Broken Collarbone Question

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10/23/2016 4:34 PM

Hey!

I am really new , sorry to make this my intro. Female age 38. I just need some help and I think this is the place to get it.

I broke my collarbone, distal, a displaced fx, riding in late July. I had emergency surgery with the plate and screws as it was pushing through the skin.

I was compliant after the surgery. At 12 weeks they said the healing was on schedule and the hardware was perfectly aligned. I could ride again on a regular bike. I was riding a light trail and missed on a section. I had a minor impact with an oustretched arm onto a rock. Id say it was about 2 feet down since the rock was tall and it was a slow speed demise , as I was trying to be extra cautious. . Really, it would have not even been a blip if it wasn't for the surgery.

Now I'm terrified that I wrecked the hardware. I've felt some extra pain since that fall, (5 days ago), but nothing major. Nothing like that blinding flash of pain you get from a fracture (don't we all know it!) All ROM the same. Can dress myself, do hair, etc.

Does anyone know...would it take a LOT to destroy the hardware? I 've had some level of pain every day since the original crash/surgery This isn't a "I can't take the pain" thing, it's a paranoia thing. Also, a little bit of shame for having done something stupid.

Any insights? Thanks so much. I look forward to being able to help others w/my experience when I am in a position to do so.

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10/23/2016 4:40 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2016 4:41 PM

Don't stress on it, I've crashed really hard after having plates and screws installed. It's usually stronger at the break and will withstand more abuse than before the surgery. I'm no Dr, but thus has been my experience. At worst, go get an X-ray to help soothe your mind.

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10/23/2016 4:59 PM

Thank you thank you THANK YOU!

You guessed it, I am stressing. As a mom, I feel guilty and irresponsible for my hobby. I've already lost enough time and expense from missing work with this. An Xray, I guess that's pretty much half a day. Plus admission of being an idiot.

But thanks for your experience. i crashed hard as - uh you don't wanna know - to sustain the original injury.Shudder. What I did last week was what you might call a forceful tap. Like if a heavy door feel back on your outstreched arm, it would be about the same feeling.

how soon after your plating did you crash again btw?

I did contact my doctor's office. They said I would need an impact comparable to the original impact to re-break it at this point. I'm just kind of worried I was healing perfectly and now I messed it up and will have a deformity. Grr....i have a few good years left and enjoyed showing my shoulders in summer.

Thanks again

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10/23/2016 5:28 PM

I would guess you are ok. It's a race to get the bone solid before fatiguing the strength of the screws/bone interface. I had mine plated at 37, and rode at 6 weeks later for a special event, and ended up falling with arm out. Worried me, but it didn't move at all. You are at twice that healing time (12 weeks), so I would think odds are in your favor.

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Motocross....a once in a lifetime experience....every weekend.

10/23/2016 5:42 PM

Jeff - that is so utterly comforting. Thank you so much.

I knew I"d find experts here.

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10/23/2016 5:55 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2016 5:55 PM

i would definitely get it checked out to be on the safe side. or give it a week or 2 to see if it gets better. i ripped a plate out of my collar bone at 14 weeks. i lost a half inch off the end of my collar bone, bone graph, cadaver tendons, only half an AC joint now. i dont mean to make you paraniod (although i probably just did) but if something was wrong you would definitely know. there are still very tender nerve endings in your shoulder and thats probably what is bothering you.

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10/23/2016 5:58 PM

Thanks. I didn't sign on here to get sugar coated. I want to know the good , bad and ugly.

I can't say it hurts much more than before. Maybe 5% more.

Ironically, I think my titanium wrist (LOL) absorbed quite a bit of the shock of the mini-fall. That was noticeably sore for a few days.

Ugh, why can't I act my age.

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10/23/2016 6:08 PM

I broke mine and had it plated back in 2007 I believe.

Aside from the initial few days of some pretty serious discomfort, it has been a breeze ever since. Started riding again 6 weeks after. I remember being a bit worried about how it would feel, but it really surprised me. I hardly notice it now, and I've taken slams and no issues. It is a little sensitive to the touch though.

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"I'm an angel in an earth suit." -Gary Busey

10/23/2016 6:14 PM

You most likely rubbed the screws against the scar tissue and nerve endings under the skin. I had a similar experience after my surgery with a crash and was terrified that I had bent it. If you're able to touch the area firmly without pain run your finger along the collarbone and you should be able to feel the hardware and the screws and tell if anything seems to be out of place which most likely it isn't. You'll always have some degree of soreness and tenderness in that area when the skin or scar tissue rubs against the screws or you crash as you'll feel a "vibration" through the screw into the bone.

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10/23/2016 8:18 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2016 8:22 PM

12 weeks after plating?.....as long as there's no new malformations or bumps sticking out, you're good. The clavicle is the easiest bone in the body to break, however, it also has a really good blood supply and is skinny in diameter, consequently it is the quickest bone in the body to heal. Sounds like you're OK...but if you see discoloration (below the clavicle, in your chest area) new lumps and/or swelling, and you have persistent pain....I'd have it re-examined.

