Health & FitnessNews

Small Bone, Big Pain

If you haven’t already heard, Lance Armstrong (Astana) suffered a broken clavicle while participating in the Vuelta Castilla y Leon.

Although a relatively common injury, occurring in about 1 in 1000 people per year, what is uncommon (besides the overt news coverage of Armstrong’s injury) is the recommended method of treatment: surgery.

Depending upon the type of clavicular fracture, most are treated conservatively through immobilization using a sling. The injury can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to heal.

But as’s Stephania Bell, a physical therapist who is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, points out, a more aggressive approach to treatment has changed how physicians’ view these injuries.

But over the past decade, there has been a shift toward a more aggressive treatment, according to Dr. Frank Cordasco, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Cordasco, who has treated a number of cyclists ranging from recreational to competitive and is a cyclist himself, reports that the trend toward more aggressive surgical treatment, for athletes in particular, emanated from Europe.

One study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2003 examined high-performance athletes with minimally displaced fractures who underwent surgery using titanium nails to address the break. These athletes were able to return to training in an average of six days and to competition within an average of 17 days, far quicker than would be possible without surgery.

So while Lance Armstrong may be in some big time pain, it may not keep him off the bicycle that long. Good news for the Tour and quite possibly the Giro.

AP: Astana says Armstrong will be in Tour de France
AP: Giro organizers holding out hope for Armstrong

In an unrelated bicycle accident, the Today Show’s Matt Lauer also pulled an endo after running into a deer. He is currently recovering from surgery to repair the shoulder he separated.

It might be the first time a deer has witnessed what being “caught in the headlights” actually looks like.

Lenny B
Leonard Basobas - Among my many and varied interests are cycling and writing. I am deeply passionate about both. Strangely enough, neither has come very easy to me.I had such a horrible crash as a small child that I did not attempt to ride again until the 6th grade. From that point forward, you could say that I have had a love affair with two-wheels. When I was not out on my bike, I could be found tearing apart or putting back together other bikes. The frames and parts found in my parents’ basement today are a testament to that fact. Around the same time that I began riding again, a young rider named Greg Lemond had just won the U23 World Championships. Following his career was my entry point into the sport of cycling, but I never participated in organized racing until I was past my cycling prime. Today, a healthy curiosity about racing has me lining up on the road and in the nearest velodrome.In regard to writing, I am not a trained journalist. My writing, instead, strikes a creative bent in the form of short stories, at least when I not writing for my day job in clinical research. Although I have yet to be published for my creative writing, I have authored several abstracts and papers, and been published as the lead author for a paper in a well-known peer reviewed medical journal.I have covered the sport of cycling, as both writer and photographer, at such races as the Amgen Tour of California (2008 to 2014) and the US Pro Cycling Challenge. I was also the featured Guest Contributor for, commentating and moderating the site's live blogging feed during the 2009 Tour de France.