Clavicular Fractures

Clavicle fracture, also known as collarbone fracture, is a common injury among adults and children, and makes up more than 50% of all shoulder fractures. The clavicle bone is located in front of the shoulder, between your sternum and shoulder blade.

This injury generally occurs following a direct hit to the shoulder, such as when one falls from a bicycle, or when playing sports such as football or hockey. This fracture can also happen when falling on an outstretched arm.

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Structures involved

The clavicle, or collarbone, which is the link between the ​shoulder blade​ and the sternum, is involved in this injury. The fracture typically occurs around the midsection of the bone, but can also occur at the ends. Secondarily, certain l​igaments​ of the acromioclavicular​ and sternoclavicular joint can be overstretched during the injury.

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Signs & Symptoms that you may experience

Everyone will react differently after a bone fracture and recovery will d​epend on the severity and the type of fracture.

A clavicle fracture can cause but is not limited to, localized pain on the clavicle, a bulge on or near your shoulder and localized swelling. Lifting your arm, sleeping on the affected shoulder and wearing a backpack can cause pain.

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Recovery

Your rehabilitation plan, health status, fitness level and nutrition affect recovery time. Most of the time, you can expect to get back to a fully functional level from a clavicle fracture. The bone recovery time frame, called consolidation, will typically be around 6 to 12 weeks.

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▶​ ​WHAT TO DO

Early-stage

Relative rest with a splint is a good way to protect your shoulder against further damage during the consolidation phase where your fractured bone heals, but it is important to avoid overprotecting your injury. Wearing a splint during a certain period will be necessary to ensure full recovery. After an immobilization period, progressive return to specific range of motion and strengthening exercises will allow better recovery.

Rehabilitation

Follow your practitioner’s advice. It will help you manage the different phases of the recovery process and will increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation. Your practitioner will assist you during your rehabilitation program in order to regain your normal range of motion, strength and endurance, optimal motor control and functional status. Keep in mind that doing a light cardiovascular exercise can increase blood circulation and promote better recovery following a bone fracture.

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Don’t rely on passive treatment only. Each phase of the rehabilitation process is important. Patients that are actively involved in their treatment plan tend to recover faster. When bone consolidation is underway and pain is well managed in collaboration with your therapist, you should reintroduce light mobility and strengthening exercises as tolerated.