PS - I can't ignore the best part of this post.....That's friggen awesome that you are a 38 yo female back on the bike shortly after a broken collar bone!

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10/24/2016 11:27 AM

Knarfious wrote:

You most likely rubbed the screws against the scar tissue and nerve endings under the skin. I had a similar experience after my surgery with a crash and was terrified that I had bent it. If you're able to touch the area firmly without pain run your finger along the collarbone and you should be able to feel the hardware and the screws and tell if anything seems to be out of place which most likely it isn't. You'll always have some degree of soreness and tenderness in that area when the skin or scar tissue rubs against the screws or you crash as you'll feel a "vibration" through the screw into the bone.

Ugh! Thanks. I've had an aversion to touching or even looking at this region since I'm super skinny up there and the bones and HW are really prominent.

I remember, like a day before my mini-crash, thinking, "I look just like a coat hanger". I can't tell if I look more , or less like a coat hanger today.

I will try to pull the x rays and compare them to what I'm feeling now that I've forced myself to palpate it. But I have a feeling (hope) it's ok.

Maybe that's something I can pass on to future readers of this thread....if you get the surgery and you plan on being less-than-angelic, take weekly photos straight on. If I had done that I would be able to see in a second if anything had moved. thx

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10/24/2016 11:32 AM

Motoxdoc wrote:

12 weeks after plating?.....as long as there's no new malformations or bumps sticking out, you're good. The clavicle is the easiest bone in the body to break, however, it also has a really good blood supply and is skinny in diameter, consequently it is the quickest bone in the body to heal. Sounds like you're OK...but if you see discoloration (below the clavicle, in your chest area) new lumps and/or swelling, and you have persistent pain....I'd have it re-examined.

PS - I can't ignore the best part of this post.....That's friggen awesome that you are a 38 yo female back on the bike shortly after a broken collar bone!

Thanks to you, Emo and every who's responded.

Great info on the collarbone. Everything I never wanted to have to know ;-)

Sooo...the plate IS pretty strong I guess. My doctor is such a scare tactic sort of guy, he's always threatening me with "hardware failure" if I disobey him. He said it's cute that I act like an 18 year old guy, but bad for my potenitial healing if I mess it up. It probably would have been better if he threw me a little bone and said I could do x and y but not z rather than be sooo cautious I ignored him. but I can't blame him for my poor judgement either.

hah, hoping this whole conversation is moot. Awesome, supportive community.

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10/24/2016 1:03 PM

If you can't even tell if your recent crashed caused any new deformity, I'm pretty confident that you're fine, regardless of whether you caused any new damage.

If you did cause new damage, it doesn't sound like it's significant. Further, if the clavicle is damaged, but still in place (which it sounds like it is), the doctors will most likely just immobilize the shoulder again until it heals. (I have broken my left clavicle approximately 6 times, and only visited a doctor once. It has healed a little bit wonky, but not at all in a way that affects anything I do.)

Long story short, just moderate your activity consistent with your pain tolerance for the next few days/weeks. In my opinion, your confidence appears to be more damaged than your body. Take it slow and you are sure to eventually regain the gusto that you once had. Maybe try some yoga to try and center yourself again?

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10/24/2016 3:17 PM

Broke my collarbone July 2016. Doctor plated it and I followed his advice and waited 12 weeks before racing again. One year later I slammed my shoulder into the ground again with enough force to bend the stainless steel plate. This is what it looks like.Photo

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10/24/2016 3:31 PM

Yikes. Did you get a brand new plate?

I am going to say that is porbably just kind of bad luck if it was a year later. Such a common injury..I think some people posted here they have had he same FX multiple times.

I hope you're better now. I realize this kind of shit does happen. if that is an example of "hardware failuer", I don't think I have it.

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10/24/2016 3:33 PM

Thanks Triple...I am going to see if I can dredge up some photos also to compare.. Oh and let's beat Houston tonight! :-))))))

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10/24/2016 3:33 PM

There are two kinds of motocrossers. The kind that have broken a collarbone and the kind that are gonna break a collar bone.

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well we ain't the smartest folks in the world...i mean we're fucking dirtbike riders for christ sakes.- BobbyM

If you chose not to decide you still have made a chioce.



10/24/2016 3:44 PM

broken parts wrote:

Yikes. Did you get a brand new plate?

I am going to say that is porbably just kind of bad luck if it was a year later. Such a common injury..I think some people posted here they have had he same FX multiple times.

I hope you're better now. I realize this kind of shit does happen. if that is an example of "hardware failuer", I don't think I have it.

No new plate and I continued racing while the hairline crack healed. My point was it takes a lot of force to bend that plate so don't worry. Probably upgrade to the new plate next time !

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10/24/2016 3:50 PM

Cygnus wrote:

There are two kinds of motocrossers. The kind that have broken a collarbone and the kind that are gonna break a collar bone.

Haha.....the best medicine going :-))))

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10/24/2016 3:50 PM

broken parts wrote:

Yikes. Did you get a brand new plate?

