What is a Clavicle Fracture?

What is a Clavicle Fracture?

A clavicle fracture is a broken collarbone. There are two collarbones: one on the right and one on the left. Each one connects the upper part of your breastbone (sternum) to the shoulder. The collarbones also protect nerves and blood vessels in your chest. 

Clavicle fractures are common and account for 5% of all broken bones in adults. A broken collarbone can be painful and make it hard to move your arm.

Types of Clavicle Fractures


There are different types of clavicle fractures:

  • The bone may break in one place and the bones are still aligned
  • A comminuted fracture happens when the collarbone breaks into several pieces (more than two)
  • A displaced fracture occurs when the broken bone pieces do not align

Signs & Symptoms of Clavicle Fractures


In addition to clavicle pain and difficulty moving your arm, broken collarbone symptoms may include:

  • The shoulder sags down and forward
  • A sensation of grinding when you try to lift your arm
  • A bump, a tent-like shape, or other deformities over the break
  • Tenderness, swelling, or bruising over the collarbone

An orthopedic specialist can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and treat a broken collarbone.

What Causes a Clavicle Fracture?


Most collarbone fractures happen when there is a direct blow to the collarbone or the outside of the shoulder. This may happen during the following:

  • Sports, such as football, wrestling, or ice hockey
  • A fall onto an outstretched arm
  • An accident, such as a vehicle collision, motorcycle accident, or fall from a bicycle
  • Childbirth, when a newborn experiences a clavicle fracture while passing through the birth canal

Preventing a Clavicle Fracture


There are some steps you can take to reduce your chance of experiencing a broken collarbone:

  • Keep your bones healthy by eating a nutritious diet with plenty of calcium
  • Drive safely and always wear a seatbelt while riding in a vehicle
  • Maintain proper positioning during any sports or other physical activities you enjoy
  • Whenever available, wear protective gear that is available for your sport or hobbies
Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian to Care for a Clavicle Fracture

A broken collarbone can be painful and disruptive to your life, but the orthopedic experts at NewYork-Presbyterian are here to help. They will carefully assess your clavicle fracture symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis and match you with the best treatment to meet your needs. 

Call us today to schedule an appointment so you can start healing and feeling better.