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Complete seperation

1 year of therapy SUCKED!!! :madman: But I elected to not have surgery and I'm SOOO happy with the results. When riding if I fall I try to remember not to catch myself with my right arm cause jamming the shoulder up into the scapula(sp?) hurts like heck. But besides that the shoulder works like it did before the accident. and my wife does not mind how the scapula protrudes up where my shoulder should be. If I have a good year of weight lifting the bump will go down considerably but now I prefer to ride instead of hitting the gym.:thumbsup:
 

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Ami Schwein
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I had a grade three seperation after launching a kicker about 6 weeks ago. I decided not to go through with the surgery and laid off the bike for about 3 weeks. Things were healing up pretty fast. After about 3 weeks i took some short ´"laid back" tours and did experience shoulder fatigue fairly quickly, so id stop and take off the camel back and kind of stretch it a little. Anyways 2 weeks later im back rockin the full face and ridin the rough stuff. It still gets fatigued at times and im still not able to touch my elbows together in front of my chest without pain but im glad i chose not to go under the knife. Ive got a doc appointment monday and hell probably hook me up with a PT schedule. Ive still got the crazy protrusion on my left shoulder but ill get used to it. I think everyone recovers differently from stuff though. By the way whats a grade 5??? I went to a german doctor and he made it sound like grade 3 was as bad as it gets...i mean once the tendons/ligaments are all torn whats left to damage?
 

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I did a grade 1 or 2 so hard to compare to some of your injuries. Swimming was the best rehab for me. I was teaching swimming so I used very low load full range motion and things got better quickly.
 

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Ami Schwein
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Doctor appointment went well. Said it was healing nicely and the stability is definitely improved. Said i should be able to lift weights in about two weeks. So all in all, 2 weeks pretty much light restricted movement. 3rd week dropped the sling, no more pain. 4th week started biking again safe n sane style. 5th and 6th couldnt hold it back anymore safe n sane pretty much out the window however still keeping the rubber for the most part on the dirt. next week we'll see how it feels. Overall thats about the time line i experienced. As of today im very pleased with the results and glad i chose not to operate.
 

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I suffered a shoulder dislocation and 3rd degree AC separation on July 20th in a training accident and 2 days later rode a 7 day, 500 mile touring event on a road bike. The guys I was riding with pulled the dislocation back in place at the accident site. I then went to the ER as we felt that I had fractured the collarbone. Xrays showed the AC separation. Consulting with the orthopedic doc in the emergency room, he said I could do whatever I wanted as long as I could handle the pain. After the first day, the pain subsided. I never took any pain meds during this whole episode. I actually found that the most comfortable positioning for the shoulder was on the bike as it forced the shoulder back up and in. After returning, I went to an orthopedic surgeon who recommended no surgery. He encouraged me to continue doing what I doing and said that in three months, the results will be comparable to surgery. I was happy to take the conservative route, but will see what happens. The separation is quite pronounced and I don't understand how those ligaments will repair themselves given the weight of the arm maintaining the separation.
 

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Nim said:
Separated my shoulder. Doc says it is a grade III ac separation. Does not recommend surgery. Said it's a common MTB injury. Doc said 6 to 8 weeks recovery time. Web info suggests up to 12 weeks. So for you who suffered the same, how long did it take for you to get back on the bike? Road riding first? Can getting back on the bike early cause healing problems? That is, don't push it and wait until no pain or suck it up and start riding? Recommendations/info on your experience? Thanks.
I seperated mine last september so, I feel you pain. I was off the bike 4 weeks. Going back to riding didn't cause any shoulder pain but, now, a year later, I am just starting to get back my range of motion. It's going to take a long long time to get back to normal. Be patient and start of slow.
 

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I did a grade 1 or 2 seperation in February in a skiing accident. Because of all the other injuries I sustained I was pretyt much couch bound for several weeks, then just walking. When I started physical therapy it was all range of motion stretching and what not. The were really conservative with any strengthening which I found very annoying. The pain ended up at a manageable level and when I started riding 6 weeks out it only took a few rides before it stopped feeling like my arm was falling off when I pulled up on the bars.

