Broken collarbone

Broke my collarbone mountain biking. Anyone else have it happen? How long can I expect to get back on the trainer, and how long until I can mountain bike again?

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Had a compound break of my collarbone. It was broken for me actually from a person who took rec league sports way too seriously.

Didn’t have surgery and that was a regret actually. Took 4 months post break to even do a regular push-up again or take on/off a non button up shirts without pain. 6 total months is where I felt fully recovered.

If you did the surgery I’ve heard of people being able to do trainer work within a week or two. I didn’t feel that was even possible for me for at least a couple of months and even then I think it’d be tough. But I wasn’t cycling at that time and ran/lifted weights.

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Here’s mine. I have an appointment Monday to find out if I need surgery or not.

Did mine 2 years ago and was on the turbo about 8 weeks post operation. Could realistically be on a lot earlier (i didn’t own a turbo at the time).

If you’ve got a road bike you could upturn the handlebars to reduce the reach and therefore place more weight through the saddle and off the handlebars.

The reason I regret not having the surgery is the way it healed. I feel it did so such that left shoulder is not aligned like how it used to be pre break. Like it moved slightly down and in towards my chest a bit. Biggest thing a noticed is how differently t-shirts fit. Tighter shirts and more stiff fabrics tend to instead rest the front collar against the front of my neck. Instead of naturally back of collar hanging on back of the neck like it used to pre-injury.

I would said back to turbo after surgery 4 weeks , easy for 15 mins spin yours legs and feel it , don’t rush . i was road racing crashed last summer time… but took me a long time to fully recovery… my colarbone still hurt , because it relative with different muscle parts ,so need to do few stretch exercise every morning.

Here’s my experience. June 3 2015. Ride Titled: Snap!

Follow your doctor’s advice. The MD on my team said get on the trainer ASAP and I did even before surgery. Yes I made custom workouts called “Collarbone”. Highly recommend surgery especially if you want to maximize the probability of no loss of upper body strength. I had surgery on June 15. Started back on the 19th. Adjusted the bike to allow for a more upright position. Once I could start doing intensity again I found that it was either easy endurance or VO2max. Sweet Spot sucked. @Nate_Pearson can chime in on his experience- they did a number of podcasts but I don’t have the links… Focus on protein, carbs Vitamins D &K as you need the calories to heal the bone. I raced the Bear Claw Epic MTB on Sept 26 2015. 3rd place Expert 50+

And apparently I did an 8 minute FTP test two weeks after surgery. :slight_smile:


Looks like a clean break. I got a couple opinions and went no surgery. Healed up just fine. Was back in the gym on spin bike about 3 weeks later.


I’ve done both sides…twice. Every break is different. Three were operated on, one wasn’t. My best case was surgery Friday, racing the following Wednesday. Worst case… well that was with a broken hip too, so that was a few weeks off the bike.

How long until you can get back on the trainer… that’s not something the Internets can really answer. Talk to your physician(s).


I am 12 weeks post op from clavicle surgery. 5 pieces, one plate. I was riding the trainer two days after (endurance). Rode Avalanche Spire 5 days post-op which was too much. Took a few days off and started back 10 days post surgery. First outdoor ride 6 weeks post-op. Still not quite 100% for single track but good on the roads/gravel.

Good luck, judge your recovery by feel but err on the easy side for lifting.


If given the option go with surgery…much less pain and quicker healing. I broke mine in 2016, had surgery and was on the trainer in 4 days.

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Thanks a lot of good info in here

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Looks a lot like mine. Without surgery a good risk of non union, but a fiberous attachment. Do u want surgery now in the age of Covid

GPL hit the nail on the head here - every fracture is different. Cyclists often get surgery to get back on the bike quickly, but it’s not like you absolutely have to. His story of surgery of and racing a few days later is extreme, and typically not recommended. Seems like it worked out just fine, though.

I’ll just drop a little tidbit here… everyone is talking about being on the trainer pretty quickly after the surgery. Generally, I agree with that, and have coached a few athletes through this whole process. I have had one, though, that had a total non-union following ORIF (surgery), and had to have a second plate put in a few months later, with requisite recovery period reset. Surgeon thought it might have been related to oscillatory movement on the trainer (he had only ridden trainer up to that point); I had no evidence one way or the other, but it is certainly worth keeping in mind. Plenty of other cyclists have been back on the trainer pretty quickly without issues compared to my n=1 experience. Bottom line - involve your ortho, and if possible try to use one who has experience with cyclists who get back on the trainer quickly.


Mine looked like that. Doctor thankfully recommended surgery. I got 2 plates (top and front) and was on trainer 2 days after (set it up with handlebar rotated back so drops were up and I didn’t have to lean fwd) for about 10 mins easy then gradually increased every day. Outside on road by 5 weeks. Probably would have waited longer for MTB.

Like others have said every fracture and person is different. It’s nice to have an idea of what you can expect, but just listen to your doctor and just as importantly, your body. I healed very fast and felt good enough to stop taking pain killers a few days after surgery, so careful trainer rides were very low risk.

Did mine couple of yrs ago, severe tenting (on the cusp of compound), got a plate in. Broke many collarbones when younger without surgery but with work and a preggo wife at the time appreciated the plate for certainty and peace of mind.

Back on the trainer 3 weeks, frankly at too high an intensity which (I think due to intensity) lead to some aching / pain in the collarbone while riding - doc friend suggested due to higher blood flow through the break site.

Good luck with sleep!

Did you guys have your hardware removed once you were healed up?

I had a collarbone break which required 2 steel plates, it wouldn’t have healed on its own. I did a 15min spin on the trainer 2 days after the break (3 days before surgery). 2 days after surgery I was back on the trainer. I had 4 broken ribs and a collapsed lung also, so it was very hard going. I basically did 30 minutes a day, and everyday i tried to get my average watts at least 1 higher (starting at about 120). I was back on the road in 5 weeks, but that had a lot to do with the lung and ribs. If it were just the collarbone it would have been sooner.

It’s been 15 months and my hardware is still in. It doesn’t bother me at all and i would prefer not to have another surgery. A couple of the screws seem to be pushing their way out it seems. So now i have these weird nobs on my shoulder. I’m really hoping this doesn’t become a problem in the future.

Good luck today.

I’m 3 weeks post break, 2 weeks post surgery. My fracture looked a bit like yours. After 2 weeks, i can remove the sling but still can’t use my arm to lift more than a few pounds. At 6 weeks post-op, if everything looks good, I should be fully cleared to resume all activities.

After talking it over with the Dr. he said trainer rides would be ok. The biggest risk in his mind was getting on and off. I lifted the front end of my bike a bit and did Dans on day 3 post-op, then every other day progressed through a few recovery & endurance zone workouts. Not sure where I’ll go next; I’m going to hold off on starting a plan for a few weeks. Might go with baxter -1 then something like ericsson -1 to see how ‘easy’ sweet spot feels, then a short vo2max and just repeat that each week. My focus is just on healing and maybe keeping some fitness. Lots of sleep & healthy eating.

I don’t have much more to add, but thanks for everyone’s experiences.

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Just saw the doctor. I’m getting surgery tomorrow and I also have a very small crack in a rib