mend... now it is time to do surgery. Other great news is after 16 years of service (many unpaid hours ) they tell me when I do get released from the Dr. I will be terminated, nice of them huh?
I see many notes on broken collar bones but none with surgery and no mention of the scars. Although I'm the ripe age of 46 I don't want to have a massive scar. Is there a site I can go to for scar and other surgery info ? Thanks

Permanent link to this comment. On December 28, 2005 11:39 AM, Hans wrote:

Donna - Of the few shoulders I have seen that have had surgery for a broken collar bone, the scars were not bad. But that's just my opinion. Heck, I'm a cyclist so I tend to brag about scars! :')

I've heard that many things can influence a scar's appearance. The size of the cut, the type of stitch, how well the doctor does the work, the type of skin, etc.. So I would recommend you talk with your doctor about this and ask for more information. Explain your worry about how it will look after it heals.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 28, 2005 11:55 AM, Peter wrote:

Update - injury date: Oct. 28

Had a checkup xray last week - still shows a ~1 cm gap, but doc says it's calcified nicely and will heal. I've been taking about 1000 mg of Calcium with D a day now for two months. He told me to come back in the spring before my race season to get a green light. I'm a little nervous about that, as I see most others here going in to get screws and plates for about the same thing. I want to see if I can get a copy of my latest xray to show. Am wondering if I should get a referral to a sports injury doc.

My racing days [MX] are literally over at the ripe age of 35, but I will be racing AMA Vintage Evolution class which sometimes is harder due to the limitations of the machines. I'm wondering if I shouldn't take a season off from the track altogether and just ride enduro/trail for a season... I already know I won't be doing much waterskiing next summer. =(

Oh, and a general warning for those of us in the icy climates - BE CAREFUL ON THE ICE! I slipped on the steps yesterday and cranked my shoulder pretty hard.

Pete

Permanent link to this comment. On December 28, 2005 12:04 PM, Peter wrote:

I almost forgot a question I had. Being in Michigan, I always joined Powerhouse Gym in the winter when I couldn't be outside hurting myself. I have a full range of motion, but I'm not sure what I can get away with for exercise in the way of weight training. I've gained almost 20 lbs of blubber since the injury and need to get back on schedule.

I did order a magnetic bike trainer to use at home with my mountainbike, so I can at least get a decent cardio workout, but what is everyone else doing?

Permanent link to this comment. On December 28, 2005 08:59 PM, Cherie wrote:

update on bone stimulator for non-union

I have been using now just short of a month (broke mine in May). Definite improvement! My arm feels stronger! The xray last week showed some improvement, but still a while to go. I am hopeful!

For those of you facing surgery...I suggest you discuss the stimulator with your dr, as it seems to be a good option. It is not cheap...7k, but my insurance covered it. Interestingly, they are guaranteed to work if used correctly.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 3, 2006 06:32 AM, David wrote:

Here's my follow-up to my Oct. 24th and Nov. 22nd postings. It's now 8 weeks post-surgery and 16 weeks post-accident for me, and I'm back to full activities except for heavy lifting with some range of motion issues that are improving daily. It's been a long,long,long convalescence but my life has finally returned to normal. Surgery was the right option for me, and I suggest those of you with non-joinder issues have a conversation with your orthopod sooner rather than later. Good luck to evryone and hang-in there especially if things are not progressing as quickly as you would like.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 6, 2006 02:40 PM, Diane wrote:

This Thanksgiving I was the wishbone and I won and I lost. I'm 50 and this is my 6th week of recovering from my fall off my moped while goin' around a curve (rassin' frassin' gravel) which landed me in the ditch, shoulder first. My clavicle is broken at about the mid-way point. I saw my initial xrays and when compared to the ones at my 6-week visit yesterday, they look pretty similar (to my untrained eye). My break's gap looks like a canyon to me, but the important part is that the docs said that sometimes the healing doesn't show up on these earlier xrays.

I'm so grateful to see your stories, especially those of you who are in your 50's and older. What I'm gathering is that it's best for me to be patient and see how my next/3 month visit goes. Thanks for giving me that information. I feel so much better than yesterday when I thought for sure I was facing surgery in a couple months.

I've taken Vicodin since day one, although I'm pretty much only using it at night now. It was totally necessary for me, as I'm not a drinker and the pain was the worst I'd ever experienced. Especially for the first couple of weeks. My doc also advised that Advil/Ibuprofen impedes bone healing, so I don't use that.

I was rigged up in a sling for my first 4 weeks. At my 3 week visit I was advised to get my arm out of it a few times a day and lean forward dangling it in small circles to loosen my shoulder. I can see that was a huge blessing, as my shoulder is feeling pretty good. At my 6 week appt. (yesterday) I was advised to begin using my arm as I normally would, unless whatever I'm doing causes pain. So, I'm feeling like a little fledgling bird today.

Anyway, best of luck to all of us on our healing journeys and thanks so much for this forum!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 6, 2006 05:37 PM, Peggy wrote:

Glad to have found this forum!!! I broke my left collar bone, distal 1/3rd, three nights ago. I was trying to learn how to play tennis and drove my left shoulder into the court after missing a backhand. I suspected the break and went to a local ER. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, sometimes doctors are hard to find so I painfully drove to another ER that could help. After confirming the break, they gave me what I think is a figure-8 brace. Although the brace gives me support, I can't reach the adjustments in the back easily. Are there different models of this brace that an individual can adjust without help? Am I supposed to take it off or leave it on? (I re-injured myself trying to get it off.) I received a sling from the doctor 2-days later but it is too big and doesn't give enough support, so I am only wearing the brace. I was told to come back in 6-weeks. I appreciate all the information at this forum. I know it isn't a substitute for medical care, but it seems more complete than anything I have received from the medical community except for the X-rays.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 7, 2006 05:14 PM, jim raffa wrote:

On december 18, 2005 i joined the broken clavical club.I instruct snowboarding at a nice little ski & snowboard center in upstate ny called SWAIN. I was in between lessons so i took a couple of runs taking it easy just switching back and forth between regular and switch when BAM!! I went down so fast i didn`t know what happened except for the snap crackel & pop.For whatever reason i must have caught a edge or a rut going down hard on my left shoulder. X ray confirmed a break.After a few days of the normal aches and pains things seemed to be much better.I stopped taking the vicadin & ibuprofen. I able to have pretty good motion in my arm. It ached a little every now and then.Walking my dogs for a 1/2 hr it would have that fatigued muscle ache a little. Day 18 i went for a 2nd X ray thinking man another week or so i`ll be back riding the way i feel! NOT!! Theres this big ol space between the bone. A completely different position then the first X ray. HOW could i feel this good and it looks worse then the first time. The doctor they assigned to me is from Istanbul, i can hardly understand what he`s saying.he`s telling me not to worry it`ll heal.You don`t need surgury. I told him i`m 58 years old at this rate i might not live long enough for it to heal !!
I cannot believe with all the modern technoligy there isn`t a way to arthoscopicly incert a screw with a threaded end into the end of each bone so they can be brought closer together and kept better aligned till the healing can start.
From all these articles i read its easy to see were all athletic and healthy, every break is different so the healing time will vary but it seems like this type of injury takes the longest time.
Does anyone know if a lacross type shoulder pad would prevent this type of injury from happening ?
I thank all those who posted notes here. I learned a lot. Everyone get well soon. jim raffa

Permanent link to this comment. On January 10, 2006 04:21 PM, Joe wrote:

I'm 51 and broke my clavicle back in June (Mt. bike). When the doc first mentioned it might take 3 months before I knew if it was going to heal properly or not, I remember saying, "you've GOT to be kidding! You want me to wait 3 months before we decide whether surgery is necessary?!!" I was thinking...why chance it and waste all that time? Lets just do the surgery now. I had broken this clavicle in the same place before and had it pinned, so the concern was I would get a non or partial union. But the idea of having to do a bone graft made me a bit more patient. After 3 months, the x-rays weren't very promising...they didn't look much different than x-rays taken 6 weeks previously....and the doc hesistantly brought up the surgery option. But he was really pushing for giving it more time. We decided to wait another 6 weeks and schedule a CAT scan at that time. I wasn't very optimistic, but I waited this long so why not? I'd been hitting the gym regularly since the break happened, and my strength was slowly coming back, but not like I had hoped. A couple of weeks before going back to have the CAT scan done, I noticed my shoulder was feeling a lot stronger. A good sign, but I was still preparing for the worse on my next appointment. Luckily, the CAT scan showed significantly healing. Apparently, most of the healing was taking place on the bottom and interior parts of the break and regular x-rays weren't picking this up. I don't have the traditional bump in the break area, so I suspect I might get not get to 100%, but if I get to 90% or 95% healed, I'll be happy with that. Now that I know it's healing, I've bumped up my weight training, and I'm almost back to where I was strength-wise prior to the break. So, my recommendation to those who find themselves in wait-n-see mode...hang in there. As mentioned previously, clavicles can be slow to heal at times. If you have doubts about how your healing is coming, see if your physician will schedule you for a CAT scan. It's a true indication of how the healing process is coming along.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 12, 2006 02:11 AM, Angela Cosby wrote:

Broke my collar bone October 2nd trail running, just landed on my shoulder and it snapped, not another mark on my body, I should have tried to land on more parts of my body and cusioned the blow a bit.
Thanks for this site it has kept me going, especially duing the really painfiul start! I wish I hadn't read the last posting though as I go in for surgery today! My surgeon eventually convinced me to have it pinned and plated with a bone graft from my hip as the x-ray shows a non union. I asked about bone stimulators - he said they didnt work, I asked about waiting he said if it hadnt mended by now it never would. Maybe I should have pursuaded him to wait and left it longer, especially as I now have good movement and am back out running, but he seemed very keen to operate. Ah well I am sure it will be worth it in the long run when I have a good strong shoulder and can get back to normal life, sleep on my side again - its cerainly affected my back-, get dressed without pain, wear a pull on sports bra, reach things off the back seat of the car, get the Christmas turkey out of the oven without dropping it.
I did go into hospital yesterday for the op and got sent home as no-one had ordered my 'parts' - so I hope it happens today as I am fed up of being scared!
I have not had to pay for any of my treatement as I live in England - but the system has been dreadful - each day I have had to phone several times in order to see if I have a bed for the next day.
I am sure my non union is in part due to getting active too soon, something quite hard not to do when you have three kids, teach in a primary school and are quite active. I'm also told women of 48 don't heal well either.
So my advice is to try and keep as still as possible for 2 weeks and just try and catch up on sleep. Will let you know how I get on - it may not even happen again!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 12, 2006 10:17 AM, Hans wrote:

Angela - It really sounds like your doc is narrow minded and focused on surgery. Might be that your doc simply wants something interesting to do. As for the comment about bone stimulators not working, well that contradicts all that I have read and heard from people.

I don't know if you got a second opinion, but that's always and I mean *always* recommended. Don't trust one doctor's opinion if they want to cut into you.

Your comment "I'm also told women of 48 don't heal well either" is not quite right. Research indicates that women tend to heal slower than men. Also, the older a person is (man or woman), the longer the healing process. That's why kids that break their clavicles normally get a sling and in a week are back to normal. Oh, and docs sometimes treat adults the same as kids which is so very wrong!

But, back to your comment about not healing well. It's possible for older women to heal well. There are just more complications involved.

Good luck on your healing. Please give us feedback on how things work out.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 13, 2006 03:48 PM, Nigel wrote:

I just broke my collarbone and have joined the club. You can see a picture of my X-RAY here: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4070/921/640/IMG_9246.jpg

Conventional treatment is to do nothing and simply put it in a figure 8 strap or a brace. I would love to simply trust in this advice, but when a clavicle break is so bad--I feel as though more can be done such as aligning it or pinning the bone together with a screw or plate. In my research I've only found one specialist for collarbone surgeries. His name is Carl Bassamania, has anyone had any experience with him? Any advice from you experienced collarbone breakers is welcome. I broke mine 3 weeks ago, so it is somewhat fresh. While I already have the ability to move my arm above my head-I still see awful discoloration and bruising around my chest region, upper torso, arm, and shoulder region. I am currently using a figure of 8 strap in conjunction with a conventional sling. I wear them daily, and to sleep. From a nutritional perspective I'm drinking tons of skim milk, and using glucosamine as a supllement.

Thanks,
Nigel

Permanent link to this comment. On January 17, 2006 06:31 AM, David wrote:

Nigel: I don't think collarbone surgeries are as rare as you think. I think most orthopods who specialize in the upper body should have experience with such a surgery. Now, whether surgery is the right option for you is another story. Surgery was ultimately the right option for me. See my earlier postings of Oct. 24, Nov. 22 and Jan. 3. Good luck.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 17, 2006 11:45 AM, angela cosby wrote:

I eventually had my surgery on Thursday 12th of Jan.- after breaking my collar bone on October 2nd - there was just non union it wasnt a bad break I think I was just unlucky. I really agree with Hans I am sure my surgeon wanted something interesting to do because I was told several times by the other docs I saw in hospital that sholder surgery was very unusual. Second opinions are not easy to come by in England - if I'd been able to go privately I'd have seen the same surgeon. However here I am now 4 days after surgery typing with two hands and my shoulder feels okay - my hip however where they had to take a bone graft feels really sore. I 'think' at the moment I'm glad its all over and I 'think' I have done the right thing. I run a series of cross country races for primary school children and I thought I would have to cancel this Saturdays one - but I will be there! Cant wait until I can start running again.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 19, 2006 07:28 PM, Trey Ward wrote:

I broke my right wrist and my right collar bone on Dec 17 2005 when mt atv flipped over at about 60mph. When I went to the ER in Chattanooga TN they took x rays which showed a hairline crack in my right radius and my right clavicle was snapped in half with a 3 cm overlap. They called the ortho Dr and when he spoke with me he suggested the surgery due to the significance of the break. The next day he put a plate with 6 screws in my right clavicle and I was released from the hospital that evening. For the next 2 weeks the pain in my neck was unbearable. Now 5 weeks after the surgery I will be getting my cast off next week formy wrist and have my shoudler re xrayed. 4 weeks after surgery the dr had me start using my shoulder again. I have not picked up anything heavy but I can use it like before,with just some restriction from where the incision was. He said that he would leave the hardware in me unless it bothered me badly or the screws statring backing out. I am a paid FIrefighter and need full use and strength of my shoulder and I will reccomend if you break your clavicle in half the surgery is the way to go. He said the hardware can be taken out under local anasthesia and be back to work in about a week. Dr Spinalty in Chattanooga TN did a great job!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 19, 2006 07:41 PM, Bill T wrote:

Hello Again, This is now begining month 4 for me. Ortho says bones are healing nicely? But FROZEN SHOULDER. I have been going to therapy 2X week and exercises at home for the last 6 weeks and still can't reach the key to turn on the car with my right hand!! Doc offered cortisone or closed manipulation surgery. My therapist says why would you want to do that. I am still off work -- savings going fast! --- Said I wouldn't get back to work any sooner. Anyone have any experience. Scheduled for 2/1/06 for the Hospital. Thanks for the advise in advance. PS -- I am a 58 years old and was riding my bicylce home from work when I had to take the ditch to avoid the car that wouldn't move over. Oct 10th was the day!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 24, 2006 12:46 PM, David B wrote:

Hello again,
I wrote back in july of last year when I too Had broken my Left Clavicle. It had never joined {non-union) I did have surgery last Thursday and am now going through the same pain I was in 6 months ago. It seems to be doing good other than that my sling that i am expected to wear for like 6 weeks is causing me skin rashes just under my arm pit as well as my forarm. any ideas as how to get rid of the skin rash that it think is due to sweating under the sling would be most appreciated.

Thanks, David

Permanent link to this comment. On January 25, 2006 06:38 PM, Karen wrote:

To David B: Dr. Smith's diaper ointment is the best for skin rashes.
I just broke my collar bone on Jan 14th and am currently experiencing the joys of wearing the figure 8 sling, but after using a sling the first couple of days I feel the figure 8 is worth it's weight in gold. I felt immediate relief after it was put on.
Now just praying there will be no need for surgery.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 28, 2006 05:58 AM, pete wrote:

I broke my collarbone back in august 2005 in a nasty crash during a road race. After the usual treatment of using a figure 8 brace, I wasn't getting the results I'd hoped for. So at 12 weeks my doctor declaired it a non-union and we opted for surgical repair with a plate and screws (using a graft from my hip). Unfortunatley, three weeks after the surgery, my incision on the shoulder wasn't healing and in fact was verging on infection even though I was maticulous about keeping it clean and dry. My doc then did a second surgery to clean and drain the wound and sew me back up. I then spent 5 days in the hospital getting IV antibiotics as a precautionary measure as cultures were being grown to check for any bacteria. It's now been 8 days, and I am home, infection free, and feeling a bit better. I'm FINALLY starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can't believe it has been almost 6 months since I was 'healthy' and strong on the bike. I'm now planning to compete again this year -- maybe in some time trial events before I get back to criteriums and road races. Something about the chance of falling again so soon because of something someone else does makes my butt hurt. So, my advice if you have to have surgery is to talk to your doctor to find out (for his/her practice) what the %age of cases is when the incision encounters healing problems and what course of action (preventative or otherwise) is ordered. Also, be sure to set a goal for after you're healthy again. It's important to focus on something beyond the injury. I've been planning to complete again in May and that has kept me focused for the duration.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 1, 2006 10:12 PM, denise newman wrote:

I was still commuting to work by bike into my 7th month of pregnancy, when BAM! i got doored by a kid in his 20's. i hooked my right arm around his car door and slammed to the street (on a downhill no less) with my left arm. baby was fine after the ambulance ride and ER visit (which were both out of a saturday night live skit, though not really that funny to me). broke my collar bone indeed, very lateral to the shoulder. and sliced my inner elbow open from the door hook which required staples, no fun. one year later now, the clavicle is a non-union. i'm in that small percentage category of lateral breaks, non-union and being female...go figure. couldn't do surgery then cause i was pregnant, then nursing my wee one. now it's a year out, i've got full mobility, do my yoga no problem, but have to CONSTANTLY modify activities, crack/adjust the shoulder, and can't hold the babe as long as i'd like to. weighing the pros and cons of surgery at this point is HEAVY on my mind. not sure where to strike out from here, but might follow-up with the suggested doc in Davis, thanks for posting the info. ANY ONE ELSE IN MY SITUATION??

Permanent link to this comment. On February 7, 2006 02:22 PM, Carol wrote:

I broke my left clavicle in late Sept. '05 in a horseback riding accident (as well as scapula and a little bone in my neck called a facet -- between vertebra). All fractures were in alignment, so was sent home in sling and neck collar with thoracic extension. 10 days later, in followup exam, my collar bone had become displaced. Surgery was best option for me so my left shoulder wouldn't be forever hanging down. Plate and screws were used to fixate. Now, four months later, I've regained most of my range of motion and am working on strength. Here's the thing that's bothering me: My plate was affixed on the underside of the bone, with the screws pointing up (towards my head), except for one. That one bulges out and you can see it under my skin. As well, you can see the plate!!! Doc. says it's not his fault I'm skinny, and he can remove the plate and screws after a yr. from accident. Every web site I find with pictures of fixation show the plate on TOP of the bone, with screws pointed down, which makes me wonder why my doc. did it the opposite way, and if that's why plate and screws show under skin. Did this happen to any of you?? I feel like frankenstein. It's always amusing to show people. Anyway, the good news is that it's all healing.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 10, 2006 05:11 AM, Julie wrote:

I broke my collar bone December 9th. It is now Febuary 10th. I am 28 year old female. I took a fall in the ice holding my three year old son. I pulled him down toward me while we fell to keep his head from hitting the ice. It hit my collar bone instead. He did not even get a bruise. i went to the local ER that night and I was there for about an hour. They did an x-ray and told me it was not broken and I needed to move it. and I could go back to work waiting tables in 3 days. The next morning I was trying to move it like they told me and I heard a grind and a snap. It started hurting even more. Not having insurance and already having been charged 700 bucks for the ER visit I could not afford another trip to the doctor. I called a nurse at a different hospital and she asked me if there was a bump on my clavicle. I said yes. She said that it was broken and that I having moved it right after breaking it (doctors orders) probably broke it the rest of the way. I wore a sling for about 6 weeks. Surfing the internet I quickly knew that she was right and it was broke. I had every symptom of a break and have not been able to go back to work. I can move it to just a little past my shoulder when it is at my side and it hurts to move in front but I can move it just above my shoulder as long as I bend my elbow a little. Driving hurts and putting on a seat belt is hard. I still can't really lift my son into a grocery cart. I cannot put my arm straight up over my head. The site of the injury doesn't hurt as much now but my shoulder hurts bad when I move. I have been reading of frozen shoulder on this site. Does this sound like I may have frozen shoulder? I know I should go to the doctor again (certainly not that one!) I however have not been working and I have no way of getting medical insurance. What exercises are they having people do to regain movement? Can most people rotate their arm 360 after this long? Also does anyone have the problem of their shoulder popping when they lift their arm? This site has been great, thank you.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 17, 2006 03:35 PM, Gary (Age 28) wrote:

Hi Julie, I broke my collar bone in Oct and ended up with a non union, so had an op to put a plate in on the 3rd Jan. So I've had experience of recovery after breaking it as well as after the op. When I broke it I wore a sling for 6 weeks and it took me a good few weeks to get anything like 360 deg movement even though I had a non union. Now after around 6 weeks after my op I'm still not 100% but getting there quick. The only exercises I have done is to keep moving my arm just to the point it is painful and then stopping. If you keep doing this the movement will increase gradually. One exercise I have found helpful is to lay on a bench, hold your arms above your head and lower slowly like your goin to give someone a big hug...!and use the weight of them to stretch your muscles, as well as the other way over your head. Don't know about the shoulder popping but don't lose spirit....you'll get there.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 19, 2006 01:02 PM, julie wrote:

Hi Gary,
Operation huh? Scary. Well I finally went to the doctor anyway for new x-rays. They said it was broke after all and that it had healed however I tore muscles involved with the rotary cuff as well as separated my shoulder where the clavicle and joint meet. I'm supposed to go to PT to re-gain 100% movement and possibly get an MRI. I found a good site for rotary cuff exercises if anyone else is having problems with muscle atrophy. It is: www.webmd.com
You can follow prompts from that point.
Good luck getting your movement back and thanks for the advice on exercise :)

Permanent link to this comment. On February 21, 2006 11:50 AM, Pete wrote:

Motorcycle Pete checking in again. I go back to the dunes April 1, have my final xray/checkup mid-May and am a little nervous. My shoulder hurts quite a bit, but I think it's just from the muscles not being utilized like normal. I went back to the gym and eventually overdid it chopping wood a few weeks back, but I feel quite strong now, there's a huge ball of calcium where the break is, but I have the short end of my clavicle (nearest the breastbone) sticking up. It's gross and doesn't feel so hot under motorcycle leathers. Doc says it will gradually go away. Great.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 22, 2006 10:41 AM, Lyndsey wrote:

Hey, just thought I'd pop in and give you an update :)
Broke collarbone into several pieces back in April when I fell off my horse. Had surgery 10 days later to fix with plate and screws.
Had 95% movement back within 8 weeks of surgery and is now around 99%, so as good as it's going to get.

When I first had the plate fitted I was told that it wouldn't need to be removed unless it started hurting or interfering with everyday life - which it has!
The screws are very prominent under the skin and clothing, straps, etc over it really hurt.
I have an appointment with the consultant next week, and so hopefully will have it removed.

Has anyone who has had a plate fitted had it removed afterwards & how was the recovery?

Permanent link to this comment. On February 23, 2006 03:53 PM, Bill T wrote:

October 10th, 2005 was when I broke my clavical in a fall off my bicycle. I ended up with Frozen Shoulder. Physical Therapy wasn't getting anywhere so I did have closed manipulation surgery on Feb.1st. Put me out and broke loose all of the fibroid tissue that wasn't allowing my shoulder to move. they say you can hear the noise of your muscles tearing loose in the next operating room! Immediatly I looked better. My shoulders leveled out - - I can now get my arm over my head where before I could't even raise it to shoulder level. I still have some therapy to go through but I am hoping to return to work March 10th if I can get released. That will make it 5 MONTHS! Not near as much pain now. Good luck to the rest of you. PS: Everyone is telling me "at your age" Maybe at 58 it does take longer.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 24, 2006 12:00 PM, Greg Peringuey wrote:

This site is just amazing! I broke my clavicle 5 days ago by falling off my MTB. Serious pain! I underwent some surgery to implant a titanium plate to align the two broken bones 2 days ago.

What is incredible for me, is that the 1st post on this site, was made over a year and a half ago! I read this because my wife and I are registered to ride a fantastic cycle race in Cape Town South Africa (see more at www.cycletour.co.za) which is magnificent. Problem is it's in 3 weeks time!

I realize now, through the comments on these pages, that I will never be ready in time for what would have been my 3rd completion of this particular race, but instead to support my wife who is still going to ride the race, making it her 1st!

Many many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post (probably using one hand like me), this has truly been more beneficial than anybody / anything else during my injury time! Oh, and the best part, today is my 30th birthday!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 26, 2006 12:55 AM, Julian wrote:

What an inspiring story! Smashed (literally) my collarbone coming off a snowboard 2 weeks ago. Currently have a plate and 4 screws in my right shoulder. Being 36 I appeciate now I may be in for a slow heal :(. On the upside glad to see I am not the only one who is desperate to restart training and has crawled back to work too soon. Plate due out in 10 weeks - not looking fowards to going back under the knife, as this means having to start from square one in terms of muscle regen - esp as I already have a problem with the same shoulder dislocating! Ho Hum

Permanent link to this comment. On February 27, 2006 08:01 PM, J B wrote:

It's amazing what alcohol and a lifted pick up truck can do to your shoulder! Somehow I manager to trip while getting out of an extended cab and fell straight on my right shoulder. I felt like an ass and got up. I felt a burning sensation when I was standing up and when I got up to full height I tried raising my arm and got an extremely sharp pain for my efforts.

We go to the hospital and I sit and wait for xrays. The idiots have me try to move my arm and take an xray of my chest. They tell me my arm is ok.

They try to push painkillers down me but I swat them away and they grumble and say I'll need it. By now it feels like someone has taken a crack pipe from a junkie and stabbed me in the arm with it. My shoulder kills and so does my collar bone.

The next day I go to work one handed and think about doing some work. Not a lot can be done with one arm. Now I feel bad for those kids that ride the short bus. Keep in mind the car I drive is a 5 speed and in order to drive it I have to either move my right arm up to the shifter and leave it there. Or when I need to shift into reverse or my arm hurts I shift with my left hand. I probaby look like I'm having a seizure to oncoming motorists.

3 weeks pass, I call my doctor and get an appointment. It starts to feel better, but it burns constantly and when I leave it in a position for to long it locks up. The doctor says I sprained a muscle. I've broken my sternum, ribs, ruptered my spleen and dislocated my knee. I know what broken bones feel like so I tell him. He says do exercises they will help.

Stupidly I listen to him and try the exercises he tells me. First I try to use the towel behind my back to stretch it. My left arm moves all the way behind me, while my right arm just sits there hoping I'll stop. Nothing works on it.

I got fed up and demanded a second opinion and a referral to an orthopedic specialist. Finally they agree and get me set up. I get an xray and wait for the specialist to show up. He makes me take my shirt off and while I take it off he is chuckling. Because my arm doesn't move above my chest I have to twist like a mexican immigrant trying to wiggle under a border fence. While he finds it ammusing I do not.

He looks again at the xray and says "does this hurt?" "I say "no" He pulls and twists several more times. No real pain. Then he twists my whole arm and pushes down. I think I saw stars when he did that and I heard a snap. He was inches from getting a good solid donkey punch from me. He twists some more and my arm hurts like someone dumped hot coals on it.

He let's go and says "I know what you did"..really is that why you stopped trying to rip my arm out of my socket?

Somehow when I fell I managed to seperate my shoulder and push my clavicle over 1/2" below of where it should be. He was very surprised I didn't break it and said he never saw something like that before. My bone is actually riding underneath the top of the "ball" of my shoulder. It hurts every friggin day and I tried ibruprofen with no success. I can also push up and down on my clavicle and make music, kinda like pushing down on a metal bottle top.

It's almost the start of drag racing season and hopefully I won't have to get an operation.

The other thing that sucks is trying to sleep. I sleep on my stomach all the time. I try sleeping on my back but in my sleep I actually roll over and go into my normal position. So when I wake up my arm feels about as good as it did when it first happened. It's been over a month now and I'm just finally starting therapy tomorrow. It's costing me over $100 out of pocket per visit. Hopefully I get a courtesy reach around everytime I sign the check.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 1, 2006 02:57 PM, Rhys from Tasmania wrote:

Hi everyone,
Looks like I have joined a very diverse and interesting crew. I broke my right clavicle 18 days ago while surfing 2 foot shore breaks at my local beach. I got pitched straight into the sandbar. I couldn't believe I could do so much damage on such small waves. Unfortunately, the shore break was particularly savage that day. I've never known such pain. Luckily you can obtain analgesics with codeine here in Australia so I spent my first week very fogged out. I thoroughly recommend trying to weasel the strongest painkillers you can out of your doctor and use them for the first week at least. I noticed a definite improvement by day 12 and by day 15 have gotten rid of the sling and the last of the painkillers. I don't know if this is such a good idea but my arm was getting very very cramped all the time. It definitely feels better without the sling now but I worry about stressing the still-healing collarbone. I always thought I would do something like this snowboarding which I only took up five years ago. I have been surfing for 35 years and had yet to have an injury - bugger! I'm going to slowly start to build up my fitness again and hope that by week five or six I can start swimming properly. My main question is, will my collarbone the strong enough to go surfing again after 12 weeks. I have tickets to Bali for May 25 and would hate to just sit on the beach.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 2, 2006 04:44 PM, Sandi wrote:

I broke my collarbone back in 2001.I was crushed shoulder to shoulder into the warehouse door by a forklift(with no driver)Besides that, I broke rib #s 1,3,4,&5 and also a nerve injury.I was in physical therapy 3.5 years.Those people helped me get to the 150 degree range.Then I worked out on my own and all was going good till 5 months later...............I had awful pain in the collarbone and swelling and within 8 days ALL the range was once again gone.At this time Im waiting to see one last doctor(comp say NO MORE after that).I could write a book on this injury,but................I will wait to see if any of you reply to me. Sandi

Permanent link to this comment. On March 4, 2006 08:18 AM, Angela cosby wrote:

Angela again.
I broke my collar bone 2nd of October. No join so I was operated on on the 12th of January, plate and screws and bone taken from my hip. I took the sling off after two days as it just hurt worse with it on. Went back to work after 12 days, I teach small children with special needs so I had to use my shoulder and arm quite a bit to hold children, etc - but I didn't lift anything too heavy. Yesterday, seven weeks after the op., I had another xray and at last there is bone growth - went out for a three mile run to celebrate and felt great!
I don't have full movement back yet as I can't get my arm properly up my back but my sugeon says if I stretch more and more each day in a couple of weeks I should have full movement and a strong shoulder. He doesn't advise I take up rugby or kick boxing - but says anything else should be fine!
My hip, although it hurt more than my shoulder after the op, now feels fine and only a very small scar. My shoulder feels good and I've had no problems carrying a small back pack so far. The scar is about 6 cm long and looking good, I've been rubbing Bach Flowers Rescue cream on it and the clavicle looks straight and not bumpy. I've even got used to being able to feel the plate and screws beneath my skin. My sugeon won't discuss taking it out for a year - so I'm going to forget about that for a bit. I'm just so glad that after 5 months I can now get on with life - 30 seconds of carelesness caused so much pain! However I feel really good as it did make me have a bit of a rest and I found out what wonderful friends and family I had.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 8, 2006 02:57 AM, rachael wrote:

hi i broke my collarbone about 12yrs ago. the hospital just let it set in the way it broke..petruding from my chest in such a way that it has become a rather tiresome party trick, where i can fill the gap with Baileys and drink it, from my collarbone with a straw!..much to the amusement of my mates!! Unfortunately, now aged 27 i feel compelled to become a "young lady" where boozing from clavicles is just not the done thing..but joking aside, the way it has set has caused me pain ever since. i cant raise my arm over my head..i cant carry bags of shopping with that arm as it pulls too much and i cant even have people cuddle me that side! my doctor says there is nothing that can be done but ive heard there is an operation where the bone is broken and reset? is this true? and if so what is the procedure called so i could mention it to my not so understanding doctor!! please! from Rachael..Baileys drinking, party trick expert from surrey,England!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 15, 2006 04:31 PM, Chicha Sanders wrote:

Wow I didn't know the collarbone is such a popular bone to break. I broke mine March 5th (the day before I was to start a new job)in a bad car accident. My husband was driving and we rolled over black ice, our car spinned in circles 4 times across all lanes of traffic and finally stopped when the car landed into the wall on my side. The impact was horrible and I thought I broke my body, but it was only my collarbone. I only got a splint, vicodin, and Flexril from the doctor. I did order a figure 8 splint online which made me fell much better, but the pain is still there. This is really crappy because it's hard to do anything with one arm, then when I try to do something with my right hand I fell the pain all the way up my arm. I have a 9 month and 4 year old and I can't play with them that much. How long does this pain last? Will I ever go back to normal? How many still drove with one arm? When can I start exercising this arm, and what kind of exercises are recommended for thsi type of injury?

Permanent link to this comment. On March 15, 2006 06:57 PM, Skonecki wrote:

i know how bad it hurts. i broke my right collor bone n im typing with y left.i broke mine riding in a shoping kart n im 15 so ya.lol

Permanent link to this comment. On March 16, 2006 06:47 PM, Hans wrote:

Chicha - The questions you ask can't be answered here. Everyone's injury is unique. Your doctor or physical therapist needs to give you the answers. The good news is that it's still early in your recovery.
___________________________________________________________

Skonecki - Shopping cart? Yup, I can imagine. I scraped off a large chunk of skin one time doing a shopping cart downhill race.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 20, 2006 12:45 PM, Eric wrote:

Everyone - I only post this to possibly help other people who broke their collarbone and freaking out. From my days/hours/weeks of obsessing over my broken collarbone, I have concluded they are all different and heal different but one thing for sure is it could always be worse. I have a big bump that my wife named "button" and only I hate it. Everyone else says it's a good battle wound from MX racing. I'm 8 weeks in starting to feel better.
My 2 cents = Make a decision! if you don't want the bump, your gonna have a scar and possible surgery complication. don't go back and forth like me and drive yourself nuts. Don't stare in the mirror at it for hours - again, will drive you insane.
Don't sit around and get a frozen shoulder. You can do small circles with your arm hanging just to keep some movement. At least this way you remember you still have an arm.
Your mind can play terrible games on you - keep a solid head and optimistic - worrying only takes more years off your life.
Believe it or not, some people are born without collarbone's and are fine. Well, if anything, that's what I have learned in the past 8 weeks. A few more weeks and I'm back surfing and on my dirtbike. Hey, first major broken bone at 33 - I am more then happy to wait until 66 for my 2nd (knock on wood).

Permanent link to this comment. On March 24, 2006 06:41 AM, kim wrote:

hi, i fell over my bassett hound about a month ago. my collar bone on the left side hurts alot when i wear a seatbelt on that side. i know i need to go to the doctor. But could anyone tell me if they think it sounds like a break on a fracture? it hurts just hangin my arm down as well. and it's size does not match up with the right side. thanx

Permanent link to this comment. On March 28, 2006 06:33 AM, joe williams wrote:

i did a quick google search on Laura Erker and she's the real deal - not a fat, middle-aged biker wanna-be like. ..ahem me. but a real biker.

her story was great and has helped me while i sit and get fatter waiting for my broken collar bone heal.

thanks Laura, and the rest of you for sharing.

jw

Permanent link to this comment. On April 8, 2006 04:51 PM, duncan wrote:

try breaking your collar bone with 300 meters to go after being in a ten man cat 1/2 break for 60 miles. And i am a spinter. I am very disappointed. Sitting at home now watching TV. though I would highly recomend the compex sport muscle stimulator. great muscle work. try riding on trainer 14 days after break.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 11, 2006 09:37 AM, Hans wrote:

Kim - I hope you have had that shoulder checked out by a doctor. You say you know you need to go so just go. Listen to your body, it hurts, you need to have it checked out.

----------------------------------------------------------

Duncan - I feel your pain. My first break happened at the start of the last lap of my second criterium that day. I was feeling great and thinking about a top finish.

Btw - If you want to entertain yourself with cycling videos while you're injured, check out my helmet cam race videos over in the cycling videos section of the site:

http://www.hanskellner.com/videos/cycling.html

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

I was researching the net for tips on how to ease a broken collarbone when I stumbbled upon this site... I am now on day 6 of breaking my right collarbone...I wish I could have a funny story on how I broke mine, but mine is a bummer. I was fighting with my ex boyfriend when he shoved me down on the ground. The only thing I can really remember is rolling around on the ground screaming. I got up and as best as I could, hobbled inside to his house so I could lie down. At first, he kept telling me it was just dislocated. After about the 5th or 6th time of him tryin to jerk it back into place, I finally screamed at him that it was broke. After I called my mom and told her that I had fallen over a chair, she told me to go on to the hospital.
After they x-rayed me and said that it was broken, they put me in a figure eight brace and a sling. The dr. prescribed a pain pill which i can not remember, but the stuff doesnt help and it was only 5mg. And since I am only 17, i can't resort to alcohol. lol... well I could, but I dont want to. The figure eight brace helps, but I think it is too big. It doesnt really seem like it fits me right. I wear my sling all day,every day. The figure eight brace cuts into my skin and it hurts so bad. It is very uncomfortable for me. My mom is suppose to be calling her dr. to set me up an appointment, but I dont know how well it will go because I havent been really good about keepin my arm/collarbone still. I'm ready for it to be over. The pain is a constent thing which doesnt go away. I know I'm only on day 6 but it feels so much longer. If anybody else has some suggestions, please feel free to help me out. :)

Permanent link to this comment. On April 16, 2006 01:41 AM, Mario wrote:

Hello, I broke my collar bone on March 6, 2006 while skiing. It was the day that I was going to attend a ball in celebration
of my unit's return from a one year deployment (I'm in the Army).

This is what took place. I was going down the hill too fast for my skiing abilities and I took a nasty fall. For the record, there was no alcohol involved in this incident (at least not yet). The reason I pushed my luck was because I was trying not to be out perfomed by my 6 and 8 year old kids. They are good skiing but probably got that from their mother.

I'm not sure if any of you actually heard your collar bone break but I did; it'a nasty sound. At the time I wasn't sure of what I had broken so I just lay motionless affraid of being paralyzed. Well, after a few seconds, I managed to sit up and discovered that there was nothing wrong with my neck or spine
but discovered that there was something wrong with my collar bone because it was deformed. I also realized that there was
something wrong with my ribs because breathing was extremely painful. The pain was so great that I just didn't want to move.

After a couple of minutes I was taken to an emergency room where I sat for a good hour before I was X rayed and an additional hour went by before a doctor took a look at them.

Well, it turned out that I had fractured my right collar bone, bruised two ribs and hyper extended my left thumb.

I was given two options at the hospital: 1. Take some serious painkillers through an IV and spend the night under observation
or 2. take some pills and go back to the hotel. I chose the second option and got a "free" figure eight sling from them.
I also discovered that the generic pills that they gave me worked well only when taken in conjuction with a Heineken ;)

Anyway, later on that night, I convinced my wife of getting me into a suit and attend the ball. I only did it because the
ball meant so much to her. She had spend a lot of money on a formal dress, shoes, nails, etc. Heck, we even paid a close
friend of ours to travel with us (all expenses paid) and watch our kids while we went to the ball. As you can imagine, I was
in pain during the ball but the alcohol made it more bearable.

The first week after the accident was unbearable but by the second week the pain decreased considerably and it dind't
bother me as long as I didn't move my injured arm.

Well, it's been around 40 days since it happened and the clavicle hasn't fused together yet and I'm starting to worry about it. I was told initially by an orthopedic surgeon that the injury would take about 8 weeks to heal completely but then
(2 weeks ago) I was told that it would take approximately 12 additional weeks to heal. Not what I wanted to hear really but I guess things do happen for a reason. Good luck to all of you.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 25, 2006 11:34 AM, Ian wrote:

Thanks to all for describing their experiences.

I broke my left CB about 8 months ago after taking a tumble on my bike. My fall was seemingly minor and I wasn't immediatly sure that I was even REALLY hurt. I rode on in pain and soon ended up seeking a ride to the ER where I was enlightened and advised that I should get some Tylenol/Advil, a sling and come back in a week. I had a simple, commercial sling with velcro that I could cinch tight when desired and it worked well for me. I was comfortable enough after a week to be dismissed from any further medical care.

The next four days of couch-time helped and I went back to work in a sling after a week off. I dumped the sling for good in about 6 weeks and have been without major pain since.

I was advised that I should be 100% in 6 months (...because I'm 39) but could resume whatever activity didn't cause discomfort along the way. I usually cycle daily through the winter on studded tires, etc and did a bit of that when it wasn't too icy and since March I've been riding off-road regularly.

I've got a sharp bump which doesn't work well with my packs and I still get the occasional ache from the 'site' of the break. The geometry of my shoulder is different enough that I occasionally noticed some weird mobility constraints. Good thing I don't golf I guess. Over time this continues to improve however. I have tested my shoulder a few times when lifting and playing strenuous outdoor sports enough to be confident that I'm healed though I still sometimes wake and move to avoid sleeping on my left side.

Good luck to everyone during their recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 30, 2006 12:08 AM, alex wrote:

Hey guys,

I broke my collarbone yesterday in 2 places, the doc said it should just recover on its own, the pain hasn't been that bad, only at the beggining at the hospital, im only 17 hoping for a quick recovery unlike you old farts :p anyway i have barely moved my arm because you can just feel the bone moving and it hurts :( going for a checkup next week

Permanent link to this comment. On May 1, 2006 06:36 AM, Hannah wrote:

Hi guys
10 days into recovery ,(motorcycle accident) clavicle pain subsiding, thinking im on the mend when WHAM BAM excruciating burning pain from armpit down bicept, lasting from a few seconds to minutes. Feels like an electric iron being held against the skin. An emergency doctor explained it was probably due to the clotting and tissue swelling putting pressure on a nerve. Was refered to orthopedic dr this morning who dismissed this theory by saying there were no nerves in this area and was just part of the healing process.
Has anybody else experienced this or any thoughts on the matter. It is seriously unbearable.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 3, 2006 08:10 AM, Yasmin Labban wrote:

Hi,
Im Yasmin 25 yrsold. Broke my right collarbone about 3 weeks ago on April 11th. I was walking near by and a man on a motorbike tried to pull my bag from me while speeding pass me. I was on my phone and didnt even notice him until i hit the ground so hard. At first i felt the pain my head because i slamed the concrete so hard. Then i noticed my collarbone sticking out under my skin. Somehow i walked to a very nearby hospital where they xrayed me.The pain was so intense and still is. I really thought i was going to die, still have those dark thoughts. my hand was so swollen and i could feel the blood gushing inside my shoulder and down my arm. i kept asking the people in the ER if i was going to die, i wanted to phone the people i loved especially my mom. they put me in a sling and sent me home. my bone is broken in half down the middle and there is a smaller piece between them. because of the impact the back of my shoulder was so arched. the next day i went to a doc in the same hospital, not sure how goo he is though. he strapped me in a figure 8 that he himself made, he said it was better than the one i bought. i think it was too tight, i kept it the way he did it for a week but then after my 2nd xray, i noticed the gap between the bones was huge.i was so frustrated, i changed doctors and he lostened the figure 8 and told me to take off the sling, my right arm is still diff in color after 3 weeks. its like a pale reddish purple. i cant seem to get used to this bone poking out, is it ok? i really dont want surgery even if i need it. Could a broken collarbone be in anyway life threatening if its misalligned with a poking bump.I heard there are vessels under the collarbone, so if my bone seems to be lower than the normal one, is it damaging my vesseles. im really so worried. i hate doctors but am doing the weekly xrays. i have one tomorrow. I just dont want to die....please someone help me...maybe im too much of a drama queen...im just scared, never broke a bone in my life..wish i broke a hand or leg instead..i cry myself to sleep everyday..its been 3 weeks. anyone with some thoughts...this forum is very helpful. will i be able to have kids someday and play with them roughly, i feel this accident aged me so much...all im looking forward to is making it through another day. im so depressed.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 6, 2006 10:15 AM, Angela Cosby wrote:

Dear Yasmin, thought you needed a reply. I know how you feel, the pain is awful and you do wish you had broken something that could just have been put in plaster. I broke my collar bone on 2nd of October 2005. I have just been discharged from the clinic after seven months. I had a non union and now have a plate and pins in my shoulder. It now feels great and I have full movement back and am told that the plate can stay in for the rest of my life. I cried when the doctor said it was all over because I could remember back to the stage you are at and it seemed ages ago and never ending and I was so relieved to be back to normal- you will mend, hopefully without an op but if you need one dont worry it was my first one at nearly 50 and I was scared to death, but from the day after the op I started to feel better and was really happy I'd gone through with it. So keep positive thoughts. I hope I wont be returning to this site ever again! But over the last few months it has been a great help thanks to everyone Angela

Permanent link to this comment. On May 8, 2006 01:14 AM, Mark wrote:

Yasmin,

I'm 35, broke my left clavicle two weeks ago (soccer, first broken bone for me too) and have been on both sides of the surgery versus clavicular split (ie, 'figure 8' brace) divide. i started with an orthopedic surgeon recommended by the hospital, who put me in the splint. because many things about this doctor led me to doubt his skills & knowledge i sought a second opinion. this docor was far better informed on the issues involved (and worked at a better hospital) and basically said the following regarding the splint versus surgery.

