Shoulder > Collarbone Fracture

What is the Collarbone?

The collarbone, or clavicle, runs from the middle of the chest to the shoulder. It connects the shoulder blade and shoulder to the front chest wall.

Active people may fracture the clavicle or injure the joints on either end of the clavicle. One of those joints is the sternoclavicular joint, on the chest side, and the other is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, on the shoulder end. An injury to the AC joint is commonly referred to as a shoulder separation.


Shoulder injuries happen in two ways:

   Direct - Caused by a strong, dislocating blow, such as going over the handlebars of your bike and landing on your shoulder.

   Indirect - Caused by falling on an outstretched hand or by a weak blow to the outside of the shoulder, which pushes the shoulder into the chest and compresses your collarbone.


The vast majority of clavicle fractures heal with non-operative treatment consisting of a figure-8 splint around the shoulders and an arm sling. Fractures frequently heal with some angulation that may leave a residual "bump" at the fracture site, but shoud\lder function is normal and there are no limitations in activity.

Physical Exam & Tests  

Pain and deformity at the site of the collarbone fracture establishes the diagnosis. The brachial plexus is a group of nervers that course under your collarbone on the way to your arm. Your doctor will examine your neurologic status to ensure that there is no associated nerve injury. X-rays of the collarbone confirm this diagnosis.

Sling or Brace
Open Reduction and Internal Fixation

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