What is a collarbone fracture?

The collarbone or clavicle links the shoulder to the chest wall. A collarbone fracture might be brought about by either indirect trauma during a fall on an extended arm or in uncommon cases, from a direct blow to the collarbone.

Sports that puts one at high risk for direct or indirect ordeal from falls or contact might result to a collarbone fracture. These sports include hockey, football and skiing. Additionally, activities involving high velocity might also result to a fracture.



The pain and swelling can be reduced with the application of ice and anti-inflammatory medications or oral analgesics.

  • Acute clavicle or shoulder pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Pain during arm movement

Management of a collarbone fracture

Right after sustaining a collarbone fracture, the injured arm must be immobilized with a sling for comfort. The pain and swelling can be reduced with the application of ice and anti-inflammatory medications or oral analgesics.

Medical care

In most cases of collarbone fractures, they are treated without requiring surgery. Most are generally appeased with the functionality of the joint despite the presence of a bump where the fracture healed.

Surgical care

Surgical intervention might be needed if the fractured fragments are significantly separated. Surgery is also suggested if nerve vessel damage occurred or if the healing resulted to a mal-united position. In addition, if the fracture has pierced through the skin, surgery is required to lower the risk for infection.

Surgery often includes the use of devices to repair the fracture site from within. Various devices can be used to repair a collarbone fracture.

Recovery after surgery

Care after fixation of the collarbone includes limited use of the affected arm for a 6-8-week period in which the arm can be utilized for daily activities. Nevertheless, the individual must avoid reaching, lifting, pulling or pushing until allowed by the doctor.

The healing of a collarbone fracture might take up to 4 months, but early healing generally occurs in the initial 2 months where movement can be increased and the rehabilitation program can be started.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on collarbone fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this type of fracture, register for a first aid and CPR course with Saskatoon First Aid.


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