View Full Version : Broken Clavicle - Advice sort

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09-24-2008, 01:21 PM
Hi all,

I am sorry if this thread is in the wrong section.

Sorry I have not introduced myself sooner, but I thought this was a prime opportunity. I have been practicing Aikido for about 6 months and have grown to love it with a passion, I am sure most of you can relate to this. I wish I had taken up Aikido sooner, but never felt confident enough to do this. I am a female, 28, living in the UK and a trained engineer by trade.

I broke my collar bone last week whilst practicing Ukemi - forward rolls to be precise. Ukemi has never been my strong point as I have always had a mental block when it comes to rolling and have always felt that I roll more like a fruit bowl. I must admit that I am concerned about taking Ukemi once the collar bone is repaired and many people have told me to give Aikido up. I will certainly not be doing this.

Breaking my collar bone is frustrating more from the point of view that it means I am off the mat for a while. I tried watching the class, but I think this made things worse.

Have any of you had similar experiences with a collar bone?, how long were you out of training? And does anyone have advice on how to overcome the fear of taking a roll. I have no problem with falling like is required in perhaps Irimi Nage, but as for rolling....Ahhhh!

Help, advice and comments gratefully received.


09-24-2008, 02:19 PM
My wife broke hers when she tried aikido. She tried going back but went back too soon, re injured herself then quit for good. My advice, do not get on that mat until you are cleared medically. Even if you feel healed, don't do it.

09-24-2008, 03:57 PM
Hi !

12 years ago I broke my collar bone and some more "parts" i my right shoulder, not Aikido related.
3 months after the crash I was on the mat again,
I have been forced to be vary careful, which is difficult, because you can't always signal to others how bad your condition is.

It has taken almost 10 years to get back to full function,
at it occasionally still hurts !!

But... I got past 3'rd kyu (Hakama) passed Shodan and have no idea of stopping !

I WANT my Aikido, injuries or not, that may the motivation needed.
Martial arts include dealing with injuries, I can't see it done any other way !

Best of luck !

09-24-2008, 05:23 PM
as they said, give it a rest.

to insure you enjoy aikido again and more,

get it checked out, then get the Drs clearance when you
can aikido again.....


09-25-2008, 02:32 AM
Welcome to the site, we need more welsh people on here, sorry to hear about your shoulder, I broke my collar bone ten years ago not through aikido but through another martial art it took what seemed for ever to heal so be patient with the healing and the rolls when you get back on the mat they will improve with practice and patience

Charles Hill
09-25-2008, 03:59 AM
Hi Kerry

I broke my left collar bone preAikido and did not think it made a difference until I noticed that I prefered right rolls over left rolls. In response I practiced left rolls over and over. As a teacher, I discovered that front rolls are not the best way to take ukemi in almost any situation and taught my students to take back/side ukemi. If your dojo gives you such freedom, I suggest you use your engineering skills to develop your own ukemi system. (Donovan Waite videos might be a big help).

Another thing, I have not met a serious practitioner who has not at some time had a serious injury that sidelined her, I suggest you figure out how to watch classes enjoyably.


09-25-2008, 06:15 AM
I guess everyone is different. I was mid 20's and was playing a sort of paintball-type game in the woods. I tripped and did a forward roll. The problem was that I rolled right on a rock and it hit my collarbone exactly right. My collarbone snapped in two right in the middle. The left side went down and under the right side. Or maybe the right went up and over the left.

I never knew that it had broken, let alone in two. I kept going and playing until about an hour later. I found my cousin and said I had this weird bump on my left shoulder. He looked at it and said he didn't know. So, we went to the hospital. I saw the xrays. They gave me a brace and sent me home.

I used the brace for a day. Not that I needed it, but because I saw the xray and thought maybe the bones would shift. I realized that if the bones didn't shift from after the break in the woods, they probably wouldn't shift.

I suffered no pain, no loss of arm function, no discomfort, and it never hindered my aikido rolls and falls. Everyone is different.

I have to laugh every now and then when I hear martial artists say to break someone's collar bone because it'll make that arm useless. I'm proof that it won't always work like that. :)

09-25-2008, 10:15 AM
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the advice and comments. It is amazing how different peoples experiences are and the nature of the human body.

