Broken Collar Bone Recovery Time

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Broken Collar Bone Recovery Time
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Posted: Jul 1, 2018 at 5:38 Quote
Toby9843, When you say "doctor" are you speaking of an Orthopedic doc or just a general practice doc?

I ask because general practice docs don't always know very much about this, even in today's advanced knowledge and practice.

For example: The ER doc came into the room and told me I had a broken collar bone. She said there's nothing they do for these because they heal on their own by just staying in the sling for 6 weeks.

I did a follow up with an Ortho office and told em I wanted to make an appointment just to make sure and when I told her what the ER doc said she responded "They actually told you that?". Didn't make me feel too happy at that moment but I thought I'd discuss it further when I went in the next day for my appointment (they made the appt the next day because they were already looking at my x-ray).

The appt with the actual doc explained that doing nothing for a collar break that wasn't exceptional (broken through skin, dislocated a direction threatening artery, etc) was to do nothing and let it heal naturally 5 years ago, but they don't view it this way by default anymore after studies have shown the benefit of healing is typically improved when they actually fix these when dislocated more than 2cm or comminuted (multiple pieces).

I explained the life style (weightlifting, hunting, heavy backpacking, etc...) I intend to continue for the next 20 years and needing max strength and full range of motion influenced the recommended direction to get this fixed rather than leave it to heal naturally. Those activities can, and were likely to be, negatively affected if my collar bone was healed misaligned and the shoulder geometry shortened. He also advised that my activities could be aggravated by the plate and we can cross that bridge to removing it later if it does. He said they see about 10-15% of the people get theirs removed about a year later.

I recall his explanation well: "Non-active people who don't do a whole lot that requires their shoulder working 100%, then a natural healing may be a fine decision to make because of that.".

Obviously not all ortho agree 100% so if you're only talking to general doc or an Ortho special that doesn't believe in the correction, then consider the change and/or second opinion.

Posted: Jul 1, 2018 at 5:51 Quote
asctlc wrote:
Toby9843, When you say "doctor" are you speaking of an Orthopedic doc or just a general practice doc?

I ask because general practice docs don't always know very much about this, even in today's advanced knowledge and practice.

For example: The ER doc came into the room and told me I had a broken collar bone. She said there's nothing they do for these because they heal on their own by just staying in the sling for 6 weeks.

I did a follow up with an Ortho office and told em I wanted to make an appointment just to make sure and when I told her what the ER doc said she responded "They actually told you that?". Didn't make me feel too happy at that moment but I thought I'd discuss it further when I went in the next day for my appointment (they made the appt the next day because they were already looking at my x-ray).

The appt with the actual doc explained that doing nothing for a collar break that wasn't exceptional (broken through skin, dislocated a direction threatening artery, etc) was to do nothing and let it heal naturally 5 years ago, but they don't view it this way by default anymore after studies have shown the benefit of healing is typically improved when they actually fix these when dislocated more than 2cm or comminuted (multiple pieces).

I explained the life style (weightlifting, hunting, heavy backpacking, etc...) I intend to continue for the next 20 years and needing max strength and full range of motion influenced the recommended direction to get this fixed rather than leave it to heal naturally. Those activities can, and were likely to be, negatively affected if my collar bone was healed misaligned and the shoulder geometry shortened. He also advised that my activities could be aggravated by the plate and we can cross that bridge to removing it later if it does. He said they see about 10-15% of the people get theirs removed about a year later.

I recall his explanation well: "Non-active people who don't do a whole lot that requires their shoulder working 100%, then a natural healing may be a fine decision to make because of that.".

Obviously not all ortho agree 100% so if you're only talking to general doc or an Ortho special that doesn't believe in the correction, then consider the change and/or second opinion.

At 4 weeks after the break my appointment was with the fracture specialist. He said as it was in the middle of the bone and fairly simple they wouldn't operate and put a plate or screws in. He told me at the 4 week point, looking at a fresh x Ray, that it would be a minimum of 6 weeks until the bone was healed 100%. He showed me some small exercises to do to make sure my shoulder joint was still being used. At the 8 week point I had my first physio appointment through the military and he booked me into a programme to start at the following week. The rehab instructor then gave me 3 weeks of resistance band exercises and bodyweight exercises to do to get back to strength for racing. All the Drs at each point commented in had exceptional range of movement and were surprised I have no pain to speak of. My shoulder gets tired after a full day of runs now on a DH practice day but that's only because I'm so out of shape from not really doing any significant fitness training since February. What's worse is I'm now in hospital with an unrelated illness so even longer of muscle and fitness loss and fat gain. Doing my head in now.

