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Fracture of the Collarbone

A fracture of the collarbone, or clavicle, is a common injury that often results from a fall onto the shoulder, a direct blow to the clavicle, or a fall on an outstretched arm. This type of fracture is particularly prevalent in sports and among young adults.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of a clavicle fracture typically include pain at the site of the break, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. The injured area may have a bump or deformity, and moving the arm on the affected side can be painful and difficult. Patients often hold their arm against their body to minimize movement of the bone and reduce pain.

Diagnosis involves a physical examination and imaging tests, usually an X-ray, to confirm the fracture and assess its severity.


Treatment depends on the fracture’s nature and severity. Most clavicle fractures can be treated non-surgically with a sling to immobilize the arm and allow the bone to heal. Pain management may include over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs to reduce swelling.

In cases where the bone fragments are displaced or the skin is threatened, surgical intervention might be necessary. Surgery typically involves fixing the bone fragments with plates and screws to restore the clavicle’s normal alignment.


Recovery time varies based on the severity of the fracture and the treatment method. Non-surgical healing often takes 6-8 weeks, while surgical recovery may be longer. Physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery process, helping to restore strength and mobility to the shoulder.

Fractures of the collarbone are typically treatable injuries, with the majority healing well and allowing individuals to return to their normal activities. Proper care and adherence to treatment plans are crucial for a full recovery.