Tuesday, 17 October 2017 17:42

Clavicle, collarbone fractures – Your Questions Answered

Written by Dr. Daliah Wachs
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Clavicle, collarbone fractures – Your Questions Answered USA Today

On Sunday, Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a collarbone fracture and may be out for the season.  Here are your questions answered.

What exactly is a collarbone?

 

The collarbone is another name for the clavicle.  It’s the bone that connects the scapula (shoulder-blade) to the sternum (breastbone).  We have one on each side and it runs horizontally providing shoulder girdle support.  Not only does it provide upper skeletal strength and support but it also protects many major vessels that run underneath it.

 

 

clavicle

Image from AAOS

What’s a collarbone fracture?

 

The clavicle (collarbone) is one of the most common types of bones to fracture during sports injuries.  There are three major Groups or Types of clavicle fractures.

 

Type I – is the most common and occurs in the middle third of the clavicle

 

Type II – is the second most common and occurs distally, or closer to the shoulder.

 

Type III – is the most rare and occurs the most medially, or closer to the rib cage/sternum.

clavicle fractures

 

What are the signs/symptoms of a clavicle fracture?

 

Before bruising and swelling ensue, one will have sharp pain in the area of the collarbone and have difficulty moving his shoulder.

 

So signs of a clavicle fracture include:

 

  • Pain

  • Loss of range of motion of the shoulder

  • A bulge at the fracture site

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Tenderness at the fracture area

  • In young children, not wanting to move the arm on the affected side

 

How are collarbone fractures treated?

 

If the bone has not shifted too significantly, clavicle fractures can be treated non- surgically. Arm slings will be given to decrease the movement of the shoulder girdle.  Pain medication and antiinflammatories may be prescribed, and physical therapy will be instituted immediately to improve range of motion and strength.

 

If the clavicle is displaced significantly from the injury then surgery will be needed to reunite the ends using plates, rods and screws.

 

How long does it take collarbone fractures to heal?

 

In adults, healing could take anywhere from 6-12 weeks.  For children, clavicle fractures may heal sooner.

How does one prevent a collarbone fracture?

 

During sports, protective equipment is key to avoiding injuries from falls and tackles.  As in Aaron Rodger’s and Tony Romo’s cases, being sacked by another large player barreling towards them must be avoided at all costs.

 

Just say NO to sugar.  This will be a hard one for me but if you do it, I will.

 

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 Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.    The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.