Fractures of the clavicle are common in people of all ages. Learn more about this collarbone injury.

INJURY
Clavicle Fracture

ALSO KNOWN AS
Broken collarbone

ABOUT
The clavicle is between the ribcage and the shoulder blade and connects the arm to the body. While most breaks occur in the middle of the clavicle bone, the bone can occasionally break where it attaches to the ribcage or shoulder blade.

COMMON INJURY
Fractures of the clavicle are common in people of all ages and are most often caused by a direct trauma to the shoulder such as from a fall or car crash. Falling onto an outstretched arm can also cause a broken clavicle and in infants, passing through the birth canal can fracture a clavicle.

DIAGNOSIS
There is generally an obvious bump at the fracture site and even gentle pressure can bring great pain. After a physical exam, an x-ray or CT scan will be ordered.

NON SURGICAL TREATMENT
Arm-slings or a figure-of-eight wrap is most often used to comfort the arm after initial injury, allowing stabilizing of the area. Then through medication and physical therapy, the collarbone will begin to heal.

SURGICAL TREATMENT
Surgical treatment is necessary when the bones have shifted out of place and do not line up correctly. Through the short-term use of plates and screws, the bones will be lined up until healed. Upon removal of the plates/screws, pins can be used to hold the bones in place for the long-term. Coupled with physical therapy, the healing process is slow, yet proven successful.

Clavicle
The clavicle is part of your shoulder and connects your ribcage to your arm.
Image courtesy of AAOS