A fractured clavicle is also known as a broken collarbone as the medical term for your collarbone is your clavicle. Your clavicle is a long bone that runs to each of your shoulders from your breastbone or sternum.
What is a fractured clavicle?
A fractured clavicle describes a broken clavicle or collarbone that is a common injury normally occurring after falling onto the shoulder or following trauma where stress is placed on the clavicle beyond the force the clavicle can withstand causing it to break. It takes around 6-8 weeks in adults and 3-6 weeks in children to heal and the severity of clavicle fractures can vary greatly.
What causes a fractured clavicle?
A fractured clavicle is normally caused after falling onto the shoulder or following trauma. It is a very common injury in sport such as when falling onto the shoulder due to falling off a horse, a tackle in football or falling off a bike cycling.
What are the symptoms of a fractured clavicle?
The symptoms of a clavicle fracture are usually a sudden onset of intense, sharp pain when the injury occurs and the pain is normally felt between the neck and the shoulder. Pain may worsen with moving your arm above your head, bringing your arm across your chest or heavy pushing, lifting or pulling. There may also be an ache in the clavicle particularly worse in the morning.
When the injury occurs, some people also report a pop, click, or snap sound and there is normally tenderness and/or swelling at the injury site and if severe a bony deformity may be visible.
How is a fractured clavicle diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can assist with or suggest diagnosis of a fractured clavicle, though an X-ray is normally used to confirm the diagnosis.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for a fractured clavicle?
There are several different treatment options following a fractured clavicle and your physiotherapist will fully assess you and create a treatment plan based on their findings, choosing the best treatment methods to reduce your symptoms and speed up your recovery.
Treatment often includes:
- Education and advice
- The use of a sling or bandage
- Protective and postural taping
- Rest from aggravating activities
- Postural exercises
- Flexibility exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Joint mobilisation
- Ice therapy
- Activity modification advice
- Soft tissue massage
Sometimes further intervention may be necessary such as surgery to stabilise the fracture and make sure the bone heals properly.
Benefit of physiotherapy for a fractured clavicle?
Physiotherapy is key to allowing as speedy a recovery as possible and to ensure that full range of movement is restored following injury. The benefits you feel from physiotherapy will be dependent on your symptoms and goals.
Physiotherapy aims to:
- Decrease pain
- Improve range of movement
- Prevent stiffness
- Increase strength