I started light lifting after 3 months and got a little heavier and mixed in pushups and pull ups at about 4 months that is when I noticed the pain really subside. I'm not just past the 6 month mark. up untill recently I just thought I was going to have to live with some pain for ever, but I started taking a glucosamine supplement and with in a week pretty much all my shoulder pain is gone, it will just be achy for day if I sleep on it the wrong way or ride my cross bike instead of my MTB.
 

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i have/had type 3 acromia (still have in my left shoulder) and had an operation to correct the condition in my right shoulder after severing my tendon.

the fused the tendon back together, cut out bone and had my shoulder strapped to my side for about 6 months. after that, i was supposed to do physical therapy, but i didnt have time for it - i did take it easy, but made sure to follow most of what the PT program had outlined - gentle stretches, dont push through range of motion, etc.

well, about a year after that, i needed to go back for a final check for insurance purposes - i hadnt gone to PT for pretty much the whole year and the doc was amazed at the recovery i had made - i gained 100% of my motion back and my shoulder is still nice and solid in the socket - no problems with dislocations like i had previously.

now, even though i regained my motion, i know i still have to take it easy, even more so on my other shoulder since i could still possibly tear that tendon. i had to stop swimming 2 times a day, everyday - but i can still do most anything.

i stay the f*** away from bench pressing and such though - thats just asking for a problem.

oh yea, the operation was able to be performed using arthroscopy instead of the formal 7 inch incision.
 

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My wife crashed her road bike and fell full weight onto her shoulder. Separation and dislocation. I reduced the dislocation on the spot and we went to ER. They hemmed and hawed and basically said - Yup, it's dislocated. Our family physician was a first class idiot, said - you, it's dislocated. At this time her shoulder was about 2 inches lower than the other one.

Long story short - after about 18 months she FINALLY got to see a great ortho - he ended up shaving the end of the clavicle off and shaving down the underlying bursa because of the wicked impingement she was getting. She is now about 8 weeks post-op and feeling a lot better. Good news was the AC joint was healed up and no damage to the rotator cuff. The significant scar tissue that had built up is nearly gone too.

She now does physio and massage therapy and is nearly back to normal.

The moral - get a GOOD diagnosis the first time around, follow the instructions, do the exrecises and do not overdo things. Good luck on a speedy recovery.
 

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ballbuster
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Dang....

Nim said:
Separated my shoulder. Doc says it is a grade III ac separation. Does not recommend surgery. Said it's a common MTB injury. Doc said 6 to 8 weeks recovery time. Web info suggests up to 12 weeks. So for you who suffered the same, how long did it take for you to get back on the bike? Road riding first? Can getting back on the bike early cause healing problems? That is, don't push it and wait until no pain or suck it up and start riding? Recommendations/info on your experience? Thanks.
Grade III sounds nasty. Like your arm was severed and put back on.
 

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TurnURComputerOff&GoRide
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Wow - I wish I found this thread 5 months ago. My story is very similar.

First doc said it was grade 3 and I should put it in a sling and take it easy for 3 weeks.
I couldn't help but notice the jagged bone end trying to rupture through my skin - so I found another doc..... I ended up in the hands of a really good Ortho that just does shoulders. I had done the ligaments, but I'd also smashed the end of my clavicle into lots of little bits. So surgery was the go.
My ortho did 7 shoulder surgeries on the day he did mine. If you're living in a location that has specialists - I think you are way better trying to find a doc that does 7 shoulder opps a day rather than 1 every 3 months!!
I had the Weaver-Dunn thing with some anchors and minor hardware (located further down the clavicle to get to a solid non smashed bone).
The advice I got was that the big screw through the shoulder was not the way to go and had a high incidence of failure and problems.

