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Injuries and Medical Advice

Dislocated Collarbone

Fall at base leads to broken wrist, collarbone pulled from breastbone.

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This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 206 (December 2012).


Illustration by Pearson Scott Foresman.

My story begins on a day far too beautiful to normally fall on a weekend, with me standing underneath the classic climb Psychopath at Mount Piddington. Simply prepping to belay a warm-up climb, I somehow tripped and fell, resulting in a spectacular distal radius fracture below my right wrist, which explains why I couldn’t seem to grasp the tree that separated me from a further 20 feet of free fall. Anyway, while quite distressing, the situation did result in a chance meeting with a strikingly gorgeous lady rescuer, notable for the fact that I’m not really a lesbian.

Although the smashed wrist took all the glory, when the dust settled I realized that I had also dislocated my collarbone at the sternum. After suffering three months of consistent irritation, I wonder what I can do? Doctors, physios and radiologists seem to pay it no attention.

—Nicole / Sydney, Australia

You’re baiting me!

That “strikingly gorgeous lady rescuer” remark is a dead giveaway.

Your collarbone has dislocated at the breast bone. That sux. Not because it will be a great detriment to your climbing; more of a great annoyance. Once injured, that joint is prone to ongoing testiness because any motion of your upper limb will cause duress, since it is the only joint that connects your arm to your torso.

Although you might consider remote Reiki from a master practitioner in a neighboring solar system, I tend to think surgery is a better option if it doesn’t settle down.

And I am not going to ask you about how it all ended up with the “strikingly gorgeous lady rescuer.” No. I won’t. So there, I win.


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