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  1. #1
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    AC Shoulder Separation

    Hey,

    So, I went down pretty hard on the bike last night. Tucked the front in a corner and landed shoulder first. Went to the ER and i have a stage 3 AC separation. May need surgery. I go see an orthopedic surgeon next week to find out. Regardless, will be off the bike for 6 weeks.

    I'm sure this is a fairly common injury in the mountain bike world. Just wondering if anyone who has had this happen could share their experience? Recovery time? Range of motion issues etc?

    Cole

  2. #2
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    The answers you seek can be found here: Rider Down, injuries and recovery

  3. #3
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    Little longer than 6 weeks recovery

  4. #4
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    Had rotator cuff surgery a number of years ago and was out of action a lot longer than six weeks. I'm thinking I pushed it by going skiing after 12 weeks. Doctor was talking closer to six months out of action.

    Not exactly the same but shoulder surgery non the less. No problem with range of motion and other recovery issues though.

  5. #5
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    Rev,

    I had a grade three four years ago. It took two months to heal and another month to start 'trusting it'. I chose the non surgery approach and am glad I did. work with a PT to keep your range of motion during recovery. I have more flexibility in that shoulder now, comes with having a new 'extra joint' . Check out the Rider Down section. It seems to be quite common for us riders.

  6. #6
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    My RC was torn pretty much all the way through. I did spend plenty of time with a PT after the surgery though.

    I hate to sound ignorant, but what does a grade three mean? Is it torn part way? I just don't remember the term being used. It may have been but its been years since the surgery.

    My wife finally had surgery on her RC this past winter after a more conservative approach for years. It got to the point where surgery was the best option. She is an RN so we have a pretty good understanding of various medical issues and don't like surgery if other options are available.

  7. #7
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    Had a grade 3 last year about mid June. Pretty much ended my riding season here in Michigan. Definitely took all of three months to heal.

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  8. #8
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    I've separated both shoulders (one 2x) and had rotator cuff surgery (2x same shoulder) for full thickness tear. I guess I consider myself an expert on tearing up my shoulders. Be glad yours is separated and not a torn RC. The torn RC is much longer for recovery, though I never had to have surgery for my separation. I would assume you would be able to ride again this season. Just got back from 13 miles with my son and daughter-in-law. She separated hers about a month ago and rode some pretty challenging single track today...but again hers didn't require surgery.

    Good luck and be patient
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  9. #9
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    Had a stage 3 2 years ago in June, took at least 3 months to be well enough to ride on again (no surgery), though I didn't do any more MTB that year. Stayed on the road where the chance of falling on it again is perhaps a little less likely. More importantly, less bumps and vibrations which caused pain. All of last season it still wasn't what i would call 100%. I'd get the occasional twinge if I moved my arm the wrong way. Now 2 years later it's pretty much healed. Took a beating this season on the MTB and so far no issues to report.
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  10. #10
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    Separated mine skiing, 20 years ago. Hospital charged me $880 to x ray and examine mine. Dr. visits were more but I didn't need surgery. Every cent spent was wasted. Dr. didn't do anything but give advice you could find on a computer except for the expensive ice bag, frozen peas work better. If you don't need surgery, you don't need the doctor!
    agmtb

  11. #11
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    Bummer. All I can add is see a shoulder specialist, not a do everything ortho surgeon.

  12. #12
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    I separated my shoulder on April 26th of this year at a bike race. It was a stage 1 separation but I was unable to do ANYTHING for 4 weeks. It wasn't until about 6 weeks that I was able to spin on my trainer and even that sucked pretty bad. Now I'm a little over 2 months post injury and even with all the therapy, I'm pretty sore after a hard ride. I can't use a camelback as the weight hurts the shoulder pretty bad. All I can say is that you only have 2 shoulders. Make sure you heal them well before you get back on that bike and go all out. I have almost full range of motion but it's been a LONG LONG healing process. I hear shoulder injuries often times take the longest to heal, and often times don't heal completely. Good luck on your road to recovery. Cheers.

  13. #13
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    Stage 3 here. Middle of 'cross season. Was off the bike for 6 weeks, then onto a trainer and then on the bike. Was ready for mountain bike season. Doc said I couldn't tear it up any more because they were already torn. Also said that the success rate of "repair" wasn't that great and that the "healing" wasn't going to be affected by waiting to decide if I wanted it fixed. My recovery time would have been dramatically shorter if I hadn't also broken my scapula into three pieces, too!

    Work with a physical therapist and wait for a year for all the soft tissue to heal, then decide on surgery.

