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3rd Degree Shoulder Separation...

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A month or so ago I posted about my bro breaking his femur. Well, it turns out the leg is healing better than expected, but he has a 3rd degree shoulder spearation to go along with it. That has become the injury we are most worried about. He completely tore 2-3 ligaments at the front of the shoulder.

We've got a great doctor who is trying to research the injury. The big question is (of course) surgery or no surgery. He's found lots of studies on hockey and baseball players suggesting he may be better off NOT to have the surgery. BUT... he's worried that the stress motorcycle racing put on the joint is a different kind, so he's tentativley advising surgery.

Anybody here experienced a 3rd degree separation?

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I had a full separation 2-3 years ago. I'm 33 years old, very active, riding, martial arts, etc. I opted for no surgery after some research myself. Seems that you can get the same results w/o surgery as with surgery. Only thing is you'll have some hyper flexibility in the shoulder, and a big boney bump for the rest of your life. Other than that, it never bothers me. Sometimes the lump can get a little tender from rubbing on stuff though. . .

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I also had a 3rd degree shoulder seperation tearing all 3 ligaments completely 5 or 6 years ago. I have a great orthopedic surgeon, and he told me that unless I was a professional athlete playing baseball or such that surgery wouldn't be worth it. I opted for no surgery and it's healed up fine, just like Tim describes. I ride and race regularly and am also very active, so no, I do not think it will be any problem for him while racing in the future.

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I too was a victim, 4 years back jumped a double, went from "I think I can pull this flying W out", straight into faceplant. In the sand no less. Class 3 seperation. I also chose no surgery, as I was told each of the 3 surgeries are 50/50 to gain more use. My doctor said if I have 85% normal use or more, don't get the surgeries, they run the risk of making it worse. Took a month to get back on the bike but a year to be 85% and painless. If I would just have let go....

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A couple of years ago I broke my left collarbone and separated it at the same time in a supermoto accident. I don't know what the degree it was but I seem to remember them calling it severe. Anyway the end of my collarbone was busted off and the tendons holding it together were also torn. Supposedly it is very rare to do both at once, and my dr said I would probably end up in some text book. I had some doctors telling me to let it heal on its on and others saying surgery was the only way. I ended up opting for surgery where they ended up removing the broken off piece of collarbone and taking a tendon out of my knee to hold the remainder of my collarbone in place. After physical therapy and getting my strength back in my arm and shoulder it has never held me back. I regularly mountain bike and ride and race my 450 without any problems. Not sure what the results would have been like without surgery, but I have no regrets for having the surgery. Good luck with either way you go.

Ken

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Been there done that. Do not have the surgery. I tore all three ligaments in 2003. My doctor told me that I would net about the same range of motion without surgery as I would with. I opted out and I cannot tell a difference in range of motion. I am a police officer and have had to fight several idiots since then and have not had any problems. Every now and then it will remind me of itself when I fall asleep on my right side. Now when I tore all of the ligaments on top of my left foot that is a completely different story. The same doctor says that it may take up to a year to heal. I can't run very good right now and if I put the right twist on the foot it hurts like heck. Anyway, stay away from the surgery and do the range of motion exercises the doctor gives you.

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I had a third degree last year, and my ortho suggested the surgery based upon the facts that it was my dominant arm, and that I was into sports. There are many different types of procedures for this, the one I got was an AC screw where a screw is put through the clavicle to the AC process to internaly splint things in place during the healing period.

My doc said he did this procedure with Army Rangers all the time and it was helpful in dealing with overhead strength uses and where there is a lot of force pushing down on the shoulders (ie, parachuting). This is the same type of strength you need when riding a bike

I got a few other opinions, and most were conservative, no surgery, but none of them were hard core sports docs.

In the end, I gave a call to Doc Ting (ortho of the MC stars) and he said without a doubt to have the surgery.

I had the surgery in July, had the screw removed in August, I was out racing Pro AMA in Sept.

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I just broke my collar bone about 3 weeks ago, had surgery on it about two. I saw 3 orthos and all three strongly recommended surgery. Most said it is one of the nastier breaks they have seen. He ended putting in 6 screws and a plate to hold everything together properly. X-rays look good and should heal up fine I would imagine. Since it is my dominant arm and since it was broke in two places and everything was so off the surgeons though it was a good idea to fix it. Hey was anyone at I-5 (gorman) a few weeks ago, I laid in the back of my truck (blue f-150) while my bike was loaded up and drove 2 hours to get home and go to the ER.

