Fractured collar bones

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Fracture is the medical term for a crack or a break in the structure of a bone. There are many different types of fractures including:

Open or compound fracture, where the fracture site is open to air because one end of the bone has broken through the skin.

Closed fracture: neither end of the bone has broken through the skin.

Complete fracture: the broken bone is completely separated at the break.

Incomplete fracture: the broken bone is not completely separated at the break.

Transverse fracture: a straight break across the bone.

Spiral fracture or oblique fracture: usually caused by sudden, violent, rotating movements, such as twisting the leg during a fall.

Comminuted fracture: there are more than two fragments of bone at the fracture site.

Compression fracture: the break occurs because of extreme pressure on the bone.

Impacted fracture: the broken ends are driven into each other.

Avulsion fracture: the breaking force has been applied in such a way that the muscle pulls a portion of the bone away from the site where it is normally attached.

Pathological fracture: the fracture occurs in a bone that is weakened or damaged by disease.

Torus fracture or a greenstick or ripple fracture: on one side of the bone. Always a children’s fracture and very common.

Stress fracture: microscopic fractures caused by repeated jarring and overuse of a bone. This is typically seen in athletes.

Fractures can be displaced or not displaced. A displaced fracture means the bone has shifted its position relative to the bone on the other side of the fracture.

What is a Fracture of the Clavicle (“Collar Bone”)? Your clavicle bone or “collar bone” connects the scapula bone in your shoulder to your sternum in your chest. Its function is to hold the shoulder upward and backward.

Clavicle fractures are among the most common bone injuries. A break in the clavicle bone is usually always a closed fracture that normally takes about 6 weeks to heal in an adult, 4 weeks in a child.

Surgery is rarely needed.

Causes of a Fracture of the Clavicle?

At the time of birth, the clavicle may fracture during passage through the birth canal. The fracture is frequently not diagnosed until the healing bone callus is noticed as a hard lump. At this time it needs no treatment and the lump will disappear as the baby grows.

Accidents such as falls against the shoulder or on an outstretched hand are the most common cause of fractures of the clavicle.

Sometimes, a blow from a blunt object or a collision of some sort can cause the clavicle to break.

Symptoms of a Fracture of the Clavicle are the same for almost all fractures.

Pain

Swelling

Tenderness

Deformity or “bump” at the site of the fracture

Internal bleeding

If asked to lift their arm, patients with a broken clavicle cannot do so without extreme pain.

Treatment of a Fracture of the Clavicle:

The goal of treating broken bones is to set them, making them whole again.

A broken clavicle usually requires a simple arm sling to be worn for about six weeks. Children with broken clavicles are often equipped with a figure of 8 clavicle strap that keeps their clavicle immobilized until it heals, which is usually three to four weeks. Most adults with the fracture will also use a figure of 8 splint or strap and will probably sleep in a chair or in bed with extra pillows because the fracture takes a week or two to get the healing process going and it is important not to roll onto the bone while sleeping.

Your doctor will examine the fracture site for neurovascular damage and take x-rays of the injured area, including the joints above and below the primary injury site. He or she will ask for details about how the injury occurred, and will need to know about any previous accidents resulting in a fractured bone.

Healing is considered complete when there is no motion at the fracture site and x-rays reveal complete bone union.

Patients with broken clavicles will usually be able to exercise their shoulders after three weeks of immobilization.

Golfers can expect to miss the walk behind the ball for up to 12 weeks.