Although you may not know it, your collarbone, or clavicle, is one of the most commonly broken bones in your body. However, it’s not easily healed, because of its location. Normal fractures require casting or some kind of immobilization, which is hard to do with your clavicle. However, there are ways to make sure your broken clavicle heals properly.
At Bay Oaks Orthopaedics, our team are experts in the care and treatment of many different types of fractures, including clavicle fractures. Our team is led by Dr. Anthony Melillo, who is an orthopaedic specialist and surgeon. Dr. Melillo offers several options when it comes to treating a broken clavicle.
What causes a clavicle fracture?
Your collar bone, or clavicle, is the bone that attaches at your sternum and your shoulder. Most of the time, you can see your clavicle outline because it’s so prominent in your chest.
Because of this, your clavicle can be easily broken. It’s not a particularly large bone, which makes it prone to injury, especially from sports. Any kind of direct blow to your chest, or fall on an outstretched arm can lead to a clavicle fracture. There are other causes of this injury as well, which include:
- Injury during birth
- Vehicle accidents
- Any type of contact sports
- Slips or falls
No matter what causes you to break your clavicle, it’s important that you know the signs so you can get treatment. While it may be very obvious that you’ve broken a bone, there are different signs that clue you into the severity of your injury.
Symptoms of a broken clavicle
As you can imagine, breaking your clavicle isn’t a walk in the park. In fact, it’s usually very painful and uncomfortable. However, there are other signs and symptoms that you may experience as well, some of which include:
- Severe bruising
- Extreme pain
- Grinding and cracking
- Trouble moving your shoulder
You may also notice that there’s a deformity near your shoulder or around the upper part of your chest on the side that’s broken. The fracture may also make it difficult to move your shoulder or your arm, due to the stiffness and pain.
What treatments can help?
If you find yourself with a broken clavicle, it’s imperative that you get help as soon as possible. In order for this bone to heal properly, you need the expert care of Dr. Mellilo. Although this injury doesn’t always need surgery, it does require expert treatment to ensure the bone returns to normal.
The best way to make sure that your broken clavicle heals properly is with immobilization. This type of treatment keeps you from moving on the side of the break, which is vital to healing your bone. For a clavicle fracture, this normally requires you to wear a special sling that keeps the area from moving.
Dr. Mellilo determines the length of time you’ll need to be immobilized by the severity of your injury. More minor clavicle fractures may only take six weeks or so to heal, while more severe fractures may take twelve weeks or more.
Along with immobilization, Dr. Mellilo may prescribe pain medications to help manage your discomfort while your clavicle heals. Along with pain medications, cold therapy can also help keep the inflammation down to allow for proper healing.
For cold therapy, it’s recommended that you ice the area for about 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. However, you never want to put the ice directly on your skin; make sure to wrap it in a towel or washcloth.
If Dr. Mellilo determines that your fracture is too severe to heal on its own with immobilization, he may recommend surgery. Surgery is done when your bone doesn’t come together properly on its own. However, this is only reserved for cases where it’s the only way the bone will heal correctly.
If you’ve suffered a clavicle fracture and need expert care, don’t hesitate to call us today at 281-223-1391, or book an appointment with Dr. Melillo using our convenient online booking tool.