Clavicle Fractures

Fractures of the collarbone, also known as clavicle fractures, are one of the more common injuries. Typically caused by a direct blow to the shoulder. A clavicle fracture can cause moderate to severe pain, discomfort and swelling due to the bleeding which occurs at the break site. 

Moving the arm can be painful, as this causes the broken bones to rub against one another. Pain can be managed by placing the arm in a sling, applying ice compression and administering pain medication as necessary.

Your medical team will prepare a tailored treatment plan with the main goal to ensure that the broken bone has the best chance of healing, and that it heals in the proper position to allow full use of the arm.

Each collar bone fracture is treated differently, depending upon the location of the break and its severity.  Treatment, whether surgical or nonsurgical, should be decided within the first week, as surgery, if necessary, should be performed within two weeks from the break.

Nonsurgical treatment involves the use of a sling for comfort, with use of the arm as tolerated. The sling can be taken off after one to two weeks when the pain becomes manageable. We usually instruct patients to avoid overhead use of the arm for four weeks, and avoid heavy lifting until fracture healing.  The fracture will usually heal after six to eight weeks, when normal use of the arm can start.  Formal physiotherapy is occasionally required.  

Surgery is usually considered for fractures that have a large separation.  Research has shown that surgery for these fractures often leads to an improved outcome. Surgery involves an incision over the collar bone and the placement of a metal plate and screws to secure the broken bones.  The risks of surgery include anaesthetic risk, infection, injury to nerves or vessels, failure of fixation, non-union, and malunion.

Often a second operation is required to remove the plate and screws

Commence your recovery journey today, call Sydney Shoulder clinic on 9744 2201. Ask for Tim Neville Physiotherapist, who will assist with making your appointment.