Clavicle Fracture

A Clavicle Fracture, also known as a broken collarbone, is a common injury that occurs from a direct blow to the shoulder. This can happen during a fall onto the shoulder or an outstretched hand, or from a direct hit to the clavicle. The clavicle, or collarbone, is a long bone that connects the trunk of the body to the arm and it lies just above the first rib.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a Clavicle Fracture can include:

  • Pain at the site of the fracture
  • Inability to lift the arm because of pain
  • A grinding sensation when the arm is raised
  • A noticeable deformity or “bump” over the fracture site
  • Bruising, swelling, and/or tenderness over the collarbone

Diagnosis

Diagnosing a Clavicle Fracture typically involves:

  • Physical Examination: A health care provider will examine the collarbone area for tenderness, swelling, and deformity.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are most commonly used to confirm the diagnosis. CT scans can provide more detailed information if the fracture is complex.

Prevention

Preventing a Clavicle Fracture involves:

  • Safety measures: Wear appropriate safety equipment and padding during sports or recreational activities.
  • Fall prevention: Take precautions to prevent falls such as removing trip hazards at home, and using nonslip mats in the bathroom.
  • Bone health: Good nutrition and regular exercise can keep bones strong.

Treatment

Treatment for a Clavicle Fracture may involve:

  • Non-Surgical Treatment: This may include arm support with a sling, pain medication, and physiotherapy after healing to restore movement and strength.
  • Surgical Treatment: Surgery may be needed if the bone pieces have significantly shifted out of place. Surgery typically involves repositioning the bone fragments into their normal alignment and then holding them in place with special screws and/or metal plates attached to the outer surface of the bone.
  • Rehabilitation: After treatment, whether surgical or non-surgical, physiotherapy will play a key role in regaining shoulder strength and motion.

Each treatment plan should be individualised, based on the patient’s needs and lifestyle, and should be developed in consultation with a health care provider.