1. in most cases surgery is not necessary to restore full functionality of the shoulder.
2. cosmetic issues are important to some people (my left shoulder, for example, would have been permanently lower and shorter than my right)
3. in my case the fracture (central third break, displaced, angulated, 4 pieces) occurred in such a way that the end of the bone was just below the skin and would become aggravated every time i wore a backpack.
4. the latest medical research (last 5 years) is begining to suggest that there are long term benefits of surgery, which had not previously been thought to be the case
5. recent research also shows that, for those who don't have surgery, the splint does not do better than a sling in terms of likelihood of healing, long term prognosis etc.

he summed up my case by saying i was right on the border bt surgery or not. this was now 6 days after the accident, during which time my sleep was miserable every night with the splint on. i was pretty eager to have the surgery based on several factors. first, i wanted my body to feel structurally normal again. besides the pain i felt somehow 'off' and unbalanced. second, i didnt like worrying that every movemnent i made would hurt and potentially impede my healing process. the surgery option would at least stabilize the thing and prevent every small movement from sending the shattered ends of the bone moving through my flesh.

so i had the surgery (contoured plate, 7 screws) the next day & all went smoothly. i took pain killers (percoset) for only two days after the surgey and then stopped. speaking of painkillers, vicodin (from doctor #1) made me extremely nauseous, which is apparently common, and was much less effective (for easing pain and allowing me to sleep soundly) than percoset. btw, i asked for percoset specifically with the second doctor (who was also going to give me vicodin) and it made a big difference to how i dealt with the pain, which, as others have mentioned, is a critical part of the recovery process.

anyway, that was a week ago and I'm now feeling pretty much normal, except for the inconvenience of not using the arm much, and the tired back muscles from wearing the sling. so, in my case, after trying to heal for a week under both methods, i feel the surgery is much better. I've seen two sets of xrays and the thing looks really good. the curve is back in the bone and except for the hardware it looks to me the way it ought to look. the biggest downside of the process is anesthesia and post-op painkillers, which take a long time to clear your system - it was about 18 hours before i stopped having hallucinations (i think from a very heavy dose of post-op morphine), though these weren't unpleasant. Though i went home twelve hours after the surgery, sitting up made me nauseous until about 15 hours later.

anyway, that's my story - my sense is that if you feel you have a relatively serious break, a skilled doctor, and a good hospital then the surgery is probably worth considering and, minimally, is something you don't need to fear.

mark

Permanent link to this comment. On May 9, 2006 11:28 AM, jasmin wrote:

hi
broke my collar bone 4 weeks ago. my right arm where the break is still turns redder than the left, is that a reason for concern? or would the color get better with time as i move it more? i have about 0.5 cm displacement between the bones with a vertical fragment. could my bones get closer with time? like in the next xray i take in cpl of weeks.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 10, 2006 04:51 AM, alex wrote:

DAY 12 UPDATE

I am feeling better now, and have some mobement, you will see in provided pic the sharp bit, it is the most annoying and can't wait till it rounds off because it presses against skin when I move my arm. I have an ortho appt tommorow plus new XRAYS


PICTURE
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b6db29b3127cce88ba4c4a00c000000016109QbsmLNs1Q

Permanent link to this comment. On May 10, 2006 10:54 AM, Cam wrote:

Hi,

I broke my collarbone back in January. The doctor told me to give up smoking, wear a figure 8, get a bone stimulator, do physical therapy and keep coming back each month for Xrays. I followed his advice. When I went to see him last week he said my bone had healed with a fibrous union - not by bone. He said to do more physio, try and get full movement back in my arm then wait a few months and evaluate whether it's bothering me or not. At that point, he said, I should evaluate whether I wanted surgery or not. He is against surgery unless the collarbone is causing a lot of problems.

Right now, I still have a lot of shoulder and back pain. I'm hoping more physio might help. As I guess sub-consciously I'm still protecting my shoulder a lot. I also just took off the figure 8 after all wearing it for three months straight.

I asked him if there's a chance there would be a bone union in the future and he said he doubted it. Has anyone ever heard of someone having a fibrous union - then later developing a bone union?

Also, is there any complications associated with a "fibrous union" person getting the operation at a later date if they want to?

Any advice, or thoughts from other fibrous union folks would be much appreciated.

Cam

Permanent link to this comment. On May 11, 2006 03:10 AM, Yasmin Labban wrote:

did anyone have to do a CT scan to make sure veins r ok after a broken collar bone?

Permanent link to this comment. On May 12, 2006 02:51 PM, Domenico Palazio wrote:

Another one...
And I take it that the fact most people did not come back after, say 2 months, is because that is the average time for the clavicle to heal.

I broke mine about a month ago falling from a fine horse (the bastard) and actually the scare and the fear made things look much uglier than they actually are.

As a recovering Alcoholic I was aware about not taking any morphine or heavy duty pain killers. The ones I was able to take I did for the first 4 weeks, as I said, I was still in shock from what had happened.None after that! It wasn't supposed to be a rodeo but that is what I got and when I realized I had fallen I found myself unable to breathe for almost 45 seconds and this I believe contributed to my schock.

Feeling "handicaped" also contributed to that feeling of what being powerless is all about...

To me, the falling had also to do with my grandiosity "trips" riding a fine horse in style and there is a lesson there...

I have the 8 thing in my back but I do some cheating and also my very last X-ray showed bone-approximation but not the actual ossification as the cartilagum or jelly formation initiated by nature does not reflect in the X-ray. A Scan would be more appropiated if you need to know if God has abbandoned you or not...

Cheer up, coming out of such a fall with only a broken collar bone due to my very own stupidity is God's way to be one more time very very patient with me.

Relax, get a good book a few films and grow from the experience.
All the best!

Ck my Blog, get a kick!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 12, 2006 02:51 PM, Domenico Palazio wrote:

Another one...
And I take it that the fact most people did not come back after, say 2 months, is because that is the average time for the clavicle to heal.

I broke mine about a month ago falling from a fine horse (the bastard) and actually the scare and the fear made things look much uglier than they actually are.

As a recovering Alcoholic I was aware about not taking any morphine or heavy duty pain killers. The ones I was able to take I did for the first 4 weeks, as I said, I was still in shock from what had happened.None after that! It wasn't supposed to be a rodeo but that is what I got and when I realized I had fallen I found myself unable to breathe for almost 45 seconds and this I believe contributed to my schock.

Feeling "handicaped" also contributed to that feeling of what being powerless is all about...

To me, the falling had also to do with my grandiosity "trips" riding a fine horse in style and there is a lesson there...

I have the 8 thing in my back but I do some cheating and also my very last X-ray showed bone-approximation but not the actual ossification as the cartilagum or jelly formation initiated by nature does not reflect in the X-ray. A Scan would be more appropiated if you need to know if God has abbandoned you or not...

Cheer up, coming out of such a fall with only a broken collar bone due to my very own stupidity is God's way to be one more time very very patient with me.

Relax, get a good book a few films and grow from the experience.
All the best!

Ck my Blog, get a kick!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 13, 2006 09:57 AM, Yasmin Labban wrote:

Hey,
Where can i post my xray so i can get ur opinion on it? Also, does anyone know of a forum where orthopedic doctors can give their opinion?

Permanent link to this comment. On May 16, 2006 10:26 PM, shianne wrote:

i broke my collarbone on november 24th, 2005
its now may 16, 2006..it isnt healed
i think i might have to get sergery

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2006 07:18 PM, ELLEN wrote:

I AM 46 YRS OLD AND BROKE MY COLLERBONE OVER 8 WEEKS AGO IN A CAR ACCIDENT, ITS ONLY BEEN THE LAST 3 WEEKS THAT I AM ABLE TO MOVE MY ARM OR EVEN USE IT AT ALL. EACH DAY IT GETS A LITTLE BETTER BUT I AM GOING TO A CHIROPRACTOR AND DOING MASSAGE THERAPY (OUCH) 2X A WEEK.I HAD HEADACHES AND MY SHOULDERBLADE HURT LIKE HELL, I AM TOLD THAT THIS IS THE MUSCLES REACTING TO THE BREAK.THE PAIN MOVES FROM MY SHOULDER (OUTSIDE) DOWN MY ARM AND BACK TO THE SHOULDERBLADE, DEPENDING ON THE DAY. I AM TAKING IBUPROFIN 800MG 2X A DAY. I AM NOT BACK TO WORK BUT IF I HAD A DESK JOB I WOULD BE BY NOW. IM GONNA GO LOOK FOR A DESK JOB BECAUSE I CANT TAKE NOT WORKING ANY LONGER!MY DR SAYS AT MY AGE IT COULD TAKE 16 WEEKS BEFORE I CAN DO WHAT I USED TO DO BEFORE THE ACCIDENT.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 25, 2006 02:43 AM, alex wrote:

I'm a month in tomorrow from the break and I have great movement, but there is still that gap, if you will take a look at my xray a few posts up... it has healed somewhat more than what that xray shows as I got new ones, but will the gap fully close up?

Permanent link to this comment. On May 26, 2006 03:58 PM, Richard H wrote:

I broke my collarbone on the 22nd May, flying my new 4m power kite. Anyway took the kite over to a local field on its maiden flight. Wind was around 8Mph, later got up to around 17Mph. My first go, didn’t amount to anything good, later I was being pulled very hard, on my backside, ploughing the field with my face. Finally it pulled me so hard that when I hit the ground I heard my collarbone break. So a trip off to a local hospital, where they confirmed that I did break my collarbone (This being the second time on the same bone, (28 years ago was the last time)). The collarbone broke on top of my shoulder, whereas before it was in the middle.I had more pain then, on the first time.I was only given a sling and pain killers this time. I don't have much pain throughout the day, just in the morning it hurts a bit. Next week I have to start a new job that I have been waiting for well over a month. I really need this job, so I'm willing to work with pain if I have too. I have to see someone next week in the fracture clinic as well, but if I'm working then that wont happen. Also, I cannot wait to get my kite back up in the air again, but I will wait for six to eight weeks before I fly it again, because the pull / power will do more damage if I fly it before then.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 27, 2006 06:36 AM, alex wrote:

hahaha Richard, let me get this straight, you were being pulled along by a kite on your ass? Was anyone witness to this, seems it would've been pretty funny to watch, apart from the broken collarbone part! ;)

My collarbone - I still have this gap at the top of the bone.. refer to my post just above :( My underarm hair has grown 2 times more than the otherside, why does it do that??

Permanent link to this comment. On May 28, 2006 01:58 PM, Richard H wrote:

I have no idea why your under arm hair grows more than your other armpit. In answer to your question Alex, yes there where witnesses, one was a coach driver, parked up, just sat watching me making a fool of myself all that afternoon. And not helpful at all, when I did break my collarbone. Didn’t even come over to see if I was alright. Good job I had my mobile to call for help.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 29, 2006 05:53 AM, alex wrote:

Don't know how people can just sit there and not doing anything, best of luck with your healing mate.

I started exercises today, just wit a 5kg dumbell, the arm is extremly weak, hopefully not too long before it gets to full strength, it feels great being able to move my arm around a lot more.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 30, 2006 09:33 AM, Hans wrote:

Everyone - Just back from vacation and see there are many new entries. Sorry to see that since it means more people suffering.

Richard - Sorry, I also had to chuckle at your accident. Sounds like something you would see on a funny home video show.

Alex - Hard to know if the gap will fully close. Each person's injury is unique and there are many factors involved. Even if it doesn't you might also form a fibrous connection. This will help to stabilize the break.

Good luck to all recovering.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 31, 2006 05:59 PM, steven wrote:

WoW! I just found this site looking for information about clavicle breaks. I am having mine repaired tomorrow after what has been a VEEERRRYYYY long three months. My Orthopaedic Surgeon is going to put a rod down the middle of the Non-Union (what they call bones that have decided not to reunite). I was skiing on February 18th and broke my clavicle, five ribs clean through, collapsed my lung and really hurt my feelings and the rest of my ski season. I am 40 and have been in the Action Sports industry for ten years and work and participate in all types of not-so-safe activities like skiing, snowboarding and wakeboarding. I have broken many, many bones some several times each and this is by far the worst pain and most difficult to recovery from. I still ache every time I sneeze and forget about sex for awhile I can barely tie my shoe. The Ortho tells me that the rod inserted inside the bone is the best way to bring them back together for a happy reunion and I am counting on it. He claims that recovery time should be about six to eight weeks although that's what he said back in February? So who knows? My point to telling my story is that is is clear to me from the last fifty comments (and I appreciate every one of them) that eventually this will get better and that there are a lot of you out there who have been down the same road (maybe even crashed on the same road) and that you came out stronger for it on the other side. So here is raising my glass to you all and to the poster that precedes mine (Yasmin). Keep your chin up and don't worry just give it some time. I'll be thinking about you all tomorrow morning...wish me luck?
Steven

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2006 10:42 AM, CT wrote:

I broke my left collarbone in 2 places back in February 10 while taking a leisurely stroll on my bicycle. It was quite embarrassing now that I think about it. Anyway, I've lucked out so far and there seems to be a good solid union after almost 4 months. Problem is the union is fairly ugly IMO and feels horrible. I'm constantly rubbing it and get that feeling of fustration every time I feel the bump. My hole left shoulder and collarbone still seem to get fatigued easliy a short time after I've been walking around places like the mall and Wal-Mart. I have a doc appt in 2 weeks and I'm wondering what kind of surgical options I could consider. I don't know how feasible it would be now to get the titanium plate screwed on. I was wondering if anyone has heard of possibly smoothing out the bone artroscopically (sp). I would just like to know all of my options before I proceed living the rest of my life with some sort of deformity or pain. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks guys and gals.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2006 11:48 AM, Hans wrote:

Steven - Hope all has gone well with the surgery. Give us an update on how it went.

---------------------------------

CT - Having the broken collar bone lump is something to brag about if you are a cyclist! :') I've been in groups of cyclists when the talk of broken collar bones arises. At that point shoulders are exposed, bumps displayed, stories exchanged. Of course, there's always one-uping by those with more than one or two lumps.

But, back to your question. If your break has already fused then adding a plate will do nothing for it. You would need to have surgery and have it re-broken (ouch!), straightened and then plated. I don't know about shaving the bone or lump. I haven't heard of that before and it doesn't sound like fun. Note that the size of the lump should decrease over time. Mine is almost gone now.

For now try focusing on how lucky you are to have a collar bone that has fused back together. And that you haven't had to have surgery, a plate with screws installed, recovery, and a nice big scar from the surgery. Instead of worrying about the look of it, show it off and brag about it. Nothing wrong adding a little flavor and drama to the story about how you crashed.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 3, 2006 11:24 PM, steven Perelman wrote:

Thanks Hans!
As I sit here, heavily "Narcated" (that's what I call the state of intoxication brought on by Norco...generic for Hydrocodone), I can only wonder whether all of my fear and anxiety was a complete waste of time. The surgery itself was painless and uneventful. I started out Thursday morning with an IV at 8:00am and at 11:00am they put me "under." I awoke two hours later to three nurses who were monitoring my vital signs and preparing my release papers. I was out of the hospital by 3:00pm. My Ortho made two incisions one about three inches long directly above the "Lump" and a smaller one in the back of my shoulder where the Rod was inserted and where it will be pulled out in a few months. He said that because I had waited four months to do the procedure that he had a difficult time cleaning out some of the debris and scar tissue and that it took a little extra effort to get it separated and aligned properly. Just to be safe he through in a little artificial bone grafting material to kick start the healing process. All in all, he said the surgery was very successful and now that I am back on my meds, I shouldn't have as much pain...although the first six hours awake were worst than the initial injury four months ago....I was crying....Literally!!!!! I am feeling much better today and basically it's back to the same constipated state (anybody on Norco knows what that means) I found myself in three month ago with one HUGE difference, the lump is gone and my shoulder does not look like it belongs to someone else. I am already moving my arm (not much, but a little) and it seems like I have an improved range of motion, which is one of the main reasons I wanted the surgery. Before, I had felt a kinking in my neck where the clavicle had moved and I was nervous that I might have bigger problems down the road if I ignored it. I am told the Rod will stay in for about three months or until the bolt starts rubbing my skin raw and then I will go back in to have it removed. The best case scenario is that the bone heals before the bolt becomes intolerable and has to come out. The Rod technique at this point seems like it was better option for me, than was the plate and pins, where I would have had to have gone through the procedure twice, once to install and once to remove. Plus, the Rod system leaves smaller scars and although I hear girls find scars kind of sexy I did not want to look like Frankenstein. Anyhow, I highly recommend just fixing a break right away..don't wait like I did and waste a perfectly good ski season just to have the bones disappoint you anyhow.
Good Luck!
Steven

Permanent link to this comment. On June 7, 2006 01:45 PM, james kern wrote:

well are'nt we all in a pickle! broke my right clav may 24th motocross racing. silly boy you are 40 they all say.... as you cant take a swipe at them! thanks Hans for this site....i am bored out of my head and it is only part way into week#3. i got a hard luck story too that is the side show to my circus but i have a wonderfull mum and dad so i wont bore any one with it. from all the posts i read here one thing is obvious to me.....that i was right to insist on surgery from the word go! a friend had almost an identical clav-frac 18months ago....same story at the hands of the medical system ie.-it should heal on its own in 6-8 weeks, wear this torture device and take these narcs, come back and see me. ta-da(9weeks later)oh!...it is'nt fusing now we can consider sugical fixation...i dont understand this. humans have been snappin' collar bones ever since we could trip over pebbles from grape juice gone bad.....and the consensus is.....bumps, grinding, loss of motion and ....well you get the picture. i need my body to work properly to make a living so i was adamant that despite doctors having a great deal more training than i do in medical procedure i knew my best chance for recovery was some good old fashioned hardware. i send my best wishes to all of you tranqed out bone breakers,righties now lefties and lefties that are now normal like most of us!....heal well take care not to rush too fast to be back on wheels, wings, and whatchyamacallits! the world is gonna miss you more if you dont. p.s. sorry i am candian i know surgery is gonna probably cost the arm you wish to fix if you live dangerously....in the states.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 8, 2006 07:34 AM, james kern wrote:

to Yasmin Labban; i felt compelled to reply to your story. dont fret, i hope that after two months that you are well on your way to a full recovery. i broke my hip almost two years ago at 38 years old, i was amazed that my body has such a capacity to overcome such a terrible injury. i worried a lot at first that my very active lifestyle was over and that i was going to have to abandon all the things that meant so much to me especially my career as a master log home builder. but alas my fear was unfounded: within 4-5 months i was back to work and play at about 75% at first and then 99% within a year. i was a pro level motocross racer before the hip smack in 2004 and i can say that just prior to my clavicle breaking may24/06 i had returned to that same level of racing. it takes time and the right attitude. rent a copy of the movie What The Bleep Do We Know, it will explain the mind/body/spirit connection with valid science,....you are a protein machine governed by your thoughts and emotions. so chin-up and take care you will rebound with a new sense of appreciation for life. dont play too rough with your children, you are bigger than they are!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 14, 2006 07:33 PM, kat wrote:

well, this seems to be the right place to be since 5 days ago I broke my right clavicle right in half and now i want to jump in front of a bus. I was playing in a big rugby tournament and now my one goal is just to get back out on the pitch again. of course, at 5 days i am not optimistic about that although i am being reassured that all this pain and lack of motion is ok. you guys have me terrifed that three months into this when i am expecting to be healed that my doctor will announce a non-union and i will be back at square one. right now i am 2o years old,and an extremely active, in training captain of my college's rugby team. will this ever be strong enough for me to go back to the game i love?

Permanent link to this comment. On June 17, 2006 04:59 AM, alex wrote:

kat, at 20 you have a very high chance of getting a union. I'm 17 and broke mine and it healed within 5 weeks, and at 20 it should not be much different, just drink a lot of milk, but take some metamucil too you don't want to get constipated ;)

Good luck with the healing

Permanent link to this comment. On June 20, 2006 08:39 AM, Hans wrote:

kat - Yes, Alex is correct that your age is going to help a lot towards healing. The first two weeks are the hardest. Also that's the most important time to keep your shoulder immobile so the broken ends fuse without being disrupted. I would also recommend you get checked out by a doctor that specializes in sports medicine. Someone that understands your needs as an athlete. Some doctors just generalize healing towards the average person, which sadly is the sedantary person these days. Be sure your doctor fully understands your needs and expectations for recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 26, 2006 03:45 AM, Yasmin Labban wrote:

Hi all,
It’s the girl that got mugged back in April. Its been about 2months and boy have they been long. I didn’t end up getting any surgery, as the 2nd doctor id seen suggested id be better off without a huge scar on my lil feminine shoulder, he said if id been a guy he would’ve probably plated it. But to be honest after the whole ordeal appearances don’t real register as much. I used to model and was very picky about how I looked, after all I had to be otherwise I wouldn’t get the job. It was a part time thing as I was graduating uni, well point is things I guess just happen and you have to take the punches even though your life can feel so drastically different. I remember saying “I want my life back!” maybe a zillion times. It’s so frustrating, probably even more so coming from someone that isn’t in any way a robust athlete that’s zooming down ski slopes or slick rock mountain tracks..Although ive always been fascinated by all sorts of adrenaline junkie sports. I just enjoyed my life more in the slow, safe lane..Working out occasionally, playing tennis and swimming. Anyheww..Not to bore all u breakees, just want to say amidst my depression I didn’t think life would go on, but it does. And if u just sit around mopping about wishful thinking of the uneventful break…then it’s a waste. I have an over lapping break, I feel the contour of a small bump there. Don’t give a damn about how it feels I just wish I didn’t get so many lower neck aches on my right side, especially when I try to sleep at night. Anyone getting those? I hope it gets less achy down the line, otherwise ill have to be a pill popping bitter girl. I wish id been doing something I loved when I broke the nasty clavicle, like most of u riders’n stuff...at least u have a story to tell…I try to avoid even remembering the incident. I still have a lot of hate issues to work on, not every man on those small motorbikes is a prick! Although believe me, I had to pull myself from the urge of driving over any random biker as I first started getting back to driving around. Ill get over it, but the world aint so rosy colored as I once thought..Unfortunately La La Land where people don’t get hurt all de time doesn’t exist. Anyway, hope u all heal quick whatever ur situation was…the pain is hell. Try not to be so morbid and depressed like I was and sometimes still am..It tends to drive people away ; ) Thanks to those who had something to say about my desperate posted plea, it was very comforting to read that someone out there feels my pain.
Njoy & try to force some positive vibes in..xx Yasmin

Permanent link to this comment. On June 28, 2006 05:09 PM, Jenn Kaylen wrote:

Hi
I just broke my collarbone a week ago, playing hockey. I was going pretty fast and managed to fall right by the boards and... there she goes. There goes my whole fricking summer. I can't play hockey for another 6 weeks... or run play soccer/swim anything for another 2 weeks (or at least thats what the doctor says.) But they dont know what us athletes have to go through. Its not the pain that hurts the most. Its the fact that you CANT PLAY. I'm slowly sinking into a depressing world of boredom after just a week. I have a long boring summer ahead of me. Anybody got any surefire plan on how to heal broken bones faster?
-- A depressed hockey player

Permanent link to this comment. On June 29, 2006 06:41 PM, Tristen Bonacci wrote:

holy smokes...too many people with injuries. i just busted mine riding...down a hill...a hill that i always ride...too fast this time. what is my problem? i wasn't even showing off. i was riding by myself. luckily, 2 very nice people named chris and tiffany stopped to pick me and my bike up(which, you'll be happy to know - sustained no injuries...which is just as well, because it costs a lot more than my co-pay.) i am typing with one hand. it is summer, so i don't have to teach, which is good due to the showering/dressing problem. but i do lifeguard for the summer, so i can't go back to work with a broken collar bone. luckily, my boss is allowing me to teach swimming lessons from out of the water. so i get sweaty and gross where the sling hangs down and i have to walk the mile to work and back which exhausts me because of the break. but - at least i can do something, because this is making me a big grump as i can't compete in any triathlons all summer and my summer is shot. i'd drink like laura suggested, but i get migraines...in fact, the percoset gives me a headache...it's just so not fair...i even had a friend come over with some medicinal herb, but it made me cough...doesn't really work, if you ask me. so - i'm in the same boat as everyone else...miserable because it kills my independence and being able to get out and do things. i'm missing a forth of july hiking trip because of this and man, does that tick me off. you just feel so damn bored, helpless, and hopeless. i can't even drive. wahhh. but i was able, through trial and error, to get the razor under my arm to shave...thank god...know what you mean by ther pit of despair...and i'm reading "blue jean buddhas" - like maybe a book on meditation will help my depression? arg.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 1, 2006 06:12 PM, Jenn kaylen wrote:

God Tristen, I totally get what youre saying. This whole thing is so damn boring and I'm so sick of it. I'm healing fast but its been a week and I can get my arm 3/4 of the way over my head, but I don't have full range yet. I've read about a million books and watched so much T.V. [ I NEVER watch T.V! I'm usually out enjoying the summer!] I've really not needed any meds, vicadin the first nite and thats about it. I hurt it again yesterday when I decided to go swimming, that was dumb. But you gotta enjoy the summer somehow... yea and that dang sling is so hotttttt.... i can go around with out wearing it but im not sure thats a good idea!!! UGHHHHHHHHHH
Jenn

Permanent link to this comment. On July 2, 2006 10:14 AM, Hans wrote:

Yasmin - Good to hear that things are working out better for you. Having a positive outlook on life is a strong characteristic.

------------------------------------------------------

Jenn - I wish there was a surefire plan to heal broken bones faster. The trouble is the best advice is what we normally hear. Rest, rest, rest. Oh, one way to make the sling less hot is to soak it in water then wring it out. The moisture helps keep your arm cooler and the constant soaking keeps it from smelling! :)

------------------------------------------------------

Tristen - There's still a lot you can do while recovering. Yup, it's a bummer that you can't do all the activities you normally do. But use that to your advantage and try other activities that you haven't done and/or have been wanting to do. I was lucky in that I knew I had to stay in shape and be ready to leave for Europe a month after I broke mine. That made me focus on working out on a trainer (vs. riding) and doing what I could to heal. It worked and I was able to leave for Europe with my bike and ride the entire time.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 5, 2006 08:53 AM, Michele Berg wrote:

3 weeks ago yesterday I broke my right clavicle while sword-fighting. I play in a group of medieval re-enactors (we use rattan swords, a kind of bamboo, not real steel). I'm a very petite lady and although this hasn't been a problem for me in several years of fighting, the weight of a 250 pound man accidentally stepping directly on my clavicle proved to be too much for the bone. Freak accident, honestly; my shield normally protects my shoulders when I get knocked down but in the press of 20 bodies all running and crashing together with swinging sticks, I just couldn't manage to cover myself properly.

Being right-handed has made this fracture all the more frustrating; I'm a programmer and the dificulty typing like this has me on disability leave from work. I've found that the pain and my range of motion get better each week; this has helped with the funk of forced immobility. The first week was the worst; please DO NOT push your break during the first week of healing! I did and the break went from a simple aligned fracture to a severely displaced compound fracture. I heard a sickening pop and watched my shoulder sink about an inch down the side of my chest as the bone finished breaking, followed by extreme pain. Not recommeded.

Second precaution: beware of children. My sweet four-year-old son was playing near mommy, who was resting on a cushion in the living room. Although he'd been giving me very careful hugs, he didn't understand that our normal playful wrestling was on hold, and I got an atomic knee drop to the broken shoulder. Sigh. Maybe I shouldn't play so rough? I'm hoping that I'm still on the 4-8 week schedule for being able to use my arm again.

My biggest frustration has been the lack of information given to me by my doctor. He keeps reassuring me that it will be fine, but has no specifics for how long to wear the sling, what (if any) movement I'm allowed with the injured arm, etc. I'm mentally ready to get back to real life, but am afraid I'll delay healing if I do too much. I'm 32 so I know healing will be slower, but after three weeks, I can't get my arm to the level of my ear, much less over my head. Has anyone gotten more specific advice about this?

Michele

Permanent link to this comment. On July 5, 2006 05:58 PM, Mary wrote:

Hello all! Broke my left clavicle in a motorcycle accident in August of 2005. Finally had surgery in March of 2006. Plates and screws. All went well until about 1 1/2 weeks ago. Now everything is protuding and you can see the screws through the skin and feel the plates. I seem to have lost some range of motion again also. Has anyone else experienced anything similar? Called Dr., but first available appt. isn't until Sept. 25th. It just makes me nervous, and doesn't look that great either.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 5, 2006 07:20 PM, jon wrote:

Mary:
Im sorry to hear that. I too had surgery with plate and screws done in May 2006. I am feeling pretty good and I have only been recovering for 7 weeks. Do you recall anything you may have done that caused it to protrude? As for you feeling the plate and screws, I am told that this is common. I can feel the edge of my plate and it is quite visible. My Doc didn't seemed concerned about it and it really doesn't bother me. If everything heals up nicely I can have the plate removed in 18 months. My next question is were you told to resume normal activities by the doc before you noticed the protrusion? Also how long was your recovery time? I hope everything works out for you. If you feel something is wrong, do whatever you can to get an earlier doctors appointment. Two months away is totally unacceptable. Good luck and take care

Permanent link to this comment. On July 6, 2006 04:43 PM, Mary wrote:

Jon,

Thank you for responding. The surgery was 03/22/06 and by 04/10/06 I felt great and my Dr. allowed me to return to work as long as I did therapy 3 times a week. The scar was healing nicely (cut from neck to shoulder) and range of motion was good. I am left-handed, so that made a difference for me. Dr. told me to do what I could tolerate and if it hurt, don't do it. Everything was going along fine....then I got into another accident on 05/20/06 (not driving this time either) anyway, my first concern was the clavicle...X-rays showed that their was no damage to the clavicle at all. This was good news, as my right wrist was shattered and now has matching plates and screws. Went to the Dr. that did surgery to have clavicle checked out and prepare for the wrist surgery. He said that the clavicle was fine and at the time, there was very little protrusion and no pain. About 1 1/2 weeks ago, the scar became very sore and even clothing touching it makes it feel as though it is on fire and it is very red now. Then it started protruding more. I never felt the screws until then. It feels as though I have my shoulder scrunched up in a shrugging position all the time. I have seen other entries besides yours that mention having the plate removed at a later date. Do you know if this is a common practice? My Dr. said that mine will stay in permanently, that is why I am concerned. Before the surgery he said that if my body rejected the plate, they would remove it and take a bone from my lower leg to replace it. I have had 6 surgeries in the past 10 months and I am not eager to undergo another one. I hope you fully recover quickly and with no complications.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 7, 2006 03:03 PM, Jeff wrote:

Wow- too many similar stories. I'm 47 yo and broke my collarbone (CB) and shoulder blade (SB) a week ago today while riding my time trial bike in preparation for Nationals. Anyway, the CB was broken in the middle with a complete separation. The Dr. tells me the middle breaks heal more easily than end breaks and usually don't require surgery. The pain was incredible. 4 mg of Dilaudid (synthetic morphine but more powerful !) barely controlled the pain the first day. 2nd day was painful but I even went to a swim meet by taking 2 mg of Dilaudid. 3rd day I was back at work at my desk job although I do have to be on tv several times per day which was a bit tough to move around without showing too much pain. It is amazing the difference in treatments depending on the Dr. Mine told me I could do whatever I wanted as long as I could stand the pain. He even said I could get back on the bike immediately although he cautioned against falling so I think I will stick to the trainer for a while. I was going to say sleeping is the worst but sneezing is the worst followed closely by sleeping. I am in a figure of 8 brace all the time but only use a sling at night to prevent unintentional movement. I have been on just ibuprofen since day 3 and other than the occasional sharp pain when the bones grate together (I can still hear them clicking) the pain is generally quite manageable. Actually, other than those sharp pains, the CB doesn't hurt much at all anymore while the SB has more of a dull to moderate ache more frequently. You should of course follow your Dr's orders, but I can tell you, with just the "8" brace and no sling I can function much more easily than before. I generally move the injured arm just from the elbow down but that gives me 1 and a half arms versus just 1, which is SOOOO much easier. I even got myself dressed today including shirt and tie !. I sure hope my bones fuse together eventually because after reading some of your stories I don't want to go through surgery. I also wonder if my movement is hindering my healing but I have to trust my Dr. I think I will start on the trainer tomorrow !

Permanent link to this comment. On July 7, 2006 08:33 PM, Dave wrote:

Same story as Jenn - Checked into the boards one month ago while playing hockey and broke my distal right clavicle. Strange thing was, when I was testing my arm immediately after the injury I had full range of motion and at the ER the doc said the arm was fine based on strength/ROM tests. The pain, deformity of shoulder, and "crunch" that I heard when hit prompted an xray, which showed the break.

I have gradually been regaining pain-free use of the right arm. Stopped wearing the brace between weeks 2-3, once it was pain-free and felt stable. Went back for a checkup with my sports med doc today. He gave me range of motion (ROM) tests and strength tests and said that both arms are equally strong. Unlimited ROM on the right (broken) side. Based on this exam, he said I could go back to upper body weight training and sports (yeah!).

Just to be sure, he also gave me an xray. According to the xray, there is limited healing (the bones are slightly offset vertically, but still touching, no change from initial xray). I know that fibrous material doesn't show up well on xrays, so perhaps this is why the bone is stable yet looks similar to a fresh break?

I'm supposed to get treatment with a bone stimulator starting next week. I have been taking multi-vitamins as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements. I do stationary bike workouts and lower body weight training to maintain fitness.

Any advice as far as other stuff I should be doing? The doc said that I can do whatever I want as far as rehab goes as long as it isn't painful or heavy weights. Anyone have some favorite rehab exercises?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 8, 2006 02:23 PM, Jenn Kaylen wrote:

Yeah... I need some exersizes too. Starting to feel like I could run for miles and never get tired at this point. Its almost week three and i don't need my sling or immobilizer anymore, but it sill hurts and sometimes will pop [into place and out of place] if I move it a certain way, especaily upwards. Is this normal?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 8, 2006 04:00 PM, Hans wrote:

Dave - Yes, it's amazing immediately after an injury how well our adrenaline masks pain and injuries :')

The good thing about your xray was that it showed the bones touching. That's a lot better than seeing the bones drifting apart. The closer the ends of the bones the better chance for them to fuse back together. And, yes, the fibrous material doesn't show on the xray.

You are very lucky that you get to use a bone stimulator. There are good reports from the use of the device. Sadly, it's hard to get covered by insurance so doctors don't prescribe it.

I would recommend being careful that you don't push it when do your exercises. It's easy to get to a point where things feel great but internally your collar bone is still healing. No reason to set yourself back now. If you aren't using a stationary bike I would recommend that for recovery. Low impact and you can get a great workout.

---------------------------------------------------------

Jenn - As I mentioned to Dave above, a stationary bike is a great low impact workout. Or the elliptical trainer is also good.

As for the popping, that might be the soft tissue. For example, a ligament or muscle popping around the collarbone. Mine popped with different movements for a long time. But it gradually went away. Oh, light massage helps to loosen/relax the muscles and tissue around the injury. That really helped during recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 11, 2006 02:11 PM, Mark M wrote:

Hi - well, I'm laying here watching the Tour with a package of frozen squash on my left shoulder and typing with only one hand - Yep, I guess I've joined the club, broke my clavicle yesterday.

here's how it went: just 1/2 mile before the end of a beautiful 45 mile ride on a beautiful day I was flying down my final hill and around a curve to the right . Going about 32 mph I hit gravel - I was caught off guard as I usually expect sand in that corner, there were no cars in the left lane so I swung wide to the left fairly well leaned over - but it seems that I hit some gravel in the left lane - I felt the rear end going out so I corrected - but - I guess my speed was too much... remember
Joseba Beloki's horrific crash a few years ago? That's what it seemed like as my bike flip-flopped left to right - -that's about all I remember... next thing I was standing in the road as a super-kind local in a pickup pulled up behind me. Right away I knew, my left collarbone was broken, it ached and I could clearly feel one part overlapping the other - Damn! I've never broken a bone before... Now I know what those poor souls sitting on the curb during the Tour felt... I could not even conceive of getting back on and riding.

So the good samaritan drove me and my bike down to a park at the end of the road and a cop and ambulance he had already dialed were there within a minute - off to the ER - my account there would sound just like everybody else's - 5 hours later I was discharged with a bag full of spare dressings and a perscription for Percoset...

in my case, the road rash is a bit worse, a great gash and scrape up my nose and my forehead, scraped knees, elbow, shoulder and a bruised hip.

and yes, of course, the first question is; did you have a helmet on? - if I didn't, I'd probably be at my own funeral today. I hit my head pretty hard and smashed my helmet - so hard that my head is bruised and cut under the impact point. The helmet looks like it had gravel shot at it out of gun, and the styro inside is cracked completely (I can't wait to send it back to Giro with a thank-you note) - as well I opened up a scar that I had on my head from my last bike accident - when I was 7 years old! helmets didn't exist then (I'm 46 now)

I've got an appt with an orthapedist in 2 days, but it doesn't sound like there'll be much to learn that you all haven't helped out with already. And I agree, the worst part is that I'm off the bike for weeks during the best riding weather here in southeast Mass.

Thanks all, for a great page and the tip on Calcium.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 25, 2006 12:41 PM, Barbara Langston wrote:

What a great group of enlightened collarbone-trashers! I originally broke my right collarbone (and three ribs) by falling off my horse -- had to walk out with my arm hanging limp for 3 miles. An ambulance took me to a large suburban hospital. The bones were crossed over by about 5 cm (learned later that's too much) but the MD said they would heal like that and did not set the break.

It's now three years later. For more than a year I haven't been able to sleep on eihter side, my shoulder is acting strangely and I am unable to swim without turning in a circle to the right. I found an orthopedist who told me the bones were completely separated, no healing had taken place, one was about to puncture my right lung and my shoulder joint showed strain. Plus, in the past three years quite a bit of the bone had been reabsorbed, with too little bone to set without a bone graft. I had my surgery 10 days ago; besides a stainless steel plate and 7 large screws I had bone taken from my hip (iliac crest) and the golf ball sized graft should get this job done once and for all. But I'm in a sling for about 3 months so the graft can take hold and I have a very sore hip. Kayaking - I love ocean kayaking - is out of the question for 4 months. Because I take prednisone and another immune altering drug for a chronic disease it will take longer to heal.

The upside is I have super pain tolerance and can ignore it most of the time.

I offer sympathy to those who had other breaks - a sling and a cane (temporary) is all I can handle.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 28, 2006 12:48 PM, Philip Jones wrote:

I suffered a comminuted displacement of my clavicle six weeks ago following a crash in a wet criterium. My latest x-ray shows no signs of bone growth or union. The end of the break is also really sharp where I was expecting a callus to be forming. My consultant wants to see me again in 6 weeks for another x-ray. I was wondering what the chances are of me getting union on the fracture? I do have private medical insurance so is it worth me getting a second opinion?

Permanent link to this comment. On July 28, 2006 01:16 PM, Hans wrote:

Philip - Ouch, those two words "wet" and "criterium" make my hair stand up. Crits are bad enough with dry conditions.

Sorry to tell you but it's impossible to say whether you will form a union or not. There are so many variations of the injury. And then there are factors such as your age, how you manage your recovery, and list goes on. I do recommend a second opinion. With this type of injury there's wide range of recommendations from doctors. Some will recommend wearing a sling and nothing else. Others will want to operate. Be sure to have a thorough list of questions ready when you meet with your doctor. Ask why the doctor recommends a sling vs surgery. Also, explain your expectations for recovery, that you are an active person and need full use of the shoulder. Finding a doctor that has treated athletes and understands their needs it very helpful.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2006 02:38 PM, Lee wrote:

Hello. i came across this website and its been some helpful. I was in an accident on july 11th and the doc's put me in a sling. 3 days later i saw another doc for a follow up and he said come back in a week. I saw another doc's, she listen, nodded her said, like the doctor before and gave me more prescriptions. two weeks later on Aug 2nd, i saw another doctor, i got x-ray's done and the bone is still broken. She also said i should have been wearing the figure-8 brace. I am now wearing it, im waiting for an appointment to see a bone doctor. the break has sharp ends and is kinda broken at an angle. i feel a bump, i was wondering if in another 2 weeks my bones will join together. i have movement now and feel alot better than week 1-2 1/2. i stopped wearing my sling last week, cuz it felt better without it, the aches and muscle cramps stopped. i read different stories on different types of collar bone injuries, i wasnt sure what kind of break mine was and if was normal, the doc's im see dont really give a straight answer. thanks..lee

Permanent link to this comment. On August 7, 2006 08:10 AM, jenn kaylen wrote:

im all healed up folks! back to hockey and all other sprorts for me!
thanx for all the support youve given me!!! i will highly reccomend this site to any other people i know who break their collarbone!!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 7, 2006 02:52 PM, Erin wrote:

I wish I would've found this site 6 weeks ago when I broke my collarbone in a car accident. Then i would have been enlightened but instead I am just a collarbone trasher! 6 weeks into healing I have already broken my bone worse then what it originally was. I had a nurse like that and a doctor just the same who couldn't give me any real advice. But it is my own fault for pushing myself past my limits. My mom had just had major surgery and needed a lot of help around the house and I felt useless because I couldn't do a lot of things, so stupidly, I pushed my limits and worsened my situation. Just when I thought I was at the end, here I am back at week 1. I can't sleep because I am restless and both the sling and figure 8 splint hurt me. I have also noticed that i get throbbing pains in my neck, elbow, wrist, fingers and ofcoarse my shoulder. It isn't unbearable pain but very uncomfortable and it keeps me up at night. I was wondering what i could do about these pains. ibuprofen only stops the pain for a short period and you can only take so much in a day. Any advice?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 18, 2006 12:43 PM, Steven wrote:

Hello my fellow ColL er bO ne Bra k ers,

It has been a while since I have written. Last blog entry was June 3rd (two days after my surgery) Good News! I have been back training and just ran six miles yesterday and a 40 mile bike ride on Sunday.I'm even lifting weights in the gym. The bar in my shoulder is starting to get uncomfortable...not unbearable just sore after a good workout so my doctor is going to remove it September 12th with a scalpel and a socket wrench (how bizarre is that?) He says I should be back exercising five days after the removal and then good to go from there. The bone has healed nicely thanks to the bar. I highly recommend going that route if you need surgery. Now is a good time to plug my Orthopaedic Surgeon, his name is Dr. James Van den Boagarde at 916-983-2307. He is the US Ski Team doctor and knows sports injuries well...he is worth the flight even if you do not live on California. Anyhow, I will update again after my pin is taken out in a few weeks. Good luck and remember..."Bones are like Rules...you not having fun unless your breakn' em"

Steven

Permanent link to this comment. On August 18, 2006 11:14 PM, Pershman wrote:

I'm 35 years old and I to say it but I broke my collar bone running onto a softball field. I didn't even get to play I just tripped and spiked myself into the dirt. SNAP! It's been about 4 weeks and the bones haven't met up to heal. The doc is starting to talk bone graft and surgery. Should I give this puppy more time? It looks closer then the last x-ray. (2 weeks ago) HELP!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 19, 2006 12:34 AM, Hans wrote:

Pershman - Each break is unique and everyone's healing time is different. Generally the younger you are the quicker you heal. But there's other factors that affect healing. A complicated break may never get a chance to heal. Or, how well someone allows themselves to heal.

