Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)

clavicle fracture treatment

A clavicle fracture or broken collar bone as it is also understood is a fracture of the clavicle bone which runs along the front of the shoulder to the breast bone or sternum in the middle of the chest.


A clavicle fracture will typically have occurred as an outcome of a fall onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm. The main symptom is pain on the collar bone which may be severe. There might be swelling over the area and a bony deformity may be felt.

Clavicle fractures can be very uncomfortable and may make it difficult to move your arm. Additional symptoms include:

  • Sagging shoulder (down and forward).
  • Failure to raise the arm due to the fact that of pain.
  • A grinding sensation if an effort is made to raise the arm.
  • A defect or “bump” over the break.
  • Bruising, swelling, and/or inflammation over the collarbone.


clavicle fracture symptomsThe collar bone or clavicle is the bone that runs along the front of the shoulder to the breast bone or sternum at the front of the chest. It is usually fractured as a result of falling terribly onto an outstretched arm or onto the shoulder itself or in a collision with a challenger in a contact sport such as Rugby or American Football.

The probability of injury is increased if the playing surface is especially tough.

The bone typically fractures in it’s middle 3rd and is extremely agonizing. The external part of the bone commonly gets pushed down with the inside part displaced upwards.

A distal clavicle fracture where the bone breaks nearer the shoulder at the acromioclavicular joint happens in roughly 15 % of injuries. These fractures take longer to heal and are more vulnerable to non union.


If you suspect you have a broken collar bone then seek medical support or a doctor right away. An x-ray will validate the fracture. The arm will then be debilitated with either a figure of 8 bandage, sling or collar and cuff. A figure of 8 bandage is developed to avoid the collar bone shortening as it heals and is typically liked to the sling.

Pain relief is the primary goal in the early stages and a doctor will typically prescribe pain relieving medication. After a duration of complete immobilization (1-2 weeks), the arm needs to then be carefully relocated to prevent shoulder tightness. In specific shoulder flexion exercises to 90 degrees which suggests moving the arm from the side approximately horizontal in front.

Rehabilitation will involve regaining full range of movement utilizing mobility exercises and stretches, along with making sure strength is not affected. The injury is most likely to take 4 to 6 weeks to recover. You ought to not do any sports or even running until it has actually correctly healed. You may, however, have the ability to cycle on a stationary bike.

Surgery is not generally needed for fractures of this type. Open fractures where the bones pierce the skin or non-union of the bones after 6 weeks are more likely to need medical intervention.

  • Nonsurgical Treatment

If the damaged ends of the bones have not shifted out of place and line up correctly, you might not require surgery. Broken collarbones can recover without surgery.

Arm Support

A simple arm sling or figure-of-eight wrap is usually utilized for convenience immediately after the break. These are worn to support your arm and help keep it in position while it recovers.


Pain medication, consisting of acetaminophen, can help ease pain as the fracture heals.

Physical Therapy

While you are wearing the sling, you will likely lose muscle stamina in your shoulder. As soon as your bone starts to heal, the pain will reduce and your doctor might begin gentle shoulder and elbow exercises. These exercises will help avoid tightness and weak point. More laborious exercises can gradually be started once the fracture is completely healed.

Doctor Follow-Up

You will need to see your doctor regularly up until your fracture heals. She or he will analyze you and take x-rays making sure the bone is recovery in excellent position. After the bone has healed, you will have the ability to gradually go back to your regular activities.

Clavicle fracture before surgery x-ray

Clavicle fracture before surgery x-ray


The fracture can move out of location prior to it recovers. It is essential to follow up with your doctor as arranged making sure the bone stays in position.

If the fracture fragments do move out of location and the bones recover in that position, it is called a “malunion.” Treatment for this is figured out by how far out of location the bones are and just how much this affects your arm motion.

A large bump over the fracture website might establish as the fracture heals. This generally gets smaller sized over time, but a little bump may continue to be permanently.

  • Broken Collarbone Surgical Treatment

If your bones run out place (displaced), your doctor might advise surgery. Surgery can align the bones exactly and hold them in good position while they heal. This can enhance shoulder strength when you have recovered.

Plates and Screws

Throughout this operation, the bone pieces are first rearranged into their regular alignment, and after that kept in place with special screws and/or by connecting metal plates to the outer surface area of the bone.

After surgery, you might discover a little spot of numb skin below the laceration. This tingling will end up being less obvious with time. Since there is not a great deal of fat over the collarbone, you may have the ability to feel the plate through your skin.

Plates and screws are generally not eliminated after the bone has healed, unless they are triggering pain. Problems with the hardware are not common, however often, seatbelts and knapsacks can irritate the collarbone area. If this takes place, the hardware can be removed after the fracture has healed.

Pins are likewise utilized to hold the fracture in great position after the bone ends have been put back in place. The incisions for pin placement are typically smaller than those used for plates. Pins typically aggravate the skin where they have actually been placed and are typically gotten rid of once the fracture has healed.


Certain exercises will assist recover motion and strengthen your shoulder. Your doctor might provide you with a home therapy strategy or suggest that you deal with a physical therapist.

  • Clavicle fracture healing time

Therapy programs generally begin with gentle movement exercises. Your doctor will gradually include strengthening exercises to your program as your fracture heals.

Although it is a slow procedure, following your physical treatment plan is a crucial factor in returning to all the activities you delight in.

Surgical Complications

Individuals who make use of any sort of tobacco product, have diabetes, or are elderly are at a greater threat for problems throughout and after surgery. They are also most likely to have problems with injury and bone recovery. Make sure to talk with your doctor about the dangers and benefits of surgery for your clavicle fracture.

There are dangers related to any surgery, consisting of:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Pain.
  • Embolism in your leg.
  • Damage to blood vessels or nerves.
  • Queasiness.

The risks specific to surgery for collarbone fractures consist of:

  • Difficulty with bone recovery.
  • Lung injury.
  • Hardware inflammation.



Updated: August 7, 2016 — 1:45 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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