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AC Joint separation - recovery time

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Managed to avoid being killed by a blind motorist this morning, but my effective panic-braking technique saw me go flying over the handlebars and landing on my shoulder and head.

The doc says I have either grade II or III AC joint separation in my right shoulder, which we'll have confirmed in 3 days when I visit the orthopaedic surgeon. It is very sore (thank god for drugs!) and my right arm is completely unusable at the moment. My arm is in a sling at the moment.

Some web research reveals that recovery could be from 4-12 weeks, depending on how bad it is (and assuming it doesn't require surgery, which doesn't seem to be a common option). Unfortunately I'm entered in an 8-day MTB stage race that starts in 6 weeks. I'm sure I'll be able to keep the legs strong on the turbo trainer, but I'm worrried about the strength and stability of my shoulder in 6 weeks time. (and of course the chance of reinjuring myself should I fall again - that's a risk I'm prepared to take though).

Anyone have some experience with this injury they'd care to share?
post #2 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

Quote:
Originally Posted by MidBunchLurker
Managed to avoid being killed by a blind motorist this morning, but my effective panic-braking technique saw me go flying over the handlebars and landing on my shoulder and head.

The doc says I have either grade II or III AC joint separation in my right shoulder, which we'll have confirmed in 3 days when I visit the orthopaedic surgeon. It is very sore (thank god for drugs!) and my right arm is completely unusable at the moment. My arm is in a sling at the moment.

Some web research reveals that recovery could be from 4-12 weeks, depending on how bad it is (and assuming it doesn't require surgery, which doesn't seem to be a common option). Unfortunately I'm entered in an 8-day MTB stage race that starts in 6 weeks. I'm sure I'll be able to keep the legs strong on the turbo trainer, but I'm worrried about the strength and stability of my shoulder in 6 weeks time. (and of course the chance of reinjuring myself should I fall again - that's a risk I'm prepared to take though).

Anyone have some experience with this injury they'd care to share?
Nick,

I had a 2nd degree a/c joint seperation last fall after going over the bars of my mtb. It was painful initially, but I was actually on the road bike, very cautiously, one week later. It hurt, but it was stable on the bike. The shoulder felt better when I was on the bike than it did when I wasn't on the bike. I took it very easy on the shoulder during recovery and was able to ride an mtb race 7 weeks later without any pain. Keep in mind that the race I rode was only about 25 miles and mostly rolling two track or single track. Nothing brutal or pounding.

Don't get discouraged. Take it day by day and you might very well be riding in 6 weeks.

Good luck.
Dan
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

Quote:
Originally Posted by lax9dan
Nick,

I had a 2nd degree a/c joint seperation last fall after going over the bars of my mtb. It was painful initially, but I was actually on the road bike, very cautiously, one week later. It hurt, but it was stable on the bike. The shoulder felt better when I was on the bike than it did when I wasn't on the bike. I took it very easy on the shoulder during recovery and was able to ride an mtb race 7 weeks later without any pain. Keep in mind that the race I rode was only about 25 miles and mostly rolling two track or single track. Nothing brutal or pounding.

Don't get discouraged. Take it day by day and you might very well be riding in 6 weeks.

Good luck.
Dan
I'm holding thumbs for the specialist!
post #4 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

Last September, crash near finish line left me with "almost a Grade 3". The physio taped it up for most of a 3 week period, as the skin doesn't like being covered up to long. I believe it really helped the recovery.

I was back on the bike to perform quite well in a 4 part series 7 weeks later. Was doing some light riding at about week 5.

Good luck with the recovery
davef
post #5 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

On 9/29, I crashed racing downhill at about 25 mph. seperated ac joint (grade II or probaly III) and broke the neck of my femur (generally called a broken hip -- screwed together now with 2 compression screws).

for the first 4 weeks, on doctors orders, i did nothing for either injury other than letting it heal. (because of the broken hip, I was really a couch potato and watched the muscles just melt away)

then I started PT for 6 weeks. when that stopped, I got back into the gym and that is when the recovery really started.

shoulder is now still sore and muscle strength at about 80%. flexibility also is about 80-90% which is what i am really working on. I can't imagine you being ready for a hard race in 6 weeks, but alot depends on how fast the muscles around the shoulder heal up. (if the bruises were any indication, every muscle from my chest up tore from the separation).

the good news was that all the bike needed was to have the seat and handlebars realligned and the wheels trued. its ready for me as soon as the weather warms up and the snow melts.

best advice is listen to your doctor and therapist, and then push the therapy as hard as you can. also, get off the drugs -- I dealt with the pain better than the side effects. good luck.




