Long Road to Recovery

Many have asked about how I’m feeling and recovering after my accident back in October (See “Accident, Injury, Recovery”)so I figured I’d lay out what I’ve been going through the past several months and where my body is now, nearly 4.5months later.

After the accident I spent over a week mostly home bound; partly due to the broken clavicle pain and partly due to the fact that my right calf was the size of my quad (from the hematoma). I slowly returned to semi-normal activity over the next few weeks, going back to work on a limited basis, walking around the neighborhood and hiking for exercise and trying to do some house chores. As one could imagine having an immobilized left arm (sling) and a partially functional right hand (casted) makes life a bit tricky, so even the mundane took twice as long.

Finally by early December (6 weeks out) I was weening myself out of the sling and moving my left arm around a little bit then on December 14th I got the cast off my right hand. It was amazingly liberating to have both arms/hands finally free, albeit still on a limited basis. Until late December my cardio work had been limited to hiking, recumbent stationary bike and the stair climber. It wasn’t until right around the holidays (8 weeks out) that I started some short easy jogs. To my surprise the clavicle was only a little sore, but the shoulder muscles were so atrophied that after 15-20min my entire arm would throb, and if I tried to push through it, the throbbing would last for hours afterwards.

So the running training began more as a jog/hike, 15min jogging, 15min walking, repeat. During this time I was also going to PT weekly and doing a large routine of stretches and range of motion (ROM) exercises for my shoulder in order to try and regain what I’d lost in the 8 weeks prior. It was slow, but at least I was making progress every week and regaining my ROM and some strength. Finally in late January (12 weeks out) the Orthopedic surgeon released me for all activity; running, lifting, climbing, skiing, etc. Whatever the strength of my arm could handle. Back to the gym several times a week for cable and weight exercises, I’ve never felt so pathetic, doing shoulder raises with a 2.5lb dumbbell, but it was still progress.

Even at the Moab Red Hot in February (15 weeks out) the arm would still occasionally throb, but I was finding was to relax the muscles and with the increased ROM, the pain was less frequent. I was super excited when I was able to finish the 55k only 24min off my PR, considering all that I’d been through that was a mental win. The subsequent weeks saw dramatic increases in my strength and the ROM return to near 90-95%. I’ve been able to run pain free for the past several weeks, do some climbing, and even get back to playing volleyball.

Post fracture now fully healed left clavicle. A little extra bone and a new alignment.

Post fracture now fully healed left clavicle. A little extra bone and a new alignment.

It’s been a fine balance trying to go about a normal life, train for ultras and continue to rehab the arm and shoulder (at 70-80% of its original strength), but it’s improving. There will always be a slight hitch in my left arm, and the left clavicle area is going to be congested forever, but hopefully neither of these things will inhibit any of the functionality, though that’s TBD. For now I’ll continue to strengthen, stretch and run, ever so slowly getting back to where I was, and hopefully to where I want to be. Thanks to all my great friends and family who helped me survive those first several weeks of decrepitness, who helped me move and have supported me through this whole healing process, its made everything a lot more palatable.

2 thoughts on “Long Road to Recovery

  1. Castle

    Hey, is your front delt smaller and weaker and lower than the unbroken clavicle side? I mean, does your pec overcompensate for your front delt?

    Reply
    1. Post author

      Castle,
      The delt doesn’t seem to be affected but I’ve had residual tightness in my left lat (broken side) since the accident. The PT said it was because the left side is now shorter in the front. No major mechanical issues, but I do notice it while climbing.

      Reply

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