Broke mine in 3 places at the end of October last year & couldn’t drive until after Christmas. Didn’t get back on the bike until February as I’d lost a lot of strength (& confidence) in the 7 weeks my arm had been stuck in a sling.
The worst thing was that the consultant recommended that I cancel a snowboarding holiday I’d planned with the family for March. Don’t think my wife will ever let that one go… 🙄
Sorry you’ve been unlucky enough to do yours too, but if I were you I’d take it easy on the pain killers, get yourself a box set of The Sopranos and try and get yourself comfortable for a few weeks. You can’t rush the healing process I’m afraid, but hopefully your recovery will be quicker than mine.Posted 5 years agoMatt-PMember
Did mine at Llandegla when blown off a jump in the high winds 10 weeks or so back. 6 weeks of doing nothing but keeping it in a sling (very frustrating), but the back on bike at 8 weeks and all working. A bit of pain in certain positions as I think one of the consequences of knocking the end off (like I did as well) is the bone regrowth can impinge on the tendons. Was off work a day, more with the concussion, so I think I missed a trick there. Had a great physion though as well which helped once I’d passed the 6 week mark.Posted 5 years ago
Hope it heals quick,skiboyMember
sitting here with a broken ulna and radius, had a 6” plate nailed to my ulna in a 12hr op, hospital for 8 days home a week ago, 2 weeks into 8 week healing program, bloody frustrating but the hardest thing is staying off CRC !!!,
just learn to relax, I’m trying, i miss daily riding but hell i was due a rest,
hope you heal quickly, chin upPosted 5 years agorupertpostlethwaiteMember
I broke mine when I fell off my horse about 7 years ago.Posted 5 years ago
I would recommend you get a good physiotherapist once your on the mend, and don’t be riding the bike untill the therapist says! Infact give an extra couple of months just to be on the safe side! I’d say you’ll be back riding at your usual standard within 18 months. Stick with it old fella and keep your chin up, there’s a lot of people out there worse off!
good luck and I hope this brings some relief. 🙂
The only accurate answer without seeing the films is “it depends”. Knocking the end off sounds like you’re describing a lateral 3rd fracture, not the best in terms of healing, there’s information & a useful algorithm for healing and necessity for surgery here:Posted 5 years ago
Wave it in front of your orthopod, an informed patient is always a good idea IMO.
It’s not possible to generalise without more information. Anecdote is very variable (mine was a serious mess).LucasSubscriber
I broke mine 9 weeks ago (remember to put your front wheel in properly folks!). I was lucky as it just broke in the middle and did not displace. Had the arm in a sling for 3 weeks but took it off after that as I was getting loads of nerve pain in my hand (managed to damage the Brachial Plexus). The bone seemed to get better very quickly after that. Been riding the road bike since week 7, it would have been earlier but I had a nasty cold. Spent Easter in the Lakes and did some good rocky rides with no pain and just a bit of lost confidence.
The nerve pain I hand in my hand was by far the worst pain I have experienced, including breaking my tibial plateau and other breaksPosted 5 years ago
If you can, get a plate put on. Mine was really really broken so they plated it up and I was back out on my bike in 4 weeks.
Not much pain really. Just really annoying not being able to use an arm. I fashioned a sling out of a belt tied around my next so I could still use my hand and control the arm with my neck. Meant I could continue working and doing stuff, but also meant my elbow didn’t seize up whilst out of action.Posted 5 years agobainbrgeMember
Sounds similar in location to my break. Took from late July until mid November for confirmation it was 90% healed, but the first 2-3 months were pretty depressing as x-rays didn’t show healing.
However, here is my advice, for what it’s worth:
1. keep it well supported up for the first few weeks, I broke mine in France and was given a figure of eight sling which I wore for about 6 weeks. The NHS don’t give these as there is no medical evidence that they are beneficial, but i felt the break was much more isolated using mine, and more importantly it stopped me slumping forward because it braces your shoulders.
2. Even though keeping the break area still is surely important, you apparently need to keep the arm mobile to stop frozen shoulder etc. I was totally confused as to how to do this, as movement of the shoulder moved the broken bones. Not sure exactly what you are meant to do, but after 2-3 weeks I was taking the sling off for periods and letting my arm move a little (no lifting or anything like that at all though).
3. I stayed off work (office job) for about 3 weeks, then went back but took it very easy. I didn’t do any sport or indeed exercise more strenuous than walking for a good 3-4 months. Lots of people say they are back on the bike within 2 weeks of breaking the bone, but they always seem to be either very young (and therefore quicker healers), have breaks that aren’t at the end of the bone, have had surgery to plate the bone, or are being economical with the truth.
