What is a clavicle fracture?
The clavicle is also known as the collarbone and connects the sternum to the shoulder blade. Clavicle fractures are common traumatic injuries, most frequently in young males. Nearly 80% of clavicle fractures occur in the middle third.
What causes clavicle fracture?
Clavicle fractures typically result after a fall onto an outstretched arm or shoulder. The middle third of the clavicle is the thinnest part of the bone and isn’t protected by other soft tissue structures. Clavicle fractures are common in contact athletes, cyclists, skateboarders, skiiers/snowboarders, etc.
What are the symptoms of a clavicle fracture?
The most common symptom of a clavicle fracture is pain. There is often a deformity and bruising over the fracture. Patients with a clavicle fracture are usually unable to lift their arm.
How is a clavicle fracture diagnosed?
Clavicle fractures are diagnosed using a combination of physical examination and X-ray. There is usually an obvious deformity, or “bump,” at the fracture site, in addition to bruising. X-rays are important to confirm the diagnosis, but also to help in determining the best treatment.
How is clavicle fracture treated?
Treatment of a clavicle fracture is dictated by the patient’s age and activity level, but often, surgical indications are highly influenced by findings on X-ray. Patients with minimal displacement of the fracture fragments can be treated without surgery.
Non-operative treatment includes a sling for 4-6 weeks with physical therapy beginning after week 2 to initiate gentle range of motion exercises.
Operative treatment is often recommended in the setting of significant fracture displacement. In these cases, surgery provides a more predictable and faster recovery.
Dr. Dare will work with you to determine the treatment option that will provide the most optimal outcome.