I will excercise patiences (or at least attempt this), try to enjoy watching. I built our clubs website and need some gallery pictures, so I might be able to take these whilst recovering.

Charles, thanks for the advice on the Donovan Waite DVD's on Ukemi, I actually have his part one DVD on order from the states.

I am determined to continue with Aikido and appreciate the comments.

Justin, you are also right a few more Welsh people are required, especially from south Wales.:)

Thanks again and I hope to become a regular poster on the site.


Janet Rosen
09-25-2008, 11:08 AM
Don't give up! But do take time to heal well and be patient with your fears...Our first "the Mirror" column (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2004_03.html) dealt with injuries and one of the participants in the column specifically dealt with clavicle break

Basia Halliop
09-25-2008, 11:09 AM
My advice would be, when you do finally eventually get healed enough to go back, ask around different people about how they first learned rolls. Some ways may be safer than others, and some people explain it or show it better than others. E.g., I'm assuming you're learning to roll from kneeling initially (or kneeling on one knee I guess I mean), that you've been shown how to use your arms so there isn't an impact on your shoulder (I've even seen variations of different ways to do that), etc...

The way we learn rolls at the beginning at my dojo I actually find it kind of hard to imagine how someone could generate enough force to actually break a bone. But then maybe I'm just underestimating.

Faith Hansen
09-25-2008, 11:29 AM
I broke my clavicle in Aikido during a forward roll about 3 months ago. Because it was a pretty bad break, I opted for the surgery (so now I have a metal plate and 7 screws in there). I was back on the mat about 2 weeks after the surgery, but only to help teach kid's class. I wore the sling and did not take any falls or anything. Because I was already a Shodan when this happened, I was able to help teach where I could, thus enabling me to still feel a part of things without putting myself in danger. I did all of my physical therapy, and about 2 months after the surgery I was back doing technique and taking soft falls (but not rolls). I only did this after getting clearance from my doctor. At this point I am doing as much Aikido as I can, minus the rolling. I have another 3 months before my doctor wants me doing that. But, I listen to my body and if I think a receiving a certain technique is too dangerous, I won't do it.

My advise would be: Listen to your doctors. Listen to your body. And when you are ready, immerse slowly back into Aikido. Adjust slowly to being back, don't jump right into breakfalls (which at the moment still make me feel a little shaky, but I'll cross that road when it is time).

And remember: It can happen to anyone, no matter how good you think your ukemi is, no matter how long or short you have been training. Injuries happen. And try to be positive about it. I got some really sweet X-ray photos out of the deal, and a sweet scar. :)

colin slider
09-28-2008, 07:41 AM
broke my left collarbone in late Jan this year - taking ukemi for juji nage for sensei, my trailing foot caught the bottm of his hakama and I plowed shoulder first into the floor

started teaching again in April and training again first week July - initially just going a bit slow and careful on my left side especially with locks but otherwise OK.

i developed a frozen shoulder while the fracture was healing but an 'aggressive' approach to treatment from my osteopath had pretty amazing results in a short time and I now have 'almost' the full range of movement i had before the injury with improvements continuing

took ukemi for a friend grading for sandan last week (9 months and 2 days from the injury) so guess that means the healing process is pretty much over - only time I get any pain is when someone really stretches my shoulder out doing shihonage.

with regards to overcoming fear of forward rolls - theres some good advice on some of the posts here and also lots of other threads on the subject - so just do a search.

best advice I cna give is just to take your time, start low and when you're comfortable from rolls from a kneeling position start doing them from a slightly higher stance - if you stick with practice you'll get it - some get it right away, some take a while - we're all different

hope you recover soon - just dont rush it

10-14-2008, 01:38 PM
Hi all,

Many thanks for everyone advice and shared experiences.

My clavical has been healing for the past 4 weeks and the hospitol are happy that the bone has knitted and that movement has returned to the shoulder.

I have watched lessons during the healing period and am looking forward to rejoining classes in the near future.

Again thanks for all the advice and support.