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Dislocated collarbone (clavicle)

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 


Hi guys,


Few weeks back I fell on my shoulder and dislocated my collarbone. I was not aware that there existed such a thing. I was running and fell over a guy who was sliding on the floor – helping me to fall on the edge of my shoulder and tear some ligaments. Now my collarbone has slightly shifted to the back and up and there is extra space in-between the shoulder bones. I’ll probably keep my shirt on at the beach. (Photos are below)


The orthopaedic doctor did not help me at all, said to rest and recover and gave me a sling. The potential surgery – where they would put some wire in my shoulder to keep it in place, he said that it may not be successful, can be dangerous, is mainly done for beauty reasons, but mostly I would have to almost fully rest for several months - i don't think i can do that.


After several weeks of excruciating pain, I have now almost full range of motion. I am having trouble bending my hand behind my back, the shoulder fatigues quickly and there is still some pain.


But, most importantly I was wandering:

  • Did anyone else here dislocate their collarbone (I could find about broken not dislocated, hence the post)?
  • How long did it take you to recover?
  • Any special exercise you would do/did?
  • Do you have any problems with it now?


Any sensible reply is welcome. 







post #2 of 35

Sorry to hear about your injury. What you have is a dislocation of the acromio-clavicular joint. It is right at the crease of the shoulder and collar bone when you raise your arm up. I Googled "acromio clavicular dislocation" and came up with several links. One ( had an Xray that looked a whole lot like your shoulder.

I can offer little by way of personal experience with this. But I am personally recovering from a shoulder dislocation with labral and supraspinatus tears that happened when I fell on Valentines Day. My saga is posted a couple down from yours. If the recovery from your injury is like mine you will go through some hard times for a couple months. As I pushed the shoulder it has improved, and very rapidly. Do you have trouble reaching into your back pocket or tucking in your shirt. I did, and developed some exercises to loosen up the shoulder capsule. They have worked great. I mention these in my post yeaterday. But I caution you, my injury is in a different place than yours, so tread lightly. Good luck.


post #3 of 35

I have dislocated and broken my shoulder(clavicle, scapula, glenoid) numerous times. 

Doctors have done diddly squawt.

I think you need to be a professional baseball pitcher to actually get any treatment.

post #4 of 35

I fractured my collarbone in 1988 skiing at Northstar. All I wore was a brace that held my shoulders back for like 2 months and the fracture healed nicely. I got a lot of calcium (?) deposits over the bone that supposedly make it stronger than it was in the first place, and the fractured right side of my upper chest protrudes now more than the left side, but my rippling pectorals divert anyone's attention from the unevenness.


Obviously your dislocation is different than my fracture, but you should be fine. Just give it time and don't rush any activity. Ghost is right: you need a pretty darn good reason to get treatment beyond just waiting for it to heal on its own.

post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 


Thank you for replying, I saw that my thread did not start so I thought that there was a mistake made while posting it. I am at college so I had to study too, the injury has turned an easy 8 week term into a 3 week hell.


I will read what you posted Deliberate1, any advice is more than welcome. exactly what you said about not being able to tuck my shirt in. i do a bit of exercise for it, lean my other hand on the table and then move the injured one, as well as lifting my hand alongside my body using some elastic string for resistance. Hopefully i will go "swimming" tomorrow to relax a bit. I am a sport addict so it is not easy for me to rest. I have actually improved my chess about 50 points since the injury hehe. Annand - Topalov world chess championship came in very handy.



And Ghost, i was admitted almost immediately into the emergency, a miracle i guess, and then nothing afterwards. About four 4-5 hour trips in serious pain for nothing. I actually thought that if take pain killers i will not be able to assist the doctor properly. "Move your hand, how is the deformity, nothing for me to operate, see ya later..."


i seem to do a lot of damage to my ligaments but never break any bones, seeing how people recover from broken bones i am almost jealous. Christmas mate, i tore ligaments but still would like to know how long it took to recover and how strong is it now?

post #6 of 35

thats is an AC joint seperation alright.  been there.  if you are a high level overhand motion athlete, think tennis or pitching,  you might want to get that fixed surgically. 


Physical therapy will help a whole lot.  Go once or twice  to look at the devices and learn what motions work well, then you can probably make a weight and pully setup that will work just fine at home.   


Do not try to hold a 6 pack out at arms length anytime soon.  don;t ak how I know this, just take my word for it.


