Broken collarbone

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A broken collarbone (clavicle fracture) happens quickly and is therefore one of the most frequent bone fractures. Young men with a fondness for high-risk sports are particularly affected. Emergency outpatient clinics treat a constant stream of patients in ski suits or motorcycle gear. 

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic specialise in treating bone fractures and joint injuries. We weigh up exactly which therapy is best for you so that your fracture can heal well.

Causes & symptoms

What is a broken collarbone?

In the case of a broken collarbone (collarbone fracture), the fine bone between your sternum and a process of your shoulder blade breaks. The fracture breaks the only bony connection between your arm and your body. 

Causes: How does a broken collarbone happen?

A fall onto the shoulder or a direct impact may cause a fracture of the shoulder girdle. Sports and leisure accidents are the most common cause of clavicle fractures. A fall from a great height or an accident at high speed can also break the collarbone. 

Symptoms: Signs that your collarbone is broken

It is impossible for you to move your arm without pain following the broken collarbone. The very severe pain in the shoulder and shoulder girdle area will cause you to seek medical attention in the fastest way. There is usually swelling and a palpable step in the course of your bone at the point of fracture. In the first few days after your accident, bruising can also form in the area of your chest wall. Open injuries occur very rarely.

Diagnostics

Diagnosis: Find the exact causes of your symptoms

Is the collarbone broken or not? Clarifying this question determines the later procedure. In order to make a reliable diagnosis, our specialists at Schoen Clinic take a step by step approach to your examination.

Step one: the detailed consultation with the doctor

The diagnosis begins with an in-depth conversation with you (medical history). During this, we ask you exactly what caused the accident. We also make a note of your sporting and professional activities. This enables us to suggest a treatment at a later date that is suitable for the daily strain on your arm and shoulder area.

Step two: the physical examination

Your clinical examination follows now. Our specialist feels the possible fracture and moves your arm. Pain and movement restrictions themselves very clearly indicate the nature of your injury. Accompanying injuries to the shoulder joint, the thorax and the cervical spine must also be carefully ruled out.

Step three: imaging procedures

We still perform an imaging procedure to confirm the diagnosis. In most cases, an X-ray image of your collarbone in two or three planes is sufficient. Here you can see where your collarbone is broken, whether there are any splinters and whether the sections of bone are straight or crooked. Computed tomography (CT) is also necessary in some cases.