Clavicle (collar bone) Fracture
Your clavicle is one of two long thin bones at the top of your chest. These bones are often called “collar bones”.
What causes collar bone fractures?
Collar bone fractures are quite common, and can happen when a person falls on an outstretched hand or onto a shoulder, or in other accidents where the collar bone is hit directly.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain in shoulder.
- Problems moving shoulder or arm.
- Swelling and bruising.
- Shoulder deformity
How it is diagnosed?
The fracture is found with X-rays and physical exam.
What is the treatment?
Because of the position of the collar bone, it is not possible to wear a cast if you break this bone.
If you have a closed fracture, where the bone has not broken though the skin, you will likely have a sling for your arm. Patients often find with a collar bone fracture that it is more comfortable to wear the sling than have it off.
With an open fracture (when the bone breaks through the skin), and some closed fractures, your doctor may need to repair it with surgery. Afterward, you will likely wear a sling to support your arm while your collar bone heals.
What should I expect during healing?
You will need to limit your lifting while your bones mend. Your doctor will talk with you about how much you can lift and how long you need to restrict your movements. Based on how severe your injuries are, your doctor will tell you how much weight you can put on that arm. A doctor or therapist will give you instructions on exercises to help your injured shoulder recover and regain strength.
It usually takes about 12 weeks for the bone to heal completely, but this will depend on numerous things, including your age and your general health. You should not smoke as this slows bone healing. Check with your doctor before taking other medicines besides those prescribed. You should not take NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Aleve, Excedrin) as these also slow the healing of bones. You will need to follow up with your doctor in order to check your healing progress.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/08/2010
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