Four weeks is still early. Six weeks you should have a better idea. But I recommend that you get the opinion of another doctor. Surgery is one option that isn't always necessary. There are also complications that can occur from surgery such as infection, long recovery time, and follow-up surgery to have the plate removed. Read through the other collar bone pages here on my site and the comments from all the unlucky ones. There's some good advice and feedback.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 19, 2006 01:55 PM, Martin T wrote:

Hans

I broke my collar bone when I fell playing tennis. This happened eight weeks ago, one week after the accident the surgeon decided the best solution for me was to have a plate fitted with four screws and a small hook. This surgery was successfully carried out and four weeks after the surgery I was allowed to cease wearing my arm in a sling. Feeling well and pretty positive having had some physio and getting the use of my arm and shoulder back, I returned to the fracture clinic for a further Xray to be told that things were not going well and that there was no sign yet of any healing taking place and that I should limit the movement in and around the shoulder. This knocked me back somewhat. I now have to wait a further six weeks before returning for another Xray to see if healing of the break has started. One assumes if it hasn't I will have to have a bone graft from my hip to help with the healing process. What shopuld I be doing in the meantime to give my break every chance of healing, what foods / supplements should I be taking, calium orotate?. What are these bone stimulators, do they work? can I buy one in the UK and if so from where. They are giving me 20 minutes per week of electical treatment [not sure what it is called but will find out]in the hospital out patients department, is this enough time or should I ask for more?

Any advice you or others can offer would be appreciated

Permanent link to this comment. On August 20, 2006 03:24 AM, Hans wrote:

Martin T - The electrical treatment you are receiving is probably from a "bone stimulator". You are lucky you getting treatments with one since they are supposed to be helpful.

You did't mention your age, which is a major factor in healing bone breaks. The older you are the longer it takes is the general rule.

Overall it sounds like you are taking the right steps for healing. Adding a calcium supplement to your diet may help. There are different forms of calcium so do some research and also speak with your doctor. "Calcium orotate" is one of the better forms. It's organic and it has a higher rate of absorption into the body. Down the line a bit but still good is "calcium citrate". But it's also important to have several other minerals and vitamins to help the body absorb the calcium. That's one reason why calcium supplements contain more than just calcium. Again, follow up with your doc or a nutritionist.

I hope this helps.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 26, 2006 03:26 AM, MartinT wrote:

Hans

Thanks for your prompt reply. To answer your question I am 55 so I understand that I will have to be patient - not something that comes to me naturally. This week [week eight after my break] I went back to the hospital for more treatment, in fact two 15 minute sessions three days apart of Short Wave Dyathermy [SWD] - is this what you mean when you to refer to a Bone Stimulator? The physiotherapist says no one knows for sure if it works, clinically proven I mean - but she seemed to think it might help to get the healing process moving. I will continue with this twice weekly SWD treatment until I go back for my next X-ray to check on progress on Sept 18th. In addition to the Calcium Orotate / Magnesium Orotate powder I am taking twice a day, I am also drinking Comfrey Tea and rubbing Comfrey Oil onto my shoulder. Comfrey was used by people before the dawn of modern medicine to help bones heal, in fact it was known a 'Knit Bone'. The plant grows wild here in the UK and you go a pick it and boil it up and make tea, it doesn't taste brilliant but hopefully it will help along with the others things I am doing / taking. I think it is important that people suffering from slow healing collar bone breaks have something that they can do themselves to keep their minds positive. The physicians here seem only to be concerned about the break and the surgical procedures to repair it and don't offer any ideas of things you should do to help stimulate bone growth. There must be a number of clinical studies that have been conducted to investigate collar bone healing and the things that effect it. Can you point me to any papers etc that I might read?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 27, 2006 09:30 PM, Hans wrote:

MartinT - Yes, "Short Wave Diathermy" is a form of bone stimulator. From the descriptions of "bone stimulators" it appears that they are a type of diathermy therapy, or "deep heat" treatment. These devices generate electro-magnetic or ultrasonic waves which are directed into the injured area of the body. This will internally heat the body and generate blood flow. By using diathermy therapy for a broken collar bone there is a chance that the heating and increased blood flow to the injury will help to promote healing. If you search for the net for the term "bone stimulator" you should be able to find some helpful information.

Also, thanks for the Comfrey recommendation. Wikipedia has a nice entry for it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2006 09:41 AM, sam wrote:

Broken, yup. Mam vs. Asphalt. Asphalt won and decided to ruin my chopper as well. My story is fairly simply. Throttle became stuck wide open on the interstate. Next came speed wobbles and finally (approx. 2 seconds later) I decided to get off this bucking bronco. So far I have also found Scotch or Whiskey to be the best solution for pain. My pain is not so great unless I decide to move a little to fast or rotate to far. God luck to all.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 30, 2006 05:05 AM, Charlotte wrote:

Help! My husband broke his collar bone last week. We are due to start a 10 month backpacking trip round the world in 6 weeks time, starting with a tour through China. The doctors won't commit to timescales, and say that the bone may need plating. Can we still go in 6 weeks time or should we cancel? Is there anything we can do to speed up the healing process? - trying lots of rest and calcium. Thank you!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 1, 2006 06:50 AM, Chad wrote:

Anyone in here do the pin method surgery? If so how long after the break did you do it? Its been 7 months since my break for me and I've just now learned about it.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 1, 2006 05:24 PM, tom wrote:

i broke my collar bone a week ago and i went to the hospital had an xray!! they said i could go home an that i must stay in an dont do anythink an it will heel.then two days later they phoned me up an said i have to go for an op

OMG I HATE THE FU*KER'S LOL!!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 3, 2006 09:13 AM, Clover wrote:

Hey, y'all, another member of Team Triage signing in here.

I broke my left collarbone close to the AC joint two weeks ago Saturday. I was riding my road bike to work and a man opened his car door without looking and absolutely creamed me--my bike and I both went flying. (My bike is fine, other than a scuffed seat. I took a direct hit to the shoulder and got a few patches of road rash there and on my knee, but nothing too bad.)

Everything was pretty painful for a couple of days. I was signed up to run the Hood to Coast relay one week after my wreck and I had plane tickets and everything, so I ran the race in a sling (about 17 miles total, split between three legs). It actually went fairly well, better than I'd thought it would. Keeping the arm immobilized gave me a side stitch I don't normally get, but I managed to run a pretty decent race anyway. My team was pleased.

The swelling's down, the pain's pretty much diminished (although I know instantly if I exceed my range of motion limits--yow!), and the sling is I think getting in my way more than it's helping. I'm running about six miles a day and wanting to run longer. I want to ride my bike again, too. I went back to work after two days--I'm a barista--and did fine, aside from needing people to help me lift stuff and reach for things on shelves and that sort of thing.

So what I'm wondering is if I'm missing something. Am I doing myself harm by being so active so quickly? It feels fine. I have a small bump and a mostly-faded bruise, but that's supposed to be normal. The bone isn't displaced. Thoughts? Did any of you heal up a lot faster than you thought you would?

Thanks for this site--lots of good info here!

Clover

Permanent link to this comment. On September 8, 2006 11:00 AM, Thomas Kidder wrote:

I have been keeping up with posts since I shattered my right clavicle the 27th of July in a MTB wreck in NC. The info was helpful, but the fear of not healing and needing surgery was increased by many of the posts. Along with that fear, was lots of good insight about expectations at certain time points. The fact that at 4 wks there is little if any knitting going on in 36 yr olds. I am at 6wks plus 1 day, no sling and no pain. This worthless arm is an interesting thing to have hanging around. I have x rays at 8 wks and hopefully the MD's opinion will ring true and the bones will be healed. I've got a week long MTB trip in mid Oct. Thanks for the insights.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2006 02:21 PM, Glenn wrote:

Hans and Everyone.......I'm in week 6 of my collar bone break and everything is going fine. I've been on the trainer for the past 3 weeks and I feel good. Just wanted to say this is has been a great place for info during the early days. I enjoyed reading all of the stories and advice on this forum.

Keep it up.

Glenn

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

Charlotte - Your doctors are being fair by not commiting to timescales. It very difficult since each injury and how a person heals is unique. If your husband is lucky and the break fuses soon then there might be enough time for him to recover and handle the trip. But it's a gamble.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Clover - Sounds like things are going the right way for you. I would recommend listening to your body to judge your limits. If you do something that causes you pain then back off.

I had no expectations about healing time for my collar bone. When I was "healed" and back riding the bike at 4 weeks I thought that's how it goes. After reading all the comments that others have left about their experiences, I feel I was lucky to heal as quick as I did.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 13, 2006 08:48 AM, Scott wrote:

Thomas Kidder - Im 33 and I felt a definite knitting at 4 weeks (at least I think its knitting, my Xray is tomorrow).

Hopefully it will continue to knit some more though as Im now at 6 weeks and still have some discomfort (not pain). For eg if I let my shoulder drop right down it feels like its kind of stretching the point where the break is. Also I cant put too much weight on it. I was told 3 months for it to heal to a point where everyday activities where OK and 6 months until I could lift wights in the gym again.

Ive got my xray and a couple of pics at what it looked like at certain dates. If people want I will put them on flickr. Let me know.

Scott

Permanent link to this comment. On September 17, 2006 12:07 AM, Romeo Lim wrote:

Hello fellow breakers. I too broke my right clavicle when a stray dof darted in front of my motorcycle and I ran over the mutt, too late to brake or avoid it. Initially there was litle pain but by the time I got to the ER it was terrible. Xray confirmed a clean break, middle third, and so I given an arm sling to wear and some strong pain medication via IV drip(Tramadol). Didn't sleep a wink that night.

Next day my Ortho confirmed the ER diagnosis and put me in a clavicular brace (figure-of-8) and sent me home. The next 2 weeks were very difficult. Things that are normally taken for granted such as brushing ones teeth, combing and putting on a shirt became comically awkward. The pain of the broken bone was nothing compared with the irritation from the tight clav brace so after 4 weeks I took it off with permission from the Doctor. Xrays at 2, 4 and 6 weeks showed no healing but my I can feel the 2 broken pieces had adhered so the Doc gave the go-ahead.

Dont be dismayed when your Xrays show no signs of healing, fibrous tissues that bridge the gap between the bones don't show up well on xray. I'm now on my 8th week and have regained about 80% use of my right arm, only hurts when I raise it above 20 degrees above the horizontal. I was even able to compete in a IPSC match last weekend with no problems. Not too bad for a 49 year old.

So fellow breakers, don't be depressed when your xrays show the same thing as your initial shots. It will never be perfectly aligned again. As long as you have full range of motion and strenght then it is allright. Your chances of healing naturally are very good indeed, surgery should be your very last option.

Thanks a lot to Hans for hosting this website, it helped me a lot knowing how other people coped when they underwent the same experience.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 17, 2006 12:09 AM, Colin wrote:

They should provide the URL for this site in the ER take home pack together with the X-rays and painkillers.

I broke my collarbone yesterday evening. My own fault - riding home on my bike fresh from the shop with new wheels and the brakes tightened to finger-touch. Attempted to brake one-handed and went straight over the handlebars. I am embarassed to say I was putting my handphone back with the other hand.

Landed on the road, dazed and bloody and began assessing the damage. The bike was unridable but I knew quickly that I couldn't ride it anyway - my left shoulder was messed up.

My visit to ER was similar to many others except that I live in Japan and my Japanese is pretty basic, especially medical terminology, so a lot of what went on passed me by. They insisted on treating and X-raying my legs (8 times!) for simple roadrash. I guess blood looks spectacular and my mangled shoulder wasn't bleeding.

I was fitted with a Figure of 8 brace and issued 5 tabs each of Celebrex and Loxonin. The Celebrex tabs are 50mg. compared to a typical 200mg in the US. All medications are very low-strength here. But I surprised myself by getting a reasonable night's sleep propped up on pillows. Have spent today researching and this site has been extremely helpful. I am an active 52, the bone is broken in 2 places and was initially in a Z formation, so I know not to expect miracles. I also learned that I should not rush to surgery and to be aware of a frozen shoulder.

I have a planned marathon in late November but have already given up on that (I certainly hope to be running again before then, but I was aiming for another sub-3, and would rather postpone to the spring than waddle though it.)

I plan to keep wearing the brace, taking painkillers before bed at night, and visit an English-speaking doctor on Tuesday (I chose the beginning of a long weekend to do this.) If I have any problem with the Figure of 8 brace I will try the ShouldersBack device.

Thanks for all the shared experiences and advice. If I have any special insights I will post back here later.

Colin, Tokyo

Permanent link to this comment. On September 18, 2006 01:14 PM, Jeff Huber wrote:

Laura Erker's dialog of her left broken Clavicle is simular to mine. I broke mine in a bike ride having bumped the riders back tire ahead of me sending me reeling to the pavement on my left shoulder and hip. I'm in week 6 now and the Xray at week 4 started to show calcification,healing and fusing. The shoulder is healing well and as a rider is the least of my worries right now. My left hip has taken a few hits over the years and this one was the worst. No fractures, but lots of initial swelling and was purple from the hip to the knee. Walking was a problem for days. Felt like a real bad pulled groin at first and as time progressed the swelling in the hip went down, but still have some now at week 6. Riding and walking cause discomfort in the left knee. Was a runner for 30 years and at age 43 moved over to the road bike. Now at 46 this fall is a real issue for me, not the shoulder but the effect it has had on the left knee. The right knee had a torn menicus scoped when I was 40, ran 3 more years and had a minor tear in the left this past spring. Rode OK all summer as the tear calmed down, but this fall changed my walk enough I beleive to mess up this knee again. So bones heal, but the knee and hip seems to be more of a concern longer term to me now. Anyone out there with a simular story?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 20, 2006 11:52 AM, Martin T wrote:

Just an update for those worried about whether they are going to heal. Have a look at my previous posts 19th August and 26th August so you understand the scenario. Well, I went back on Sept 18th for a further X-ray and to my great relief bone is now growing and begining to fill what looks like a pretty huge gap where my break was. In fact I had two breaks and both are filling in nicely. After 6 weeks after my fall there was no progress at all, so I started taking Calcium Orotate and having Low Wave Diathermy [LWD] for 15 minutes twice a week. On top of this I applied Comfrey Oil each night to my shoulder. The Doctor at the Fracture Clinic was very pleased when he saw my last Xray [they had been talking about the possibility of taking a bone graft from my hip - not good news] and he plans now to remove the steel plate in about 6 months time - he won't do it any sooner as he wants to give ut as much time to get nice and solid. I asked him if the things I was doing had brought about the change from no growth after 6 weeks to good growth after 12 weeks post injury. He said he didn't know and that no clinical trials have been done. He said that the fact that I was a non smoker was probably more relevant. My view is that as you mope around suffering at not being able to do anything active, it is important phsycologically that you are doing something to get things moving; therefore taking Calcium, apply Comfrey and going for LWD is definately worth trying.

My shoulder still hurts when I try to move it to the extremes and I am back with the physio next week - we had laid off too much exercise to allow the healing to get going - so I hope to start getting good all round movement back some time before Christmas.

Hope my experience helps you.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 23, 2006 05:25 PM, Kate's mom wrote:

My daughter Kate (age 15) broken her collarbone 10 days ago playing soccer. She was tripped and landed on her shoulder and the clavicle gave way. She never swelled or bruised much in the next few days after the injury--told it was due to her on the field care from EMTs. She was given a sling which she prefers over the figure 8 wrap.

Some tell me that due to her fitness and age she can return to play in 4-6 weeks. She is very fit, has been taking 1200mg calsium tabs and working the stationary bike (things Laura mentioned) since day 3.

I have 2 questions:
--Does this timeframe sound reasonable? The orthepedist says that since her clavicle held it's shape (is end to end) with the arc in tact that she will be on the shorter end of healing.
--I understand that there is a compression wrap that she can wear when she plays that may give some comfort. Does anyone have a recommendation of brand?

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks for the site Hans--we googled and came up with your info.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 23, 2006 06:02 PM, Patty wrote:

Hi Kate's mom & everyone
My daughter broke her clavicle 10 days ago also. She is 8 years old and was also playing soccer. She was tripped and landed on her shoulder. She has a clean break and the orthopedic said 4 weeks and it should be healed because she is so young. The fall season is done for her and she will try to play indoor this winter.
I am also wondering if the time frame sound reasonable also.
Any thoughts are appreciated.
I also have my daughter on calcium tabs. hopefully that will help also. Patty

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

Kate's mom - Being young and healthy is a big bonus towards healing quick. If all goes well then that time frame sounds like a fair estimate. Just be sure to check with her doctor before giving her a go ahead.

As for a compression wrap, I'm not familiar with that. I used a combination of the figure-8 and a sling. It took some adjusting to get the figure-8 comfortable. It's not necessary to adjust it too tight. If it's binding, pinching, or painful then that's too much. The figure-8 helps to keep the shoulders aligned and reduce movement. The less movement the better for healing.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Patty - Wow, it sounds like soccer is taking out a bunch of players. Sorry to hear that. As I mentioned to Kate's mom above, being young is one of the best factors for healing. A four week recovery sound fair. Just follow up with her doctor before sending her out again to play.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 26, 2006 11:06 AM, Dave D wrote:

I broke my left clavicle 5 weeks ago (middle third, displaced). After riding 2600 miles by mid August, I hit a car that pulled out in front of me, 1000 feet from my driveway. I've been in a figure-of-8 brace since, which has let me function, but I'm still uncomfortable when not wearing it.

Without the brace, I have a lot of crepitus, am unable to reach my right armpit, and can't put a T-shirt on. An X-ray at 4 weeks looked just like the one at 2 weeks. My next appointment is at 7 weeks, and I'm still hoping for the best. I'm taking calcium citrate with vitamin D, and have been riding stationary bikes at the gym. I purchased a second brace to facilitate laundering.

Everyone's comments here have given me a better idea of what to expect with my injury. My advice for anyone is if you're going to break a bone, don't wait until you're 56.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 28, 2006 06:28 AM, Angela wrote:

Wow, Im so glad that I found this site !!! I was in a car accident this past Sunday (the 24th) that left me and my family very shaken. We were hit by a car going around 70 mph on the driver side rear. My husband and son (2 1/2 yrs ) are ok, however I suffered from a sprained wrist, sprained ligiment (sp?) in my right shoulder and a refractured clavicle (middle third). Went to the ER later that day and they told me that I cracked (refractured) a previous break that I didnt know I had. I dont recall ever breaking my clavicle, and the way its broken I think I would have remembered. They said that the bone had healed and the car accident had aggitated it and refractured it. Waiting to hear back from the lawyer about the lawsuit for pain / injury. Thankfully it wasnt completely refractured, however Im in severe pain, either from the fracture or the ligament. I wish you all luck in your journey's, I know this first week has been hard.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 30, 2006 11:32 AM, james kern wrote:

just an update on my clavicle fracture: had surgery on may 27/06 and after four months i am at about 90%. got back on the dirt bike last weekend for the first time since the break and felt really good although a little tentative at first. for me sugery was the only option and being canadian it did not cost me my daughter's university education. Clavicle breaks are brutl to experience and definitely something to avoid. but the body is an amazing thing,.........heal well.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 1, 2006 07:30 PM, Kate's mom wrote:

Hans & Patty
Thanks for your reponses to my post on 9/23 about my daughter Kate (age 15, break on 9/13). Youth is a wonderful thing. Kate is without the sling now. Went for a jog at soccer practice yesterday and is excellerating her footwork training. She goes for a 2nd X-ray this Thursday (3+ wks after injury).

The compression wrap that I asked for advice about earlier is still a question. I understand that it is a sleeve that covers the injured collarbone and shoulder to retain heat and possibly is a psychological help that the injury is OK. I am getting one of these as she will return to play in about 2 weeks and I see the benefit for her. I was just looking for a brand recommendation. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 2, 2006 03:03 PM, Patty wrote:

Hi Kate's mom,
My daughter is without the brace and sling too. She will be going back to practice this week and goes for an xray next Thursday (4wks) the orthopedic didn't want to see my daughter any sooner?? I would like to get some more info about the compression wrap, I am sure that it will make our daughters feel better about playing and that it is healed. Did the dr recommend the wrap, where can I get more info??

Permanent link to this comment. On October 5, 2006 03:01 AM, Laz wrote:

Dear Friends in Fracture,

I broke my collarbone about 2.5 weeks ago in a horseriding accident. My horse tripped and fell over after a jump and I flew out of the saddle hitting the ground with my left shoulder first. The ground proved harder than me clavicle.

Now one thing I must consider myself lucky in is that I have experienced very little pain. After the fall my wife drove me to casualty where they X-rayed the area, then basically gave me a sling and some painkillers. As I felt no particular pain, I didn't take the painkillers. After a day or two I noticed that the sling the hospital gave me was made of some crappy elastic material that started to stretch, so my wife made one out of an old sheet. This turned out to be miles better.

After about a week I noticed that wearing the sling made my arm feel more uncomfortable than not wearing it, so I gradually stopped using it. In fact there was a very noticeable gradual improvement in my mobility every day, so I started feeling very optimistic about the entire incident. I started using my left arm more and more. Again, there was no pain, only some minor discomfort and stiffness. Unfortunately, now after about 2.5 weeks I am getting stiffer again although still there is no pain. It feels like something is "setting" inside the broken area which worries me a bit. Does anybody know what might be going on? I'm getting a bit down as I was doing so well...

Thanks,
Laz

Permanent link to this comment. On October 14, 2006 05:35 PM, Kate's mom wrote:

Hans & Patty
Just a follow-up, Kate is back on the soccer field finally released to compete. For those who talk about the timeline this is 34 days since her injury. We have reviewed many compression wraps and for her, they have been too bulky. So she will have a trainer applied prewrap support as she enters the field on Tuesday mostly for her psychological well being. She will continue the calcium tabs.

Thanks for the support and information on this site. It was helpful over these past weeks. Heal well all.
Kate's mom

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2006 01:06 PM, Steve's Mom wrote:

Steve is 7 years old and was playing football with his 12 year old brother, when he tripped and fell and landed on his left shoulder last night. Clear break...through. He is in a figure 8 and a sling and luckily is doing okay --as long as he stays in bed. He is off from school this week on fall break, which helps things. How long were the younger children kept out of school, and when they returned did they have any problems with kids or anything? This reminds me of when I broke my collarbone when I was 17 years old. I was on my way to track practice and I was ridiing my bike, a lady opened her car door up on me and the inside of my leg caught the door and flung me into the air which seemed like an eternity. I landed on the ground. She wanted to move me from the street, but I wouldnt allow her to until EMS arrived. I was in terrible pain for the 1st two weeks and had to have help dressing and undressing. I started lifting leg weights again at the end of my third week and riding stationary bikes. By the end of the 4th week I was doing a little bit of running. I competed in my sixth week, but under my doctors advice kept the figure 8 on until the 8th week. I havent had any problems over the years, because I believe it healed properly. Good luck to all those recovering, I feel your pain.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 17, 2006 12:04 AM, Bonnie wrote:

hello to All.
My name is Bonnie and on Sept. 1st of this year I was shot sniper style with a 9mm gun. The bullet entered the top of my right shoulder, hit my clavicle(and shattered it),and then exited out of my throat. So far some nerve damage on the right side of my chest and the shattered clavicle are the extent of my injuries. I was riding in the passenger side of our family van with the windows down. Talk about being caught off gaurd.
So i am home from work. they are only liable to hold my job for 90 days..ha ha..i won't be going back there. I worked at a Veterinary hospital which is physically demanding of my dominant arm. I am at the waiting stage with the docs. I go back to have x-rays done this week. The pain is intense-ibprofrin during the day-everything else makes ya tired. I've never been so excited to go to the doc's office. I have 3 kids,so staying still..well, that's the punch line in all of this! My youngest is a 2yr old BOY! oh how life can be funny sometimes.:)
As soon as i read one womans comment about being careful not to roll over on the affected side I knew I had found the right place. I wonder how/if all of you delt with the depression from the physical limitaions? I have so hit stir crazy in the house. I go outside and the nieghbors are bugging me with their kind words and much needed prayer- but who wants to deal?
But a big plus in all of this is while being here i have sucessfully potty trained my 2 yr old! No more diapers EVER!
Thank God for small miracles!! haha.
I think this is a great site you got here Hans.
Nice to know I'am not alone.
~~~Bonnie

Permanent link to this comment. On October 18, 2006 07:40 AM, Carl DeFranco wrote:

Wow! Except for Bonnie, I feel like I'm in a huge crowd. I took a fall off my raod bike a bit over a month ago and broke my right clavicle, with what the orthopedist called a "comminuted fracture" - mkeans about 2-4 pieces. At age 60, I expect a longer healing time, and at least it was at the end of the outdoor season. I've been going through the same dressing, driving, working problems so many of you noted.

On the initial bad day, I discovered that in a biker vs. traffic, you always lose. I was forced over a curb. In keeping with Newton's Laws of Motion, when my bike stopped at the curbing, I didn't. It was obvious, very quickly, that I was not okay, and I used my cell phone to call for help. A very nice lady stayed with me until the paramedics arrived. The emergency room staff was professional, and I probably had more X-rays of my neck than shoulder area, but my helmet protected that area well. I was fitted in a figure 8 brace and arm sling, and I managed to survive the first week on large doses of ibuprofen, the alternative being hydrocodone, which I despise. I've been dosing on calcium/Vitamin D supplements as well. I've also learned to sleep sitting up.

I probably should have made up a small sign to hang on the sling, since everyone kept asking. The more sympathetic people suggested I needed a more adventurous story - maybe a bar fight or cattle stampede.

After four weeks, I still have a large black and blue area on the right pectoral, and although the pain has subsided, the area still reminds me to be careful when I overdo it. I will probably not be able to participate with my sailing crew next month at the regatta in Georgia :o(

I see the orthopedist again in 2 weeks. Hopefully, I can start working the area to loossen things up.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 19, 2006 04:58 AM, Vicky wrote:

Hi there, My fella broke his right collar bone two weeks ago in a motorbike accident - damn them diesel spills! - anyway I was hoping someone could give me advice on him exercising his arm. He's been in a sling for two weeks and still feeling quite a bit of pain but he's getting bad pains in his elbow and wrist, I thought this may be due to lack of use and contracting muscles. The doctors haven't said anything just come back in 6 weeks for another xray.
Anyone?
Thanks and I hope you all feel better soon - believe me it's just as frustraing for teh uninjured party ;-)

Permanent link to this comment. On October 19, 2006 05:10 AM, patty wrote:

Hi Hans & Kate's mom,
We went to the orthopedic on Oct 12th and my daughter is 80% healed and he wants her to wait another 4 wks. So will be training indoor next month if he releases her from care. She is now on her 5th week and is doing everything but playing soccer and gym class. It was not a clean break and it will take about 8 wks total.
Thank you for all your support and good luck to all of you.
Patty

Permanent link to this comment. On October 24, 2006 12:37 AM, Hans wrote:

Vicky - The pains in his elbow and wrist may be from lack of use. I experienced the same thing when I left my arm in the sling for too long. My doctor had told me to take my arm out of the sling several times a day and bend the elbow and wrist. Also, to very easily move my arm to work the shoulder socket. But he indicated I should not move it so much that I begin to move the shoulder and collar bone.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 25, 2006 01:17 AM, Vicky wrote:

Thanks very much Hans,
That's what we thought. I'll pass this on

Thanks again
Vicky

Permanent link to this comment. On October 25, 2006 04:31 PM, Rob D wrote:

I initially broke my right collar bone 2 weeks ago. It wasn't completly broken, but just cracked, looking like the peak of a triangle. Things were going well, it hardly hurt anymore, and this was only after 1 week. That was until I slipped on some slippery steps, and landed right on my slinged arm.

I had some BAD pain after this, and after going back to the hospital, it was now broken straight through. It has been another week, and for the most part the pain is gone, as long as I don't move my slinged arm.

I have some heavy clicking and poping going on if I move my arm above parallel to my side. Is it too early to be worrying if the bone is fusing? The clicking/poping are indicating the ends of the bone moving around right?

Thanks for any advice. Rob D

Permanent link to this comment. On October 28, 2006 08:31 PM, Lana wrote:

On October first, my 6 month old daughter rolled off of the bed and fractured her right clavicle...although it broke my heart, she took it quite well...the first x-ray in the ER looked like just a slight fracture, however, 4 weeks later with the follow up x-ray, the bones are actually separted and one is over the other...the x-ray report said that the findings were a healing clavicular fracture with overiding and shortening..the doctor hasn't compared the x-rays, but I have medical experience and saw the results with my own eyes...does anyone know if this is something that will heal itself? Will the bones eventually fuse together or will surgery be a must when she is at an older age...please help with any knowledge..thanks
-Lana

Permanent link to this comment. On October 29, 2006 02:10 AM, Bonnie wrote:

Hello to all and i hope all is well. Just a small update. I went back to the doc's for my 8 week appt. and suprise, suprise, he wants to wait 6 more weeks. There has been some fragment fusion but nothing to really write home about.Doc says if i wait 6-12 more weeks i'll get a smaller plate. I am down with the smaller plate but the waiting game is the pitts! After a while I become immune to the pain, even forget about it(as hard as that is)and do beyond my limit-but boy do i remember real quick! ha ha. Doc gave me a ref. for phys. therapy which i hear that some exercise may help regrowth come a little quicker-let's keep our fingers crossed. Then to top it all off the trial was cancelled until an undetermined time due to my shooter wants a phsyc. evaluation. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
well still on the flip side-my 2 yr old is still going on the potty!
~life:bitter/sweet~
it really is.
I wish you all lots of laughs,regrowth,and full range mobility!
~~~Bonnie;)

Permanent link to this comment. On October 30, 2006 07:45 AM, Hans wrote:

Rob D - The first two weeks after breaking the bone is the most important to let it heal and try to fuse. You should try not to do any motions that will move your collarbone. For example, raising your arm parallel at this point is a bit too soon.

The popping and clicking isn't necessarily from the ends of your break. It can be caused from various thing such as muscle and ligaments moving around.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Lana - From all that I have read and heard, broken bones in children heal very quick. Babies will often break a collar bone during delivery. It just heals up quick on its own. I don't know if your daughter will need surgery at a later time. I would think not. But you might want to consult with an orthopedic doctor. Also, ask the doctor about the overlap and any complications that might occur in the future if the bones heal together that way.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 31, 2006 05:14 PM, Judy wrote:

after reading all the posts, I thought you folks would appreciate hearing my "if you think you've got it bad" story. My 19 year old son -- who is profoundly deaf, relies on sign language, and also has cerebral palsy -- broke his collarbone 10 days ago playing rec soccer. The pride he felt in sustaining a SPORTS INJURY quickly wore off once he realized that his life is more limited than it already was! The break is on his left side, and his right arm is his least cooperative limb, very difficult to isolate his right arm movements without "reaching" over to the left, due to the CP. And signing, of course, has to be limited to mostly his right hand. Eating has been difficult since he eats mostly with his left hand.

The Xray showed his broken bone pieces sitting on top of each other, the ortho doc said it'll heal like that, but I'm amazed that my son has not experienced the pain I've heard and read that others have. He's on ibuprofen all day long, which works well, and I add benedryl for night, and he's sleeping well. I just added calcium after reading your posts!

The figure 8 brace we got at the ER is very sore under his armpits, I'm searching for a better brace that won't snake around his armpits, and I've seen some other options, not sure I want to spend the money for Shouldersback, but I wonder if it would also help his quirky posture due to the CP.

We're due back for another Xray in 5 days, we'll see if there's been any healing, I won't be shocked if we have a long way to go since his movements have not been as restricted as perhaps should be.

One day at a time, right?
Judy

Permanent link to this comment. On November 2, 2006 12:58 AM, Hans wrote:

Judy - I solved the sore armpits by playing around with the adjustment for the figure-8 and by adding some thicker foam for more padding. Initially I was tightening the figure-8 too much. By loosening it a little and playing with the alignment of the straps I was able to make it feel a lot better.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 6, 2006 02:27 PM, Kellie wrote:

What a wonderful site to come across and ease some worries. My 13 year son was hit by a puck during hockey try-outs three weeks ago on a Saturday directly on his left collar bone. A trip to the emergency room determined it was a bone contusion, but they put him in a sling for three - five days. He went back to the doctor after four days (Wednesday), they cleared him and he practiced twice complaining of pain so we took him back to the doctor the following Tuesday. The doctor x-rayed him again and proclaimed that the bone had fractured and put him back into the sling for a week. The next day, he was at school, reached for something and heard a snap. He knew he had broken it and when I looked, I knew it was broken. When my husband arrived home, looked at it and pronounced it "officially" broken, I'm not sure who was more devestated, my son who would be out of his beloved sport or Mom who had never dealt with a broken bone before. The sight of my pale 13 year old hunched over and shuffling like a 90 year old man after a stroke was horrible! He has been in a figure 8 and sling for almost two weeks and is looking much more like his old self. Last week he went back to the doctor for his first week check up and the doctor said to keep it completely immobile for another two weeks as it was not healing as quickly as he would like and would refer him to a Ortho if the next set of x-rays show continued slow progress. After a mild panic at the thought of surgery, I found this site and am happy to say that it seems his recovery is moving at a reasonable rate and he should be able to return to his team by Christmas not to play, but at least skate(fingers crossed anyway). He does have a horrible bump on his left clavicle area, but from what I can determine from this site, that seems to be a good sign as well. Thanks for all your stories, they have helped my sanity tremendously.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 10, 2006 08:00 AM, Andre wrote:

Hello. I broke my clavicle (midshaft) back in June doing martial arts (took a bad fall, luckily I didn't land on my head!). Went to the ER and they gave me a figure 8 brace, told me to see an Orthopeadic doc in 2 weeks, and reassured me that clavicles heal fine on thier own. First week was misery but the second week I felt much better. The Orthopod said I could ditch the figure 8 and only use the sling if my shoulder hurt. She said what the ER doc said, "if they are in the same room, the ends of the clavicle will meet".

It's now November and it hasn't healed yet! Fortunately I've got most of my flexibility back and a fair amount of my strength. I'm unable to train because exerting any force hurts. So I've schedule to have a plate installed to fix my non-union.

I've really gotten a lot from this site. I really want to thank Hans and everyone who has shared thier experiences here. I'm wondering if anyone who has had a clean break and gotten a plate can give me a rough timeline of what to expect when. Also if anyone had a plate done months after the injury, was the recover worse/better/same as the first time around?

Permanent link to this comment. On November 11, 2006 07:38 AM, Patty wrote:

Hi Hans,
Just wanted to let you know my daughter is back to playing with no restrictions. It took 8 weeks total. Thank you for all your help and support. This is a great website and I am glad I found it. Good luck to all of you!
Patty

Permanent link to this comment. On November 11, 2006 10:32 PM, Melody De Leon wrote:

I just brought my 9 year old son home from the ER with a broken clavical. Got the sling, the Tylenol/Codeine, and Motrin goodies and then wondered, "How will he sleep?" which is why I got on the inet. Found this site and laughed hysterically at Laura's story (sorry, Laura) and many others... still don't know how I'm going to make him comfortable tonight but at least I know what to expect for the next few days and weeks. Great stories! Thanks so much. I'm off to have the recommended shot of whisky and then I'll tend to my son.... Oh, did I mis-read that recommendation?

Melody De Leon
Lakeport CA

Permanent link to this comment. On November 14, 2006 12:42 PM, Austin wrote:

hey thanks, im on day 4, i broke mine snowboarding and its a really clean brake but 1 doctor said i wouldnt snowboard for 3 months i had a feeling that wasn't right!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 14, 2006 11:18 PM, Barb wrote:

I'm a 55 year old female who has broken my right clavicle on August 6 - over three months ago. The break is slightly over-lapping with about a half inch gap between the parallel pieces of bone. Xrays show little healing has taken place. I've been in the figure-8 brace 24/7 and my doctor still insists that fusing can happen and that surgery is risky enough to avoid at all costs. He said that after 3 MORE months in the brace, he'll reassess. 'Just want to let readers know that this can happen. (Patience will pay off if surgery can be avoided.) Among the many things I've learned from this: I'm glad I'm not a smoker, as they can take up to 85% longer to heal (!). Also, if the velcro on the brace wears off, the tiny black butterfly clips that can be purchased in office supply stores do a great job of securing it! And most importantly, if you're riding on the back of a tandem bike and your husband is riding in front and he says, "I'm going to try riding with no hands", just scream "NO!" - - or you may immediately crash on your shoulder and be incapacitated for months! Good luck to all!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 15, 2006 08:33 AM, Hans wrote:

Barb - Thanks for the last comment about the tandem. It gave me a good laugh this morning. I'll also use it as words of advice and not try that stunt myself :')

Permanent link to this comment. On November 17, 2006 04:43 PM, Janetta Pedeliski wrote:

HI LAURA:) MY STORY BEGAN ON JULY 27 TH, 2005. I WAS IN A 40 MILE AN HOUR CAR WRECK AND WAS THE PASSENGER. THE DRIVER REAR ENDED A PARKED PICK-UP TRUCK (AND THANK GOD I HAD MY SEAT BELT ON)I BROKE MY CLAVICLE BONE AND THE HOSPITAL SENT ME HOME WITH A SLING AND TOLD ME TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN ORTHO DR. HAVING NO INSURANCE MADE THIS DIFFICULT BUT WITH THE HELP FROM MY PARENTS I WENT. HE DECIDED TO "LET IT TRY AND HEAL 0N IT'S OWN"BECAUSE I HAD NO INSURANCE! WELL ON SEPT. 29 TH 2005 DR. ROSE DID SURGERY ANS PUT A PLATE AND 6 SCREWS IN MY SHOULDER. I WAS UNABLE TO WORK BECAUSE OF THE TYPE OF WORK I DID (I WAS A TEACHER FOR KIDS WITH SEVERE BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS AND WE WERE REQUIRED TO RESTRAIN THEM) SO ON OCT. 22ND 2005 I WOKE UP AND TRIED TO GET OUT OF BED PUSHING MYSELF UP WITH MY GOOD ARM AND "POP" THE WOSRT PAIN I HAVE EVER FELT IN MY LIFE. MY BOYFRIEND RUSHED ME TO THE ER AND ONE OF MY SCREWS HAD CAME OUT ER SENT ME HOME AND SAID TO CONTACT DR. ROSE ON MONDAY WELL HELL I WAS IN SEVERE PAIN AND THIS WAS SATURDAY MORNING! WELL I TOUGHED IT OUT AND CALLED HIM ON MONDAY "SORRY NO APPOINTMENTS UNTIL WEDNESDAY" WELL THANK YOU FOR BEING CONCERNED! I WENT AND HE SAID IT WOULD NOT HURT TO KEEP THE SCREW IN THERE HOW IT WAS!!!!!! HMMM A SCREW FLOATING AROUND IN MY SHOULDER AND A KNOT THE SIZE OF A GOLF BALL ON MY SHOULDER AND THAT'S OK? BUT HIM BEING THE PROFESSIONAL I LISTENED TO HIM I CONTINUED TO HAVE SEVERE PAIN AND AFTER SEEING HIM 3 OR 4 MORE TIMES HE DECIDED TO REMOVE THE SCREW IN HIS OFFICE!! HMMM I ABOUT PASSED OUT THAT WAS NOT FUN!! HE CONTINUED TO SEE ME FOR THE NEXT 4 AND A HALF MONTHS AND WOULD NOT ALLOW ME TO WORK! ON APRIL 25TH 2006 HE DECIDED THAT MY SHOULDER WAS FINALLY GROWING BACK TOGETHER AND I COULD GO BACK TO WORK WHEW! HE ALSO SUGGESTED THAT I GO TO PHYSICAL THEARPY THANK GOD I DID! 9 MONTHS OF PAIN AND NOT A WHOLE LOT OF SLEEP CAN CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY:) SO I WENT BACK TO WORK PART TIME FOR 3 MONTHS AND MY PT DECIDED TO TAKE AN X RAY BECAUSE MY PAIN WAS STILL THE SAME SHE CAME AND TOLD ME I COULD NOT WORK AND I NEEDED A 2ND OPINION BECAUSE MY CLAVICLE WAS STILL BROKEN! OH MY! BACK TO SQUARE ONE! WELLL I GOT A 2ND OPINION AND OH FORGOT TO MENTION THAT I ALSO HAVE THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME(TOS) THE 2ND DR. SAID I NEEDED SURGERY AGAIN AND HE REQUESTED I SEE A DOCTOR AT A UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BECAUSE I WOULD NEED AN ORTHO DOCTOR AND A VASCULAR DOCTOR AND A NEURO SURGEON BECAUSE THE TOS AND ALL THE ARTERIES AND VESSELS AND VEINS WERE TOO CLOSE TO THE SIGHT OF THE FRACTURE AND THE SURGERY WAS VERY DANGEROUS!!?!!! SO IN AUGUST I BEGAN GOING TO KU MED CENTER. THEY DID A CT SCAN AND AN EMG WHICH WAS NOT FUN! THE RESULTS DETERMINED THAT I HAVE 2 KINDS OF TOS AND 2 NON-UNIONS OF MY CLAVICLE AND ANOTHER SCREW IS ABOUT TO COME OUT (HMMMM? SOMEONE MESSED UP MY SHOULDER!) AND I NEED SURGERY TO FIX IT, BUT BEFORE THEY CAN DO THAT I NEED TO GO SEE A VASCULAR DOCTOR TO SEE IF THE BONE IS ACTUALLY LAYING OM NY CLAVICLE AND CAUSING MY ARM TO GO NUMB!OKAY IT'S BEEN ALMOST 16 MONTHS SINCE MY ACCIDENT AND I AM STILL AT SQUARE ONE!!!!! I AM TIRED OF THE PAIN AND THE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND THE HEAVY FEELING IN MY ARM AND THE NUMBNESS NOT TO MENTION I AM ABOUT TO BE HOMELESS BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT ALLOW ME TO WORK AND I CAN'T SEEM TO FIND ANY RESOURCES TO HELP ME OUT! I AM 39 YEARS OLD AND HAVE WORKED ALL MY LIFE TO HELP OTHERS AND SEEMS LIKE WHEN I AM DOWN THERE IS NO RESOURCES TO HELP!!!! THAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND! SO IF YOU HAVE ANT SUGGESTIONS PLEASE LET ME KNOW:) MY E MAIL IS JANETTALYNN1@YAHOO.COM THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IS TOOK ME QUITE A LONG TIME TO WRITE IT:) JANETTA IN KC MO.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 22, 2006 06:27 PM, Steve wrote:

Glad I stumbled onto this site! I have learned a lot from others who have gone through this before me, so I hope my experience can help someone too. I broke my collarbone mountain biking (actually it was the falling that broke it, not the biking) about 6 weeks ago. I broke it at a bike race that fortunately was staffed by a volunteer doctor. He turned out to be a God-send. He arranged someone to take me to the emergency room that day, provided referrals for respected local orthopedic docs, and was simply a decent/knowledgeable guy to talk to about the injury.

The day of the injury, the emergency room doc recommended a simple sling as treatment. The next day I showed the x-rays from the emergency room visit to an orthopedic specialist, who told me the same thing. I had already made an appointment the following day with a specialist the race-doc gave me, so I went ahead and saw him, expecting the same thing. Glad I did. He took another x-ray at 25 degree angle upward, instead of the straight-on shot, which showed a vastly different situation. The fracture was comminuted and displaced about 1 inch- a drastic “Z”- but on a horizontal plane rather than a vertical plane, which is why it wasn’t as visible in the first x-ray.

This doc gave me the choice of sling treatment (but said the chance of nonunion was great) or surgery. Cringing at the idea of surgery, I opted for the sling and a return visit in a week. However, I got a copy of the x-ray that day and looked at it all that night. I am not a doctor, but I am an engineer. I could only imagine the stresses this 1” displacement would place on the shoulder, neck, back, etc; that is IF it ever did heal. I plan on resuming volleyball, biking, and weight lifting again and could not see this happening with what I would think are huge weak points in that bone. At 35 year old, I also could not see dealing with this limitation for the rest of my life. I called the doc back and scheduled surgery for two days from then. He joined the free piece of bone to one side with a long screw, and then joined the two halves with a 5 inch plate and 8 screws.

