Broken Collarbone

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is broken collarbone?

A broken collarbone occurs when a collarbone directly blows to the shoulder or falls onto an outstretched arm.  They also can follow direct trauma to the collarbone during a car collision or other accident.

How common is broken collarbone?

Collarbone breaks are common in strenuous sports such as football, lacrosse, and hockey, and in sports where there is a chance of a hard fall (such as biking, skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding). It can also happen to newborn babies, but rarely. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of broken collarbone?

The common symptoms of broken collarbone include:

  • swelling, tenderness, and bruising along the collarbone;
  • increased pain and crackling sensation when your child tries to move the shoulder or arm;
  • a visible deformity above the break;
  • slumping or sagging of the shoulder down and forward;
  • newborn children often cannot move their arm.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should visit your doctor immediately if:

  • Your arm is numb or has a pins and needles feeling.
  • You feel very pain and medicines do not work.
  • Your shoulder looks deformed and the bone is coming out of the skin.
  • You cannot move your arms.

Know the causes

What causes broken collarbone?

Broken collarbone is caused by a fall onto the shoulder.  Sometimes, it can also be the result of fall onto an outstretched hand or a direct blow to the collarbone itself. In newborn babies, broken collarbone can happen when they are delivered through narrow birth canal that makes their collarbone be compressed.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for broken collarbone?

There are many risk factors for broken collarbone, such as:

  • You are an athlete who often join strenuous activities, especially soccer, wrestling, hockey, rugby, and lacrosse. These sports can cause injury to your collarbone when you are falling.
  • Age: collarbone most commonly happen to people who are teenagers, but this does not mean your collarbone will be not broken when you are age. The risks increase when you reach the middle age.
  • High birth weight: having a high birth weight can make a baby more at risk for a collarbone fracture during labor and delivery.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is broken collarbone diagnosed?

To diagnose a collarbone fracture, doctor will ask about the symptoms and situation that the injury happened. They might check your feeling and strength in your arm, hand, and fingers to see if there is nerve damage.

If it is suspected that you have a broken collarbone, the doctor will recommend X-rays of the shoulder to make a further diagnosis. X-rays can show the image of broken collarbone about the place and how severe it is broken, or if any other bones are broken. In some cases, if the doctor needs to see the fracture in greater detail, a computerized tomography (CT) scan will be performed.

How is broken collarbone treated?

Common treatments for broken collarbone include:

  • Ice: applying ice packs around the broken area can help reduce the pain. This solution is usually necessary for the first two or three days after the injury occurs.
  • Arm support: to keep the arm immobilized, the doctor can use a sling or wrap. This can keep your collarbone from dislocation still it heals.
  • Medication are prescribed to manage your pain, or infections sometimes.
  • Physical therapy: you may feel hard to move your arm after being immobilized for a long time. And gentle exercises are necessary to help you reduce stiffness while still wearing the sling, as well as when the bone has healed.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage broken collarbone?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you manage the risk of broken collarbone:

  • Wear protective gear for sports.
  • Ask your coach how to reduce the risk of falling when you take part in sports.
  • Go on a diet with rich in calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your bone.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: August 18, 2016 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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