Clavicle Fracture

You have a broken clavicle or collar bone. This bone is fractured more often than any other large bone in the body. Clavicle fractures are usually caused by falling on your shoulder. Fractures that are widely separated often heal with a slight deformity or bump. Sometimes there is also damage to the nerves and blood vessels near the collar bone. Treatment of clavicle fractures includes:

  • A sling and/or figure-of-eight strap to help rest the injured shoulder. Immobilization of the injury for 3-4 weeks in children and 4-6 weeks in adults is usually recommended.

  • Apply ice packs to the site of the fracture for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days.

  • Pain medicine may be needed for several days.

  • Surgery is rarely needed to reduce the deformity or stabilize the bone. Surgical repair is most often done when:

  • The fracture fragments are separated by nearly an inch (2.5cm).

  • There is shortening of the clavicle through the fracture site of an inch (2.5cm).

Follow-up examination and x-rays are usually needed to check on the healing bone. Uncomplicated clavicle fractures will usually heal well in 6-8 weeks. You should be rechecked within 7-10 days by your caregiver for repeat x-rays.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop numbness, weakness or progressive swelling in the affected arm.

  • Your pain is getting worse or you are not improving.

  • You have any other questions or concerns.