Greetings readers. This is the third in my series of articles about dealing with a common injury that affects many cyclists; recovery from a broken clavicle.
Recovery Week 3
Recovery seems to be progressing well. Flexibility of my left shoulder continues to improve. At just over three weeks since the crash, extension of my left arm, with the starting point being at my side, is now at 90 degrees. Rib bruising has mostly subsided, and bruising around the site of the clavicle break is clearing well.
However, the clavicle itself is prominently displaced and cosmetically doesn’t look so hot. Early in the week I sought the opinion of my orthopedic doctor in my homeland of Australia – email makes it very simple to send x-rays. His opinion was healing is progressing, and while cosmetically the clavicle won’t look terribly nice, functionally it should heal and perform as expected.
Thursday, I sought the opinion of a friend in the medical field locally with some experience in this area. A few facts; the two main types of treatment for clavicle fractures are surgical and simple immobilization. The former is typically used when the fracture is open or complicated like this one (see my x-ray below), particularly if there are functional or cosmetic reasons to fix it. Usually, surgery is done soon after an accident since with time healing begins which can complicate good reduction.
That may be the case now. I am virtually pain free, although I have not tried to support my body with my upper left extremity (as in both arms, a two arm push-up). However, I have a follow up appointment with a local orthopedic surgeon for next week, who may agree that healing has begun, meaning it may be better to watch and wait. The primary complication now would be failed or delayed healing, which clinically seems less likely. Cosmetically, I don’t really care what it looks like, provided there’s no hassles with simple things such as wearing a seatbelt, or lugging around a backpack.
Continues to be a hurdle. I am almost completely free of pain, but sleeping on my back, with the limitation of sleeping on one side isn’t very restful. Still, it could be worse.
I mentioned in my last post on this subject, I was ingesting calcium derived from plant sources only, such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, etc. However, I want my recovery to be speedy and successful. I’ve temporarily broken my own rule and have begun taking a Calcium supplement with Vitamin D to help with absorption. Every bit of placebo helps.
I have upped the ante with walking, covering a minimum of five miles every day, at least five times a week. A day or two after my last recovery posting, I was feeling extremely motivated, and managed a new record of 13.6 miles in one session. Now I can say I’ve walked a half-marathon! That experience has given me new respect for runners.
Walking a half marathon non-stop was tiring, so I can only imagine the effort of running a half or full marathon.
The stationary bicycle trainer that usually collects dust in my house saw some use this week; five hours over three sessions.
Trainers are boring, but turning the legs over felt good, and both hands were able to comfortably rest on the tops of the handlebars. The broken clavicle felt a little strange at first, but the sensations were much better by the end of each session, sans pain.
Fingers crossed for no surgery, and continuation of my healing!
Thanks for reading.