Clavicle Fractures

News & Results

07/15/2003| 0 comments
by Chad Asplund, MD
Tyler Hamilton fractured his clavicle during a crash in stage 1 of this year's Tour de France, and has continued the Tour despite an injury which may have forced lesser riders to abandon. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Tyler Hamilton fractured his clavicle during a crash in stage 1 of this year's Tour de France, and has continued the Tour despite an injury which may have forced lesser riders to abandon. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Clavicle Fractures

A discussion of collarbone fractures and the treatment that Tyler Hamilton is receiving.

The clavicle is the most commonly broken bone in cycling.   Fracture usually occurs as a result of a fall onto an outstretched hand or direct fall onto the affected shoulder/collar bone.   Tyler Hamilton (Team CSC) fractured his clavicle during a crash in stage 1 of this year?s Tour de France, and has continued the Tour despite an injury which may have forced lesser riders to abandon.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

 

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Tyler
has two fractures in the outer portion (the end near the shoulder) of his right clavicle which form a ?V-shape? notch in the bone.   The fact that his fracture has two fracture planes makes it less stable than a singular break   Fractures involving the outer portions (distal end) of the clavicle are the most common with those of the inner portion (proximal end)   much less common.   The distal clavicle is surrounded by several ligaments allowing for more fracture stability than at other locations of the clavicle.   This ligamentous stability, as well as sheer tenacity, may explain
Tyler
?s ability to race with this injury.

 

X-rays done before the L?Alpe d?Huez stage revealed the fracture has not started healing, but it has not worsened or become further displaced.   Radiographic evidence of healing, however, may lag behind in fractures up to 2-4 weeks.   The normal healing time for a clavicle fracture is 2-4 weeks.   This time is in a completely rested clavicle, so it is reasonable to believe that
Hamilton
?s injury may take longer to heal.

 

Team CSC?s physical therapist, Ole K?re F?li, has been providing intensive treatment for
Hamilton
.
Tyler
has been riding with a soft cast on his clavicle, and has been using analgesics to help with the pain.

 

Also, CSC director sportif, Bjarne Riis, brought in a Danish physician who specializes in atmospheric ionic therapy in an attempt to speed the healing process.   Ionic therapy involves using infrasonic sound waves to provide vibrations within the body.   It is believed that these vibrations foster cellular activity within the bone cortex and can assist in the healing process.

 


Tyler
has continued to amaze with his performances in the alpine stages despite his injuries.   We at Roadcycling.com wish
Tyler
well, and hope for a speedy recovery.

 

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