• 08-05-2008
    Separated Shoulder - What was your path to recovery?
    I separated my shoulder on Saturday (3rd degree) and have received a lot of great feedback from a previous thread. If you've done the same, what was you path to recovery and what helped you the most? How long did you sling and ice for, was surgery required, how hard did you hit PT, what stretches and exercises helped, etc?

    How long did it take for a full recovery and how was your shoulder 6 weeks after the injury? My wedding is in 5 1/2 weeks so I'm hoping to have it in decent shape by then.
  • 08-05-2008
    Grade 3? sling 3-7 days until the weight of your arm no longer hurts. They don't do surgery anymore, it didn't really work. As for PT, ultrasound to decrease swelling, pain and recovery time. Rotator cuff exercises to stabilize. Rest the shoulder: limit overhead reaching, no football or hockey (ha ha). You will be fine for your wedding unless you plan on doing chin-ups. It will take about 18 months until there is enough scar tissue at the AC joint for the area to feel "normal" again. You may always have a bump. Hope this helps.
  • 08-05-2008
    i was ski racing when i did mine. heard the surgery word. called my ortho.....cool guy, big picture. i was very eager to get back on the snow as i was trying to make the u.s. team. doc said to stay off the snow til i could get my arm up high enough to protect myself......from there it was up to my willingness to tolerate pain. he said i was not risking further/more permanent injury. i stayed off the snow for 10 days....i ski on one leg, so i use outriggers. LOTS more impact on the shoulders than "normal" skiing. she were perty durn uncomfortable, but i got by. i did have surgery on it about 5 years later due to calcium deposits that formed, causing some very severe bursitis. it solved the problem. bone still sticks up, they don't mess with that. i have no troubles with it. i frankly didn't do much in the way of PT. with my dislocation (other side) i did TONS. my experience with a separation is.....POP!, it hurts like h#ll....keep it fairly imobile for about 5-7 days (as mentioned above).....ICE!!! after about 5 days, start rotating ice and heat (moist).....do this ALOT. then for the rest......toughen up buttercup! ;-)
    (also, don't piss off your fiance during this period.....you now have an EASY BUTTON)
  • 08-06-2008
    Thanks for the responses. Just got a call from the doctor and he said that I can start doing light stretches and should follow up with him in 10 days. I'll google some good stretches to regain my mobility. It doesn't seem like too bad of an injury but I just want to make sure to do things by the book because it seems like a lot of people have lingering effects from it. If I can swim, play beach football, tennis, kayak, and pick up my wife during the weekend of my wedding, I'll be psyched.
  • 08-23-2008
    Hope you are recovering well. As a former Grade 3 AC separation, I spent 6 weeks in sling while doing active PT and stretching 3-5 X/week. After that, I slowly returned to normal activities. 8 years later, things healed well and no limitations.

    Ligaments take longer than bones to heal. Your honeymoon activities sound somewhat overambitious. Heal smartly.
  • 03-23-2010
    Resurrecting an old thread here. I'm about 4 months out from a grade III separation. Range of motion is normal and strength is nearly back to normal. I did not have surgery, rested it really well for a couple of weeks and then started physio. I'm pretty happy with where it is right now and have even gotten out recently for my first ride of this new season. The only discomfort I noticed riding was pulling up on the bars to lift the front wheel or bunny hop.

    The thing I'm wondering about is for those who did not have surgery, is your collar bone still quite mobile or does it eventually scar into place. I still seem to be able to move mine around a fair bit if I fully relax that arm/shoulder and press on it using my other hand.
  • 03-23-2010
    10 years later. for me..yes the collarbone still moves quite a bit if you poke and prod. Grade 3, all ligaments torn...keep up the shoulder strength training.
  • 04-02-2010
    For anyone with an AC injury, I hope this helps:
    I did my 3rd degree AC separation and broke the tip off the clavical at the same time. This was about 15 years ago, but I still have the video of the jump:). I didn't have the recommended surgery & at 1st pt wouldn't touch me as my shoulder was sucked in with no support & I had no movement (I refused surgery & my ortho gave me 2 weeks to see what happened). I had a cortozone shot which hurt like heck-
    So, the things that helped me the best were:
    I walked, and walked, and walked- everywhere. I couldn't drive or ride- so I walked to PT- 3 miles away, the top of the ridge above my house- 1,500 feet high, to my college classes- 2 miles away- everyday! I was really fit & was used to 6+ hours of workouts a day & needed to keep moving. I think the circulation and movement helped keep it from cramping which helped it set quicker.
    I also did a helpful stretch (after about 2 weeks when it was setting). I'd lay my elbow on something low, then do slow squats as far as my arm would lift. This stretch didn't require the use of the muscle that attaches to the AC joint, so it wouldn't spasm and cramp- only stretch.
    In the end, I wore my dirtbike chest/shoulder armor & won a DH race 8 weeks after the injury. I also upgraded my ridged fork to the new shocks that everyone was getting to help dampen the vibration in my arms. Now, I have a hard time sleeping on that shoulder if my pillow isn't big/firm enough to support the weight of my body/head- like when I'm camping. I have full mobility and strength now, but still a bump. I hope this helps you to full recovery, Karen
  • 04-02-2010
    sail1313 - props on a race win 8 weeks post trauma. way to trust your body to do its job.

    i just posted a minute ago on my current ac separation in this thread
    i don't want to repost the same thing here because it would get flagged, but it basically says i'm one week past injury and just grinning and bearing through the pain (which is NOT horrific, or really even bad, in any way) while continuing normal life.
  • 06-07-2013
    Buy a brace, ice it, rest it. No point in pushing yourself tell your body is ready! Its going to take time but you will get through it!
    Good luck!