A broken collarbone is a common injury, often resulting from a fall, direct blow to the shoulder, or sports-related accident. It’s especially prevalent in children and athletes involved in contact sports. The clavicle is the bone that connects the breastbone (sternum) to the shoulder blade (scapula) and is located above the first rib.
Symptoms of a broken collarbone may include:
- Pain: The area around the collarbone will be tender and painful.
- Swelling: Swelling and bruising may occur around the injury site.
- Limited movement: It may be challenging to move the arm on the affected side.
- Deformity: In severe cases, there may be a visible deformity or bump at the site of the break.
If you suspect you have a broken collarbone, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional will likely conduct a physical examination, possibly order X-rays, or other imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the injury.
Treatment for a broken collarbone may include:
- Sling or brace: Immobilizing the arm with a sling or brace to keep the collarbone stable and aid in the healing process.
- Pain management: Over-the-counter pain medications can help manage discomfort during the healing process.
- Physical therapy: Gentle exercises and range-of-motion activities may be recommended to prevent stiffness and promote recovery.
- Surgery (in some cases): If the fracture is severe, displaced, or involves multiple pieces, surgery may be necessary to realign the bones and secure them with plates, screws, or pins.
Recovery time can vary based on the severity of the fracture and the individual’s overall health. Generally, it takes several weeks for the bone to heal, and it may take a few months to regain full strength and range of motion.