Wednesday, May 26, 2010


For those of you interested in the progression of broken collarbone recovery, here're some photos 'n' such. (For the most current update, three years later, go here.) Below is me the day after surgery with a giant maxi-pad type bandage on my shoulder, feeling high on life and Percoset.
Now please take a moment to enjoy my scar photos!

Above is two days after surgery--or, as I keep wanting to write, sugary--mit large maxi-pad-ish bandage removed. Finally able to shower. Fetching scar, don't you think? I had Steri-strips rather than stiches and they had to stay on for about 10 days. Below is at about the 10-day mark, Steri-strips removed, and is closer to what it looks like today at the three-week point. (For those of you scoring at home, I had sugary a week after I broke me clavicle so the referred to three-week point is actually four weeks since I broke it.)

The scar is pretty Frankensteinish, about five inches long, but becoming smoother looking every day. With the swelling down, I can feel bumps (sorta) on my collarbone ridgeline which I can only guess are the screwheads. Feels like I'm part robot.
Mellow Johnny Boy Clark is about two-and-a-half weeks behind me on this whole thing (feels good to finally be ahead of him in something) and so we've been able to help each other in our recoveries, pumping our respective surgeons for info on what we can and can't do.
At three weeks, I'm pretty much 99 perecent out of my sling. I can finally drive a little (both our vehicles have manual transmissions and because I broke my right side, driving was verboten), I've done a bit of stationary bike, steep treadmill walking, some eliptical trainer and yesterday did my first 45-minute spin class which was super fun and super hard. (I'd forgotten what a great spin class Mary Latta leads.) No running until at least the six-week mark when I'll see my surgeon again. As for real bike riding, I took the single-speed out for a very mellow six-block ride a couple times last weekend. Felt great but also a little scary; I so don't want to fall on my shoulder. I don't really feel any pain per se, just some stiffness in my shoulder, and it's more the idea (or fear?) that I'll move my arm in such a way that pops all nine screws out of my clavicle bone-slash-titanium plate that at times gives me pause.

Been thinking how Team Unattacked has quite a few months here. Titanium Cancellara (Scott Young) broke his scaphoid last August, John and I got hit by a tree in November and then broke our respective collarbones the following April/May. Perhaps we should change our name--Team Always Attacked? Team WTF? Team Titanium (since John and I now have titanium collarbone plates)? Team Try-to-Stay-on-Your-Friggin'-Bike-for-a-Change? Team Try-to-Stay-Out-of-the-Friggin'-Emergency Room? ...


  1. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Mike -- I know exactly how you feel. I broke my collarbone three years ago in May and right now you are mending well but it is still both stiff and a little weird to be on a bike -- I was riding again in about eight weeks. Doctor did a nudge, nudge, wink, wink..."I wouldn't recommend riding right now" while moving his head up and down what you want but don't take too many chances.
    Hope you are OK


  2. I vote for Team WTF

  3. Thanks for the input, Mark Anonymous. You too, Kath.

  4. Hi, thanks for posting this! I'm dealing with a broken clavicle, and considering surgery (yet another doc says I'm a borderline case ;) Anyway, I'm wondering what the scar looks like now. Any chance you could post updated pics somewhere?


  5. Go here:

    That photo is from last November. Scar looks about the same; what's most prominent however, is the plate and one screw that sticks out a bit. Not sure what that's all about or how concerned I should be. So far it hasn't stopped me from doing anything.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  6. Whoa, that's a gnarly scar! If the thing will heal on it's own, I'd rather just leave it. *sigh*

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Currently at 2.5 weeks myself since I broke mine, man - does the first week suck!

    No surgery, doctor recommended self-healing in my case.

    It's stable, behaves like one bone and is in a good position but I'm super paranoid about breaking it again now that it's so fragile. Will probably be a couple of months before I even look at a bike. I'll do some light hiking instead.

  8. Sounds like a smart plan. Part of me wishes I'd never had the surgery so you're in a good state.

  9. I had the exact thing done a year ago , a metal plate and seven screws. I just got the plate removed a couple days ago , and i got to keep the plate and screws, Im stuck in bed again recovering. When you get the chance you should remove the plate, its much better removed. Mahalo, Blake

  10. Anonymous8:08 PM

    Just out of curiosity, why is it better with the plate removed. Just had one put in about a month ago. All is well other than some stiffness and there is a little lack of mobility/flexibility in my right shoulder. Did having the plate removed help with flexibility or mobility? Thanks!

  11. Anonymous6:28 PM

    Going on week three since my double clavicle break! I feel like one tough cookie after going through the plate and screws surgery...any tricks to sleeping better? How about when biking would be safe again? Curious on how rehab works if any? Thanks

  12. Hey Anonymous, thanks for the note. Double clavicle break--does that mean you broke both? If so, yikes! No tricks that I know of to sleeping better; eventually, I just got used to it. At three weeks I was allowed to run; at six weeks ride a bike. At three months, I did a century ride and at about 4-1/2 months, a 50-mile mountain bike ride. So try to be patient; eventually, life returns to normal. Hope this helps!

    And to the above Anonymous, I didn't respond 'cause I wasn't sure if you were addressing me. I haven't had my plate removed but I'm considering it. I've got a couple screws that stick out Frankensteinishly and I think in damp weather I feel it more. (And living in the NW, it's often damp.) But it really doesn't keep me from doing anything--I broke my right collarbone, and it doesn't affect throwing or shooting a basketball, etc. (I'm right-handed.)

