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Thread: AC separation

  1. #1
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    AC separation

    Have any of you ever had a AC separation. I recently had a level 4, and I was wondering if any of you had one and can ride without any pain?

    Thanks.

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  3. #3
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    I have had 5 of them so far, but the worst one took a year 1/2 to fully heal. At least both of my shoulders match, both with the end of the bone sticking up.

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    Suffered a lvl 3 in late june this year. I started riding gentle railtrails, and on the road using the MTB (road bike put a bit too much weight on it) about 3-4 weeks after the injury. Probably could have started riding earlier, but Doc wanted me off the bike for 6 weeks, I figured I'd meet him half way.

    I'd say it's about 80-90% recovered. I can still feel some pain with sharp movements. Throwing a ball has been the most painful movement, I can barely put any power into it. As for riding, it's decent, really rocky or rooty trails, or any prolonged stretches that require bump absorption with the body produce a bit of an ache, but nothing unmanageable.
    And I still can't sleep on that shoulder without being uncomfortable, so there is still some healing to be done.

    Now, I was lucky with my injury in the sense that it didn't require surgery, and I should be back to 100% for next season.
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  5. #5
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    i had a minor I/II separation in april and even have a little pain here and there still. i can't imagine a IV. check out the rider down/injury section here if you haven't already- you'll be in good company there and learn a lot.
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  6. #6
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    twice on the same shoulder. First a II about 5 years ago, then a IV last year. The first one hurt worse, probably because it was the first and I didn't do any rehab. I did a lot of PT after last years crash and was road riding within a month, easy mountain biking a few weeks later. No pain riding anymore. After a year, not much bothers it.
    My advise: do the PT and stay off the pain pills.
    Bonus: the giant lump on your shoulder is a great conversation starter

  7. #7
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    last summer my front wheel slipped off a skinny (log almost 3' high), smacked shoulder and face right into the log (only remembered hitting face, but frozen shoulder within minutes after the fall let me know i had a shoulder injury too). was graded as in between level 2 and 3 so surgery was an option, but not necessary. i opted not to get cut. healing took some time as it didn't feel close to normal for at least 3 months. now, 1 year later, consequence is my trapezius (muscles from neck to shoulder) on injured side get tight alot. find myself needing some form of massage every second day and stretching my shoulder/neck every day just to avoid it getting too tight.

    btw, riding helps stretch it out too, haha. still riding 3-4x per week, but have never done that particular skinny again (though i'm doing others). my understanding is that shoulder injuries are very common in mountain biking, so i guess ... welcome to the club ... wish i had some big jump to talk about as the source of my injury rather than just slipping off a skinny, but could be worse i guess as i know of several with the same or worse injury just from falling or hitting trees.

  8. #8
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    I had a IV a few years ago. Was back on the road bike in about 3 weeks. Off of the mountain bike for about 3 months. When I got back in the woods, I used a moto-style shoulder brace for another 9 months to limit the movement. I get some pain from time to time, but more or less it is better.

    You do however get the bonus bump other already mentioned.

  9. #9
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    Hi,

    I got a Level 3 AC Separation in my last MTB race (Darkhorse 40). Went OTB and landed hard on the shoulder. It's 3 weeks out now, and range of motion is coming back. Do go to a good orthopedist (preferably a sports one) to get it looked at. Bonus for me - he said Level 3 is better in some ways than a Level 2 as it completely tore the ligaments and thus the bones are not rubbing and won't get arthritic later in life. Downside (or as mentioned above) conversation side is the nice big bump.

    First week was painful, but it's getting much better. I also highly recommend a physical therapist - they have me on exercises to bring back the flexibility / rotation as well as strength. I'm going to start road biking again this week.

    I stayed away from the pain medicine also. Luckily it is my off- arm which helps. Can't sleep on it - and it reminds me if I jar it that it is there. The other thing that helps is Kineseo tape to tape up the shoulder (ala Olympic Volleyballers that had it) if you are going to do some exercise.

    I ditched the sling after 3 days.

    The orthopedist said I could have done the surgery, but that it was (basically) purely cosmetic and didn't always work and that I would regain full use without it. Surgery also has a longer recovery time.

    Good luck with yours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Staurm View Post
    Hi,

    The orthopedist said I could have done the surgery, but that it was (basically) purely cosmetic and didn't always work and that I would regain full use without it. Surgery also has a longer recovery time.

    Good luck with yours.
    I got the same advice from the ortho and the PT. PT said he occasionally sees people after the surgery that are worse than before.

  11. #11
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    I recovered quickly from my grade 4 and quick again from a grade 2 a couple years later.

    my ac join will forever make crunch sounds when I windmill my arms, but aside from that oddity, no big problems.

    I find that staying in shape is really important. The only exercise that I have trouble with is dips. I was back riding bmx, which is super tough on the arms within 3 months of my grade 4. I could do pullups about a week after the separation and pushups a month after.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the feedback MTBR! The doc said the only reason for the surgery was just cosmetic as some of you have mentioned. I'm in week 3 of the aftermath, it hurts but I went back to the trails this past weekend. I rode about 15 miles total and it was pretty sore Sunday night. It seems to get just a shade better each day, hopefully all is well in a few months. I'm back on the trails though, as painful as it is. Ride or die!!!!!!

    I did do it on a jump by the way. I went off about a 8-10 ft drop and my front tire caught a root and OTFB I went. Had to walk the bike back about 2 miles


    Do most of you use clip shoes, I switched to the a few months ago and I seem to fall more than ever over stupid little things?

  13. #13
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    i did a pretty sweet otb several months ago and dislocated/grade 3 (borderline 4) separated my shoulder. had to HAB out of the woods about a half mile since i tacoed, but by the time i got back to the truck i was ready to keep riding. i didnt; i opted for a trip to the ER.

    i got a shot of demerol, a script for some vicodin, and some cheery words from the doc and PA. other than that, nada. did my own therapy (no insurance), never missed a day of work, and a week later i was tooling around the park across the street from home. 2 weeks and i was back to riding singletrack- albeit at a much more reserved pace. havent let up since.

    i did manage to ride mellow enough that i didnt crash for months, but my confidence level is now back to exceeding my skill level crashed good yesterday a couple of times but they were both on the opposite side- phew!

    all i can offer is ride as long as your body can take it- but ride well within your means and ability level, and dont push it with technical stuff. even the stuff you are rotinely clearing, if theres a chance it can go wrong, take the ride-around and be safe. nailing it might be cool, but one more oops could be a season ender or worse.

    and fvck clipless. i like to be able to shred my shins
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  14. #14
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    Thanks man, I hate those freaking clip shoes. I bringing out the old platforms. I used to ride bear laws back in the day on my BMX. Those babies would shred the shins,

  15. #15
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    If you are in pain you should have some radiological exams completed, like surgical treatment, biomechanical study of the ligamentous system.

  16. #16
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    Having separated my shoulder (3) about 15 years ago, I find now that the worst part now is that my good shoulder is now in rough shape.

    Naturally compensating for the bad one does its own damage

  17. #17
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    As another poster mentioned, K-tape can help with recovery. Some Chiro's and PT's know how to apply this and there are plenty of videos on youtube showing application. Good thing about the tape is it usually helps and there are little to no side effects even if not done properly. Hard to do the shoulders yourself though.

    Rehab with exercise and good luck!

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