  14. #14
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    A good and dedicated thread here:

    Ac Separation (shoulder Separation)

    Grade 3 separation for me on 11/11/13. Started riding again in February and feel great now. No surgery for me, just dedicated rehab and strength exercises, once range of motion got better.

    Good luck man. You will now be "bump" club! You will have the wicked bump on your shoulder that will never go away!
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  15. #15
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    I had a really bad fall on my shoulder last year. Tore some ligaments and developed some arthiritis. I could not sleep on my right side for about 8 months.. I was back on my bike in about 1 month. It took about 1 year for the pain to completely go away. I took pain killers for only about 2 weeks..
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  16. #16
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    I tore my AC and others a few years ago. Its not a big deal, I think I was off my bike for 2 months, was back to pretty normal strength in 6 months with pain and pain subsided after about a year and i'm now normal but with a bump in my shoulder. No surgery needed, the muscles in your shoulder take over its job. My doctor told me surgery would strictly be for aesthetics and would possibly cause arthritis later in life.

  17. #17
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    Had a grade 3 AC last year. No surgery. Probably 6 weeks off the bike then started road and eased back into MTB. Year later I don't even think about it much. That is unless i catch sight of the "lump" in the mirror. Glad I went without surgery. Check the rider down/ injury section. Lots of good info there. Speedy healing!

  18. #18
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    AC Shoulder Separation-img_1173.jpg
    AC Shoulder Separation-img-20140528-00760.jpg

    I am on my last week of 2mos off my bike...almost done teaching myself how to lace up a new wheelset, figured I have all the free time good time to learn somtin!!

    My AC grade was 2-3 no sliceing diceing stapleins or welding required..
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  19. #19
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    I had a type 5 separation from a motorcycle accident. It was surgically repaired, but it didn't go perfectly. I have some degree of separation still, and a small loss of range of motion. It is strong, and I can do anything I would have before, but it gets sore after certain movements, or when I'm stuck in a position for a long time ( like sleeping or riding a motorcycle or bike..) I was off of work for 5 months.. Shoulders are weird, and one persons injury is never the same as the next persons. Do the PT that they tell you to, but don't try to overdo it. I figured that if she said to do 10 push ups, 50 would be 5 times better, which I realize now is stupid, but then I just wanted to get better..

  20. #20
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    Grade 5 here. Did the Arthrex Tightwire procedure, shortened the clavicle, and took some of my hamstring and slapped it in there for good measure.

    This was the last day of September. 90% recovered at 3 months, but it wasn't until I started doing a lot of cross training, specifically kettlebell workouts that I got my full range of motion back and was sleeping pain free. It's been nearly 5 years now and I am so glad I shopped around for the best Surgeon and researched the surgical options. The first two consults were laughable. I ended up having it done by a shoulder specialist that was the team surgeon for the NY Giants, and later the Carolina Hurricanes. He was also the shoulder specialist for several Olympic teams...Harvard med school, etc. Do your homework if you go the surgical route.

  21. #21
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    I had a grade 2 from a bike crash a couple years ago. No surgery, it healed up fine in a couple months. Now I just have the bump. And the crunching. Anyone else have the crunching sound?

  22. #22
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    I had a class 3 separation a little over three weeks ago. No surgery. The ER doctor said to use pain as my guide to wether an activity was appropriate. Of course I to,d him the truth about me probably not listening so he was kind of stretching it. The Orthopedic doctor was much more conservative, I did not indicate my desire to ride early. I think he said 3-4 for road and 2 months for mountain. In reality i did a very short road ride after one day off the bike. Day off. Another short day. Day off. And then pretty much resumed daily riding. I usually ride mtb, but start on the road. So I just did more road than trails and only did easy trails, and was very ginger on the rocks, walking through some sections. Full suspension, softened the fork setting. Still can't wear a pack yet. Even don't put my bib short straps over the shoulder yet. That hurts. My point is, it is different for everyone. You won't be catching big air and plowing through boulder fields at 20 mph for a LONG time. But you can figure out how to ride fitness/endurance rides/enjoyable rides.Let your pain be the guide. Your body will tell you if you are doing something wrong. Be very careful not too crash again for a while. You might be more likely to re injure it again getting out of bed if your not careful. Everything needs to be thought of as a potential problem, but nothing really totally ruled out.
    Quote Originally Posted by cmrocks View Post
    Hey,

    So, I went down pretty hard on the bike last night. Tucked the front in a corner and landed shoulder first. Went to the ER and i have a stage 3 AC separation. May need surgery. I go see an orthopedic surgeon next week to find out. Regardless, will be off the bike for 6 weeks.

    I'm sure this is a fairly common injury in the mountain bike world. Just wondering if anyone who has had this happen could share their experience? Recovery time? Range of motion issues etc?

    Cole

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