fracture of clavicle

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Related to fracture of clavicle: fracture of humerus

fracture of clavicle

Physical injury of the clavicle sufficient to fracture it, often as a result of a fall on an outstretched arm (from a ladder or bicycle) or direct impact to the bone. Most clavicular fractures involve the distal one third of the bone.


Symptoms include swelling, pain, and protuberance with a sharp depression over the injured bone. Palpable deformity and crepitus are commonly present.


If indicated, an emergency care physician or an orthopedist will reduce the fracture. This usually is done by elevating the arm and lateral fragment so they line up with the medial fragment. The position is maintained by a clavicle strap, spica cast, immobilizing sling, or figure-of-eight wrap between the shoulders and over the back. Healing takes from about 6 to 8 weeks.

First Aid

A ball of cloth or one or two handkerchiefs are tightly rolled and placed under the armpit. An arm sling is applied and the elbow bandaged to the side, with the hand and forearm extending across the chest. Alternatively, the patient may lie on his or her back on the floor with a rolled-up blanket under the shoulders until medical aid arrives. This position keeps the shoulders back and prevents the broken ends of the bone from rubbing.

See also: fracture
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