Posted: Jul 1, 2018 at 5:54 Quote
asctlc wrote:
Toby9843, When you say "doctor" are you speaking of an Orthopedic doc or just a general practice doc?

I ask because general practice docs don't always know very much about this, even in today's advanced knowledge and practice.

For example: The ER doc came into the room and told me I had a broken collar bone. She said there's nothing they do for these because they heal on their own by just staying in the sling for 6 weeks.

I did a follow up with an Ortho office and told em I wanted to make an appointment just to make sure and when I told her what the ER doc said she responded "They actually told you that?". Didn't make me feel too happy at that moment but I thought I'd discuss it further when I went in the next day for my appointment (they made the appt the next day because they were already looking at my x-ray).

The appt with the actual doc explained that doing nothing for a collar break that wasn't exceptional (broken through skin, dislocated a direction threatening artery, etc) was to do nothing and let it heal naturally 5 years ago, but they don't view it this way by default anymore after studies have shown the benefit of healing is typically improved when they actually fix these when dislocated more than 2cm or comminuted (multiple pieces).

I explained the life style (weightlifting, hunting, heavy backpacking, etc...) I intend to continue for the next 20 years and needing max strength and full range of motion influenced the recommended direction to get this fixed rather than leave it to heal naturally. Those activities can, and were likely to be, negatively affected if my collar bone was healed misaligned and the shoulder geometry shortened. He also advised that my activities could be aggravated by the plate and we can cross that bridge to removing it later if it does. He said they see about 10-15% of the people get theirs removed about a year later.

I recall his explanation well: "Non-active people who don't do a whole lot that requires their shoulder working 100%, then a natural healing may be a fine decision to make because of that.".

Obviously not all ortho agree 100% so if you're only talking to general doc or an Ortho special that doesn't believe in the correction, then consider the change and/or second opinion.

Also, interestingly, part of my employment standards for the military are that I have to show 3 months evidence from being discharged from rehab for the collarbone of full range of movement and the ability to still carry weight in a bergen/ruck. I explained this and they still said my beak would be better healing naturally. They only plate in different, specific circumstances.

Posted: Jul 1, 2018 at 7:46 Quote
Dang Toby, I empathize with anyone who thinks they may be left with anything less than full recovery in every aspect of strength and motion. Most get to chose their direction (surgical or natural).

We on this site aren't experts at this, we only receive our impressions and guidance from our various doctors that help shape what we believe is the right action for our individual situations. I hope it all works out for you if you can't get a second opinion that pursues surgical correction or you can be convinced to your satisfaction that you'll recover fine naturally.

I think it would be very helpful for others who come here seeking information if you keep us posted how things go (getting second and getting it surgically corrected or natural) later. I suspect you'll get good measure of your strength and range of motion if the military requires it to perform your duties correctly.

Who really knows, those of us who went through surgical correction may be the ones ultimately fooled into believing the claim of the study saying it was best.

Posted: Jul 1, 2018 at 7:54 Quote
asctlc wrote:
Dang Toby, I empathize with anyone who thinks they may be left with anything less than full recovery in every aspect of strength and motion. Most get to chose their direction (surgical or natural).

We on this site aren't experts at this, we only receive our impressions and guidance from our various doctors that help shape what we believe is the right action for our individual situations. I hope it all works out for you if you can't get a second opinion that pursues surgical correction or you can be convinced to your satisfaction that you'll recover fine naturally.

I think it would be very helpful for others who come here seeking information if you keep us posted how things go (getting second and getting it surgically corrected or natural) later. I suspect you'll get good measure of your strength and range of motion if the military requires it to perform your duties correctly.

Who really knows, those of us who went through surgical correction may be the ones ultimately fooled into believing the claim of the study saying it was best.

To be fair mate, if I had a choice I’d have asked for it to be plated so I could get back to racing sooner. I wasn’t given the option though. The only way I would have got it plated was through private healthcare which is too expensive for me. I’m about 18 weeks on from the break and with the physiology and the exercises I have managed I am able to race a full dh weekend albeit a little tired in the shoulder by the end of the day.

Posted: Jul 10, 2018 at 7:48 Quote
I have been let out of my cage (sling)!! Am allowed full range of motion and light weight tasks of everyday life.

We can see the bone gap filling in nicely. He stated 4-6months typical for 100% heal and I look to be on track for 4-5 months based on how things are looking.

