By Dr. Michael Marchetti

Dr Marchetti clavicle fracture

Orthopedic Trauma is a term used to describe an injury to the musculoskeletal system as a result of a serious and sudden injury. One of the most common orthopedic trauma injuries is a clavicle fracture, commonly referred to as a broken collarbone. Clavicle fractures are most often a result of a direct blow to the shoulder, such as the result of a fall or car accident. A clavicle fracture can be very painful and may make arm movements difficult to perform.

What is a Clavicle?

To most, the clavicle is better known as the collarbone. It is located between the ribcage and the shoulder blade and connects the arms to the rest of the body.

Symptoms of a Clavicle Fracture

If you have experienced orthopedic trauma to the clavicle and experience any of the symptoms below, contact an orthopedic trauma specialist. There is a risk of mistreatment otherwise.

  • A grinding sensation when you attempt to raise your arm
  • A bump near the break
  • A deformity in the area
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Tenderness near the collarbone
  • Sagging of the shoulder (either downward or forward)
  • Severe pain and inability to lift the arm

Treatment Options for Clavicle Fractures

In many cases, broken collarbones are able to heal without surgery. If a clavicle fracture occurs, your orthopedic trauma surgeon will evaluate your condition and determine the best method of treatment. Non-surgical treatment options may include one or more of the following:

  • Pain Medication to aid in alleviating the pain associated with the fracture
  • Physical Therapy to regain shoulder and arm strength
  • Arm Support, such as a sling, to keep your arm and shoulder in the proper position while the injury heals

In more serious situations, surgery may be necessary. Surgical treatment options may include surgery to add plates and screws or pins to hold the repositioned bone in place to promote proper healing.

Follow Up Care for a Clavicle Fracture

After a fracture to the clavicle, it can take several months for the injury to heal. Most patients are able to return to their regular activities after 3 months of healing, once approved by their orthopedic trauma specialist. It is important to speak with your doctor before returning to certain activities, such as sports. While your fracture is healing, there is a higher chance for re-injury.

Learn More

If you are suffering from an injury to your collarbone, contact the orthopedic trauma specialists at South Shore Orthopedics today for evaluation. Our team is dedicated to providing patients with fracture care using conservative, non-surgical treatments when able. Request an appointment today.