Cycling is a great way to get sun, exercise, and minimize your gasoline bills. Unfortunately, cyclists are often in danger while riding next to moving motor vehicles. Whether a car pulls out in front of a bicycle, runs a red light, fails to yield to a cyclist, or a driver opens a car door into the path of a cyclist, a serious bicycle accident may occur.
When cyclists get hit, they may fly over their handlebars and land on their shoulders, or an outstretched hand. Unfortunately, shoulder injuries may be the result. Because a shoulder is the most moveable joint in the human body, it is also the most unstable and one of the most common injury sites.
If you have severe pain on top of your shoulder, swelling in your shoulder, a bump on your shoulder, or a feeling of something sticking up out of your shoulder, you may have suffered a shoulder fracture in a bicycle accident.
Understanding Shoulder Fractures
Your shoulder joint is made up of a collarbone, shoulder blade, and upper arm bone. These three bones work with muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as the shoulder socket to hold your shoulder in place. When trauma occurs to a shoulder—such as in the case of a bicycle accident—the shoulder can be fractured.
Treating Shoulder Fractures
There are different treatment options available for injured cyclists depending on the type of shoulder fracture, such as:
- Scapula Fractures – Known as the shoulder blade fracture, treatment for this type of shoulder fracture can often be treated with a sling immobilizer, ice, rest, and pain medication. Less than 20 percent of shoulder blade fractures need surgery. If surgery is needed, plates and screws are often used to stabilize the fractured bone fragments.
- Clavicle Fractures – Known as the collar bone fracture, this type of shoulder fracture can generally be treated without surgery. However, if a bone is sticking out of the skin, or if a bone is severely out of place, surgery will be needed. Surgery for this type of fracture can include plates, screws, and even rods to stabilize the area.
- Proximal Humerus Fracture – Known as an upper arm bone fracture, treatment for this type of shoulder fracture generally requires surgery to repair the displaced bone fragments with the use of pins, screws and plates. Sometimes a shoulder replacement may be necessary.
Shoulder injuries can be painful, long-lasting, and deserve all the compensation possible. If you know someone who has suffered a shoulder injury in a bicycle accident in the Sarasota area, we encourage you to share this article with them.