Best way to protect your collarbone?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by daveinva, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    Reading all the Face Plant threads, I'm struck by just how common it is for get-offs in either dirt or on the street to result in a snapped collarbone. It's enough to make a man paranoid.

    What's contributing to my paranoia is a successful turn in losing weight (a LOT of weight) that has exposed my upper body to a degree previously unseen. What used to be a nice padding of fat and fat-bearing muscle has given way to exposed collarbones, shoulders and ribs. Forget falling off a bike-- I'm wary now of just *slipping on ice* this winter and cracking something. :cry

    Lately, I'm nearly exclusively riding street-- while I'm ATGATT, when it comes to street riding, that's generally just a jacket with elbow, shoulder and back armor, i.e. I don't want to ride street wearing full-on dirt armor.

    I intend to start doing more weightlifting to pad and strengthen my upper body, but in the meantime, any gear recommendations? Would a neck brace help? Chest armor inserts? Airbag vest?

    Or should I just not worry about it?

    Man, paranoia and OCD are *not* a fun combination... :wink:
    #1
  2. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

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    No crashy=no breaky! :norton

    I am surprised that the new BMW accessory line does not include one of these:

    [​IMG]

    It is only slightly more expensive than a new 1600?

    But if you can afford the bike you can afford the gear! :deal
    #2
  3. Josephvman

    Josephvman I'm the Decider

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    I've had good luck with Turtle Wax Carnuba Collarbone Polish. That, and I try not to leave the couch unless absolutely necessary.
    #3
  4. KEELAYMONSTER

    KEELAYMONSTER BRRAAAAPPP!!!

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    [​IMG]

    This resulted in this.....

    [​IMG]

    So don't do that and you should be good.
    #4
  5. Mr_Gone

    Mr_Gone The Lejund!

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    I was told once by a physician who was, at the time, looking at my broken collarbone, that the collarbone is in fact designed to break when a certain amount of force is exerted upon it. This "break" sort of short-circuits the force of an impact on the shoulder or arm and keeps the impact from reaching your neck and/or head, causing spinal injuries or head trauma. So the fragile collarbone is actually a design feature of the human body.

    Maybe the doc was dumbing it down for me, but it made sense at the time.
    #5
  6. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    Kaiser Sose!!
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  7. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    No, that's exactly right. It's like a "crumple zone" for your spine, neck and head.

    That said, if you are adding EXTRA protection to defer the impact before it reaches your collarbone, you are not removing the "function" of the collarbone. What might be dangerous for your spine is to attempt to use something like an exoskeleton to brace the collarbone.
    #7
  8. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    As bone breaks go, a collar bone isn't too painful and heals fairly quickly. You can be back on the bike in 4 to 6 weeks. Wrists and ankles really suck and can keep you off the bike for a long time. I've got to say broken ribs, while not too debilitating, were painful for an incredibly long time.
    #8
  9. NWAF

    NWAF Been here awhile

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    The BMW back protector has some padding for the collarbone. Here's the webBikeWorld.com review of it. I certainly think it helps prevent a break to a certain extent.
    #9
  10. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Collar bone breaks are common in motorcycle sports, but they often leave ugly lumps if not fixed properly. Some of them require a rod inserted for a few months and then removed. Heavy shoulder impacts and helmet clips seem to be the source of them. A Leatt brace may help the helmet clips, but a shoulder impact is tough to defend against I suspect. The other common injury is breaking the small bones in the wrist. Hard to come back from those darn things.


    #10
  11. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

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    Heh. Not in my case. 1.5" displacement. It took 6 months to "join" and another 2 years before it was declared "healed". It hurt every day for the next 4 years and now only hurts a few times per week.

    In my crash, I highsided...landed on my head which caused the bottom of my Arai to break my collarbone in two places.

    7 years on, it's a huge lump and my left clavicle is nearly 2" shorter than my right. (see where the bones overlap)

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Animo

    Animo Beastly n00b

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    That gear would just give you a false sense of security, you know how that works……
    #12
  13. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    that is absurd.

    unless you believe in intelligent design of course.





    :hide


    Some interesting literature on neck braces and collar bones:

    http://www.cyclenews.com/articles/i...04/neck-protection-let-s-talk-about-it-2/full
    #13
  14. AlsoRan

    AlsoRan Lone Trail Of Dust

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    Thats exactly right. The bottom edge of my Shoei broke my collarbone while landing on my head after a trip over the handlebars. It took 6 months to join and then almost a year before it healed. It hurt for another year after that. I remember the doctor saying that "it's like an envelope that you seal, and if you break that seal before it fuses together it will take twice as long to heal".

    I think one of those neck braces would work to protect the collarbone. I saw someone on a KTM990 wearing one on the freeway today.
    #14
  15. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

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    If my 'stich shoulder armor extended another 2 inches or so, my injury would not have been so severe. (a 1.5" displacement means the bones were 1.5" away in the vertical plane).

