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Broken Collarbone (cont.)

What Is the Aftercare for a Broken Collarbone?

After the initial visit and treatment, people with broken collarbones are seen by their doctor or health-care professional in about one week to check on their progress, and to determine if any complications have occurred. They are instructed to avoid contact sports for at least 6 weeks following the initial injury; some require additional time before the can return to "normal" activities.

If a sling or figure-of-eight bandage is used, follow your health-care professionals instructions on how long to use these devices for the broken collarbone to heal.

Over-the-counter pain medications and icing the injured area may continue to be used to relieve discomfort.

If the bone does not seem to be healing on its own surgery might be needed. If the bone is not healing correctly and causing problems with range of motion of the shoulder physical therapy may be prescribed.

How Can You Prevent a Broken Collarbone?

Proper safety equipment during organized sports activity can reduce the risk of broken collarbones. Specifically, the use of shoulder pads during football, hockey, lacrosse, and other similar activities is recommended.

Always wear your seatbelt when driving or riding in a vehicle.

What Is the Prognosis for a Broken Collarbone?

Many young athletes are able to resume playing their sport within 6 to 8 weeks of the initial injury.

  • Occasionally a bony prominence lasts in the area of the original break.
  • The most common complication is failure of the bone to heal properly, but this is rare.
  • Pain lasting after 6 to 8 weeks should prompt a visit to a doctor (preferably an orthopedist) to check on the progress of the healing bone.
  • In general, older people take longer to heal than younger people, and still may not be completely healed as long as 12 weeks after the original injury.
  • Patients that require surgery usually do well, but complications of infection, non-union of bone, neurologic problems, and joint problems may occur.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCES: Clavicle Fractures. Acromioclavicular Joint Separations.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/30/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Fracture, Clavicle »

Clavicular fractures are common injuries that account for approximately 5% of all fractures seen in the ED.

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