Quote:
Originally Posted by MidBunchLurker
Managed to avoid being killed by a blind motorist this morning, but my effective panic-braking technique saw me go flying over the handlebars and landing on my shoulder and head.

The doc says I have either grade II or III AC joint separation in my right shoulder, which we'll have confirmed in 3 days when I visit the orthopaedic surgeon. It is very sore (thank god for drugs!) and my right arm is completely unusable at the moment. My arm is in a sling at the moment.

Some web research reveals that recovery could be from 4-12 weeks, depending on how bad it is (and assuming it doesn't require surgery, which doesn't seem to be a common option). Unfortunately I'm entered in an 8-day MTB stage race that starts in 6 weeks. I'm sure I'll be able to keep the legs strong on the turbo trainer, but I'm worrried about the strength and stability of my shoulder in 6 weeks time. (and of course the chance of reinjuring myself should I fall again - that's a risk I'm prepared to take though).

Anyone have some experience with this injury they'd care to share?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

ok, the specialist told me its no worse than a grade II, and he said that I should be ok by the time of my race, although there will probably be some discomfort. He also said that the best thing for the injury was just rest, that physio wouldn't help the AC joint repair itself at all.

So I went to the physio anyway, because I was worried about maintaining mobility and flexibility in my shoulder, and also maintaining strength in my arm which i'm obviously avoiding using too much.

10 days after the accident and the shoulder is just a dull pain most of the time, with a greater amount of pain if I do something silly like lift a heavy object. So I reckon another 20 days or so until the race and I should be ok. The physio also offered to do some strapping for the race, just to give the shoulder some support in case I take a knock from something.

At the moment I'm riding indoors on the windtrainer, hopefully I'll get out on the road this weekend to see how stable the shoulder is.

Thanks for everyone's advice and support!
post #7 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

[I had a grade 111 separation about 10 years. I was injured playing hockey and at the time surgery was recommended. I had a screw placed in the top of the collar bone to stabilize the joint. Injury occured end of February. I had the screw removed in September and was playing hockey again in October. The surgery was successful (after some early problems) compared to a buddy of mine that didn't have it. His shoulder still drops on him now and then, and the bump on the shoulder joint is really a mess.Good luck with this injury and be careful to heal fully before attempting something strenuous.
Hockey


post #8 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

I separated my AC 6 weeks ago. Week 1, I could barely get out of bed. Almost asked my wife to gets some depends undergarments in order to take a piss in bed. Ouch, massive pain! Doctor classified it as type 3 and the x-rays showed it was obviously separated. I pretty much got back on a trainer as soon as my scapula (back) pain subsided, maybe about a week after the accident. I continued going to the gym and did a lot of leg work and put in some miles on their crappy exercycles and spin bikes. I did some hiking up the same mountain I cylce up as well. All this while wearing a sling. At about 4 weeks I got on my home trainer without the sling on. Watched my TDF videos about 50 times while riding. Week 5 I went outside on my bike. Ahh that felt good, but I was totally freeked out about getting hit by another idiot driver. Week 5 I put in 200 miles. Week 6 I went back to the accident site to build my confidence back and at that very moment I got a phone call for a new job. Pretty cool how fate works. Anyways, I'm at week 6 now and put in 230 miles and going to the gym doing light weight upper body work. I still cant stand up and sprint like a mad man, but I estimate my strength should come back in the next couple weeks. Hopefully, there will be no long term arthritis in the joint.
post #9 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

D- I got a grade 3 with a fractured clavicle almost 12 days ago and just got fitted for a Clavicle Brace (which pulls your shoulders back and up). This is the only thing I could find to semi- flatten the bump. Did you have any special braces in addition to being taped up, and do you ever drop the shoulder?
I need to climb aduez next month or die trying.
Mick

Quote:
Originally Posted by davef
Last September, crash near finish line left me with "almost a Grade 3". The physio taped it up for most of a 3 week period, as the skin doesn't like being covered up to long. I believe it really helped the recovery.

I was back on the bike to perform quite well in a 4 part series 7 weeks later. Was doing some light riding at about week 5.

