A clavicle, or collarbone, fracture is a common fracture seen in children and adults alike. Located over the top of the chest, between the breastbone (sternum) and the shoulder blade (scapula), it rests just beneath the skin and is easy to see and feel.
Clavicle fractures can occur in babies as they pass through the birth canal, children who fall onto their shoulder or outstretched arms, or athletes subjected to a forceful blow or fall at the outside of the shoulder. They can also occur during random accidents involving force to the outside of the shoulder.
Some of the symptoms associated with a clavicle fracture include pain, swelling, difficulty moving the arm and possibly bruising around the affected area.
Rarely is surgery required to treat a fractured clavicle, particularly if the fracture is simple, or closed, and there is no indication of displacement (malalignment). Conservative treatment generally entails a period of rest, anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce pain and swelling, as well as a sling or clavicle strap to provide immobilization while the bone heals. A “figure-of-8” splint is a popular splint in treating clavicle fractures. This type of splint wraps around the shoulders to keep them straight and back – a position of perfect posture.
These types of fractures generally heal within two months, without complication.