Lightning Learning: Clavicle Fractures
The clavicle (also called the collarbone) lies in the chest between the sternum and scapula and supports the actions of the shoulder.
It is divided into thirds. These are called the medial, middle and lateral thirds.
It is commonly fractured following a fall onto the shoulder, though occasionally it can result from a fall onto an outstretched hand. This type of fracture is common in all age groups but is most common in younger people. The majority of fractures involve the middle third (~80%) of the clavicle.
Look for displacement both clinically and radiologically as this can damage underlying nerves & vessels.
If skin tenting is seen this suggests a displaced fracture. These need to be discussed with Orthopaedics as they often require surgical management.
Most clavicle fractures are managed conservatively using a broad arm sling and heal with no issues in about 6 weeks.
Patients are followed up to ensure the fracture is healing.
Discharge with the following advice:
Analgesia as required
Sleeping more upright can help
Gentle movement after 2 weeks or earlier if pain is controlled
Return if any neurology develops