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  1. #1
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    Reputation: AndesJack's Avatar
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    Nov 2010

    Shoulder / Collarbone Injury: Recovery Advice

    This past weekend I went down just after starting the 4th stage of a local enduro race. Pedaling hard, rear wheel hitting a rock throwing me over the bars into a rock garden.

    My head hit the ground, I passed out with the last thing going through my head my left shoulder slamming into a rock. As I regained consciousness it felt as if the shoulder was broken as it was completely numb. I made it down the trail and back to the Medic tent, nothing broken just a seriously numb muscle.

    It is now two days later and the shoulder is still super numb but feels much better day after day. More control, less pain.

    I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to recover from this injury to get back on my bike. Can I do some stretch exercises or pick up some light weights according to what the arm allows me to lift to aid in the recovery and strengthening the arm again or are these all bad ideas?

    Thanks in advance.
    When in doubt, Accelerate!

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    First - do you have any other problems from the head injury besides a brief loss of consciousness? Mood swings? Confusion? Sensory deficits (blurred vision, etc.)? Bruising, especially around the top of the neck? Any bleeding/bruising around the head? Any continued soreness in the neck? Did you crack the helmet? If you have any of those, you need to go to the ER now, preferably with someone else driving.

    About the shoulder - you still need to go to the doctor to determine what was injured in your shoulder. Medics are great but they can't always positively diagnose or rule out breaks unless they're really obvious. Was it just severe bruising and muscle injury or do you have a ligament/tendon injury? An incomplete bone break, like a greenstick fracture, is also possible depending on your age. Is the shoulder numb and not sore? How about the arm - any numbness down the arm? I'd think nerve damage is a risk when there is numbness rather than soreness. How are circulation, sensation, and motor skills (fine and gross) in the left arm? Any difficulties with feeling or movement below the shoulder? If you really are having numbness in the shoulder or arm after two days, then you need to go see a doctor.

    The above is the right answer - go see a doctor. I'd be concerned if I didn't have full range of motion back after 2 days (with soreness or discomfort). If there really is only muscle injury, then RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) except now that it has been 48 hours, heat instead of ice. If the pain isn't interfering with day to day life, try to hold off on the ibuprofen. It can slow the healing process. Definitely no aspirin just for this injury (not considering other health issues). Gradually get back to your exercise routine over a week or so. Don't push hard. Easy bike rides or possibly swimming would be good exercise alternatives to mountain biking. If anything feels wrong, bad, or weird with the shoulder, then, you guessed it, go see a doctor. Weird feelings include grinding or grating anywhere in the range of motion, sudden numbness or tingling, sudden warmth or cold. Tendon/ligament damage often requires surgical repair, so it won't get better in a short amount of time. Muscle damage will heal in days/weeks.

    (Internet advice is worth what you pay. You should go see a doctor to confirm or rule out/ridicule what I wrote above. I am not a doctor; I don't play one on TV; and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn last night)

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: AndesJack's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Thanks for the detail shared . The helmet was fine and I drove a hundred miles back home afterwards. There is only swelling but no color changes or sign of internal bleeding so to speak. I have full movement of the arm below the shoulder and no pain in it what so ever.
    I can move the shoulder around slowly with some pain but can't for example touch my right shoulder with the left arm..

    You shared loads of things I would have never thought of,thanks. I'll go see the doc and get a proper diagnostic just to be on the save side.
    When in doubt, Accelerate!

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