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Broken collarbone help


Anyone boken their collarbone before? I was knocked off my bike on New Years eve, some ideot opened there car door on me as i was going along, hit it at about 20moh, straight over the handlebars and the door and landed smack on my shoulder and head. Anyway ambulance comes and turns out i have a broken collarbone and bruised ribs. Went to a consultant yesterday for some more x rays and it seems that surgety wont be needed, but am going back next week to make sure the position of the broken bones hasnt changed too much and that i still wont need it.

Anyway, this has really put a downer on the start of the year, and and has also meant my base miles that i have been building on are pretty much useless. I dont know when i will be back on the turbo (at the moment i seems a long way off as i hav pain just walking), but on wont be running or swimming for 9 weeks it seems.

Was due to race in May and do IMUK 70.3 end of June. Am just paraniod about not gaining full movement back in my shoulder or getting pains when swimming.

Really anoying thing is the driver isnt even insured so have got a real headache now sorting that out.


  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    I fractured my collar bone in the summer 9 weeks before IMUK so I wouldn't worry you have plenty of time to prepare! Main thing is to make sure your diet is good, drinking lots of milk and getting lots of Vit D (not easy in winter!) and get as much sleep as possible.

    I was back on the turbo in a couple of days, get someone to set it up and just sit up and pedal easy keeping the collar bone immobilised to keep the fitness up. In terms of recovery, I went against conventional wisdom and wore my sling as little as possible around the house to stress the break and encourage growth and then after a couple of weeks began returning movement to it, by moving it as much as I could (with help from the other arm) as much as was bearable. I was back doing light swimming (front crawl) after 4 and a bit weeks and running around the same time. The main thing is to keep yourself within your pain barriers and try and stay upbeat. It feels like the season has been ruined but it will heal soon enough and you have plenty of time to prepare.
  • I would like to suggest. If you break your left collar bone, you dont attempt to drive too soon afterwards, otherwise, when you change from 4th to 2nd, your collar bone re fractures and it hurts.

    Rugby related I might add.
  • Thanks for the replies. Anyone know the likelihood of problems with swimming after the break?

    I hoefully will be back on the turbo in 2 weeks, at the moment though i cant do anything as its too painful. I am also concerned about running, especially the shock.

    Agent Tri, how bad was your break? Were the two ends of bone separated/overlapping?
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    My fracture was a clean snap after a nice 45mph fall, so the two halfs were still touching but it stuck out of my shoulder in a V shape. It settled down a bit, but has healed with a noticeable lump and I have lost about an inch from it with my shoulder slightly rolled forward, so I look a bit funny if you look carefully but it didnt affect my swimming much. My technique changed a lot, mainly a natural change of cadence, used to be really quick, but now I glide a lot more but didn't have any problems with it. The main thing I found was it feeling like I had to learn how to use my shoulder again as I regained movement! Was probably due to the muscles all being moved around but no lasting damage, other than a good few months to get my swim times back to where they were prior.
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    Just remembered, a tri doctor friend of mine said its best to get on the turbo as soon as you can, even for only 15/20 mins a day to begin with, as this helps
    a) mentally as you are still doing something
    b) physically as you will still keep a lot of fitness
    c) most importantly, getting your HR up and blood pumping around the body helps speed the healing process up and get things moving and cleared out
  • Its been a weeks since the accident and things have improved slightly. I still cannot move my arm at all though really, but the pain is easing. I have a angulated fracture, so basically the bone has snapped in two and looks like a pyramind on the xray, right shoulder is noticably lower.

    I am unsure whether to opt for surgery, it was talked about, but the doc thinks leaving it should be fine. However, i am really paraniod about not gaining full range of movement back. I may therefore push for the surgery just to be on the safe side (i know there can be comlications with surgery, but i would rather rick it than risk not getting 100% range of movement without the surgery). It is just that swimming is my main sport and i average about 6 hours of swimming per week, often more, with up to 6000m per session.

    I know the biking and running wont be affected in the long term but the swimming is my main worry.
  • It may make you feel a little better to know that this is exactly the same break I had, (it looked like a snapped twig on the xray) It hurt like hell at the time, but I have made a full recovery, no restriction what so ever.

    The only complication I have is very occasionally I get a pull in my intercostal muscles (ribs) caused by the slight realigenment of my shoulder. This can cause back spasms.

    Only my experience but it really hasn't caused me any problems.

    Good luck

    Oh and just don't put it under preasure to quickly.
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    Yeah I had the exact same fracture. I had a long chat with the trauma surgeon about having it operated on, and his son does Ironmans too so he could actually talk to me with an idea of what I was looking for. He basically said that it is very very rare to not ever get full movement back, especially with proper rehab and physio, and the complications with surgery including hitting nerves in and around the shoulder, causing far more arm and shoulder problems that with just a simple fracture. My advice would be to not go for it and just let it heal properly and force yourself to increase your range of motion as much as possible with the other arm, as pain allows.

    It will take a while to get back to fitness as the shoulder will be immoblised for a while, but I must have swum over 4k for the IM swim 9 weeks later, with the only problem being a sore back!
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    Btw, 6k in one session?? what do you do to stop the boredom?
  • QuitterQuitter Posts: 160
    Depending on where you are in the country or how much you want to spend I really recommend a guy called Brian Simpson aka The Bone Doctor at Ipswich.
    He has a very good reputation in the motorsport (bike racers) scene.

    As been said tho depends on your age, the break, pain threshold blah blah
    I rested for one week folowing my MX riding break then light training...any movement was "painful" so initially tricky. Also its never heals the same but aside from having to alter my tri bar position a little (but still cant get it spot on) its nothing major.

    Finally surgery really is a last option as even the most expensive private hospitals still pose some risk.
  • just2trijust2tri Posts: 198
    Hi, I had a similar accident NYE and have broken my elbow and dislocated the shoulder, damaged ligaments and bruises. I started exercise on Monday, e.g. 3 days after the accident.
    Monday - walk to work, 18k in 2h34, a bit boring and freeeeezing cold at 5.30am!
    Tuesday - ellipitcal trainer, 30 minutes, not very comfortable
    Wednesday - 30 minutes stationary bike, better than Tuesday and good to get the HR going
    I will be back walking tomorrow and elliptical on Sunday ....

    Very annoying to be so restricted, but I need to keep active to stay sane. Race schedule similar to yours with OD in June and Cowman in July. Afew other races planned for April/May.
  • Well, i have just come back from my follow up appointment. I have decided to go with the surgery. The fracture is borderline on whether it needs it but if there was a risk that it would result in shoulder issues as there was a slight overlap and my shoulder is very noticably lower and rotated forward compared to the other one. Also, im pretty glad as the bone is really sticking out and looked pretty horrible, will have a scar instead. I am quite lucky that my work gives me private healthcare as i am pretty sure that the NHS would proably just leave me to wait and see.

    So im now due under the knife tomorrow morning, will let you know how it goes, timinngs etc and how it feels (movement wise) after the op.
  • just2trijust2tri Posts: 198
    Good luck to you and I wish you a speedy - low intensity - recovery!
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