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WFJacoby

Broken Clavicle Progress

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I high sided off my motorcycle back in June after hitting gravel around a corner. I managed to break my left clavicle and had a few scrapes, but was otherwise not too bad. 

I saw an orthopedic surgeon about 3 days after the crash and he told me I wouldn't need any surgery to gain all my strength back. He said I will have a bump on my collarbone, but other than that I will be fully functional once it heals. I was given a sling and told to return in 4 weeks. 

 

I got a second opinion from another orthopedic surgeon who also told me to leave it alone. He assured me that the break wasn't bad enough to justify plating it. 

At 4 weeks I went back to the first doctor and got my follow up xrays. The bone pieces have started to attach and I was cleared to stop using the sling and start physical therapy. I asked about shortening in the clavicle and was told "it's not shortened, it's just displaced"

I was still concerned, but started physically therapy nonetheless. I do feel a lot better and my strength is coming back quickly which has relieved a lot of my doubts. I have full range of motion so far, and my strength is still building. 

Here are my x-rays for reference: The first set is from 6/22/2019. And the second set is from 7/23/2019.

Has anyone else had a similar break with no surgery? How did you turn out in the long term? 

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"Its not shortened"

Tell that to your new handlebars which will feel bent haha

My eventual solution was to break the other one.

Yeah, they work fine, not totally without issues, but in the overall list of things to complain about pretty darn low. About 35 years on one, 40 on the other.

Just dont overdo it during healing and pull it apart again.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, TeamGreenPilot said:

On Monday it will be 4 weeks since I broke my left clavicle.  I was in a sling for about 2 1/2 weeks and got tired of wearing it.  I see the doc on Tuesday next week, hopefully it is healing right, it feels pretty good, albeit a bit stiff.  But, its a helluva lot better than the right one I broke several years ago.  That one required surgery, they went in and couldn't plate, was broken near the AC joint and the stub was destroyed.  I no longer have an AC joint on that side, sort of free floating, LOL.  Actually muscles and tendons hold it in place fine, doesn't bother me.

That being said, clavicle breaks are the most common broken bone break on dirt bikes and mtn. bikes.  Most guys don't need surgery, and it may heal with a bump there, but will be actually stronger.  PT is highly recommended, a good sports PT will have you stronger than before you were hurt.  Make sure its a sports PT, they know how to build strength, not just get you going.  The guy I've seen a couple times after surgeries is the one that does most of the athletes at Aztec HS.

Edited by BOAB
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@BOAB

You are absolutely right about Physical Therapy. I was very skeptical about my break until I started. Now I'm 2 weeks into physical therapy and doing much better. 

I even went fishing last weekend and my muscles got a little sore, but otherwise I wasn't bothered too much by it.

 

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I high sided off my motorcycle back in June after hitting gravel around a corner. I managed to break my left clavicle and had a few scrapes, but was otherwise not too bad. 
I saw an orthopedic surgeon about 3 days after the crash and he told me I wouldn't need any surgery to gain all my strength back. He said I will have a bump on my collarbone, but other than that I will be fully functional once it heals. I was given a sling and told to return in 4 weeks. 
 
I got a second opinion from another orthopedic surgeon who also told me to leave it alone. He assured me that the break wasn't bad enough to justify plating it. 
At 4 weeks I went back to the first doctor and got my follow up xrays. The bone pieces have started to attach and I was cleared to stop using the sling and start physical therapy. I asked about shortening in the clavicle and was told "it's not shortened, it's just displaced"
I was still concerned, but started physically therapy nonetheless. I do feel a lot better and my strength is coming back quickly which has relieved a lot of my doubts. I have full range of motion so far, and my strength is still building. 
Here are my x-rays for reference: The first set is from 6/22/2019. And the second set is from 7/23/2019.
Has anyone else had a similar break with no surgery? How did you turn out in the long term? 
EXP0000.jpg.2e7870d36f8632c242701b9a8ddee3ea.jpg
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Mine’s 20 years ago and although I’d healed, it’s still painful deformed and weak.
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Broke my clavicle in gymnastics over 40 years ago. No surgery just a brace and a sling for a while. No ill-effects yet since it healed. It was a complete break as my shoulder was up against my neck. The healed bone is a little thicker than my other one.

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Posted (edited)

@DrMark

Can you tell how much shortening I have based on the x-ray? Or does that require an x-ray of both shoulders for comparison? I found it very difficult to get a straight answer from the doctors or x-ray technicians.

I'm already 7 weeks into the healing process and feeling pretty good. So I'm leaning more towards letting it heal at this point unless it starts causing me more problems.

Edited by WFJacoby

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Broke my right one sometime in my life then high side the first of May this year and class 2 separation of the right shoulder and dislocated collar bone at the  sternum. I have an idea of when I broke it and if that’s the time it was about 3 weeks tell I had full range and another 2 to feel 100%. This last one I was back to 100% strength in 4 weeks. No therapy no slings. Lots and lots of ice. 

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1 hour ago, Dangerranger1973 said:

Broke my right one sometime in my life then high side the first of May this year and class 2 separation of the right shoulder and dislocated collar bone at the  sternum. I have an idea of when I broke it and if that’s the time it was about 3 weeks tell I had full range and another 2 to feel 100%. This last one I was back to 100% strength in 4 weeks. No therapy no slings. Lots and lots of ice. 

Yep, the ice helps a bunch.  I wouldn't have been able to sleep at all for the first week or so if not icing it before going to sleep.

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Busted mine about 45 years ago (T boned by a car on my bicycle); no surgery, just a brace. Hurt like a bitch when they pulled the brace tight and relocated the ends of the bone sort of close to each other (Mom said she never saw anyone turn as white as that as fast as that), and had a sling for 4 weeks.