Timing, I did mine at 48 Years old in January, about 7 years ago, did the beer thing at about week 3, did the PT and continued at home, I skied again with poles that same winter, I was just cautious.  I was playing golf  by May that year and have been fine since. 

post #7 of 35

I dislocated mine a few years ago, and although my the left side of the collar bone is still very slightly higher than the right, I have no problems at all. Forgot I even did it. I got a brace that you wear over your shoulders that pulls them back, like wearing a backpack, and that made it a lot more comfortable. I had no PT or anything, and over a few weeks it healed itself.

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 

my big problem is that i was active last few weeks, who knew that using a computer and reading books can be so difficult. now i'll take it easy, play chess.


i did something to my left as well, whenever i 'spin' it i hear cracking noise. especially painful, if you imagine the motion elbowing someone at a shoulder height. i remember that i was not able to move my hand for few weeks, but i thought at the time it was just bruising.


thanks Skier and Bfry, it really lifts my spirit to know that you are fully recovered. The biggest problem with most injuries is that you are ok in everything, but cannot play sport at the level you are used to and that attracts more injuries.

post #9 of 35
Hello, I dislocated my collarbone in the same manner about 15 years ago. I kept it immobile because it hurt to move it. I had no treatments done to it and it is still dislocated. Over the years I have gotten my max bench press up to 400 ponds with no interference or pain. Actually, th stronger I keep it the better it feels. Any way, not at all crippling or even painful but it will always stick up a little better it feels.
post #10 of 35

hi thats great. how dow i get this brace for my dislocation, mine is 3months old now.

post #11 of 35


I just read your thread.  I had a grade 4 separation of the AC joint about a decade ago.  I now have a gap of about 1 inch between the distal end of my clavicle and the Acromio-clavicular process on the scapula (shoulder blade).  My x-rays looked identical to yours.  In addition to an orthopedic surgeon, I went to a sports medicine doctor.  He actually said that if I had to damage it, a grade 4 separation (absolutely no ligaments left holding the joint together) was better than a grade 3 separation (some ligaments still attached).  There would be less pain, and no indication that surgery would help.   He said to expect some "tenting" (clavicle sticks out on top of shoulder), and if it became severe, they would actually cut the distal end of the clavicle off.  Otherwise he said to rehab the shoulder with weights and stretching, and it is what it is.  10 years later, I still have the tenting, the shoulder droops a little, but essentially it is pain free and fully functional.  I have to be careful that I don't overload it with really heavy weights (in the gym) but other than that it works fine.  Re: shoulder injuries and recovery - it takes time for full recovery - don't expect it to happen in a matter of months.  Mine took about 2-3 years to get back to normal.  During that time (starting about 4 months after the injury) I went back to mountain biking and skiing, but I had to take it easy, and accept a little pain from tweaking.  About 2.5 years ago, I also completely tore the supraspinatus tendon (rotator cuff) off the head of the humerus and had it surgically repaired.  Once again recovery was slow, and it's only been this year that the shoulder is about 90% back to normal, but once again I began to ski and mountain bike about 5 months post surgery, but very carefully.  I hope this gives you some useful info re: what you are facing.

post #12 of 35

I've just had a bmx accident, and landed upside down in my shoulder.

38 healthy, injured shoulder.

6 hours in A&e 3 hours before seen, given paracetamol, told to wait for an x-ray.

2 hours later told, dislocation of collarbone, and snapped ligament on edge of shoulder.

Excruciating pain, told i required a further x-ray as the original didn't show a clear enough indication, sat outside the x-ray dept, 1 hour later still not seen, then told it had been cancelled.

Taken back to original nurse who gave me liquid morphine"after waiting some 5 hours", then informed i'd have to wear a sling for 7 days then come back, upon leaving the hospital i read my appointment slip and it says to return in 10 days!!.

As you can imagine....... not best pleased.

Unable to sleep or do the most basic of tasks.

I was told i might require surgery to repair.

But also been told by a family freind who is a nurse that it may knit itself together.

I fail to see how this can be,seeing as its snapped and my collar bone is raised higher than usual.

Ps, how long does it take to type one handed lol =/

I will post further to update you on my condition.