4. Reading the internet for advice is bad as you tend to get all the horror stories. I spent the first 2 months convinced that the NHS doc was wrong in refusing to operate or indeed do anything but let time pass. The French doc who treated it initially had said it needed urgent surgery, but the NHS said the opposite. However, the NHS doc was in hindsight correct, and it needed time and rest not surgery.
5. As someone above said, minimise the co-codamol or whatever you were given. I stopped taking mine as although pleasant I didn’t really need it as the pain was never significant.
6. Everyone says ‘get physio’; I’m not sure that is necessarily relevant to most breaks. The NHS certainly didn’t offer any, and once I was using my arm again in normal ways the strength came back pretty rapidly.
6. Don’t worry about it too much – for me it wasn’t painful but it was worrying in the sense that there didn’t appear to be any treatment apart from wait and hope. In retrospect however it was healing all the time, and is pretty much as normal now.
Having said all the above I think for me the most important thing was that I totally avoided any risk of whacking my shoulder, or putting stress on it, for about 3 months. I didn’t ride a bike between late July and late February of the following year. I may have gone over the top on this, but why risk your future health by being impatient or stupidly blase about your own body? Take it easy!
PS I AM NOT A DOCTOR so take the above as anecdotal only.Posted 5 years agoontorMember
Mine was a bit of a horror – broke in two places and dislocated both ends along with a good quantity of tendon damage to the shoulder, a rib or two and, quoting the doc, “simply horrendous soft tissue damage, might have a punctured lung there too”. It was too wrecked to pin together and I trashed the nerves to my right arm apparently.
Couldn’t lie down for 6-7 weeks, finally back to work just over 3 months after. Still had numb 2nd and 3rd fingers from nerve damage for 6-7 months after getting back to work. By the time I got the all clear I couldn’t even lift an empty mug, let alone ride.
Spent a long time in physiotherapy and have regained full strength & movement although my shoulder still clicks and pops, there’s a massive lump where the bone is displaced and it aches if I overdo it. added bonus is right shoulder dropping noticeably – enough that I bought new suit jackets and shirts for work and my lovely coat no longer fitted. Even now it’s noticeable.
Two bits of advice;Posted 5 years ago
1. Get on with physio asap – I had a superb Physio, who was also a friend of mine and she kicked my ass into doing exercises. It’s not about strength but mobility and range of movement – In my case there was great danger of loosing mobility through scar tissue and repaired tendon having less elasticity.
2. Find something to maintain dexterity – I built airfix and balsa planes during recovery to re-learn fine motor control – I attribute my recovery to this, docs thought I’d never get full movement and motor control back thanks to nerve damage and I still remember the tears of frustration but I got there in the end..DianeMember
Seek advice but some mobility of the arm and hand whilst keeping the shoulder still(Just gentle arm bends and circling the wrist initially) then other specific exercises later on. I attribute my recovery from early advice given to me by Surrounded by Zulus off here.Posted 5 years ago
I took my arm out of the sling quite early on as it felt better – each case is different. Try to avoid pain killers. Think the crucial healing is in the first few weeksbazzerMember
Broke mine in the middle skiing. It healed on its own without any issues. I think I was back on my bike in about 10 weeks could have done it sooner but took doctors advice.
I went to Whistler about a month later after I got back on the bike 🙂
It aches a bit sometimes but all in all its fine.Posted 5 years ago
Just had a shocking nights sleep with mine,seemed ok before I went to bed but in agony now,does the bone move around easily before it’s healed?
Yeah mine did. You can feel them grating on each other, which in my case wasn’t that painful but does feel awful.
For the first few days I found it easier to sleep on the sofa with my arm straight down my side, full of painkillers to make me sleepy.
If you haven’t already, go to the Miner Injury clinic at your local hospital for an x-ray. There’s a chance that it’ll be too broken to heal naturally (like mine) in which case they might stick a plate in there.
Seriously, the plate is amazing! I went from crap to OK in a matter of days after the op. I was back lifting weights and doing push ups within a few months.
Now, 1 year later it’s like nothing happened. Full use of my arm and shoulder.
Best of luck, you have my sympathies.Posted 5 years agojet26Member
Jury still out on fixing clavicle fractures. Some patients and fracture patterns do well with surgery but many people are best left alone.
It is not one size fits all and you operate on patients not x-rays – i.e. the exact same injury in different people can be managed in different ways.
