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What is a fractured clavicle?

A fractured clavicle or collar bone is a crack or splintering of the collar bone (the bone that runs along the front of the shoulder to the breast bone, located just below your neck). It is the most commonly fractured bone in the body.

What causes a fractured clavicle?

You can fracture your collar bone if you fall badly onto an outstretched arm or fall on the shoulder. A collision when doing contact sports such as rugby can also cause a fracture. Collar bone fractures are usually as a result of a physical injury and the bone most often fractures in its middle third.

Therapist perfoming gentle passive mobilisation exercises on the glenohumaral jointAbove: Therapist perfoming gentle passive mobilisation exercises on the glenohumaral joint

What are the symptoms of a fractured clavicle?

There are various symptoms of a fractured collar bone, but if a fracture occurs you will usually know about it as it's very painful.

Apart from the pain, other symptoms include swelling and bruising around the broken bone, a bony deformity may be seen or felt and once the swelling has gone down it is often easy to feel the fracture through the skin

Diagnosis of a fractured clavicle

If you suspect you may have broken your collar bone you should see your GP immediately who will confirm a diagnosis. You may then be provided with a sling to rest the affected area. There are various types of slings available, most common been what is referred to as a 'figure of eight' splint.

Physiotherapy for a fractured clavicle

A person with a fractured clavicle will benefit from physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy treatment at Manchester Physio will help rebuild your muscle strength and flexibility in a safe and effective way.

At Manchester Physio, our physiotherapists will ensure you make a full recovery and return back to normal activities as quickly as possible by providing treatment individualised to you which may include:
  • Ice therapy to reduce swelling and pain
  • Ultrasound to accelerate healing
  • Active and passive range of movement exercises to gradually restore pain free range of movement
  • Strength training exercises to increase the strength of the tendons and muscles
  • Exercises tailored to your sporting activity to maximise achievement with this as soon as possible
A fractured collar bone will take between four to eight weeks to heal.

Your physiotherapist will ensure that pain and swelling is reduced before commencing a structured rehabilitation program tailored to your needs and physical activity, to ensure you make a full recovery as soon as possible.

For more information about physiotherapy for a fractured collar bone, or to book an appointment please call 0161 883 0077.

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