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Clavicle Fracture: Treatment and Recovery

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The clavicle is a long and thin bone located between the sternum and the shoulder, any blow that this part of the body receives or any fall that directly impacts the shoulder are sufficient causes for a fracture, however, the elderly, lactating women and athletes Those who practice cycling, rugby or skiing are at higher risk of suffering one of these injuries.

A clavicle fracture often occurs from a fall where you landed on your shoulder, from avoiding a fall with your arm fully extended, or from a car, motorcycle, or bicycle accident. Because this bone does not harden until adulthood, this condition is also common in children and adolescents. There are several types of collarbone injury, and each type may suggest different care. We invite you to continue reading this article by FastlyHealon clavicle fracture: treatment and recovery .

Types of clavicle fracture

Clavicle fractures are believed to account for 5% of trauma treated in a hospital emergency room, therefore we are dealing with one of the most common bone injuries after sprains. The bone can break in three different areas:

  • Middle third fracture: The fracture in the middle third of the bone accounts for almost 80% of clavicle injuries. It is a break in the middle of the bone.
  • Distal third fracture: occurs at the end of the bone, just where the clavicle connects with the shoulder. This injury is the most common in older people or people with osteoporosis.
  • Medial proximal third fracture: this is the least frequent, only 5%, and the break occurs at the other end of the clavicle, where it connects to the sternum.

Clavicle fracture symptoms

Everyone has two clavicles, each of which helps keep the shoulders aligned. The first indicative of this injury is the cracking sound that is heard when the bone breaks and separates, most commonly, from the shoulder. The symptoms of a clavicle fracture are:

  • Very severe pain
  • Difficulty moving the shoulder and arm.
  • Sharp pain when doing any type of movement.
  • The shoulder may appear to be off the hook.
  • Cracking or any noise when raising the arm.
  • Swelling and bruising on the clavicle.

When the clavicle fracture is very serious, the following symptoms occur:

  • Loss of sensation.
  • Tingling or numbness of the arm and hand.
  • Deformed clavicle.
  • Bone outside the skin.

How do you know if it is a clavicle fracture?

Due to the pain and inability to move experienced by a person who has just fractured his clavicle, it will be necessary to go to an emergency center. Once there, although the diagnosis can be verified with the naked eye, imaging tests will be necessary to determine the area where the break occurred and treatment for the clavicle fracture. Some of the most common tests to diagnose this injury are:

  • Radiography: is the technique used to diagnose more than 98% of bone lesions. In these cases, an X-ray of both clavicles is usually performed to check the damage and rule out other complications. If the lesion is evident on the radiograph, no further exploratory tests will be necessary.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: it is much deeper, since it allows images of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments and even blood vessels to be obtained.
  • Computed tomography: X-rays can be used to obtain images of the injured clavicle. In some cases, the doctor may order to inject contrast (iodine) to obtain more detailed images of the lesion.

Clavicle fracture treatment

The treatment of clavicle fracture does not include the use of plaster splints and will depend on the degree and type of injury, let’s see:

  • If the bone is aligned when the broken ends of the injury coincide, it will be necessary to use a sling to immobilize the bone and improve symptoms.
  • If the bone is NOT aligned if the broken ends of the bone do not match it will be necessary to perform surgery to treat the clavicle fracture.

Surgical intervention is most recommended when the clavicle needs to heal quickly, as is the case in professional athletes whose career and competitions depend exclusively on the health and movement of this bone. Surgery is also the ideal treatment when the bone has come out of the skin and when nerves or blood vessels are involved. This operation suggests the placement of a nail or compression plate if the fracture is very severe.

To relieve pain, it is advisable to apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes. On the first day of the injury, it is important to apply the ice every hour to avoid pain and help reduce inflammation. Then, for the next 4 days after the injury, it is recommended to apply ice for 20 minutes every three hours. Also, the doctor will prescribe the consumption of over-the-counter pain relievers for squid discomfort.

Clavicle fracture recovery

How long does a clavicle fracture take to heal? This is the question that all people who have injured this bone ask themselves, however, there is not a set time for all cases, since recovery will depend on where the clavicle was broken, the alignment of the bones and age, as children may take 6 weeks to recover while adults three months.

Therefore, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter to avoid complications that may delay recovery. Here are some tips during recovery:

  • When you can move your arm without pain, do gentle exercises to increase arm strength. As the arm can be moved, the sling will become less and less essential.
  • Avoid practicing any type of sport for at least a month or until your doctor says otherwise.
  • Finger rings should not be worn until cleared by physician.
  • If the pain does not go away with medication, you experience numbness and tingling in the arm and there is difficulty moving the fingers, it is necessary to go to the doctor again.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Clavicle fracture: treatment and recovery , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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