Best bit of advice – take your time – you have a lifetime to ride your bike and a few weeks off to let things get sorted first time round is neither here nor there. Physio wise some people need it but many get back to normal quickly with no physio whatsoever.
jetPosted 5 years ago
(i spend many hours of my life seeing fracture patients)LucasSubscriber
C9tln: After maybe 6 weeks I could move it through the whole range of motion with no pain. But it was a gradual process to get to that point – there many movements that I could do from 2 weeks which caused no pain. The motion that took the longest was raising arms out in front of me, once they got to horizontal it hurt.
I had some good training with lifting weights; a 10kg 1 year son old and 15kg 3 year old son who never stop moving require frequent picking up and throwing around. The oldest provided the ultimate test the other night with 20 mins of him climbing on my shoulders so he could jump off. After 2 weeks, while still in a sling I had 36 hours of looking after them on my own, including bathtime and getting them dressed – that hurt but forced me to move itPosted 5 years agostevehSubscriber
Right I’ve had some experience of collar bone breaking having done 3 over the years. All healed naturally despite being bad breaks.
My first I did nothing with, just 6 weeks rest and I was back on the bike 6 weeks to the day without problems. It was sore to begin with and was broken in to 3 bits by the crash.
The second was 2 years ago a bit shoulder first impact in to a dry stone wall and broken in to 4 pieces. NHS gave me the choice of operation or waiting to see if it healed and I chose the latter. There are a lot of risks to collar bone surgeries due to all the nerves, tendons etc which run over the shoulder area hence they don’t do them all the time.
A week after the injury I went to see these guys in Ipswich http://www.physioclinic.net. I went in with a sling on and very limited movement. £200, 2 sets of treatment and 3 hours later I left with a cross brace rather than a sling, the ability to lift either arm to shoulder height, less pain and more movement. The difference really was that instant. I was back riding on the road in 3 weeks with very little pain, gentle mtb at 4 and a week on scottish trail centres at 5 weeks after the break.
I know 3 other people who’ve been to see the same guy (pretty much the only place in the country to do this stuff) and all had very positive results. I had comments from the consultant at my final check up as to how well and fast it had healed. It was a 4 hour trip each way for me but the best £200 I’ve ever spent.
I broke th same collar bone again last year, this time just a simple crack through the bone and went to see them 2 daya after. The difference was less instant this time but again healing was very quick and i was back on the road bike in 2.5 weeks.
I’ve nothing to do with them but can’t say enough how amazing the treatment was for me. Any questions feel free to ask. If you give them a call and tell them exactly what you’ve done to it they’ll be able to give you advice on what they can offer. You can also see some other case history stuff on the website.Posted 5 years agoSuperficialMember
I had mine plated. As it happened mine wouldn’t have healed without the plate but It’s not the perfect solution and certainly not for everyone / all fractures. This was three years ago yet it still hurts occasionally when I lie on my side and heavy rucksacks are uncomfortable because of screw prominence; it doesn’t stop me doing anything though. Also as above, the surgery itself is not without risks. I was back riding my road bike at 8 weeks and mountain bike at 10. It took 4 months until it felt ‘right’ again.Posted 5 years agobigjimSubscriber
Get physio – the doctor at my 3 week or whatever it was x-ray told the physio to leave it another few weeks and go slowly, however this was a disaster for me as I got a frozen shoulder and was off the bike for several months after the bone healed. NHS physio should be fine, just make sure you are referred ASAP, through your GP if needs be.
Actually the most important thing is to actually do your physio exercises!Posted 5 years agohighlandmanMember
There seems to be evidence to suggest that as soon as you can stand vibration, motion and load bearing, each of these will rapidly increase the rate of the healing process in most fractures. Ties in with the increasing practice in professional sport of using special ultrasound machines to stimulate fracture regeneration, ‘star trek’ style. Ok, it isn’t going to be that fast but it helps.Posted 5 years ago
I guess knowing when you can start exercise is pretty important and only a well informed physio will be able to tell you. If your local major football or rugby club has a physio who also has an outside practice, you’ll get sensible advice there.headpotdogMember
My consultant told me that he wouldn’t typically plate a broken clavicle unless the bone was sticking through the skin!! He believed that in the longer term plating caused as many problem as it resolves due to numbness, pressure spots around the plate & bolts & the potential for further damage if the plated area was impacted again as the plate itself could break the bone. Certainly put me off having a plate put in and apart from bring left with a lump on the bone I don’t have any problems at all now its healed naturally 🙂Posted 5 years agojsyncSubscriber
Sounds similar to mine. Broken at the end in 6 places, see here:
Had a to have surgery the following day:
Had to keep it as still as possible for approx 5 weeks, then allowed to move the shoulder around to stop it freezing. Back to work in 8 weeks on on the bike after 12.Posted 5 years agojimwMember
I’ll offer my 50p’s worth…
I had a break near the end of the clavicle 2 1/2 years ago , was advised that it was healing by non-shoulder specialist and went back to work after 7 weeks, (some of which was holiday time). Was back cycling off road after 10 weeks. It was always uncomfortable but managed to do everything I wanted to do. Six months ago it really became very painful again and I was sent for X-ray. Still total non-union!!- I had some fibrous growth but no bone at junction and this had started to tear. Was advised by shoulder specialist to have a plate put in, which I had done in early December last year. It has taken since then for me to recover enough to go back to work, partly due to it being an old fracture ( had to re-break the healed ends) and partly due to my age- over 50 now.