Like I mentioned initially, it has now been 6 weeks and things are progressing well. I am in physical therapy with 99% range of motion and getting my arm strength back. The plate is fairly prominent, but no more than the typical “bump” from a conventional fracture heal. With continued hard work and lots of prayers, I should make a full recovery. I am hopeful that the follow-up x-ray at the 10-week mark shows some good bone heal- will keep you posted.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 30, 2006 03:38 AM, Lucy wrote:

Cool site, a good place for advice and empathy! After a nasty run in with an evil cow (bovine not human) two weeks ago I am now in recovery with a broken collar bone. Does anyone know how long it takes to get back a-running and b-shooting (shotguns)?
Any tips on getting strength back too? Thanks

Permanent link to this comment. On November 30, 2006 11:12 PM, Hans wrote:

Lucy - You are holding back on us about your bovine run in. There's got to be a good story there.

Can't answer how long it will take you for A or B. Recovery time depends on many factors. Some recover in 4 weeks and others over a year. There was another shotgun commenter on the "Broken Clavicle No More" page of my site (link at top of this page). Search for the word "shotgun" to find the comments.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 1, 2006 02:02 AM, Bonnie wrote:

Hi everyone!
went back to the doc's AGAIN! We are now at 3 months to the day since my run in with a 9mm gun( and the jerk who pulled the trigger). Suprise Suprise Doc says i am healing pretty well-he is impressed. in fact, he says I may not need surgery! No plate!
Instead, he is puting me on a machine. A bone stimulator. It is as small as a cassette tape player and has 2 wires coming from it. At the end of the wire there are 2 circular pads that send some kind of ultrasound-like waves to the bone. it is to help with re-growth. I already have what seems to be a new bone growing underneath,yet attached to another piece of a bone.
I have to tell you as i have before i have 3 kids.
Laundry still gets done, along with the dishes,meals,and general care and attention. I still do everything i did before except work( doc refused to release me) and walk the Great Dane.
and it seems i am healing very well. it shocks me.
Hope everyone's holidays were good and plentiful!

to Janetta,
You should have 2 options for finacial help.
Either;
Crime Victims Compensation(ask the hospital about it-every state has one)
OR
If the driver of the vehicle had car insurance at the time, then he should of had an auto insurance PIP.
Personal
Injury
Protection
You do not have to be on the policy- just with in a certain amount of feet of/in the car!
They will pay for up to 70% of lost wages and i know every PIP is different but mine paid $15,000. towards hospital bills.
It may help-i hope it does! You may have to jump through some hoops( document wise) but very worth it in the end to recover something/anything. Good luck!

I second Lucy telling the Bovine story-
let's hear it....

Permanent link to this comment. On December 2, 2006 02:13 AM, Janetta Pedeliski wrote:

HI ALL JUST AN UPDATE ON MY PREVIOUS STORY: THANK YOU BONNIE FOR THE FINANCIAL ADVICE I WILL CHECK IN TO IT:) I FINALLY SEEN THE VASCULAR DOCTOR AGAIN AND THEY SAID THEY WANT TO REMOVE MY CLAVICLE BONE!?! HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD OF THAT? IT KIND OF SCARES ME BUT THE DOC SAID THEY OFTEN DO IT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE KIND OF INJURY I HAVE TO MY CLAVICLE THEY SAY IT IS DESTROYED AND AFTER THEY REMOVE IT THE THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME SHOULD GO AWAY?! I WOULD LIKE SOMEONE'S OPINION ON THIS. SO WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK? SHOULD I DO IT OR JUST SUFFER WITH THE THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME AND AVIOD ANOTHER SURGERY? KINDA SCARES ME BUT I HAVE ABOUT 3 WEEKS TO MAKE MY DECISION SO ANY COMMENTS OR OPINIONS WOULD BE APPREICIATED THANK YOU JANETTA

Permanent link to this comment. On December 2, 2006 11:20 PM, Barbara Mendez wrote:

Hi,thank you all for all the infro.I was in an car accident May 24,2006 and my left collar bone was broken.I had some nerve damaged also.Ive been to so many doctors and it's been six months now snice my accident and I have more pain now then ever before.Ive taken almost everything I can get my hands on to help with the pain and nothing seems to help.well, now they are telling me Ive got to have surgery and to have a plate.I cant ever begin to think what my life is going to be like after the surgery,I can hardly stand to dress and wash my hair or just the basic things now.I dont wish this on anybody,the only way I deal with this is by thinking it could have been alot worse.Well, good luck to everyone,It feels good to be able to read about other people that can understand what you are feeling. THANK YOU! Barbara

Permanent link to this comment. On December 6, 2006 06:41 PM, Steve wrote:

Barbara
Surgery certainly needs to be taken seriously with all the inherent risks of infection, anesthesia, etc. However, I had surgery to repair a broken clavicle (see 11/22/06 post) and was using that arm again a week after the surgery nearly pain-free. The first 3-4 days afterwards were pretty painful, but from the sounds of it, nothing more than you are dealing with right now. One other big disadvantage of the surgery- $$$$$. The total before insurance is about $15,000.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 6, 2006 09:59 PM, Ms. Lumen D'souza wrote:

I got too bad pain in my neck and back area and after i got an xray done dr says i have 2 extra ribs called cavicle ribs which are touching the nerve near the spinal code which are creating the pain. Can i have more information on this ribbs please.
Regards
Lumen

Permanent link to this comment. On December 11, 2006 09:57 AM, zach wrote:

hi guys- i see that i am not alone! Im 12 years old and was jumping my bicycle(awesome jump) when the landing went terribly WRONG! my bike went to the left but i didnt!!!! needless to say-where i landed was where i stayed until my mom and dad picked me up and got me too the e.r. I looked like the hunchback of notredame. i felt even worse-never had soooo much pain!
well-left clavicle break. a shot of morphine and a sling and i was sent on my way with a followup appt. with an ortho doc the next day. confirmed by the ortho--keep in in a sling and come back in 3 weeks(no physical activity for a 12 year old is a death sentence!)
mom and i return 3 weeks later to find out that since the swelling had receeded, the break is worse than originally thought-------had to be at hospital at 5:30am the next morning for emergency surgery of my collarbone. Immediate relief after the surgery and a 5inch metal plate with six screws!!! The scar doesnt look nearly as bad as the bone sticking up was!!! it looked like a golfball! anyhow-this happened to me on october 8th and oct 25th i had my surgery. still not allowed to return to physical activities yet---no sling though and i have great movement. the numbness over the scar is a little nerving though!
i go to see doc again dec 19th and maybe he will give the thumbs up to get back to my life and Finally ride my new bike that i got for my birthday back in november---ive only been allowed to LOOK at it!!!!!!!! good luck to all of you out there with this same injury---surgery may not be for everyone but the doc said that my shoulder would have become frozen if i didnt have it done! thanx for this site!!! ZACHARY FERRENCE

Permanent link to this comment. On December 12, 2006 07:24 PM, Jordon R. wrote:

2 weeks ago I broke left clavicle in wrestling I joined to stay in shape for the soccer. This was my first year of wrestling and I only got one match in, the day after the first match I was puting a guy in a half and he throw me over him and I landed odd. The dr told me it's a total total brack, the collar bone is pointing up and the clavicle down under the collar bone, I need to go back in 3 weeks to see if it's healing right, and if not they will have to put a plate in. The worst part is if that happends I will miss the start of club soccer in UG :(

Permanent link to this comment. On December 17, 2006 09:02 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

marlon - See my answer on the other page you left your question:

Broken Clavicle No More

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On December 29, 2006 01:53 AM, Richard wrote:

I broke my left collar bone on xmas day playing cricket :/

Its been 5 days now and I'm not looking forward to the next few weeks. I can't sleep in a bed at all, just can't find a good postion, so I'm sleeping in a chair: if you can call it that. On the up side, codiene and beer seem to be very good friends and I'm enjoying the new 3-some we have going. The worst part really isnt the pain but having one arm strapped tight to your body 24/7 and being completely dead weight. I'm showering every other day just because of the incredable hassle, and down to wearing button up Hawaiian shirts (cant get anything over my head or lift left arm).

I broke a bone in my foot 2 yrs ago and I have to say there arnt words in the english language to discribe how much worse this is. Because I just have a sling all my family/friends think I'm being a "girl" and should still be goin out and stuff. Sucks to be me at the moment. Oh well can't last foreva :) Good luck to all you other collar bone sufferers.

You are bringing back memories. Hawaiian shirts were standard wardrobe after my break. Luckily for me broken collar bones are common among cyclists. So there's wasn't too much hassle about not going out since they had all been through the same.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On January 2, 2007 03:48 AM, MickeyPaul wrote:

I broke mine on 31st December 2006 by falling down a flight of stairs - I didn't cry or take any pain killers though, ok so I did cry a bit.... I've read your above posts and so I'm a bit concerned about shaving my pits, it also feels a bit weird just using my left hand to urinate (I've left my flies continually open - there's a helpful hint for you poor unfortunate victims. Although it did sting a bit at first (not the urinating) I'm a pretty tough Scottish bloke - so I didn't go to hospital for a couple of days, anyway i had moral support from my myriad of mates on the "Daily Punt" that beats any morphine or professional treatment. For more details and a spooky picture visit my url link above (by clicking my name)

Permanent link to this comment. On January 10, 2007 06:04 PM, Terry wrote:

I missed a step going down to my own basement and broke my collar bone on Jan 2, 2007. it has been a week and I improved a lot. Your site has been a lot of help since neither the ER doctor nor my ortho doctor said much.
I met a triathlon guy at the hot tub today (he also broke a collar bone once) and he said it is VERY important to try to hold the shoulders back so the bone would not heal "short". It is tiring holding my shoulders back even with a figure-8 brace but it certainly makes sense. He also suggested a narrow pillow along the spine to allow room for holding back the shoulders when I am sitting or sleeping.
Periodically I feel a kink or a knot near my break, I can usually work it out by moving a little bit. Does anyone else have this?
I am 63 and I am hoping for a quick recovery since I have ski trip planned for the end of Feb.

Your kink/knot might be muscles knotting or soft tissue "catching" on the injured area. I would feel something similar early in my recovery but it eventually went away. I also used hot baths and a heating pad on the injured shoulder and neck to help relax the muscles and reduce knotting/spasms.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 14, 2007 08:44 AM, Jack wrote:

I broke my right clavicle on Thursday (11th Jan) tripping over and smashing my shoulder on the pavement.

I was in agony at the time, but the pain isn't as bad now. Sleepng and movement are OK. Still only managed to change my t-shirt once though, that was very painful. As a university student, I'm going to find it very hard to do work, and I'm meant to be in winter training for the new cricket season. Going to see the doctor on Wednesday, I hope to be playing cricket again as soon as possible.

Really enjoyed reading the stores here guys, many thanks!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 18, 2007 03:00 PM, Jen in La Jolla wrote:

I was wondering if you could calm my nerves. I am a 25-year-old female and to make a long story short, I landed on the back of my left shoulder and completely snapped I believe the distal third of my collarbone. I read above that you had someone handle mice for you when you returned to work. This is where you could relax my nerves-I work as an animal technician at UCSD (so I handle mice and only mice all day), and I am coming up on the 4-week mark and I am worried they will not let me return to work (within the next week) because the nature of my work is quite physical (changing cages all day). We use standard caging with plastic bottles. Given I am correct and you are familiar with my line of work, how long do you thing it would be before I can resume my job 100%? And does ibuprofen retard bone growth?!
Thanks!

Laura is the one that wrote the "What to Expect..." story at the top of this page. I posted it for her at her request. So I'm not familiar with those types of cages but I would think that by now, if the bone has fused, that you would be fine as long as you are careful. If the bone hasn't fused than that would be a problem.

At the same point in time when I was healing I was able to lift fairly heavy objects again. I made sure not to do any sudden jerking movements and to stop if my shoulder became sore or hurt.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On January 20, 2007 10:37 PM, Jennifer wrote:

I shattered my left in 1998, had surgery and got into a car accident 3 months later. The thing that I would urge people to look into is acupuncture. It has helped tremendously with pain management and healing (esp. if you have suffered a lot of soft tissue damage...I get whip lash now, about 4 times a year from minor movements like rolling my ankle) My doctors were in shock with the speed of my recovery and I didn't have to use any narcotics.

With the new scars, if you grow a nervous habit of rubbing the scar a lot (hell, the screws feel crazy), you'll find it turns a nice silver color and probably won't keloid (sp). You also need to wear sunscreen on it to avoid higher risks of skin cancer.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 30, 2007 11:02 AM, Dale wrote:

Hello to all; I to had broke a collar bone and still have the break and I am on the fourth month. My break happened when concrete met shoulder. Anyway the only thing I have a problem with is the headaches like some of you have experienced and the sharp pain in the muscle tissue and the elbow. The motion range and ability to use the arm at different heights is getting better. I have done all the exercises required to get better and they really do help and all the recommended check ups. My bone has not met at each end and they still overlap. Has anyone ever gone through this and what was the recommendation given, because the ortho surgeon that I have does not seem to be to concerned about any of this. I also have experienced blood clots at the break and it is also the left side. The stories about getting dressed, loved those because I to am female and I could relate to every one of those examples. I do construction work for a living so there really is no modified duties to return to yet. Please respond if any advise. To all of you guys out there, take care of yourselves.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 30, 2007 04:09 PM, Holly wrote:

Everyone seems to have lots of questions and wants to be able to relate. That is me too and why I have found this weeksite so helpful. Let me start with- I have learned there are many different types of breaks and other stats that will affect your healing.

I broke my clavicle on Nov. 17th when I high sided off my motorbike. I, like lots on this site was thinking OK six to eight weeks as I was in very good shape and expected to heal in the time it seems all the medical web sites said. Thanks for this site by the way great for moral support as well as information.

It seems there is a lot of different opinions on the figure eight, vs. sling. I am in Victoria, Canada and I am told they no longer use the figure 8 anymore but seems they do in most other countries I have read here. Ortho surgeon told me my break was too bad for it to be helpful in anycase.
This may be discouraging to some but don't count on healing in the 6 to 8 weeks like I did. It was a hard blow but had I known what I know now I would have never expected to heal fast. IF you are female it will take longer, if you are over 35 it will take longer, and here is the big one if it is displaced or communited it will for certian take longer. That means if your break is worse it will take longer. But the good news is all but 10% will heal in 24 weeks. I am just posting this because I was reading all those (great for you) got out there and was doing things in six weeks and I thought well that's me. It just is not the reality if you break is bad.
If you can see your x-rays you will know. So now I sit at the 12 week mark with a small hint of healing. I am hoping with all my heart that I will be healed in six months so I can ski next winter, mountain bike again and play squash. All my passions. I think no more motorbiking for me, good fun but not worth the risk.

I hope this gives you an idea of the healing time you may need. I find it is good to know the real deal. I was also told to use pain as a guide as the next step it to try an figure out what you can do that will help or at least not hinder your healing.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 4, 2007 05:58 PM, Liza Jean wrote:

I want to come back to this site to post my recover and say thank to Hans for having this site what a blessing for all.
For back info on my injury read Nov. 18 & 21, 2005

I had surgery to repair the break. I was afraid to have surgery till I spoke to a physical therapist about recover with and without surgery. After explaining my break and how it would move if I just shivered he told me it could cut the blood vessel . I decide that I'd take a skilled surgeon cutting by my artery rather than having the splinter bones just moving all over. My pain was very little after surgery. I was just so glad to have it set in one place.

I have pictures of breaks, incision, and plate the can be seen under skin. jam56bird@msn.com email me if you would like to see them. I know I wanted to know what it would look like and how if would feel after surgery.

My incision was the full length of the collar bone. Healing went great. Problems were when it was time to take off the sling my arm was partially frozen even though I did my exercises every 2 hour for 20mins daily.
I had to have physical therapy. I took 12 weeks to move arm up over head myself standing. I started cutting hair 9 wks after surgery but only a couple a day. I took 4 months before I could properly lift my arm to cut hair, like this / elbow just would not lift up.

I found arnica cream to be the bigger blessing after a therapy session for pain. This stopped the aching without taking pain meds. I was allergic to oxy. and vicidin found this out day one of break could not take them.
I took many supplements, homeopathic, and did alternative therapies to heal. I had a stone massage to loosen he muscles 11 wks after surgery. The next day I lifted my arm over my head myself.

Dr. said I can have it removed if I want because I can run my finger over it and feel the holes and screws. Not very sexy for a girl. DH don't mind and I could careless all that matters to me is I can lift my arm and use it.

A year later my arm is still weaker than the left one. I can not sleep on my right side. Weather changes can give me an achy feeling otherwise I'd never know it all happened. I also lost the 10 pounds of extra weight I gained. I think this has alot to do with a great surgeon Dr. Sekia of UPMC Sports medicine. It was worth drive three hours and getting two opinions( dr asked for 2nd opinion to help me decide because it was gray not a clear cut surgery break) they said surgery is what they would do or recommend to their wife. Better than first dr. so could have cared less. I'd still not be moving my arm if I had listened to him!!!! Tried to move it too early because I read post about not letting it freeze up. Give your arm time to heal.

Don't like dr. get a new one!

If you need surgery get it, otherwise it may just be longer recovery than you think when they want to mess around and do it 3 months later.
L.

Nice to hear back from you. And good to hear that you are doing well on your recovery.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On February 11, 2007 01:25 PM, Em wrote:

My fiancee broke his collar bone in 3 pieces a year ago whilst snowboarding & it still has not healed.

He did the normal procedure of hospital appointments but each time the xray showed no change & each time the specialist would say it will start to heal in a couple of weeks time but every time he went back for the xray there was no change & the specialist would say the same thing again which was that it would start to heal in a couple of weeks.

The specialist at the hospital didnt seem worried that it was not healing or even showing any signs of healing. The specialist insisted that it needs more time to heal & to not worry. He even said that he would not need to see him again.

My fiancee couldnt beleive that he had said this & felt like he was just pushed aside. After 8-weeks my fiancee went to his own doctor & requested a hospital appointment to see a different specialist as his collar bone did not feel right at all. He recieved the appointment in the post only to find out it was the same specialist he had seen b4, aarrgghh!!!

He had another x-ray & it still had not healed. He started to ask questions about it but the specialist kept insisting that he is the expert & to not worry & to give it time to heal.

It is now a year on & and within the last month he is now getting pins & needles in the outside part of his hand, he gets an electric shock type pain which runs down his arm & also the back of his arm aches & feels dead sometimes. He recently went to his doctor who has confirmed that it has not healed & that his nerve maybe trapped. He is currently awaiting an appointment with an upper body specialist.

I can feel that this time next year I will be here typing about this bloody bone!!!!

Can anyone relate to this or have any comments on his situation as we are just awaiting this next appointment to come through the post which could be months yet & would appreciate any advice.

I can see the frustration you must have. At this point it sounds like he needs an MRI or some way to diagnose any possible soft tissue problems. The sensation issues sound like a nerve is being impinged. It's important to have that diagnosed soon as waiting can lead to permanent damage to the nerve.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On February 18, 2007 02:00 PM, Heidi wrote:

Hey!
My Doc seems super concervative and I want to go back to work but need to be able to be cleared to lift 25 lbs. Anyone know if a doc out there recommends less than 6 weeks before lifting 25 lbs for non-displaced break? (distally located just in from accromium process?
Thanks!
Heidi

Permanent link to this comment. On February 19, 2007 06:15 PM, CJ wrote:

February 10 2007 day I joined the fractured clavicle club. (the FCC) And like a madman did research on it and found this site. Loved the stories and would like to post my experience.

I'm taking a martial arts class performed a roll and landed awkwardly on my right shoulder and felt and heard that snap. Went over to my instructor and said I think i messed up my shoulder so I fell down and he proceeded to pop it back in, of course I'm screaming "IT STILL HURTS" so lying down couldn't move. Paramedics came and told me I messed up the clavicle. Had a friend drive me to the hospital (no way I'm paying for an ambulance bill, I just got a bandage sling) Thought I had to wait in the emergency waiting room because I saw a lot of people no seats available and was thinking great I'm gonna stand and pass out to the pain but luckily I was admitted. Gave me my new friend the figure 8 and was on my way. As my parents drove me home every bump every pot hole, turn, braking, sucked. If a revolver with on bullet was given to me I would've gladly used it haha.

It's already a week since the break, pain has subsided, although I have those blasts of pain that ride from my armpit to my bicep. I can drive but with my right arm a lil low on the wheel. Tommorrow I'm gonna run to the doctor about those blasts of pain.

Things I've learned so far:
Sleep was non existent since I'd wake up at 4 all cringing.
I think I can shoot mace with my left arm with accuracy since now I shoot spray on deodorant under both pits.

That's really funny! :') - Hans

And a good support system helps esp the first week (thanks mom and dad)

Also this quest to find speedy recovery methods, supplements etc. Time is the healer I know haha. But staying home and doing nothing most of you can relate.

I ran across these supplements and I may go and try them
Super Cissus http://www.usplabsdirect.com/supercissus.html
SAN bone boost http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/san/bone.html

Well I wish everyone the best, with less pain and speedy recoveries! I'll post here again with my findings on those suppliments

Permanent link to this comment. On February 20, 2007 04:52 PM, Juan wrote:

I broke my right clavicle 10 days ago while snowboarding (make that ice boarding) at Hunter Mountain in Upstate New York. Fortunately, the initial impact wasn't too painful (probably because I was also knocked unconscious) and I was promptly treated at the mountain clinic, put in figure 8 splint and sent home. Sleeping has not been a problem at all, not even the first night. I can drive a stick, have a good deal of strength and flexibility in my right arm (considering the injury)and the bruise has faded. There's a good bump on the bone at the site of the break and the whole thing appears to be moving as one piece. All good signs. So I thought, until I saw the orthopedist today who said I should consider surgery to restore the length of the collar bone which has been shortened by about 2cm. I'm an avid surfer and am concerned that the shortened bone will affect the performance of my paddling muscles. I've also read that most people have achieved good results without surgery. Any advice?

That's a tough question to answer. Each injury and recovery is unique. I would recommend visits to both an orthopedic doctor and a physical therapist that specializes in sports related injuries. They should be familiar with your needs and how your injury will effect you. If you are lucky you might run across a doctor that's a fellow surfer.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On February 21, 2007 10:01 PM, Anna wrote:

Hello, everyone --

This is my second round of regular visits to this wonderful website! I've been lucky not to have first-hand experience with broken bones so far, so the accounts of your clavicle experiences have been a great source of information to our family. Thank you!

On December 1, our 13-year-old son was at a birthday party and broke his left clavicle in two places when he was bounced from a trampoline shoulder-first into one of the poles holding the protective netting. So much for protection (and parental supervision on the part of the party hosts)! My husband and our 6-year-old daughter were parked in front of the house, waiting to pick him up after the party, when the EMS fire truck and ambulance arrived. It was dramatic and upsetting (as well as infuriating because he was in such a senseless situation). Our son was in agony and was given three doses of morphine through his IV as well as Lortab before we left the ER. He missed a couple of days of school, six weeks of gym classes, nine weeks of ice hockey, and a session of indoor soccer. He finally was cleared to return to hockey and other contact sports on January 31. He was very excited about playing in his first game since the end of November!

On February 3, he played so well that he didn't even look like he had missed any time. The rest of the team was excited that he was back, and everyone played his best. He made it through the first period, and in the first minute of the second period, he was passing the puck when he was checked into the boards. When he hit the boards, his RIGHT collarbone broke. He had another ambulance ride to the ER for more X-rays and morphine and had to have his hockey jersey and his Clint Mathis MetroStars soccer T-shirt cut off of him (my husband and I took his equipment off because the nurses didn't want to hurt him further by moving him around too much). He is facing another uncomfortable few weeks, the end of hockey and indoor soccer for this season, and we have a VERY unhappy boy on our hands. We were amazed at how easily this collarbone broke, since our son has checked and has been checked hundreds of times -- without serious injury. It probably was just one of those freaky things. Nobody really seemed to think that it was a calcium deficiency, but we are giving him even more calcium-rich foods than usual as well as 400mg calcium citrate/400IU vitamin D (recommended by the ER doctor) twice a day. The orthopedist took X-rays on the first and second visits this time. The first X-rays (February 6) showed that the right clavicle was cracked through at an angle at the end closer to the neck, but the ends of the bone were still adjacent. The doctor said that the healing process should be a bit faster this time. The second set (February 19) showed that the clavicle had broken all the way through and that one end of the bone is resting on top of the other. The doctor said that the second injury would probably take about as long to heal as the first. He seems to be treating this injury more conservatively than the first. Our son still needs to wear his sling to school until his next appointment (March 15). The only thing that we can think of is that he rolled over the wrong way in his sleep, since there were a couple of mornings that he was in a lot of pain.

How common is it for someone to break one clavicle then the other within such a short period of time? Short of putting this kid in a bubble (which has been suggested), what precautions can we take? He is hoping to start playing travel soccer at the very end of April. I'm thinking of getting him a protective shirt that a roller hockey player would wear for him to put on under his soccer jersey; however, this won't protect him in case of a fall. He won't be playing hockey again until summer, and he will have new shoulder pads with extra clavicle protection when he plays. Any suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us.

All the best,
Anna

Sorry to have you back for a second round. But glad the information here is helping.

It sounds as if the two incidents were unique and simply bad luck. I've had cycling friends unlucky enough to break collar bones within a short time. It's not something common but not without precedent for active people.

Protecting against collar bone breaks can be tricky. One must be wearing protective gear for the activity. But there are so many activities that can lead to a break and it's not fun or possible to always have protective gear. For hockey there are various shoulder pads that include collar bone protection. If he isn't wearing any now then it might be good getting him a set. And don't forget that upper and core body strength can help protect against injuries.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On February 22, 2007 07:34 PM, Anna wrote:

Thank you for your kind reply and advice, Hans! Until Tim broke his second collarbone, the only person we knew who had broken both collarbones in succession broke the first one when a bull fell on him at a rodeo.

I've been looking on-line at the newest hockey shoulder pads, and many of the better ones now specifically mention clavicle protection. I wonder why it took so long -- I really don't remember seeing that feature before! Tim definitely will be working on conditioning, too.

Thanks again!

Best wishes,
Anna

Permanent link to this comment. On March 9, 2007 09:45 PM, Dillon wrote:

I broke my collar bone about 2 years in a football acadent and about a day ago i was in the shower and never noticed before (exept the pain i was having but i thought that was just a side effect)but there was a part in the break where it seams to me like it isnt in the right spot. i dont know much but if i have to go for surgery could someone write and say what i should do because it's not very painfull but its like the thorn in my paw that is more of an annoyance than a problem so whoever has any ideas on what i should do could you tell me thanx

Permanent link to this comment. On March 19, 2007 12:25 PM, Randy P wrote:

Randy
March 12, 2007


Another one bites the dust! Ok, my friends all tell me I’m not a kid anymore but at 49 I still feel 29. Well, let’s say I did until I was out riding in the desert on my Honda XR-650R on February 23, a little over three weeks ago. I went over the bars and landed on the back of my head (helmet attached)and my right shoulder. My collar bone was clearly fractured and was sticking up against my skin.

With no insurance I opted to have some friends research a bit before running to the emergency room. General consensus seemed to be there is no real rush or anything that really needed to be done immediately except address the pain and try to keep the bone in place. Well, I downed a lot of Ibuprofen between that Fri. and Tue when I saw the Ortho. A friend loaned me a regular sling and tried to buy me a 8-sling but couldn’t find one anywhere. I had to sleep sitting up, I couldn’t begin to lay down, the bone was moving around a lot and it scared the crap out of me when it would poke up against the skin or pop back in and out of the opposing side of the fracture and I thought I’d pass out from the pain when it did.

On Monday I went to get X-rays at an imaging center. With no insurance, I was extremely nervous about needing surgery. Well, the young lady walked out of the developing room and slid the x-rays up on the light. A little under her breath she said, “crap, that thing is shattered!”. Uhggg! All my hopes were just shattered as well. I asked her if it was really that bad and if she thought I’d need surgery. She looked over her shoulder and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I really can’t comment on the x-rays, you’ll need to talk to your Dr. about them” Oh, thanks!!! So off we go feeling a little bit less optimistic to say the least. After a very long night of trying to sleep sitting up…

Tuesday at 4:30 pm I saw the Dr. The pain was bad, I was crouched over trying to keep the bone in place as I walked into the examination room. The Ortho Dr. walks in, throws the x-rays up on the light for 5 seconds and says, ”Oh that doesn’t look too bad” Calls for the nurse to bring in a figure 8, he puts it on me, says don’t take it off for a month and come back then with new X-ray. Then asks, “anything else I can do for you?” Wow, I was so shocked! He didn’t even examine me. Nothing! The visit actually was over in 3-4 minutes and a minute of that he was chit-chatting with my lady friend about her German accent. I was like, Ah… Well could you give me something for the pain? His reply was, “Oh sure, isn’t that what people actually come to Drs. for?” Wow, I was so shocked! I couldn’t believe my ears. He gave me a prescription, and out I went, no instructions on what to do, what not to do, Nothing!

After I had some time to get over the shock, think and do some investigation I called the Drs. office that Thursday with a couple of my most pressing questions. They wanted me to make another appointment to answer a couple questions, but later agreed to have the Dr. call me that afternoon. Well it’s Monday and I haven’t heard a thing. Does anyone know a good Ortho anywhere near Lake Havasu City, Arizona?

Here’s my question:

Will the bone just fuse one day? That boggles me. One day it’s flopping around the next day it’s not? I mean the bone is loose right now (24 days), but I have a lot less pain and when the bone is matched up to where I think it fits together there is no real gap. So do I try to hold it there this early in the game? It usually sticks overnight but always breaks loose after I’m up about 15-30 minutes. I’ve tried staying as still as I can for about 36 hours but I live alone and I just cant stay that still. Gotta eat, drink, and….Is it just to early to grab. I haven’t really heard anyone talk about this.

Anyway, I made myself resourcefully on the internet with all this time on my hands. I have found some interesting information that I hope will be helpful to the rest of you.

1.) Do not use anti-inflammatory over the counter painkillers for pain from fractured bones There is much research that shows (NSAIDs) impede healing of bones, drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
http://www.thehealthierlife.co.uk/article/3047/bone-fractures.html


2.) If you smoke, quit! Smokers heal about up to60% slower than nonsmokers and in some cases never heal properly at all.
http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:D5_wBQcTyfoJ:orthopedics.about.com/cs/brokenbones/a/smokingbones.htm+healing+bones+smoking&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us

3.) Nutrition plays a big par in the healing process. Along with calcium the are other important enzymes vitamins and minerals the help the tissue and bones
http://foodandlife.com/healingbonesresearch.htm


I’ll keep you updated.


Permanent link to this comment. On March 27, 2007 08:19 AM, KC wrote:

Fellow Collarbone Snappers:

I went out West (Alta, UT) for the first time this past weekend to ski in fresh powder with some college friends. Instead I experienced no powder and a broken left clavicle ... Ouch! I was so bummed that after it happened (it was on Day 1) I tried to convince myself I was ok; my friends even tried to convince me to ski a few more runs ("bro, you would know if it was broken, you're fine!"). But common sense (I'm 39) got the better of me and I ski'd right down to the clinic where I learned of my broken clavicle. They hooked me up with a sling, a clavicle strap (fig 8 w back support), and some much needed meds! I spent the rest of the weekend eating, drinking and -- thank God for March Madness! -- watching basketball. Skiers are a compassionate bunch -- I rarely paid for any of my drinks!

As soon as I got back home I went to a local ortho, who ended up being a know-it-all jerk who said I should try another sport like ping pong (I decided not to tell him he was 50lbs. overweight!). He said I broke the bone in two places but will not require surgery. He did recommend the clavicle strap - that standing upright is very important for the healing process. And it will take up to 8 weeks to heal -- not fun with two boys at home (2 years and 2 months)! Since this is my second go-round with a broken clavicle (broke it 8 years ago doing what else -- skiing!) I have a some experience, so to all my fellow clavicle snappers I suggest to stay positive and take it one day at a time. It always could have been worse.

Oh, and I've already gotten the OK from my wife to return to the scene of the crime and Ski Utah next year ... I cannot wait!

Sincerely,
Collarbone Snapper

Permanent link to this comment. On March 28, 2007 04:21 AM, Colleen M. wrote:

Well I've been lucky so far... horses and skiing are definitely my passions, I was in Argentina (live in London/California)and got bucked off in the middle of absolute nowhere, breaking my right collar bone.

After chilling out in Argie for 4 weeks (at least I was in the sun) I had the nightmare of traveling back to the UK which meant horse, 4x4, bus and plane which took 3 days (yeah I know, I really was in the middle of nowhere), not something I would recommend when your on your own and have a broken bone.

This site is great, so thanks to all who have contributed. I am now on week 5 and went to see the specialist yesterday, still not reconnected but doing well... not well enough in my book.

I have great movement now and so thought the bone had reconnected, I was gutted but at least I can pretty much do everything myself, unlike the 1st two weeks, however I have terrible aching in my back, shoulder and arm.. how long does this last???

I find the sling and figure 8 both cause worse aching so have taken them off, my specialist said "listen to yourself" if it hurts "stop". The only relief from the aching is to lie down, can anyone give any advice on this aching it's driving me mad!!!

I promise I am resting but how much longer??

Speedy recovery to all.

CAM

Yes the aches and pains can take a while. Part of the problem is created by your muscles supporting the injured area. You might not be aware of this. Over time the muscles fatigue and you become sore and ache. I would recommend a light massage and/or heat applied to the shoulder, neck, and back. A warm bath to soak the muscles and let them relax is also good.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On April 1, 2007 11:10 AM, Kathy wrote:

Hi. My 13 year old son Matt broke his collar bone 3 weeks ago. It is quite badly displaced, with the neck end clearly visible under the skin. The bike, which he was riding up a 45 degree home made ramp is of course, fine! (And he has got the accident on video!)At A and E he got a calico sling, paracetamol, nurofen and codeine. Spent a couple of agonising days, then went to the fracture clinic where he was given a much more supportive sling which velco-ed round his neck and waist. This provided instant pain relief. Coupled with the consultant telling him his feelings of sickness and giddiness were caused by the codeine, he chose to take no further pain relief - since then he has taken no pills!
After 10 days or so he saw a physio who was very concerned about the displacement and the lack of movement he could achieve and referred us back to the consultant, who had originally said he did not need to come back. I spoke to the consultant on the phone, who said he might well need to have it plated sooner rather than later and made an appointment to do more X-rays in a week. There then followed a very anxious week - we have a holiday booked and would far rather be in Tenerife than hospital visiting! However, in the last week or so, he has regained 90% of his shoulder function and some of the strength. The consultant said the X-ray showed no obvious change, but function and strength are most important, especially as Matt is not concerned about what the collar bone will look like. So, as his movement is now so good, no further treatment needed, no sling, just don't lift and don't do anything 'silly'. (Most of his favourite pastimes count as 'silly' - that could be a bit tricky).
So, if you are in the first couple of weeks and everything seems really terrible, don't despair, it is possible to make really quick headway after the first two weeks of keeping as still as possible!

Permanent link to this comment. On April 14, 2007 11:41 PM, Dermid wrote:

Some great clavicle adventures here especially considering most of us are typing with one hand. It's a testament to the human need to share that this site has been around for over 3 years. Who woul'de thought, Laura, that your personal account would incite clavicle comparisons and sharing to this degree. I broke mine yesterday: bike, London, huge pot-hole. The rest is history. Thanks to you all for your perspectives: it will make healing that bit more easy.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 26, 2007 01:01 PM, Marcin Piskozub wrote:

Fellow collar bone breakers!
Well, I have joined the club on the April 21 `07! I was going down this pretty steep hill on my mountain bike about 25 km from where I live. The hill is pretty technical but I cleared it ok and then crusing at 30-40 mph on the *flat* section something sent me up - I was airborn - I guess not so visible bump in the field, I corrected my bike and landed ok, but as soon as I landed I was airborn again (another bigger bump). I tried correcting the bike not to land on my front wheel but it was too late. Somehow my mind switched off when trying to land - maybe my mind panicked... Next thing I know I was laying on the ground in pain and later on when trying to get on the bike a grinding sound told me my clavicle was snapped. Very painful - the pain was getting worse with time.
When I got to the emergency room the doc. put the figure 8 brace on me and some bandages on my hurt left side.
Dr. said that it would take 4 weeks to heal. My question is; since the collar bone will be shorter due to the overlap needed to connect the broken ends of the bone - will the bone elongate with time or do I need to do a surgery right now to keep the same lenght of the bone? I do a lot of other sports and i`m afraid that the shorter collar bone will not allow me to perform them the same way as I used to... or not at all.
Anyone knowing the subject or having gone through such surgery please post here or email me. It seems logical that the second way of connecting together a broken collar bone with metal plate and screws will not be as strong as the overlapped bone w/o the surgery - so why some people do it?
It would also be good if some people would comment how they feel now after healing up and if they have complete range of motion and strenght in that area.
Cheers!
Marcin

Permanent link to this comment. On April 26, 2007 11:10 PM, Dave wrote:

To Marcin above: No the bone will not go back to the original length. The only way for it to be full length again is to have it plated. Also plating it will help it heal faster and a lot stronger then having it overlapped. And if the plate is bothering you you can have it removed 6-8months after but its a matter of personal preference if its bothering you. Also if the bone is overlapped there will be some loss in your range-of-motion, thats the main reason I had surgery.

So my story.

About 3 weeks ago now I was learning how to ride the motorcycle I had spent the past 3months rebuilding. The rear tire locked, bike slid sideways, and flipped over. I was going about 30mph when I hit the ground. Stupidly I only have a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers on so I had road rash on my right shoulder that broke the collar bone, back, and head.
I don't remember the hitting the ground part but I crawled to the curb and called my roommate and had him pick me up. One of my shoes was about 30ft away, still cant figure that one out. Went to the ER thinking I just dislocated it and (I was told later) I kept asking the same questions over and over in the car, mainly for them to call one of my friends, who rides, and tell him what happened! At the ER they X-rayed it and no one in the hospital had seen one broken that badly! WOOT! I made it count! They cleaned me up and gave me dilaudid to kill the pain and told me to go to a orthopedic surgeon.
I made it to one a few days later, after living on the vicodin that barely took the edge off the pain, and he said there was 2.5cm of overlap and the bones were about 1/2" apart and really surgery was the only way I wouldn't have problems later with sports and stuff (I'm 20yo).
I had surgery about a week and a half ago now and have the arm in a sling. They put a 7" titanium plate and 7 screws to hold it together. The surgeon said one of the pieces of bone was also split in half so it took almost twice as long to fix it. I have a constant, every 4 hours, dose of dilaudid and that takes enough of the pain away that I have been able to go back to school this week, dress myself, and try to get back to normal.
I am going back in a week or so to have x-rays and a check-up and I figure it should be a lot better by then.

Also I have to say I'm really surprised how many of the stories I read people just took ibp and maybe vicodin. I couldn't stand up or sit down by myself before I was on vicodin and I switched to dilaudid so I could go out and not be in incredible pain if it moved at all. Maybe I'm a wuss? haha Oh and my ER nurses were amazing! I'm glad I didn't have some like the other stories. I was trying to hug them all after they gave me the dilaudid!

Good luck with everyones recovery!

Permanent link to this comment. On April 28, 2007 02:50 AM, Marcin Piskozub wrote:

Dave - thank you for your help. I will talk to my Doc about a possible surgery although all of the doctors that I spoke to dont recommend that I go through such surgery. Personally - I dont want to do a surgery, but if I loose the mobility that I had I would not feel like myself - I dont want to give up on all the great fun stuff that I did.
I will post something later when I find out about the best possibility to fix my collar bone.
BTW the Doc took off my figure 8 brace and put on a different kind of orthopedic brace that sort of looks like a backpack - it pulls my shoulders back but doesnt support the arm in the armpit area. Has anyone had such brace?
The reason for doing this was because my arm was getting very swollen and heavy - now its better but I feel like I dont have enought support for my collar bone and that something may shift. It has only been a week now since the accident.
Dave I feel the pain too and strangely I sort of lost my movement in the left arm as if it is shut down...

Permanent link to this comment. On May 2, 2007 10:25 AM, Mustafa wrote:

This is the best web resource I've found yet concerning clavicle fractures. I broke mine in a cycling accident four days ago and even the thought of getting back on a bike brings tears to my eyes. My fracture was accompanied by a mild concussion and a class 1 separated shoulder (and nothing more serious, thank goodness). Any thoughts on how the separation might affect recovery times, etc? Also, when does the pain begin to subside?

I don't know if the separation will affect your collar bone recovery. I've been told a separation is a worse injury though. Be sure to follow up with physical therapy.

The pain level for me was manageable after two weeks. But it depends on your injuries and your tolerance to pain.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On May 3, 2007 08:52 AM, Lucy wrote:

Hi fellow broken clavicle people. I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me, after a nasty run in with a cow 6 months ago I am still in pain round the shoulder area and have limited mobility. Is this normal? I had a terrible psychio so now got a new one but having problems lifting, at footie, tug of war etc so now been told to rest up! ITS So ANNONYING!!! New physio has flagged up the fact that the collar bone maybe dislocated. I was never x rayed again after being at A and E so is it possible that the bone has healed incorrectly and may need to be reset?
Thanks
Lucy

Recovery can take a while. You might have more injuries than just your broken collar bone. A shoulder separation or other shoulder injury is a common partner to a collar bone break and might be the source of the pain. I would recommend that you have a visit with an orthopedic doctor.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On May 28, 2007 07:40 PM, nick wrote:

How long can I expect before I can get back to playing football. I broke my right clavicle. Want healing real fast. Any suggestions to speed up recovery.

Nobody but a doc that examines you will be able to give you a reliable estimate on healing time.

As for recovery suggestions, search through the comments on this page and some of the other broken clavicle pages (links near top of this page). You will find lots of information that should help you.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 4, 2007 10:58 AM, Alex wrote:

Hey Gang,

I broke my collarbone about four weeks ago in a freestyle bmx accident. Was approaching a ramp, hit a slick spot on the warehouse floor, and washed both wheels out, taking an impact on the left shoulder. I immediately knew something was broken due to the grinding, pain and drooping shoulder.

Head to the emergency room, x-rayed, cleanly broken clavicle. I'm feeling a lot better at this point, had a follow-up appointment last week and the doc says he is starting to see some bone growth, and has told me to come out of the sling while I'm sitting around, with another follow-up at the end of june. He also said the sling has aggravated some carpal tunnel in my left wrist, which is causing some numbness and pain in my hand.

My question for everyone else is this...very occasionally, I feel what feels like "movement" in my shoulder..it's very slight and not painful. I'm assuming that at 4 weeks, I've got a bridge formed, so I'm guessing I'm feeling that bridge move slightly when I move in a way that 'stresses' the break.

Did anyone else have this feeling at my stage of healing? I'm 34 and afraid that a non-union is going to keep me off my bike.

My collar bone felt fairly solid by 4 weeks. There was occasional popping, very slight, that was attributed to the muscles and ligaments being tight and moving.

If you are unsure of the state of your break then I would recommend you talk with your doctor and maybe get another x-ray. You doctor will give you the most accurate information as to the state of your recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 5, 2007 07:27 AM, kmax wrote:

Wow, yeah I'm in week three of the process right now but I just figured it out a few days ago. I'm going to have to go see an orthopedic surgeon this week and they'll probably have to rebreak it and reset it before putting me in a sling. Not looking forward to this. Hopefully I'll manage to deal with the healing process without going insane, though after reading this I have my doubts.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 13, 2007 08:48 PM, makena wrote:

this place is heaven for accurate info on this subject...as i sit here typing with one finger!
i broke my left clavicle 5 days ago. pain is manageable now, i wear my sling 24/7, but i still feel clicking and popping at the break site (not painful)
what is this about? should i go back to dr to check it out? thanks!!!!

I've been told that clicking and popping can be caused by rotator cuff tears or AC separations. You might want to talk with your doctor about the sounds. You might have another shoulder injury along with your broken clavicle.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 18, 2007 09:41 AM, shell wrote:

Hi everyone. Feb'07 snowmobile accident put me at emergency with broken clavical. After a 8" plate and screws, on my way to recovery....well at least I thought. after 12 weeks, plate broke! back in for surgery! this time bone graft from leg, another plate and screws, and wire. Just on 4th week, it aches a lot, and is a real pain. I sure hope this works!I wonder does anyone know, should it be immobilzed a lot....My first accident, and broken bone. My break had a 1 1/2 gap

Permanent link to this comment. On June 21, 2007 01:56 PM, Jo wrote:

Mine was a fall 9 months ago. My first ortho guy was very conservative - put me in a figure eight and then told me everything was fine. new city, new ortho guy and I get to see the latest x-ray - it looks exactly the same. I am now 3 weeks away from a plate and bone graft for a non-union of a clavicle fracture. How is the recovery after this?

