Clavicle Fracture Treatment in Glendale, CA
The clavicle, or collar bone, is an S-shaped bone that connects your scapula (shoulder blade) to your sternum (breastbone). It functions as a strut to keep the scapula in place so the arm can hang freely.
Clavicle fractures account for about 3% of all fractures. They occur more commonly in young active individuals. The most common type of clavicle fracture is in the midshaft (middle of the bone). Midshaft fractures account for about 80% of all clavicle fractures. Typical mechanism of injury is falling directly onto the side of the shoulder.
Symptoms include pain and bruising. You may notice a deformity to the clavicle if one of the fracture ends is pushing up the underlying muscle and skin.
In medical terminology, we use the term fracture to describe a broken bone. Fractures can be displaced, meaning the bone has shifted or moved, or non-displaced. They can be simple, meaning one fracture line (commonly referred to as a ‘clean break’), or comminuted, meaning multiple pieces. Fractures can be closed, meaning the skin is intact, or open, meaning the bone breaks through the skin (commonly referred to as compound fractures).
Most clavicle fractures can be treated non operatively if minimally displaced. A sling is used for 6 weeks to facilitate bone healing. Physical therapy is recommended to restore full range of motion and strength. After the fracture has healed, patients can return to full activity as they feel comfortable.
If a clavicle fracture is displaced, surgery may be required to align the bone to allow for proper healing. Fractures that heal incompletely or in the wrong position may lead to chronic pain and shoulder dysfunction. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The bones are aligned and a metal plate is placed across the fracture. Screws are placed through the plate and into the bone to secure the fractured bone in place. The body will then heal the fracture by growing new bone across the fracture site. Bone healing takes about 6 weeks at which time patients can resume most activities. We recommend 12 weeks of healing before returning to contact or extreme sports.