This type of injury can occur with a fall onto the shoulder and is common in contact sports like basketball, football, and soccer. Most clavicle fractures are treated non-surgically. If you suspect you have a clavicle fracture, x-rays and follow up with a specialist is important to ensure optimal healing and return to normal shoulder function. At Sports Health Northwest, we want to work in partnership with you to help this injury heal optimally.
Clavicle fracture (break)
Clavicle (collarbone) fractures occur commonly especially in teens and young adults. Sports injuries resulting from falls onto the shoulder are a common cause of clavicle fractures. Additionally, in Portland where cycling is common, falls off a bike can result in this type of fracture.
Most occur in the middle portion of the bone as it is the bone’s thinnest segment. Though less common, fractures can also occur on either end of the clavicle.
If a clavicle fracture is suspected, a careful assessment of the shoulder, ribs and surrounding nerves and vessels should be performed by a sports injury specialist. Because the clavicle is close to the skin, an injury may be associated with localized pain, a bulge due to swelling or bone displacement.
Initial treatment of a clavicle fracture involves ice, rest, medication for pain, and a sling for motion control
X-rays can show if the clavicle fracture is in good alignment (non-displaced) or out of alignment (displaced). Displaced, shortened, and comminuted (multiple fragments) clavicle fractures can benefit from orthopedic referral as they are at increased risk for complications.