Permanent link to this comment. On June 22, 2007 08:29 AM, Anthony Howitt wrote:

Hi fellow suferers. I broke my left collar bone close to the shoulder on May 19th taking a stupendous catch at cricket (so they tell me!). The first 2 weeks were agony and by the third I was feeling more confident and less pain so started doing more, BIG MISTAKE! I went for my second x-ray at week 3 and had a real kick in the teeth when the doc said it was worse than when i first did it. All I was told on both occasions was 'collar & cuff, see you in 3 weeks'. I'd never heard of a figure of 8 brace before reading this site. Is it too late to wear a figure of 8 now, I'm at the end of week 5? Would you suggest I take some cacium tablets? I'm worried about even going anywhere in a car in case the vibration annoys the healing process! Should I be able to move my arm know to gently excercise it?

Permanent link to this comment. On June 27, 2007 08:41 PM, Lisa wrote:

Probably the most useful, "what to expect" broken clavicle info I've been able to find (including what I've been able to extract from my daughter's indifferent orthopedist). She took an elbow in an extremely heated, double-overtime basketball game, fell hard, and suffered a clean break- right side. She's only 14, and I keep hearing that the healing will be "better", given her young age (still not menstruating). She's very thin/slight of build-- and wants to be back on the court by October/November (broke clavicle on Memorial Day). Hopefully, after reading these accounts, that may not be too much for which to ask. Thanks for sharing.
Mom

Permanent link to this comment. On June 28, 2007 05:31 PM, bill wrote:

Hi im a 16 year old boy who broke his collar bone while biking downhill. I was holding my A and W rootbeer when i turned and flew over my bars at high speed. sadly i din't manage to save my pop and felt alo of pain. this occured june 22nd, the doctor at the ER gave me x-rays and determined it was broken nearest to my shoulder. she prescribeb me some 600mg ibeuprofines tablets and gave a sling. I was then on my way. i had 3 exams this week at school and 6 days into the injury and im feeling better. I get headaches when i stay awake for more then 7 hours. i would like to know if thasts normal. my doctor also said that i should take off my sling in three daYS. The doctor at the clinic i visited said 3 weeks but i dont know who i should listen to. i do alot of sports,v ball b ball track, wrestling etc and dont wanna lose mobility in my keft shoulder. my collar bone also aims higher then my right one and the part of my collar bone nearest my shoulder is not visible. could it be caved in. after 6 days the pain is tolerable i just had those questions because i wanna be safe. i wanna thank laura for creating this site and hope you'll have fast recorvery's.

I wouldn't think that getting headaches from staying awake for more than 7 hours is normal. It might or might not be related to your collar bone break. It's something you should talk with a doctor about.

The sling is used to help immobilize your shoulder. While your body is working to fuse the broken bones it's important to keep the break as immobile as possible. But one problem with immobilizing the arm is that the joints don't get used. This can lead to other problems such as a frozen shoulder. When joints are used their range of motion begins to be reduced. Therefore, docs want people to use their joints (shoulder, elbow) as soon as possible so that this problem doesn't occur. Always use pain as an indicator as to how far and how much to move your arm. If it hurts then it's probably too much. I can't suggest when you should stop wearing your sling. It's normally best to follow the advice of your doctor. Talk with your doctor and express your concern about when to stop wearing the sling.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On July 1, 2007 05:52 PM, Feeling Dumb wrote:

I broke my right clavicle on Saturday night - June 30. So, I'm on day #2. While I do consider myself a cyclist, I'm not what you'd call athletic. And in fact, my injury was sustained under the most .. well .. "un-athletic" circumstances - beer drinking. Part way through a reasonably long drinking session (consisting of many 7% Polish beers), I apparently made the decision to ride my bike down a steep flight of about 12 stairs. As my associates and I were out and about, on the town, my choice of cycle was a 22" French girls' bike with back-pedal brakes, no functioning front brakes and about 20psi in each tube. I'm a 28 year old man. I'm right handed. Sigh.
So, it's all a blur really, but I hit the concrete pretty hard, directly on the tip of my shoulder I'd say. I knew something was 'wrong'. I put my hand on my collar bone and moved my arm around at the shoulder - crunchy yuckiness was felt and heard. I made sure I shared the experience by asking a friend to "feel this!"
Off in a taxi to emergency, leaving my steed behind with my associates (hasn't been seen since - thanks guys!). Sobered up pretty quickly, and not in any pain (clearly I had self-anaesthetised!).
An on-the-spot x-ray proved the theory -- the report says (amongst other things): "visible tent in R clavice > no n/v compromise even after sling" and "Xray - fracture of lateral end of clavice with displacement around 2cm". I have to go back and pick up the xray tomorrow (Tues) then see my GP.
I'm in one of those slings with the straps that go aroung your waist and one around the other (good) shoulder. It seems OK. I'm not in a lot of pain - I've only taken some Ibuprofen and that was mainly for the (undoubtedly beer-induced) headache.
I'm going to see a physio as soon as practical as I want to make sure I do all the right things. I suppose if the GP thinks I should see an ortho, he'll refer me (I will ask specifically though).
This took a while to type. Almost as much fun as wiping my bum left handed. I probably deserve everything I get. I should be thankful I didn't make it into the Darwin Awards.
So here's to all the lurking readers of this page who didn't break themselves whilst in the throws of some admirable, healthy pursuit. You're not alone in stupidity!
-Dumb

Permanent link to this comment. On July 3, 2007 03:14 PM, angel wrote:

I broke my right clavicle on may 14th when i was riding my road bycicle. So, I'm on week 7, i went to the x ray one week ago and i have a displecement about 1 inche and separate about a 1/4 i don´t know what to do, the doctor says that i have to wait 3 weeks more to take a desicion...?????????

Listen to your doctor or get a second opinion from another doctor.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 9, 2007 01:03 AM, Feeling Dumb Still wrote:

Well, it's me again (two posts up). I'm booked in for surgery tomorrow morning (plate+screws). The GP took one look at the xrays and sent me straight back to the Hospital's fracture clinic. I had my appointment this morning and after looking at some fresh xrays they had me admitted for surgery this afternoon!
A car accident trauma caused my surgery to be postponed till tomorrow, but I'm still somewhat amazed at the efficiency of the system (I'm in Australia). It sounds like some of you have waited weeks before you even get an xray!
So I might be setting off alarms on the way through airports from now on.. they said the plate stays in unless it iritates me.
-Dumb Still

Permanent link to this comment. On July 12, 2007 01:00 AM, Michael wrote:

I broke my right clavicle June 5 while playing basketball. I think I was intentionally tripped, but who knows. I'm in week 5 1/2 and went to see my doctor at Kaiser today. The bones are not fusing and are actually farther apart! Now I'm being referred to an orthopedic doctor/surgeon. I've never had surgery & am really nervous. I also have to go back to work for "light duty". Any wise words or advice would be appreciated!

-Mike

My advice would be to let yourself heal. Don't try to jump in too soon and over use your shoulder. Use pain as your indicator. Pain is your body telling something is wrong. Oh, and listen to your doctor.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2007 01:13 PM, Jimmy wrote:

Hi,

Im in week 1 after breaking my right collar bone playing rugby. i've hardley had any pain at all. the doctors said it was quite a bad break but there is only a small bump under my skin. the new season starts on 8th of september, i don't think i'll be fit to take full contact by then but it's really frustrating me already!! any advice on how to speed up the healing process??

Jimmy,
Halifax,
West Yorkshire,
England

There's some good advice on healing spread throughout the comments. Eat right, take supplements, and let yourself heal. Yes, it's frustrating but pushing it too soon and re-injuring yourself will be much more so.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 16, 2007 04:19 AM, Anthony wrote:

Well where do i start? As i have previously posted on this site I broke my left collar bone on 19th May so I am now in week 9. I really thought I was getting somewhere after my week 6 x-ray showed my bone to be healing 'nicely'. I went with my in-laws on a canaling holiday last week and using 'pain' as a guide I started trying to gently excercise my shoulder. Yet again this was a big mistake as by the time I felt any pain it was too late and I have put my recovery back by a minimum 2 weeks!

The advice given on this site about pain being a guide does not seem to be correct in my case and I'm getting more and more depressed the longer it goes on! I'm wishing now that I had asked for the operation to have been done at week 3 so at least I could be further down the line to recovery now. I did not break the bone all the way through and was therefore not expecting it to take all this time. I've been trying so hard to do NOTHING, but it's not easy!

I'm still wondering if a figure 8 brace would keep it more stable? Should I still consider having the op? Is 9+ weeks normal?

It's now my busiest time at work, harvest and I,m the only employee who knows how to work a paticular piece of grain machinery, so on top of the frustration of not getting better I feel I'm relly letting my work place down, which is making me feel worse. If the mind is positive then I feel it is easier for the body to heal.

Any advice would be helpful to try increase my positive mind

I don't know if a figure-8 brace will be of use at this point in time. You mention trying not to do anything but finding it hard. Yes, that drove me crazy. So I performed activities in which I didn't use my shoulder. For example, riding my stationary bike. Rowing was not something I would have considered because of the strain and motion it would apply to my shoulder. You mention feeling you have set yourself back in healing because of the rowing. Was that because of strain on your muscles? It took a lot longer for my muscles to recover from my break than the bone. They would still spasm every so often months later. Massages made the world of difference.

Having a partial break I would hope and think that you would heal quicker. I haven't heard of anyone on this site that has had the operation with only a partial break. Your previous examine indicated your bone was healing nicely. That's a good sign and you are hopefully very close to being recovered. I recommend that you talk with your doctor about your concerns. And speak to your doctor and/or a physical therapist for recovery exercises instead of going at it alone. They will get you going in the right track and you will be healthy again in no time.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 19, 2007 10:27 PM, James wrote:

My adventure which broke my right clavicle at age 46

To Much Fun In The Sun.

The day is Sunday May 27th I awoke to a message on my answering machine from my best friend inviting me and my other half to a cookout. I called and confirmed we would both be there and sure enough we showed up.
We arrived around 1pm and joined the party. During the cookout I had nine beers and made sure I ate well.
We played bat mitten and before we knew it the sun was setting and so we went inside to play darts. My other half wanted to head home around ten pm and so I got her in the car and brought her home ‘once there I asked if she would mind if I went back to the cookout for a couple of hours and she said sure if you want to. Well rather than
Take the car back since it was such a nice night I grabbed my motorcycle helmet and took my Honda Nighthawk instead. I stayed a few hours and had a few more beers. I asked my friend Chris (who was also there)
If he wanted a ride home and he said sure so off we went. I dropped him off (about four miles from my place) and headed home. I was about seventy yards from my place at a stop sign when I blacked out. I did not feel intoxicated or dizzy. I did not see this coming at all. I do not even recall getting up let alone slamming the pavement. I recall swearing at the bike and seeing two guys walking up the side street and yelling for help. They up righted the bike quickly and I rode it home. Once home I could tell I had hurt
my right shoulder. I went inside after parking the bike and then went in the bathroom to see the shoulder in the mirror and I could see the bone sticking up. I asked my other half if she wanted to go to the hospital to have a blood test her doctor requested and she of course replied are you nuts in ONE AM in the morning. I said well you mind as well since I have to go and she asked why so I showed he the bone. She went nuts. She was going to call 911 and I said no lets get in the car I will drive ‘’since she can not drive. Once in the car I went into shock and we made our way back inside and she called 911. She told 911 I fell off my bike so the cops also showed up. Needless to say I lied and told them I was moving the bike in its parking space and going to cover it up for two days of rain coming. They tried to get my other half to confess I was riding and she kept her smarts and said I was home all night. Then they went to look at the bike. Since the bike got very little damage they figured it only fell over and left.

Off to the hospital via ambulance.
Once there I knew I had to state the same as told to the police. The hospital staff did not draw blood and only took x-rays and eventually told me I broke my collar bone and put me in a figure eight brace and a sling and gave me a prescription for oxycodone/apap

After fours hours it was time to hail a cab and head home.

I was quick to contact a bone specialist who also turns out to be a surgeon. His name is Ken. Ken points out I got a very bad break that may heal on its own in six months ‘however he can operate and pull the bone back into place with an L shape piece of metal and a few screws. He says doing so should bring the healing time down to five or six weeks. So I agree.

Surgery day arrives June 12th
I come out of the Anastasia only to learn the operation that was supposed to take about one hour took over two hours and that rather than the L shaped metal I got a full length of the collar bone metal and seven screws. Ken said the bone splintered. For some reason he did not see this on the x-rays.

Regardless I found that it was after the surgery that the real pain was to show its true face. Because they waited so long all the muscles and tendants shrunk and were re stretched. Now I was given more of the same pain pills and told to wear a new sling.

Here it is week 5 and I was told not to wear the sling anymore at home and to wear it only at work. I was also given two exercises to help loosen the shoulder. What I found was that once the sling was off I had absolutely no use of my right arm. I found myself angry and decided since I was on a three day weekend I would work the arm until I got some use back. I can now open doors and drive with the arm but I can not raise the arm up over my head and if I extend the arm I can not get it up to my chin level. The surgeon says I will need therapy so I question now how painful is this therapy and about how long is it?.

The surgeon says thin people like me complain about the metal and in six months he can remove it. I question what will happen to the arm at that point. Do I go through most of the pain again?

Im six foot five and used to weigh 160 but since this happened weigh 141 I don’t think I can afford to loose any more weight.

I have not touched alcohol for fives weeks now and sure wont ever dehydrate myself like that ever again.
Drinking three or four beers every night and more on weekends made my bones soft. So im told.

I thank the doctors for telling me every time a person drinks alcohol and then urinates they loose calcium.

I wonder how many people know this.

Signed: Thankful to be alive.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 21, 2007 03:19 PM, AB wrote:

I first hurt mine in August of 2005 during Football practice, and I still played on it not knowing until I got X-Rays after the season in November and got the results back in December before Christmas.And till this day it still hurts and my bone sticks out. To make things worst I have my senior season coming up.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 24, 2007 12:24 PM, Anthony wrote:

Great news today!! I've been for my week 9 x-ray and the consultant said that the bone had 'fully united'. What a relief. I know I've still got to be very careful not to do too much too soon and put myself back to square 1, but it's so nice to get some positive news. Maybe now that will increase my positive thoughts and speed my full recovery. Hans, thanks for running this site and giving people who are completely fed up somewhere to air there frustrations and hopefully help towards the healing process

Permanent link to this comment. On July 26, 2007 03:12 PM, Frank wrote:

Hans
I want to thank you for all the useful information on the sight. I,ll be disclosing my story and helpful hint,s in time. But for know I have a question that I hope you can answer. How did Laura Erker,s story ever finish? My injury and progress was almost a mirror image of hers, and her last report was heading out the door for x rays at 8 wks and then nothing after that? Did she find union?
regards Frank

Good question! I'll see if I can get some info from her.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2007 12:39 PM, dave wrote:

my hobbies are triathlon and golf.

its impossible to compare injuries.
this is what i know.

doctors say my break is "acute" with some
overlap.
i crashed onto my left side (to avoid a dog)
while cycling at 15-mph.
a blow to my elbow broke the clavicle.
i passed-out for 20-seconds.

i am depressed::

honestly, what should i expect about
making "normal/hard" golf swings again?

what about the "free-style" swimming motion?
am i screwed?
honestly, is triathlon over for me?

after 5 days i have very little motion,
and can lift only very light objects, in
the shoulder that is "not" broken.

thanks.

-dw

btw: i don't remember the accident, however the dog is in
good health. i must have missed the dog, elsewise it would
be a dead dog.
aren't there leash laws????

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2007 08:51 PM, Charles wrote:

Wow...welcome to my life. You ought to try this: ball your dominant hand in a fist and wrap it with sports tape. Live like that for a week. Buttons, tight pants, etc., all of that works fine. Bras? Pssh...I can undo a girl's bra quicker than she can herself using two fingers. Buttons four or five. Use your pinky, ring, and thumb to hold the hole side and the two remaining fingers to pull on the button of your pants. Once aligned, reposition your thumb so that you are pinching together both sides of the waistband. The rest is easy. Tying shoes is a breeze, too. I also play tennis and guitar. I'm sorry to say, but that article is quite laughable. A two-handed world? Yeah, right.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 2, 2007 09:32 PM, bill (from b4) wrote:

Hi i posted an article about a month ago, im almost at week six and feeling prety good. To the article above, the world is a two handed world. Unless you use one arm ur whole life, you wont be used to it. Anyway i had a couple questions, im not in great shape becuz of all this rest but i dont wanna start doing weights becuz i dont know if my bone is really healed or just mended. My mom said she would take me for an x-ray at the walk in clinic but they take about 1-2 weeks and get sent to my family doctor. Im 16, how long do guys my age usually wait b4 doing weights or sit-ups, runnning? Does it really take 3 months minimum b4 ur bones as strong as b4? I just dont wanna be the person who rebreaks their collarbone. I would appreciate the advice becuz no other site has a good forum like this one.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 4, 2007 03:32 PM, Raz wrote:

Hans this is a great site for those of us dealing with our clavicle injuries. I found your site a few weeks ago and read your story, and returned today and read Laura's, as well as a few of the other postings on the site. Some entertaining stories and I find encouragment with the reading.

I broke my clavicle and a rib while cornering one of the switchbacks on Squaw Pass in Colorado on June 24th. I think that I hit some gravel and then lost control, though I really only remember the sound of the wheels coming out from under me and the next thing a stopping motorist asking if I was okay? Well, at first I thought I was ok and that I would be finishing my ride but I couldn't really move much...really had the wind knocked out of me! Eventually I did get up and a lady that had stopped, who is a nurse, immediately told me that I had a broken clavicle. She and her husband were kind enough to load my bike in their truck and drive me to an Urgent Care in Evergreen. The urgent care xrayd and treated the break and road rash....probably a 3-4 hr visit. I have followed up with my family physician as well as an orthopedic. Both say I will get back to normal...although I've been pretty frustrated with my range of motion. I guess at 46 I'm not going to bounce back like a 25-year old!

Well, here is the weird part; just over 1-week ago I was taken to the ER and admitted to the hospital for a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). Until last week I had never heard of a TIA, which the doctor explained to be a mini-stroke. First, i can't believe anything like this would happen to me...I've been very fit and active my entire life! The docs put me through more tests than I like to admit with all my results being normal. With the exception of two things, the MRI showed I also have a broken rib (from the bike accident, which none of the other doctors I had seen managed to tell me about); the echocardiogram showed a PFO (small hole in my heart). The PFO has been with me all of my life and I understand that about 20-25% of the population has this condition. However, the TIA scared the crap out of me!The doctors don't seem to think that the TIA had anything to do with the bike accident, but in my opinion it's just too much of a coincidence. My cholestrol levels are good, blood pressure normally around 118/70...never a health concern in my life. Now I crash my bike and have a TIA a month later! My thoughts are that maybe I had a small blood clot from the crash that made it's way to my brain through the PVO and shut some things down for a while (I felt back to normal within about 60-90 minutes). I'll be seeing neurologists whenever I can find one that can get me in. I suppose if the docs felt it was all that serious I would be seeing a neorologist at the ER.

Sorry for the long post, I've been pretty consummed with this. I have a wife and 2 small kids that are as freaked out by this as I am. Hoping for some answers!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 6, 2007 04:20 PM, makena wrote:

Update from makena: I finally got a second opinion. My first ortho guy said, "oh, it just takes time to heal, be patient" This is after I looked at the same x-ray he did and don't see my bones "fusing" at all. They were overlapping but not healing together. He said, it just takes time.
I went to another doctor after waiting 8 weeks with the first dr. the new guy's first look at the x-ray, he said, "your bones aren't fusing. we call that "non-union". You need surgery."
Just had surgery last tuesday, july 31. I now have a straight bone with a bone graft in the middle. a seven inch rod and 7 screws in it. alot of pain still, but that was aggravated by the fact that by waiting 8 weeks, scar tissue had formed and they had to scrape that out.
My advice, if you don't like what you're hearing or seeing, get a second opinion, sooner!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 10, 2007 06:36 AM, Tom wrote:

Hello Hans

I have been fascinated by the stories and tips on your site.

I came off my motorbike on a sharp left hand bend at 7.15 pm on Tuesday, 31 July (probably caused by a patch of diesel fuel). One second I was on, next I was sliding across the road. I was only two miles away from home, having spent a great afternoon biking in the glorious Peak District.

Severe pain in left shoulder and inability to get up told me I had probably broken my collar bone.

Am very lucky to be alive since a car was coming the other way, fortunately being driven sensibly. The young woman driver called an ambulance and then my wife. My leathers saved my skin and my crash helmet saved my life.

At very busy hospital the doctor confirmed that I had a multiple fracture and a nurse put my arm in a simple sling and sent me home at 11 pm with appointment for fractures clinic two days later on August 2. I was in a lot of pain and I could feel bones moving around - I tried to sleep in an armchair with a worried wife on settee opposite.

However, I read on the 'net that most fractures heal normally with sling, and so the following day (Wednesday) I honoured my promise to video my grandaughter's birthday party. Pain continued to get worse...

On Thursday morning - after hardly any sleep - I realized why when I saw the X-Ray in the fractures clinic: my collar bone was broken in three places with a two - three inch floating piece in the middle. No wonder I had felt it moving about!

The surgeon told me that he normally only saw this sort of injury in 35 year olds (I am 62). Not sure how to interpret this...

However, he suggested that since I was obviously active (I go to the gym three times a week) he would fix it together with a titanium plate, hopefully the following day (Friday, August 3).

Incidentally he told me that this had to be done within 7 - 10 days of the break - I have not seen any other reference to this time restriction on your site.

Arriving at hospital next morning (in even more pain) I was delighted to hear that he had scheduled me as the first operation of the day. When I came to, now wearing a proper sling, I felt comfortable for the first time since the accident but was very grateful later that day for the repeated doses of morphine to deal with the pain - worst in the middle of the night - but recovered well enough to be discharged after one night in hospital.

A physiotherapist gave me exercises: pendulum swings of the shoulder, wrist rotations, bicep curls and shoulder shrugs!!!

I am delighted to say that the pain has gradually subsided and I have now stopped taking pain killers during the day. Am scheduled to see the surgeon again next week.

My biggest problem now is reduced mobility and sleeping propped up on pillows.

As everyone on your site has said the simplest things become difficult or impossible: I can manage dressing, washing with a flannel and shaving, and am keeping the very moist area under left armpit under control with anti-bacterial gel. However, I am finding it nearly impossible to put my socks on!

Am also under a lot of pressure to give up motorcycling and my bike: a BMW R100RS which is now waiting to have the damage repaired. This is despite the fact that this is my only accident in the twenty years since I returned to motorcycling...

I do feel bad, however, since one of my daughters, who is over eight months pregnant, told me she thought she was going into labour when she saw me lying at the side of the road with my face as white as a sheet. Apparently the young lady who called my wife said "I am very sorry to have to inform you that your husband..." Result: a very worried wife, two distressed daughters, son-in-law and daughter's boyfriend all rushed out to scene of accident!

Please keep up the good work on your site - it really helps to read about other people's experiences with this painful injury.

Tom

Permanent link to this comment. On August 10, 2007 09:19 PM, Margaux wrote:

Hello anyone who can help!
I work for a very small but extremely promising company that (sigh) has no health insurance policy. One of my co-workers accidentally knocked me down while on the job, and because of how I fell....my clavical broke near the top of my left shoulder.(im a contracted employee so no insurance will cover)

I had to go to the doc in Akron ohio so Im pretty sure they are not the authority on collar bone breakage. Only thing is that I just graduated from college and have no health insurance (nor family(foster child)/relatives/kind un-homeless neighbors) to speak of. they put me in a sling but i think that I need a brace that pulls my shoulder/clavical back into place like the figure-8 braces I have been told about.

Im so confused and I cant afford to go to an ortho doc. I am dying to run/workout because its my refuge, but I have no idea how far I can push this without permanent injury. I am so tired of camping out in the university library in order to use the computers.... please help!

any suggestions? Im broke. Im begging. Im desperate. Im
out of options as well as left arms. my boss (and my only source of income)will not accept "excuses"....

thank you!
margaux

Permanent link to this comment. On August 11, 2007 08:07 PM, Frank wrote:

My membership into the very large "fractured clavicle" club began on June 23rd, 7 weeks ago tonight, like many of the other stories it happened on a mountain bike, racing downhill with a friend who tried to pass me and nudged my handle bars..all I remember from that point is my head collecting gravel through the vents on my helmet,. and the weight of the world resting on my left shoulder..It's a good thing it was a cold evening and I was wearing a thick fleece cause the rash would have been to the bone!! I've waited this long to write only because it would be more value to others reading who have just recently hurt themselves..This may look long but I can assure you it will put your mind at ease..the first set of x-rays showed a single clean break 3 quarters of the way down my collar bone towards my shoulder I also fractured 2 ribs and puntured my left lung which didnt require any surgery. I noticed while looking at my x-ray (and this has importance later on) that the clavicle at the fracture site was slightly overlapped with very little displacement. The shoulder joint looked fine,but it was obvious in the days that followed, that it suffered a very bad sprain. Home I went wired on morphine and a perscription for percaset, thank god for that!! The first 4 weeks had it's ups and downs, I managed to get the left arm far enough away from my body to get a bar of soap under it while in the shower.I watched 4 seasons of the Saprano,s and did plenty of web brousing. An overwhelming amount of information that I read on the internet was VERY positive, all the well respected sports injury and medical institutions around North America were in agreement that non union was rare and corrective surgery was reserved for the few who suffered serious complications ex: compound fractures"thats when the bone penetrates through the skin; fracture sites around the base of the neck which could interfere with a large artery and nerves; and severe dislocations which is characterized by extreme tenting of the skin. This site was very positive and supportive as well, but I became aware of the needless worry and anxiety that many suffered from the "worst case senerios" given by there doctors. Iam in no way trying to undermine doctors and surgeons here, and for the unfortunate few thank god we have them, but the rest of my story will get you thinking in a positive way,which is most important with any type of recovery.

I have to be honest and say that for a short while I became concerned about the implications of non union, but I would run my fingers over the fracture site and I could feel one end of the collarbone, and rate underneath it (with no space between) was the other piece which came from my shoulder. At 4 and a half weeks it was not tender or painfull to touch,but if I performed any movement with my arm that put stress at the fracture site I felt a pinch ( the shockers comming read on) Off I go for my 4 week follow up, an xray is taken and then the wait for the ortho surgeon and I'm feeling pretty confident here, in he walks and I say..feels like I have some union happening here, and he says what are ya from another planet no-body heals that quick (fair comment) then he says I'll show you your xray shortly, let me see how much arm movement you have, which wasn't much and he wasn't happy with that(much better now though!) then I looked at the x ray and I couldn't believe my eyes, the fracture looked displaced by at least a half inch.Definately not what I was feeling. Then he says I was hoping to see signs of healing happening between the bones,so I want you to come back in 4 weeks and if thers still no sign we'll have to start thinking of putting a plate in there..Yikes!!

There I go back home worried and doubting my own intellegence of whats really happening in my body..First I want to say, before I had that x-ray I repeatedly moved that arm and shoulder around while feeling the overlapped clavicle and the 2 bones NEVER moved apart from one another, I felt those bones often and they were never apart,not after week 3 anyway. My important point is, be very carefull what you read into x rays,they don't always give an accurate picture especially when it comes to displacement, your displacement could be much smaller then it appears, you don't have to have overlap for healing, it bridges well even with large gaps, and something else, I'm attaching a web page (in case you haven't seen it) that explains the bone healing process..theres 2 types of union first is clinical which depending on your age can take 4-6 weeks, its discribed as a fibrous callous that first forms between your bones, this formation can pass undetected by x-rays. then theres radiograph union, that is the stage in which the bone begins to calcify, and again this stage can also take 4-6 weeks depending on age. That means it can take anywhere from 8-12 weeks before you see any new bone on x-rays, and seeing that I'm 43 I should be at the higher end..I f your worried about union..look at your road rash, is it healing? In my opinion when your road rash is scarred over (no more scabs) you have clinical union inside, and don't be disappointed if your x rays show no new bone growth. I just wish all doctors can get on the same page with this.My next appointment is in a week and I'll give ya's a report. Ican tell you for sure that if I dont see any new calcium I won't panic cause it will only be 8 and a half weeks,other than that I'm starting to feel just great, big improvements after week 4,physio is going well, don't worry you'll get your arm moving again. Happy healing and I hope you found this comforting.....Frank


Permanent link to this comment. On August 12, 2007 07:41 AM, Frank wrote:

Frank again!...Forgot to attach the link on fracture healing...My opinions above are also the opinions of many in the medical field, Here is the one link I had saved, there are many other articles like this around...Google...fracture healing... cheers http://www.e-radiography.net/radpath/f/fracture.htm

Permanent link to this comment. On August 13, 2007 03:32 AM, Nadav wrote:

Hey how you guys doin'? well, I ain't doing good. I broke my collarbone 1.5 years ago while playing basketball in school, I was 15.5 years of age, Now I just celebrated my 17th birthday.
I live in Israel so if my english is lacking then i'm sorry :/
I broke my left collarbone when a player collided directly into my clavicle, I head my collarbone snap into half, Well, something snapped into half, didn't know what exactly...
My mom picked me up and took me to the hospital, I don't remember doing xrays, I just remember that the doctor brutally took my shirt off and glanced at my bone and confirmed that it was indeed a collarbone fracture, the bone snapped into half.
I remember not seeing the collarbone, it wasn't visible.. like I didn't have a collarbone, what does it mean? I had a massive dislocation of the bone?
anyway, as of today the bones are overlapping by 2 cms and my left collarbone is visibly shoter than the right side, My dominant side is right by the way.
I didn't do physiotherapy, because I was insructed by the doctor.
Today, I really care about my cosmetics, Is there an option that my chest muscle has changed because of the shortenning of the clavical? it is different than the right side.
I'm leanning towards surgery, but the doctors I went to don't wanna operate, and if one does agree, is it different from the stage when the bones hasn't fused yet? will I have to make a bone graft? and will my collarbone be the same as my right side? I mean cosmetical.
and will the shave my bone just like the right side? because the left collarbone is thicker and doesn't have an anatomcial look,it's straight.
Last question, is it a complciated surgery? because the bones are already fused...
thanks for any help, Nadav.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2007 04:53 AM, Elly wrote:

Hello to all members of the Broken Clavicle Club! Many thanks to Hans for founding it!
This site was a mine of information and reassurance that I was not alone and if others could do, then I could do it, too. :-)
And here is my small contribution:
It all began on June 24, 2007. I wish it had been triggered by a mountain bike, football or any other kind of exciting activity.
However, on the above date, I was simply watering the garden when I slipped, fell with my right hand stretched and ended up with a distal clavicle fracture close to the acromioclavicular joint.
Faced with the choice of wearing a figure-8 brace which, I was told, will only show non-union in 20 days or having two pins inserted which will speed up the healing process, I went for the surgery. The next day I was scheduled, had general anesthesia and woke up with some extra metal inside me.
The following weeks are familiar to everyone on this site so I won’t delve into them. What I hadn’t realized at the time was that the pins, which were curved at the end, could rotate inside me. At the end of the second week, one of the pins performed exactly that, slowly but thoroughly. This meant excruciating pain and heavy doses of ibuprofen. The other pin also found a new place and almost pierced the skin, but luckily it did not rotate.
At the end of the 6th week, the orthopedist extracted the pins with local anesthesia and told me to begin moving my arm and shoulder without lifting anything heavy and without making sudden movements.
The problem is that after being immobilized for 6 weeks – I had to wear a universal immobilizing sling, too – I can barely lift my arm at 90º angle and there is still pain especially in the back of the shoulder.
So my question is: Does any of you, fellow sufferers, know a site with some advice on what I could do to achieve full motion of this shoulder? This is my 7th week of nursing a painful shoulder and I am getting impatient. :-(

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2007 06:32 AM, Frank wrote:

Elly

I just googled...."shoulder rehab" and theres plenty of good information and shoulder exercises there.My range of motion was very limited as well and when I went for my 4 week follow up my ortho had me raise it up over my head which I never thought it would do, and I never would have attempted that on my own without his consent or him standing rate there watching me.If i were you at this point I would ask your doctor to be a little more specific on what exercises to do. Maybe he did tell you to start raising your arm above your head, and if thats the case, start finger walking up the wall, you have to put up with alot of discomfort in the beginning Elly, but it gets alot better, listen to your own body intellegence as well, when you feel you should stop exercising and rest it..Then obey that feeling.


Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2007 11:50 AM, Elly wrote:

Thanks Frank!
I guess I just needed someone to tell me s/he felt just as bad at some point. This is because I thought I would be as good as new once I had the pins out. Then I decided the clavicle might break again if I did anything drastic...
Actually, my doctor told me to move the arm without raising it up over my head, or at least that's what he demonstrated I should not do. I am thinking of trying finger walking up the wall, though, and listening to my body. ;-)
Maybe I should also pester the doctor some more when I go to have the two stitches taken out.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 14, 2007 02:06 PM, nikki wrote:

i am so glad i found this site it has been great to know im not the only like this i am on my 7week of a broken collar bone i was out for the first time in months and when i fell i was in a club and they were haveing a foam party and yes i fell in it i didnt know i had broke my collar to i had to go to hosiptal were i got an xray i still cant lift my arm up above my head i got my xray last week and no healing but the doc told me it can take up to 3months to fully heal so here is hopeing

Permanent link to this comment. On August 18, 2007 05:58 PM, Anna wrote:

Margaux --

I was so sorry to read of your plight. Since your injury happened on the job, can't your employer help out at all? I'm not a lawyer, but I would imagine that even if someone was just visiting the work place and was injured there would be some liability involved.

Best wishes,
Anna

Permanent link to this comment. On August 18, 2007 09:11 PM, MaryAnn wrote:

Well I must say my broken collar bone story is rather unique when compared to the others I've read here! I am not a youngster by any stretch of the means & I would TOTALLY not consider myself an athlete, unless of course having five children - ranging in age of 27, 25(today), 14, 7,& 4 qualify me! LOL I am a 48 year old, 1st time grandma :) Yes, my lovely 27 year old daughter gave birth to my very first grandchild 6 weeks ago. And that is how I broke my collar bone!! I was simply walking down the street with my daughter as I carried my wonderful new grandbaby in my loving arms with loads of graceful pride. OK maybe not so graceful - I somehow managed to twist myself up and land smack on my back, banging my, ankle, knee, & head on the way down to the hard pavement. My only thoughts were making sure the baby did not get hurt, so I clutched him close to my breasts and threw myself backwards when I realized I had lost my balance. Happy to report the baby came out without anything more than a supersized squeeze from Grandma! One moment I was feeling like a vibrant young mother of a 4 year old & the next I was an old wounded Grandma sprawled out on the pavement! My dauhgter grabbed her baby from my chest & loosened grip from the impacked & gasped with relief that he was OK. I myself caught my breath & thanked God for his safe landing. Then I proceeded to sit up & attempt my stance to the erect world. The minute I rose to my feet I felt the creepy snap-crackle-pops and could not understand how I may have managed to break my right arm! But it sure felt like I had. We continued on our way only to make it a few more steps before I told my daughter something wasn't quite right & I thought I needed medical attention. She agreed with a horrified gasp when I exposed the huge bump protruding from my right collar bone. (I am also right handed) This was 9:00PM on Tuesday, (my wedding anniversary was the next day) I was back home from the ER and sitting on my potty, pucking my gutts out onto the floor by 4:00AM I am in a T-back shoulder brace & an arm sling. My advice here is EAT something with each dose of the ibeprofin. Thank God for Vicidin & a great hubby & a couple of great kids to wait on me cause I am feeling rather useless & helpless!!!! And that is my story & I am sticking to it!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 20, 2007 07:32 PM, Jen wrote:

Hello all!

Wow, reading these stories has done me a world of good. I broke my left clavicle on Aug 12 coming down a speedy downhill on my trusty Cannondale F600 and skidding out on some loose dirt on the tight curve at the bottom. I landed directly on my left shoulder, bounced over once on my head (thank you, helmet!) and have some impressive road rash on my left shoulder blade that is just starting to heal.

The only person in my group with any first aid training was, well, me! (My buddy's girlfriend is a doctor; I said, "Do you know what to do?" She said, "No.") Somehow I remained completely calm and gave directions until the emergency team showed up to drive me out on an ATV. I thought I could walk out, but shock was setting in and I couldn't walk more than 2 steps without almost passing out. I remember telling my friends, "Lay me down. Now elevate my feet. Someone give me water." I will eventually forgive my friend who, meaning to help, poured purple Gatorade in my eyes while trying for my mouth. Thank goodness for the training I received on my NOLS Outdoor Educator course in WY this June! The only critical mistake I made was lying down in a patch of poison ivy. So road rash on the left shoulder blade, oozing sores on the right blade--it's quite sexy, really.

The emergency team was quite enthusiastic, but a little Keystone Cops scene played out: the oxygen mask was partly over my eyes, so I had a wind blowing directly onto my eyes until I got them to move it down over my nose/face; the women taking my vitals kept unpacking a bag and bumping me really hard every time she did so; they poked me four times in four places in my right arm(and each one is now a purple bruised knot) in order to start a morphine IV, which they eventually had to do in my left arm which I was clutching to my chest for dear life. "You want me to straighten it?" was all I could say in disbelief, but straighten I did; needed the morphine just for that; the man leaning over me in the ATV was sweating copiously onto my face, so I had his sweat stinging my eyes; they couldn't get the stretcher to lock in place in the ambulance and began slamming it hard until I yelled, "I'm on this thing!" to which they replied, "Sh*t! We forgot!".

After all that, the ER folks gave me more good drugs, took some x-rays and sent me home with a sling that was made for Andre the Giant (I am 5' 7" and 130) and a script for Percocet. I'd asked for Vicodin, but they talked me into Percs which made me puke. After two days with that nuisance, the Ortho I saw was incredibly helpful--my condolances to all of you who had to deal w/ Ortho's with poor or indifferent bedside manner. He'd had a broken collarbone himself and said that while current research says the sling is the way to go, the figure-8 is what worked for him. He rigged me up and sent me home with Vicodin. Aahhh! Now I could sleep and find some comfort.

So here I am, 8 days into recovery, and was surprised to find myself in good enough shape to go to a Crowded House concert a couple of days ago, and on a date yesterday. I am not taking anything for pain. The only trouble I have is with the lump the straps the figure-8 makes right on my spine when I sleep; it's gettng a bit sore. Any tips for that? I'm also having those fiery pains and numbness many of you have described, depending on my arm position. I know it's nerve-related, and I'm hoping it goes away soon as things continue to heal. I just got the neon-yellow bruising creeping down my torso thing some of you have had, and that is further helping the sexy look. :)

This has been an exercise in patience and dependence. For example, it iss challenging to feel both grateful to and irritated with my ex-boyfriend who helped me shower that first night to get the dirt out of my back. He was incredibly helpful, but keeps calling to see if I need another shower. Uh, no.

Like many of you, I'm used to being incredibly active (rock climber, mtn biker, whitewater kayaker), so this is tough. I've gotten incredibly adept at being one-handed, even typing, and I'm grateful that it's summer so I can slip into strappy tank tops with ease after I pull them up over my hips. It's also been raining for almost a week, so I don't feel I'm missing too much!

Today was kind of a low day emotionally. I am bored, tired of needing help with the brace, not being able to do certain things for myself. I'm not a tv watcher, but my friends set me up with a set and a dvd player, so I've watched a ton of movies. It helps, but the charm is fading. Reading, doing some work (which is mostly by email, fortunately), helps and friends visit, but yeah--there are times I struggle. I try to remind myself that at least I am alive, and I could have injured far more severely, so I'm lucky. It helps (as does the occasional single malt scotch...!).

I am glad there's such a cool, prestigious club of which I am now a member, and I thank you for your stories. You've cheered me up on a gloomy evening. It's also good to have a realistic picture of the time I will take to heal, being 36. I'm resting mostly to work with my body instead of against it, and we'll see how long I take... Thanks, everyone!

Missing my bike (she rolled away without a scratch, at least),

Jen

Permanent link to this comment. On August 22, 2007 09:59 AM, Frank wrote:

As I read your story Jen, I found alot of simularities to mine, even my ortho broke his collar bone. I came on to update my progress which started on june 23rd, my last posting was August 11th, but just to comment on a couple of things you talked about Jen, the figure of 8, the jury's out on that one, I personally liked it and thought it was doing me some good, but being single I had to trash it. Hopefully when NASA is done with the space station, they can help engineer one that fastens at the front...The bruising, expect that to be hanging around for a while, I'm at 8 weeks and it's finally left me, yes it can be hard on ya if your attached to physical appearance. My left wing looked like it belonged to" Mongomery Burns" (the simpsons....google him, you said you don't watch any TV) my delts, bicep and tricep basically disappeared and the pain was awful. But I can say that it's all much better now, until I look at an xray of course. On the 20th I went for my 8 week xray....no change, same picture as before. It's funny how you can feel so well, confident, and strong and then look at a picture and feel so deflated. But it was only a brief moment, it's only 8 weeks to early to see new bone and theres definately some bone knitting happening despite what the x ray shows, my own intellegence is telling me that things are healing fine, and thats what I'm going by, not an xray. My ortho wants me back in 6 weeks and gives me a 50/50 chance of having union, I had him place his fingers over the fracture site to feel the strength in it (which doesn't back up the xray) but he fails to comment, he says I'm tough!!.I do like the guy though he is a good ortho/surgeon,and he's not pushing me for a plate, in fact he say's, thats all going to depend on me, how I'm feeling and whether I want it. I joke with him and tell him I feel great when I'm not looking at xrays..for those of you at this stage, I don't want to sound cynical, but there are some differing opinons out there about the reliability of xrays to show new growth. if you can find it some where in this forum, there was a guy by the name of Jeff Brook read his story and follow ups, its awhile ago, but interesting. He like myself was having xrays show up negative on healing. But like me, he was very active and was concerned of his life ahead without a healed clavicle. His surgeon told him that although the xrays and ct scans show new bone, it doesn't always mean theres none there, he told jeff that he once opened a guy up under the same circumstances as his, only to find bone!!! and I believe it, thats probably a stat thats not recorded or ever talked about. Having said that, there are cases for surgery, and plenty of success stories there as well....Iguess the only thing that bites for me now is that I still can't begin to strength train, despite that I'm feeling darn good, I can lift 30 pounds with the left no problem, but some of the differnt ranges and arm positions still hurt (without weight)...back to you Jen, if your able to sleep on your right side that might help the strap burn on back..lol..I was suprised to read you were out at a concert after a week with no pain, Iwas still doing perkies at that point, I was getting out, but a little wired up.You'll have your ups and downs, but it sounds like your healing faster than i was..and I hope things continue to go well for you, take care and fast healing to all....frank

Permanent link to this comment. On August 23, 2007 02:40 AM, Jen wrote:

Thanks for the tip on side sleeping. I was worried that the weight shift would move my left shoulder down in a bad way since the bone is definitely not bridged yet, but I'll give it a try.

I'm not too worried about how I look, so the bruising, etc. isn't too big a deal. The poison ivy was the gross part, and that has finally just about healed, thank goodness! It's a little weird to get stared at whenever I go out, but kind of funny, too.

Speaking of the evil poison oak, I have a few pages of info with my experiences with that nasty plant:

http://www.hanskellner.com/archives/2003/01/14/poison_oak_argh.html

I hope I found just what I need: a front-closing brace. I ordered it tonight, and really, really hope that I can take it on and off myself while still getting enough support. I'm having a hard time not being able to adjust it at night, etc. when a friend is not around to help me, and I don't want to keep depending on them for the next 6 weeks (even though they are wonderful about it)!

http://www.dme-direct.com/royce-medical-front-closure-clavicle-support/

Have any of you ever used this product?

