Q: What type of medical treatment should I expect after a motorcycle accident has caused my collarbone to break?
You were minding your own business, waiting for the traffic light to turn green, when all of the sudden the SUV behind you began inching closer and closer to you. Although you tried to maneuver to the side, he continued to pull forward straight into you. The impact—although small—knocked you and your Harley to the ground. You instinctively extended your right arm to try to catch yourself and prevent your bike from crushing you. Unfortunately, the weight of your hog was too much for you and collapsed onto your shoulder.
The driver of the SUV got out and helped lift the bike off of you, but as you attempted to lift yourself up, you crumpled back down in agony.
The pain was excruciating and you couldn’t move the entire right side of your torso. You could hear someone calling the cops. What is wrong and how will the hospital treat such a painful injury?
Typical Treatment Options for Broken Clavicles
Depending on the type of break you sustain, treatment and recovery can vary from simple setting procedures to full blown surgery, and recovery time can vary from three weeks, to three months. The U.S. National Library of Medicine, in conjunction with the National Institute of Health, define these two types of clavicle fractures as aligned (meaning that the broken ends meet) and not aligned (meaning the broken ends do not meet). Once your injury type has been diagnosed and assessed, your treatment options are as follows:
- Arm support. A simple arm sling or wrap can be used for immediate comfort after the break, and are used to support your arm and help keep it in position while it heals.
- Medication. Pain relievers can help dull the pain while the bones heal and grow back together.
- Surgical treatment. If your bones are displaced your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery can align the bones and hold them in the proper position while they heal, improving shoulder strength throughout your recovery.
- Plates, pins and screws. During your operation, the bone fragments are first repositioned into their normal alignment, and then held in place with special screws, pins, or metal plates. The incisions for pin placement are usually smaller than those used for plates, but can be extremely irritating on your skin and must be removed. Plates and screws are usually left in after the fracture has healed.
- Physical therapy. While you’re wearing the sling, you’ll likely lose muscle strength in your shoulder. Once your bone begins to heal, the pain will decrease and your doctor may have you start strength training, massage, and motility exercises. These exercises will help prevent your muscles from atrophying or becoming stiff and weak.
- Doctor follow-up appointments. You’ll need to see your doctor regularly until your fracture is healed. He’ll examine you and take X-rays to make sure the bone is healing in a good position. After the bone has healed you will be able to gradually return to your normal activities.
Although it is a slow process, following your physical therapy plan is an important factor in returning to all the activities you enjoy.
Getting the Help You Need to Get the Care You Deserve
The costs of an unexpected hospital visit and surprise surgery can definitely hurt you when you’re already down. This is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side—to help you get the care you require without damaging your financial future. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your accident claim, and see if you’re entitled to damages and compensation for your injuries. Don’t allow someone else’s mistake to affect your stability. You owe it to yourself to get the help you need.
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