So 5 months....
2 months of it really SUCKED - I mean depressing, intruded into work, ability to sleep, drive, etc. it SUCKED!!!
I did no PT or any real movement for the first 2 months. Muscle wastage and all that sort of nasty stuff.
Then 2 more months of recovery and PT.

I've now been back on the bike for a month and fitness levels are returning.
It's only been in the last 2 weeks where I've been having great rides where everything just feels great and the ride comes together.

The arm/shoulder is 99.9% good now, with a full range of movement and only slight discomfort if I stretch it way up. My PT guy was blown away with how fast I managed to get my range of movement and strength back. I hit the PT exercises pretty hard as I was determined to get back on the bike.

I'm so happy I found a good ortho and got the surgery.
Post surgery I still had a bit of a bump, but that's gone away now.
Now all I have is a cool looking scar.
The memory of 4 months of pain and suffering washes away when you get back on the bike and have one of those rides where you're just in the zone.
 

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Ami Schwein
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Well, its been now over a year with mine as well and i have no problems with the shoulder anymore. Back to jumping, dropping whatever. Strength and movement is good to go. Ive done PT on it continously since I was able to. I'll always have the lump, but i find it endearing.
 

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Hmmm, well, since it seems there haven't been any 2008 entries regarding AC separations, I guess I'm going to have to be the one to post. Did mine on 11-09-2008. Passed out on a buddy a couple of minutes afterwards from the pain. Thought I dislocated my shoulder, but I could still move my arm. Had the "bump" immediately afterward, so I knew something wasn't right. Eventually went to the emergency department, got x-rays, received a sling and prescription for percocets that I didn't fill, and was told to follow up with the Core Institute (PHX). "AC separation" they said. Put off the follow-up for a couple of days, went and picked up my copies of the x-rays on disk along with the diagnostic report. Looked at the pics on my computer and saw the damage done. Did extensive research and learned about the grading of separations. Entertained the idea that mine wasn't that serious. Found myself freaking out from the lack of pain late the following Friday. (Mind you, I had been riding nearly everyday up until the time of my accident.) I had been taking ibuprofen as instructed since visiting the E.D., but boy, was I starting to wonder about my pain receptors and nerve endings. Range of movement? Check. Not all I had before the wreck, but damn near. I could move my arm above my head, behind my back, and across my chest. Feeling in my hands, arms, and shoulders? Check. I actually pinched myself with my fingernails atop my hurt (right) shoulder to confirm. Started thinking about "Unbreakable"... Wondered if I could do pull-ups? I know, I know. You are probably thinking, "Is he insane?" Well, maybe. So, I walk down to the spare bedroom housing my Soloflex, which was left setup for pull-ups. I grab the bars and begin to do pull-ups. Not just a couple, but more than I had been doing before. I actually stopped before I tired my muscles out. Man, something is wrong. Should I be able to do pull-ups with a separated shoulder? The next day I talked to a buddy who is basically a physical therapist and told him what I had done. He started laughing before I even finished telling him. Especially, when I told him the part about "Unbreakable." Then, he says that I have probably created scare tissue very quickly as a result of metabolism and being fit. I end the conversation still in disbelief. Today, on the 18th of November, I finally got my follow-up with Dr. Marcus at the Core Institute. After he is allowed to view my x-rays, he puts me through some simple range of motion/resistance tests. I ask him if I should be where I am for the injury sustained? His reply is no. He tells me that I am definitely a grade 3+. With some doctors, he says that I would probably be a grade 5. He weighs my age against whether or not he would consider surgery. (I'm 37 with about 5% body fat. I'm actually underfat from dedicating so much time to riding. I rarely do more than this actively, I swear.) I mention "Unbreakable", during the course of our conversation, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him about the pull-ups. He's familiar with the movie. He then proceeds to tell me that if it were him comtemplating the decision, nobody would be touching him surgically. At 44, he has 7 years on me. He honestly tells me that he could actually put me in a worse position than I currently am in. I would definitely be in some sort of pain following surgery. My range of motion might not recover as quickly or be as good. I could possibly develop complications from the materials used in the surgery. I would be taking a huge step back as far as progress is concerned. And, other than aesthetics, I probably wouldn't benefit from surgery at this point, and that he couldn't guarantee that there wouldn't be some form of movement upwards with the clavicle forming a bump on top of my shoulder. Basically, it's a preventative maintenance gamble for me. He ultimately leaves the choice up to me, but in his mind it's a no brainer. I could possibly be a candidate for reconstruction with cadaver ligaments at some point down the road after problems arise, or I could have him perform an acute operation to tie down my clavicle to the coracoid process so long as it is within 3 weeks of the episode (a small window). I'd flip a coin, but I think I'll take it easy for a bit instead and gamble with the hope that I never meet Dr. Marcus again. You might not be so lucky.
 

