The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of fractured collarbone. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is fractured collarbone?
A fractured collarbone involves a partial or complete break in one of the bones that connects the breastbone (in the center of your chest) with the upper part of either the right or left shoulder blade. An open (or compound) fracture occurs when the bone exits and is visible through the skin or a deep wound. A closed (or simple) fracture occurs when the bone is broken but stays under the skin.
What causes collarbone fractures?
Fractures can be caused by blunt trauma, falls, sudden twisting, and other movements or blows that cause the bone or joint to move in a way that is abnormal or beyond normal motion. Collarbone fractures tend to be more common in athletes who play contact sports. Fractures may also occur in older people with osteoporosis or other diseases and conditions that make the bones weak, brittle and susceptible to injury or breaking.
What are the symptoms of a fractured collarbone?
You may feel a sharp pain when the injury occurs. The area around the break will typically swell, bruise and be tender to the touch. Moving your arm or using the joint in a normal manner can be very painful, and you may see a bony deformity near the area of the injury.
Do not attempt to diagnose a broken collarbone yourself. Always seek medical attention.
How are collarbone fractures diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician will conduct a complete physical exam of the injured joint or limb, and may order x-rays, MRI or CT scan in order to determine the severity and precise location of the injury.
How are collarbone fractures treated?
The primary objectives of treatment are to control pain, promote healing, prevent complications and restore normal use of the joint. Medications may be recommended or prescribed to help reduce pain and swelling. Some minor fractures may simply require immobilization in a sling, brace or cast in order to reduce stress on the joint and allow proper alignment of the broken bone(s).
More serious fractures may require traction, which involves the use of force to stretch certain parts of the body in a specific direction while healing takes place. Surgery may also be required to put bones involved in complex fractures back into place. Some fractures may also require the placement of hardware such as rods, screws, pins or plates, internally and externally, to hold the bone fragments in place while healing occurs.