Broken collarbone


A broken collarbone, also known as clavicle fracture, is a break in the bone that connects the breastbone and shoulder blade. This injury can occur as a result of fall, sports, vehicle collisions, or even during childbirth.
Types of fracture are the following:

  • Comminuted fracture: The collarbone fractures into one or several pieces.
  • Displaced fracture: The broken parts might still line up or become misplaced.

While a broken collarbone can be painful, most people do not require surgery. If you suspected that you have a broken collarbone, seek immediate medical attention. Most injuries recover quickly with ice, medications, a sling, physical therapy, and time. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to insert plates, screws, or rods to keep the bone fragments together while it heals. Physical therapy can help to strengthen the bone and reduce stiffness.


The following are signs and symptoms of a broken collarbone:

  • Pain, that gets worse when moving the shoulder.
  • Swelling, tenderness or bruising of the area.
  • The bone no longer supports the shoulder causes it to fall downward or forward.
  • Bump on or around the shoulder.
  • Clicking, grinding, or popping sound when moving the shoulder.
  • Immobility or stiffness of the shoulder.
  • Bone may pierce the skin (rare cases)

Newborns who have a broken collarbone during birth may cry when their arm is moved and will not move it for several days.
Seek medical help immediately if you are experiencing discomfort that prevents you from using your arm normally or if there are signs of a broken collarbone. Delaying medical care can result in poor healing.


The following can cause a broken collarbone:

  • Trauma: Car, motorcycle, or bike accidents, as well as direct hits to the shoulder during sports, can cause a broken collarbone. When the arm is outstretched or a person falls onto their shoulder, it can also result in this condition.
  • Birth: During a difficult the birth, the collarbone may break, while passing through the birth canal.

Risk factors

Adults have a lower risk of break their collarbone than teenagers and young children. The risk decreases over the age of 20 but increases again in older people as they lose bone strength with age.