Your clavicle, or collar bone, is the front anchor of your shoulder joint and one of the main parts of your AC joint.
You could break your clavicle the same way you would sprain your AC joint, which is by falling on an outstretched arm, or landing directly onto your shoulder. Now you can see why a clavicle fracture and an AC joint sprain could happen at the same time!
How does a collar bone break?
Your clavicle has a few weak points that are usually the main areas for a fracture. One area is closer to your chest bone, one area is in the middle of the clavicle, and one is towards the end close to the outside of the shoulder.
I broke my collar bone... Now what?
If your clavicle is broken, you need surgery...right? Not quite. If you fractured your clavicle and the two pieces are still in line with each other, you may be able to immobilize your shoulder and let those two pieces heal.
If your collar bone breaks apart with one part moving away from the other (see photo to the right), things get a bit more complicated. Consult with a trusted orthopedist to discuss possible options.
Can a broken collar bone cause other issues?
Your clavicle forms a bony roof over all the nerves that allow your arm to function. If it breaks downward your clavicle could compress these nerves and cause all kinds of issues like numbness, tingling, and weakness. There have also been cases where the clavicle breaks and it has the broken part shifts downward. This could result in a punctured lung! Talk about unlucky.
Can physical therapy help with a broken collar bone?
For the bone specifically - unfortunately not. We can't rush father time!
However, whether your injury requires surgery or not, the collar bone needs to be immobilized for a certain period of time. This can lead to a stiff, painful neck, mid back and shoulder (glenhumeral joint). A clinical specialist such as a physical therapist, can mobilize these joints, and restore function with less pain. We guide you through the rehab process to get you on the road to recover FASTER.
If you're looking to keep your shoulder healthy during your clavicle fracture, please reach out to us on our contact page to see how we can help! We perform physical therapy services in Columbia, MD.