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Crawfishy
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15 years later

Jah Jah Man, I don't usually post here but I saw the word separation in the title and had to look. In June of '93 I was riding Walker Ranch outside of Boulder when I went over the handle bars and separated my shoulder. Still don't know if I hit a boulder or pulled on the front brakes.

When I sat up and luckly avoided being hit by my best friend who was trailing behind, I too could tell I had messed up my shoulder. The doc in the ER, a orthopedic surgeon checking on another patient, told me I had a third degree sep. He said that he did not recommend surgery and that the sep. would close back up. He prescribed a certain sling. The place was closed so I could not get it that night.

The next day when I went to see him in his office he started to look at it again. He had me stand up and he started pushing on the clavical. I soon asked him if I could sit because I did not feel so hot. He had me sit and went and got me water because he said I was turning green. He soon told me that the clavical had slipped behind the shoulder blade and he could not get it back up because it was being held down by a muscle. He said surgery was no longer an option.

A few days later I was put back together with a big S on my shoulder. I was able to make it stronger than before. Later that year I had a slight sep. in my other shoulder from playing flag football and hit hurt worse.

I think you will be alright without the surgery, maybe stronger.

Good luck!
 

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wants a taco
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another ac sep for 08. Mine happened 2 days ago, went to the hospital yesterday and found out the news. In researching this it seems like recovery time is really based on the quality of your doc. It also sounds like alot of docs dont take into account how serious alot of us are about our riding and think 90% is a great recovery, and then hearing from those with that 90% recovery mention alot of complications when riding that make it sound more like 70%

Im needing to set up an appointment with a specialist and am currios what i need to look for. Sounds like i need someone who also specializes in sports medicine but i dont know. Im ready to do whatever it takes to get on the bike quickly (at least the roadie) im just worried about a shitty doc that doesnt consider the fact i ride almost every day, race etc.. and hope he doesnt treat me "good enough" like he would for alot of seditary people that would never really notice the diff.
 

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Just did this last night. Riding the road bike home in the evening and took a corner while going at a decent speed and BAM before I knew it I was on the ground. Front wheel washed out on something I didn't see.

Stood up and immediatly knew something was wrong. I actually thought I had broken my collarbone the way it was sticking up. Turns out it is seperated AC.

So much for my trip to S.Utah I had planned for sunday-wednesday.

Anyhow, just happened to notice this thread. I'll update later on how the recovery went.



Nim said:
Separated my shoulder. Doc says it is a grade III ac separation. Does not recommend surgery. Said it's a common MTB injury. Doc said 6 to 8 weeks recovery time. Web info suggests up to 12 weeks. So for you who suffered the same, how long did it take for you to get back on the bike? Road riding first? Can getting back on the bike early cause healing problems? That is, don't push it and wait until no pain or suck it up and start riding? Recommendations/info on your experience? Thanks.
 

