The collarbone or clavicle is the long bone located at the top part of the chest. A broken collarbone or a clavicle fracture is a common orthopedic injury, especially among infants and young children. The most frequent cause of a broken clavicle is trauma from a forceful impact to the shoulders. This trauma can be from a sports-related injury, a bad fall, or vehicle collision. In new born infants, it can result from a birth complications.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
You will feel immediate pain and hear a snapping sound when a fracture in the clavicle happens. This pain can become sharp with the slightest movements, and you can expect bruising and swelling to follow. A clavicle fracture can also result in a slumped shoulder. A dislocated collarbone may appear as a bump under the skin. Consult with a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Your doctor will review your medical history and conduct a physical examination to evaluate any other injuries. The shoulder will be thoroughly inspected as well as the nerves in the arms to make sure no other damage has occurred. An x-ray of the clavicle will also be taken to determine the location and extent of the fracture.
First Aid Treatment
With a clavicle fracture, any movement of your shoulders should be as little as possible. For immediate first aid, an ice pack wrapped in a towel can be applied directly to the collarbone.
Most cases of clavicle fractures heal without surgical treatment. It is most commonly treated with medical slings or a figure eight splint. Over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications are also used to ease pain.
A sling positions the shoulder and supports the arm in a way that will allow the fracture to heal and move back in place. Meanwhile, a figure-eight splint is wrapped around the front of the shoulders and then crosses at the back. This method helps maintain proper posture while the bone heals. To help regain motion and strength following treatment, you can undergo rehabilitation therapy.
In cases where surgery for a clavicle fracture is necessary, the bone is secured with surgical hardware, such as screws and plates. The surgeon aligns the bone back to its proper position. The surgeon may or may not remove the surgical device used to secure the bone after it has healed.
Surgery may be performed for broken bones that ripped through the skin and pose a threat to nearby nerves, blood vessels, or joints. It is also necessary for fractures that fail to heal with nonsurgical treatment. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all procedure options for clavicle fractures.
Clavicle Fracture Treatment in North Dakota
At The Bone & Joint Center, we provide treatments for a wide range of bone, muscle, and joint problems, such as a broken collarbone. Together with our team of board-certified and fellowship-trained bone and joint physicians, we practice patient-centered care with state-of-the-art treatments for your bone and joint problems.
If you are suffering from a broken collarbone, make an appointment with one of our bone and joint specialists. Call us at (701) 946-7400 or (866) 900-8650, or you may also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!