    Alternatively, there is no reason for modern helmets to be so hard on the bottom. A "skirt" of compressible armor may have prevented my clavicle injury.

    IMO, helmet technology has hardly progressed in the last few decades. It's still a hard outer shell and and EPS inner shell. EPS, aka, "styrofoam" is mostly the same stuff in your beer cooler. See how it breaks down after a few years? That's part of the reason we're supposed to replace helmets every 5 years (that's nearly 100k for me!)

    A Leatt brace is not practical for me. If Aerostich extended the shoulder armor a bit and if the bottom of the helmets were more flexible...then, there may be fewer broken collarbones. I'd rather my equipment absorb the impact rather than my bones.

    YMMV.
    #15
  16. Toysrme

    Toysrme Been here awhile

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    i broke mine playing hockey. full head a of steam, the guy glanced down at the puck (his head followed his eyes) and my collarbone met the tip-top of his helmet. knocked him out & split his helmet, broke my collarbone all the way through. when the local doc who wanted to break & reset it. got a consultation by world famous sports/orthopedic surgeon Dr Lemak in Birmingham, Alabama (at that time practicing with the other world famous sports/orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrews). saw the x-ray. looked at it for 5 seconds to make sure it had aligned alright & is/was fusing properly. he proceeded to tell us the exact same thing. he told me my spine would be a little crooked from there on out, but the odds of rebreaking & straightening everything were not worth beginning to think about doing it.
    my spine is a little uneven, but no big deal. exactly what he said, never thought a thing about it.

    you always either hear it's really painful or it's not at all. here's the truth to it. it's not the most painful thing. It's not as bad as an arm/leg/wrist/ankle. actually. as long as you line everything back up & keep a load off your upper body it's nothing advil/NASID's can't handle. dull throbbing. the biiiig kicker with a broken collar bone is that's it's a fakey injury. you think it's no big deal because it REALLY doesn't hurt much. it makes you confident. but alias, it's connected to everything and if you move/jolt virtually anything from your nipples on up and tweak it it's an extremely sharp pain. as in standing up to slam down on your knee sharp pain. and that's no fun at all. i did mine a couple times. hurt like hell.
    as long as you get it set pretty well and stay still you likely wont have a pain problem. a lot of people never tweak one. if you tweak it... youll know it!

    ya... a broken rib feels about like a collarbone when you're not tweaking it, or a really bad bruise. dull pain. no big deal.


    cracked broke my other as an adult with the classic helmet hitting it.

    healing time is the difference in being a teenager & being an adult! back then it was an honest 5-6 weeks until your "chicken wing looking brace" comes off and 8 weeks cleared for full-contact sports. for a grown adult... na... unrealistic. especially as the years pile on! as a teen mine completely healed by 7-8 weeks. as an adult the crack took about 3 months. you can tell too! look how many (american) football players break theirs and it's always the quoted "4-6 weeks". every single time the media says "4-6 weeks". then 8 weeks later they're just starting low-contact practice and even longer for full-contact! happens virtually every time LoL! relatively young, world class athletes with everything modern medicine has to offer don't come back 100% in 4-6 weeks...

    bone heal time/apples/oranges/peaches
    #16
  17. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    Thanks all for the advice (and, ummm, thanks for the horror stories... I think?).

    Obviously, job #1 is not breaking anything in the first place. Knock on wood, I'll do my best to stick to that plan.

    Luckily, I've only broken one bone in my body in my life, and in the ABSOLUTE DUMBEST WAY possible. (Busted my nose running into a door... a *glass* door. You know, like a bird... never even saw it, heh. Thankfully, I'm nowhere near as clutzy on a bike!).

    I'd like to keep it that way!
    #17
  18. Brakelate

    Brakelate Supermoto Adventurer

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    I think my helmet hit mine.

    While out playing with my GoPro's at Willow Springs Kart Track, I high sided and knocked myself unconscious.

    Despite walking, talking and answering questions from medical aid, I have no recollection of the crash or anything from just prior to the event, until about half way to hospital.

    *Warning; Not Graphic, but some may find the audio track entertaining, while others may find it disturbing as I apparently quit breathing for a while.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVk7uHzPEME&feature=share&list=UUz8au9JetLW4X4F6BXM5nSA
    #18
  19. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    I heard those same agonal breaths from a buddy (ex Green Beret / Vietnam vet) who hit a deer ahead of me. He had a concussion and, like you, eventually came around and somewhat communicated, but can't remember just about the same amount of it to this day.

    Thank goodness for good full-face helmets.
    #19
  20. ScEd

    ScEd Dances with Deer

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    I Agree with the full-face helmet being the cause of most MC related collar bone breaks or at least mine. But its a good trade off knowing what would have happened otherwise just from the looks of the helmet after a crash.
    #20