Broken collar bones are not unusual. They can happen to anyone at any age including newborns. The collar bone is also-called the clavicle and is considered to be part of the shoulder. The clavicle also provides important protection for vital tissue and nerves underneath the bone.
Sometimes people discover broken collar bones because a lump appears where the bone is broken. It may not cause pain at first until its touched or the two bone ends shift. Most collar bone breaks are the result of impact, a fall or an auto accident. Athletes, especially football players, are notorious for having broken collar bones.
When you fall on your shoulder, the result can be a broken collar bone when it takes the force of the impact. Broken collar bones can cause the shoulders to be misaligned or make it difficult to life the arms. Though some breaks are not painful, there are others which can cause a lot of pain during movement. Once a doctor suspects a collar bone is broken, he or she will order an x-ray.
Fortunately, broken collar bones almost never need surgery. Immediate first aid should be immobilizing the arm so the shoulder remains still. After a visit to the doctor, you’ll probably have to continue keeping the arm and shoulder immobile by wearing a sling. The best thing to do for broken collar bones is let the bone rest which is the purpose of the sling. In more serious cases, the doctor may want you to wear a figure of eight bandage.
It can take 3 months or longer for broken collar bones to heal. The pain may subside long before that time though. Once the pain disappears, it can be tempting to convince yourself the bone is healed. You’ll soon discover if you’re wrong when you try to do any activity that involves the shoulder nearest the break.
The collar bone is an important bone serving as a connector for the arm to the body. Because of its location, broken collar bones are very common. The breaks are almost never life threatening and the bone can fully heal over time. In rare instances, surgery may be needed if the nerves, blood vessels or tissue under the bone were damaged.
Just like any of the other bones in your body, you should seek medical help when you break a collar bone. Broken collar bones may not be dangerous to your long term health, but like any injury to the body, a fracture can cause shock. Before seeing the doctor, keep your arm and shoulder as still as possible.