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Clavicle Fracture

A clavicle fracture is a break in the clavicle bone (collarbone), which connects the sternum to the shoulder. The clavicle can fracture in three different places:

Middle third - The middle of the clavicle and the most common site for a clavicle fracture

Distal third - The end of the clavicle connecting to the shoulder

Medial third - The end of the clavicle connecting to the sternum

Causes of Clavicle Fracture

A clavicle fracture is caused by trauma to the clavicle bone. The trauma is usually caused by a direct blow to the clavicle, such as falling on an outstretched arm. Clavicle fractures in infants can occur when newborn babies pass through the birth canal.

Symptoms of Clavicle Fracture

Most often, patients have shoulder pain and difficulty in moving their arms. Swelling and bruising around a broken bone are also quite common. After the swelling has subsided, the fracture is often easily felt through the skin. If you feel you have a clavicle fracture, see your physician for proper examination and treatment.

Home Treatment for Clavicle Fracture

After professional evaluation and treatment, there are several things that you can do at home to help the pain and healing:

  • Rest: Treatment of clavicle fractures most commonly involves resting the affected area. There are several types of shoulder slings available; one commonly used is called a "figure-of-eight" splint, which is a brace that wraps around the shoulders to hold them back similar to a soldier standing at attention.

  • Ice Packs - Shoulder ice packs provide compression and cold therapy at the same time to help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Ice should be applied 3-4 times per day for 15-20 minutes for the best results. Always use a protective layer between you and the ice pack to protect the skin from frostbite, unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer or physician.

  • Magnetic Therapy - Many people believe that magnetic therapy speeds up the healing process. There are various magnets, but the best type to use on the shoulder is the Stick On Magnets. Consult your physician prior to using magnetic therapy.

Medical Treatment for Clavicle Fracture

An X-ray will show a fracture if one exists. A doctor will perform an examination to determine whether the nerves and blood vessels surrounding the clavicle are intact. Surgery is usually only required when either the skin is broken or if the fracture is severely displaced or shortened. If the clavicle is not displaced, the shoulder is usually immobilized for 6-8 weeks. If the clavicle is displaced, surgical correction may be indicated.

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