Clavicle (Collarbone) Fractures… It can and will heal without surgery!
Clavicular fractures are one of the most common fractures sustained while playing sports. It typically occurs in contact sports and often occurs when landing on your shoulder or collarbone or when you sustain a hard blow to the shoulder. More importantly, 80% of clavicular fractures occur in the middle of the clavicle (not the inner or outer 1/3). Once the mechanism of injury is identified and confirmation of a fracture is known, it is necessary to stabilize the person/athlete by monitoring their vitals (blood pressure, breathing rate, temperature) and assessing the athlete for possible shock.
Once the athlete has stabilized, it is very important to place the athlete in a sling or swath and sling to help support the arm/shoulder. Typical recovery will take about 6-8 weeks, but most are treated conservatively with ice, therapy, and eventual mobilization and range of motion with return to play. Return to play criteria for an athlete with this injury will be gradual and go through the different stages of recovery (No activity->Light activity-> Sports Specific Activities->Full practice, no contact->Full contact and game ready). You will have to go through proper rehab (stretching, range of motion exercises) to ensure that you can move to sports-specific activities and progress with your recovery.
Seeking out the proper health care professional to treat this injury is critical as attempting to have surgery will have a poor outcome. It is important not to move too quickly through rehab as doing too much will not allow the injury to heal properly either. X-rays should be taken toward the end of the recovery to ensure that proper healing has occurred within the bone.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and your holiday season is happy and healthy. Have a happy New Year and stay tuned for next month’s injury prevention tips and information.