Broken collarbone: How is it treated?

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Broken collarbone: How is it treated?

Question

What is the treatment for a broken collarbone?

Charles
New Jersey

Answer

Your collarbone (clavicle) connects the upper part of your breastbone (sternum) to part of your shoulder blade (scapula). If you think you have a broken collarbone, you should see your doctor right away. Treatment typically includes:

  • Using a simple arm sling. Elaborate shoulder harnesses are unnecessary for a broken collarbone.
  • Applying ice to the injury.
  • Taking pain relievers, as needed.
  • Avoiding any activity that may aggravate the area for four to six weeks after injury.

Most broken collarbones will heal well with this simple treatment, although a small bump may remain in the area of the healed fracture. Surgery may be necessary if the fracture fragments overlap and create shortening of the collarbone, if the fragments are significantly displaced, or if multiple fragments are present. If your broken collarbone requires surgery, your doctor will likely refer you to an orthopedic surgeon.

Last Updated: 2008-06-28
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