Clavicle Fracture Treatment in Freehold and Monroe Township, NJ
Also known as the collarbone, the clavicle is a solid, S-shaped bone that connects the breastplate (sternum) to the bony point of the shoulder blade (acromion). Due to its location, the clavicle receives any forces sustained by the shoulder, such as a fall onto an outstretched arm. For this reason, clavicle fractures are very common.
Signs of a Clavicle Fracture
When a bone breaks, blood vessels in and around the bone can bleed and cause swelling, and damaged nerve endings around the fracture can produce pain. If the broken ends of the bone are forced out of alignment, a deformity may be visible. Oftentimes, a clavicle fracture produces all three symptoms. Additionally, the pain at the fracture site typically worsens with arm movement. If the injury is accompanied by shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing, or the broken ends of the clavicle have punctured the skin, it is important to seek emergency medical attention.
For a suspected clavicle fracture that is less severe, it is still important to seek treatment as soon as possible. In the meantime, the affected shoulder and arm should be immobilized in a sling or held close to the body with the other arm. Ice applications and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce painful swelling.
Treatment Options for a Clavicle Fracture
Typically, a physician at Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute (AOSMI) in Freehold or Monroe Township, New Jersey, will order an X-ray to determine whether a clavicle fracture is present and, if so, the location and severity of the break. Most clavicle fractures occur near the middle of the bone shaft. This type of injury may be treated with:
- Six to eight weeks of immobilization in a sling
- Cold therapy
- Pain-relieving medications
- Physical therapy
A clavicle fracture can take up to four months to heal completely. During the initial phases of recovery, some patients find it comfortable to sleep sitting up. As the pain in the clavicle area improves, it is important to gently move the shoulder joint to help prevent stiffness. We can suggest motions that can be safely performed as your fracture heals.
Once healing is complete, motion is generally not restricted. However, we may recommend avoiding contact sports for several months.
If you think you have a clavicle fracture, you are welcome to consult with an orthopedic specialist at AOSMI. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Freehold or Monroe Township, NJ.