A common injury that is found after a fall or when a hit is taken to the shoulder is a broken collarbone, or what is sometimes called a fractured clavicle. This takes around six to eight weeks to heal in adults, while children usually heal in three to six weeks. The clavicle runs from the breastbone to each shoulder and is long and slender.
If you believe that you have injured your collarbone you are going to want to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may even want to visit your near emergency room if the pain is unbearable or you can see the bone protruding from the skin.
Seek quick medical help for a cracked collarbone. Most heal fine with pain meds, ice, a sling, rehabilitation and all you need is time.
Signs that the Collarbone is Broke
Pain is a huge sign that this is a problem. However, other signs include:
- The skin begins to bruise
- There is swelling or tenderness in the area
- If the bone damages the skin, there could be bleeding
- Numbness can occur if the nerves have become damaged
What to Do
If you are waiting to see your doctor, you should stabilize the arm as best as you can. Consider using a sling for the arm and try not to move this. You can also use over the counter medications for the pain, and put an ice pack on the injured area to help with swelling and pain.
Treating a Broken Collarbone
In most cases, a triangular sling is going to be used to put the arm in the right place, then the bone is going to heal naturally. An x-ray will be used to confirm that this bone is broken, and often the person is giving painkillers to help with the pain. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary to help the bone to heal. In most cases, a plate and screws are used to put this back into place.
Therapy starts soon after preliminary treatment. In most circumstances, it’s vital to start some motion to reduce stiffness in your shoulder. Once your arm suspension is taken off, your GP may suggest additional therapy exercises or physical rehabilitation to re-establish muscle power, joint flexibility and elasticity.
Surgery may be essential if the broken collarbone has pierced through your skin, is badly dislodged or is shattered in several pieces. Fragmented collarbone surgery generally comprises of securing fixation procedures —screws, plates or rods — to keep your bone in place during the healing process. Surgical problems, though infrequent, can consist of infection.