Recognizing and Treating a Broken Collarbone 

By St Helena Sports Medicine
October 15, 2016

Your clavicle, commonly known as the collarbone, is the bone of the shoulder joint that connects your arm to the rest of your body. Fractures to the collarbone occur most frequently in athletes. A direct blow to your shoulder on the field, rink or court is a major cause of a broken collar bone. Falling onto your shoulder or onto your outstretched hand can also increase your chances of breaking your collar bone.

When you fracture your broken collarbone, you experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Pain that worsens with shoulder movement
  • Stiffness or inability to move the shoulder
  • Bruising and/or scrapes directly over the broken bone
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • An uneven appearance of the shoulders
  • A cracking or popping sound at time of impact and/or when you try to move your shoulder

If you suspect a collarbone fracture, seek prompt medical attention. Your doctor will examine your shoulder to assess whether your collarbone is, indeed, fractured. And he or she may take x-rays to determine how severe the fracture is. The majority of broken collarbones heal well by keeping the shoulder immobile with a sling, icing the joint, taking pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen, and giving your injury adequate time to heal.

When the injury is severe (as with a complicated break), your doctor may recommend surgery to straighten the broken bone and insert rods, plates or screws into the bone to keep it in place while it heals.

Getting Back in the Game
There are many factors that dictate how soon you can resume sports participation after a broken collar bone. It ultimately depends on the rate at which your bone completely heals, as well as being completely pain-free with full range of motion and shoulder strength. Typically, you will be required to wear a sling for up to six weeks

Want to learn more about determining and treating a broken collarbone? Contact Napa Vacaville Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.
For more information about sports-related injuries, contact us today.  You can reach us directly at 707.258.2547 in Napa or 707.446.6206 in Vacaville.

Shoulder Injury


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