I hope you continue to heal well, Frank!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 24, 2007 06:57 AM, Allison - Jersey, Channel Islands wrote:

Hi there, this site has been really informative and helpful. I broke my collar bone some 13 weeks ago. I have had two lots of x-rays which apparently reveal that the break has resulted in the bones crossing over and I have a rather large lump. The consultant told me that the x-rays reveal that there has been no change in the bones since the fracture in May. I am due to have more x-rays in October. I have a virtually full range of movement. I'm not particularly worried about the bump though and the pain had subsided considerably. However, two days ago the pain returned and I developed tingling in my hand and a loss of strength in my fingers resulting in me not being able to successfully use a spray can or write properly....i know that when i first went to hospital I was asked if I had pins & needles which I did not and i am somewhat alarmed that this has developed over 3 months later...has anybody else experienced similar? I am a 43 year old female..

What you describe might be caused by a nerve being impinged. I would recommend that you follow up with your doctor and describe your new condition.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 26, 2007 08:27 PM, Frank wrote:

Hey Jen....How's that clavicle healing? Congradulations on finding a front fastening figure 8 brace, I could have used one, and it's good that the people reading this forum know there out there...Things are healing well here, in fact I seen another Doctor and he assured me that my clavicle is healing, without having to look at an xray...I've been getting positive vibes about laying on my left side...so I did..and that was fine, never hurt!! I won't sleep on it though, I'll wait another couple of weeks for that...good to hear you have that poison ivy thing overwith, like you needed that on top of everything!!....take care...and good healing to all......

Permanent link to this comment. On August 26, 2007 11:24 PM, kharen hill wrote:

just a couple of comments...I have been sleeping in a "zero gravity" (outside chair from Costco or canadian tire) chair that swings flat and also upright. You can't roll over and hurt your shoulder. Also the codine they gave me at emergency made me dizzy, nautious so I stopped taking it. The doctors didn't mention that could be a side effect.
I don't know why any-one would be trying to madly exercise in the first couple of weeks. I am at day 8 and my briuses are not completely heled and neither are my other aches and pains, so I think it is better to give your body a break and try and let it heal without pushing it?

Permanent link to this comment. On August 29, 2007 03:30 PM, Jen wrote:

Bummer! The front-closing brace arrived, and it's not going to work. The straps are stiff and cannot possibly be worn comfortably under one's arms; you'd have to hold them straight out, like a stick person. It also creates downward pressure on the clavicle, which obvoiusly is not a good thing. It comes with a very thick, rounded foam insert that is supposed to go between your shoulder blades, which makes sitting back in a chair or lying down impossible. It is removable, but then the support doesn't work correctly. All in all, poor design for our needs. I would not recommend it.

Guess it's back to the figure-8 for support, but remaining dependent on my friends' help. :(

Thanks for posting your review. Maybe I should add a review section for shoulder supports? Or maybe it's time for someone to invent a comfortable and usable shoulder support!

Glad you got good news, Frank!

Permanent link to this comment. On August 30, 2007 05:03 PM, John Vander Wyden wrote:

I broke my clavicle and 8 ribs front and back on my right side.
This was on July 12th, 50 days ago. I am feeling great compared to how I felt right after the accident. The clavicle and 2 of the ribs still bother me. I have a disk that the imaging facility gave me with my X-Rays and MRI images. I am now waiting for the orthopedic doctor to tell me if my body is laying down a fibrous bridge and healing. My X-rays really scared me when I first saw them because the two peices of the clavicle seem so far apart, sort of hanging over each other. The doctor allayed my fears and explained how that was common. The injury itself is very common in cycling and motor cross.
How is your shoulder coming along, and long term effects. It's been a while now hasnt it?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 1, 2007 01:41 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi All

I fell off my pushbike on Aug 23 and broke my left clavicle. The bone is tenting (not breaking) the skin and it doesn't look great. I went to clinic yesterday and the registrar said surgery would be needed. The consultant was called and he suggested waiting a month to see what happens. I am not in pain and only have limited use in that arm & hand anyway due to residual paralysis from head injuries received in a previous motorcycle RTA. The consultant said that I didn't meet the criteria for urgent surgery so thought it best to wait. I'm not sure how it will go but think that if I want pre-injury appearance, movement & strength then I'll have to have it pinned or whatever they do these days?

Cambridgeshire, UK

Permanent link to this comment. On September 1, 2007 03:15 AM, Elly wrote:

Hi Trevor,

If the doctor said surgery was not needed, then you probably wouldn't need pins or plates. However, you can always get a second opinion.

Just keep in mind that in most cases clavicle fractures heal on their own but you still need a figure-8 support (in my case it was a universal support which immobilized the shoulder, kept the elbow next to my body and fixed my wrist to the front of a kind of belt enfording my waist).

Good luck and quick healing!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 1, 2007 05:09 PM, Trevor wrote:

Hi

Thanks for the reply Elly. I think he would have gone down the surgery route but because I was not keen and have not got full movement in that shoulder anyway, I think he was prepared to wait. All I was given for support was a velcro fastening arm sling. I don't think that the NHS is big on flashy supports? I don't know how a non-union affects the shoulder in the long run but the x-ray did show a distance between fractures & that displacement may be a big problem, together with the tented skin? I'll just have to play it by ear for a while I assume.

I know I shouldn't be perhaps, but I'm always trusting that consultants know what they are doing and I feel out of my depth to question them!

Trevor

Permanent link to this comment. On September 2, 2007 07:35 PM, MaryAnn wrote:

Well it is just a few days short of 3 weeks from breaking my right collar bone while falling carrying an infant. I HATE this **** figure-8 thingy!!!! At my 2 week checkup I had myself convinced that I would hear wonderful news like no more figure-8! Instead I heard that the original X-RAY taken at the ER was one of the worst clavical breaks my Doc has every seen! Apparently it's not only broken & overlapping, but also I have several shattered bone pieces in there as well :( Doc did say that she was shocked to see me in such great shape & not a ton of pain after seeing my Xray, but that I will probably be in this horrible fig-8 for another 4 to 6 weeks!!!!! I stopped taking the vicidin & ibuprofin after the first week. Has anyone else had the feeling of popcorn popping in there back shoulder & then after a week or so the feeling of bugs running all around inside your shoulder & up & down your arm at odd intervals & a burning sensation a lot? I can actually see the skin twitching & a bubbling kind of motion in my arm at times too.Thankyou in advance for any replies:) MaryAnn

Permanent link to this comment. On September 3, 2007 09:43 AM, Leslie A wrote:

Everyone:

This is a HUGE comfort to me. I was just searching the internet for info and found this. I don't know what you call it (a blog is one person's diary, right?) but this is awesome!

My story - 59 year old bike enthusiast (close to 2,000 miles per year). Spinal fusion 5 years ago for scoliosis so pain and restricted activity are no strangers to me.

Broken left clavical from a fall on Sept 1st. Beginning of group ride. When I got up, I felt the pain immediately on top of the left shoulder. Never felt that kind of pain so soon. So, I knew it wasn't just soft tissue.

I'm a dental hygienist so I have some knowledge of medicine and find orthopedics fascinating. Walked my bike back to the start (no, my beautiful custom Seven was not damaged). Fortunately, someone helped me by putting the bike in my car and I drove myself to the ER (10 minutes away). Did I mention I drive a stick shift?!

Now day 2. I found last night that the pain increases while in the suppine position. Also, the ice helps attenuate the pain even after hour #48.

Yup, gorgeous weather here in CT. Best of the season. Dry, warm and sunny. Makes it all so much worse.

I am particularly interested in everyone's recovery story.
I have a spinner bike downstairs so it is no problem to use it w/ one hand/arm support.

Love the tip on getting your own tee shirt on! Luckily my husband is home this week.

Intrigued by the Figure 8 Brace. DOES THIS REPLACE THE SLING??? So does it allow you to use the arm and to what degree?

Again, thanks to the originator and other writers.

United we stand, together we....uh oh - didn't mean that one!
Leslie A

Permanent link to this comment. On September 3, 2007 08:45 PM, Jim wrote:

Hi All:
Would love some advice. My 14 year old son, Nate, broke his collarbone playing ice hockey four weeks ago. He had a central fracture with the tips touching. Incredible pain until the morphine kicked in at which point he became Mr. Happy. He is the strongest player on our soccer team, and we have our semi-finals coming up this weekend, which will be at the five week mark. He has been out of the sling for two weeks, has no pain and is fully mobile. He started fooling around with his hockey stick last weekend.
The question I have is regarding the relative risk. I am his Dad and his soccer coach. He is the strongest player on the team. He has healed really fast, and at 14 will be at the fastest healing of his life.
This seems a bit early. Does anyone have any comments on how likely it is that he has actually built up enough strength in the fusion to be safe? How much risk is there if he breaks it again at the same point?
Any advice appreciated. I am really perplexed as to whether this is just too early.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 3, 2007 08:50 PM, Jen wrote:

Leslie,

Yes, the fig-8 replaces the sling. It does allow you to use both hands, and I find it to be far more comfortable than the sling ever was. How much you can use your arm and hand is really relative...depends on your bruising, injury, etc. I had significant bruising because I was going so fast at impact, so I have a lot of muscle soreness. And, of course, the idea is to keep the injured area immobilized, so you don't want to go using that arm/hand too much even when it is freed up.

I hope you keep healing well!

Jen

Permanent link to this comment. On September 4, 2007 07:03 AM, Frank wrote:

Jim
I have a very hard time believing that anyone in the healthcare field would approve of your son playing soccer so soon. In most cases people normaly survive this break without very serious complications ex; compound fractures(bone comes up through skin) distubances with nerves and a very large artery, take a look at the big picture Jim, it's only a soccer tournament, your son has a long promising athletic life ahead of him.So why risk a refracture which potentially can be much more serious next time? it's only one opinion here, but if he was my son, he wouldn't be playing.....frank

Permanent link to this comment. On September 4, 2007 07:11 PM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hey, this is my first time on this website...it's awesome, just discovered it today. Glad I'm not alone in the quest for healing! :)
I am a 37 year old female who managed to break her left collar bone on August 12th, doing what I love...dirt bike riding.
My husband had just picked up a brand new Honda CRF450X and wanted to give it a spin. Given the dry, dusty and extremely hot conditions, I wasn't too keen on going that day, but decided to go for a quick spin. Always one to be safety concious, I wear full protection riding, especially after breaking 2 ribs in my lower back less than a year ago. But all of the safety gear couldn't help me when I was tossed at high speed to the ground. We were about 2 minutes from the cottage after only a 35km ride. I hit my head on the ground (wearing a helmet of course) so hard that my vision blurred in my left eye for a while. My left shoulder hit pretty hard too and resulted in my collar bone poking out pretty good against my skin. After I managed to get my vision cleared I hopped back on my bike to try to ride the short distance back, but there was too much pain in my left shoulder, so my husband rode back to get our friends to bring the car to get me and he took my dirt bike back. One of my biggest concerns (apart from the head hitting and the protruding bone in my chest) was that I hadn't had a shower since Friday morning. And you can imagine with all of the dust I rode through while sweating, I was caked with dirt! My girlfriend was kind enough to give me a sponge bath before we proceeded to the hospital. When I went to the hospital, they gave me a figure 8 brace to wear. Apparantly this is the way to go instead of a sling because it wasn't a clean break and there was fragments. They gave me an Rx for percs and instructions to leave the brace on and go see my own doctor. The problem I had with the figure 8, was that it was cutting off the circulation in my left arm. I'd wake up in the morning (from my upright sleeping position) and couldn't find the knuckles on my left hand and twisting my arm made my skin hurt. This couldn't be good. When I saw my doctor, she told me to loosen the brace at night and tighten it during the day, which seemed to work out fine. I had a follow up appointment with her last Thursday (2-1/2 weeks after my accident) and she seemed optomistic that the bone didn't seem to be tenting as much and I'd have to wear the *$@%^# brace for up to 6 weeks. Up until that morning I was optomistic as well, I went back to work the day before feeling pretty good, except for the unrelenting ache in my whole shoulder. But upon awaking from a restless night, I found much more pain in the bones themselves, almost as if they maybe had started mending and then broke again. My doctor sent me for x-rays and I was unprepared for the results. Anytime I have x-rays done, I always try to get the technician to give me information, but they never do. This time, I didn't even need to ask, he started asking me if I went to the hospital, which one, did they x-ray me and what did they do for me. This is when I started to get concerned. He asked me to come and look at my x-ray after I got dressed. To my amazement, the bones weren't even connected...not even close. The bone that is still tenting, is sitting above the other bone and overlapped. By the time my doctor sees my x-rays this week, I will be almost 4 weeks into this and no better off than when it first happened. I'm still taking baths instead of showers. My husband takes my brace off briefly so I can wash my upper body as best I can. I can manage to get T-shirts on, but need help getting them off...tank tops have been the easiest to deal with. After some of the stories I've read on this website, people waiting up to 3 months for the bones to heal themselves and then finally having to have surgery just to go through a whole new healing process. This scares me. I am tired of sleeping on my right side with 2 pillows under my head and 1 under my left arm to keep it up. I'm tired of wearing the figure 8 with jackets to hide it in 30 celcius weather (living just north of Toronto, Canada and our summer isn't over yet!). I want someone to just cut me open and fix it so I can get on with healing and get past this. The only thing this brace seems to be doing is restricting my movement so I don't do any more damage inside. I definitely don't feel comfortable without the brace on because I do still feel broken, but I hate the damn thing!
Am I being too impatient waiting for this thing to heal or am I right to think that if it hasn't started to mend itself by now, it never will?
How much damage can be done inside if these bones remain unattached?
Any comments would be appreciated.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 5, 2007 01:51 AM, Trevor wrote:

I don't think that you're being impatient Colleen, that's just human nature in my book. I have a break which is tenting on my shoulder and surgery is the most likely outcome for my untrained eye. My next appointment is not until the end of Sept and then I'll have to wait for surgery, if that's the way the consultant decides upon, and then go through a healing process - it's all rather depressing isn't it?

Cambridgeshire UK.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 5, 2007 05:50 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hi Trevor, sounds like we have a similar situation except that it sounds like you're not having any pain from it anymore, is that right? How much range do you have with your arm and is it always in your sling?
I wouldn't be as concerned about my situation if it still didn't hurt so much....and I do have a high tolerance for pain I think! Being a dirt rider, it is necessary. lol

Permanent link to this comment. On September 5, 2007 02:22 PM, Steven wrote:

Well I was sure mine would have healed by now, but No.
It is now week 11 and the Doc said it is time to try surgery, so Next week I go in. I am going to have The Modified Hagie pin procedure That A DR. from Duke medical center in North Carolina came up with. It looks minuminly invasive and they say recovery is quicker. I have not been able to work at all through this because I am a Heavy Equipment Tech. That has really hurt since I am the main income in the house. and any disability you can get takes months to start.
I have noticed that over the past couple weeks I can do more, but he still thinks for me surgery is best. I can not sit and wait any longer, I have to get back to work.
Wish me luck, and I will let you know how this Modified pin procedure works.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 5, 2007 06:50 PM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Good luck Steven, I hope your surgery goes well and you can get back to work quickly. I couldn't find any previous posts from you...how did you break yours?

Permanent link to this comment. On September 6, 2007 02:30 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi again Colleen

Due to the residual paralysis I have on that side It's always difficult to get a clear view. My break has not really been painful and the consultant pressed the tenting bone last week and it was just like he was pushing a sponge that bounced back up, very strange and painless. I have limited movement under normal circumstances and although I can take my arm out of the sling for washing and dressing I'm very wary of moving it. Trying to hold my dropped shoulder up does make it ache. The worst bit for me is that if I try to lay on my unaffected side in bed then it's too painful on the broken side. Also, I think I've strained my chest ligaments and it really hurts when raising myself from flat on the bed. Apart from all that I'm fine (he said jokingly!)

I'm a big bike fan myself, mainly speedway, but I'm at one with all bike riders. I also know about biker pain after nearly killing myself on a road bike.

I hope you lose that pain and get sorted out!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 6, 2007 11:17 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hey Trevor, I hear you about the ache, sometimes it's unbearable. I dread night time, since I seem to toss & turn all night but am unable to toss & turn very far and not without groaning every time either. I avoided laying on my back the first couple of weeks because it was too painful to get up even with help. I found that my lower abdomen muscles were getting a good workout because they were doing most of the work.
I am quite lucky that my worst accidents were on my dirt bike and not on the street (I also have a Honda 599 which I think is called the Hornet in your area of the world.)
Good news for me, my doctor just called and they are trying to schedule me in to see an orthopedic specialist as early as next week. Keep posting how you're doing....people who haven't had this injury don't always understand and some of the ones who have, it was too long ago for them to remember exactly how much this sucks!!!

Permanent link to this comment. On September 6, 2007 05:37 PM, Casandra wrote:

I am so happy to have found this site. I broke my right clavicle 5 months ago today. It was the first day of spring break and I was feeling strong and healthy. That lasted until I rode my bike around a corner to fast, hit a guardrail, and did a header over the handle bars. The first orthopedic I went to put me in a really uncomfortable sling and told me I would need to wear it for 6 weeks. He spent a total of 3 minutes with me. After 4 weeks I was finally able to get into the otho that I wanted to go to. He told me I should have had surgery immediately after the accident - but now it was too late. When I saw him again the next month and I still had pain and had not even started to heal, he booked me for surgery.
Surgery went well. I got a titanium plate and 8 screws put into my clavicle. When I had my follow up visit a week later - still taking lots of pain meds - I did not really understand him when he told me I needed to wear my sling for a while every day, but could use my arm for day to day necessities. I think my everyday necessities were a little different from what he had in mind and 4 weeks to the day of my surgery four of the screws ripped out of my bone and the plate started coming up through the top of my sholder. I barged into his office crying in pain and was taken immediately back to surgery. I am now 8 weeks since my second surgery and still wearing an "immobilizer" around my waist that secures my arm and wrist to the side of my body. For the first 6 weeks I was not allowed to take it off at all - thank god for tube tops that I could pull up underneath the immobilizer. I am now back to wearing real shirts (and a bra) as I can remove my immobilizer 2x a day. I have started back to work on a limited basis. I work with behavior disorder kids, so I am needed to keep my distance from most of them. I also have a bone growth stimulator that I wear 6 hours a day as my bones are not growing / healing. (My doctor also neglected to tell me not to drink after my first surgery, so I spent my summer vacation in a nice haze of pain pills and cocktails.) At 37 I am being told that I am at the upper eschlon of healing time. But I am tired of waiting!!! It is nice to commisterate with others. Good luck, speedy recovery, and oh yeah, curtail the cocktails for now.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 6, 2007 06:17 PM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hey Casandra, I think men's everyday necessities differ a lot from women's! I do have to admit that my everyday necessities have become every-other-day necessities (like bathing/shaving) because it's just too much of an ordeal. I'm looking forward to getting out of the tub and back into the shower. lol
If they immobilize me....I'll make them do it over my bra....I'm 37 too!!! Good tip about cocktails and painkillers....there's nothing like washing down a couple of percs with a beer to wash away the pain and get a half-decent night's sleep. Take care.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2007 01:48 AM, Jennie wrote:

Here's an interesting story I have a definite broken clavicle bone but don't remember breaking it. Well thats not completely true I was in a car accident over 6 years ago which all I thought happened to me was just some bumps and bruises. However, I saw a family doctor who suggested that it was a delayed response ????? Does that make any sense to any one else? So one morning in October of last year I woke up felt my collar bone and there it was a pushed out bump. Let me tell you I was freaked out. I am currently trying to make an appointment with a Ortho doctor to maybe figure out this mystery. In your research have you found that this is a bump that I will have to live with for the rest of my life?

Sincerely,
Jennie

It's rather odd that a collar bone bump would appear so long after the accident. And it's the first time here anyone has mentioned that happening. It's good that you are seeing a doc about the bump. Let us know what the Ortho tells you.

As for living with a collar bone bump, the good news is that the bump tends to decrease over time. Some folks lose the bump while others retain a slight bump. But it all depends on your own body. And having a bump isn't so bad. It really makes for great stories when hanging around the pool.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 9, 2007 07:43 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

In talking with many people I know that have broken their collar bone, they have all said that they still have a bump where the break was. When I was concerned that I still had a bump after a few weeks, they all said "don't worry about it". Apparantly, I needed to worry about it because the bone is not healing properly, it's way high, hence the bump. I would definitely get it checked out for your own peace of mind.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 10, 2007 05:13 PM, Jim wrote:

A quick update to 3/9/8 posting last week.

My son Nate played soccer on Sunday. He was fine. He was careful not to have any hard shoulder challenges. He scored our only goal and then scored in the penalty shootout and we won. So everyone is glad he played.

Our next game isn't for 10 days at which point it will have been almost seven weeks, so he should be safe to play pretty well full out. From everything I have read, at his age he should be at 95% bone strength.

Thanks for your feedback all. Great blog Hans. Break a leg, all.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 14, 2007 09:17 PM, Kate's mom wrote:

Jim
Check back to my postings Sept.2006 My daughter Kate broke her collar bone on the soccer field. 34 days later she was out playing in the state playoffs. She was a little tentative at first, but as a 3 sport athlete...when basketball hit the HS calendar she played as if nothing had happened in soccer...complete with spills on the floor.
We are on to her Jr year in HS ... third yr of varsity soccer and she plays as if the collar bone was never an issue. Good luck to you and your son--let him play if he is up to it.
Kate's mom

Permanent link to this comment. On September 18, 2007 07:29 PM, Ngairo wrote:

Going in to week 5 after a collision with another player while playing rugby. Needless to say I came off second best but he apparently hurt his knee which is what connected with my shoulder. Man... getting up off the ground was a fright as I leaned on my hurt arm to get up and realised that putting weight on it had pushed the bone out of alignment...snap, crackle, pop and I was back on the ground again. Long story short, doctors confirmed a broken right collar bone, I was in bed that night and all of next day. The break was relatively pain free but the swelling and bruising that followed was pretty tough to get through.

In week two I was getting cramped muscles around my right shoulder blade and that made it hard to breath or get comfortable for a couple of days so in week three I ditched the sling and started extending my arm as it was cramping also. This helped with some of the muscle stiffness/cramps in my back and chest but I suggest a warm to hot shower when ever you can manage it...heat really helps with getting blood circulating through those injured areas...just don't over do it...any pain felt during gentle exercise should be backed away from in this time.

Got a lot of ROM back but will try the finger crawl up the wall. Ortho reckons to give it 8 weeks then he'll make a call on surgery or if it's all good then let it heal naturally. Still feel a tightness at the front of the shoulder which I am hoping is muscular rather than structural and the jaundice look is still around the injured area...anyway, glad to share...great site. Good luck out there with the getting better...

Permanent link to this comment. On September 19, 2007 02:18 PM, Colin wrote:

Hi guys, I broke my collarbone playing football in gym. I went to go for a jumpball, I caught the ball and fell, rolled, SNAP. And here I am. It's been six days now and it's been the most iratating, uncomfortable, and draining week I've ever experienced.
Granted, I am only 16, I havent experienced much. I'm a very active person, so this is a really bad injury for someone like me.
I've been given a figure 8 and sling. I was starting to feel better, and I woke up this morning. Me being the biggest idiot ever, I used my right arm to suppourt my body while turning off my alarm clock. OUCH. I had to leave school early. I'm just hoping I'm one of the blessed and I heal early and well and I can resume my otherwise amazing life.

I want my life back.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 20, 2007 09:34 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Well, I'm 5 weeks in now and I went to see a specialist yesterday. X-rays show not much healing but the doctor is optomistic that it will heal on it's own. I hope he's right. It's still pretty sore and I'm still wearing the figure 8 brace and have to keep wearing it for the next 4 weeks. Doctor says I can take it off to sleep now which I did for the first time last night. It was soooo nice to take it off for a while and I even left it off to have a shower (instead of a bath) this morning. I go back in 6 weeks to see how I'm progressing. The doctor says we should avoid surgery if at all possible. Although there isn't much healing showing up yet, he has see patients take up to 3 months before the healing starts. In my case, I have a bone fragment in between the ends which should help connect the bones back together. I'm told only 1% of cases end up with a non-union and need surgery. Hopefully I am in the 99% group.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 21, 2007 01:52 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi All

I'm a month in now. I have a displaced break nearish to the shoulder joint with the bone tenting on top of my shoulder. It isn't painful although it can feel a little tight and strange at times. It is troublesome at night and I haven't attempted to lay on that side. The muscles and ligaments still feel sore from my fall I had although they are improving. My collar bone is not going to go back into place on its own and I don't particularly like it as it is. I see my consultant in a week's time after x-ray so will know a little more then. I only have limited movement and strength in the affected side anyway so hopefully I wouldn't require major metalwork if it needed fixing surgically?

Trevor
Cambs UK

I don't know if the amount of "metalwork" changes in that case. I would think that the amount would only vary depending on the break itself. Your consultant should be able to give you the answer.

-Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On September 22, 2007 03:58 PM, Carl wrote:

I'm so glad I found this site! I fractured my Clavicle on a hard fall while mountain biking at Keystone, CO. Was fine for the first day, but oh boy did the pain kick in for the rest of the first week. I remember lying in bed at night needing to use the bathroom, but too scared to try get out of bed because of the blinding pain for a few minutes whenever I moved my shoulder, even the simple act of getting out of bed.

Had the same bruising, I figured internal bleeding? Am hoping that I didn't do any other damage such as a torn rotator cuff. I'll make an appoinment with an ortho about 3-4 weeks in, since my fracture is not displaced there doesn't seem much point in visiting a specialist right away before having some time to heal.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 24, 2007 08:08 AM, CT wrote:

Hi Steven,

I actually had that surgery with Dr. Basamania in NC the day you posted your message (9/5). So now I'm about 3 weeks post op. The surgery went great. I had a malunion that I was not satisfied with both discomfort-wise and vanity-wise. They knocked me out and took about an hour to do it (no bone grafting or anything). I stayed in the hospital for about 6-7 hours after then split.

I recommend this to anyone contemplating surgery. They usually take the pin out after about 12 weeks. As opposed to 2 years with plate and screws, and scar is very minimal.

Permanent link to this comment. On September 26, 2007 10:58 AM, Don wrote:

So I did my left clavicle four days ago. Shattered it. Broken into four parts. Also cracked scapula.

The 'road rash' and bruises on the right side, pulled groin and wrenched knee are equally as annoying as the immobilized left arm, though. Makes trying to baby the shoulder REALLY tricky!

The ER doc was convinced they'd have to do surgery - put pins and plates and stuff. The ortho doc said no though! As long as the pieces are aligned reasonably and in the general vicinity of each other, they just let it all grow back together.

I feel like a stem cell experiment!

I wish I had video. This has to have been my most spectacular cycling crash yet, and I've had some doozies!

ps: I have a cracked helmet (and intact head) as a memento.

Note: the ER put me in a figure-8 brace. It is supposed to keep the bone aligned and immobilized. The ortho doc said get rid of it. For my break it would not help, and they are questionable value in all cases, according to him. I have blisters on arm and torso from wearing the thing two days. So beware if they want you to use that.

Yes, the jury is still undecided on the usefulness of the figure-8 brace. But I used one and it helped me stabilize my shoulder. I truly believe it helped me to heal faster.

Now you indicate having blisters from wearing yours. That's an obvious sign of a brace that is not being used correctly. There are some rather cheap versions out there that don't fit well and have terrible padding. Combine those issues with wearing it wrong and/or too tight and you have problems.

In my opinion, if the figure-8 brace is worn correctly and stabilizes your shoulder then it's going to help your shoulder heal. And if it maintains a better posture and alignment while your bones are healing then shouldn't they then fuse back together in a better position? Watch how your shoulder and the broken side wants to droop and hunch forward. If that causes the broken ends of the collar bone to approach at a larger angle and they then fuse at that angle you have now changed the geometry of your shoulder.

The only negative others have posted about wearing a figure-8 is discomfort. And that has typically been solved by learning how to correctly wear the brace or finding one that has a better fit.

You might want to get a second doctor's opinion regarding the brace. And while doing so get advice on your shoulder. Oh, and if your doctor makes a blanket statement like "For my break it would not help", question it! Ask "why wouldn't it help?" And "what makes my break unique that a brace wouldn't help?".

Permanent link to this comment. On September 28, 2007 09:38 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi all (5 weeks in)

Been to see the consultant today and the good news is that he I don't require surgery. The bone still looks well broken on the x-ray although not quite as bad as it first did. It's still tenting the skin but isn't sore to touch and he said the skin is in good condition. Poor condition skin would probably needed sugery. Fortunately I've not han any pain from the break. I was told to lose the sling and start to use my arm normally. I've had a sore chest since I fell of my bike and the three broken ribs were only spotted today? I've been given two more weeks off work to get myself mobile - hopefully then a return to work.

Cambs UK

Permanent link to this comment. On October 3, 2007 10:11 PM, Elsa wrote:

I'm so glad I came across this website today! Its reassuring to hear that there are others that have gone through the same thing. My collar bone broke a couple of weeks ago while I was playing ultimate frisbee. My bone broke in two sections and is basically forming back like a Z shape. Ride to the hospital was not so fun but ER was pretty quick and the ER doctor was kind enough to offer some nice painkillers BEFORE they put the figure 8 brace on! I'm surprised with how fast the pain subsided, but still battling with many of the simple daily functions like showering and dressing... so sad how useless my left hand is!!

My biggest dilemma now is whether I should proceed with surgery or not because it is forming into a "z" shape. The orth. surgeon is encouraging no surgery because it'll leave a nasty 3"-4" scar. He's advised that if I don't have surgery, I will still be back to full mobility and can do everything I did in the past including sports. The only downside is there'll be a big ugly bump in a "z" shape. Basically it seems like the decision is down to esthetics - bump or scar. While neither will look pretty, my greatest concern is whether the bone will be more susceptible to breaking if it grows back in a "z" shape? Anyone else have their bone grow back like this? Any pointers on which approach to go with? Besides, is the surgery scar really that bad?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 4, 2007 10:07 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hi Elsa,
I first posted on this website on Sep 4th. It's beenalmost 8 weeks since my break now and fortunately I am feeling better, but not completely. I have been for 3 sets of x-rays so far and they all look the same, still broken and one on top of the other. My specialist is advising strongly against surgery, partly because of the big ugly scar and some people have problems with the plate and they'd probably have to take bone from my pelvic area. I still have a bump where the end of the bone is "tenting" against my skin. I am still wearing my figure-8 brace and will be for another 2 weeks. I take it off in the evenings and while sleeping and I don't put it back on until after my shower in the morning. I still have limited mobility in my left arm...the bones still feel really unstable like they're going to snap and there is also pain!!! I find that my shoulder gets really tired when I use my left arm without the brace on. I am actually more concerned with getting full mobility back in my arm than how a bump or scar will look. Good luck with your dilemma. Keep us posted.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 4, 2007 11:09 AM, CT wrote:

Elsa
I understand your concern. I broke mine in Feb 2006. I proabably didn't have full (100%) mobility for a good 4 months at least; maybe closer to six. Even at 3 months the x-rays did not show much. But fear not, x-rays can be deceiving. Even though you can't see much of any healing, it is still taking place. My doc informed me that good, solid, callous (sp?) bone takes a while to show up on x-ray.

Forget the six-week healing time that most websites and doctors say at the time of your break. That is rarely the case.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 4, 2007 11:11 AM, CT wrote:

Sorry. My post above was directed at Colleen not Elsa.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 5, 2007 04:00 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi Elsa

"Basically it seems like the decision is down to esthetics - bump or scar"

I think there's also the consideration that the operation (and bone graft if needed) might not be troublefree? I have a bone tenting on the shoulder which isn't very nice but I'm not sure that I have the stomach for what is basically cosmetic surgery unless I have physical problems. That's the choice isn't it?

Trevor
Cambs UK

Permanent link to this comment. On October 5, 2007 05:42 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Thanks for your post, CT. I've been having a real hard time developing patience through this whole ordeal. I'll try not to get upset when I go for my next set of x-rays if they don't show much healing :)

Permanent link to this comment. On October 5, 2007 10:44 PM, Shan yang wrote:

Hey i am 15 and i broke my collarbone close to 2 weeks ago. During gymnastic i went to do a move a fell on the mattress on an outstretched arm. My right arm him my right collarbone. When i arrived at the hospital the doctor told me that this type of fracture do not require surgery. He just gave me a few painkillers and said i could go. I was given a sling and wondering if a sling or a figure 8 brace is better. Right now i am trying to stretch my shoulder backwards to maintain a good posture so that the collarbone will heal better. Can anybody tell if that is a good or bad thing? Isn't there suppose to be a therapy to train the range of motion? My next appointment is on 16 October...is it too late? I am a very active person and a break dancer...i need fully range of motion of my shoulder to do certain moves like powermoves. Can anybody please tell me what i should do!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 6, 2007 12:03 AM, MarkB wrote:

On May 12 (21 weeks ago) I broke my left collarbone in a crash during a bike (bicycle) race. It is a distal fracture, no more than about 1 inch in from the A/C joint, and with slight displacement. I also broke several ribs on the same side, including posterior (back) ribs number 2 and 3 (upper back). The ribs are doing fine, but an X-ray today showed the collarbone is still non-union (just over 5 months). The X-rays did not show much, if any, change from the last set taken over two months ago. The doctor said it's not likely that it will form a union and said if he were to do surgery that he would just go in and remove the piece of the bone between the A/C joint and the break location. He said he wouldn't actually be repairing anything, just removing that part of the collarbone. From a common sense perspective, this makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Anyone ever heard of this? I told him that I wouldn't even consider surgery until I tried bone stim first, so, as long as my insurance company covers it, that's the next move. He didn't even mention screws and plates. Just take the bone out!

I am a bike racer and I neglected stressing to the doc (new doctor) that I want to continue racing and doing other athletic activities ASAP, including lifting weights. Right now, I can't do much heavy lifting with the left arm, especially if it involves pushing. I can't even push a 45lb barbell up off my chest.

Another tidbit of information...I broke the same collarbone in almost the exact same spot one year before this break. It healed really well, in about 6 weeks. That break was a little cleaner and with no displacement. I'm wondering if this could be the reason for the slow healing this time and maybe there is still a chance that I could get union, especially with bone stim. Hans, any thoughts on this? Do you think 5 months too late for bone stim to have any positive benefit? Sorry, I know you're not a doctor, but appreciate other's perspectives. Sometimes I think the collective minds of those that have experienced this stuff is more valuable than the advice of the doctors! No offense to any doctors here, but I've had my share of bad ones.

Lastly, I'm 44 and from Denver, Colorado. If anyone can recommend a good ortho here, let me know! It sounds like I may be needing to get a second opinion if the bone stim is no-go or doesn't work.

Thanks for the great site, Hans!

-Mark

Permanent link to this comment. On October 15, 2007 01:53 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi all

I've a displaced break (7 weeks and tenting close to the shoulder) that is being allowed to recover on its own. I'm not sure if that is best strategy but that's what's happening?

The worst part at the moment is the ache at night (elbow to hand) and sensitivity in some of my hand. My little finger does really burn to the touch at times

Anyone else had similar?

Trevor
Cambs UK

Hey Trevor. I remember that tingling and burning feeling. I was told it was a nerve being impinged and can occur while the shoulder reshapes and heals. But, if the pain became severe and/or didn't go away then I should contact my doctor.

The ache was also something I went through. A hot shower or soak and some massage would help that. Especially before going to bed.

- Hans

Permanent link to this comment. On October 15, 2007 10:14 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hey Trevor, I'm 9 weeks in now and as I mentioned to you before, I have a similar break. My initial x-ray report stated, "Fractured middle third left clavicle with 1.5 superior elevation & 3cm overlap of the proximal fragment" I also have a fragment in between which the doctor is hoping will help with the healing. But like you, I am concerned about the tenting, it seems a little too extreme. The doctor wants to let it heal on it's own. I go back in 2 weeks to get x-rays again. I haven't experienced any senitivity in my hand, but I do get the awful ache. The worst part for me is the fatique in my shoulder and upper arm and I am still limited in my movements because of pain.
When do you go back to the doctor?

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2007 12:51 AM, shawn pyer wrote:

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone. I am a 25 year old soldier in the Army National Guard, who also works in an Emergency room at Yale New Haven Hospital. 3 weeks ago i just ended a 16 hour over night shift in the ER and left for 5 days off on my motorcycle. 15 minutes down the road some lady cuts me off in a roadrage fit and breakchecks me. I ended being very lucky and laying the bike down @ 45 mph of the left side. After standing up and noticing car were swerving around me I threw myself over the guardrail to avoid getting hit on the highway. After a few phone calls later to the place i just left to let them know i was prob coing back as a trama the pain in my shoulder kicked in. The EMS guys (who know me) used my own trama shears on me and cut all my clothes off (casue of all the blood from the road rash. CAT scans, XRAYs and few other unmentinoals...(if you ever got into a car accident you all know what is called the "hospital handshack")Bottom line...... VEEEERRRRRYYYYY lucky....Got a nice chunk taken out of my right clavical right in the middle,a bunch of road rash to my face,hands and knee (and yes i was wearing a helmet)and rock lodged in my face they had to cut out. after a week of sitting i couldent take it anymore and came back to work with a DR note of light duty. The pain is still killing me Fresh road rash in a hospital never is good so i mostly just sit and monitor cardiac patiets till im healed. For those in week 1, sleeping is the worse. Sleep in a recliner if you can with a pillow under your arm. This will avoid you rolling over on your busted side. Ice Packs for an hour every 4 hours did the trick for me. I stopped taking the pain meds after day 3 and just used motrin.Only becasue the Oxys gunked uped my bowls and i started getting scared when i dident poop for 4 days. Its a slow process and i hate it. The worse for me is the depression. I am a very active guy, a member of my local fire dept,work in a level 1 trama center in a inner city, and a officer in a medical company for the army. The worse thing for me is the sitting around. I cant seem to get my mind to focus on important stuff. I just keep thinking about my accident.Did anyone else have this problem? Also mostly the pain in my in my back seems to be muscle but in my upperback area. Any hints? casue my girlfriend is getting sick of giving me back rubs

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2007 02:44 AM, Trevor wrote:

Hi again Colleen

The hospital discharged me 2 weeks ago and put me in the hands of my GP (local family doctor). As I think I've said before, my situation is slightly unusual because I have residual left side paralysis from a previous RTA and only have limited use on the injured side. I'm sure that that was part of the reason the consultant never went for surgery straight away, as suggested by the registrar who examined me first, along with the tenting skin being in good condition and the absence of any pain from the break.

At that hospital appointment 2 weeks ago I had fresh x-rays taken and they didn't look greatly different from the displaced break shown on the first one (although they did pick up the 3 broken ribs I didn't know that I had). The consultant said that I didn't need to go back to see him but I could call the hospital or speak to my GP if I have future problems. Basically that leaves me without programmed specialist follow-up or future x-rays to see if that really is the correct strategy to follow? I'll also have no idea whether I have bone union? It was suggested that I could start to use my arm normally and consider a return to work. However, recovery hasn't been that smooth and I saw my GP for the first time on Friday. He suggested a further 4-6 weeks off work and some physiotherapy at the hospital ( I'm waiting for them to contact me). Due to the arm ache and burning sensation in the hand I am on painkillers for the first time since the break. I would have thought that that's the wrong way to be going, but that may end up being correct, I don't know?

The one thing that does confuse me is why they don't just fix these type of breaks immediately as they would for any other fracture that is badly aligned and requires pinning or plating or whatever? Collar bones seem to be something for surgeons to stay away from for some reason? Surely for the likes of you and I, the best strategy would be to fix it? Also, why do the bones seem to require a bone graft when usually other bones are usually fixed without, aren't they?

Anyway, that's my depressed Tuesday rant, hope everyone else is well and feeling slightly more positive than me. Hope you get sorted as you would like a Colleen and you're back to good health asap.

Trevor
UK

Permanent link to this comment. On October 16, 2007 07:09 AM, Kathryn wrote:

"Pit of despair! Oh man I know that one. This was great though, thank you. My clavicle was my first break (fell off a horse whilst doing some showjumping) and I've been a little worried about it.
Its also nice to feel a little camaraderie - having been given the name "Little Cripple" at school, whilst it is an affectionate one, everyone does tiptoe around you and regularly ask if your better yet (yes, bone heals in 9 days...)so reality is good!

Permanent link to this comment. On October 18, 2007 07:24 PM, AJ wrote:

Ha. Its nice to see this website. I broke my clavicle playing frisbee of all sports. I have to explain that it was ultimate frisbee to everyone but still...broke it playing frisbee. I just had surgery earlier this week because the bones we overlapping by a bit (and apparently I had fragments of my clavicle floating around in my shoulder that my doctor wanted to remove). And although everyone I have run into told me or tries to tell me how much it should hurt, it really hasn't, other than sleeping, which sucks. Sitting upright and trying to fall asleep (what the doctor and nurse recommended) is not easy.

For those wondering, I was told by my orthopedic surgeon that one of the reasons they don't usually do surgery is because there are some fairly large nerve clusters in that area, and they are easy to accidentally disrupt, leaving you with a numb feeling there for the rest of your life. I am lucky enough to be a teacher, so I will get to back to work next week (I actually worked the week in between when I broke it and when I had surgery because the pain was not bad at all).

Best of luck to you all.
AJ

Permanent link to this comment. On October 18, 2007 07:48 PM, don wrote:

Just checking in - I am two days shy of four weeks. xrays last week showwd a fuzzy spot where two pieces touch - doc said thats new bone developing.

It is not too bad - just don't do certain stuff, avoid moving in certain patterns. One tip though - in my case the breaks (three of them) are all out at the end, where there are a lot of ligaments attached. If I don't use the sling, which I hate and don't HAVE to use, just walking around I naturally swing my arm and the grinding pieces make the shoulder throb by the end of the day. I found I was just wanting to collapse with an ice pack.

I've learned it is better to baby it when you can so you feel better for when you can't.

I also have cramps and spasms in surrounding muscles from holding it awkwardly, I guess. I've gotten two massages - they help a lot. Just make sure you have a skilled therapist and don't let them overdo it.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 21, 2007 12:53 PM, Granto wrote:

I just broke mine on thursday, im just wondering where can i get calcium and boron, and since im only 15 how long should it take to heal, im desperate to get back on my bike plus its the worst pain ive ever experienced.
feedback greatly appreciated

You can purchase Calcium and Boron as supplements at your local pharmacy. But you should check with your doctor and parents before taking any supplements. What might be helpful for an adult might not be for a child. For example, if you look here:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-boron.html

They note that "Children (younger than 18 years) There is not enough scientific data to recommend the safe use of boron in children".

As for how long it will take for you to heal, that is not possible to answer over a forum. Only a doctor that examines you can give you the best answer. Each person's injury is unique. Some heal fast (a month) and some take a very long time.

Permanent link to this comment. On October 21, 2007 06:08 PM, Denise wrote:

Hi everyone. I broke my left collarbone in an auto accident on 10/11. I still have a nagging pain, but I'm dealing with it. What were some of the restrictions that your doctors gave you? Mine only said not to do any heavy lifting - I guess I was still in a daze to ask about specific other things. What about driving? How soon were you able to drive?

My doctor wanted my shoulder immobilized so that I wouldn't move the collar bone(s) and thus allow them fuse back together. One of the reasons I wore a figure-8 brace. But he did want me to keep moving my shoulder and elbow sockets so that I wouldn't lose any range-of-motion. And I had no driving restrictions.

If you look through the comments you will find others have also provided feedback to the questions you have asked.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 12, 2007 08:48 PM, liz wrote:

Hey all, my kudos to you for surviving these things! Busted my L clavicle in a freak accident...nice, big, wide, break. You know when the ER guys keep bringing people in to look at you, it's a nifty one! The ER doc asked me my pain level...0 being none and 10 being childbirth...I spent 29 hours in natural labor w/ my 1st baby and 12 for my 2nd and have a high tolerance for pain...I said, "You don't have it on your scale". Almost an open break (through the skin). Had surgery, which made a night and day difference for pain and mobility!! Sling for 5 weeks, but I could actually survive being the 1-winged wonder post-op. I could exert some force with the good arm, an impossibilty pre-op. Heck, I could breathe post-op without burning pain!!! Once I got out of the sling, I dubbed my arm "The Hollywood Arm"...because it looked good but it didn't really do anything. My doc gave me pretty hefty restrictions, 2 lb weight limit for lifting on the affected side until 10 weeks post-op. Hang in there and keep your bones together! Also, get good protein in addition to the calcium and young people usually heal in half the time as an old bird like me! liz

Permanent link to this comment. On November 16, 2007 05:20 PM, Sydney Patricio wrote:

Your lucky...I Shattered my clavicle in a few pieces...Call it Extreme tree hugging((went of course while mountain biking)) Anyhow i managed to walk out and have my friend take me to the emergency room. Had an X-ray and of course its shattered the only thing that could have been worse was to break the skin. Anyhow had a plate and 6 screws put in....Did the recovery just as Doc ordered and three months later i was told that everything was wonderful and i could lead a normal life....Sounds great huh??

