A clavicle fracture or broken collar bone as it is also known 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.
Broken collar bone symptoms
A clavicle fracture will usually have happened as a result of a fall onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm. Symptoms of a broken collar bone or fractured clavicle include pain on the collar bone which may be severe. There may be swelling over the area and a bony deformity may be felt.
Fractured clavicle causes
The collar bone (or clavicle) is the bone that runs along the front of the shoulder to the breast bone (sternum). This bone is usually fractured as a result of falling badly onto an outstretched arm or onto the shoulder itself. It can also be fractured in a collision with an opponent in a contact sport such as Rugby or American Football.
A clavicle fracture is one of the most common fractures in sporting activities. The likelihood of a clavicle fracture is increased if the playing surface is particularly hard. The bone usually fractures in it's middle third and is very painful.
Clavicle fracture treatment
Treatment of a broken collar bone will require medical attention. If you suspect you have a broken collar bone you should see a doctor immediately. An x-ray will confirm the fracture. The arm will then be immobilized with either a figure of eight bandage, sling or collar and cuff.
Pain relief is the main aim at this stage and will be achieved with paracetamol or anti-inflammatories. After a period of complete immobilization (1-2 weeks), the arm should then be gently moved to prevent shoulder stiffness.
Rehabilitation will involve regaining full range of motion using mobility exercises and stretches, as well as ensuring strength is not affected. The injury is likely to take 4 to 6 weeks to heal. You should not do any sports or even running until it has properly healed. You may, however, be able to cycle on a stationary bike. In the event of a non-union, surgery may be required, although this is uncommon as collar bone fractures generally heal well.