I hurt my shoulder, now what?
July 24, 2007 8:18 PM   Subscribe

I hurt my shoulder (AC joint) weightlifting. Now my clavicle is sticking out and I'd like for it to be

This actually happened a couple months ago. I was doing a bench press of about 1.5x my weight. Not anything I had never done before, but definitely heavy. In order to get a last couple reps, mid set I changed form from elbows out and pushing the bar away from me, to elbows slightly inward pushing the bar over my face (not my normal technique). When I got up I noticed that my left shoulder was hurting a lot.

Two visits to the sports medicine doctor at school, an x-ray, and another visit later, I'm "resting it" and for exercise "letting pain be my guide." The x-ray looked pretty nasty (to me, what do I know, though, I'm not a doctor), with the bones that make up the AC joint on the right shoulder looking like they were touching unless very closely inspected, and the same bones on the left shoulder at least a thumbs width apart. It is not debilitating; I have a good range of motion and can do normal lifting. The problem is that it is not getting any better, either.

Let's assume that I can't go to physical therapy. Since about a week ago I've been going to the gym and doing some range of motion exercises and mild stretching. Five pound weights never felt so heavy. Other than this, what is there I can do? Is this injury going to follow me around for the rest of my life, or is the AC joint a muscle that will eventually repair itself to 100%?
posted by GooseOnTheLoose to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IANAD, but if your clavicle is sticking up, doesn't that mean a tendon in the joint snapped? My brother in law had that happen recently, and the doctor told him pretty much not to lift anything for 2.5 months. In his case, there is a surgery to repair it, but most people get enough function back that they don't do the surgery. Weightlifting and swimming were two of the activities mentioned where diminished function could be expected.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:13 PM on July 24, 2007

Give your shoulder time to heal, or you could cripple yourself permanently.

Weight lifting isn't worth that.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:13 PM on July 24, 2007

Rest. Don't do weight-bearing exercise on the affected area. It will heal in time, but you don't want to go around re-tearing it while it heals.

If you can't go to physical therapy, can you see another doctor?

Also, great use of [more inside].
posted by bedhead at 10:47 PM on July 24, 2007

My clavicle is sticking up just like yours.

I severed two of of the ligaments connecting shoulder and clavicle 8 months ago.

I got the recommendation to start training right away and I did. And it hurt. At first it was trouble enough just to move the arm and these was quite a lot of internal bleeding (the blood pooled up in my upper arm giving me a nice bruise for a couple of weeks). I was eating lots of painkillers bot for the pain and the anti inflammatory side effects.

I basically did the standard set of shoulder exercises. With some of these i literally had to start with zero weight as things like holding out my arm straight in a left handed salute was very, very tough. Now I'm almost fully recovered. It hurts a bit sometimes and I still have problems with doing things like the bench press but I'm basically fine.

If your ligament is torn all the injury is already done and there is no more crippling to be done. You can do cosmetic surgery if having your collar bone sticking out annoys you. The injury will still be there though.

So in summary. If your injury is the same as mine go to the gym everyday, take the pain and try to follow your normal routine.
posted by uandt at 2:42 AM on July 25, 2007

i think our injuries are different, but it's been nearly 15 months of chiropracty, orthopedists and PT and I'm not back climbing. all I can suggest is don't work out, don't stress your joint and do whatever you can within your budget and power to find treatment. It sounds like you have a minor injury, and you need to prevent further injury first.
posted by markovitch at 1:17 AM on August 5, 2007

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