Author Topic: Separated shoulder  (Read 620 times)

Separated shoulder
« on: August 04, 2019, 09:35:51 am »
I appear to have done this to myself following a stupid fall in the second hour of the TCR.   

After putting my front wheel in a hole on a grassy track, I went over the bars and hit the ground hard with my right shoulder.  It was sore at the time but I could move it in every direction, so got back on the bike and did another 1800km over the next six days (until the beginnings of Shermers made me decide to stop riding).

When I took my jersey off that night the skin was a bit messed up, but it didn't hurt in the shower so seemed pretty superficial skin injury.  I noticed that there was a lump, but put it down to swelling and bruising.  It didn't hurt when I was riding, it was in a comfortable position. 

A week later, the bruising is coming out - I now have a nice foot long yellow one, wrapped over the top of my shoulder.  Am seeing a physio on Thursday. 

Lots of conflicting stuff on the internet - some saying its better to have an immediate operation to fix it, others saying it is best not to have an operation, etc.  Mine may not even be bad enough that they would operate - although I find it a bit more painful in normal life than I did living on a bike.

Anyone had it / know about it?


  • benbravoorpapa
Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2019, 11:29:10 am »
I had a fracture that, due to the break being adjacent to all the attachment points, was similar to a complete separation.

Treatment wasn't what it should have been so I went a long while with a non-union. Throughout strength and mobility were very good, barely impaired from prior to the injury.

As time went on the imbalances that accrued from recruiting unusual muscles to do the work of those that had become redundant started to cause problems and pain. Fine motor control became an issue as rotator cuff finesse withered. Shoulder blade stability started to become an issue which exacerbated neck and lower back problems.

The issue to be aware of is that it is quite possible to accommodate the injury and adapt in ways that hide problems or even cause other issues once the injury is healed, the body having adapted to functioning in a slightly different manner.

After surgery I have a fairly slack arrangement where my ACJ used to be - lots of exercise and occasional physio tune-ups keep the shoulder improv show on the road. Occasionally something will stop firing in the rotator cuff or the shoulder blade will start flapping but with a little attention it can be brought back under control.

ETA: The surgery I had was very similar to that used to repair the most severe separations - but using an artificial ligament rather than re-purposing the existing ones.
A world of bedlam trapped inside a small cyclist.


  • Just do it!
Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2019, 12:39:06 pm »
chrisbainbridge is your man.

I presume you mean injury to the acromio-clavicular joint.

There are degrees of separation and injury and you need an expert assessment with x-rays, including weight-bearing.

I think we've discussed this before on yacf.

Hope you're sorted soon!

Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2019, 02:32:58 pm »
Thanks Helly, that's what I mean, at this stage only diagnosed by my bike fitter based on me having a lump, and supported by my subsequent googling.  I did a yacf search for separated shoulder but will try again for a-c joint. It's always reassuring to hear that others have had similar things go wrong!

Ben, that sounds horrific! But also somewhat reassuring that you still have good function. I don't think mine is anything like as bad as you had.

Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2019, 03:20:58 pm »
Grateful as I am for Helly’s endorsement the ACJ is a bit proximal for me. I would suggest finding a top notch shoulder surgeon who understands what you do. If you want to message me with an address I will suggest someone if I know anybody in your area.

Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2019, 06:15:26 am »
I saw a physio about this on Thursday.
He confirmed what it was but the good news is that it is a mild version, ie lavel 1 separation. So a couple of sessions and some exercises should fix it. I will probably always have a bit of a lump there but should be able to get full mobility back, and no operation needed.


  • Just do it!
Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2019, 12:26:13 pm »
Oh, good news!

Re: Separated shoulder
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2019, 09:14:22 am »
Best decision I ever made was not to have an operation to pin my broken back a few years ago.  They gave me the choice and since I had also broken my neck for which I was later given a halo (they pin it to your skull which is as painful as it sounds) it wouldn't have speeded my mobility much. MRSA was very prevalent too. I can get a bit of scar tissue discomfort after prolonged heavy physical work but it's not a big problem.
Sic transit and all that..