What is a Clavicle Fracture?
One of the most common types of fractures is the broken collar bone or clavicle fracture.
Your clavicle is the long narrow bone that is responsible for connecting your arm to your body. It is situated between your shoulder blade and your ribcage. When you experience a clavicle fracture, it often breaks either where it connects to your shoulder blade or your ribcage.
Many broken clavicles happen when you are hit hard in the shoulder. This could happen while participating in sporting activities like mountain biking, when you fall, or during a car accident. Sometimes babies may even experience a broken clavicle during birth.
Sometimes people who are not getting enough calcium and Vitamin D may be more likely to suffer from a clavicle fracture.
Symptoms of a Clavicle Fracture
If you think you have a broken collar bone, there are some common symptoms you may experience. Here are 8 symptoms of a broken clavicle:
- Swelling and bruising in your collarbone area
- Difficulty seeing or spotty or blurred vision
- A lump on the area that is fractured
- Extreme difficulty and pain while lifting the arm
- Shoulder dropping or sagging
- A grating feeling when you lift your arm
- Tingling in your fingers
Clavicle fractures can range from more mild to very serious. If you have a clavicle fracture, you should see an orthopedic physician for a thorough medical evaluation and treatment. You will likely have to have some type of x-ray or CAT scan to get a close examination of the injury.
One of the reasons why it is so important for you to seek medical help if you fracture your clavicle is that bones sometimes shift and begin to heal in an incorrect position following a break. Sometimes referred to as a “malunion” – this can significantly affect the way you move your arm and your range of motion.
Clavicle Fracture Treatment
Sometimes people with a broken clavicle need surgery. Typically you will need surgery for a broken clavicle if the broken ends of your bones are not properly aligned.
Orthopedic surgery will put your bones into the right position for proper healing. Sometimes plates, screws or pins are used to hold your fractured clavicle into proper positioning for healing.
Following orthopedic surgery for a broken clavicle, be prepared to do special exercises often taught by a physical therapist. The shoulder exercises will help strengthen your arm during the healing process.
Healing from a clavicle fracture ranges from a few weeks to months, depending in large part on the severity of the break. Compared with adults, kids may also heal considerably faster after a broken collar bone.
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