View Full Version : Collarbone fractures

05-13-2005, 08:53
I broke my collarbone in a bicycling accident one week ago. The bone is in 4 pieces, but it should heal fine. The only problem is that there will be a big lump on my collarbone. Surgery is an option if I don't want the lump. The only reason to do it is IF I'M A BIG TIME BACKPACKER. I'm inclined to skip the surgery and let the bone heal naturally. I figure I can modify or eliminate my right shoulder strap if the collarbone lump is too annoying. I'd like to hear from other backpackers who have fractured a collarbone. Did you chose surgery? How annoying is a packstrap over a lumpy collarbone? How have you dealt with this? Advice?

squirrel bait
05-13-2005, 09:07
Are you talking about an AC seperation? This usually results in the smaller of the bones of the AC protuding and causing the unslightly bump you may be talking about. Three out of four of us in my golfing foursome have this and to my knowledge it doesn't bother anyone, including me. It has never bothered me backpacking,swimming and any other sport or endeavor. Purely cosmetic reasons to have it removed. Your backpack straps aren't affected by this and/or may actually secure your straps a little tighter. I'd never recommend cosmetic surgery unless it's for a disfigurement. Have some fun with it and make up some cool stories about wrestling bears on the AT. And you can always buy muscle/wifebeater t-shirts with wider straps to help hide this very small problem.

05-13-2005, 09:42
This isn't AC separation but a miltiple fracture at mid clavicle. There are overlapping bone pieces that form a lump currently, and the healing process will leave a mass of bone there. I'm not concerned about esthetics, only about potential discomfort caused by pack straps. I may have to wear my pack strap further towards the shoulder or remove some padding on the inside of it.

05-13-2005, 10:56
That post brought back memories...

I broke my collar bone when I was 5 year old while sledding. If you grew up in the Northeast, you probably remember the "Flexible Flyers"? The sleds with metal runners...great for the icy, crusty snow we would get growing up.

Anyway, I went headfirst (naturally) down a slope. Crashed shoulder first into a swingset. Broke my collar bone. At five years old, I literally went running for mommy! :)

I was in a soft cast, so I don't think it was as severe as your accident. I do have a slight bump where my collar bone is...legacy of that accident 25+ yrs ago I assume!

05-13-2005, 18:24
Hi, I broke mine four years ago in a bike accident. I am an avid backpacker and sympathize so much with the pain you must have had and will have....It takes about two weeks for the bone to get "sticky" and not feel like it is moving inside...I had a lump and it has mostly gone away. As the bone reforms it will lose that lump, but never completely. Don't do surgery!!! If the doctor can tell y ou that the ligaments are intact from looking at the x-ray, then I would not have any type of repair. I have NO problems at all and no pain from this injury, and also got back to biking about 10 weeks after the injury. The only small problem I have had since, (and I started backpacking again about 7 weeks later) is that my collar bone is a little shorter on that side. I did have to adjust my pack a bit to allow for that, but my Granite Gear pack works fine with a small adjustment on the shoulder straps and a bit of tightening of the sternum strap. Good luck.

art to linda
05-15-2005, 09:28
I also broke mine as a kid (while sledding) .... ended up in a harness contraption for weeks. The medical field has made a lot of progress since then ( my childhood was sometime back in the stone age LOL). I've carried all three of my children in backpacks, and they out weighed my pack by more then a pound or two, never had a problem with my backpack either. Surgery increases the chance of infection/complications, so unless your Dr. recommends it, I'd avoid it.

05-15-2005, 10:32
The only reason I can imagine to have a clavicular lumpectomy: help with the orthopod's boat payment.

You've gotten good advice. Wait a few weeks and see what Nature brings you.

05-15-2005, 19:30
I broke my left collar bone somewhere around the age of 13. I managed to break the very same one, again, about 2 years ago in a work accident. Very small lump, no pack trouble. I'd say wait and see what happens. At worst, if it causes discomfort, remove a little padding from the strap in that area.

05-16-2005, 12:08
Sorry to hear about your injury!! I hope it heals quick! Ive never broke my collar bone but I did break my shoulder in January and Ive recently started carrying my regular pack again on some day hikes and one overnighter with about 25lbs in it and all I did was just loosen the right shoulder strap and let the left shoulder and waist belt halndle the load.Its working out fine so far. Streamweaver

05-23-2005, 09:06
I've broken my left collarbone 3 times in my life. Last time was the worst as it left me with a big lump/odd angle on the bone.
I have no problems with backpacks, etc... however, I make sure to keep my shoulders in good shape by working out, doing pushups, etc.

05-23-2005, 09:58
I agree with Orangebug. I see a lot of fractures, collarbone included, here at the orthopedic clinic and have yet to see any attempt to reduce the "lump" caused by healing. Now, deformity due to impropper alignment of the fragments is another thing all together ...but I'm hoping that this is not your problem.

The body produces a substance called "callous" at the site of a fracture during the healing process. It generally creates an area of greater thickness than the original bone once the healing is complete. The good news about that process is that the bone at the fracture site is typically stronger than it was proir to the fracture.

Let it heal and then start backpacking. You might have to adjust your shoulder straps a little but otherwise I would say that you shouldn't notice a difference.

AT 2003

05-24-2005, 08:16
Thanks to everyone for your answers and experience. I've opted against surgery and the fractures is on it's way towards healing.


Hammock Hanger
05-24-2005, 17:45
Glad to hear yo are on the mend Deb. Sue/HH

05-31-2005, 01:05
I too broke my left one while sledding (age 11), right into a tree. No surgery or cast for me, just a soft padded doo-dad that looks like pack shoulder straps to help keep my shoulders back so it heals on the proper place. I remember the doctor saying if I slouched too much during healing the bones can knit together wrong. So try to sit up with your shoulders back, but don't move your upper arm on the side of the break the first week or two or it'll hurt more. (It did for me) In the 20+ years since I havn't had a problem carrying a backpack of any size. Hope the healing is going well!