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I completley separated both shoulders. I did not have surgery on either one. I am very active and do not have any problems besides the two lumps on the tops of my shoulders.

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I broke off my rotator cuff so Im assuming that i took the tendons with it since there was only skin keeping my arm on my body. I had surgery and I still have limited flexibility, sometimes something pops and it hurts and I got that bony bump that you other guys are talking about, plus two nasty scars. this happened almost 8 years ago and I will never be 100%. But at least I can still ride

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I separated my rt shoulder 3 years ago. One doc said the only way it could have been worse was if i'd broken the ball off in my shoulder joint. I had a screw put through my collarbone and into upper part of shoulder blade. About 2 weeks after surgery was lying on couch and wife and I heard something pop. I told my wife I think the screw just came out of my shoulder, but then convinced myself that it would have really hurt, It didn't.

When I went for my followup the doc said everything was ok and it was healing nicely. As the end of my collar bone was sticking up about1/2 inch at the joint Iwent for a second opinion. 2nd doc said the screw wasn't in my shoulder blade and that he would have either laced up the shoulder or not have done surgery at all (which is basically what I had done since the screw didn't hold)

It has taken some work but today i'm probably at 95% of previous flexibility, and actually stronger. If i did it again I would probably have it laced up. Other than collarbone sticking up and tender after sleeping on rt shoulder or hauling something across shoulder it doespretty good.

Tell your Bro good luck for me, and if he has the surgery, to go to someone who has done a lot of shoulders.

zeke

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Thanks for the feedback. I'll pass along these posts to my bro. The responses kind of mirror what we're hearing from doctors- some say yes, some say no. It is very encouraging to hear that some of you are doing very well without surgery. I still don't see how that's possible, though. Doesn't your body need those ligaments for strength and stability? How does your shoulder handle the pounding of racing without them?

-Scott

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I also had a grade three beginning of the year. I started riding again about 2 1/2 weeks later. Its about 8 months later and the only reminder is the clavicle sticking up out of the shoulder every now and then. It hurt a little behind the shoulder (the rotator cuff i think) after riding in the beginning. It actually took longer to get back into gym than riding. I think the other muscles in the shoulder need to compensate for the instability. He needs to do those silly exercises with the elastic bands to try and strengthen the rotator cuff. Apparently its not really a strength muscle but a stability muscle and plays quite a big role in returning stability to the shoulder.

Good luck.

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Had a 3rd degree seperation in 96, 2 days before x-mas. It sucked, about 2 months of not being able to do anything really, I couldnt lift my arm above my waist for more than a second or two, then another 3 months of rehab. My ortho told me the surgery would cause more lack of mobility than the actually injury itself, something like losing 50% or more, so I opted to not have surgery either. It was a pretty miserable 6 months no doubt, I waited to ride till around 9 months. But Im able to still throw pretty well, although I have to be careful how I sleep and I still do my "at home" exercises on a regular basis to deal with two bad shoulders before dirtbikes.

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Also a 3rd degree separation riding my Honda. On a Yamaha now hoping that helps.. :banghead:

Another no surgery after hearing about how many multiple surgeries there were due to the first one failing.. Anyway, I now have good motion - the bump (a conversation piece) and good strength.. Since I was out of the gym with the injury, my shoulder got atrophied and it just kind of sloped down from the bump. I now get to the gym religiously to ensure I have good strength in the joint, but also to keep the deltoid built out so my shirts fit OK..

When I ride though, I sometimes think about what if I were to crash on the same shoulder with the lessend stability and collarbone sticking up.. Probably really snap that bone right off and mess up my scapula in the process. Don't even want to think about that.. :banghead: Happen to anybody?

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http://www.vandemarkortho.com/patient/pated/shoulder_problems/acromioclavicular_joint_separation.html

1st degree is a sprain of ligaments

2nd degree is partial tearing of ligaments

3rd degree is total tearing of both sets of ligaments

They also now have 4th, 5th, and 6th degrees which are basically 3rd degree with extra complications such as bone displacement, extensions, etc

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