broken collarbone

i broke my collarbone yesterday playing football, and i'm sat at home this morning feeling slightly painful and very frustrated (right side, right handed). the footy boots and shinpads are now in the bin, 40 is too old for contact sports!

i'd be grateful for any advice if you've ever done the long can i expect to be in a sling, am i likely to get "back to normal", or will i always be aware of the injury? i don't think it's anything more than a standard break, i have to attend the local fracture clininc in a few days, and i'm hoping 3-4 weeks should see me back at work?

i'm resigned to losing condition/toning on the upper body (although i was hardly a schwarzenegger in the first place) but beyond getting out for long walks, any ideas how i can retain a little of my cv base, and avoid putting on too much weight? i'm not a member of a gym, and normally would cycle to work most days, and run twice a week. to put the kettle on, that should kill half an hour...


  • I broke my right collarbone in a car accident 4 years ago and have only really got back to normality in the last year. Sorry to sound depressing, but there are things you can do to help. Don't go back to work too soon like I did! Make sure you really take it easy on the upper body, otherwise you can get shortening of the shoulder where the collarbone doesn't go back properly. Do lots of leg work to alleviate boredom! Once you get the sling off - not for three to four weeks - do gentle mobility exercises and seek physio help if you can - I wish I had done so sooner. Then do upper body work in a gym if possible on advice of physio, gym instructor or personal trainer - I have a brilliant one and I wish I had him sooner as well!

    Good luck.
  • sw...thanks for the advice, sorry to hear you took a while to recover.

    it's surprised me how many people i've spoken to in the last few days who have had the same injury, or know someone who has. almost without fail the advice has been pretty much the same...put up with the sling for as long as you're told to, don't rush back to work, get some physio started after 2-3 weeks, and later on look at strength/upper body type stuff to bring it all together.

    i shall follow your tip about leg work, and hopefully in 6 months or so it will all be just a bad memory!

    thanks again.
  • I broke my collarbone in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago........I then broke it again four weeks later in the shower!

    Be really, really careful - the damage should heal quite quickly (3-4 weeks) but then it will be a bit fragile for a few weeks thereafter. My second break was caused by me lifting my arms up to wash my hair before the bone had properly healed.

    The good news is that I have no legacy from the injury only a bone which is slightly contorted because of the scar tissue
  • i never knew shampoo could be so dangerous!

    martin thanks for the advice. i feel loads better even after 5 days, and it will be really tempting to get back into working and exercising asap. i'll have to be quite disciplined about things, and take a long term view.

    it's reassuring to hear you had no lasting damage as well, i had it in mind that i would always be weaker or somehow less efficient on that side.

    thanks a lot
  • Every sympathy, I broke my collarbone about 5 years back mtn biking, or rather falling off while mtn biking. I was fitted with a fitted with a figure of 8 sling. Worse thing I remember was the first few days being in agony sleeping.
    It was still painful sleeping on that side for sometime afterwards. I certainly wouldn't recommend outdoor cycling in the intial recovery period, even though Tyler Hamilton managed to do virtually all of the 2003 tour with a broken collarbone - that said he's subsequently been found to have done blood doping.
    Yes, I'd have though been back at work in that time is certainly feasible. Having a office job, I was able to continue after the initial break.
    Still felt slight pain when walking with a rucksack in the initial year, but year on was as good as new.

  • You were lucky, Lloyd, with your figure of 8 sling - my physio says that is the best treatment you can get although it needs a lot more attention at the hospital, which is why in most areas the NHS just give you an ordinary sling and leave you to it! But it means you don't get the shortening and the knotty, unsightly disfigurement at the site of the break - not very nice if you are female and want to wear dresses that expose that area. Wherever you live, your hospital needs to enlighten Wexham Park in Slough how to treat a fractured collarbone!
  • Ought to have added break was on holiday. Treatment was at local hospital in Thailand, I got excellent service, charge for x-ray, sling, treatment and pills was £15!
  • Ah, that explains the better treatment!
  • I've broken both collar bones (and fractured both upper arms too) in two separate cycling accidents. According to the consultant, half of all broken collar bones are caused by cycling accidents. Apparantly you move your head out of the way instinctively, allowing your shoulder to take full impact with the car/lorry.

    Anyhow, they heal reasonably quickly. In a sling for a month and then take it easy for a second month.

    Let the pain be the judge of how soon you can re-start activities. If it hurts - stop!

    What I remember most was that the painkillers they give you in hospital are a damned site better than the ones you get from the chemist ;-)
  • there's light at the end of the tunnel. a week ago my world had caved in, now i'm better informed and much more realistic about things.

    "take it easy" seems to be the advice from all quarters, so i will.

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