The following information is provided courtesy of AAOS.org.
A broken collarbone is also known as a clavicle fracture. This is a very common fracture that occurs in people of all ages.
The collarbone (clavicle) is located between the ribcage (sternum) and the shoulder blade (scapula), and it connects the arm to the body.
The clavicle lies above several important nerves and blood vessels. However, these vital structures are rarely injured when the clavicle breaks, even though the bone ends can shift when they are fractured.
The clavicle is a long bone and most breaks occur in the middle of it. Occasionally, the bone will break where it attaches at the ribcage or shoulder blade.
Clavicle fractures are often caused by a direct blow to the shoulder. This can happen during a fall onto the shoulder or a car collision. A fall onto an outstretched arm can also cause a clavicle fracture. In babies, these fractures can occur during the passage through the birth canal.
Clavicle fractures can be very painful and may make it hard to move your arm. Additional symptoms include:
- Sagging shoulder (down and forward)
- Inability to lift the arm because of pain
- A grinding sensation if an attempt is made to raise the arm
- A deformity or "bump" over the break
- Bruising, swelling, and/or tenderness over the collarbone
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