Broken collarbone

A broken collarbone is generally caused by trauma, weak bones or certain ailments such as osteoporosis or cancer. Among newborns, it might break during delivery. In most cases, the injury recuperates within 4-8 weeks.

What are the indications?

Once an individual ends up with a broken collarbone, there is a click or pop that is often heard and felt which leads to abrupt, stabbing and sharp pain. If the affected arm is moved, clicking or grinding can be felt and if moved away from the body, the more discomfort it triggers.

After the initial discomfort, the affected area has a dull, continuous ache that is aggravated if the arm is touched or moved.

What are the indications?

  • Immediate pain or discomfort at the site of the fracture
    Broken collarbone
    Some might use over-the-counter pain medications, but others require a prescription variant.
  • Snapping sound can be heard
  • The injured arm is held close to the body and supported using the other hand.
  • Slumping downwards of the shoulder on the affected side due to gravity
  • If the collarbone is touched, pain is intense at one point which indicates the site of the break.
  • Protrusion of the skin over the site of damage which appears discolored

What should I do for a broken collarbone?

  • If the individual was involved in a vehicular accident or endured a similar form of trauma, avoid moving the individual.
  • In case only a broken collarbone is present, pain relief is a vital part of treatment. The affected arm must be moved minimally as possible. An ice pack can be applied on the site of injury. Pain medications can also be given.

Medical care

In most cases involving a broken collarbone, it is managed with a simple sling. The sling must be worn all the times until there is no pain during movement. Among children, this takes 2-4 weeks while 4-8 weeks for adults.

The individual is instructed to avoid any activity to prevent further trauma at this period. Some might use over-the-counter pain medications, but others require a prescription variant.

Follow up with the doctor until there is no more pain. In some cases, rehabilitation is necessary.

A broken collarbone can correctly heal with conventional treatment. Even though rare, some might have issues with fractures close to the shoulder end of the collarbone. In such cases, an orthopedic surgeon might be required within 2-3 days of damaging the bone. Some cases require surgical intervention.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a broken collarbone is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage this injury, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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