Broken Collarbone Treatment and Recovery Time
Many broken collarbones heal on their own. If you don't need surgery, you will use a sling to keep your arm and shoulder from moving while the bone heals. An adult wears a sling for a few days or up to a week. A child may need one for 3 to 4 weeks.
You can begin simple exercises immediately and move on to strengthening exercises when they don't cause pain. Ask your doctor when it is safe to begin to exercise. If you start too soon, the broken collarbone may not heal well. If you are active, do not play sports or other activities until you can move your shoulder easily and it feels strong.
To help relieve pain, try acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Surgery may be recommended for severe breaks. When the ends of the broken bone do not line up with each other (displaced), surgery is more likely. Many experts believe surgery is especially important in young, active people.
After surgery, you will use a sling for up to 6 weeks. Your doctor or physical therapist will teach you gentle exercises to keep your shoulder moving for about 6 weeks, until you can start exercises to get your strength back. Most people have returned to all their activities by 3 months after surgery.