What Are Clavicle Injuries?

What Are Clavicle Injuries?

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The clavicle or collarbone is a curved bone that runs from the breastbone to the shoulder blades. It connects the shoulder blade and shoulder to the front part of the chest wall. The clavicle is susceptible to fractures because it lies close to the surface of the skin above several important nerves and blood vessels. Sternoclavicular and acromioclavicular joints are at the ends of the collarbone. Sternoclavicular joint is near the neck region, whereas, acromioclavicular joint is where the collarbone ends connecting the shoulder.

Collarbone fracture and shoulder separations are most common amongst sports players who play soccer, football and hockey. Infants, too, can sometimes suffer a broken collarbone during the birth process.

  • Causes:

Collarbone fractures are often caused by a direct blow to the shoulder. This can happen due to a fall and directly landing on your shoulder or because of a sudden massive jerk, eg. car accident. Clavicle fracture can also happen when you fall onto an outstretched arm or a blow to the outside of the shoulder.

  • Symptoms:

When your collar bone is broken or fractured, you might feel a crack and it’ll become very difficult for your to move your arm. Additional difficulties and symptoms include:
Inability to lift your arm
A grinding sensation when you attempt to raise or move your arm
Swelling
A bulge on or near your shoulder region
Crackling sound when you try to move your shoulder
Tenderness

  • Risk Factors:

The collarbone doesn’t harden completely until you reach 20 years of age. Hence, children and teenagers are at high risk of a broken collarbone. After 20, the risk decreases, but then rises again when you begin to grow older than 40 years, as bone strength starts decreasing with age.

  • Treatments:

Broken collarbones can heal without surgery. However, you may have to undergo a surgery if the broken ends of the bones have shifted out of place and do not line up correctly.

Immediately after injury, immobilize your broken shoulder for which you may have to wear an arm sling. However, in most cases it is important to begin some movement to minimize stiffness in your shoulder while you’re still wearing the sling. But make sure you do that only when your physiotherapist asks you to do so. Once your sling has been removed, your doctor may advise you to perform some rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy. Physical therapies will help you regain muscle strength, flexibility and joint motion.

Once your bone begins to heal, the pain will gradually decrease. Slowly and gently your physiotherapist will ask you to perform shoulder and elbow exercises. These exercises will help prevent stiffness and weakness. He may later ask you to perform strenuous exercises once the fracture is completely healed.