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Fractured Clavicle – Collarbone Fracture


A fractured clavicle, also called collarbone fracture, is a break in the clavicle--the prominent bone in your upper chest that attaches your breastbone to your shoulder blade (scapula). You may get a fractured clavicle if you
  • Fall on your outstretched hand (FOOSH injury)
  • Fall on your shoulder
  • Are hit directly in your clavicle.

Symptoms of Fractured Clavicle

Two of the most common symptoms of a fractured clavicle are severe pain and swelling. You may also have the following symptoms:
  • Tenderness at the site of your injury
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty moving or inability to move your arm or shoulder
  • A bump or lump at the area of the fracture

You may even hear a “crack” or snapping sound at the time of your injury.

A fractured clavicle is a medical emergency. If you experience any of these symptoms or if you are unsure of the severity of your injury, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will examine your clavicle, looking for tenderness and swelling. You doctor may also order an x ray of your clavicle to confirm a fracture and determine the severity of your injury.

Treatment

Treatment for a fractured clavicle depends on the type and severity of your injury. Most cases of fractured clavicle can be effectively managed with conservative treatments (without surgery), which may include
  • immobilization using a “figure-of-8” bandaging / arm sling
  • Pain medications
  • Ice application
  • Physical therapy

Surgery may be recommended by your doctor, especially if your clavicle is broken into several pieces.

It may take about 6 to 12 weeks for your clavicle to heal. During your recovery, physical therapy can help you manage your pain and provide you with progressive exercises to strengthen your muscles.

Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Fracture Clavicle / Collarbone Fracture

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation and examination. Your therapist will formulate a comprehensive treatment plan based on your needs and goals. Physical therapy treatments may include
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Gentle range of motion (ROM) exercises
  • Gradual strengthening exercises
  • Postural and flexibility exercises
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Joint mobilization
  • Patient education
    • Rest, self care and precautions
    • Use of arm sling or bandaging
    • Return to activity plan
    • Injury Prevention
    • Home treatment plan

All of the physical therapy treatments mentioned above will not be provided to you at one time. Only your personal physical therapist / physiotherapist can determine what treatment options are best for you.

Exercising is a key to your return to your usual activity. However, before starting with exercises, make sure that your physical therapist says that it is safe for you to perform them. Your therapist may provide you with a list of exercises that you can perform. He or she will teach you how to perform the exercises properly.

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