Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong’s fractured collarbone is a very common injury among bicyclists, and his recovery time and treatment will depend on whether his bones have displaced, an orthopedic surgeon said Monday.
“It depends on how the two ends of the bones have moved apart,” said Dr. Vonda Wright, who specializes in sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and has neither treated Armstrong nor seen his X-rays.
“If they have not, usually, you just let it heal. But, if they are displaced, then the trend is to fix it with plates and screws. So, without seeing his X-rays, it’s hard to say.”
Armstrong’s collarbone fractured Monday in a crash during the Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race. He was knocked off his bike in a pileup during the first stage of the race and taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Armstrong, a 37-year-old cancer survivor, said he would discuss his treatment options with medical experts in the United States, which leaves his participation in July’s Tour de France in question.
“We’ll go from there,” Armstrong said earlier Monday. “I think for the Tour it’s a very big problem.”
Wright said he can continue to ride a bike or at least a stationary bike. But riding on bumpy surfaces, such as cobblestone, will cause him more pain.
“Most bones take eight to 12 weeks to heal, that’s just basic bone biology,” Wright said. “But, he’s a tough guy. These guys ride with big injuries.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.