I mentioned that now that the overall shoulder numbness is subsiding I have trouble with the inability to sleep through the night due to bad pain in my upper bicep/deltoid area. He looked at me puzzled that I still have pain outside of discomfort at the actual Ti plate under the skin but it's not pain at the collar bone area, it's my shoulder/arm. Basic strength testing showed my rotator cuff is fine but apparently I did a number on my upper bicep/pec! He said we can do MRI now or at next follow up (6 weeks from now). I opted to consider an MRI 6 weeks from now at my next checkup. Not sure if muscle or tendon damage but I'm guessing (doc didn't guess) it's muscle because I can still see a bruise at that spot 7 weeks after I crashed. Not moving my arm at all since then has done me no favors for getting good blood flow to that area for healing. I'm optimistic that it'll improve now that I'm allowed to work it for the good blood flow necessary for healing muscle.

Posted: Jul 10, 2018 at 10:59 Quote
Muscles will improve over time. My physio said in 6 months I'll be like new. I have gone a long way from not being able to lift the hand to my mouth to back from biking few hours ago, though only road. Tried some paths, but I felt the difference between the broken and the other side. Still, I think I'll wait a few mor weeks before I hit the trails.
I have full range of motion, clicking shoulder is almost gone, all in all - every week I feel I'm getting back to normal.

Posted: Jul 11, 2018 at 5:06 Quote
asctlc wrote:
I have been let out of my cage (sling)!! Am allowed full range of motion and light weight tasks of everyday life.

We can see the bone gap filling in nicely. He stated 4-6months typical for 100% heal and I look to be on track for 4-5 months based on how things are looking.

I mentioned that now that the overall shoulder numbness is subsiding I have trouble with the inability to sleep through the night due to bad pain in my upper bicep/deltoid area. He looked at me puzzled that I still have pain outside of discomfort at the actual Ti plate under the skin but it's not pain at the collar bone area, it's my shoulder/arm. Basic strength testing showed my rotator cuff is fine but apparently I did a number on my upper bicep/pec! He said we can do MRI now or at next follow up (6 weeks from now). I opted to consider an MRI 6 weeks from now at my next checkup. Not sure if muscle or tendon damage but I'm guessing (doc didn't guess) it's muscle because I can still see a bruise at that spot 7 weeks after I crashed. Not moving my arm at all since then has done me no favors for getting good blood flow to that area for healing. I'm optimistic that it'll improve now that I'm allowed to work it for the good blood flow necessary for healing muscle.

I'm sort of confused your doc said that...it's VERY common to have muscle atrophy with the Deltoid after plating your collar bone, especially if the break is "distal" out toward the shoulder. My break was so close to the AC joint they had issues plating it and I ended up with two plates. My should was so froze i had to do therapy for almost 2 months. you need to google the deltoid muscle and see where it attaches to your collar bone and you will understand. You might even have pain in the arm pit area too, yet another tendon that attaches to the collar bone and runs underneath. People that don't have should pain after collar bone surgery are the fortunate ones

Posted: Jul 11, 2018 at 5:58 Quote
Thanks for that! You know, that's kinda what my mind is telling me about this pain. My break was right in the middle but doc said sometimes these breaks cause additional damage to surrounding joints, muscles, and ligaments. Ligament damage has me concerned most because getting back to my power lifting after I heal would be compromised and rife with potential damage. But now I'm just making shit up and worrying about worst case crap in my own mind.

I mention "pec" because I do have significant tightness/knot and discomfort in that upper pec where it runs to my delt. Not as bad as the front delt/bicep pain but sore enough and I can feel that big knot and tightness. It feels like the same impingement type pain I used to get when I let my strength drop (got lazy) or I lifted with bad form (elbows out). Maybe I'm sensitive to the atrophy because I actually didn't use my arm because he warned me so sternly not to use it for the first 6 weeks post op.

I can find positions to sleep that mitigate the pain (always a position where I curl my hand up to my head) but end up rolling/tossing and wake myself up with bad pain. Was second guessing myself a few hours ago wondering if I should go ahead and have the MRI to find out. Kept telling myself 7 weeks after the crash I'd think any muscle damage should have repaired by now but ligament damage won't go away on it's own (I don't think). Your thought on atrophy has me thinking a delt muscle repaired in such a short position as a slung arm would surely need a lot of stretching and strength therapy to recover.

No harm, no foul to find out now since I blew through my insurance deductible and max out of pocket already. But I remain with enough doubt that this is simply atrophy effects that I'll continue to do my strength restoring PT. Shouldn't take very long to discover if this starts improving and I have plenty of already ruined summer to get it done before the next annual deductible cycle kicks in.

