A collarbone fracture is a break or crack in the bone in your upper chest. The collarbone connects your breastbone to part of your shoulder blade. The fracture may be just a bend or small crack in the bone, or the bone may break into pieces or shatter. Some fractures may stick out through the skin.
A broken collarbone can be caused by a fall or direct hit. For example, it may happen when you fall on your arm and hand or on your shoulder.
Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and how the injury happened. Your provider will examine you. Tests may include X-rays or other scans.
Your healthcare provider may put your collarbone in a "figure of 8" brace. The brace will hold your shoulders back (as if you were standing at attention). The brace can help keep your collarbone in the correct position and keep it from moving while it heals. You may also need to keep your arm in a sling.
Your provider may prescribe pain medicine. Broken collarbones can be very painful for the first few days.
Sometimes a broken collarbone needs to be repaired with surgery.
With treatment, the fracture may take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. You may need to do special exercises after the fracture has healed. Ask your healthcare provider about this.
Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes.
To keep swelling down and help relieve pain:
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Most collarbone fractures are caused by accidents that are not easy to prevent. Wear protective shoulder pads for contact sports or sports where your shoulders can be pushed into the boards or into the ground.