As i literally "share your pain".

post #13 of 35

This happened to me 3 months ago, i fell from head height upside down onto concrete. My shoulder sits 2cm higher than normal..

good to know i'm not the only one. Going to a osteopath next week to see what they can do :)

post #14 of 35

Dear Epic,

                sometimes it helps to hear someone elses story to know that we are not crazy,heres mine.Nine months ago I was in las Vegas for holiday and the weather was rainy and miserable. The sidewalks are all granite and very slippery when wet. My flip flops had no tread so i decided I could skate because I couldnt walk. I held on to my husband but I did slip, twisted my body to the left but hung on I wasnt going down.I did not realize anything seroius but I felt I had put my hip out and my neck was sore.

The next two months I went to a chiropractor with no results but the pain was mostly in my neck and the middle of my left shoulder blade. Finally went to the doctor and he requested an xray of my neck. I work in a fast paced industry Im the finace manager for an RV dealership and do all deals. The xray of my neck came back and the doc told me I have osteoarthritis. Over the next four months I tried pysio therapy ,acupunture, more chiro which nothing helped and I have now been in pain for 6 months every day and still working. I left work finally at the end of Aug on a medical leave i just didnt have the energy to contunue and thought my job was possibly adding more stress and the sitting position wasnt helping plus try to go to the doctors appointments when you are working I dont get time off for an hour to go to the doctor. I then asked my doctor for another look and asked to do a ct scan I would not believe it was arthritis im only 46 and not overwieght and in good shape. It only took another month to have the scan as the request wasnt filled out right and took my follow up to see what was the delay. Ok so had the scan and doctor gives me the summary on paper tells me to read it he doesnt know what it means and is refering me to a specialist. It appears I have disc bulging and will need an mri.

Here in Canada it took me three years to get a doctor because I moved to a larger city.

I dont see the same doctor for every visit because he is too full or on holidays etc.

They only want to talk about one thing and write a prescription.

After all this i went to a diffrent Chiroprator and he actually touched me, asked my to lift my arm, turn my neck ect and after a few tests told me my collorbone was dislocated. He didnt crunch me but used a laser and some shock treatment,boy was I sore for a few days. Now the specialist doctors receptionist has booked me in to see the right doctor but advised me not to go to the chiropractor,my appointment is in two weeks. More waiting still in pain(seems more isolated from collor bone into neck ) and around and around we go.

Isnt this fun,stuck with neck pain in Canada lol.

post #15 of 35

I am in desperate need of help and or direction. I dislocated or popped my right collar bone/clavicle. Because of the dislodged clavicle, I have serious neck pain, my back is out and my hips are out, normally I would set up a few appointments with chiropractor. AS it is dislocated, popped etc. doing something with the chiro is a waste of money.I got to see an orthopedic surgeon last week who in detail explained the dangers of surgery to refasten it, because of the vital organs in the area, understood. He then explained that I would be starting 3-4 appointments a week manipulating the soft tissue. He then explained that he would be cutting thru my throat accessing my spine to its new location,  so I said to the good doctor, so the incision for this procedure will be about 1-1.5 inches above the location that the clavicle needs to be refastened at. He said that is correct, I said  "Are you out of your f______ mind?) I said what will you be doing with the clavicle? He said you are upset and aggitated. No shit, let me break it down in my world. So I restore cars as a hobby and the rear axel is loose or has come off the frame. Here is the thing, without that axel being reattached, I will never be able to allign the front end of the car. I said they turned Michael Jackson white, this can't be rocket science. By the way I am in Langley British Columbia Canada. Have you ever heard of anything like this? I am 52, I have grandkids, I have some miles left in me. I am hoping that I can locate a medical facility and doctor in Seattle who can deal with this.I understand the potential risk, but I am not going thru life with this pain. Christ, I think a good drywaller could deal this up. Thank you for taking the time to read this.   Lee Cleaveley

post #16 of 35

Hey man ....I dislocated my collarbone as a child. I fellout of a tree onto my back and was knocked out. However, I fell right on top of an exposed root and it knocked my collarbone out. I was about 7 or 8 at the time, and I am now 30. I have been experiencing somer pain lately in the gym. I really do not know if it is because of my increase in weights, but it is something that I will need to check out. Bottom line is you might not fully recover. Sorry dude!