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a c sep grade III

Jah Jah Man said:
Hmmm, well, since it seems there haven't been any 2008 entries regarding AC separations, I guess I'm going to have to be the one to post. Did mine on 11-09-2008. Passed out on a buddy a couple of minutes afterwards from the pain. Thought I dislocated my shoulder, but I could still move my arm. Had the "bump" immediately afterward, so I knew something wasn't right. Eventually went to the emergency department, got x-rays, received a sling and prescription for percocets that I didn't fill, and was told to follow up with the Core Institute (PHX). "AC separation" they said. Put off the follow-up for a couple of days, went and picked up my copies of the x-rays on disk along with the diagnostic report. Looked at the pics on my computer and saw the damage done. Did extensive research and learned about the grading of separations. Entertained the idea that mine wasn't that serious. Found myself freaking out from the lack of pain late the following Friday. (Mind you, I had been riding nearly everyday up until the time of my accident.) I had been taking ibuprofen as instructed since visiting the E.D., but boy, was I starting to wonder about my pain receptors and nerve endings. Range of movement? Check. Not all I had before the wreck, but damn near. I could move my arm above my head, behind my back, and across my chest. Feeling in my hands, arms, and shoulders? Check. I actually pinched myself with my fingernails atop my hurt (right) shoulder to confirm. Started thinking about "Unbreakable"... Wondered if I could do pull-ups? I know, I know. You are probably thinking, "Is he insane?" Well, maybe. So, I walk down to the spare bedroom housing my Soloflex, which was left setup for pull-ups. I grab the bars and begin to do pull-ups. Not just a couple, but more than I had been doing before. I actually stopped before I tired my muscles out. Man, something is wrong. Should I be able to do pull-ups with a separated shoulder? The next day I talked to a buddy who is basically a physical therapist and told him what I had done. He started laughing before I even finished telling him. Especially, when I told him the part about "Unbreakable." Then, he says that I have probably created scare tissue very quickly as a result of metabolism and being fit. I end the conversation still in disbelief. Today, on the 18th of November, I finally got my follow-up with Dr. Marcus at the Core Institute. After he is allowed to view my x-rays, he puts me through some simple range of motion/resistance tests. I ask him if I should be where I am for the injury sustained? His reply is no. He tells me that I am definitely a grade 3+. With some doctors, he says that I would probably be a grade 5. He weighs my age against whether or not he would consider surgery. (I'm 37 with about 5% body fat. I'm actually underfat from dedicating so much time to riding. I rarely do more than this actively, I swear.) I mention "Unbreakable", during the course of our conversation, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him about the pull-ups. He's familiar with the movie. He then proceeds to tell me that if it were him comtemplating the decision, nobody would be touching him surgically. At 44, he has 7 years on me. He honestly tells me that he could actually put me in a worse position than I currently am in. I would definitely be in some sort of pain following surgery. My range of motion might not recover as quickly or be as good. I could possibly develop complications from the materials used in the surgery. I would be taking a huge step back as far as progress is concerned. And, other than aesthetics, I probably wouldn't benefit from surgery at this point, and that he couldn't guarantee that there wouldn't be some form of movement upwards with the clavicle forming a bump on top of my shoulder. Basically, it's a preventative maintenance gamble for me. He ultimately leaves the choice up to me, but in his mind it's a no brainer. I could possibly be a candidate for reconstruction with cadaver ligaments at some point down the road after problems arise, or I could have him perform an acute operation to tie down my clavicle to the coracoid process so long as it is within 3 weeks of the episode (a small window). I'd flip a coin, but I think I'll take it easy for a bit instead and gamble with the hope that I never meet Dr. Marcus again. You might not be so lucky.
WOW amazing recovery time.. I got a grade III sep. on the same day u did lol 11-09-2008 - fell off the bike during a jump... 1st doc said surgery.. I did not like that answer.. saw a 2nd doc and he said PT and left the choice for surgery up to me... Its now 3 weeks I have full range of motion (with some pain and popping) and can ride on the road went hiking yesterday but had some pain after 3 miles or so... I wont get on the trails for 2 months, i want to heal right.
 

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Got mine in March, 2008. Looks pretty much like that X-Ray above.
I had a little bit of pain for maybe 5 days and was off the bike for only 10 days.
 
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