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Anyone living with a nonunion clavicle collarbone fracture?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by wheel1, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. wheel1

    wheel1 Chimp

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    I'm wondering if anyone has a broken clavicle that never healed / nonunion. What is your experience?

    I broke my clavicle 5 months ago biking. It was a distal displaced fracture. I was advised by a surgery-prone doctor that surgery wasn't necessary. He thought it would heal - but it has not. With physical therapy, I have good range of motion and strength back. X-ray still looks like day 1 (image below).

    The 2 criteria for surgery in this case seem to be 1) length is too short, or 2) pain.
    The length is very close to normal and I don't really have much pain.

    A second well-known sports shoulder specialist said he loves to do surgery and he'll do it if I want -but he agrees with the 1st Dr; he doesn't think it will make things better. I just started with an electrical stimulator for bone healing (long shot, but possible).

    The doctor said "you had 1 joint there, and now you have 2 - no big deal" and that I can do any activity. I have a gut feeling that it isn't that stable. I'd love to hear from someone who has gotten the same advice. Is everything working out fine with the clavicle in 2 pieces??

    Thanks!
    nonunion_sm.jpg
     

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  2. Petrfydsap

    Petrfydsap Chimp

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    3 years of a non-union clavicle and I'm totally fine. Really glad I didn't choose surgery. I have a visible bump on my clavicle but it doesn't bother me. Push-ups and other exercises are no problem, and I can ride as well as before. The ortho surgeon who first saw me after my bike-crash said I had to have surgery immediately, I said I wanted to wait and saw another ortho surgeon who said choosing no-surgery was an option but the bone was unlikely to heal together. At the time I had two good things going for me which helped me make my no-surgery decision: 1) just barely, I could wash my hair and get my hair in a pony tail, 2) I was going on a carribean cruise in two weeks and didn't want to be told I couldn't swim! Most importantly, as a nurse I had seen the risks of surgery and didn't want any part of that. Now, 3 years later I'm fine and happy with my choice. I will warn you: the healing process is long. Almost 9-12 months before I had zero pain. I was on lots of ibuprofen and Tylenol for the first 3 months, it was 45 days before I could sleep on my side for the first time, and frequent shoulder/upper back muscles cramping for months as the muscles tried to realign in this new broken-bone configuration. But I just waited all of that out til finally all of the pain was gone and I have no scar and no hardware!
     

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  3. KenW449

    KenW449 Thanos did nothing wrong

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    Have to tried cutting it off and gluing it back on?
     
  4. PepperJester

    PepperJester Monkey

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    I did my shoulder in about 10 years ago. I didn't get surgery and haven't had any significant long term issues with it. It's a bit lumpy and makes crunching sounds some times but has not effected my riding at all or caused me any real grief for work. The only thing that seems to bother it is raking leaves and sometime snow shovelling makes it sore. Oddly, I can swing a pick axe all day when building trails and that doesn't cause any pain.