post #17 of 35

i have the same thing and it looks exatly the same exeped on my left sholder (got it from skiing in to a tree) and now i haft to saport my arm of im standing or to long or siting with out an arm rest

post #18 of 35

That is actually potentially life threatening. You didnt mention getting it popped back into place?  It can be very bad for a bone to be out of place, blood clots can form because the normal pathways are constricted and pinched off by the bone being out of place.  This leads to blood clots near the heart.  Can you see why thats deadly?  See a doctor.  It recently happened to a St Louis Rams player. Danny Amendola this week.  Follow his treatment and that will give you a good idea of what you should do because hes getting treated from the best of the best when it comes to doctors and therapy.

post #19 of 35

I don't know if you have ever had anything else dislocate, but I was born with a genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Their are 6 different types (I don't fit neatly in any of them). I have had my clavicle dislocate. All of my joints do, and most of them I have learned to maneuver them back into place because when you have EDS your cartilage and your skin are very stretchy because the gene that develops your collagen is defective.


My heart was beating very fast because the pain was so intense. They ran tests on my heart and it was normal. They gave me quite a bit of morphine, and I guess while my body was super relaxed it slipped back in because after a couple of days of rest it just popped back in. That's probably not going to happen if you don't have EDS.


If you are hypermobile, (really limber) or you have fragile skin, or might want to see a geneticist.

post #20 of 35

if you are in college, assuming you are not an athlete already, go find the Athletic Training Room (where teams get their ankles taped up and such) talk to one of the ATCs there and see if they can help you rehab. They aren't really supposed to work with non athletes but most are nice and will help you at no cost.
Bring your x-rays and the doctor's note if he wrote one.

post #21 of 35


i injured my collarbone recently due to bike crash. happened to see your x ray picture when doing the google search. it is indentical to what i have. i have learned from my friend who has experienced the similar type of injury that chinese physician diagnose and cures this injury faster than chiro doctor. i decided to give a try after my specialist doc appointment to confirm there is no bone fracture. i cannot wait for the lenghty and inefficient treatment to cure this nasty injury. 

post #22 of 35

Hi ya Mate


I have dislocated my AC joint which is the same injury that you have got, i done mine playing rugby when another player tackled me from the side whilst i was stading still, we both hit the ground but i was underneath him so took the full force of both of us on to one shoulder, There was a funny sort of pop noise that come from the shoulder on impact and the pain was like a hot poker being pressed through my shoulder.I went to hospital about 3 hours later and had an x-ray to confirm the shoulder was dislocated, I was given a cheap sling to keep my arm up and an appointment for the follwing week to see a fracture doctor. On seeing the fracture doctor he advised me to MAN UP as it an injury all rugby players get and it will heal in 8-10 weeks, he then gave me another sling to put my arm in and another appointment in 4 weeks, on the 4 week appointment i had more x-rays but i had some taken whilst holding a bottle of water down at my side to see how much the shoulder moved out of place under load, the doctor was not happy and with the result and advised me to have an operation to correct the injury but he did say i would have to retire from playing rugby altogether as it would be dangerous if i went down again hard as the collor bone would be under stress and could shatter and bone fragments could punture my heart, So i have opted for phsio and see how that works. I injured my shoulder in Febuary this year and i am still in pain now but like some of you my other shoulder is now painfull due to my body compensating for the injuerd one.As for self help i lay on the dinner table and let my injured arm swing like a pendelem of a clock just nice a gentle, i also roll my shoulders and take time out from the computer as this seems to put my shoulders round to the front, i have not been running or in the gym as i find that my shoulder seems to pop alot which makes me feel ill and it aches so much i cant really do a lot it feels like i have a swelling under the skin which pushes the shoulder up and out even though it doesn't it just feels like that, Physio is going ok and the exercises that i have are not to bad, i lay on my front with my palms faceing the ceiling and raise my arm up about 4 inches or untill i feel it sting then put my arm down flat again, repeating this 10 time by 5. i have now progressed to doing this bu with a 1liter water bottle in my hand(filled with water) this i am told helps with the muscle wastage in the back that you get from not being able to move your shoulder properly.

So its now 4 months since the injury and i am still on pain killers and anti-inflamatries which only help a small amount, i still can sleep properly at night so i am always tired and being tired makes the pain worse so i am just going round in circles but with luck it will wear off and i will be able to be normal again.



post #23 of 35

Welcome Lee, I am not sure how your healthcare system works there but coming from a person who has had a lot of injuries, go see a different Dr who is known and respected for his/her abilities with this kind of injury. You can probably ask your PT for a recommendation (although here in the US they aren't supposed to recommend Dr.s) or see what dr.s some of the sports teams or universities use.  

post #24 of 35

Hi David:


My name is Rick, and I say your post from a few years ago about your dislocated collarbone.  I fractured my right collarbone (distal fracture) about 20 years ago.  Then a few years in a minor scooter accident it broke again, this time a little piece was floating at the end.  I wore a figure eight harness, but in the end it has become a "mal union" and is connected to the main part of the bone by "soft cartilage".  I want to do an operation to mend it, but here in Taiwan, doctors keep discouraging me from doing that.  What have you found out?


