First, thank you so much to Mel who has kindly loaned me her copy of Dean Karnazes’ book 50/50. I have heard nothing but great reviews and can’t wait to crack it open this afternoon.
I saw the specialist yesterday morning. After some poking and prodding and another series of x-rays, the diagnosis is a Grade III Separation. The images below illustrate a healthy shoulder compared to this type of separation of the AC joint.
Grade III – A complete separation of the joint. The acromioclavicular ligament, the coracoclavicular ligaments, and the capsule surrounding the joint are torn. Usually, the displacement is obvious on clinical exam. Without any ligament support, the shoulder falls under the weight of the arm and the clavicle is pushed up, causing a bump on the shoulder.
In my case, one of the coracoclavicular ligaments was able to hold so the separation is not quite complete. Still, doc measured a 6mm (non weight bearing) separation. Just looking at the x-rays made me cringe. Ever notice how an injury hurts more when you know what it is?
The prognosis is several weeks of rest. Surgery is optional but not required. It should heal naturally and completely with just a permanent bump on my shoulder to remind me of this unfortunate incident.
I will continue wearing the sling for comfort and can use my judgment and remove it when I feel ready. In the mean time, I have to take it off at least 4 times per day to perform light mobility exercises.
I will see the doc again in three weeks, at which point I can begin physiotherapy. He expects significant improvement before that time and I hope he is right.
Next week I will go back to work on ‘light duty’ and I also hope to start incorporating exercise back into my life. I’ll use the bike and treadmill to keep my fitness up as much as possible. At this point I have no idea when I’ll be able to run again. It’s disappointing because I have really been enjoying my clinic and was looking forward to some great races this spring. I will just have to let myself heal and take it a day at a time.