Strength is good now, it only took a few weeks of PT to get it right. But I was 12 when it happened, so it was much easier to recover from. My shoulder to neck distance is about 1" shorter on that side, but it doesn't bother me.

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So this looks similar to my break #2.   

 

I was told more more than about an inch of overlap and ORIF is generally indicated. 

 

Was that wrong?   Seems like a lot of guys had my kind of break but no plate.  The first one I had was obviously in need of a plate.  One like this?  I’m confused. 

Any pro’s here to clear that up ?

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7 hours ago, WFJacoby said:

I high sided off my motorcycle back in June after hitting gravel around a corner. I managed to break my left clavicle and had a few scrapes, but was otherwise not too bad. 

I saw an orthopedic surgeon about 3 days after the crash and he told me I wouldn't need any surgery to gain all my strength back. He said I will have a bump on my collarbone, but other than that I will be fully functional once it heals. I was given a sling and told to return in 4 weeks. 

 

I got a second opinion from another orthopedic surgeon who also told me to leave it alone. He assured me that the break wasn't bad enough to justify plating it. 

At 4 weeks I went back to the first doctor and got my follow up xrays. The bone pieces have started to attach and I was cleared to stop using the sling and start physical therapy. I asked about shortening in the clavicle and was told "it's not shortened, it's just displaced"

I was still concerned, but started physically therapy nonetheless. I do feel a lot better and my strength is coming back quickly which has relieved a lot of my doubts. I have full range of motion so far, and my strength is still building. 

Here are my x-rays for reference: The first set is from 6/22/2019. And the second set is from 7/23/2019.

Has anyone else had a similar break with no surgery? How did you turn out in the long term? 

EXP0000.jpg

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EXP0003.jpg

EXP0004.jpg

That looks exactly like mine I broke a few years ago they told me I didn’t need surgery ya it healed up ok but I can’t lift my left arm straight up can’t hang on a bar to do a chin up wished I would have had surgery most of my biking buddies who’ve broken collar bone have had very successful surgery

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4 hours ago, bterpstra said:

So this looks similar to my break #2.   

 

I was told more more than about an inch of overlap and ORIF is generally indicated. 

 

Was that wrong?   Seems like a lot of guys had my kind of break but no plate.  The first one I had was obviously in need of a plate.  One like this?  I’m confused. 

Any pro’s here to clear that up ?

Surgery is recommended for cases with more than 20mm of shortening. In my first set of x-rays I was told I had less than 6mm of shortening.

In my second set the x-ray report says "the distal segment of the left clavicle is diplaced by up to 3cm medially and 1cm inferiorly" The x-ray technician wouldn't explain to me what that means. The orthopedic surgeon said "its not shortened, it's displaced"

According to the little scale on my xray it looks like I have 35mm of overlap. I don't even know who to listen to anymore. I should probably get a 3rd opinion because my shoulder is definitely shorter. It's really frustrating not getting a straight answer from anyone when surgery just gets more difficult to do the longer I wait.

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10 hours ago, WFJacoby said:

Surgery is recommended for cases with more than 20mm of shortening. In my first set of x-rays I was told I had less than 6mm of shortening.

In my second set the x-ray report says "the distal segment of the left clavicle is diplaced by up to 3cm medially and 1cm inferiorly" The x-ray technician wouldn't explain to me what that means. The orthopedic surgeon said "its not shortened, it's displaced"

According to the little scale on my xray it looks like I have 35mm of overlap. I don't even know who to listen to anymore. I should probably get a 3rd opinion because my shoulder is definitely shorter. It's really frustrating not getting a straight answer from anyone when surgery just gets more difficult to do the longer I wait.

That’s what confused me - it looks way past the point I was told would indicate a plate. 

 

But what hat do you do at this point? I’d be tempted to get another opinion but there may not be much to do it it’s knitted up.  

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14 minutes ago, bterpstra said:

That’s what confused me - it looks way past the point I was told would indicate a plate. 

 

But what hat do you do at this point? I’d be tempted to get another opinion but there may not be much to do it it’s knitted up.  

They will have to re-break the bone and set it with a plate. Hopefully there is enough material left that they don't have to do a graft. The more I think about it a scar is a small price to pay for correct shoulder geometry.

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3 minutes ago, WFJacoby said:

They will have to re-break the bone and set it with a plate. Hopefully there is enough material left that they don't have to do a graft. The more I think about it a scar is a small price to pay for correct shoulder geometry.

Good luck to you.   I agree with you.   I spoke with my neighbor who had a similar degree of offset.  He’s fine but is weaker on that side.  My boss said he had a similar offset but other than a slight cosmetic difference, he doesn’t notice. 

 

Not exactly a scientific sample, but enough that it’s worth asking the question right? 

Post the update when you have info. 

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Mine is another one that looked just like yours. I got 3 opinions on mine. The first guy wanted to put a plate and 8 screws in it, the second said no surgery, and the third wanted to put a pin down the center of the bone. I went with option 3. They put a pin down the center of the bone marrow, wrapped all the fragments around it with some kind of surgical tape, then unscrewed the pin out of my back 12 weeks later. I have no hardware in me at all. I have full range of motion and full strength in my shoulder. The only thing I notice is that if I sleep wrong on my left side it starts to be a bit uncomfortable. This was 8 years ago. I'm definitely glad I got surgery. The last picture of the pin is next to a nickle just for size comparison.

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Have broken 8 collarbones altogether between motocross and AMA/MotoAmerica road racing.

Don't know the split, memory isn't so good anymore.

Right side is a non-union now after the last one. Both sides open in the middle and just move around.

Need another shoulder surgery to tighten everything up.

Never had any of them plated. 

If you are going to ride/race bikes, odds are it will happen to you.

Keep it on 2 wheels, sometimes one... :)

 

 

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