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Shoulder Separation Advice

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Hi guys, a few questions for the masses for an un educated fellow.

On monday night I sustained a 3 degree AC separation. Went to hospital which was confirmed by x ray. Seen a so call specialist on Thursday regarding rehab. Now the NHS in the UK is crap compared to the medical care in the states so looking for advice.

This is how it went.

1. Immobilise the shoulder for the next 4 weeks and we will see you again.

2. We reccommend that we treat it conservitively (no surgery good thing I hope).

3. Here are some anti inflammatories and pain killers bye bye!

Now from that I have no idea about any rehab that should be done at this stage. I have done some local heat treatment to encourage bloodflow into the area, never used ice packs in the first 48hrs so not really a benefit now.

Now I am looking for some advice on what stretching etc should be done at this stage?.

How long will my arm be totally useless and regain some sort of 50-60% motion?. (right now I can barely move it).

Thanks for any replies guys. The big reason I am wanting to know is for a family holiday booked in 5 weeks and would like to be walking about normally and having a little fun.

Cheers Kevin.

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mine was a 3 degree also I did not have an operation just left it go it has been 5yrs and it still hurts when the weather changes and if i lift just right also it is getting better every year except for the drupping shoulder mines down about .5 inches

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If it helps, my experience was very similar to Weldman's. I separated my during a bike race (cyclocross) a few years ago. I skipped the surgery and didn't do any reahab. I was back to riding on my stationary trainer within a week or so and out with the team riding on the road within two weeks (although a few of the bumps in the road hurt quite a bit). I couldn't do push ups for several months - more than 6 months at least. I still have a fairly noticeable drop in my shoulder on that side as a visual reminder but that's it, the shoulder really doesn't bother me at all.

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I've seen several A/C joint repairs. Most times a product called a "tightrope" is used. It is basically a very strong suture that is connected to both bones and then cinched down to reduce the shoulder ! around 1 hour procedure. Usually no follow up surgery either.

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I had two failures using the tight rope.

The tight rope is one Number 5 Fiberwire suture.

Now I am back to using two Number 5 Fiberwire sutures.

Its too bad that they don't make is strong enough for extreme athletes.

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Just an update and a big thanks to all that replied especially Dr Mark.

Been working the bad shoulder now for 4 days as much as I feel it can. I can now stretch the shoulder almost full range in all directions and can raise the arm in all directions without help approximately 25%. Would expect full range and a bit of strength back in the next week or so.

So all in all I hope to be able to ride the bike on some flat fields in 3-4 weeks with the goal of hitting a real track within 6 weeks. Thats way better than I expected and months quicker than my doc said would be remotely possible.

Cheers Kevin.:)

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I would be interested to hear your long term update on this. I had a Grade 3 AC separation about 8 weeks ago myself after I took a header off the bike and landed on a rock. It was about a week before I was able to see the orthopedist, so I didn't really do anything for the shoulder, I didn't even stop riding.

I was a little sheepish when I saw the othropedist but I told him I hadn't been wearing a sling or anything. His response was "The sling is just to stabilize things to minimize pain, if you aren't in enough pain to warrant the sling, then don't wear it." So I have been going about my daily business with no major issues, and have been on several rides and taken a few falls with no real ill effects. I do still have some soreness in my shoulder and I pain whenever I do any heavy lifting but all in all it has been pretty painless.

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