broken clavicle...surgery or not?

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by James Thomas, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. berygu

    berygu New Member

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    Man, you are lifting extremely heavy weights....i enviou you ...am i 8 months post op , and after finishing the PT i live a normal life, but not lifting anything very heavy with that hand. I have some issues with the plate/screws , they bother me in the inside of my body, maybe even a irritated nerve, i don't know exaclty what is the problem. I will have a checkup with my doctor in a week or so, and then decide when it's ok to remove the plate and screews, hope soone.
     


  2. EvalCrux

    EvalCrux New Member

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    That's a serious story of breakage pnkCoral, yikes! Congrats on the healing and yeah, you can't operate on all those places, amazing to let the body heal. How are you knees afterwards?

    DaneGirl, you got surgery but still need a sling after a few weeks? I've read around that the sling is almost always just for a comfort thing, that it's pretty much holding up the arm such that less strain is put on the ligaments that are shortened/stretched/twisted around from the break. With surgery the ligaments maybe are back in place but a bit damage from the surgery, so maybe the healing surgery vs no surgery is an apples and oranges comparison. That makes sense to me, my experience now is similar:

    So I'm just over 3 weeks, no operation, and find that I don't need the sling any more, but like to bring with me if I plan to walk long distances or be up and about without a table/chair/cushion to rest it on occasionally. I wore the sling to bed every night until probably 2.5 weeks, then experimented without it, and now I don't need it to remind me not to flail around and tweak the arm. But I'm a pretty sound/still sleeper, it's more the waking quickly and trying to hop out of bed without thinking about it was risky. My deltoid gets really sore still if I walk around for long without the sling. I have a rotator cuff injury from earlier in the year (trauma from snowkiting) that I think got aggravated again with this collarbone snap. I don't remember banging it much in the crash, but the extra load put on it while the collarbone heals really aches if I don't give it a rest...

    I also started exercising again lightly, which consists mostly of sitting on a recombinant bike (with the armrests, is that what they're called?), and walking on a treadmill. Yesterday I got adventurous though (3 week anniversary) and decided to try running. I'm generally a relatively fast runner and minimalist/barefoot so I'm used to running lightly, having good form, and minimizing the head bobbing. I started at 6.0mph but that felt a bit slow to get good form. 6.5 and then up to 7.0 ended up being perfect for light running, good form and I was able to 'float' along per se. My arm was in sling and still at my side the whole time, and this caused my left (good) arm to swing a bit less I think. Form compensates, and I ran a mile with no pain or strain feel on the arm, that made me super excited (and wanting to join some friends in a marathon in 2 months haha, though I'd at least only do the half).

    The last bit I'll add is something I wouldn't take as advice, but just into consideration. My second break doc gave me literally no advice on when to take off the sling, when to start exercising, etc. Granted I didn't ask, and I've been through this before I guess was the reason. My first break doc, however did give me advice: since I was generally active and fit, my PT regimen should be me working back towards being normal as before. No special training needed, just what felt right for slowly building back up, stopping short of overdoing it (it's quite easy to tell when you're overdoing it with a clavicle break), testing range of motion, etc. I think that's towards the general notion that clavicles do pretty well healing back on their own. Anyway, here's a pic as of today, still a little discoloration from the original injury, and a knot from my fully recovered left clavicle (holding camera in pic), but not too much looking weird on the right side :)

    [​IMG]
     
  3. berygu

    berygu New Member

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    I am having tingling sensations over my fingers and burning pain , also my arm feels weak and cold. The plate bothers me from the inside , like it s stabing me. I think this is bad news and i should get the plate out.
     
  4. pnkcoral

    pnkcoral New Member

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    EvalCrux,

    The knees aren't all that great. But, when your 64 and spent forty years in the field landscaping and 55 in the pool as a competitive swimmer..well, you learn to live with a lot of aches and pains. I've had to tone down the kicking in the pool but swimming is mostly arms anyway.

    The lucky thing about my injuries was that with so many breaks the pain was not concentrated on any one area. Unless, i did something stupid, then the break would let me know big time. And, like other accident victims i talked to, the ribs were the last to heal..just like mine. Mine finally healed up and I am back doing crunches, which is crucial in swimming to get your core strong.

    Sorry to hear you have another clavicle break. But, what the heck now you will have two stronger collarbones!
     
  5. Curb

    Curb New Member

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    I am on my 4th year of my collar bone break with a TI Plate and 6 screws. You should have no burning sensation in your arm or fingers and you arm should not be getting cold. If anything you should have tingling sensation around the area where the plate was inserted. If you had a doctor who installed the plate incorrectly than you have issues. My plate is fine. I can do anything that I use to do 4 years ago. I am 56 years old broke it doing a cycling accident. Let me know if you have additional questions
     
  6. bsbs1876

    bsbs1876 Member

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    I had a discussion with my surgeon the other day about removing the plate. I am almost the one year mark but I told him I wanted to make sure that I am strong this summer and ready for a good season of golf and inline hockey. He says there is no harm in waiting and that I can take the plate out whenever I want pretty much, so I told him that late fall will work best. The plate really isn't a huge nuisance but I think it will definitely be better out. I am starting to figure out what to do and what not to do in the gym. High cable chest flies = major pain and annoyance the day after if I go too hard. I did them yesterday and the collar bone is pretty sore today for the first time in a while. This happened last time I did the high cable chest flies too. Hopefully this advice keeps others away from hurting themselves too. I have decided to stop those for good pretty much. I also need to make sure to warm up my shoulders with lots of wind mills before hitting weights. Chest stretches after work outs and regularly throughout the day also help. The collar bone seems to be affected by the pec muscle in my experiences.
     