Good luck with the recovery
davef
post #10 of 16

Re: AC Joint separation - recovery time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick L Johns
D- I got a grade 3 with a fractured clavicle almost 12 days ago and just got fitted for a Clavicle Brace (which pulls your shoulders back and up). This is the only thing I could find to semi- flatten the bump. Did you have any special braces in addition to being taped up, and do you ever drop the shoulder?
I need to climb aduez next month or die trying.
Mick
No brace and shoulder never bothers me (2 years down the track). However, mine wasn't broken, just separated. Yours sounds worse. I wonder if the climb would be as demanding as the ascent (ie more weight on the hands)?

Hope you are fit in time for the big event.
post #11 of 16

Reading all your details on riding after the injury. Anyone try swimming? I am training for IRONMAN Couer D' Alene in June and for one of my training events I am signed up for 1/2 IRONMAN in Oceanside in 4 weeks. I just suffered an AC separation while snowboarding on Saturday the 3rd of March. Still swollen but the mobility is coming back slowly. I was not in as much pain as some of the people that have replied. I continued to board the rest of that day and the following three days (all in a sling).

 

So my real question. Any swimming yet?

post #12 of 16

Wow, it hurt so badly.  And I can not get comfortable in a bed.  I have to sleep on the floor and then I can only get a few hours of sleep.  Really bad.  I got my AC joint seperation via lifting patients in a healthcare facility.  I only have visible muscle spasms in my left shoulder, no swelling or bruising but it hurts like the dickens.  The doctor did not give me a brace but I got on the internet and found that I needed on as my shoulder would not stay in place.  I just dropped as I advised the doctor that it felt as if it did just that.  I will have a x-ray today.  When I couldn't find a brace at Sears, and Rite Aide,  Walgreens, I opted for some Kinesiology tape and it really works well. 

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidBunchLurker View Post

Managed to avoid being killed by a blind motorist this morning, but my effective panic-braking technique saw me go flying over the handlebars and landing on my shoulder and head.

The doc says I have either grade II or III AC joint separation in my right shoulder, which we'll have confirmed in 3 days when I visit the orthopaedic surgeon. It is very sore (thank god for drugs!) and my right arm is completely unusable at the moment. My arm is in a sling at the moment.

Some web research reveals that recovery could be from 4-12 weeks, depending on how bad it is (and assuming it doesn't require surgery, which doesn't seem to be a common option). Unfortunately I'm entered in an 8-day MTB stage race that starts in 6 weeks. I'm sure I'll be able to keep the legs strong on the turbo trainer, but I'm worrried about the strength and stability of my shoulder in 6 weeks time. (and of course the chance of reinjuring myself should I fall again - that's a risk I'm prepared to take though).

Anyone have some experience with this injury they'd care to share?

 

Its been 4 days after my surgery for a grade III separation with cracked clavicle.  My doctor says I can ride a stationary bike as much as I want for the next 3-4 months, but I shouldn't get on a road bike for at least 3 months.  Kudos to those who were back in the saddle after 4-6 weeks.

post #14 of 16

I seperated my AC joint two weeks ago going to fast down a singletrack, hitting a rock and going over the handle bars, glancing my head but hit my shoulder straight into the ground.

 

Not sure what grade as the hospital just released me after my x-ray showed no broken bones.I was referred to a fracture clinic to which I still have not got an appointment.

 

I was told to wear a sling for 6 weeks but have just removed it this weekend.The biggest problem I have had is sleeping, you just cannot sleep on your side so have been propped up on the sofa for two weeks.I cannot lift a thing with it but have managed to start back running. I could ride on roads but don't fancy hitting the singletracks again just yet..

 

I actually managed to keep riding after I done it as I was too embarrassed to tel my riding buddy that I couldn't carry on but the pain was un-bearable.

 

Good luck with all your recovery's.

post #15 of 16

I suffered fall whilst MTB at Lysterfield Victoria on 17th November 2012 and had surgery on 21st November. My AC separation was classified as 4-5 as completely snapped the ligament that connects the clavical to coracoid (no broken bones). I had key hole surgery and now have a permanent device in my shoulder that pulled the should back together so the ligaments could scar up. I was in a sling for 6 weeks and I'm 12 weeks out now from surgery and still not riding. After week 6 my shoulder had scared up and I had lost all mobility and shoulder muscle. Now at week 12 I have use of my arm however can't carry anything or put weight on that shoulder. I've started exercises to get the mobility back however I now have clicking in my shoulder I hope it goes away as I love to swim. 

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