The collar bone or clavicle is an important bone which lies between the upper part of the sternum (chest bone) and the shoulder. The collar bone is located on either side of the chest and helps in holding the shoulder in its position (i.e. prevents anterior dislocation). In addition, the color bone allows attachment of several ligaments and muscles.
A fracture of the collar bone- clavicular fractures- are relatively common, with trauma being the primary cause for the fracture. Falling off a motorbike or a horse or a vehicular accident resulting in smashing of the upper body against an object are typical kinds of trauma episodes associated with clavicular fractures.
A clavicular fracture may occur in newborns during the process of delivery, especially if the delivery is forceful. In some cases, clavicular fractures may not be associated with trauma, but are linked to either genetic causes or acquired causes like cancer or osteoporosis.
Symptoms Of Broken Collar Bone
A broken collarbone is associated with immediate pain at the site of the fracture. In most cases individuals may hear a snapping sound.
- While pain is common, it is usually not associated with movement of the shoulder joints. In some cases, fracture of the collar bone doesn’t limit the range of movement of the shoulder joint.
- The affected shoulder might slump downwards and forward due to broken collar bone, which now fails to keep the shoulder joint in its position.
- Occasionally, there might be a bulging under the skin over the collar bone along with reddish bruise. A typical crepitus feeling is noted over the site of the fracture.
How To Treat A Broken Collarbone?
Here are some useful tips following an injury and a suspected collarbone fracture, that can help hasten recovery and also avoid complications,
- Don’t move the shoulder joint, as it may further lead to injuries. Wrap a few pieces of ice in a towel and apply it directly over the suspected site of injury.
- Using a neck tie or a large towel to prepare a temporary sling which can be tied around the neck to support the shoulder joint. The sling should prevent the movement of the shoulder joint and thereby provide relief.
- Homeopathic drugs namely Bryonia, Rhuta and Rhus tox taken in a combination are useful to reduce the pain associated with fracture injury.
- Ensure that your intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements is adequate to hasten the process of recovery and strengthen the bones inherently.
Recovery Time For Broken Collar Bone
In most cases, the collarbone fractures are treated with a simple sling, however in other cases they may require swath or figure of eight splints. Usually the recovery can take about 4 to 8 weeks in adults, while in children the recovery is quicker at 2 to 4 weeks.
In order to hasten the recovery process, patients are advised to avoid further trauma and to use over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs to avoid pain. Though most broken collar bones heal without complication, malunions are common but don’t require surgical intervention.
Surgical intervention may be required only if the damage to the collar bone is associated with damage to surrounding tissues including lungs. Surgically repaired collarbones may take about 8 to 12 weeks to heal completely.