Fracture of the Collarbone

From Impact to Healing, What You Need to Know

A fracture of the collarbone, medically known as a clavicle fracture, is a common injury that often results from a fall, direct blow to the shoulder, or during birth. The clavicle, or collarbone, is a long, slender bone that runs horizontally between the top of the breastbone and the shoulder blade, playing a pivotal role in connecting the arm to the body and providing shoulder stability.

When the collarbone breaks, it’s usually quite apparent. Individuals typically experience immediate pain and may have difficulty moving their arm due to discomfort. Swelling, tenderness, and bruising over the collarbone area are common symptoms. In more severe cases, a noticeable deformity or “bump” may be visible where the bone has broken. Some people might even hear a snapping or grinding noise at the time of the injury.

We Can Help
Diagnosis of a clavicle fracture involves a physical examination and imaging tests, such as X-rays, to determine the break’s location and severity. Treatment depends on the fracture’s specifics, including its alignment and the bone pieces’ separation. Many collarbone fractures can heal without surgery, using conservative methods such as arm support in a sling, pain management with medications, and gradual, guided physical therapy to restore movement and strength.
However, if the bone fragments are significantly displaced or the skin is broken, surgical intervention might be necessary. Surgery typically involves the use of plates, screws, or rods to realign and stabilize the fractured bone, ensuring proper healing.

Recovery times vary, but many people can expect to regain full function within a few months. Children and younger individuals often heal more quickly than adults. During the healing process, it’s crucial to follow medical advice closely, including adhering to any recommended physical therapy, to ensure the best possible outcome and minimize the risk of complications.