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Broken Collarbone, Broken Clavicle


Babies, teenagers and athletes are at the top of the list of people most likely to break the bone connecting the breastbone to the shoulder blade. Depending on the severity of the fracture, this bone (called a collarbone or clavicle) may heal on its own. Keep reading to learn more.


Broken Collarbone, Broken Clavicle

Causes & Triggers

You can break a collarbone by falling hard with your arm outstretched. You can also break a collarbone if you are hit hard on the shoulder. This injury can happen to athletes, during road accidents, and it can be caused by accidents in the home.

  • Accident (especially motor-vehicle)
  • Acute trauma
  • Direct hit
  • Fall
  • Sports injuries

Signs & Symptoms

If you break a collarbone, you feel pain and tenderness in your shoulder. It may be hard for you to move or lift your arm. Your shoulder may sag, and you may see a bump in the skin because of the shifted bone. You shoulder may be bruised and swollen.

  • Bruising
  • Bulging appear at/near shoulder
  • Cracking
  • Grinding
  • Inability to move shoulder
  • Pain (especially with shoulder movement)
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

Tips & Treatment

Your broken collarbone may be treated with a sling and with medications to help your pain. Physical therapy may also help. If your collarbone has shifted out of position, you may need surgery. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that is right for you.

  • Surgery may be necessary if bones are misaligned; otherwise the bones may heal on their own.
  • Consult an orthopedic specialist for symptom relief and treatment options.

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