Well...

It didn't happen that way i went along and did what i normally do Mountain trails 3 times a week and home renovations. Anyhow while swinging a 2 pound hammer at a stubborn wall i started to feel a burning pain in my shoulder. And then i noticed a nice swell to my skin around the incision that was there.. went to the Emergency room and had an X-Ray. Well it looked like the screws came loose and the bone was displaced. My Doctor((Same one that said its all good))could only say.."Hmmmm...It looks like it hasn't heeled.." Needless to say i was more than pissed...Then his only comment was "Well i guess we have to go back in." Well i am now in a sling with two scars now. One on my hip where they grafted some bone from and the scar on my shoulder with a longer plate and a grafted piece of pelvic bone and 8 screws.. Just waiting now to hear everything is better now.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 16, 2007 07:47 PM, Stuart Barnes wrote:

Been reading some of the above messages and they're really helpful. Have broken my collarbone on Thursday after a motorbike accident. Was only about 50 metres from house and skidded on ice.
The shoulder hurts like hell at the moment. Sometimes its pretty unbearable and reeally wears me down after a while. Hospital was good but didn't really give me much advice re resting the shoulder. They've given me a basic figure of 8 sling but no advice about how long to rest. Heard good and bad things about this type of sling as some say it makes you lean forward too much which isnt good for the new bond. Going back Friday so will ask then. General rule seems to be a few weeks for the initial joining of the bone. Hospital also thought at first it may need surgery as the break is near the end but fortunately the Consultant thought this not necessary. Still can't believe how painful a simple break can be!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 18, 2007 08:57 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Well Stuart, I hope you have more luck healing than I've had.
Today at 4pm marks the 14 week anniversary of my break, not that I'm keeping track. I went back to the specialist on Oct 31st to have more x-rays, but he still doesn't see any "significant healing". So we will wait another 3 months in hopes that it will still heal on it's own. He says it's probably scar tissue that is holding everything together in there. The pain is much less (thankfully)and my range of motion is coming back very gradually, but it still hurts to move certain ways, I can't lift anything too heavy and I can only lie on that side for short periods. Feels like it's never going to end. In the beginning my doctor advised me to use my arm as much as it felt comfortable so it didn't become completely useless. I REALLY believe that age is a factor in healing time....hopefully you are a lot younger than my 37 years. Good luck to you (and everyone else out there). Keep us posted!
And Hans.....I haven't said this before, but thanks for the great website!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 22, 2007 02:00 PM, Belinda wrote:

Hello and Happy Thankgiving! My clavicle was broken 11/7/07 when I fell out of bed. I was rushed to hospital and no one else was in ER so they gave me a shot and took Xrays and said my collarbone was broken and they do not do anything for a broken collarbone. I was shocked to think I had to be in this pain for no telling how long. The orthopedic surgeon I saw 3 days later said the same thing, he put my arm in a better sling and gave me medication for the pain and said he'd see me in 4 weeks unless I had problems. I went back in two weeks cause it hurt to breathe, he took new xrays which did not show any improvement or healing. He asked me to see my family dr to rule out lung infection, and come back in two weeks, if no improvement & there is still lots of pain, he will operate. He said sometimes you are just trading a lump for a scar. He also said they used to use pins but the pins can loosen and cause more problems floating around(not his exact words, but you get the drift). He said the plate has been used recently, but usually for those who do physical labor, heavy lifting. I asked if my grandkids counted. I am worried since I am older, 58, so it will take a while to heal with or without an operation. I am sleeping sitting up still, and the bruising is awful-black, blue, green and purple on the right side from my neck to below my rib cage all the way to my side. The bone is overlapping at the break in the xrays, hence the big lump. I was glad to see this website, it gives me ideas on what to expect. Thanks!

Permanent link to this comment. On November 23, 2007 09:11 AM, Stuart Barnes wrote:

Hey, thanks for the good luck message Colleen and sorry to hear about your break Belinda.
Went back to hospital today as thought I was going to have another x-ray. Was only in there five minutes which involved the Consultant having a look at the shoulder and basically confirming what I already know that the break is near the shoulder end of the collar bone. He did recommend surgery in these types of cases but I'd sooner give it 4 weeks to try and allow the bone to heal naturally. Also I'm fairly young (26) so I guess that's on my side and with any surgery theres often side effects.
On the plus side the pain has lapsed from what it was. A few days back it felt like something tightening around the collar bone which I guess, from what I've read on the internet, is prob the scar tissue binding around it.
Anyway, at least it only really hurts when I walk with it. Just gets me down after a while that I can't do the normal things I like doing.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 24, 2007 11:01 PM, Susan wrote:

MarkB,
I read your post about the doctor who wanted to remove part of the distal clavicle that was broken. I had a doctor who said she would consider that as well, since there were far less complications from that approach rather than the plating. In fact, because of the location of the distal break, it is hard to plate as there is nothing but the shoulder joint to attach to. Anyway, i am at 12 weeks now, using a bone stim and trying acupuncture, and hoping/dreading the next xray in 1 week. So i wondered what you decided to do about the operation to remove the part of the clavicle that was broken off. Thanks.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 26, 2007 05:38 PM, Bi wrote:

I broke my right collar bone Oct.28th, due to a bike accident. At my last appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, he mentioned having me try a Noninvasive electrical bone growth stimulator "of course pending approval of my insurance?" It hasn’t quite been 4 weeks but I’m guessing its due to my age, I’m 41, but I’m in shape and only weight 100 pounds. Has anyone out there tried using this device?

A few folks have left comments about using the device and they have been positive. It's not often covered by insurance so that might be why not many get a chance to use one.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 4, 2007 09:34 AM, Len wrote:

I cycle a lot and 10 hours ago managed a fall which broke my left collarbone in two places. Never had a broken bone before and it feels very STRANGE. Impressive X-ray. Thanks Laura, great article & great responses, wonderful advice much better than any clinical description. I've bookmarked this as there's lots to read & I'm about to have lots of time ;P Yes, just realising how 'two armed' everything is - need to check moving left arm for a thousand basic tasks. I'll probably sacrifice some old t-shirts over the next few weeks ... just removing them with scissors. I do NOT plan to get back on a bicycle for about 6 weeks.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 6, 2007 08:57 AM, Joel wrote:

For the third time in my life, I managed to break a collarbone. The first two times occurred playing sports when I was younger (5th grade and early college) and the most recent occurred on Sept 20th following a mountain bike accident (I'm now 44). My how the healing process has been different this time!

I just got back from a doctor's appointment more than 11 weeks later and the doctor isn't sure whether it's healing. Very frustrating. So, now he wants me to try an electro-stimulating device. Six weeks from now, he'll reevaluate.

I miss riding my bikes. Sigh.

Joel

Permanent link to this comment. On December 13, 2007 02:20 AM, Jerry in Mid-Michigan wrote:

I did not read too many comments but just want to add that I have had my 2nd surgery on my left clavicle since 9-25-07. I must have over did it cause the plate was broken pretty badly the dr said when he installed the new one...at least I got to go deer hunting. Does anybody know if the calcium vitamins really work? I can move my left arm real easy and I assume it is because of the plate and extra bone from my hip the surgeon put in me.... signed gimpy in michigan.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 14, 2007 02:50 PM, Kathy wrote:

I broke my right clavicle in 3 places on 12/1. I did it grapling 4 hours into my test for Krav Maga. I immediately knew it was broken when I heard it snap. X-rays at the ER confirmed. There's a mid-section verticle break but not all the way through the bone - kind of hanging on by a thread. I have two horizontal breaks on each side of the verticle break. Left the ER with percocet, a sling and swath.

Went to the ortho on 12/4 and he told me I need to wear the sling and swath for 6-8 weeks; I'm going back on 12/26 for x-rays. After day one of taking percocet, i decided i didn't want the drugs. Would rather deal with the pain instead of nausea. I've been doing wrist and elbow exercises to keep them loose as well as pendulum exercises. Started those the day after breaking it.

I'm hoping to someday go back to boxing, grapling and krav, but realistically does anyone know if I'll be able to do that? My ortho says it will happen but that's all he said. When will I be able to wear something that pulls over my head?

I've been eating well - lots of yogurt, milk, kale, spinach, broccoli, protein and calcium supplements. Everything seems painstakingly slow with this type of break. I can't wait to sleep, dress, work out and function like a healthy person.

Permanent link to this comment. On December 17, 2007 01:05 PM, Jeff wrote:

i broke my right clavicle yesterday while snowboarding. It was kind of dumb of me to go up on a day when the snow was crappy and it was the only time that i ever went snowboarding alone which was also stupid of me but live and learn i guess. It really sucks because i am right handed and i never really do anything with my left hand. I am thankful for my sisters who live up here and are willing to help me with everything.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 2, 2008 02:50 PM, jeff wrote:

All i needed for pain was 4 advil a day and dont think about it or you will mentally feel the pain.. just continue on as life still goes on.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 4, 2008 04:27 AM, James Unsworth wrote:

Just snapped mine snowboarding. The power of whiskey works well indeed! Did it at the top of a glacier then boarded down. Just walk into the hospital "what can we do for you sir?", "pretty sure I've snapped my collar" HA , French bugger had 2 cut me out of my rugby top. Bet he loved that!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 6, 2008 07:07 PM, Michael wrote:

3 weeks ago, I was on my regular Saturday morning group ride when chaos erupted. A rider slightly in front and to the left of me went down, and I ran full-speed-ahead into her bike (~25 mph). Flipped over my handlebars and landed on the back-side of my right shoulder. I got up, dusted myself off, felt my shoulder, and there was the tell-tale sign of a broken clavicle. Quick trip to the ER, and the x-rays revealed a break close to the shoulder. They gave me a simple sling for my arm, and off I went home with some pain meds.

Week 1: Went to an orthopedic surgeon who told me to continue resting. Told me not to take NSAIDs (advil, etc), swelling is your friend.. and kept me in the sling. Lots of pain, spent most of the time on my back, on the couch getting really good at xbox. Life pretty much sucked.

Week 2: Towards the end of week 2 I went back to the ortho for more x-rays.. seems his advice of staying off the anti-inflammatories worked, the bones have come into much better alignment.. was it the swelling that pushed things into place? Things are looking up for me, ortho tells me that given how the bones have aligned, surgery would be of little benefit. It is still too early for any indication of bone growth. Life still pretty much sucked.

Week 3: Things continue to get better. Now at the end of week 3 I find I can stay out of the sling while around the house, but dare not venture outside without it. I'm getting some movement back in the shoulder. The clavicle seems to be getting nice and solid, prior to week 3 I could press on the long piece and it would move. I am also experiencing some strange problems with my traps feeling tight and aggravated. I'm hoping to have my bike back for the shop soon, the fork was destroyed in my crash.. I think I'll be on the trainer sometime mid week 4. I'm also starting physical therapy in a couple days. Next ortho apt is in 2 weeks. Life is getting better. I feel some kind of recovery every day now.

Some FYI stuff about me and my recovery:
- haven't taken any pain meds, at all
- 1000mg calcium supplements daily + multi-vitamin
- 32 year old make, in excellent shape, no history of health problems, 145 lbs at 5'11"
- no alcohol since the crash
- limit myself to one caffeinated beverage a day
- did not use a figure 8 brace, only a one-arm sling

Permanent link to this comment. On January 9, 2008 02:22 PM, C. Campbell wrote:

Last Sunday I completed my 3rd downhill ski lesson. I'm a 53 year old female who always wanted to learn to snow ski. This year I bought all the best equipment, signed up for lessons, and began the "let it snow" chant. After the lesson I set off to practice. Lost control on a turn and landed directly on my shoulder breaking my clavical. The radiologist at the emergency room told me the bones overlapped about an inch. The doctor there told me to wear a "t-shapped" sling for 4 weeks and it will heal naturally. When I got back home I went to see my own doctor and he said I could take off the t-sling and just put my arm in an arm sling. Doing that put my arm muscles into bad spasm, so I went back to the t-sling that pulls my shoulders back. It's day 3 and as long as I am careful, I can move my arm a little and pick up light weight things in my gimp hand. One problem I'm having is numbness in a couple fingers in my bad hand. Does anyone know what might be causing this? Also, I usually work out in the gym 3+ days a week, is it too soon to at least do a cardio workout on the bike or tredmill?

Permanent link to this comment. On January 10, 2008 01:31 PM, Michael wrote:

I would take it easy for 2-3 weeks. I started with long walks at about 3.5 weeks, but everyone is different. Is your own doctor an orthopedic surgeon? I would definitely see a specialist about the tingling and talk to them about the different supports and the issues you are having with them.. as well as your desire to stay active while recovering.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 19, 2008 07:37 PM, john veautour wrote:

I am a 44 year old cabinetmaker. After reading hundreds of enlightning blogs, I figured it was my turn. Mountain bike on bmx jump didn't turn out as planned. I went to the ER and saw the nurse (no doctors for a mere broken clavicle)she said something about a figure 8 but brought me a sling. When I put the sling on it felt like my arm was still in the grinder. I asked to try the figure 8 and as soon as I put it on there was instant relief from the pain. It was uncomfortable but it gave support to the area. It seemed to take all the weight off my arms. It has been a week and I feel good about the progress so far. I saw the physician's asst. (still no doc)yesterday and was suprised at the range of motion and lack of pain. I am cautiously optomistic after reading many stories of a rebreak in the early stages. I use my arm for almost everything. I am trying not to do overhead lifting or anything heavy. I feel something around the end of the break that is stiffer than normal flesh. I think this is a positive sign - has anyone else experienced this after one week? The bone doesn't move as much as it did a few days ago.

The info gathered here has been very useful. Thank you all.

It's seems way too soon (1 week) for you to be experiencing and feeling any bone growth. I recommend being careful about moving the shoulder and collar bone. It's easy to start feeling better than re-injure it. Give yourself some time. And the best way to know if the bones are actually healing is by talking with your doctor and getting an x-ray.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 21, 2008 09:43 AM, Christine wrote:

WOW! It's great to hear all the different experiences. I broke my colar bone in two places 9 days ago. I fell off my horse while we were running barrels. My horse finished the course without me! LOL! I wish he had ran through the timers though so I could see what my time would have been if I had stayed on! LOL! Unfortunately I also had a laceration on the back of my head which they stapled together. I am so grateful for pain meds!!! Being a girl, I can so relate to the "pit of despair". It is driving me nuts! And of course, forget the bra!!! Besides the pain, the hairy armpit and not being able to wear a bra is the worst!! Thanks for sharing all your stories!!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 27, 2008 08:52 PM, Steven Ryan wrote:

On New Years Eve i was riding back from one of my big hill rides when the cyclists' nightmare happened,a car door opened in front of me.No warning just CRASH!!!I landed on my right shoulder & i could feel the bones break in my ribs 4th & 5th right side & right collarbone.Into week 4,feeling much better,can move right arm a fair bit but not game to push it to much.Ribs have healed,which makes breathing alot easier & back to the specialist next week.My break was treated with a sling as it was a clean break & should heal naturally.I am a 48yo male & very active & fit,which i am told it is helping my recovery,but as a surfer,runner,cyclist,skier etc...it is not a happy time.Hopefully can be back a work in about 2 weeks albeit light duties but to everyone each day you do get better.And by the way,take out insurance on your bike.I did not & am out of pocket $4000 as my bike is a write off.

Ouch! Btw - Here in California, the car owner is liable for those damages. I've known some folks here that have been doored and each time the driver's insurance covered the bike replacement cost.

Permanent link to this comment. On January 28, 2008 12:28 AM, j wrote:

Hey guys, I've had fun reading your stories and comments. I just wanted to add my 2 cents. I have a degree in sports medicine, and so have had quite a bit of experience with injuries like these. But after reading a few posts where people are asking about severe muscle cramping, etc. I'm feeling I need to share some info.

So to all of you out there who are having sharp, debilitating pain and cramping down your arm--especially if there's tingling, numbness, or inability to use your hand--please go see your doctor asap for further treatment.

One of the risks associated with clavicular fractures is nerve and blood vessel damage and/or involvement. Depending on which portion of the clavicle you fractured and which structures it may be pressing on or compromising, you may have a much more serious condition. For instance, if your clavicle, in its new position in your shoulder, was pressing on the main nerve for your arm (the brachial plexus), you may be experiencing severe muscle cramping and tingling. If you were to have numbness or inability to use your hand, then I would say it's probably a medical urgency/emergency (as in go to the e.r. or urgent care).

So sorry to freak any of you out, but just wanted to place that caution out there for any of you experiencing unusual symptoms. There's the possibility that cramping is just your body doing its natural process of "splinting" the shoulder (which can be painful) but there's also the chance that you may have complications.

Quick healing to you all!

Permanent link to this comment. On January 31, 2008 04:02 PM, Doris Sheridan wrote:

Well, everyone here seems younger than I am, but just incase I can get some info, I'll see what happens.
I'm 65 female, very healthy and active... However in the last three months, I have broken my right clavicle 3 time in different places, at different times. Only the first time I was carrying a HEAVY flower pot inside when I felt the pain. The other two times, I was not doing anything. I've had bone density, bone scan (former cancer patient) done with results looking ok. Bone density was a bit off, but not into osterporosis... Anyone who might have a suggestion, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Permanent link to this comment. On February 1, 2008 06:46 PM, john veautour wrote:

Hi again, thanks Hans for responding. It's been three weeks since the evil knievel stunt (RIP) and it was time to visit the ortho. I got a new xray which showed actual new bone growth. This gives me many different feelings,compassion and guilt for the other folks I have read about that are not seeing the same results. I also feel happy and fortunate that things are improving as rapidly as they are. My strength and range of motion improve everyday. I guess every person and every injury is different,but rapid recovery is possible even in your 40's. I'm going out on the bike this weekend. I will stay on the bunny trails to minimize jarring and impact. My doctor said that using my arm is just fine as long as it doesnt cause pain. On a different note Christine I noticed that we crashed on the same day so keep me posted on how you are doing. Get back on the horse (cliche) Good luck to all!!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 7, 2008 10:12 AM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hello again all!
Well, I made another visit to my ortho yesterday, 6 months after my accident and he still sees "no significant bone growth". He gave me 2 options....trying heavy doses of calcium (500mg 3xday) with Vitamin D (1000iu 3xday) for the next 3 months or surgery right now if I wanted. I opted to go the vitamin route. I go back on May 7th for more x-rays and if he doesn't see much improvement, I'll be booked for surgery. He can still feel the bone moving when he rotates my arm around and it still protrudes a lot. Still painful to move certain ways, but I am pretty functional at least!
Will let you know how the vitamins work.
Good luck to all!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 8, 2008 12:02 PM, Ron Rowell wrote:

About 4 years ago a doctor took about 3/8 inch off the end of my Rt. Clavical bone. I had a rotor cuff repair on same shoulder with a screw put in so they could reattach the rotor cuff tenden.

What I have sence is a lot of dicompfort it this shoulder as to when it is swinging or I tryed in the pool to swim even today, and this shoulder fells like its (bone against Bone) all the time.
Is ther anyone that could repair the end of Clavical bone to stop this discomfort?????
If so tell me a name and I will get with them as it is NO FUN daily with what I go through.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 11, 2008 08:04 AM, Richard wrote:

I have now fractured both clavicles, the latest one happened 2.5 weeks ago. It happened playing Rugby, at first I thought it was just some damage in the AC joint because when I fractured my first clavicle it was extremely painfull. ( it broke in 2 places and I have a nice bump to show for it)

After getting X-rays the next day, I was told that I had fractured my clavicle right at the end near the AC joint. Apparently this kind of break can be more complicated because of the shoulder joint being so close. It is far less painfull, but very frustrating as it is my right clavicle this time, not to meantion the sling sits on my 'bump' which is very uncomfortable.
I have another doctors appointment on the 25th, I will find out then if I need an operation or it will be healed... all or nothing I suppose.

I plan on going back to the gym today to start doing some cycling, in a vain attempt to build some fitness.
When can I start running? the doctor I spoke to said that I could use a treadmill, but was quite vague.
I am doing a half marathon in a month and a half so I need to get running asap... anyone have any advice?

I think your doctor is worried about the chance of you falling when running and re-injuring the shoulder. My doc didn't want me on a regular bike because of that reason. It can take just a little force or movement to set back your recovery. The treadmill should be fine for your training until your shoulder has healed more. I know it's no fun being stuck on a trainer/treadmill. But it's far better letting yourself heal rather than pushing it and risking re-injury.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 11, 2008 06:29 PM, Dan wrote:

Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences. I have enjoyed the e-comraderie.

I ride 120 miles a week on a road bike, but I broke my right clavicle playing tennis, of all things. Chasing down a ball at the net and tripped over my own toes. I thought I would over dramatize and tuck my shoulder and roll thru it. I hit the court like a 50-lb sack of flour. I knew I had either dislocated my shoulder or broke my collarbone. It was the first game of the final match for the doubles championship. Must be a male thing, cause I thought I could shake it off and serve again. Bad mistake! When I reached up to hit the ball it hurt so bad I dropped the racquet. They put some ice on me and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I opted for a ride in a friends car to the emergency room (ambulances are expensive, I think). I am 50 and had never had a broken bone, but I heard they "ache". Yes they do.

They managed to get my shirt off and I did not want to try to put it back on. The cold felt good. As much as I tried to fight it, I must have been in shock cause it was all I could do to give them my information at the counter. They asked what my pain level was on a scale from 1 to 10. I felt like saying 10, but said 6. Turns out that was about right. They put me in a sling with a wrap around my chest. The clavicle was clearly broken and offset (not aligned). They gave me a prescription for hydrocodone, but it was about 4 hours before I could get to a pharmacy. (Yes, it still ached.) I only needed the hydrocodone for the first day, then I went on Advil only when I needed it (mostly to sleep).

Sleeping on my back sucks.

I saw the bone doctor (actually the nurse practitioner) 2 days later and she said yes I broke it. Didn't say to do much but keep it in a sling, but take it out and move it once in a while. She said they found that figure 8s and back braces did not really work. I asked if I could go back to work. She said I wouldn't be able to do more than 5 or 6 hours without getting fatigued from the other muscles picking up the slack. She said to come back in three weeks.

Week 1 - Got bronchitis. Felt like pneumonia. Stayed flat on my back and watched a lot of tv and slept. Had a pretty nice bruise by now.

Week 2 - Yes, it takes at least twice as long to do everything with one arm - showering, getting dressed, cooking, folding laundry! I was starting to feel a little better and could move my arm as long as I did not try to lift it above my shoulder.

Week 3 - I think I tried to do too much too soon. It hurt more now than in week 2. Went back to the sling. Saw the bone doc (nurse practitioner) at the end of week 3. They x-ray looked like the ends were farther apart than the first x-ray. Maybe 1/4 inch. She said it was not uncommon for it not to show bone growth at week 3. She told me to move it around, even above my shoulder if I could. She said this would help the bones align??? By this point I am thinking she is a quack. She said come back at 6 weeks for another x-ray.

Week 4 - It really isn't hurting that bad. Once in a while I will move and get a stinging pain or hear some popping. I can drive with 2 hand and even fold some laundry. I even did 15 miles on the bike with only mild discomfort. I was scared too death. I stayed a block away from everything. Even squirrels terrified me. Jogged a mile by the end of the week without too much discomfort. But I am questioning the NPs advice and called the center and insisted on speaking with the bone doc directly and find out just what I am and am not supposed to be doing. So far, he doesn't even know who I am. That's about to change. I do not like the possibility of surgery. This philosophy on the figure 8 and brace seems contrary to everything everyone else is doing.

I sure miss riding the bike and can't wait for this to be over. It's like a bad dream or something.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 12, 2008 09:25 AM, Mike R wrote:

Riding a dirt bike, I found myself flying through the air and landing on my right shoulder. It was actually the helmet the pushed through the clavicle as if broke in half. I was in shock at first, and simply walked about forty yards and asked my wife to help me get off the culpable helmet. She asked what happened and I told her I broke my collarbone. I didn't feel any pain during the moment, but 4 miles of bumpy dirt road proved to be quite painful. (Not to mention the oncoming grief of the 14 miles to the hospital, where I moaned and groaned until I was sedated. Thanks strong pain killer. I was sent home with hydrocodone and 30 Valium. I do not remember 3 days but my wife said I was a real ass. I was put in the figure 8 brace. My boss said, "When my cousin broke his collar bone , he was in a cast from the waist up". When was that I asked, "1974" he replied, as I thought well, this is 2008 hello! BTW they no longer stick thermometers up your butt either, but whatever. I just smiled and left. Being excessive compulsive has it's rewards as much as it trouble for said condition. I can't sit still. I hate sleeping with broken clavicle. I have finished Dean Koontz "Brother Odd" as well as "Life Expectancy".
Thanks for listening to my whining. Hope you all get better, as I plan to.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 12, 2008 09:26 AM, Mike R wrote:

Riding a dirt bike, I found myself flying through the air and landing on my right shoulder. It was actually the helmet the pushed through the clavicle as if broke in half. I was in shock at first, and simply walked about forty yards and asked my wife to help me get off the culpable helmet. She asked what happened and I told her I broke my collarbone. I didn't feel any pain during the moment, but 4 miles of bumpy dirt road proved to be quite painful. (Not to mention the oncoming grief of the 14 miles to the hospital, where I moaned and groaned until I was sedated. Thanks strong pain killer. I was sent home with hydrocodone and 30 Valium. I do not remember 3 days but my wife said I was a real ass. I was put in the figure 8 brace. My boss said, "When my cousin broke his collar bone , he was in a cast from the waist up". When was that I asked, "1974" he replied, as I thought well, this is 2008 hello! BTW they no longer stick thermometers up your butt either, but whatever. I just smiled and left. Being excessive compulsive has it's rewards as much as it trouble for said condition. I can't sit still. I hate sleeping with broken clavicle. I have finished Dean Koontz "Brother Odd" as well as "Life Expectancy".
Thanks for listening to my whining. Hope you all get better, as I plan to.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 12, 2008 03:58 PM, travis wrote:

I broke my clavicle a few years ago but it was only really bad for a week because I found a surgeon who screwed the two ends together with a long bolt then tied the pieces around the screw. Immediately after the surgery, I was able to put weight on it and within a week or so, I could ride my bike again. I would definitely advocate for the orthopedic value of metal screws - I feel like it made me much more functional much quicker and saved me the pain of rolling onto my side.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 13, 2008 08:59 AM, owwww wrote:

typing with my left hand is extremely awkward. Because yesterday was the absolute best day and probably the only day for sledding this winter my dad felt the need to go. It was my first ride down on my brand new inflatable "sno" tube and i was going so fast, my sled turned around so I could see my dad screaming and realized I was headed straight for the tree in the middle of the hill. I saw a kid run to the side from behind me and then I don't remember exactly what happened but dad said I flew out of my tube, hit the tree and BOUNCED yes thats right, i bounced straight backwards off of the tree. Someone called the paramedics while someone else ran to their house up the hill to get blankets for me. I remember lying down of someone else's sled and hearing people coming up with worst case scenarios. Dad said I might have a concussion and thats when people really started freaking out. A man was asking me all sorts of questions that I answered. Then the ambulance came and the paramedic asked me questions too. Next thing I know I was in an ambulance and then in the ER. They did all the ER stuff, got my X-Rays then later they told me I got the prize. A Z-Fracture. My collarbone had broken in two places. Right after that a kid came by in a cart with every kind of brace you can think of and more(lots of sledding accidents that day). When we were just about to leave I got up to go to the bathroom but I got all dizzy and almost fell down. A doctor asked me when I had last eaten. 10:00 am. It was 7:00 pm. So after 2 more hours of tests they decided i needed food. I got a sling and they told us that I needed surgery to put the bone back together. I have to do absolutely everything with my left hand and it is so annoying!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 13, 2008 03:56 PM, Dan wrote:

Saw the bone doc yesterday. He still says that evidence has shown that figure 8s and back braces do not work. He also says that taking calcium will not help. He says it won't hurt. But he said it won't help, either. He said keep moving it and come back in 3 weeks. I told him his theories are contrary to about every other doctor in the free world. Should I go for a second opinion? This guy is supposed to be one of the best ortho docs in Brevard County.

Yes, I would recommend a second opinion. The research the last I had heard was inconclusive regarding figure-8 braces. I haven't heard of people using back braces for collar bone recovery.

Also, moving your joints is important so that you don't develop a frozen socket or elbow. Movement of the collar bone before it has started reconnecting may cause the healing to be hindered.


Permanent link to this comment. On February 13, 2008 04:35 PM, Leo wrote:

Hey guys & girls I broke my left collar bone on super bowl sunday..I am also a patriots fan so this was not a good day for me.Before my injury I was into lifting weights and playing sports.Will this effect my lifting when I am healed and when can I resume lifting? Thanks

Only your doctor can give you a go ahead for starting to lift weights again. You may want to be careful about jumping back into exercises that strain your shoulder. Others have left comments here describing re-injuring their collar bone by starting weights too soon. If your collar bone heals correctly then it should be structurally strong enough to resume lifting.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 14, 2008 11:59 AM, Hugh Smyth wrote:

Hey everyone. Broke my left collar bone on Monday (11th). Was playing rugby at my school and after an amazing run (no really!) I was tackled and landed square on my left shoulder. CRACK!!! I knew straight away I had broken it, but when I told my rugby instructor he was stunned and confused that I wasn't in alot of pain. So he sent me into the school to find a teacher (and continued with the rugby!), and they gave the exact same response.

So they got the nurse (finally someone with a bit of common sense!) who put my arm in a triangle sling and gave me some pain-killers even though I wasn't in much pain. Was taken to A&E where I had to wait for ages (on my own) to be seen to. Got an X-ray taken and then got a pinky-bandage sling and some weak pain-killers and was sent on my way. By now my mum had arrived to take me home.

Taking off my jersey was quite a painful experience. It was probably the first time I had moved my arm since the tackle, and to make matters worse it was a long-sleeved jersey with elastic at the wrists. Wasted five minutes of my life!

Then came the sleeping. The doctors in the A&E hadn't gave me any advice on anything so I slept on my back with a pillow under my arm to raise it. Not the best night's sleep ever but definetly not the worst. Actually would recommend it to those who find it hard sleeping while sitting up.

Anyway since the hospital I was first in isn't anywhere near where I live I got to take my X-rays home. I swear the bone pieces are about an inch apart! So when I went into my local hospital with the X-rays so I could book an appointment they instantly said the break was very serious and suggested that I could get surgery and have a plate put in. No word of any of this in the other hospital! They say it would heal faster this way and there would be no bump. Anyway enough story, question time now!

Should I go for the surgery? I am only 16 and am not worried about a scar.

Will a plate affect me in any way after the healing? They said it could be left in after the healing.

How long will it take to heal without, and with the surgery?

Since I have broken it already, will it be more prone to another breakage?

I would appreciate it if you took the time to reply to this post, as it tooko me a long time to tpe this with only one hand!
Thank you

To go for surgery or not is a difficult decision. Recovery time is around 3 months. And there appears to be a better guarantee for recovery. With surgery there is always the risk of complications such as infection. Being young, 16, you have a far better chance of healing on your own than someone older. I suggest that you go for another doctor's recommendation. Especially when considering surgery. The good news is that if you are generally healthy and young you will probably heal quick and as strong as ever no matter which route you take.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 15, 2008 09:18 AM, Liew wrote:

Colleen, I am on 8 weeks & see no healing also.. We 'ganbateh' together.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 17, 2008 02:54 PM, cat wrote:

Great story! I found your web site the day after i brike my collar bone in a race and it put a smile on my face. It has been 2 weeks and i can finally get a bra on and have been hitting the trainer. I hope to be racing in another 4 weeks....we will see.
I thought i might add something to your site...newish research says that you should avoid anti inflamitories such as motrin and ibuprophin while healing a broken bone. I have to say that this really sucks because motrin was the best thing for my pain!!!
I suppose I should also remind those eager to get back to the bike or any kind of excersize, that you should rest during that first week...especially if you sustained any kind of head injury.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 18, 2008 05:19 AM, christa wrote:

This web site has been my life line! Broke my collar bone skiing five weeks ago....what's with the first day and broken bones? Have become an expert on sleeping upright and would like to share my secrets. Pillows, pillows and more pillows. Most importantly, two travel pillows in the shape of a "u". One to help support your neck and the other to place under your elbow to keep your collar bone level. I'm going to have a hard time giving them up. Sweet dreams and speedy recoveries to all my fellow sufferer's.
To all the ladies out there, strapless bras are a lifesaver!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 18, 2008 06:07 AM, Hugh Smyth wrote:

Thanks for you reply. Was at an appointment in the fracture clinic today and the doctor's said that they would put surgery aside for now and see how it heals on its own. They told me that 95% of breaks heal fine on their own, but that is even higher in young people. Now in a figure 8 bandage - no figure 8 braces in the fracture clinic so they made a makeshift one from sling bandage. Isn't comfortable at all although I can now use my left arm to a certain extent which includes typing. Going back for a X-ray in 2 weeks - fingers crossed it is healing well and fast! Will keep posting updates on my situation.
Thanks again for the reply!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 18, 2008 06:25 AM, Hugh Smyth wrote:

Oh just wanted to add what a helpful website you have here. I thought that I was mutating when my shoulder started turning a hideous yellow/green colour, until I read on this website that it was normal, and some people had it covering most of their torso so I should count myself lucky! Would just like to add that my last comment above is from the start of Week 2, and that I am not in much pain even in the figure 8.
Hope all you other one armed soldiers out there heal fast!

Permanent link to this comment. On February 18, 2008 03:14 PM, Shannon Cooley wrote:

i'm a 17 year old guy, and while i was snowboarding, i broke my clavicle on the left side. The break went all the way through the bone, and so i'm left with 2 main pieces and some smaller chips. The two pieces are overlapping by about an inch. this is where things get interesting. i went to an orthopedic surgeon to see what he thought would be the best course of action, and he said that there was no need to pin the bones or do any type of setting of the bones, which was suprising to me. he said that the bones will heal together, overlapping, and the end of the clavicle will grow outwards to restore the symmetry in length, and that this was possible due to the severance of the artery in the bone. i told him that i was especially worried about motion of the shoulder and such because i play baseball, and he said there was no need to worry about that because i would regain full motion. now i'm no expert, but it seems to me that if the bones aren't set, then there's no way that they can grow back in a way that gives me full range of motion. how is this possible that i can get full motion back without the bones being set? and what does the artery have to do with the bone growth outward. i understand the artery's importance in healing the fusing the bone pieces together, but how can it cause the bone to grow outward?

It's possible there was some misunderstanding between you and your doctor. You might want to talk again with your doctor to clarify these issues. For example, "severance of the artery" would be a traumatic injury that would require immediate medical care. I think what your doctor might have meant was that the blood vessels within the region of the broken ends will help to start the healing process that can lead to new bone. See the "Bone Healing" section of the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_fracture

Normally broken collar bones are not "set". The broken ends are sometimes able to find each other and begin fusing. Material may fill in a gap and also pull the ends together. But extending the two pieces back outward isn't something I have heard about. It would be interesting to hear more about that if that is in case something that can occur.

The issue of range of motion (ROM) is more complicated. Even if the bones fuse back together so that the length is shorter than previously, you may still have full ROM. If the change in your shoulder geometry from the injury is extreme enough then there may be issues. And you must also be sure there are not additional injuries that are complicating ROM.

I would also recommend getting a second doctor's opinion. Maybe from a ortho doc that specializes in sports related injuries.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 19, 2008 08:58 PM, Jodi wrote:

I can't believe you didn't see a doctor for a week and a half. That is very irresponsible.

Permanent link to this comment. On February 23, 2008 12:30 PM, Leslie Mc wrote:

On Feb 15th I broke my Clavicle on vacation in Jamaica. I slipped on the tile outside of my room and my shoulder hit the threshold, and the rest of my side hit more tile. The hotel called a native Dr. , he lifted my arm, or tried to and told me it was broke. I had to wait until the next day to get an xray. We took a Taxi to 3 places to find the right place, all had signs on the door saying to go to a different site, since it was Sat. They took an xray with a 1970s machine and put in in a sling and told me to just relax and take the codine they gave me.... which made me ill. Remember I am on a holiday on the beach... so I used the source available to me...Rum and pineapple juice. I spent the next 7 days in bad pain and then there was the flight home (8 hours and 3 plane changes were tough) My husband was now not happy I took so much luggage, as he had to handle it alone. I am going to the Dr. today but have to go to ER.. My husband was wonderful, he had to put on all my clothes and even pull up my swim suit, as that was impossible for me. The cold water of the pool and ocean helped a ton. Thanks for all the info here. Will get back to this and see what happens to me. I take care of my 6 year old grand daughter every afternoon and am to work on monday...(only mornings thank goodness) I correct high school papers and am 55. and is hard to type with one hand...I am sure it will slow my work down, the kids will be happy....

Permanent link to this comment. On February 26, 2008 09:58 AM, Land Leal wrote:

Hi folks.
Brasília (Brazil) is a wonderful place for biking, but I was reckcless & broke my right collarbone. (Oh, if I had just placed my hands on the ground first!). I'm beginning my fourth week into a plaster-figure-8 splint. I'll have an X-ray check by week's end. It looks the ancient figure 8 (Egiptian, Greek, Roman?) technique is still the best. I'm healing fine, even lifting my right arm (carefully) above shoulder, though I'm 63. Good luck & hugs (oops! ouch!). I mean: virtual hugs.
Land Leal

Permanent link to this comment. On February 26, 2008 10:02 AM, Land Leal wrote:

Hi folks.
Brasília (Brazil) is a wonderful place for biking, but I was reckcless & broke my right collarbone. (Oh, if I had just placed my hands on the ground first!). I'm beginning my fourth week into a plaster-figure-8 splint. I'll have an X-ray check by week's end. It looks the ancient figure 8 (Egiptian, Greek, Roman?) technique is still the best. I'm healing fine, even lifting my right arm (carefully) above shoulder, though I'm 63. Good luck & hugs (oops! ouch!). I mean: virtual hugs.
Land Leal

Permanent link to this comment. On February 28, 2008 12:56 AM, muriel shani wrote:

Dear Writers in pain,

I got out of a taxi at the airport in Poland to fly back home to Israel- didnt see a post, did a summersault and cant remember anything until my husband picked me up- after getting an injection from a Polish doctor, flew home and went to bed- about four hours later- i screamed in pain. Went to the hospital thinking i will just get a sling- before i knew it, blood tests, ecg and up to the ward- shattered the shoulder bone-
next day operation- two hours.In the end one long screw and three small screws accross.I have been going to Physio for ther last week- very sore- still cant lift my arm over my head, but i work, and do everything myself-but its very sore............................when do i go back to normal-? Driving is out of the question- but never thought of the drink that one of the people wrote- forgot to tell you i am 65 (never too late to go on the booze)Please comment-----MURIEL

Permanent link to this comment. On March 3, 2008 08:17 AM, Sonya wrote:

i broke my collarbone 4 days ago...a snow tubing accident. I consider myself a tough cookie...4 lung surgeries, 2 appendix surgeries, but this dang clavicle is making me feel like a total baby...the pain is unbearable...worse than childbirth!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 4, 2008 03:33 PM, Jeff wrote:

Broke my right clavicle very near the shoulder socket on January 13, 2008, and also tore two ligaments that run from the clavicle to the shoulder blade. I had surgery 5 days later and the Dr. put an anchor in my clavicle, another in my shoulder blade, and heavy sutures between the two. This pinned the ligaments back in place and also realigned the clavicle. I am now just over 6 weeks from surgery and have had 4 physical therapy sessions. I have regained nearly all of my range of motion already with my hand going over my head with no problem, and will move on to weights once the Dr. confirms that the fracture is healed up strongly. I am 30 yrs old and just wanted to pass along these results to show that it will get better as I know how rough it was in the first few weeks.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 11, 2008 08:54 PM, Brian Leach wrote:

I have an undisplaced fracture of the right collarbone. This is my third week of suffering, however I feel my wife is suffering more being ever concerned over my wellbeing. At 66 years of age and 18 months into retirement I have, since retirement, joined the "stay stronger live longer" brigade by doing weight lifting at the local gym. This is to strengthen bones and prevent or reduce osteoporosis. When I started weight training I weighed 58 kilos and being 5 ft 11 inches I looked somewhat undernourished. This was due to a daily exercise program for the last 28 years of running (well running initially, jogging is a more apt term for today's pace). Well weight training particularly upper body produced remarkable results and I have increased my weight to 68 kilos, which is mainly muscle gain. It was this dramatic body image change that caused me to become too intense with my weight training regime. Using heavier weights was the goal, which led to my fracture. I used a number of weight machines for 12 reps and 5 sets per gym visit. At the time I was using the chest press machine. I assume that the fracture was caused by some intitial damaged to the ligaments of the shoulder which caused the shoulder to become misaligned and put pressure on the clavicle causing the fracture. I only wished I stopped when I first felt discomfort in the shoulder. Although it is an undisplaced fracture I have quite a large swelling over the injured area and the clavicle does appear to be more pronounced than it was before. I am receiving physiotherapy, passing a pulsating electric current through the injured area and induction heat treatment. I am told this increases bone growth and speeds recovery. I have been given simple exercises to do, one of which is "climbing the wall" which entails placing your hands against the wall and using your fingers like a spider, crawl up the wall. I am able to fully extend my arm upwards, its comparatively easy going up but coming down really hurts. I tried jogging at the beginning of the third week but it's too much jarring on the shoulder. I feel that attempt has put me back a little. Driving is OK although the seat belt (right hand drive car) pressed right on the injured area. My solution was to place a towel between the seat belt and shoulder, until the son-in-law showed me that modern cars have adjustable seat belt anchor points and adjusted it so that the seat belt cleared the injured area.

I have read many of the preceding entries and shall continue until the end. I have already got the message that it takes time and that the healing process is dependent on age and fitness. One point in my favour one point against. Next week I having a bone density test because osteoporosis can affect men as well as women.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 14, 2008 10:14 AM, Samantha wrote:

All,

Can you share your opinions on the best/most comfortable sling you've used?

My poor boyfriend has separated his shoulder severly and fractured his scapula (it was quite a motorcycle wreck.) Although the injury is different from the collarbone, he also was sent home with the emergency room sling. It is biting into his opposite shoulder and his hand/arm slides back as he wears it.

Any opinions would be welcomed.

Thanks!

If you search online for slings you will find a wide variety of styles. There are some with wider straps which help with the biting issue. And some have an arm immobilizer that holds the arm against the body so it doesn't move forward or backward.

A simple and quick solution for the strap "biting" is to use a small towel as a pad between the strap and the shoulder. Wrap the towel around the strap. Secure the towel by wrapping with some duct tape or some other material.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 16, 2008 06:15 PM, Robert Kunicki wrote:

I just joined the ranks of the broken collar bones a couple weeks ago. I was kiteboarding and during the launch the kite lifted me off the ground and then threw me hard onto my left shoulder. I drove myself to the er knowing something was definitely wrong with the shoulder. They did their normal stuff and sent me home with a recommendation to see a orthopedic surgeon. Three days later I was waking up in recovery after getting a plate and seven screws in my clavicle. That night had to be one of the worst nights ever. I would wake up every 10 minutes thinking it had been 4 hours and time for more pain medicine.
The good news about having a plate is the bone will heal straight and recovery time is much less. two weeks after surgery I can lift my arm straight above my head and I have almost complete range of motion (with a little pain). Tomorrow is my first day of physical therapy. Hope to be kiting and golfing in the next 3-4 weeks.
Always remember pain is temporary and bones will mend.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 23, 2008 07:05 PM, MarkB wrote:

Susan, I know this is a rather delayed response, but I thought I would reply just in case you check back and are still living with a broken collarbone. I used the bone stim for about 11 weeks total (with a few weeks break after the first 6 weeks). It didn't help the bone heal. I'm coming up (in May) on one year since I broke my collarbone and the x-ray still shows a clear break, yet I do not have much discomfort unless I try to lift something or move my arm in a certain way. The doc that said he would just remove the bone now says he would just leave it alone unless it starts bothering me or limiting me. Well, it doesn't bother me much now, but does limit me. I can't backpack with a heavy pack, I can't lift weights unless they are really light, I can't do a full pushup, etc, etc. So, now I'm at a loss as to what to do. I don't particularly want a piece of my collarbone removed. I guess I need to try to get another doctor's opinion, but, man that is such a crap shoot. So, after almost a year, my problem isn't solved yet and now I'm on the verge of needing to get new health insurance. Can you say "pre-existing condition"? That means no coverage. Great.

