Shoulder injuries are very common in Florida cycling accidents. Whether you are struck by a car riding 25 mph or a vehicle pulled out in front of you, causing you to swerve and crash, a serious injury or injuries are likely to occur. The type of shoulder injury that a cyclist will suffer will depend on the force of the crash and where and how the shoulder was hurt.
Common Symptoms of a Shoulder Injuries
- Pain in the shoulder that hurts more at night which can make sleeping difficult
- Weakness or inflammation in the shoulder area
- Tenderness in the front of the shoulder or the midpoint of the arm
- Trouble lifting and moving the arm in any direction without pain
- Stiffness in the shoulder area
- Sudden, concentrated pain in the shoulder
- Bruised or discolored shoulder
If you are experiencing any type of pain in your shoulder after a bicycle accident, you need to seek medical attention. Your doctor should give you a physical exam and appropriate imaging tests to determine your specific type of shoulder injury and the type of treatment needed.
Types of Shoulder Injuries & Treatment Needed
Shoulder fractures usually occur when the rider falls on an outstretched hand. They can also occur from a direct blow to the shoulder. There are three different types of shoulder fractures: clavicle fractures, scapula fractures and proximal humerus fractures. The clavicle fracture is probably the most common shoulder injury caused by a bike crash. Scapula fractures rarely occur and proximal humerus fractures are more common in riders over the age of 65.
These types of shoulder injuries are usually treated with a sling and immobilization for three to six weeks. If the fracture is more serious, sometimes plates and screws are inserted during a surgical procedure to stabilize the shoulder area.
AC Separation (Shoulder Separation)
An acromioclavicular joint separation, or AC separation, is a frequent injury we get calls about in our office from cyclists. In this injury the clavicle (collar bone) separates from the scapula (shoulder blade). AC separations are classified into three grades. Grade one is a stretched AC joint, which looks slightly swollen and tender on the physical exam, but the x-rays are normal. A grade two separation is where the end of the clavicle is slightly prominent and tender and the x-rays show widening of the joint. Grade three separations are when the end of the clavicle is really prominent and tender and the x-rays show complete disruption of the joint.
Grade one and two are typically treated with a sling and then normal activity can be resumed when the pain improves. This usually takes several days to two weeks for grade one, and about two weeks for grade two. Grade three is almost always non-operative as well but if the pain continues past six weeks orthopedic consultation should be considered. If shoulder injuries affecting the integrity of the joint are not appropriately treated there is the potential for post traumatic arthritis.
If you land directly on your shoulder then you may dislocate your shoulder at the AC joint. A dislocation of the shoulder can be extremely painful and disabling. In some cases, a shoulder deformity may be apparent.
The treatment for a dislocated shoulder will depend on the severity of the injury. In some cases, a sling and pain medication may be enough to treat the injury, and in other cases, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries often occur when a cyclist falls forward over the handlebars. The rotator cuff is a large tendon that is made up of four muscles at the top of the arm bone. The muscle that often tears in a bicycle accident is the supraspinatus muscle which causes a disconnection between the shoulder blade the humerus. This type of shoulder injury can make it difficult to move and lift your arm. In severe cases, it will be almost impossible to move it at all. Daily activities can be significantly impacted.
When cyclists sustain rotator cuff injuries, there are many treatment options depending on how serious the injury is. Once the physical exam and imaging tests are done, pain management and treatment options can vary from physical therapy exercises and steroid injections, to arthroscopic repair through surgery and even shoulder replacement.
SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior, which is the ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint socket. When this cartilage is torn, the cyclist will probably experience symptoms similar to a torn rotator cuff. Such symptoms will include decreased range of motion and shoulder strength as well as pain when moving the shoulder and arm.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury and the pain associated with it. Rehabilitation will be necessary to rebuild the shoulder strength. Other treatments may include non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications and surgery.
We Have Successfully Settled Shoulder Injury Cases Caused by a Florida Bicycle Accident
A serious shoulder injury after a bicycle accident can not only keep you off your bike but can also greatly impact your daily activities and even work. Jim Dodson Law has successfully settled cases for Florida cyclists whose injuries were caused by a negligent driver. If you have sustained a shoulder injury in a cycling crash, you deserve compensation to pay for your injuries, property damage, and other losses.
Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?
If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.