    Again, hope this helps!
    - McQ

  13. I was searching online for "when can I run after clavicle surgery" & came upon your blog post. For what it's worth, I like your blog & will be following it here on out. Your post is 2 years old yet timeless. I crashed my TT rig into a dog 3 weeks ago, compound clav. fx w/ surg, titanium plate & 8 screws.(only 2 months after being hit by a car while riding my road bike) My biggest question at this point is, when can I run? (Im already riding the stationary & walking) But Ive got 2 big races in the near future...NYC 26.2 being 1 of them. Thanks for blogging your experience, it is helpful. I have a matching Frankenstein shoulder. No doubt I will be rocking the strapless tanks & wearing my scar proudly at the River Gorge Omnium this weekend.
    Happy Trail,Robyn

  14. Robyn,
    Hey Robyn,
    Mike McQuaide here. Thanks for the nice comments re: my blog and your interest in following it--I'll follow yours now too!
    Bummer about your clavicle fracture, surgery, pins and screws. (And about getting hit by a car too!) Ugh.
    Answers (and more) to your questions: I did stationary bike 5 days after surgery, eliptical trainer at one week, spin classes at three weeks, very very easy outdoor ride at 3-1/2 weeks, got in some 10-mile hikes at 3 weeks, running at 6 weeks, road riding at 6 weeks also. Looks like I did a century ride at about 10 weeks. Probably more than you need but there you have it.
    Try to be patient. You'll be back in no time. You're recovery will be surprisingly quick!
    Good luck!

  15. Anonymous7:55 AM

    hi broke my cb last october, my horse fell on me, shes fine. I had a figure of 8 sling for eight weeks, then got frozen shoulder, which lasted for approx six months, I had an injection in to the shoulder, ouch, the shoulder slowly began to get more mobile but with lots of physio, my compound fracture was 2 breaks one,mid line.
    Last week i had surgery for A NON UNION CLAVICE, i have a sling, the scare looks very neat so far, lucky me, it kind of hides in the contour of the broken clavicle,

    I chnaged traumatolagists at around nine weeks post broken clavicle, i would highly recomend this spanish traumatologist, from coin, near malage.

  16. my husband broke his collarbone and had the surgery a week ago, but it burns and he says it don't feel right, that there is somethig wrong but he dont see a doc again for 2 more days...should he be feeling this way??

  17. my husband broke his collarbone and had the surgery a week ago, but it burns and he says it don't feel right, that there is somethig wrong but he dont see a doc again for 2 more days...should he be feeling this way??

  18. Jennifer,
    I'm not a doctor, but that sure doesn't sound right to me. I never had any burning sensation. I assume you've called your husband's doc and told them. If not, you really should do so.
    Good luck!

    1. Anonymous4:15 AM

      I had a two vans turn in front of me exactly 11 days ago. I shattered the clavicle in 4 pieces. I had surgery two days later. I have no burning sensation and it feels like it is in the right place. I would contact someone sooner than later. I am also out of my sling and already have good movement. I would contact his doctor asap.


  19. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Wow so glad I found this post! I had surgery for my right clavicle almost four weeks ago and finding that I couldn't do many of the things I love for a while really took a toll on me. Love seeing your progress photos and reading what you can do, especially since you seem like such an active person. This post totally reassured me about my healing and recovery time. Cheers!


  20. Anonymous11:42 AM

    Mike, thank you for sharing your experience. I'm supposed to have surgery tomorrow and I'm on the fence considering backing out.. I don't know if you'll see this in time.. but if you do could you please email me.. it would mean a lot.

  21. For those of you wanting to know what is possible after plated collar bone surgery, look no further than Jorge Lorenzo in MotoGP (motorcycle racing) this weekend. Crashed in practice on Thursday in Assen (Holland) breaking his left collar bone, had surgery Thursday night in Barcelona and was back in Assen late Friday night and pushed to a courageous 5th place in the race on Saturday! Was looking for more info on his injury when I ran across this blog. Amazing what top-tier athletes can endure. Good luck with the recup Mike.

  22. Anonymous5:39 AM

    I am going to ask what kind of pain should you be in day one post surgery? My husband had this surgery yesterday and he is saying he is in excruciating pain, despite being on Morphine? He wants to know if this is normal, I myself assume this is very normal, but wanted someone's opnion wo has been through it.

  23. Hey Anonymous,
    Sorry to hear about your husband's pain. You definitely want to get that checked out; I had nothing like that at all. Discomfort yes, but nothing that couldn't be managed with painkillers.
    Good luck!

  24. “Feels like I'm part robot.”—That kind of feeling is always there. One thing you should be thankful for is that you're alive and breathing. More importantly, be thankful that you're recovering from the mishap that you've gone through. Someone might have lost his hope if that happened to him. Keep on fighting!


  25. this is very informative and explains about the surgical infections and surgical dressing during skin related surgeries

  26. is is very good and explains different wound managements and various medical technologies

    this is very informative and explains about the surgery aftermath and in detail about the dressing during surgery

  27. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I flew off my bike and broke my collarbone and a few ribs 5 weeks ago. It was borderline for surgery (100% vertical displacement), but the doc decided for conservative treatment. The lack of exercise has had me struggling to keep depression at bay. There's some solace in hearing others who have been through similar experiences. Thanks for sharing, Mike. I had to smile at your proposed team name changes. -B.