Clavicle Fracture Symptoms and Treatment
What is a clavicle fracture?
The clavicle is more commonly referred to as the collarbone. A clavicle fracture occurs when there is a break in this bone. Symptoms of a clavicle fracture include:
- Pain in the clavicle area
- Sharp pain when moving, or pain so intense it causes immobility
- Bruising, swelling, and tenderness
- Visible deformity of the collarbone
What causes a clavicle fracture?
A clavicle fracture is most often caused by direct impact to the area, which makes it a common car accident injury. Other causes include falling and landing on the shoulder or an outstretched arm.
How is a clavicle fracture diagnosed?
Your doctor will first ask you questions about your accident and how your collarbone was injured. Next, he will examine the area, where there will generally be obvious signs of a fracture (a bump, pain when pressure is applied, etc). Finally, your doctor will send you for an x-ray of your shoulder area to pinpoint the exact location of the fracture. This is to ensure that you have not suffered any other serious damage in the area, and also to determine the extent and severity of your injury.
How do you treat a clavicle fracture?
Clavicle fracture treatment varies widely depending on the severity of the fracture. Generally, these injuries will heal without surgery, but occasionally it is necessary to undergo surgery.
- Nonsurgical treatment: If your bones have not shifted too far out of place, you may not require surgery to fix a broken collarbone. In this case, the doctor will immediately put your arm in a sling to immobilize the area while the bone grows back together. Depending on your pain level, you may also be treated for pain management during the healing process. After the fracture begins to heal, your doctor will send you to see a physical therapist, who will help you regain the strength that you lost while not using the muscles in the area.
- Surgical treatment: If your bones have been moved out of place due to the force involved in your accident, you may need surgery to realign them while they heal. During this surgery, your bones will be realigned with pins, plates, or screws. Pins are removed after healing, but plates and screws are usually permanent but not noticeable.
What is the recovery time for a clavicle fracture?
Your recovery time depends on a number of factors, including your age, the severity of your fracture, and your health. On average, you can return to regular activities within three months of your injury, with full strength returning to the area within 9-12 months. Children and teenagers tend to heal from these injuries slightly faster.
If you’ve been in a car accident in New Jersey and need treatment for a clavicle fracture, please call us at 866-609-4448 or fill out our quick contact form for a FREE consultation.
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