Now, to add to that great frustration is a new development.  I had ANOTHER scooter accident about two weeks ago.  This time I landed on my LEFT shoulder, and now THAT clavicle is slightly raised up, higher than before.  I went to the urgent care ward at the nearby hospital right after the accident, and all they told me is that it didn't break any bones.  What the DIDN'T tell me (that I wish I had thought of before today) is that I still had the figure eight harness from before and could wear it to encourage my ligaments to heal properly.  I also went to see the orthopedic surgeon that I saw for my right shoulder problems, but he (again) downplayed the situation.  Man, I just want NORMAL SHOULDERS!!


I like to participate in triathlons, and do all kinds of exercise.  I've just turned 40, so I'm not that young, but I'm not old or ready to retire from sports any time soon.  These damn injuries have got me unbelievably frustrated.  In Southern Taiwan there are so may opportunities to go out and do sports of all kinds, and it's killing me to have these problems which keep putting me on the bench.  Can you or anybody offer me some help or good advice.  I would be incredibly and eternally grateful.


Thank you very much and good health to the BOTH of us.


Rick Hazlett

post #25 of 35
Hi I have a 13 year old son, he was playing football and he feel on his caller bone and it's pooping out and he's freaking out saying he will never play football again and I personally haven't experience this so what do I do or put in it so it goes back In place ? Will he be able to play football again ? And how long will he need to stay in a shoulder brace ? Also how is he going to sleep ? Please reply
post #26 of 35
Originally Posted by eduardo garcia View Post

Hi I have a 13 year old son, he was playing football and he feel on his caller bone and it's pooping out and he's freaking out saying he will never play football again and I personally haven't experience this so what do I do or put in it so it goes back In place ? Will he be able to play football again ? And how long will he need to stay in a shoulder brace ? Also how is he going to sleep ? Please reply

Take him to a medical doctor.


Probably be a couple of months before he is playing again.  Although he could play sooner, it's not worth messing it up too soon after the first injury imho.  Have no clue about the brace, when I broke my collar bone I had to wear a sling most of the day for a couple of weeks.  My collar bone still sticks out (maybe you have better MDs in the USA than I get to see here in Canuckistan.  Two percocets 1/2 an hour before bedtime made it easy for me to get to sleep, but I weighed 165 lbs.  He might get by on one.  Tylenol might work for him too (it doesn't seem to do anything for me).

post #27 of 35
Originally Posted by eduardo garcia View Post

Hi I have a 13 year old son, he was playing football and he feel on his caller bone and it's pooping out and he's freaking out saying he will never play football again and I personally haven't experience this so what do I do or put in it so it goes back In place ? Will he be able to play football again ? And how long will he need to stay in a shoulder brace ? Also how is he going to sleep ? Please reply

Where is it popping out? on the shoulder, somewhere in the middle, or on the chest? 
All 3 types are very different and have different complications.

Best thing to do is go see the doc and get x-rays

post #28 of 35
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post

Where is it popping out? on the shoulder, somewhere in the middle, or on the chest? 
All 3 types are very different and have different complications.

Best thing to do is go see the doc and get x-rays

ditto!  /\

post #29 of 35

Hello From BC Canada

I do pole fitness and fell from a inversion 8 months ago
Was three feet off the ground and lost my grip and fell on my right shoulder and dislocated my right clavicle
I have been off work the hole time in crazy pain can't sleep or do pretty much any thing.
Three weeks ago it moved more out now it feels like it is cutting me and pushing out like a 30 lb brick is tied to me. I have seen three surgeons and now getting surgery May 9 th
It now kills me to walk don't know how I going to make it waiting another three months .
The link I attached explains at the bottom of it going to use ligaments from my leg to tie it back in place

The surgeon I am seeing is Dr Moola out of New Westminster BC Canada
I am very scared cause risky surgery
post #30 of 35

which end?  Sternum or AC joint?

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