Clavicle Fracture

The most common cause of a clavicle fracture is a direct blow to the shoulder, from a fall, a collision, or a sports tackle. Fractured clavicles are often extremely painful and can make moving the impacted arm difficult. It also can cause the shoulder to sag, a grinding feeling if the arm is raised, and bruising, tenderness, and swelling. If the broken ends of the clavicle have not shifted, nonsurgical treatment may be able to keep them lined up correctly so they heal properly. These treatment options may include arm support (a sling or wrap), pain medication, and physical therapy, which will help restore muscle strength in the shoulder and prevent stiffness and weakness. If the fractured ends of the bone move out of alignment, surgery may be necessary to position the bone correctly and keep it that way while it heals. Some corrective surgeries require the use of plates, screws, or pins to hold the bone in place. Physical therapy following clavicle fracture surgery is designed to restore shoulder mobility and strength. While exercises will start out slowly, they will build gradually to help facilitate recovery and the return to normal activities (like work or sport). It takes most people several months to fully recover from a clavicle fracture.