A broken collarbone can cause serious difficulty. In fact, a fractured collarbone accounts for 40% to 60% of all shoulder fractures.
What is Your Collarbone?
Your clavicle is also known as your collarbone. It is a thin and long bone that runs between your neck and shoulder. You have two clavicle bones hollowing out at your throat. These bones are prone to break. And this is due to their location and also how thin they are.
How Does a Clavicle Fracture Occur?
A broken collarbone will occur as a result of several situations:
- Either falling directly on your shoulder or your hands.
- Direct hits in a contact sport can cause a clavicle fracture.
- People have been known to suffer clavicle fractures from car accidents.
Who is at Risk for a Broken Collarbone?
Of course, anyone can break their collarbone. However, certain groups are most at risk.
- Kids and Adolescents: Those who are ages 10-19 are at the highest risk for a broken collarbone. Because they already have bones that are more susceptible to fracture.
- Elderly adults: Elderly people have very fragile bones. As you age, you are at a higher risk for a fall. Thus, any fall might trigger a clavicle fracture.
- Male athletes: This demographic is more likely to play high-contact sports. Therefore, they are at risk. In fact, research has shown that young men and teenagers are up to three times as likely to sustain a clavicle fracture.
- Large newborn babies: Newborn babies of nine pounds or more are at risk because they have larger necks. This type of fracture usually occurs during birth.
If You Suspect a Broken Collarbone
Some of the red flags for a broken clavicle would include limited or no arm movement and severe pain. Or, if you have a bump or a drooped shoulder, these could be a sign too.
First of all, you will need a formal diagnosis from a doctor. After that, the physician will either recommend surgical or non-surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatment for a broken collarbone consists of wearing a wrap or arm sling and taking some prescribed pain medication. Although physical therapy is another non-surgical treatment method regularly used too. Regular doctor appointments are required to ensure that the clavicle is mending correctly. However, if non-surgical treatment isn’t working, surgical options will likely be considered.
Surgical Options for a Clavicle Fracture
If the fractured bone pieces are not aligning, then it may be time for surgery. You will need surgery to move and secure the bones. The operating physician will often use plates, pins, or screws to put the bones in place. They will also recommend rehabilitation with a physical therapist after the surgery is completed.