29-year-old Pete, a competitive triathlete working full-time in London, was injured while on a cycling holiday in Mallorca. He slid on a wet corner, landed on his shoulder and broke his right clavicle (collarbone). Although in pain, the X-rays showed the fracture was simple and not displaced.
Four days after the accident Pete discussed his goals for the year and his anticipated speed of recovery with Mr Ali Noorani. Mr Noorani listened closely and posed the question: “Is there evidence that surgery would actually improve performance?” Impressed by Mr Noorani’s approach, Pete agreed that this kind of simple fracture would heal well on its own with effective rehab and physio.
Pete was given specific mobility exercises to help his shoulder and gym cycling and treadmill work to maintain fitness. He sometimes felt stiff and sore, but the trajectory was a week-on-week improvement. He followed the physio guidance on pull-ups, press-ups and even the leg press and returned to swimming five weeks for kicking and single arm work, then using full strokes after seven weeks. He cycled outside on the open road after six weeks.
After 11 weeks, Pete not only competed in a triathlon, but came second. Two weeks later, he took part in a 10km swim-run event and came fourth, despite anxiety beforehand about his shoulder strength.
He continued to feel some weakness in his shoulder when, for example slinging a rucksack over his right shoulder, for about six months, but now the shoulder is as good as the other one. Pete says: “It’s now one year on. I do not think about my collarbone at all. However, I do cycle more cautiously in the wet!”