The collarbone is made up of two bones located on either side of the shoulder. Since the upper body is well used in everyday movements, a fracture of the clavicle can quickly prove to be disabling.
What is a clavicle fracture?
Clavicle fracture results from break in the bone between the base of the neck and the shoulder. It can also be a bone displacement.
What are the symptoms of a broken collarbone?
There are several symptoms that can identify a broken collarbone. But what all these symptoms have in common is pain.
The patient may experience the following symptoms:
- the bone crack following a shock such as a fall;
- The impossibility of raising the arms, moving the shoulder;
- The swollen collarbone;
- Sharp pain at the fracture site;
- Visible symptoms such as the anatomical deformation of the patient at the level of the injured part;
- In the case of an open fracture, there may be bleeding.
What are the causes and risk factors?
The clavicle fracture affects both adults, young people, but also newborns.
The causes are multiple:
- A bad fall;
- A traffic accident;
- An accident related to the practice of sport such as cycling, horse riding;
- An accident due to the practice of a brutal sport.
In the newborn, the fracture of the clavicle can result from a complicated childbirth. In practice, the risk factors are linked to age, but also to the practice of a sport.
How is a broken collarbone diagnosed?
The diagnosis of a clavicle fracture begins with a physical examination. The doctor proceeds by palpation on the sore area. Then, an X-ray examination is performed to determine the degree of severity of the fracture. In some cases, if other lesions related to the fracture are suspected, a Doppler ultrasound may be required.
How to relieve a broken collarbone?
Applying cold to the sore part can relieve a broken collarbone, using an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel. In case of pain, an anti-inflammatory treatment can also be taken, as well as analgesics. You have to rest the sore area while avoiding raising the arms, move the shoulder. In your diet, give priority to calcium, vitamin D, to strengthen the bones and restore the broken collarbone.
What treatment for a broken collarbone?
For a clavicle fracture that does not require surgery, the treatment consists of immobilizing the shoulder for a period of at least four weeks using a sling. Wearing clavicular rings or a sling helps maintain the shoulder so as not to put more strain on it during movements and everyday tasks. The fracture can be much more complex and in this case requires shoulder surgery to be able to fix the fragments of the clavicle; followed by rehabilitation.
How long should the clavicle be immobilized?
The immobilization time depends on the type of fracture. Generally, immobilization can last between three and six weeks. To immobilize the clavicle in order to avoid aggravating the injury, wearing a splint is highly recommended. This will help rehabilitate your shoulder. To put on the splint, first put it on, putting your arm inside the cuff, then adjust the strap and your shoulder strap to the splint. The goal is to be able to contain the weight of your arm and not strain the shoulder.
When should a broken collarbone be operated on?
The fracture of the clavicle is most often not serious. However, in some cases, complications can occur. There is talk of a serious clavicle fracture or injuries resulting from the fracture. In order to avoid any risk to the patient’s health, surgical intervention is required. For example, in the case of an open fracture, where the bone is visible, displaced. Surgery will consolidate the fracture and heal more quickly.
What is the consolidation and healing time?
The bone, located at the level of the clavicle, can, in the event of a minor fracture, consolidate on its own. Usually, using a sling, the immobilization of the shoulder and the arm will allow after three to six weeks to have good results. Recovery from a severe collarbone fracture may take longer. Count on average two to three months. Still, an x-ray must be performed to check that the clavicle fracture has healed properly.
Is rehabilitation needed?
Rehabilitation has an essential function: to enable normal use of the shoulder to be regained. This is useful for so-called severe fractures. However, in the case of a minor fracture requiring only a few weeks in a splint, rehabilitation is not necessary. In any case, it is useful, especially if you are used to practicing a particular sport.
How to sleep and what position to favor when you have a broken collarbone?
It is advisable to sleep on the non-sore side. Lying on your back is a recommended position. However, you should not make sudden movements.
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