I am going to say that is porbably just kind of bad luck if it was a year later. Such a common injury..I think some people posted here they have had he same FX multiple times.

I hope you're better now. I realize this kind of shit does happen. if that is an example of "hardware failuer", I don't think I have it.

fatcat wrote:

No new plate and I continued racing while the hairline crack healed. My point was it takes a lot of force to bend that plate so don't worry. Probably upgrade to the new plate next time !

Thanks, isn't there always an upgrade to be had.

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10/24/2016 3:54 PM

I broke my collar bone in February and got it plated. I got an infection from that surgery. 8 months, 5 surgeries and a second plate later and I'm still dealing with this. These plates can take a lot of abuse but they will fatigue over time, the first plate broke taping a box. Its a race between your bone healing and the fatigue of the plate. If your bone is not healing for whatever reason (infection) it is only a matter of time till the constant flexing of the plate will cause it to fail. A hard fall before the bone is completely healed can also cause failure. As long as an X-ray showed your bone to be healed, I don't think you'll have much to worry about.

If your plate was damaged or broken, you would know it. Breaking my first plate was almost as painful as breaking the bone.

For my self, I'm on constant antibiotics (3 different ones) and a bone graft, it seems to be healing this time around. But I'm cautiously optimistic at this point.

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10/24/2016 4:16 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/24/2016 5:04 PM

Oh. I'm sorry you've had so much trouble. I've heard tales of having to get those bone grafts.

I'm actually putting riding on hold for a few years after this. I am just hoping I got away with that one mis step and don't have to go back to square one with a reinstall on the hardware.

If so..I repent. I am a mom and I just can't be this irresponsible and a strain on my family.

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10/24/2016 4:59 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/24/2016 5:03 PM


Photo

OK..I suck at this but I am going to try to upload some pix. Dont know if I can do them all in one post or if I have to do multiple. I think the extra "meat" you see on the "good side" is the remnant of a deltoid.

You can see the "coat hanger " action in the plated side. LOL

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10/24/2016 5:00 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/24/2016 5:06 PM

Photo

Taken today 13 weeks past surgery. Mini crash happened @ 12 weeks.

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10/24/2016 5:02 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/24/2016 5:02 PM

Photo

X ray taken at 11 weeks....mini crash happened at 12 weeks, about 5 days before the photos that are not x rays.

So, go ahead am I being totally paranoid? thx! :-)

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10/24/2016 5:16 PM

Hey, Broken Parts - I think you'll be fine. One thing I'm surprised nobody has asked is about your rehab regimen. Are you doing/have you done anything to rehabilitate your shoulder?

I broke mine when I was a boy of 15, so the healing was much different than what you've experienced. However, I think doing some of the exercises that helped me might do the same for you. Of course, maybe ask your doctor before doing any of these:

-Very light-weight dumbells. Move them at arm's length from an outstretched left/right "wingspan" position, together in front of you. Imagine clapping without bending your elbows. This should be done with very light weights... 2/3/4 pounds in each hand, but many repetitions.
-Dumbell flys - from your relaxed position (weights at your sides) to the original "wingspan" position and back. Also, very light weight. you can do this same sort of motion but move the weights out in front of you also.
-Pushups are an excellent exercise for Motocross. I understand some women can't do full pushups but I knew I was good when I could do 10 of them with no pain. Go easy on these and do ladies' pushups (from your knees) at first.

Always let pain be your guide: if it hurts, don't do it! Good luck.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

10/24/2016 5:46 PM

Thanks Falcon. Rehab is the least of my concerns....I do have instructions to use like a 1 lb weight on the bad side. And the stretch bands. And none of that hurts, any more than before, so yeah that is another factoid that points to me over reacting about this.

I was definitely told no push ups til further notice. For a while I was being badass and doing one-arms. But then I got sick of everything, gained a little weight and decided to get back in shape after the second (removal) surgery.

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10/24/2016 9:24 PM

Broke my collarbone back in april didn't start riding until august. Broke on a sunday had to wait until thursday to get it fixed up. Doctor had jury duty and wouldn't go to any other orthopedic just because the work he does is done great as you can see. After riding I've fallen on it and split it open. Over time I've became more comfortable with it. Still have no feeling around that area though. I worry about having a screw come loose after a crash but it will always be sore after riding!


Photo

Photo

Photo

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10/25/2016 7:29 AM

Sauce, on the upside, your incision is barely visible, it's like you had plastic surgery :-)

Damn, that was some nasty break. They probably needed extra long equipment to get in there and fish all the pieces out to put them together.

From what I've gleaned, I don't think any of us are ever going to get rid of the numbness from where they cut the nerves.

Are you getting the plate removed? I know for some that's optional but for me, well it's technically optional but the doc pretty much guaranteed i is gonna work through my skin, so I am good to go with just getting rid of it.

I guess you've only really been riding again 2 months...hope you feel good.

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10/25/2016 8:28 AM

I didn't wear the sling long enough and now my shoulder is a bitch. Especially when I take off a pullover shirt. Usually gets some foul language out of me.

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