Clavicle Fracture

A clavicle fracture is a break in the collarbone. This is a common injury, especially in children. Collarbones do not harden until around the age of 20. Most collarbone fractures are treated with a simple arm sling. In some cases a figure-of-eight splint is used to help hold the broken bones in position. Although not often needed, surgery may be required if the bone fragments are not in the correct position (displaced).

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Apply ice to the injury for 15 to 20 minutes each hour while awake for 2 days. Put the ice in a plastic bag and place a towel between the bag of ice and your skin.

  • Wear the sling or splint constantly for as long as directed by your caregiver. You may remove the sling or splint for bathing or showering. Be sure to keep your shoulder in the same place as when the sling or splint is on. Do not lift your arm.

  • If a figure-of-eight splint is applied, it must be tightened by another person every day. Tighten it enough to keep the shoulders held back. Allow enough room to place the index finger between the body and strap. Loosen the splint immediately if you feel numbness or tingling in your hands.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Avoid activities that irritate or increase the pain for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.

  • Follow all instructions for follow-up with your caregiver. This includes any referrals, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Any delay in obtaining necessary care could result in a delay or failure of the injury to heal properly.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

You have pain and swelling that are not relieved with medications.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

Your arm is numb, cold, or pale, even when the splint is loose.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.