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Collarbone fracture - Will they align & heal?

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Broke my clavicle mid-shaft on 4/16.

X-rays are form 4/17.

Next scheduled x-rays are on 5/1.

 

Local Orthopedic saw me the next day and determined that I don't need surgery and they will heal by using a figure 8 brace. 

About me: 37 years old, in great shape, non-smoker (only ride a smoker). 

 

I am wearing the 8 brace ever since and made sure I am eating well, etc.

Taking the bone-up pills and a daily multi-vitamin. 

Started doing some workout on the recumbent bike 5 days into it to get the blood flowing. 

I have almost no pain (never took the pain killers). 

 

I still feel the bones clicking and grinding a bit, if I put my fingers on the collarbone and move the shoulder back. Seems to be less compared to the first days. 

 

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With all the time on hand (can't go ride...), I started googl'ing the "clavicle fracture" topic.

Now I am confused and worried about my current treatment.

 

It looks like I should have asked for the surgery, so I can recover faster, and the collarbone is aligned correctly, to prevent long term issues...?!

 

  • So I wonder if the 8 brace can actually pull them apart enough over time, so they won't overlap anymore?
  • Is the overlap too much to let it heal w/o surgery?
  • Is the overlap bad in general after it healed? (looks like a weak point to me)
  • Should I let it heal for a few more weeks to see the outcome? Or get the surgery now

Thanks! 

 

 

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Broken collarbones are all different.  And they occur in people, and they are all different.  Sometimes, a bone is broken in such a way that I think that surgery is indicated, but the person seems to be doing just fine, despite the X-ray.  In those patient I sheath my sword, and tell the ride the wave.   Most of these patients will dodge the bullet, but some won't.  All of this will be discovered in time.  Medicine is also an art, not just a collection of technique manuals printed by the equipment and drug companies.

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Broken collarbones are all different.  And they occur in people, and they are all different.  Sometimes, a bone is broken in such a way that I think that surgery is indicated, but the person seems to be doing just fine, despite the X-ray.  In those patient I sheath my sword, and tell the ride the wave.   Most of these patients will dodge the bullet, but some won't.  All of this will be discovered in time.  Medicine is also an art, not just a collection of technique manuals printed by the equipment and drug companies.

 

Thanks Doc!

I'll post my follow up x-rays on Wed. 

 

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Went to a followup on 5/1. X-rays are attached. The x-ray showing the overlap was taken w/o the brace on, the other one with the brace on and my shoulders all the way back.

Fracture happened on 4/16.

 

From the Docs:

  • First Doc (at Sharp medical in San Diego) said it will heal, nothing to worry about. "You are doing great..." 
  • Second opinion Doc (DrChao at Oasis in San Diego) said "it will most likely heal and complimented me on how tight I have the 8-brace...". But he said he would've recommended surgery, since it is quicker, etc., but now that I am already healing that way for 2 weeks, I might just wait and see.

Both Docs said I can use a recumbent bike at the gym.

 

Latest developments: 

  • When I wake up in the morning now, after sleeping on my recliner w/ a pillow in the middle, the bones are perfectly in place and aligned. It is hard to find the fracture by touching it. Crazy! First I thought I am dreaming it. 
  • Once I get up and move around a bit, the bones shift again and I can feel the fracture. Never feel any pain, but it does seem to get more sensitive around the site of the fracture. 
    I can tell it is knitting together over night and basically breaks apart again throughout the day, even me being super careful (8-brace + sling on and no lifting, quick movements, etc.). 
  • It does feel like it knits together a little more every night, but that might be an illusion. 
    However, I hope that it will stay together for the whole day soon, w/o breaking apart again

 

I asked the 1st Doc if it is ok to move the arm, and he actually wants me to move my arm a bit to avoid a frozen shoulder. 

 

My main questions:
 

>> If the "nightly knit" seems to come loose throughout the day, am I doing too much and not resting enough, or is this normal? 
 

>> How much does the "micro movement" from walking, typing on a keyboard, etc. impact the healing? (Sucks being at home all day...)
 

>> I wonder If I should just try to lay down this entire weekend to have it stay in place (and knitted together), so it will have enough time to form a strong enough bond?

     But I think this would be very hard to accomplish, since I have to get up to eat, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That fracture is considerably displaced and not making any healing bone. It is clearly at risk for

not healing.

It either will or it won't. I advise my patients to use the arm to the extent that they can. A stiff useless

upper extremity is worse than one that needs a plate on the clavicle.

Edited by DrMark

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