so in conclusion:
1. get to see a shoulder specialist as soon as possible to get correct opinion, don’t accept general orthopaedic surgeon if you can avoid it- if mine had been plated at the time of fracture I would have healed more quickly.Posted 5 years ago
2. plating isn’t always the quick result some have said above
3. listen to your physio and keep working at itstevehSubscriber
c9tln – yes I’d certainly say so but the guy I went to see gave me treatment with lasers and magnets to aid the healing. The X brace to replace the sling is much better as it allows you to move and use the bone. As someone else mentions using the bone seems to aid healing.
The way it was explained to me all bones are slightly bent and during exercise etc the flex in the bone generates small amounts of electrical current in the bone. The amount of current generated tells the body what you’ve been doing and how much repair work the body needs to do the bone. By using the electromagnets a large current is generated in the bone which tells the body the bone is knackered and it generates more repair cells.
Essentially I really believe that the treatment I had made a massive difference to my recovery (despite being very sceptical about it when I went) so physio in general is probably good but it’s the place I linked above that I’m keen on as I don’t know of anywhere else in the uk doing it.Posted 5 years ago
I prefer an evidence based approach myself. I’ll bet money changed hands for magnets and lasers. There’s no good evidence for that pseudoscientific explanation. I’d rather spend my cash on a good MSK physio to help me plan effective rehab.Posted 5 years ago
I’ve probably starting a potential war about magic Vs medicine there but I couldn’t stop myself, I’ll regret this post 😕Burls72Member
I can’t speak for your break but all I would say is if your not happy get a second or third opinion. My collar bone break was visable through a t-shirt but I was told to go away and come back in six weeks by one so called specialist. If I had done that I would have been left with a limited range of movement and disfigured. I went back to the same hospital twice and was treated as a time waster then I went to my doctor who reffered me to a different specialist.
He made some not too good noises, asked why it had taken two weeks to see him, told me never to go back to that hospital and operated on me that day. I could hear his raised voice in the background demanding that I was fitted in that day as it had been two weeks from the break.
I had a plate put in and removed a few months later. It taught me some valuable lessons.Posted 5 years ago
I had a plate put in and removed a few months later. It taught me some valuable lessons.
Out of interest, why did you get the plate taken out? How was the operation/recovery after the plate removal operation?
I can’t sleep on mine but not sure if that’s worth another operation.Posted 5 years ago
Probably the best description is that hook plates for lat 3rd fractures hold everything while it heals, then come out as they’re in the way of ideal function. Many other plates don’t affect function once in, so can stay in place.
Sad to hear tales of apparent mismanagement above, unfortunately that was my experience too, fantastic NHS treatment in the end though.
jet26 who wrote above and pointed out that you cannot generalise about these fractures is spot on, so many different types that treatment, rehab and recovery vary a lot (and to be fair, opinion regarding ideal treatment can vary as well).Posted 5 years agoBurls72Member
Out of interest, why did you get the plate taken out? How was the operation/recovery after the plate removal operation?
I can’t sleep on mine but not sure if that’s worth another operation.
They didn’t know until they opened me up which type of plate they were going to fit. One type stayed in, the other they take out and no choice in the matter. Luckily I had the type which they take out as I hated it. I could feel it all the time, it just felt horrible. Also everybody I know who has a plate somewhere in their body suffers with it from the cold and damp.
Luckily I recovered really quickly but I was very fit at the time which no doubt helped a lot. I ran my first mountain marathon within six weeks of the first operation and I recovered quicker from the second operation. I was operated on in the morning and drove home in the evening. Although I only did that as I didn’t have much choice in the matter.Posted 5 years agom00s3yMember
Broke mine into 3 big pieces and lots of little splinters.. had it plated. Back to work (office) 2 weeks after operation. Worst bit was I had to wait a week before they operated because it wasn’t sticking through the skin. Probably felt strongish in 3 months but didn’t ride for nearly a year because of some skin complications I had.
Definitely get physio if you can, nag for it. Definitely worth it.Posted 5 years ago
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