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Clavicular Injuries

Fractures of the clavicle

Fractures of the clavicle occur as a result of a tackle or falling on the shoulder or the outstretched hand. Clavicle fractures commonly occur during skiing, cycling, riding, and contact sports. The fracture is often located in the middle third or towards the outer third of the bone.


The area over the fracture is extremely tender and swollen. Pain is felt when moving the shoulder. A crackling sensation (crepitus) can be felt between the bone ends when movement is attempted.


A fracture of the clavicle is treated with a sling or figure-of-eight bandage to immobilize both shoulders. With the bandage in place, the arms can still be moved freely below the horizontal plane. This
treatment is usually sufficient, but surgery may be necessary in certain cases, for example, if the fracture is situated at the lateral end of the bone and the fracture ends threaten to penetrate the skin.


Fractures of the clavicle generally heal well. Conditioning exercises such as running should not be resumed until the fracture has healed or does not cause pain (about 3–8 weeks after the injury). Cycling and
nonpounding activities can often be continued during the recovery period.

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