Sorry, I got myself rambling but will leave it said above in case others coming after find themselves confused and questioning their recovery.

I'll update once in a while so anyone else who goes through this can have something to judge against if they end up like this. I sure know all you guys having various questions and experiences ahead of me has been so helpful, even when our recoveries take differing paths. Just knowing some of the possibilities can help allay concern enough to get through the lengthy time rehab takes.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 at 11:44 Quote

this is my collarbone 2 months after breaking it, doctors are telling me it's healed good but I have pain when I move my arm. my skin rubs again st the step up of the bone and hurts like hell... 10 days of physio and nothing changes

Posted: Jul 13, 2018 at 5:09 Quote
Holy shit! This is one massive bump you have there. Earlier I said mine looked like yours, but it doesn’t. Are you sure it’s healed?

Posted: Jul 13, 2018 at 6:06 Quote
I hesitated to say "Holy Shit!" but I don't want to concern you because I have to be realistic to not really knowing acceptable natural healing from bad. I think a natural reaction to a bone sticking up where it shouldn't/wasn't before is to cringe...the same reaction we get when we look down from a crash, see it, and think: "Oh fook, this can't be good!!".

It looks like your picture perspective is look up a little where the clavicle is sticking out front as much as it is sticking up? Hopefully some who've gone the natural heal route will come in here and help you with their experience and perspective now that time has passed and they're functioning again.

For the pain, I'm a noob going through this aspect of this too as I detail above. But the more I think about this in my situation the more I'm believing it's a condition that needs time to strengthen and condition to get past pain from non use. I've had great range of motion for a while after surgery but am now starting to feel all kinds of tightness in my range of motion and pain when I reach my range limits. I'd think you're are experiencing a bit of that if only 10 days into PT.

And last, hope you're just overly concerned about something that you eventually find runs it's natural progression fine in time...like I tend to do only finding all ends up well after all.

Posted: Jul 14, 2018 at 7:53 Quote
Boyan1984 wrote:
Holy shit! This is one massive bump you have there. Earlier I said mine looked like yours, but it doesn’t. Are you sure it’s healed?
no I don't think it's healed because there is still movement on the bone, my physio is also worries about it and says that's not very good, I have another appointment with an orthopedic surgeon next week thing is I already saw two doctors that are telling me it's good like this. maybe here in Belgium is a practice to let collarbones heal naturally, since both of them recommended not to operate it and said it was good after they saw how the bone has healed. but to me it feels something is not right here.
asctlc wrote:
I hesitated to say "Holy Shit!" but I don't want to concern you because I have to be realistic to not really knowing acceptable natural healing from bad. I think a natural reaction to a bone sticking up where it shouldn't/wasn't before is to cringe...the same reaction we get when we look down from a crash, see it, and think: "Oh fook, this can't be good!!".

It looks like your picture perspective is look up a little where the clavicle is sticking out front as much as it is sticking up? Hopefully some who've gone the natural heal route will come in here and help you with their experience and perspective now that time has passed and they're functioning again.

For the pain, I'm a noob going through this aspect of this too as I detail above. But the more I think about this in my situation the more I'm believing it's a condition that needs time to strengthen and condition to get past pain from non use. I've had great range of motion for a while after surgery but am now starting to feel all kinds of tightness in my range of motion and pain when I reach my range limits. I'd think you're are experiencing a bit of that if only 10 days into PT.

And last, hope you're just overly concerned about something that you eventually find runs it's natural progression fine in time...like I tend to do only finding all ends up well after all.

yes the camera was facing slightly up for perspective but you can clearly see that the bone is out of alignment. I have the same bump on the backside of the collarbone as wel.
I hope too that I am not overly concerned but the bone is still moving at 2 months after break and the pain I experience is quite sharp so I don't think it will go down. even when I am sitting and I relax my shoulder the weight of my arm causes the skin to rub against the bone and that's painful. I am also not an expert in this subject

Posted: Jul 14, 2018 at 10:04 Quote
Really sorry to hear that man Frown I am not a doctor, but to me it looks like you need to be plated. Bone movement after two months? That's not normal. Maybe you have the case of non union - there is soft tissue, but the bones are not bonded together and they will always move, no matter what. Yes, in a way you are healed, but not in the right way. And if you still have pain surgery is the only option I think.
I really hope I am not right, I sincerely hope it mate.


 
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