  7. Curb

    Curb New Member

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    That fine what the doctor says. My doctor told me the same thing. After 3 years mine is still in and I don’t even know it's there at time. and I do everything pull up weight lifting etc. But remember one important thing. Your break and plate will be different than someone else break. For example I broke mine in 3 pieces and he could not put back a tiny little piece of bone but over time, the bone grew over the plate and that little space it super strong. So your pain symptoms may be different than someone else depending on your plate implant configuration. Best Regards
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You should talk to your orthopod about those issues. No one here can diagnose their source.
     
  9. screwed

    screwed New Member

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    I had something similar to you. Quick story: before the opp the only issue I had was my broken collor bone, minets after the xrays were taken 2 surgens came in and start paying attetion to my hand not my should, basicly if there was *ANY* strange/odd/unussuell feelings of any kind in my hand I would go straight in for surgery. 1 week later hand is still normal. Immidietly after that opp severe pains in my thumb and finger, had a few neurophysiology tests and they narowed it down to the nerves being "disderbed in surgery". I could not use my hand for nearly 3 months. Then started to be able to move my thumb and finger with the help of a stess ball. In simple terms my nerves to my thumb and finger are in "overdrive" very sensitive to touch, esspesiliy if there is friction (movement/rubbing) 1 year and 5 months later the nerves have got better, but havent "setteled down". speek to your doc about the plate but I cant encorage you enough to get a neurophysiology test asap. Honestly not trying to scare you, but all the docs/neuros and phisios have said the same things. In short, "nerve damege is a very serious issue". Get it looked at!
     
  10. screwed

    screwed New Member

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    hey brad! good to hear your at the gym. so overall, how are you getting on?
     
  11. bsbs1876

    bsbs1876 Member

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    Hey man, I am doing pretty good. Trying to stay active as much as possible in this frigid Canadian winter. How are you these days? I know you said your hand still isn't perfect but are you at least back to doing all the things you did before? Did you remove the plate? Or are you considering it? I'm probably going to remove mine in the late fall later this year.
     
  12. bsbs1876

    bsbs1876 Member

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    I like when this thread gets quiet. I assume everyone is living their lives happy and fit, without their clavicle on their mind.
     
  13. willy81

    willy81 Member

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    not quite although I am fit and strong the metal still makes me uncomfortable and gives a vague numbness to the area, I need to get rid of it
     
  14. bsbs1876

    bsbs1876 Member

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    I have the same annoyances. I try to just ignore it. I'm looking forward to the metal being removed later this year, but I'm not looking forward to opening up my scar again. I have been planning a tattoo on my upper arm and shoulder area which will have to wait until after the second surgery incision fully heals (probably almost 2 years from now).
     
  15. bsbs1876

    bsbs1876 Member

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    I am having one of those days when the plate is really bugging me. It seems to flare up a bit at the end sometimes. Quite annoying. I think it happens when I sleep on it awkwardly. I could book the operation to have it removed now, but I think I will still wait until after summer.
     
  16. willy81

    willy81 Member

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    this is what happens to me too, sometimes I spend the day without noticing it at all and some mornings I wake up with quite some numbness which lasts for several hours, the explanation is simple, the metal prevents the muscle system there from proper blood circulations and this creates the numbness. good idea Brad, wait at least 16-18 months
     
  17. screwed

    screwed New Member

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    No the weather doesn't help trying to keep active, but it's good you're doing what you can. It's the same here really, bad weather and short days isn't helping here too.
    Well my hand still isn't right and there are a few thing I can't do, but that hasn't stop me getting back to work, getting back on my bike and doing what I normally do. It's just a bit slower. However the only reason I can use my hand is to do with this finger and thumb glove I have made. The nerves are still in overdrive, so by whereing this half-glove thing, it removes the friction on my skin, which is the part that I really can't deal with and find too painfull. One thing the half-glove doesn't stop is the pressure, I can't put too much pressure on them other wise that will hurt! as for removing the plate, not a chance! There's no way I'm having surgery again!
    Hi willy, how are you doing?
     
  18. bsbs1876

    bsbs1876 Member

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    screwed,

    With the symptoms you present I am very surprised you do not explore plate removal as a possibility. The hardware can easily trap or irritate nerves and cause what you just explained. Many times doctors don't notice this and can never pinpoint the issue until they open you up and take the thing off. I'm not trying to pressure you or anything, just relaying information I have read over the past few years.
     
  19. RonSwanson

    RonSwanson New Member

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    If it continues to bother you, I would take the surgery option. Talking with a doctor about all your options is also important. Sometimes surgery isn't needed, but every case is different. Good luck.
     
  20. 14eddyvelos

    14eddyvelos New Member

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    Sorry to hear about your clavicle. I'm a Registered Massage Therapist. Over the years I've seen many clavicle fractures that have had and not had surgery performed on them. The quickest to recover with no long-lasting negative effects have been the surgically repaired ones. Recently, A patient came in with a clavicle fracture 4 months after a fall from a horse. It was a clean break right in the middle of the bone. I was shocked to hear the doctor chose to "let it heal on its own", because clearly, it hadn't. The bones still moved separately at the break. She had received various forms of electrical therapy at physio, but they chose not to stabilize it.
    I immediately taped the clavicle to stabilize it and continued taping throughout her treatment sessions. This gave her a good measure of relief and stability, but in the end, the fracture wasn't knitting together. Finally it was decided to pin the bones together. So now I'm treating her for the residual stiffness and weakness in the surrounding shoulder/chest muscles developed over time and post surgery recovery.
    Get more opinions, find out your options, and if the fracture isn'r healing, look into surgery.
    Hope it helps,
    Eddy b
     
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