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  • That Strava Support Guy

    Cool article. Thank you.

  • Andy

    Definitely reiterate the snowflake analogy. Broken my right clavicle twice – once at each end.

    First break right near sternum was multiple bits of bone which they couldn’t really do anything with. Now it’s knitted together in a wacky knob sticking out of my chest. Couldn’t even contemplate getting back on a bike for at least 6 weeks.
    Second break was right at the outer end after doing a commando roll and landing on the top of my shoulder. I drove myself to the doctor more than 24hrs later ‘just to check if things were ok’ and didn’t get an x-ray until 4 days later! Still had a doctor enforced 4 weeks off the road but was fine on the trainer the next week. Still not back to the form I had before the break and it’s now more than 6 months later :(

  • Phillip Brown

    haven’t broken collarbones, but I have grade 3 separation of the AC joint (where the outer end of the collarbone meets the shoulder joint) in both shoulders. So now that end of the collarbone ‘floats’ up. Doesn’t really affect my riding, but took at least a couple of weeks for the swelling and pain to subside.

    • Mike D

      I had the pleasure of a grade 3 dislocation and a smashed clavicle (5 breaks) on either shoulder in separate accidents last year. Form my experience the dislocation was worse as it resulted in more time off the bike and I look like a hit of a freak.

    • pervertt

      You have a funny looking bump on your shoulder too?

    • Brian Gallagher

      I enjoyed a grade 5 separation of the AC joint. I elected to have it surgically repaired, as the bump in my shoulder resulted in about 5W of drag.

  • Just had my hardware removed last week: https://instagram.com/p/2dGcmcHkrQ/

    • MartinD

      Drillium! Looks like they started well on the RH end but lost interest and used a bigger bit for the rest. Sort of like some of my efforts back in the 70s.

      More seriously – getting something like this out looks like it would require more than keyhole surgery. What’s the recovery from the removal like?

      • First 3 days with a huge Tegaderm band-aid (save to shower) which I removed no problem. They glued me back together, so no stitches. Couple of days walking around with a sling (might be more of a deterrent for other people so they avoid walking into you). Skin and flesh still feel a little bit odd. Have to wait 1 more week to bike outside, trainer sessions are going good (but so boring).

        • Jessi Braverman

          Really appreciate you sharing all this, huphtur!

    • ChristinaDLopez

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  • JCJordan

    Broke my left collar bone in 2006 (Friday the 13th would you believe) when skippy jumped off an embankment onto me. Initially they thought it was a linear displacement so all good to be just left in a sling and 6 weeks later I would be back on the bike. After 2 weeks I got to see the specialist in the breaks clinic at Canberra Hospital and the first words from the Orthopedic resident was ‘F@#k that should have been plated” an hour later I was chatting to the surgeon and the next day I got a plate. My suggestion is alway get a second opinion.

    • velocite

      My experience was similar, in that the initial ‘treatment’ was a sling, but when after several weeks there was no sign of mending it was plated. I have heard that this is common, which suggests that emergency departments might be aiming to reduce their workload – so I agree with your advice to get a second opinion. The plate does cause a somewhat angular lump on my shoulder but is not a problem. I believe it could get a little messy if I break it again but I have no plans to have it removed. Avoiding operations where possible is a good principle I’m sure.

  • Deryck Walker

    Great article.

    Busted mine on xmas eve 2014. had surgery on 27th december, wasnt back on the bike until March. For non pros there is absolutely no reason to hurry back and risk it, you are better off to take your time, get your body right, and strong, and then return.

    Getting my physio involved very early was the best thing I did to build back strength and range of movement. It did seem the physio had a far greater understanding of the recovery process (where the orthopaedic surgeon was either too busy or just not interested at all). So if youve busted your collarbone and had it plated, if you wish to be active, id highly recommend getting to a good quality physio to guide you back.

  • Trevor

    Compound fracture of right collarbone in ’93 with surgical repair and four months of rehab with zero issues since then. Grade 3 separation on the same shoulder in January snowboarding which resulted in less than three weeks off the bike. However five months on I’m still working through the kinks with the separation. Having suffered multiple fractures as well as multiple sprains/torn ligaments/tendons, I’d much rather break a bone than deal with torn ligaments/tendons.

    My days as a shoulder model are definitely over.

    • Steph B

      Yes I would take broken bone any time. Grade 3 AC tear turned into 2 years recovery with 3 surgeries and not much function left in shoulder.
      Then did the other side, fractured humerus plus other AC, taken over a year to fix. I would take a broken collarbone easily over ligaments and tendons! Or just avoid getting hit by cars.

  • JoyceJColeman
  • Maddy

    I broke my collarbone last year in June after being hit by a car. I broke it right next to the AC Joint and ended up with AC Joint separation and all the ligaments tearing. Had surgery and they put a steel plate in and a tightrope device to repair the ligament damage. The most pain I suffered (and am still suffering) has been from the ligament damage. It’s been almost a year since the accident and I am only just back on the bike now after a second surgery three months ago to remove the plate as it was causing nerve damage and chronic pain.
    The snowflake analogy is absolutely accurate, the surgeon I had said it was a very unusual break and not something he’d seen before.
    Thank you for the reminder it takes patience, its hard to remember that you’re still healing even a year after you did the injury.

  • Coach Rob Manning DC

    Very timely. I’m 5 weeks out of a crash where 2 guys went down in front of me and I ran over them. Landed on my right shoulder and broke 3 ribs in 6 places, clavicle in 4 places and my scapula in 6 places. Magnificent hell of 5 weeks. Just got on the trainer yesterday and it was both the best and worst day in the last 5 weeks.
    It’s depressing how far simple task ability has dropped, like being able to grip the bars, shift or brake. Fitness aside, even an aggressive position is a challenge for more than 20 minutes.

    How a professional like Pieter Serry can race Fleche Wallone 3 weeks post surgical is baffling to me. They’re an entirely different breed.

    And while it’s true I’d love to finish out a racing season strong, the thought that I might need to consider my work and family above my bike racing is right up there.

  • Kyle V.

    I’ve always wondered if it would just be better to jump on a recumbent gym bike in order to slow the loss of you bike fitness. This should take all of the pressure off of your collarbone while riding. Any thoughts on this? Anybody been told that they could or couldn’t use a recumbent while recovering from this sort of injury?

  • warren slater

    Good Article. I got a G3 ACJ with full Titanium (below). The Tips are spot on. Would add the wisdom of using a shoulder wise Physio. Once I got the Recovery Roadmap from the Physio I was motivated. An interesting trip down The Valley Of Pain. Bike Trainer has been useful with a sling attached to the roof for when the shoulder starts howling. Look after back and neck first…the legs can come later


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