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Clavicle (Collar Bone) Fracture (6930)

Clavicle (Collar Bone) Fracture (6930) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Trauma


Clavicle (Collar Bone) Fracture

Your clavicle is one of two long thin bones
at the top of your chest. These bones are
often called “collar bones”.

What causes collar bone fractures?
Collar bone fractures are quite common. It
can happen when a person falls on an
outstretched hand or onto a shoulder, or in
other accidents where the collar bone is hit

What are the symptoms?
ξ Pain in shoulder
ξ Problems moving shoulder or arm
ξ Swelling and bruising
ξ Shoulder deformity

How it is diagnosed?
The fracture is found with imaging (x-rays
and/or CT scan) and physical exam.

What is the treatment?
Because of the position of the collar bone, it
is not possible to wear a cast if you break
this bone.
ξ Closed fracture (bone has not
broken through the skin): you will
likely have a sling for your arm. It is
often more comfortable to wear the
sling than have it off.
ξ Open fracture (bone breaks through
the skin) and some closed fractures:
your doctor may need to repair it
with surgery. Afterward, you will
likely wear a sling to support your
arm while your collar bone heals.

At first you will keep the sling on for
immobilization. Before leaving the hospital,
your doctor will have you start to come out
of the sling to begin Codman exercises (see
next page). You will also work on very
gentle range of motion exercises (ROM) that
you will continue when you go home.

Restrictions While Healing
ξ NO lifting greater than 5 pounds.
ξ NO lifting your arm over your head.
ξ NO pushing or pulling with your arm
greater than 5 pounds.

What should I expect during healing?
You will need to limit your lifting while
your bones heal. Your doctor will talk with
you about how much you can lift and how
long you need to restrict your movements.
Based on how severe your injuries are, your
restrictions may be different than noted
above. You will be encouraged to wiggle
your fingers and wrist and to raise your arm
on a pillow to help lower the swelling. A
doctor or therapist will give you exercises to
help your injured shoulder recover and
regain strength.

It usually takes about 12 weeks for the bone
to heal completely. This depends on many
things, such as your age and your general
health. You should not smoke as this slows
bone healing. Check with your doctor before
taking other medicines besides those
prescribed. You should not take NSAIDs
(ibuprofen, Aleve, Excedrin) as these also
slow the healing of bones. Follow up with
your doctor in order to check your healing

Codman Exercises
1. Pendulum (Forward and Backward)
ξ Let arm swing freely by rocking
body weight forward and backward.
ξ Start with about 15 seconds for each
exercise. Gradually increase to about
a minute. Base how long you do it on
how you feel. Your shoulder should
start to loosen up and move more
freely. Stop if you feel a sharp pain.
ξ Do 3 sessions per day.

2. Pendulum (Side-to-Side)
ξ Spread your feet and slowly rock
side to side, letting your arm swing
ξ Start with about 15 seconds for each
exercise. Gradually increase to about
a minute. Let your body weight
move your arm. Stop if you feel a
sharp pain.
ξ Do 3 sessions per day.

3. Pendulum (Circular)
ξ Let arm move in circle clockwise,
then counterclockwise, by rocking
body weight in circular pattern.
ξ Circle about 15 seconds in each
direction. Gradually increase to
about a minute. Base how long you
do it on how you feel.
ξ Do 3 sessions per day.

When should I call my doctor?
ξ If you have severe pain, or your pain
gets worse.
ξ If you have numbness or tingling in
your fingers, or your fingers look
blue or purple.
ξ If the skin around the injury changes
color, is irritated or is raised up.

Phone Numbers to Call
ξ Patients of the Orthopedic Clinic:
Call (608)265-7540
 After hours, on weekends, and
holidays call UW Hospital Paging
Operator at 608-262-0486. Ask for
the Orthopedic doctor on call.
Give your name and phone number
with area code to the operator. A
health care provider will call you
 If you live out of the area, please
call 1-800-323-8942 and ask for
your clinic.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6930.