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Condition. Broken collarbone

By Editorial Team (Y)
November 26, 2021

Broken collarbone definition

A broken collarbone is a frequent injury. It happens especially often in young adults and children. The collarbone attaches the upper portion of the sternum or breastbone in the front of the body to the shoulder blade in the back. Common reasons for a broken collarbone include trauma that occurs in motor vehicle accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Broken collarbones sometimes occur in infants as they are born.

If you suspect you or your child has a broken collarbone, get medical attention right away. Most of the time, a broken collarbone will heal over time by using ice, pain medication, application of a sling to limit mobility, and physical therapy. A complicated fracture may need a surgical procedure to realign the collarbone and insert plates, rods, or screws to help maintain the proper position of the bone while it heals.

Broken collarbones causes

Usually, causes of a broken collarbone include:

  • Falls. A broken collarbone can occur as a result of falling on the shoulder or on an outstretched arm or hand.
  • Sports trauma. Sports where people receive a direct blow to their shoulder like playing football, hockey, or basketball may cause breaking of the collarbone. 
  • Motor vehicle trauma. A broken collarbone can occur as the result of a motorcycle, boat, or car accident.
  • Injuries during birth. Broken collarbones sometimes occur in infants during birth.

Broken collarbone risks

The collarbone doesn’t totally harden until a person is approximately 20 years old, putting teens and young children at greater risk for a broken collarbone. After the age of 20, broken collarbone risk is reduced. As people grow older and the strength of bones decreases, the risk for a broken collarbone again rises.

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