Permanent link to this comment. On March 24, 2008 04:08 PM, Kathy wrote:

Hi all,
Currently in day 3 of hell! Broke my clavical body surfing on the weekend, came down fast straight into a sand bar. Ouch! Thought it was just soft tissue damage till i nearly fainted from the pain getting up the next day. My sling is killing me, sucks that it sits right over the most painful part. All set and ready for a DVD and book day with a collection of painkillers and food at my side! So hard to hold it in a good position and not crouch but im doing my best!!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 25, 2008 02:51 PM, stevieboy wrote:

hey guys, am from liverpool and made up i found this site. broke my left clav on thursday plying rugby. am at the start of the recovery and would appreciate the support. am pissed and on pain killers at the mo so frgive my typing. x

Tough luck there. Sorry to hear about it. You're not alone. There's been a bunch of posts from other rugby players. Let yourself heal and you should be back on the field in no time. Now is the time to work the sympathy angle with the girls. Cheers!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 26, 2008 02:15 PM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hey Mark B,
It sounds like you are 3 months ahead of me, but no further ahead of me as far as healing goes. My break was in August 2007 and there has been no sign of healing for me either. Some days it hurts a lot, but most days it's just uncomfortable. I have to be careful how I use my arm, certain movements, especially sudden ones, can be painful. I've been diligently taking Vit D & Calcium 3X a day, but it doesn't feel like it's getting any better. My husband and friends are pressuring me to go get the surgery done now, but I'd like to wait until summer is over (and it hasn't even begun yet). Since I'm not completely useless, I'd like to have a chance to be a little active in the summer before I have to recover from a surgery. I go back on May 7th for more x-rays and the doc says he'll do the surgery if there is no more progress. He says this will involve taking bone from my pelvis to fix it. Kinda scared about the whole thing, but this has just been going on for too long now. I want to be back to normal. I can imagine how you are feeling after almost a year! Good luck!

Permanent link to this comment. On March 28, 2008 06:47 AM, Steve Dintino wrote:

I was horseback riding for the second time in my life. The horse started running uncontrollably. I bailed, and landed on my shoulder and hip. I am in Week 5 of my broken Clavicle. The doctor said I can stop wearing the brace and sling now. I am keeping the figure 8 brace on until the 6 week anniversery of my accident. My orhtopedic always seems to be in a rush when he sees me. I advise people to have all their questions written down before they visit the doctor for their checkups. My next visit is in two weeks, and I will be asking him about the rehab process. I look forward to being completely healed so I can play ice hockey again.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 1, 2008 04:35 PM, Robert Kunicki wrote:

I posted earlier about my kiteboarding accident and the ensuing operation to plate my clavicle. The doc scheduled physical therapy (another name for pain and torture) only 7 days after surgery. That evening I felt a lot of pain in the shoulder plus a clicking that kept getting worse. Back to the doc, who after examining the xrays said "I" overdid it and the plate has come loose on one side. Now it is a race to see if the bone heals before the plate moves farther. Back to surgery if that is the case. As it is, the plate is pushing the skin up a bit. I was instructed to limit movement so back into a sling for another 4 weeks.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 6, 2008 07:32 PM, zoltan wrote:

I was pleased to be able to read all of your stories,and I to am one of the lucky people who has broken my right collar bone.I did mine out in the desert spectating a friend racing his quad.The nasty dessert cross wind sent me for a trip off the side of a razor back in the dunes.I,m in week 1 fending for myself and all this info is most helpful.I passed the magic number of 40 last year so Im expecting this to be quite a task to recover. Thank you all Zoltan

Permanent link to this comment. On April 6, 2008 10:50 PM, Mark B wrote:

Colleen, did your doc mention anything about trying a bone stimulator? I've heard mixed reviews (didn't work for me), but if you have good health insurance, it may be worth a try. Maybe it will give the healing process a kick in the butt and get it going quicker. I think after my insurance paid it's part, I was left with 200 bucks out-of-pocket for the bone stimulator. Even though it didn't work for me, it was worth the try. Also, I'm not a good case study on the effectiveness of the bone stim because, as I may have mentioned previously (can't remember), the location of this fracture was about 1cm from another fracture 8 months prior. I tend to think that, while we thought that previous fracture was healed (and it was visually by x-ray), it was still forming bone, and, thus, the fresh fracture probably never had a chance to really get the healing process going. That's just my theory. I'm fortunate that, even though I still have a broken collarbone, I hardly ever have any pain anymore and there is nothing that it prevents me from doing on the bike. So, I'm in no hurry to have surgery at this point. I know I will likely want/need to have surgery in the future, but to do it now and blow my summer is not on the agenda.

Good luck to you!

Permanent link to this comment. On April 9, 2008 10:07 AM, Ben wrote:

I am 15. I broke my left clavicle 2 days ago as I had a hard fall when I tripped over whilst running. I actually went home and slept on it. In the morning the pain was so unbearable that I went to hospital. My Spring break had only just begun, but now it's as good as over :( I love the story and I feel for all you other victims out there! This site has had tremendous response and reading it added to my current agenda of watching films! When should I expect to be able to go out again?

Lucky for you that you are young. Generally the younger you are the quicker you heal. But it's impossible to say when you can go out again. That really can only be determined by your doctor. Each person's injury is unique. Give yourself time to heal and listen to your doc. Hopefully you will be out sooner rather than later.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 11, 2008 08:05 PM, alan atkinson wrote:

60 years old, mid-life crisis, Kawasaki zzr 600 sport bike accident, left clavical broken, into day 100 with non-union, using EBI bone stimulator for the next 60 days. still wear figure 8, still in pain taking oxyecotin, active exercise and work. any experiences with EBI unit?

A midlife crisis at 60? Nice! :') No experience myself using a bone stimulator. But others have reported success.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 12, 2008 08:29 AM, Todd wrote:

There were still a lot of things I wanted to do before I turned 40 this summer...having a distal clavicle fracture of my left shoulder (my dominant side)was definitely not one of them.

There was little displacement. A week after the fall my ortho had me doing pendulum movements with my arm. April 15 is the 3 week mark and I also get my 2nd set of x-rays done. The results from that will determine how soon my physio begins. I'm a little anxious about that. A big challenge for me is rest vs. mobilization - How much is too much?

Hopefully your follow up x-rays have shown healing. How much is too much is a common but tricky question. One rule-of-thumb doctors often give is to use pain as your guide. If you are doing something that starts to hurt, stop doing it or back off the effort. But movement is a good thing for the joints to help prevent atrophy. The pendulum exercise is a good shoulder rehab. Good luck on your recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 18, 2008 03:09 PM, Julie wrote:

Getting an x-ray for what I thought was shoulder pain due to an old softball injury, I've just been told I have a fractured clavicle, but I haven't had any kind of accident or trauma -- just chronic shoulder pain for a couple of months (due, I thought, to that old softball injury). Anyone have ideas about how a clavicle can break without a person realizing it?

I don't see the orthopod for 10 days, and the sling causes more pain than just keeping my shoulder up on my own . . . .

It's hard to imagine a bone breaking without realizing something had happened. Maybe it was broken when you were very young and never healed.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 19, 2008 02:54 AM, Zachary A. wrote:

Well, "Spring Break 2008" for me ended up just as the name implies. On the night of 3/27/08, I struck a curb on my mountain bike, traveling at 26mph. Rider error(using very dim headlight) was the 100% avoidable cause of my most nastiest crash to date. I suffered a clean break of my left clavicle, at mid-shaft. Endorphins enabled me to ride the remaining 13 miles back home. The next morning, there was no mistaking I looked just like Quasimodo- after a night of hard drinking!!!

After realising I am stuck without anything to do for at least 2-3 weeks.....I often logged 16-18 hour days of pure, restful sleep. I think- at age 44.....this really helped with pain reduction and feeling a more solidness in the break area, just after two weeks. BTW....apples are an excellent natural source of Boron, which aids in assimilation of calcium supplements.

Hans, did you ever imagine this site you launched, would ever bring SO MANY people together? I also had my share of initial worries, but thanks to your site- I am now ready to re-enter the realm of ordinary(two-handed) life once again. Remember, bones do heal....for mine was a wake-up call for me to re-prioritize my real objectives, and snap out of a rut of complacency I didn't realize I was heading towards. In life- EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. At least I have a sexy new bump to prove it all now!!!

I never thought broken collar bones would be so popular. Really glad this site has helped people with their recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On April 22, 2008 10:42 PM, Evan wrote:

Hey guys!

I just broke my left clavicle this afternoon after being thrown shoulder first into the ground during Judo practice. At first it didn't feel too bad but as time went on the more it hurt. A classmate wheelchaired me over to my University's version of an ER and I had three hours of fun. The worst part so far was removing my uniform to x-ray the shoulder. Wow... the x-ray showed a spectacular separation of my collar bone in the vertical direction! I was told by a GP that it would reconnect with a curve in my bone but it would be as strong as ever. They did the whole vicodin, sling, and 8-brace thing then off to home I go! About to take my first anti-inflammatory ibuprofen (those are big pills!) pop some more vicodin and hit the hay. I'm getting pretty good at typing with just my right hand, and will have to get better for upcoming reports. Wish I could take some time off, but that will have to wait until after finals. Thanks for the pillow idea to help me sleep! I'm sure I'll need it. Wish me luck and good luck to all of you!

And so begins week 1!!!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 2, 2008 03:52 AM, Vera M wrote:

Hey everyone, first of all its nice to know that im not the only one! YES I broke my left clavicle too, fell off a bike shoulder down and that was on my trip to Europe (that was my best vacation ever...not) doctors over there are definetly dumb they wanted to do a surgery and then put a cast on, I almost went for it, if not for my sweet boyfriend who said no i should wait till i come to America and see what these docs have to say. So two weeks later when i came back here suprisingly in my situation a surgery is definetly unnecessary... when i asked about a cast the nurse and the doctor gave me this look i still feel stupid 1 week later. So how did it feel? OMG like worst than anything i ever felt. I did brake my arm years ago but the pain was not even close to this. So right when i just broke my cousin takes me to some retired old guy who used to be a chiropractic, ok so the pain is so bad im like almost fainting and thats if you dont even try touching the bone, so then that old guy tried to push my bone back in I thought i was gone die literaly. Then he tells me its broken I should go to the hospital. In there they put on these FAT rings on my shoulder kinda like figure 8 thing but like 10 times more uncomfortable my arms were blue and swollen cause of no blood circulation, I'd pick up my arms a lil when they felt like they were dead and so the blood would flow in, very unpleasent and painfull too. And then i broke it 3 more times, well it started healing and id brake it off again, three times man that would make me so sad. So now its been almost 2 weeks where I didnt brake it anymore. I think its healing ok. I do try to move as lil as possible, the thought of braking it again is making me lay still for days. Putting on clothes is definetly a problem, but i did find that botton up shirts are way easier to deal with. So maybe another week in bed and im done?
YES THIS IS NOT FUN! awfully painful and very uncomfortable to lay on your back at all times. BUT hey its better than having your neck or spine broken. right?
I wish you all the least pain and a fast recovery.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 2, 2008 04:18 AM, Vera M wrote:

Hello,
PLEASE HELP ANYONE?

I have a wedding coming up and Im realy worried about how my clavicle gona look. the wed is in about 4 months.
On my first xray my bones were like 0.5"-1" apart. Its been 2 weeks since i "last" broke it, when i lay down they feel streight or normal but once i get up my clavicle goes up and doesnt feel streight anymore... is that normal? Does eveyone experience this? and will laying down help it heal more streight?

And if anyone can send me pictures of how it looks like after its healed would be very nice. I wana have at least some idea what im gona look like in a wedding dress. Thank you much to all.
my email is pashas_love@yahoo.com

Permanent link to this comment. On May 5, 2008 08:34 AM, Marcello D wrote:

Hi Vera, the fact that your clavicle feels straight laying down and not when you are up it's perfectly normal (happens to me still after 5 weeks from the accident but not as much ). As for how your clavicle will look like it depends on where the site of the fracture is on the bone, but generally you will have a bump there.
Hope you recover fast.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 8, 2008 06:00 PM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hello all, I'm back again.
Had my 9 month checkup yesterday with the ortho...still no sign of healing and the doc can still feel the bone moving. I can actually move the bone myself. 3 months of vitamin D & calcium didn't work. I go tomorrow to fill out the paperwork for surgery in August, earlier if he has a cancellation. Will involve cleaning up the area, taking a bone graft from my pelvis and securing it with plate and screws. Overnight in the hospital, 3 weeks in a sling and 3 months total recovery. Plate removal in 18 months to 2 years. Never had surgery before so I'm pretty nervous, but am looking forward to be fixed finally! Doc is really nice and seems more concerned than I am about leaving a minimal scar.
Good luck to all out there. I will post more around surgery time.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 8, 2008 07:47 PM, Ace wrote:

I broke my collarbone around five weeks ago as of last Wednesday. I'm 15, and I was playing softball for my high school varsity team...my slide into second base didn't go too well...yeah, that was a lot of fun. I hated the pain medicine, though...it was my first broken bone, too, so I didn't know what to expect. I was euphoric all the time, and still went to school the day after the incident. Everyone told me to go home. I did around noon. Fortunately, I was off the pain meds in a week.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 12, 2008 04:25 PM, Kristen wrote:

My fiancee just broke his collarbone horsing around with the guys this past Saturday... exactly 6 weeks before our wedding day! Your story, as well as our emergency room doctor's estimate that it will take 2-3 weeks before the pain is completely gone and 6 weeks in total to fully recover, makes me feel relieved that he should, with rest of the area, be able to fully enjoy the wedding.

Oh... the timing!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 15, 2008 12:22 PM, Irina wrote:

Oh I am so glad I am not alone~!At all. Misery loves company and knowing Im not the only clavicle cripple.Just another story.2008 has caught me in a sling and typing one handed.Iam 15 years old and on Jan 19 I broke my left clavicle being side swept by a moving car. The pain was excruciating as I ventured into the land of one arm showering,useing, and living.Everything had healed until April 25 when mother luck had me be karate chopped in the same place.Once again im in a sling trying to heal. I know the tricks of the trade but am fully depressed.I need to be more immobile and careful because surgery is a looming option.Ijust want to heal because its worse on my mother then me.Just another story as my arm numbs and bone tingles. Best of health to all.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 16, 2008 09:55 PM, Astro wrote:

Dear all,

I can't say how reassuring it was to read this blog and find others had the same insecurities and worries as me. As a dr, it was also interesting to see the variety of treatments around the world (Im in Australia). Here the figure of 8 is out, broad arm slings are in, calcium supplements aren't recommended and there is a growing trend to operate for clavicle fractures (although the majority of orthopods still go for conservative treatment). Exceptions: those who don't want a lump, those who have badly displaced and comminuted fractures, those with nerve or blood vessel damage, and those who have had non-union after failed sling therapy. Also interesting that the view that anti-inflammatory drugs may hinder the chance of union is still in the minority here, and bone stimulators are last resort with no proven benefit!

Im one of the lucky ones who has healed (mostly) by the sling method. 32 yrs old, male, non-smoker, not as fit or active as most of the bloggers here! For those interested, a summary of my progress:

Week 1 - bicycle accident on tram tracks. also fractured my head of radius (elbow). Luckily it was close to my home hospital so got fast treatment in the ED. Heaps of pain despite sling. Went to see a private orthopod the next day - looked at the xrays and said "if it was my clavicle, I wouldnt let anyone operate on it" - quoted me similar non-union figures if he operated vs not, plus other complications of wound/ bone infection, anaesthetic risks. Only quoted benefit of surgery was earlier return to work - 2 weeks vs. 2 months for sling

Advice:
Get a good quality sling. Makes all the difference for pain. Dont know if surgeon was more reluctant to operate bc I was a dr too
The worst pain is only for about 5 days.. focus on this!
You'll need help dressing and showering for at least the first few days

Week 2 - Can finally sleep through the night without waking up in pain. Sneezing, coughing, walking, changing position still pretty painful. Can finally dress and shower myself!

Advice:
Lots of baggy T-shirts/ jumpers - easiest to get in and out of.
Get a long-handled scrubber to help reach your bad arm and behind in the shower
Long walks were the only real exercise I could do without pain. Don't push it!

Week 3 - Very little progress. Slight improvement in pain with position/ sneezing. Could use my hand and forearm a bit (in the sling). Tiny amount of arm movement, but definitely not forward! Got lots of crunching and pain if I did this. This is the danger time for panic/ depression that things aren't healing. I did notice however that now that the swelling has subsided I can feel a big lumpy bone callous starting to form at the fracture site - thank goodness! Is still tender to touch, but I notice when there's a little movement of the outer fragment, the inner fragment moves with it instead of independantly - so I guess must be at least sticking together a little bit!

Advice: Have faith, do hand/ forearm physio within your limits. No surgeon will operate on you now anyway, they want you to give the sling at least 2 months of a go

Week 4 - Back at work with light duties. Slightly more movement. Still can't bring my arm up anywhere near past my shoulder! But breakthrough near the end of week 4 though - was able to bring my arm up slightly without crunching - yay!

Advice: Hardest thing to do now is restrain yourself from doing too much. Re-fractures are a real possibility if you fall or wrench your arm at this stage. Had a couple of close calls climbing into the shower and aggressively trying to dress myself

Am now at week 5 and can type this (was only going to do it if I had 2 hands!). Good luck to everyone, the best you can do is keep yourself immobilised, eat and rest well, and be as patient as you can.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2008 03:41 PM, Hannah wrote:

Hi everyone, and Colleen Pope, I really feel for you, I do, good luck with your surgery. This site is fantastic, a real find for me, and I have been researching this kind of injury for nearly two years now, looking for information.

My collarbone injury has been a nightmare, I am sure some of you have had similar experiences, I was 15 when I broke it, and therefore my course of healing may sound surprising, I am now 17 and it is an ongoing process.

I am now post-op 12 days. I broke my left collarbone on May 29th 2006, along with my upper left arm, shoulder blade, 2 ribs and a toe. All I did was fall down my kitchen step, but fell hard, the most stupid accident of my life. Being in England, I am reliant on the NHS and slow, when describing them, is not the word.

I, like you all found the pain excruciating and did faint, twice, quite funny in retrospect, I was told I had broken it badly. Two places and the part in the middle fell out, not so good, so I was given the collar and cuff sling, paracetamol and told to go home. I experienced the lovely and rather sexy yellow bruising many of you have also had, and it does go away quickly.

Considering the sling I am currently wearing, I would recommend anyone in this position ask for a Lancaster sling which supports the arm, due to the damage done to my neck by the collar and cuff sling. Also, I would recommend if you have accompanying injuries to take some stronger pain killers, such as the ibuprofen and coedine, their strength allows for good rest.

I went back to the hospital for x-rays every 4 and then 6 weeks, and it was not healing and the pain was not reducing, so they waited and waited, obviously cautious because of my age. I should have healed being so young, they didn't want to do surgery on someone so young and also they were concerned I had not stopped growing.

So, waited and waited until October '06, and they said I had healed, despite the pain, great! So, I went into physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to try and get back my movement which was at 30% and to try and reset my shoulder blade.

May I ask, has anyone else encountered issues with their shoulder blades moving to the wrong position, sticking out, a lot, and causing considerable pain?

So, physiotherapy I did, but in January, with very little change to my movement ability, they said they didn't think my shoulder had healed, so I went back to the doctor. He said it was healed, and I then embarked upon a series of tests to establish the cause of pain:

- Nerve conduction studies to see whether there had been an injury to the brachial plexus - very funny test due to the electrical pulses, but no injury

- CT scans which said my collarbone was broken

- Nuclear bone scans in which they inject you with the radiation, which said the bone had healed

So, after no conclusive decision over my collarbone, I was transferred to another doctor, who had more experience, another piece of advice, be persistent to get appointments with the correct doctor.

In October '07 I was told my collarbone was broken and like Colleen Pope I would need surgery with the metal plate and bone graft. Then I waited and waited.

May 6th 2008 I had the surgery, only for them to find I have a healed collarbone, although they did clean up the area a little, and have been told I am susceptible to overlapping in the future. Only problem, huge scar, which I don't mind, why is it that the doctors are more concerned about the scarring than the patients? And, the recovery is almost the same as if I had the metal plate, sling and all.

Also, if the pain does not subside, and the physiotherapy does not succeed in stabilising and re-setting my shoulder and shoulder blade in particular then my doctor says we may need to look into setting my shoulder surgically. So, fingers crossed for the physiotherapists. I start physio tomorrow.

In terms of nerve damage, has anyone else got considerable nerve damage on the back of their shoulder? And, does anyone have nerve damage around the surgery site from the collarbone surgery? I do suffer with this problem and I recognise there really isn’t a cure, but it is the most unusual sensation!

I sympathise with what people have said about the boredom and contempt you develop for your sling. I am already experiencing that after 12 days, although I can promise it gets better, after having been stuck in one for 6 months! In concerns to your other shoulder, if you would like to maintain a reasonably normal appearance, do not carry heavy weights on the other shoulder for a couple of months to prevent sloping shoulders, which I now have! If possible, try and keep your neck mobile during the recovery too, I was advised not to and consequently suffer with shortened nerves and muscles in the left side of my neck, nothing horrific, but irritating nonetheless.

I really do wish everyone the best of luck with their injuries. I once read that apparently injuries to the collarbone constitute every 1 in one thousand injuries, and of all of the breaks, between 0.2 and 1% of people continue to have problems and non-union, so the odds are very good for everyone.

Some advice I have learned along the way:
- for women, the “pit of despair” issue can be partially overcome with hair removal cream
- getting dressed is a slow issue, and you have to learn with time
- bras for women – strapless is the best piece of advice I can offer, and a person you trust
- also, for everyone, do not expect to maintain any dignity with this injury, none at all

One final note, if you are on pain killers for a prolonged period of time, as I have been - 23 and half months! Always follow the instructions, particularly with anti-inflammatory medication; always line your stomach to prevent some of the problems I have encountered.

Just stick with the pain if it has lasted as long as mine has. You become used to it after a while, but don’t suffer unnecessarily.

Good luck to everyone.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 18, 2008 06:10 PM, Colleen Pope wrote:

Hey Hannah, thanks for the well wishes. You're making me feel a little better since I've only invested 9 months so far and you're almost 2 years! I enjoyed your post....gave me a few laughs that only someone in our position can understand, being broken and female! (I've already made sure I have a strapless bras in my collection...LOL)
I got a call from my doctor this past week and my surgery has been rescheduled from August 21st to June 5th, less than 3 weeks away. I'm pretty nervous about it. Will mess up my summer, no cycling, no motorcycling and definitely no dirt biking. But I will be glad to get it fixed. At least the weather will be warm enough to just wear tank tops and catch a few rays od sunshine in the backyard while I'm off work!
My doctor mentioned the risk of nerve damage with this surgery which scares me. Hannah, you mentioned nerve damage in your shoulder...is that from the surgery or just from the injury itself? I'm worried about nerve damage affecting the use of my arm. Will it prevent you from doing anything? My doctor told me they know where all the nerves are, but he still had to let me know of the risk of damage. You mentioned a bone graft as well...did they take it from your hip? Sorry for all the questions....I may be 38, but I've never had surgery before and getting older is hard enough without these extra hurdles! :)
Talk to you all soon!

Permanent link to this comment. On May 29, 2008 09:00 AM, marian wrote:

loved finding these stories and experiences! broke my clavicle, ribs, sternum, other wrist and hand after my young horse exploded a week ago. my clav required surgery and plates and cable to hold it together. im at home learning to shower, dress, type, etc with two useless hands. feel like one of those national geo great apes tapping out emails with a pencil. buying a wedge pillow helped a lot.

Permanent link to this comment. On May 29, 2008 11:17 AM, peter wrote:

hi i am 43 went over handle bars on a dark 4.30am december morning broke my clavicle that was 17 moutths ago i am now waiting for an opp as i am still in a lot of pain cant wait for a good night sleep

Permanent link to this comment. On May 31, 2008 08:41 AM, Patrick Winter wrote:

Hi to all victims of collar bone injuries.
Broke mine on Thursday when cycling home. Was on an off road section at the time, hit a bump and went flying. Landed on my shoulder and felt a sickening but not unfamiliar crunch as I broke my collar bone as a child playing rugby.
Managed to get the remaining 5 miles home with difficulty and then taxied to A and E. Six hours later at 3am discharged from hopital with an adjustable sling and 2 different types of painkiller.
Had 2 glasses of wine and then an uncomfortable sleep.
Uncertain of the prognosis but am hoping for uncomplicated recovery. My main 'sport' is rock climbing so this will be compromised for ome time and I have had to cancel a holiday to the Dolomites. Getting used to doing as much as poss with my left arm.
Patrick

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2008 11:34 AM, Nancy wrote:

I am so glad I found this site. I was on meds for accute bronc and sinus. Didn't know I was allergic until I was going down the stairs and blacked out. Took a big tumble, neighbors thought it was a herd of elephants. Fotunately I have a roomate that helped me. I figured I had simply dislocated my shoulder so I had her pull on my arm while I pushed back the shoulder. Probably not the best idea. (I have a really high tolerance to pain. As a kid I could get a cavity filled without the novacain.) Next thing I know I'm in shock, in an ambulance and in ER, still in shock. I have very low blood pressure. I was off work for one week, now back in limited duties. I'm wearing the sling. The brusing was incredible. My shoulder is 2" shorter which is worrisome. My doctor doesn't want to see me until after 6wks. He took a look at the Xrays and said I had broken "the big bone". What does that mean?
Anyway, I'm 58 and 5 days before this accident I got a new dog.
Playing with her, exercising her, out of the question. I just hope she doesn't atrophy like me.
Any advice out there?
Thanks,
Nancy

I'm not sure which bone your doctor indicates you have broken. It's possible it's the clavicle. I recommend that you ask your doctor for more specific information and/or go get a second doctor's opinion. Being a well informed patient is important.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 1, 2008 02:11 PM, Nancy wrote:

Thank you for your response so quickly. How, on your website, can I get through all the blogs more rapidly, in order to get to my responses?
My doc is very laisse-faire, and I should probably go for 2nd opinion. It's almost 4 wks now and I am so tired of being slingged up.
Thank you so much for getting back to me.
I do have to add: I have this tendency at night to somehow take my arm out of the sling. Last night I woke up with my elbows above my head and in pain. I'll have to research this clavicle thing. Seriously, I'm happy to be alive and with my new dog.
Thanks,
Nancy
Nancy

Permanent link to this comment. On June 2, 2008 12:13 PM, Rosemary wrote:

I feel alot better now after reading everybodys experiences. I was involved in a bad car accident May 3, 2008, which caused my collar bone to break. The ER docs told me it was no big deal (I was in crazy pain) and told me to keep the figure 8 brace on for 6 weeks. I'm going into my 5th week now and I am going to see my ortho. for the second time. I hope he gives me good news. Is it normal to feel really itchy in and around the area of the broken bone? I took off my figure 8 brace 1 week 1/2 ago because I honestly could not deal with it anymore, it was so uncomfortable and it was digging into my skin. I also took off the sling at the same time because I was starting to get frozen shoulder. Instead I opted for a full upper body brace, it is much more comfortable. It does the same thing the figure 8 brace does (has thick straps to keep your shoulders back) but it also gives you back and tummy support. Do people feel more pain if the bones are not healing or coming together? After two weeks my pain went away & I was able to lay down and sleep normally. Now I started feeling a little bit of pain on Sunday and have a meduim size lump on my shoulder is this normal?

Permanent link to this comment. On June 4, 2008 04:56 PM, wollfie wrote:

I just want to know the best sleeping position for a broken rib as I can not lie down without intense pain as such that I can not breathe and feel as if I am going to pass out. Sitting is not much better either. Not slept for two nights and my doctor has no advice, asshole.

I've not had a broken rib myself, only the busted collar bone. Have your tried sleeping in a big recliner/easy chair? That's what some folks have found helps them sleep better than lying flat in bed or seated straight up. If you don't have a recliner you can fashion one out of a bunch of pillows on one end of a couch.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 9, 2008 11:08 AM, wayne chappell wrote:

i was nocked of my push bike on the 7th may by a car i broke my ankle, fractured 2 ribs and broke my clavicle i was in hospital for 10 days that was 6 weeks ago my ankle doesent realy hurt but my shoulder kills and being in a wheelchair dont help.hope this int going to go on for much longer ham bored out my head.cant do much for my self at the moment but its good to no were not alone.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 11, 2008 08:10 AM, Jamie Wall wrote:

Hey thanks for the good stories i just broke my clavicle on the 8th in a motocross race accident that shot me at 30km/h into the ground left shoulder first i didn't even realize it was broken until i jumped up from the ground and went to pick up my bike. it was alot harder then usual lol i didn't get last either i got third last whoo lmao

my question is what are some suggestions for the rubbing and chaffing from the sling and figure 8 brace?

With the sling and figure-8 I had I found the rubbing was caused by two things:

1. Not being adjusted properly (usually too tight)
2. The cheap narrow straps they use.

I solved the rubbing my having someone adjust the straps until it was snug but not too tight. I also found some spare foam padding and placed that between the strap and my shoulder. Duct tape the foam around the strap to hold it in place. A piece of foam pipe insulation also works well.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 14, 2008 09:49 AM, james wrote:

I am james and i am 10 i broke my left collar bone going down a hill i pulled my front brake after that i couldnt remember much a neighbour came out and asked where due live and up the road so her husbund ran up the hill to get my mum and dad they came down and then the woman called the ambulance they gave me gas and air but i didnt like it because i had pins and neddles but then i got to the hospital and they put me in a sling after that i had an x-ray they said i had fractured my collar bone in two places i could go home they gave me pain killers and said to come back in a week im on my second day now and ive still got terrible pain in my shoulder ive got a stronger sling with more support.

Ouch! Sounds like a nasty crash. Luckily, you are young and should heal soon. Just be sure to listen to your doctor. Try not to move your arm and shoulder too much so that the bones have a chance to mend. Good luck and heal fast.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 15, 2008 09:03 AM, harrison wrote:

I was charged and heading for the track for a run and as usual i like to warm-up by riding my bike to the track..i decided to take another road that trails to a ravine and then gets back on my usual direction,well i didnt make it down the decline as i had hoped,i took it a little fast and hit rocks..i flew into the air and landed about 3 meters down the jagged hill.first landing on my left arm(broken!)and then on my left collar bone(broken!)my knees,my ankles,were hit hard but saved(thank god!!)i let out such a cry that people along the ravine walking their dogs or out for their mid-summer evening strolls came from all directions.An ambulance came and picked me up and brought me to emergency..i live in Athens Greece and its a long weekend here so most docs are on a mini vacation,the hospital was full of accident victims due to either motorcycles or automobiles..i will leave out the details of the horrors i witnessed,which made me feel guilty for my place in the ER corridor;i just remember the smell.I kept on thinking that it will all be over soon and my healing process will begin(very bad experience)im taking anti-inflamitory meds which dont help for the pain-im suffering an irritating sharp pain that gets numb and then kicks back in again.Im concious of my water intake and eating right-no coffee or alcohol,though the urge to drink is high im being good(strange)but i want to heal as fats as possible!reading a good amount of stories on this very informative website has given me encouragment on my next 6 weeks of character building. im 37 and in fairly good condition so i think i'll be ready in 6 weeks.Unfortunatly im also a hairdresser and owner of my hair salon,so this bad but i got good supporters and my clients love me and im confident that they can wait..it happened yesterday

Permanent link to this comment. On June 16, 2008 07:20 AM, Edith wrote:

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

Permanent link to this comment. On June 17, 2008 07:22 PM, Nick wrote:

I'm 14 and I broke the far end off mine so the AC joint is messed up. I just broke it a week ago and the doctor said that the piece I broke off will stay up on my shoulder and will just cling on uo there but it won't cause any problems. the doctor on the night of my break said in the 27 years he has been working for Kaiser he has never seen a break like this!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 18, 2008 09:41 AM, Stuipd Knievel wrote:

Hi All,
WOW, what a common injury! This thread is a great way to bide my time (and learn how to type left-handed), now that all I can do is sit around and try to heal all day.

I was out biking on UW campus yesterday, you know, "just riding along", when, "out of the blue" came a 3-4' staircase ahead of me! I had just put new tires (Maxxis 2.5" Hookworms) on my bike ('07 Kona Stinky); and was digging the new lack of rolling resistance (compared to my old DH tires). I ended up launching into a series of staircases way too fast for comfort.

Landing the third drop, my front end got squirrely and I flew over my handlebar at a pretty good clip. The only things I recall hitting the ground were my head and shoulder. My head hit very hard - the right side of my helmet was crushed. At first, I thought that was what made the crunching sound. After getting up and assuring bystanders that I was OK, I started graying out.

I called my girlfriend (luckily working only a few blocks away) and askked her to take me to urgent care. Fun drive. Madison's streets look more like gravel pits than roads!

Got to the clinic and had lots of fun x-rays taken. My favorite was when I got to hold hand weights and stand still for a long time... then pass out, head-first into the x-ray mschine! Good times, good times.

X-rays showed broken distal clavicle, no joint dislocation and some minor ligament damage. My fig. 8 and sling seem to be holding things in place (with great pain). Oh well, lots of concentration on posture and a little percocet should have things re-aligned soon. I see an orthopod in ~a week, hopefully with good news!

Thanks for all the great info/reading material, everybody! Keep healing!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 19, 2008 09:35 AM, Cynthia wrote:

I broke my right clavicle,my dominant hand.Hate when that happens:P And i was wondering how i'm supposed to at least clean my hair,and i'm extremely not fond of the figure 8 coming off & on,which the doc told me does no good anyways.

Ah yes, all those things we normally do and take for granted become such chores when we can only use one hand. Sprinkled throughout the comments are ideas from people that have suffered as you are doing. Some quick suggestions are to have someone else help with the washing and/or learn the single hand washing technique.

Also, it's good to take off the figure-8 now and then. I would do so when showering. And your doc's comment about the figure-8 is common. You can take a hand full of doctors and ask them about the figure-8 and they will each have their own opinion. Some pro, some con, and some indifferent. My opinion is that it helped for my recovery. And if it is used properly it helps to support and maintain posture. Both important while recovering.


Permanent link to this comment. On June 19, 2008 09:48 AM, Cynthia wrote:

I was told it was a clean break,so it might heal quicker and less painful?But i broke it 2 days ago,beginning of summer vacation,except the 3 regents i have.So,yesterday my mom had to call the school to inform them & they got me a scribe,to write for me on the tests.But, they're not sure what to do with a scribe for my French regents,which has 2 writing pieces,100 words each.Telling someone what to write for English was extremely difficult,now,on the 24th it'll be more of a pain.
i'm just concerned about this wasting my whole summer away,and i would love to wash my hair somehow,by monday..for school:P
And i loved the info that you put on here!
now i want to hit up a library and grab some books.:)

Permanent link to this comment. On June 19, 2008 02:35 PM, Tyler wrote:

i just broke mine skateboarding as well also in summer it finnaly been a week and i can pick up my shoulders to a little less than 90 degress. i'm 15 so hopefully it will heal faster. i just cant wait to skate.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 25, 2008 06:27 AM, Joseph Fitzpatrick wrote:

Thanks Laura for the inspirational story,

I'm currently typing this with my right hand because i snapped the end off my left clavicle yesterday playing footy lol. Jeh it pretty much hurts like hell eh but all i'm worried about is the possibility of it popping through my skin lol. Yeah I'm 16 so i'm assuming the healing process should be about 5 weeks, but its a strange break so it may not heal right at all :'l

Anyway thanks for the article it was great and good luck to any other sufferers. ;)

Permanent link to this comment. On June 25, 2008 08:03 AM, Stupid Knievel wrote:

Hi all! I hope everyone is ossifying nicely...

I just had my 1 week checkup yesterday and all seems to be going well (especially after ditching my sling!) I talked to my dad on the phone the other day (he's a retired orthopod), and he told me that the sling is just a pain management tool - at least with my particular type of break. (Mine is a clean break in the distal third, with most connective tissue still intact.) As soon as I took it off it felt better! I had been having REALLY bad cramping in by tricep and was beginning to have back spasms. No more cramping, and although my back is still spazzing out (oooOOOOUCH!!!), I find it much easier to maintain mobility in my shoulder joint (while still immobilizing the broken parts).

I found out the hard way that I do still have to wear the sling at night, though. I woke up one night laying my head on my outstretched arm, which was above my head! When my shoulder popped as I put it back down... let's just say I ran out of swear words and had to start making them up. (SWEET HOLY FLARGEN!!!)

If you have a more simple, straightforward break like mine, talk to your doc about what you can do to maintain mobility (within the limits of pain), to avoid further damage (atrophy, freezing etc...). Avoiding the sling during the day may help.

I also found out from Dear Old Dad that the buttheads at urgent care put the fig. 8 on all wrong. According to his instructions, the crosspiece should be placed down your back, in between the middle of your shoulder blades. This will place the front of the loops on the ends of your shoulders - this puts more leverage on your shoulders, pulling them back better. HOLY CRAP, did that feel better! The aforementioned buttheads had the front of the loops right on top of my clavicle!!! DAMN, OUCH!!! Make sure (if you are using a fig. 8) that your doc shows you EXACTLY how it's supposed to fit.

Long story short, I have gone from 10 Percocets a day down to 1-3, I've regained a lot of mobility, and I can sleep at night. My shoulder and back are usually tired and extremely sore by the end of the day, but that's why God invented Oxycodone. I'm much more confident that I'm healing better, preventing frozen shoulder and I'm glad I'm not going to be addicted to pain killers when this is over! lol

Good luck to all, and keep healing!

Permanent link to this comment. On June 28, 2008 01:10 PM, Michael wrote:

Hi all,

Joined this club four days ago kitesurfing in Ireland. Went to ER and discussed options with ortho doc. He said 50% for and against surgery. Told him that I kite/wind surf and snowboard so I want my mobility back. He recommended surgery. Op the next day and home on day two with 'hook plate' in-situ.
The sling is such a burden along with the accociated inability to do anything quickly.
Beginning to fall into a pit of depression when I came upon this site. Thanks to you all for the humour and good advice, it has really picked me up. Will try and take it easy, do as I'm told, not dwell too much on the accident(just learn from it), and get better.

Regards

Michael

Permanent link to this comment. On June 29, 2008 07:27 PM, Dan wrote:

I broke my collar bone on the 11th of June, the day before my 8th grade graduation, by getting thrown up in a blanket and I landed right in it. It's nearly been 3 weekssince I broke it. I don't have to wear the sling anymore though. I can already lift my arm over my head and rotate my shoulder with very little pain. If I can do a pushup bu July 16th with no pain then I am healed and can go back to sports and such. I am apparently healing much faster than I expected. I think personally I'd be set to do my push up earlier. Any thoughts would be appreciated. But I'm very impatient and I'm getting through this just fine with the healing and everything. It's really not that bad. Please respond. Thanks.
Dan

Permanent link to this comment. On July 5, 2008 07:16 PM, Jon wrote:

Hey thanks for this everyone. I appreciate hearing all your stories! Funnily enough this is my second broken collarbone (I broke the left side when I was 12 playing soccer). I broke the right side on June 19th playing ultimate frisbee (now i'm 30). I guess I should be more carefull! Wishing you all the best, Jon

Permanent link to this comment. On July 9, 2008 01:22 PM, Kathleen wrote:

I broke my right clavicle and in my 3rd week of hopefully healing.
I am 56 and was headed out for a bike ride with my husband when a dog ran out at my bike and knocked the bike over. I really enjoy reading all these postings, as I am getting a good picture of various recoveries and options. I had a new x-ray done yesterday and it looks like that the three bone masses are in a good place for healing or fusing together. My orthopedist seemed to think I would get fusion. Looks like, if I concentrate on taking care of myself, that I may be functional in about 6 weeks. The bones feel flat to the touch, rather than sticking out as described by other bloggers. I only had bad pain for the first 2 days. I know I overdid activity the first week, but have since settled into a good routine of resting most of the time, using the hand only lightly. I have put myself on a strict vitamin combination given to me by my pharmacist. (Calcium, magnesium,boron, B6, manganese, zinc, vitamin D and C. I am hoping this helps. Time will tell. I am trying hard to keep my posture straight.
I am a teacher and have the summer to help myself heal, so in this respect I am lucky. I also live in a town where I can walk to stores, bank, etc. The only exercise I am doing is walking about 3 miles per day. I take off the sling for sitting activities as well as for sleeping. I sleep on my back with my arm in sling position and wake up the same, so I am not moving.Thanks for all the helpful info from everyone. It was at once reassuring and daunting to know all the healing and not healing possibilities. Good luck to everyone I'll post again if I find my vitamin healing helps!I remain at this stage, optimistic.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 9, 2008 07:40 PM, Oliver wrote:

Bloody Quad bikes ha ha. Outch, laughing hurts a lot and this story made me laugh a lot. I'm in week 6 now and still very, very sore. Doctor said I have a beauty and smashed it rather than break the bone. Just as well to do it right the first time. 45 years old and suffering. Just lost my job too. Can't lift a thing.I think I started to get a little depressed but after reading all these messages I appreciate that I'm not the only one and don't feel so sorry for myself anymore. Thanks for that guys. Anyway, missing going to Gym a lot. Doctor reckons I have at least 12 to 15 weeks to go because I can't even lift my left arm higher than my chest after 6 weeks. Great, but lets soldier on. I still might get surgery but right now the left side is still to mushy. Heads up, I hope you all feel/get better soon
Cheers, Oliver

Permanent link to this comment. On July 11, 2008 01:20 PM, Rafe wrote:

I broke my left clavicle Tuesday before last. I was informed by the doc a couple of days after that because I broke the tip of it and it was well out of line with the rest of it then surgery was the best bet.

Just got back today after having some wire thing put around it as apparently where it had been rubbing it was a little chewed up.

Have a pink foam sling made up of one long strip with two hoops for the arm to pass through twice and a huge sticky patch across the top of my shoulder where they cut into it to get at the bone. Difficult to move neck too much as the darn sticky patch has glued it into one big lump that pulls at the skin.

Have been given ibuprofen and paracetamol but will definitely look out for some calcium tablets as they seem like a good idea (although this wasn't mentioned in hospital).

I had reached the point where I could pivot my lower arm at my elbow to get some use from my left hand but after the op it feels pretty much like going back to day 1... hurts like hell.

Still can't lay on it properly here at home although it was easier in hospital but then they have adjustable beds so could sleep in semi sitting position.

Was good to read how others have coped with it. First time I have ever broken a bone and am 36.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 13, 2008 10:35 PM, Oliver wrote:

Hi everybody,

Just following up from my post on July 9. Saw the Orth.Doc today again and he now wants to operate. I will get bone draft where he takes some from my hip and plate/pin the left clavicle. He mentioned that there is danger of losing feeling in the left side of my chest. I could find no info about this anywhere and I'm a little concerned now. Has anybody experienced this problem? I would appreciate an honest answer. The op is on July 22 and I could still chicken out, would prefer the op though because I'm still in a lot of bother after 7 weeks. Thanks in advance,
Oliver

I don't recall anyone leaving a comment with the issue you mention. Maybe someone reading this has had the experience and can comment.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 15, 2008 10:44 AM, Kabusted wrote:

Great site! I broke my right clavicle 5weeks ago, got all kinds of nifty hardware 3weeks ago, and ever since been researching rehab measures. Doctors won't utter a straight answer( law suit/ deniable plausibility), and there is little on the web. Are any of you avid backpackers ? when can I wear a pack, and are there any recommended strap alterations?

I've been able to carry a loaded multi-day backpack without problems once my collar bone healed. But I healed without surgery and hardware. I know others have expressed concern about placing the weight of a heavy pack over the injury site when they have a plate and screws. I haven't read any feedback though regarding this and the possible problems. It's a question better answered by a doctor willing to give the information.

If you aren't getting the information you need from your doctor I would recommend getting another doctor's opinion. Maybe you can also find a doctor with backpacking experience.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 15, 2008 01:39 PM, Kabusted wrote:

Good advice! The doc here has been great about letti